Archive for January, 2010
I mentioned that I have a Pandora client loaded up on my Nokia N900 and then received a couple of Tweets from folks that had the same problem I had at first trying to get up and running with pyPianobar. When you first launch pyPianobar you will be prompted for your username and password. I entered what I thought was my Pandora username and password, but all I entered was the first part of my user ID and not the email username associated with my Pandora account. Unfortunately, I then ended up in a crazy loop where the program would try to restart 3 times and then quit so the application was unusable since there did not appear to be a way to reenter my username. I also found the white text on a white text entry field to be quite poor, especially when my N900 entered the first letter as a capital letter (discovered this later while looking at the config file).
I did a bit of research on the Maemo forums and discovered I could enter in X Terminal and edit the config file using Leafpad. I did this, but still experienced the same looping failure in pyPianobar so even entering the proper username and password into the config file itself wasn’t enough to override pyPianobar’s remembering of my correct credentials.
If you make this same mistake that I did then enter the following command into X Terminal (thanks to Fatalsaint for the help here) and you should be prompted again for your username and password:
rm. -f /home/user/.config/pianobar/config
Make sure to enter your Pandora username as the email address user name you have with your account. I recommend you visit the Pandora.com website on your computer and login to verify your username and password first so you get it right the first time.
It took me over a month of using the Nokia N900 evaluation unit before I finally decided to purchase my own N900 device and I honestly think the N900 is one of those devices you have to use for longer than just a couple of days to fully appreciate. I honestly learn something new about the Maemo OS and/or 3rd party applications several times a week and find that discovery on the device is a blast. One of the reasons I was using the Nexus One was the number and quality of applications, but developers are catching up with apps on the N900. I am a pretty heavy social network and streaming music service user so I was quite excited when I finally was able to get four of my favorite services working on the N900.
I started out using Mauku on my Nokia N900, but as I have mentioned a few times I find Witter to be a much more compelling product that is updated on a regular basis. At this time, Witter is the only Twitter client I have on my N900 and it provides just about all the functionality I need with a UI that gets better all the time.
Foursquare is a social networking, location-based application that combines updates to Twitter and Facebook with a game service that is enjoyable. I am currently testing a very early beta version of Barriosquare and will be posting some thoughts and screenshots of the application here on Nokia Experts soon. The developer is still accepting people into the test program if you want to try it out, but be aware you need to use X Terminal and commands to install the application and dependencies. After getting it installed though, you will find it is quite functional and has some capabilities that make it more compelling than Foursquare on other platforms.
I have a rather small music collection so I find streaming music services to be pretty compelling. My favorite streaming client is Last.fm and thanks to Mark Guim from The Nokia Blog I learned that you can setup Vagalume to work with Last.fm servers. Vagalume used to support Last.fm, but this capability is no longer a part of the application and you have to take the steps linked to above to get Last.fm working with it. The steps are quite straight forward and I was able to get everything up and running in just a couple of minutes.
Pandora is my second favorite client and on the Nokia N900 you should install the base Pianobar client with the choice of a front end UI. You can install pyPianobar or qtPianobar on your N900. I personally have the pyPianobar front end loaded on my N900 and find it to be quite capable and functional.
I just recently mentioned that the full release of Firefox Mobile was released for the Nokia N900 and I am finding it to be quite responsive and functional. I would actually like to see the ability to set Firefox as my default browser too, but don’t see that capability on the N900.
It is great to see all of these applications up and running well on the Nokia N900. I am sure we will see improvements in them too as the developers continue to update the UI. I would like to see an application like Shazam too so I can identify songs that are playing on the radio, but with these streaming clients and TuneWiki that is becoming less of a need.
Are there any other applications you hope to see on the N900?
The more I use my Nokia N900 the more I love it, which is what many others I know say as well. The N900 is much more than just a smartphone and is closer to a netbook than a phone, especially with applications and functionality like Firefox Mobile. Up until a couple of years ago I wrapped all of my mobile devices in cases, primarily those with belt clips, but have since moved on to just sliding the phone into my back pocket. Being that the N900 is more of a mobile computer than a phone, I decided to actually consider a case for the N900. The folks at Noreve sent out a press release a couple weeks back and so I decided to give their N900 Tradition leather case a try. They sent along a Sandy Vintage model for me to check out, along with their optional resistant metal belt clip with 360 degrees rotation.
