My Nokia N900 is Broken

Or rather fractured, at least as far as the operating system. It appears that the DSP, a function (I think) of the GPU (PowerVR SGX) is not working as the DMESG command executed in the terminal application results in the following output:

[ 83.651947] WMD_DEH_Notify: ********** DEVICE EXCEPTION **********
[ 83.651977] WMD_DEH_Notify: DSP_SYSERROR, errInfo = 0x300

But due to the very forgiving Debian/Maemo kernel simply works around the issue, by making the CPU work harder, and consuming the batteries quicker. When everyone else was experiencing improved battery life with the release of PR 1.1.1, mine got worse.

Now the issue will be how to get it serviced as I bought it from Expansys out of the U.K. (I’m in Ireland, the Republic of) and there is the question of wither I send it to them, or directly back to Nokia?

The really important question is, when do I want to let go of this fun computer/phone thingy long enough to get it fixed.

Gowalla vs. FourSquare vs. Latitude

Gowalla FourSquare, and Google Latitude are all Geolocational applications intended to provide your whereabouts to your friends while out participating with life events. Restaurants, sports, shopping or any other activity outside of your home. And while interesting, they bring into question this, if you went to these places, would you want to have your followers join you there? I’m fully aware that the participation in these application ‘games’ are part advertising of the location you are at, and sometimes benefits the user. But it does so by utilizing your active participation, bandwidth, and costs in a new kind of distributed broadcast medium.

If you can truly state that you would love to have your friends meet you at these venues, then this is all very well. The every concept of the RobMeNow.com site makes this a questionable practice. But it also assumes you have Friends 🙂 . ( I personally can’t speak to the matter, as I have none) who care. And it could be helpful to broadcast the quality of the product at site of your adventure, should it prove valuable.

The ever nature of the applications forces me to look for native app for my Nokia N900, even as I question the need for them. That’s good hype! Anyone want to jump in and add any comments?

Google begins to crumble

With all the press at MWC and for that matter, everyplace else, Google is King of the internet. But it’s crumbling. Right in front of everyone, their entire infrastructure is beginning to fail. Not in the obvious way like a server outage or service unavailability. It’s the control structure.

I’ve never been a big user of Google, I only really got a Google Mail account when I started searching for a smartphone, which may have been an Android model. I had heard that this gmail account was needed to be set up in advance to load contacts and what not. But then the office IT manager thought Google Wave was a great way to keep all our remote activities documented, in other words, a tool to herd cats. Then he discovered Google Docs and gee isn’t that a great way to share document creation. Now there’s Google Buzz …. and then … and then. Google just can’t stop, and beyond that, they can’t integrate either. All these systems seem disjointed to the point I can’t even sign on and get to them, they must each be logged on to, no single sign-on. THE single most important step in services, and they can’t seem to make it work. It’s quite apparent that there is no single share point in the login process where all the services can be accessed, in a way, Google is competing against itself. And to quote verse:

‘A house divided, cannot stand’

Google is crumbling.

They have grown so fast and so broad, they have not built out the infrastructure required to support the entire breadth of their development groups. Which from empirical evidence, seems to need some method of communication, not currently visible to the outside world. To quote again;

The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing

Google is stumbling

Watching fall will not be pretty.

A reply about the Nokia N900

I was ask to tell someone about my Nokia N900 and I replied:

I blogged about the N900 here, Expansys which turned out to a U.S. N900 with a U.S. Power supply.

However the system, and I have to call it a system as it not just a phone, was bought with the purpose of replacing my then Nokia phone and my Palm T/X. I wanted a computer with a phone. And that is exactly what the N900 is. I have to agree, if you are a power Phone user this is not going to cut it, as an example it does not do MMS, (I’ve never sent an MMS, ever) with the exception that there is a third party developer who had deployed a MMS app that fills this gap. And I guess that is the point, all the gaps, and extensions to the operating system are coming on hot and heavy. It’s really quite surprising. What’s more surprising it the integration of the apps in the communicator. I have to check my inbound call to know if it’s a Skype or a GSM/3G call, as you can not tell via call quality or ringtone. IM from any and all IM systems are combined into a single ‘conversations’ stream sorted by the user you are talking with, reply’s can be via any communication path detailed for the contact you are talking with. The same with shareing, your notes, photos, anything can be shared to any of the ‘social media’ site you have logins to.

I find the most interesting thing is that I can SSH into and out of the system as easily as with any laptop. OpenVPN which is available, but I haven’t tried, is loadable as both server and client. The 2G/3G network connections are treated just like WiFi with no restrictions that I can detect. (dataplan not withstanding) I am even on pay-as-you-go with Vodafone and they either have not throttled me yet, or don’t care, isn’t an issue, it works seamlessly.

The only drawback is power, as you might expect, but I doubt that you would fault any laptop for not running 12 hours on batteries, and this is no difference. I can useably get 14 to 16 hours from it with ‘normal’ use, but playing with lots of widgets on the desktop, and too many beta apps from the development catalog will shorten this. I use a car charger while on GPS traveling, and I’m sure most would. but really, I have all the IM connections running below, 7/24 when on my WiFi connection and it works a treat. I blog, I tweet, I surf, frankly it’s another pocket sized palmtop… with a phone app.

Mobile Firefox needs some work.

I downloaded and tried out Firefox Mobile a few days ago and while it seems to be very useful (and actually fun to use), I discovered yesterday I was having serious battery drain issues. I had thought that I had gotten passed this, it was disturbing that the problem had returned. I was afraid that I was finally going to be required to reflash my phone. Then while Googling the issue, I stumbled upon a discussion about the Mozilla JVM runtime that gets installed as part of Firefox and it turns out that it’s not exactly perfected on the Nokia N900 yet, Functional, but it spins up the CPU in the background, using up the battery. So I un-installed it with the App Manager and I’m back to the regular Nokia browser only, which is just fine.

MaePad for the N900 begs for a printer.

I’ve been playing with the early release of MaePad and it’s quite a lot of fun. Like a sketch pad / notepad / finger paint thing. The only thing it needs is the ability to print it out in it’s full glory. And that brings back to the point about the Nokia N900, it really is a computer with a phone app installed. And while you can live without a printer for your phone, having a computer without a printer is missing something.