If you Love/Hate Nokia read this


Will the Real Stephen Elop, Please Stand Up?

I couldn’t on my best day, speak to this better than this article.

If anything it should speak to any CEO/CFO/CTO that arrogantly enters a new company environment with preconceived notions of what strategy should be applied to their new positions. So this article isn’t just about Nokia, it’s about ignorance of facts.

Maemo vs Meego – round two

I have been spending way too much time in Quora but it has proved interesting. I have learned from some of the discussions that Meego is a bit of a ruse. It seems that there are actually two Meego’s one is the ‘netbook’ variety, more or less a rehashed Moblin (Intel’s contribution to the partnership) and the other is Meego/Harmattan which is really Maemo 6 with some compatibility with Meego/Moblin.

This whole Meego thing is really just a marketing thing. It’s no wonder that more vendors haven’t jumped onto the open source Meego train, they don’t know which one to get on. Meego/Moblin is Atom based and the Meego/Maemo is ARM.

I wonder how far this bait and switch will last?

Here’s hoping PR 1.4 for my Nokia N900 really will allow a dual boot into Meego/Harmattan where Maemo 6 was headed. And that it does wonderful things.

NOTE: and the BS continues, with Intel killing off MeeGo for Tizen to further delay or destroy Open Source for mobile devices.

MeeGo is now Dead, as a Mobile OS.

This article MeeGo will not displace Symbian as enterprise OS has now demonstrated that Meego is no longer supported by Nokia, and it will be left to die with Maemo as a ‘Non-Runner’ in the Mobile-OS arena. It also indicates that Nokia Management has gone down the MicroSoft path to complete irrelevance in the Mobile Phone market. It’s no wonder the Maemo/Meego managers and developers at Nokia are leaving. Most are heading to the surviving Mobile OS’s Android, Web-OS, iOS and Blackberry.

NOTE: and the BS continues, with Intel killing off MeeGo for Tizen to further delay or destroy Open Source for mobile devices.

Symbian to MeeGo not without pain.

Some how I think that the Nokia announcement that their N-Class phones were moving to MeeGo from Symbian was not greeted with universal internal acceptance, or gracefully.

When Charles Davies departed abruptly and with the appearance of a mystery Nokia N9 running Symbian^3 instead of Meego, I couldn’t help but make a connection. Internally I believe Mr. Davies was bent on pushing Symbian in the N-Class series after the management decision to move to Meego was made, hence the leak of the N9. But who am I to cast aspersions, I was rooting for Maemo.

Internet Pads everywhere

This article about a possible ARM-based Nokia tablet to come in the fourth quarter? And the author mentions that the Nokia Tablet MAY run Windows 7 Can you imagine? Nokia management shipping yet another OS on their equipment?

I think this is grounds to fire everyone at Nokia from the VP’s on up, and replace them with monkeys. They couldn’t possibly make worse decisions that this group of Nitwits.

Maemo vs Meego

This week Nokia announced that MeeGo would not officially be supported on the N900. On first appearance this would seem to be a bad thing. But I managed to down load the MeeGo v1.0 for Netbooks and burned it to a DVD. I attempted to run this with VirtualBox and then Parallels and neither would finish the load. But my old work Dell Pentium 4 worked just fine booting from the CD.

So I went exploring, and overall it was a bit of fun, and most 5 year olds will be comfortable in a few minutes with it. But use it on an adult machine, a netbook to get work done on? Not a chance, it’s like a world-of-wonder 5-10 year old grade toy.

And guess what, it’s a GREAT thing that this, this, what ever MeeGo is, is not going to be forced ‘officially’ on the N900 users of the world. Compared to Maemo 5…what am I saying, it’s not comparable, if you are listening…

Nokia!

Keep Maemo, and FUCK MeeGo!!!

UPDATE: Someone else doesn’t like Netbook MeeGo a NoGo

NOTE: and the BS continues, with Intel killing off MeeGo for Tizen to further delay or destroy Open Source for mobile devices.

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.

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.

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.

How to perfect the iPad.

The answer is simple, the processor that Apple has chosen for their new iPad is called the A4 which is really just a ARM Cortex A9 with an integrate GPU. And guess what, there is another OS, a better OS, that is both touch integrated and ported to the Cortex / ARM cpu, Maemo which you can test for yourself on the at maemo.org or handle as the Nokia N900 pocket computer cum Smartphone. This OS can do everything that the iPhone OS can’t do like Multi-task and Flash. Sounds like a perfect iPad, just jail-break the iPad and install Maemo.

The Nokia N900 in use, a perspective.

