n800 notes

Less than 24 hours after I blogged that I was glad I wasn’t getting an N800, I got the code for an N800. And of course I bought it, because I’m a sucker for toys, even ones that I predicted would become paperweights. ;)

I used it extensively for the first time today. Some thoughts:

  • great battery life. Used it as an mp3 player, tromped around downtown new york for almost three hours, played some tetris while waiting for lunch… still reporting 5 hours of use time left when I got home.
  • mp3 player. Why no ogg by default? can’t be more than a handful of Kb of extra binary, no?
  • opera has improved; google maps mostly works now, ditto calendar. Still would prefer a working minimo (which was crashy and slow but handled google calendar on my 770.)
  • still miss my palm’s text entry; nothing has changed in that respect since my first impressions of the 770.
  • application installation has gotten much better than it was on the 770. Still needs some love, though- some application installs from the otherwise nifty applications repository fail mysteriously, which is irritating to me and probably hugely frustrating to a normal user.
  • was very, very disappointed to find out that canola is closed source. That dampens my excitement for it considerably.
  • when I import an opml file to the rss reader, it makes me manually check every feed that I want to import. Not going to bother with that with my feed list- too long. Should default to assuming that I want to import them all.
  • tigert’s theme is so much better than the overly dark default theme that it isn’t even funny. Really look forward to the tango port.
  • video is cool, though I was unable to use it reliably with tigert- bad connection. (generally I seem to lose connection to google talk very often, even though otherwise my wireless connection seems reliable. No idea what the problem is there.)
  • I really, really want the novell slab menu on the N800. Giant, deep hierarchical menus are bad enough on a full-size screen; on the N800 they are terrible. SLAB NOW! :)
  • the widgets metaphor on the micro-desktop is broken. I wrote a long email about this to tigert that I’ll spare everyone else, but suffice to say that having a ‘desktop’ on a device that small is a confusing waste of pixels.

Overall, I am guessing that this will end up not getting used too much- I already carry my laptop just about everywhere, so this won’t buy me much. But I think as of today I’ve already used it more than my 770- so who knows, maybe it’ll keep growing on me :)

11 thoughts on “n800 notes”

  1. just in case you don’t happen to have plans for your 770, there is a stack of papers on my desk that is just about to fly away without something to hold them down.

  2. Tentative plan for the 770 is to mount it on the refrigerator and export Krissa’s recipes from gourmet to html. We’ll see how that goes ;)

  3. Alexander: ah, I honestly hadn’t considered that- our position at Novell was that ogg was not a legal problem, and that seems to be the position that all the major Linux vendors (some of whom have lawyers who ought to be just as paranoid as Nokia’s) have taken. So it honestly hadn’t crossed my mind that there might be legal considerations.

  4. Luis, the legality topic was constantly discussed since first release of N770, in blogs and maemo-developers@. It looks like nokians were afraid to open even bigger can of worms with discussion of Ogg Vorbis et al. I can very well imagine all the burden they came through when tried to get this three years old R&D project (at the time) into production so that it would be released in 2005. Legalese clearance in a company like Nokia takes circles and months of communication back and forth, if not years. There was a sideway discussion in maemo-developers@ in 2005: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.handhelds.maemo.devel/900/focus=912

    Considering high impact of any possible error from lawyers on company’s image and actual business performance, it is understandable that they are cautious. Nokia does use Linux a lot in their projects but mostly on server side, coming to a desktop was a bit of new steps for them.

    I’m not at Nokia but in a company I’m currently with we have dealt of many such issues a lot and it is always headache to merge business and ethics of free software with lawyers’ view on IT industry legalese.

  5. Alexander, that seems like complete guesswork. I don’t have the reference, but I remember reading something from Nokia saying that it was a performance problem. I find it unlikely that it couldn’t be fixed by now, of course.

    Has anyone ever claimed that Ogg Vorbis infringes someone’s patent?

  6. Murray, naturally nobody from Nokia could confirm anything related internal legal workings. Sore fact is that after 5+ years into the project (including R&D phase) they still refrain from Ogg Vorbis support. Note that I don’t think it is specifically Ogg Vorbis which that causes problems here, for example, FBReader isn’t included in N800 as well though its port is being managed by Mikhail Sobolev who is on Nokia side of Maemo development (and even in higher position than simple developer).

    I’m more leaning to think that it is more re-negotiations related than anything else. Legal review is time consuming. For example, legal review in our company before releasing or even contributing something to a new free software project (which was not supported as part of business before) takes several months, sometimes a year or so. And this is a company 5-6 times larger than Nokia but in more IT related industries. So product teams usually want to keep away from additional delays and stay within an agreed framework.

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