Tradition leather case
As stated on the Noreve website, the characteristics of the tradition leather case include:
- Access to basic functions (multiple openings on the leather)
- Practical thanks to its snap closure
- Slim and padded design
- Protects the device in an optimal manner
- Headset speaker with stainless steel mesh protector
- One business or credit card slot
- Camera lens access
- Opening for recharge
- Headphone access
- Beautiful interior lining embossed with the Noreve logo
- Completely removable plastic belt clip included (61303C)
Noreve has 22 Nokia N900 variations, different colors and leather types, to choose from to match just about everyone’s choice and desire. The Sandy Vintage is part of their Exceptional Selection series that uses leather with a special tanning process. The leather has a weathered look and textured finish, not smooth, that is achieve with special oils. The Noreve N900 cases are available now for EURO 39.99/US$56.64 each and come with an optional belt clip attachment. The additional metal belt clip accessory is available for EURO 12.50/US$17.33.
The Noreve case comes packaged in plastic that is easily separated into a front and back piece. The leather case rests in a durable box with the plastic belt clip, belt clip pin, and screwdriver inside the case.
The leather case has a soft textured feel to it and the tan/sandy color looks great. The case is designed as one that holds the N900 with a large flap that flips over the top of the device with a snap closure wrapped around the back. The main part of the case is rigid and there are no clips or anything that holds the N900 in place. You simply
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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the latest Release Candidate 2 of Firefox Mobile for Nokia N900 owners and installed it on my N900. It was faster than the previous version, that was very slow and unusable, but I did not use it that often. On 28 January, Mozilla released Firefox for Nokia N900 v.1.0 so I just downloaded it this morning.
As mentioned in the recent RC3 update post, Flash support was pulled out of the Firefox browser to improve performance.
We’ve decided to disable plugin (not to be confused with add-ons, which are supported) support for this release. The Adobe Flash plugin used on many sites degraded the performance of the browser to the point where it didn’t meet our standards. If you wish to enable our experimental plugin support, you will be able to manually via about:config, but do so at your own risk. We are working on an add-on that will allow the user to have control of which sites to enable plugins for, as some sites, like YouTube, do work quite well.
While Flash support is no longer supported in the final release, add-ons are quite compelling and there is one for YouTube called YouTube enabler. As stated above, you do still have the option to enable the Flash plugin (check out this post for specific instructions) if you desire and you can still get Flash support in the default microB browser loaded on the N900 if you want to visit Flash-based sites. Other than YouTube, Flash is really not much of a concern for me so I now plan to use the N900 as my primary browser on the N900.
As stated on the Mozilla site, these are the features of the Firefox browser:
- Awesome Bar – Go to your favorite sites in just a couple of keystrokes with intelligent and personalized searching
- Weave Sync – Sync your Firefox tabs, history, bookmarks and passwords between your desktop and mobile device for a seamless browsing experience
- Add-ons – Customize your Firefox by adding small pieces of functionality, like games and news readers, that help make the mobile Web browser your own
- Location-Aware Browsing – Get maps and information relevant to your location
- Tabbed browsing – View open tabs as thumbnails to easily identify and select the Web page you’d like to go to next
- Safe Browsing – Get an Instant Web Site ID and easily access and edit security settings
- Available in more than 30 languages and counting
Visit firefox.com/mobile in your N900 web browser to install the latest version.
There are currently over 40 Firefox mobile add-ons for the N900 and I personally have the following loaded on my device:
- Lazy Click
- URL Fixer
- YouTube Enabler
- Google integrated search
- Amazon integrated search
- Twitter integrated search
- Wikipedia integrated search
If you want the best web browser experience on a mobile phone, then the N900 is clearly the leader in this area and even has browsers better than the recently announced Apple iPad.