I’ve had my Nokia N900 for almost 48 hours, and while I’ve have a few frustrations, I’m equally satisfied with the product. And so to keep it geeky and simple:

  • I’ve logged into the device (not really a phone) with SSH from my desktop. And it just looks like a standard Linux system.
  • I’ve logged in to my Opensolaris from the device shell (X Terminal) with SSH and that works like normal.
  • I’ve connect to the VLC server on my server, with VLC, from the device, and while the navigation of the screen size differences will be ‘fun’, it works as expected
  • I’ve Blogged from the device using MaStory.
  • I’ve sent SMS and received SMS’s, I received Phone calls. (gee)
  • I’ve been fetching emails, full html support (must turn off images)
  • I’ve found my location with GPS.
  • I’ve loaded up some songs, and they sound great with the stereo speakers
  • I’ve listened to internet radio, that works great.
  • I’ve used the keyboard, and I’m getting faster the more I use it.
  • I’ve browsed the internet, and it’s amazing, although my blog identifies it as a PDA (must fix that)
  • I’ve used the device to diagnose a neighbors laptop WiFi connection
  • I’ve taken a photo, not so great on the first try, no image stabilization, but relatively sharp
  • I’ve managed to post a photo to my Flickr account.
  • I’ve synced up my calendar and contacts with my Nokia 6300 backup using the Nokia PC suite (as OVI suite does not work)
  • I’ve connected to AOL and Yahoo IM with the Pidgin application.

However there is another list, of frustrations;

  • Battery life really sucks, mostly because I’ve had everything turned on (default) and have not found all the places to ‘tune’ them to better setting.
  • I can NOT get the Twitter application Mauku to connect to Twitter
  • I can NOT get the weather with OMWeather it won’t connect
  • I couldn’t get the MaxRoam SIM to dial anyone, though I could SMS
  • Some Apps from the App Manager WILL NOT DOWNLOAD no matter what I do, and there no indication about why they won’t download
  • I can’t get the FaceBook application which came pre-installed, to actually install, or function. It’s the same with several of the ‘pre-installed’ apps, they just don’t work without being ‘installed’ and they won’t install.

I am currently using a Vodafone Pay-as-you-Go SIM and it does indicate that I am connected with 3G. I have NOT tested it for dataroaming, or performance. The MaxRoam SIM did indicate that I was connected to a 3.5G O2 network But like I mentioned, I couldn’t call anyone, only SMS. I assume that it was my ignorance of setting for the MaxRoam SIM.

As for the phone itself, I like it, it’s a bit heaver than I thought, but a great deal smaller, it is not really any wider or taller than a Samsung Tocco Lite, but it’s almost twice as thick.

The keyboard is very small and not really thumb friendly, I started out using my fingernails to type. Now I can feel the contours of the keys, it sped up my typing a bit. I have a clear snap on case I bought from Amazon a month ago, but the screen section obscures the upper row on the keyboard, so I don’t have it on, so just the back is attached.

The resistive touchscreen is very sensitive. I have a Palm T/X and I know! It is nothing like the resistive screens of the past. There is virtual NO give to the surface, and while you can tell that it is ‘softer’ than a capacitive touchscreen, it has a great deal more precision. Just try and draw something in the ‘sketch’ app or better yet, the XJournal application.

Overall I could say that it’s a keeper, a Geeky keeper, and looks like it will be a learned love. It does do what I need it to do, be a computed device, with a phone in it.

I’m sure there will be other revelations, but I may be too busy playing with my new toy.

UPDATE : I’ve managed to get the missing FaceBook App to install and Mauku and OMWeather are working after I changed some of the connection setting on device to fixed ip addresses on my WiFi router.

The Nokia N900 Carl Zeiss optics

From the photos being posted on the Flickr N900 Pool I have been observing that the Carl Zeiss optics (Tessar) installed in the N900 is exhibiting, particularly in Macro or near macro focus mode, a classic shallow depth of field focus typical of a small f-Stop.

The N900 specs indicate that the Lens has an F-Stop of 2.8 and a Focal length of 5.2 mm, which for such a small sensor is good. But a real camera it’s not, from all it’s behavior, it looks like the F-Stop is fixed wide open which make any control over the depth-of-field meaningless. The lens does exhibit classic Carl Zeiss high contrast, which results in a very sharp photo. but there appears to be no real ‘shutter’ either. Motion effects behave more like video scanning where all sensor elements are NOT sampled at the same time like a real shutter would produce.

Over all the ‘Camera’ in the N900 could best be qualified as a very high end WebCam.

With regard to the sensor itself it appears to be relatively low in ‘noise’, probably more due to the restricted ISO controls than to the sensor. However one thing that I’ve noted is some jpeg artifacts that could probably use a little refinement in a firmware update. And guess what? no ‘raw’ mode from the camera, unless someone in the Maemo community wants to add this feature.

Still, I wish I had my pre-ordered N900 now … I could have posted my own photos. :-)

Another Reason to Love Nokia and Maemo

It’s not Google and it’s Deadly Power of Data I have always been leery of Power. I don’t buy Microsoft , and I’ve stopped playing into Apple fandom. The last computer I bought was a home-brew DIY Server built from parts I chose, powered by OpenSolaris So now it’s another validation of my still unshipped Nokia N900 and Maemo! Please let Amazon ship it soon :-)

Smartphones, thick as Flies!

Well if anything, you can’t say there there are too few choices in the Smartphone arena. Joining in the iPhone , Rim, Palm Pre , Windows Mobile firefight, there are now Maemo and LiMo. The later two (Maemo and LoMo) are entering the market just as there is an Android explosion of new phones. And while the Android phones are very tempting my requirements still point me at the Nokia N900, and I think that unless the Vodafone M1/H1 360 doesn’t get traction early, LiMo will be an early dropout.

NOTE: as predicted Vodafone 360 – An Absolute Failure?