I previously wrote about how you can use Google Docs on the N900, but it is a bit painful to navigate around and use it extensively. We have had a Documents To Go viewer on the N900 since launch last November, but have not seen any kind of full Office upgrade to this application like we see on other platforms like Android and the iPhone. I just saw a post appear on the DataViz blog that states Documents To Go Premium for the N900 will be available shortly after the 1.2 update. This should be the full monty and give us Office document editing and creation ability on the N900.
I searched around the Maemo.org site and see that a RC version of PR1.2 is floating around so our N900 devices should be updated soon. I am not going to upgrade until an official release is available, but look forward to getting Office capability on such a large device as the N900.
The merging of Maemo and Moblin was announced at MWC with the name of Meego. We just heard the news that Meego development is opening up to the public today with image downloads for netbooks, the N900, and Intel-based handsets. At this time, unless you are a developer I am pretty sure there is nothing for us N900 owners to download and try, but at least things are moving forward and we hear that the first version of Meego to install may be released in May. I am interested in seeing how Meego will differ from what we see today in Maemo, aren’t you?
The Nokia N900 is one of my favorite devices and I think GPS navigation is one area where it could excel with the large high resolution display and 3G capability. Unfortunately, the Ovi Maps version on the device stinks and there is no word yet on whether or not Nokia will provide the update to the latest version with free maps for life. There is however some good news for N900 owners in Europe and the US since Sygic announced Mobile Maps for Nokia Maemo. It is a bit pricey at EUR 59.99 (approximately USD$81) and I just received a reviewer code to give it a full test. I am downloading now and drove into the office today so I can start testing it out. Stay tuned for my first impressions later today and a full review to follow that I hope will help you make a more informed decision regarding the software. Please do post questions here for things you want me to test out with the software.
Features and benefits of the Mobile Maps (from the Sygic website):
- All latest maps are with you on your phone.
- Speed cameras, speed limits and railway crossings warnings provide safety for you and others.
- Signposts help you to head in the right direction.
- Lane assistant informs you about the correct lane to be in.
- Automatically adapts to horizontal or vertical view with
- Automatically or manually adjustable color schemes for day and night use.
- User interface and voice guide speak your native language.
- Search for millions of restaurants and other points of interest, with an option to call in, find parking, and navigate to.
- Design your trip with multi-stop route planning before you head out.
- See the summary of your trip before you set off.
- Avoid a roadblock with a single click.
- Save and organize favorites according to your needs.
- Customize what you want to see on the navigation screen.
Here is a YouTube video that Sygic posted showing a quick demo of the application.
I popped my SIM into my Nokia N900 and turned it on this morning to discover that a Maemo 5 update was available. The new firmware is version 3.2010.02-8.002 and is 16.2MB in size. Unfortunately when I tried to install it on my N900 I received an error that there wasn’t enough memory available to install the update. I went into the application installer and saw that the Firefox browser consumed something like 40+MB so I uninstalled it and tried again with the firmware update. Again, I received a pop-up that there was not enough room in the target location. I went into Settings>General>Memory to check out what I had available and saw there was 1.63GB available for installable applications, 18.04GB available on the N900 memory and a full 14.27GB on my 16GB microSD card. I then had to do a bit of hunting around to discover that I needed more space in my rootfs directory. Following the tip from synplex in this Maemo.org thread I disabled all the extra catalogs I had in my Application Manager and the update worked like a charm.
You are prompted to create a backup, but I like to live on the ragged edge so I went ahead and installed the update without a backup. Actually, I figure this is as good of a time as any to reload up apps I like and clean up my device.
There doesn’t appear to be any official changelog yet so I am not sure what was updated with this firmware. I will test out my device and keep an eye out for any official information on what was changed, but if you already did the update please feel free to post if you find anything too.
One noted change comes from plaban: “Just noticed one change. Now it is possible to install .deb packages without xterminal,just open the .deb file using file manager.”
I just bought a Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G device last Friday and have been very happy with the speeds of the 4G network in the Puget Sound area. I just read this morning that Joikuspot beta for Linux Maemo (N900) is now out as a free application. I immediately downloaded it to my N900 and started testing my PC connected in WiFi mode. Keep in mind that this software is in beta and you will most likely experience issues. I am personally seeing my N900 restart the first time I connect a device with it working just fine after the restart and this is a known issue with this beta.
On T-Mobile 3G here in Seattle I am seeing 1810+ kbps download and 0 kbps upload on my iPhone 3GS using the Speedtest.net application. I believe the upload limitation is a Joikuspot beta limitation and is not helpful if you want to use WiFi to send email, etc.
The application is easy to setup and use. You will see two dials on the main screen to give you indication of the amount of data going up and coming down on your N900. I included a couple of screenshots of the application.
