The Return of the N900

Sounds like a Saga doesn’t it? Well it might be, if for no other reason than one of learning.

My Nokia has finally returned, thrice actually. My original Nokia N900 was always having a problem with battery life, and a bit of problem with the media player application not being able to play video and The problem required a solution.

If you’ve been reading this Blog, the fiasco which resulted with the N900 being returned without being fixed my Nokia directly. But upon contacting Expansys where I purchased it, and they directed me to sent it to them. And I did, 5 weeks ago! I had contacted them after 3 weeks of no news, and they indicated that its was being ‘quality’ checked and would be sent in a few days. Another week elapsed, and I contacted them again, and again they indicated that they would sent it, 4 days later (on a monday) I was surprised to see the delivery of my N900, the same N900, WITH THE SAME PROBLEM! They even sent me back the document I included to explain how to test and identify the problem. A problem so simple, that just turning it on would identify it’s functionality. They never even tried to fix it. They simply expected me to accept it broken! Which I didn’t! Contacting them the very afternoon that it had been returned resulted in another return, on their account, to their facility. With the promise of a ‘Replacement’ Finally! And now it arrived, Yesterday, and the problem (that would appear a boot time) was gone, so I thought great. Done!

But this is Expansys The first indication of trouble, the camera, right after I opened the camera door, it indicated that it could not open the application, as there was NO MEMORY to open it, which I checked, and sure enough the user memory, some 32GB of ram was ‘corrupted’ and unusable. Broken, except to the geek, Me, who while trying to diagnose the issue with the first N900, had become an expert in ‘flashing’ the phone. So I flashed the eMMC with the ‘VANILLA_PR_EMMC’ image. And surprise, the camera worked, along with the sample videos stored there, which further proved that the old error was gone. Happy right! Not! While I was doing this testing/fixing/ I did not have my SIM installed, so having celebrated my Geek victory, I proceeded to complete my move back into my new device.

Deliberate Pause

The N900 didn’t recognize my SIM, any SIM. Not a useful thing for a Phone not to do. But I didn’t throw it across the room, or jump up and down crushing it into dust. I rallied the Geek, and did a System Flash with the latest Maemo Image. And without further adieu, it worked, I had a phone, and it works. Having inserted my micro SD card I restored my backup from the previous N900, and Bingo, it works. I did not restore the applications that I had installed previously, but enough to know that it mostly works. I did not install some of the communications extensions that knew were causing performance issues with the battery. It’s been 7 hours and I’m only down one bar, the battery works!

The bottom line, Expansys is a pain to work with! They took ages to return my ‘repaired’ phone, that wasn’t repaired, nor did they do ANY QUALITY CHECKS to see if it had been repaired. Then after being forced to do the ‘right’ thing, they replaced it with another (non-working) phone that was Obviously NOT NEW. I can only assume that it was another used N900 that someone had returned. To anyone else this replacement was more broken than the one I had sent in, and only by my own hand does it work at all. Not a good place to do business. The experience has taught me never to purchase an item like this via the internet. Better to spend the extra money to have a place to return it to, and this one has cost me plenty in time and shipping costs to resolve.

One last point, both the first N900, the one with the broken DSP, it still worked, with the only real impact being shortened battery life. The replacement, broken also, has been corrected, as far a I can see, via software alone. Making the N900 and very reliable, although quirky device. One I can still recommend. Try doing those things with your iPhone, OOPS, sorry, no can do.

Perfect purposing for an E-Book reader.

With all the iPad hype from the past week or so you would think that the E-Book market was dead. But I have thought of a niche for such things, and it’s one that even the iPad can’t fill. That of a personal printer replacement. My wife is a notorious printer user. Partly as she collects vast amounts of bits of paper in her researches, but she finds it easier to read printed paper rather than a computer screen. Hence our recent replacement of our old, broken, and much used printer with a new HP F4850 .

But what if an E-Book reader manufacture produced a ‘Printer’ dock that would allow the E-Book to act as a printer. You could ‘print’ your web research, documents, and any other output normally assigned to paper, to your chosen E-Book? Sounds like a solution to me. Readability without the cost of printer ink. Most E-Books support Postscript and PDF formats, so it’s unlikely that any special hardware would be required, just a dock that emulates a usb or WiFi printer.

Sounds like a project to me, anyone?

iPad Virtual Keyboard censorship

This thought has come to mind as there are many voices out there who have commented on the iPad’s virtual Keyboard‘. Many have found it hard to type on and found themselves unable to touch type on it as the very nature of touch sensitivity makes it impossible make contact with the ‘keys’. In other words, you can’t type long missives, emails or any other textual input.

What if the iPad is a form of Censorship? Making it hard to comment on the internet, create content, write Twitters/email/Blogs whatever. Because the keyboard it too hard and frustrating to enter anything other than simple search phrases. A consumer ONLY device, made to fill the passive vessels that constitutes the bulk of the internet readership? Content omnivores as Pew Research calls them, an advertising and News consuming only population.

Another iPad prediction

Having read this article about iPad sales predicted to top 7.1 million in 2010 alone, the term, FanBoy gains a new meaning, Delusional! It’s not that the iPad isn’t cute, or that it won’t BE fun or even useful. It’s that this is still a recession, and there aren’t 7.1 Million geeks in the world who have enough money to buy this thing. The second point, Apple with all it’s planning couldn’t get God to manufacture 7 million of these things this year.

I almost assumed that the article was a late April Fool’s joke. But there really are a lot of people who believe that Apple can do no wrong. Mostly because of youthful forgetfulness no one seems remembers the Cube and even though Steve Job’s was not at Apple, still there was the Newton.

I remember, I still have a Newton 100, which I upgraded from the the original Messagepad. And I think, I’m even pretty sure the sales of the iPad will not exceed 1 million sales this year. I can almost guarantee they will NOT exceed 2 Million. Given that, it will still be profitable, and considered a success. I might even like to have one, except of the fact that I already have something a lot more practical, and ultimately more useful, a Nokia N900!

Update One: I’m calling BullShit on the 700,000 iPads. At best there was 500K with less than 100k which were not pre-orders.