I mentioned in some of my Tweets that I am testing out an early version of Barriosquare for the Nokia N900. Barriosquare is a Foursquare application that is coming along very nicely. The developer is releasing updates every couple of days and really making it a very functional and attractive application. Since it is not yet in any Maemo repository I had to actually do a bit of Google searching to figure out how to perform some basic commands in X Terminal to get the supporting utilities and application installed. Mark Guim from The Nokia Blog beat me to the punch with his detailed tutorial of installing a .deb file via X Terminal on the N900. If you don’t understand some of these steps, then you probably shouldn’t be messing around in X Terminal. Remember that everything you do on your N900 is at your own risk and we are not recommending that anyone perform these steps.
Doing things like this actually appeal to me and it is great to see that the N900 has such power, flexibility, and accessibility, don’t you think?
The Smartphone Experts editors learned quite a bit our cool Nokia products over the last several weeks as part of the 3rd Annual Smartphone Round Robin and most of them were quite impressed with Nokia’s offerings. Most did not know what to expect because Nokia no longer has a huge presence here in North America. However, Nokia just released their 4th quarter 2009 financial report that was quite good, especially during these troubling financial times.
Some of the highlights from the detailed report include the following:
- Nokia converged device share up to 40%, from 35% in Q3 2009
- 329 million mobile device units shipped, up 8% from 2008
- Double the operating cash flow from Q3 2009, to EUR 1.5 billion
- Shipped approx. 4.6 million Nseries and 6.1 million Eseries devices in Q4 2009, compared to 8.9 million combined in Q3 2009
- 22.6% increase in mobile device sales by volume in North America
There is a LOT of information and a ton of details in the report. Nokia still expects a rather flat 2010, but they are also showing they can stay rather flat and do quite well in today’s market. They also have some impressive results for the developing nations around the world and I am pleased to see Nokia thinking so much about helping everyone around the world.
I posted on the major announcement from Nokia last week regarding free Ovi Maps premium features for everyone with a compatible Nokia smartphone. In that post, I stated how amazed I was at the lack of support for the flagship Nokia N97 and how Nokia should have held off the announcement until the N97 was supported. Well, it didn’t take long for Nokia to get their act together and now Nokia N97 owners can update their N97 (if needed) and Ovi Maps client to get access to this free walk and drive navigation for life version.
I understand that not all Nokia N97 devices can yet be upgraded to version 2.0.x though so there will be some who cannot yet install this version of Ovi Maps. Nokia is working on this for all markets and expect to have it available in the coming weeks.
This is the final week of the Smartphone Round Robin event and later in the week I will be posting an article on Nokia devices and platforms. Before we get to that though let’s take a look at some highlights from the past several weeks and see what the other Smartphone Experts site editors had to say about Nokia.
Casey Chan posted an excellent review of Nokia on Android Central in late January. Casey quickly noticed that the Nokia devices I showed him had hardware that was unlike most devices he has seen before and he stated:
There’s an odd button arrangement (what’s up with that diagonal button), the keyboard is strikingly different from most smartphones (there’s a ctrl key, space is shifted to the right side, etc), and even though the form factors are in line with what we’re used to, the overall shape veers from the normal course of smartphones. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just different.
Yes, the hardware is different than other platforms and the keyboards do appear a bit odd. However, I personally find the offset space bar to be more efficient than a center space bar. QWERTY was not designed for
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I previously talked about the major improvements in Witter on the N900 and then earlier today the application wasn’t working for me. I then bounced my SIM around a bit at the hospital and late last night discovered a new version of Witter, from Daniel Would, included another major UI and functionality update. One of my suggestions for the next version was to add support for viewing more Tweets and now Daniel added a toggle to select from 20, 50, 100, or 200 Tweets. Perfect!
You will also find major new UI elements with icons for a ton of different functions, including search, friends timeline, trends, public timeline, user history of a specific person, and easy full screen toggle. There is also the ability to authorize Witter via OAuth so that you can have Tweets show up as being sent from Witter instead of just API. Daniel also added in support for custom colors in the timelines so you can play with them and find just what you like.
I have to say that with this latest update, now at version 0.2.2, I am perfectly fine with using my N900 for Twitter on a daily basis. I am also testing out a new Foursquare application in private beta and it is coming along very nicely so the N900 is shaping up to be a good social tool.