Category Archives: tablet

Summary of maemo summit

Some details for the next Nokia device was announced. It looks like it will have a 3x faster processor, be opengl es enabled (and will use clutter for it’s interface), will include tracker and have 3G. So it looks like Nokia wants to compete more directly with the Iphone.

In the talks it was also revealed that 2/3 of the tablet owners are developers. That is a higher number than I had expected, so either the tablets are not selling as well as one could have hoped or there is just a large number of developers owning them 🙂

Nokia was nice enough to provide all non-nokia people attending the desktop search hackfest with a n810. So I had some time to test it out in Berlin. Like going from n770 to n800, the upgrade is mostly only improvements and not very many “regressions”. Integration of GPS and keyboard combined with a smaller form factor are all very nice improvements. The keyboard makes the device much more functional as a IM device and is generally nice for inputting stuff instead of the virtual keyboard. Sadly I just bought a 8gb + 4gb memory stick for my n800 which won’t go into the n810, so I will have to hold onto the n800 for a while.

The hackfest went nice. A lot of decisions was made, it will be interesting how everything will pan out once everyone gets home and starts coming up with corner cases where the agreed upon solutions falls short 🙂 But overall it should be a good step in the right direction for xesam 1.0. It seems there was some tension between people which just want a functional xesam 1.0 (more or less just a cleaned up version of all the current api’s) and the semantic desktop people, but I think we came up with a nice compromise that made everyone happy. So that was pretty nice especially since it seems that the tracker guys have been punting the implementation of xesam support until the spec for 1.0 was finalized.

My Media System 1.1.0 rc7 released

Did a new release of My Media System today. There are changes all over the place, but the things I personally care most about is the new zoom interface that makes it easier to find out what you are looking at, the multiple input so that I can use my nokia n800 with mms over vnc without shutting down mms, and finally switch resolution so that I can change from 720p projector size to 800×480 (the size of the n800 screen) also without shutting down mms or having multiple instances running.

This makes it very easy to use the nokia as a remote control for music playback. I often listen to music at night and like that I have my whole collection available, connected to my stereo & headphones. When I want to watch a movie I just switch back to “fullscreen” and I can easily navigate to the movie using remote control.

My Media System 1.1.0 rc1 released

It’s been a long time coming but finally 1.1.0 is almost here. The new stuff is: plugins, improved search, opengl output with fancy transition animations, python support, movie collection. support, support, improved lcd support and new theme. More here (pictures :-)).

I did a small video to show how one can use a nokia 770 (the n800 works even better) together with MMS that you can see here.

Acmelabs did a small video of the opengl plugin in action:

Bought a n800

Seeing the new os2008 released for the nokia 800 as well I decided that it was time to upgrade my trusty old n770. The n800 has the same hardware as the n810 but is missing GPS and slide-keyboard. I have a GPS receiver from my n770 navigation kit so I thought I would save the 200 euro and still be one generation behind the latest and greatest internet tablet from nokia 🙂 So far I have been more than impressed with the device. The next OS is absolutely amazing. The layout of the new theme is great (much more finger-friendly), the speed is much improved and the keys are much better than my old n770, making it much easier to navigate around in MMS over VNC.

Another great thing is that it now works with my Samsung E800 phone out of the box so no need to use the terrible hack anymore.

MMS running on nokia 770

I got MMS running on the nokia 770 today.

MMS on nokia 770

Ok so maybe I cheated a little and it was running on my server and I was just using VNC to connect to it. Anyway it’s working great for music playback 🙂

Edit: Added instruction on how to get this working

Edit2: Better input method

First one must start a VNC server: Xvnc :1 +render -dpms -s 0 -geometry 800×480 -depth 24 -rfbport 5900 -PasswordFile ~/.vnc/passwd

Then MMS can be started using: DISPLAY=”:1″ ./mms -i keyboard

After MMS starts up, one can use the navigation keys on the Nokia for navigating around and then use the house (bind it to F5 in input config) for action and the back button (bind it to ESC) for secondary action and everything will work perfect.