Readers here, and SPE editors, know that the Nokia N900 is more computer than phone and the things you can do with it are pretty astounding. I just read an article over on Engadget where it has been shown you can connect a Sony Playstation wireless controller to your N900 via Bluetooth and then control the SNES emulator with the N900 connected via TV out to have a kick butt retro gaming platform. I don’t have a PS3 controller, but I do have Wii and XBox controllers and wonder if either of these will work. I may just have to pick up a PS3 controller to get this setup working on my N900 since there are some SNES games I really enjoyed playing when I was younger and would love to have them in hand again.
Check out this video below showing the setup and gaming on the big screen.
Recently, I wrote about using 3rd party applications to stream Pandora and Last.fm on your Nokia N900. Previously, I took a look at streaming music via the web browser and at that time I mentioned I was unable to get my favorite streaming client, Slacker, up and running due to pop-up and other issues. I figured it was time to try it out again since there have been updates to the N900 since my last test and I am pleased to say that Slacker works like a champ on the Nokia N900 default web browser!
I think the reason it works now for me is that I first signed in to Slacker Radio Plus, which is a subscription-based option that removes audio and banner ads that may have been causing the problems for me before. Slacker Radio Plus also gives you unlimited song skips, complete lyrics, unlimited song requests, and a mini player. You can subscribe for $4.99/month billed monthly or $47.88/year (works out to $3.99/month). Slacker states they have four times the amount of content over other leading streaming clients and I personally find their service to be the best for me.
Back when the Ovi Store launched on the Nokia N900, I mentioned that Angry Birds was my favorite game and that everyone should download and play it now. I have since completed all the levels in the game and was looking to buy the next pack from Rovio. Unfortunately, there seems to be an issue with the Ovi Store and priced applications so at this time we cannot even pay to get more levels even though I am willing to do so. I hope this gets resolved soon, for both the developers and my sake. In the meantime, I read over on ZOMG its CJ that a Rovio employee was able to get clearance for custom level creation and the folks at NomandsNirvana.com have created a new level pack with 10 custom levels.
I remember back in the days with my Pocket PC that there was a war game where people could create custom levels and it was a pretty big hit. It is great to see a level editor available for Angry Birds and I imagine we may see a virtually unlimited number of levels for this game soon. I do hope that the developers are able to somehow make some money on this though since I want them to continue development of Angry Birds and hopefully more excellent games in the future. I understand that Angry Birds has been downloaded 6 times more than the same game on the iPhone. This tells me there is indeed a market out there for excellent games on the N900.
I just followed the instructions and now have many more levels of Angry Birds available that are accessed in the game by simply tapping the big 2 in the center of the level selector.
A couple of days ago I mentioned that I was part of the beta test group for Barriosquare on the Nokia N900. Barriosquare is a Foursquare application that will hopefully soon find itself in the Maemo repositories and Ovi Store for the N900. I am very impressed with how fast the developer, Chris Burris, rolls out updates and at this time I have version 0.1.23 loaded on my device. It has actually been quite fun to mess around with X Terminal and figure out some commands and geeky aspects of the N900. As you can see in the screenshots below, Barriosquare is actually quite a good looking and functional application that easily beats many of the apps we already see in the Maemo repositories.
What the heck is Foursquare?
For those of you unfamiliar with Foursquare, I recommend you check out the Learn More page. Foursquare is a social networking service that is both a game and an information tool with ties into Twitter and Facebook. You “check in” to various locations and then can have your location sent to Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook friends. You can add “shouts” when you check in to add a statement along with your check in. It is an easy way to see who else in your friend list is in the area and even cooler you can leave and find tips that are location based and live in the cloud as virtual tags. I have found this most helpful at restaurants where people have left tips on what is good to eat or what you should avoid ordering. There is some huge potential here for expanding this tips capability and even having venues give you coupons if you login or other incentives to play the game.
To further the game aspects of the service, you can earn different badges for checking into various locations a certain number of times, throughout different times of the day, and multiple times. Some of the badges are just plain silly, but I have to admit it is kind of fun. If you check in enough at a certain location you will earn the title of Mayor and at this time I am mayor of 10 locations. You can actually earn free coffee, ice cream, hotel stays and more by being the mayor of certain locations so get out there and check in with your N900 and GPS. The stats page is quite interesting to view as well.
Quick look at Barriosquare
I won’t go into all the details of Barriosquare since it is still actively being developed, but Chris told me it was OK to post some screenshots and thoughts. I find the user interface of Barriosquare to be quite good and easily rivals the native Foursquare apps we see on the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Google Android platforms. As you can see in the screenshots, Chris uses Google Maps to show locations on maps. You can tap icons to view your information, your check-in history, your friends history, established venues in your geographic location, and ability to search for venues. This latest version just added the ability to add venues right in Barriosquare so that you can then check-in to new locations. The application is pretty straightforward while looking good.
When you select a venue you will see a Google Maps view, address and phone number (if entered), along with the mayor of that venue. On the right are options to check-in, view any tips, check out links, and see who else is at that venue. I have yet to see anyone in the who is here page so am not sure this is enabled yet.
There are currently 66 members of the Barriosquare Google group so hopefully the application is getting tested out so it can be improved and tested thoroughly. If you have a N900 and are interested, then please do apply for membership to test it out.
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.