I had some trouble with the NIC on my new server. It apparently only wanted to run in 100mbit otherwise it would drop the connection at least once each second. And since the motherboard (Asus m2n-mx) only had 2 PCI slots, I had to choose between wireless, internet and TV 🙁 Anyway I fixed it by connecting my old 100mbit hub and now everything is running fine so I had some time to play some more with the nokia. The house button is no way near perfect since it minimizes the program and thus one has to press it twice each time. Very annoying! Futhermore the vnc client on the nokia is extremely bad and sends all kinds of nonsense commands. Sometimes it will send and F5 after each other command making the device unusable. So I hacked the keyboard input driver to discard these bogus input and added a mouse input so that one can just touch the screen for action. All works much better than before, but it’s still not perfect so I’m releasing the patch here. The patch is against 1.1.0 revno 1028. I might eventually integrate it cleanly but currently it’s a bad hack.

Uses this setup one can have 2 MMS setups running concurrently. One for the Nokia device and a second one for normal display. I havn’t gotten movie playback working yet, but I don’t find it particularly important since one will want to watch that on big screen anyway 🙂

Nokia 770 tips and tricks

Having used the Nokia 770 for a while now, I have some tips and tricks to make the device even more useful.

There is no included calendar program by default so one has to install external to provide this functionality. At iola we use the Google calender service pretty extensively so this was a requirement for the application. I tried installing Dates without much luck, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to add a calendar? Anyway, next up was the GPE calendar which was recommended to me on #maemo. I installed it and this special debian package which fixes some bugs in part that handles the subscription. Viewing the calendars is working great, it easily handles my 3 calendars, but it doesn’t seem to handle adding new appointments.

To access other IM services one needs to use transports or install gaim. provides icq and msn transports and an easy way to register with them. The only problem seems to be the lack of renaming in the default jabber on the nokia 770. It’s quite to know all your IM buddies icq ids 😉 I think I’ll try gaim.

The last tip is getting Wikipedia to use the whole screen. The default theme has a menu in the left side of the screen which takes up quite a lot of screen space. By installing a new theme, one can customize it better for the Nokia 770 display making it much more pleasant to read Wikipedia articles.

Getting Samsung SGH-E900 DUN working with Nokia 770 and Linux

It took a little while but now finally got my new phone working with the nokia 770. It doesn’t work out of the box because Samsung phones are a little different than nokia phones. To get Dial up networking (DUN) working one needs several files:

  • Dummy connection to simulate a real connection
  • gprs-ppp4 needs to be placed in /etc/ppp/peers/
  • gprs-chat needs to be placed in /etc/chatscripts/ and changed to your local operator. Currently configured to TDC DK.
  • rfcomm.conf needs to be placed in /etc/rfcomm/
  • start-gprs helper scripts
  • A resolv.conf file, since the nokia device doesn’t seem to get it automatically. One can get them by connecting using a normal Linux machine.

Then it’s just a matter of running the start-gprs script from a console. Hopefully Nokia will fix this is future versions so that this hack is not needed

Nokia 770

I recently bought a Nokia 770 to use as a remote control for MMS (among other things). The first thing one notices is the screen: very clear, big and with great contrast. The built-in IM client is great. It’s excellent for when you’re not near the computer but want to chat with people anyway. It’s quite easy to write on the screen, I’m currently using the virtual keyboard but have also tried the recognition briefly without much succes.

The Opera browser included is very light-weight and quite fast but doesn’t work correctly on all pages, so sometimes one needs to use Minimo (firefox port). Sadly Minimo is a lot more heavy on the system and can cause the system to spontaneously reboot?! I have no clue how a browser can cause the whole system to come crashing down. I thought we cured that when we moved away from Windows 98? 😉

Furthermore the built-in rss reader is quite nice. The font is nice and big which makes it easy to read. I like to read the latest news on the device when I’m eating breakfast in the morning and it saves booting up the computer. The Nokia is ready in seconds.

Before I bought the device, I read in a lot of reviews which claimed that the battery time sucked. That might be true if you’re using it constantly, but if you’re not using it for a little while it will shut down the screen and will wake up in ~1 second again. That way it can easily keep running for quite a few days of rss feed reading and browsing. So you get battery lifetime comparable to a normal phone.

A last thing that I have been using the device for is VOIP. The device has a built-in microphone and speaker so one doesn’t need anything extra to make it work. I would have liked to use my headphones but it appears that for the time being that is not yet supported. By downloading gizmo project software one is able to make very cheap (even free) phone calls to phones in Denmark (and to almost any other part of the world). The sound quality is comparable to Skype.

I havn’t started hacking on it yet but from the brief encounters I have had with the documentation and development enviroment it looks quite nice. To be continued 🙂