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[20 Nov 2011 | | ]
Where’s Wally… Changelog? – Security Update and CSSU

For those using N900 with Community SSU package you may have noticed that your N900 wants to update to some kind of unknown version ‘21.2011.38-1′. What to do?
First of all the update is meant to update your certificates, removing the ones that were compromised, increasing security of your device (so you won’t end up installing software that was signed by invalid certificate). What if you’re using Community SSU and don’t want to brick your phone? There’s no simple answer to this question. I don’t have all of the answers, but let’s try to make it simple in this simple rules:
You don’t use CSSU. You can calmly update your N900, it shouldn’t brick after update.
You use CSSU stable. Well, this is longer story, according to developers you may meet some system issues after updating core system from Nokia having stable release of CSSU. The best way here is to wait for update of CSSU that will include all of security updates from Nokia.
You use CSSU testing. This is simple, at least it was for me. I wasn’t thinking much when upgrading, testing is testing, I was prepared to have some issues with new versions of software released by Nokia itself. Surprisingly it came with absolutely no glitches. Now I have this marvellous ‘21.2011.38-1′ version and it goes smoothly.
One thing before I get to footer. Remember to make full backup before you try to update firmware of your N900. I mean it: FULL BACKUP! This way you won’t end up with piece of plastic and silicon dioxide that you can kill some cockroaches with. This way you can always re-flash and bring back backup files.

MJ (see my own blog at j4b0l.com)

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[30 Oct 2011 | | ]
The best things remain in underground

Have you ever thought why all the best action movies involve organisations staying in deep underground for long time, starting huge revolution and changing the world? Why shouldn’t N900 go the same way?
Most of you probably know Matrix. One guy reaches higher level of consciousness and becomes saviour of the… let’s say of everything. But he starts among small group of underground fighters, willing to make world a better place. Open source is also like that. Loads of movies, computer games base on this idea and almost every time it works like a charm. Why not this time?
Nokia 770, Nokia N800, Nokia N810, Nokia N810 WiMax edition, finally Nokia N900, every single one of these devices became, in some way, an underground fighter for freedom on mobile phone market. The only fighters? Well, no, if we have a look at history we can find Openmoko project dedicated to mobile. Other areas of software development also have their own fighters, with most successful one – Linux – and minors like Haiku, more specialized like OpenWRT and many more. So can we save the N900? Sure, we just need to stay focused on our destination and keep fighting even if we have to stay underground for some time.
So what do we do now with our N900s? First of all we need something immortal, like idea. And we have it, the process have already started. Just like Linus started something developing his open source kernel, we have our own open source mobile. Now let’s gather people willing to fight for Maemo and form the ‘underground’, we can do it. Let N900 underground be, join us, be the part of new ‘silence before the storm’!

Maciej ‘j4b0l’ Jabłoński

Featured, Headline, Maemo 5, News, Software »

[7 Oct 2011 | | ]
Portrait of the King

Have you ever seen meedieval castle with lots of potraits hanging around? Every single one reminds of great man, someone who did something really significant for country, region or family. Today let’s focus on some other portrait, the one related to our favourite phone, Nokia N900.
Portrait dashboard is something we could already see after previous CSSU update, so the only remaining thing was to propagate this feature to homescreen, which finally happened. Because everyday I see less and less news on N900 I feel obliged to mention it for the ones who haven’t yet updated.
I was a bit surprised that after update my N900 just switched to portrait mode after rotating it, but widgets, shortcuts and bookmarks were a bit messed up. It’s still not a problem, because portrait has its own setting for each homescreen, so you can easily rearrange all of your widgets on screen and make them look exactly as you want. Unfortunatelly some of really wide widgets (like 5 days weather forecast) just won’t fit in portrait, but I can live with that, can you?
Another tiny issue with portrait mode is loopable wallpaper, if you haveone that loops in landscape, it will probably make you feel uncomfortable, but for me it’s perfect situation for new inventions, wallpaper that will be loopable in potrait and landscape at the same time. I’ll surely share with you when I find some time to make one ;).
That’s enough for starters, our King is still alive, still breathing and has own portrait ;). Now that you know what comes with the latest update, just try it!

MJ

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[15 Aug 2011 | | ]
Competition gets fiercer – Google to buy Motorola

While not exactly wholly related to the N900, an interesting story that has popped up recently is Google’s desire to buy out the handset division of Motorola, Motorola Mobility.  This is interesting news as it stands to change the face of the smart phone industry, and could mean trouble for Nokia or not..if Nokia gets purchased by Samsung. C’mon Samsung…pleeease..buy Nokia! It’s cheap now! But now let’s have a look at Motorola aquisition by Google.
Motorola as a company have been somewhat of a hit and miss company until lately.  Before they struck it big in 2008 betting on the Android OS with their Droid smart phone, their last real hit was the RAZR all the way back in 2003.  Since then, Motorola has been hanging around, but still only managing around 3% market share.

It will be interesting to see what Google can do at the reins of their own handset company, and it can only mean good things for Android.  As companies like Microsoft and Apple band together to try and fight with the ever frustrating patent war, this move will help to strengthen Google’s position, picking up some 17000 odd patents.  With a cost of around $12.5 billion, it’s not exactly cheap, but a small price to pay for such a hoard of patent delights.
What does all this mean for Nokia though?  Well, at this point it’s probably good that they didn’t go with Android, but it still doesn’t make the current choice the right one.  Nokia still has a very uphill battle with their Windows Phone strategy, and this move by Google on buying Motorola is only going to strengthen Android.  I still have hopes for Meego, and will continue to clutch to those hopes as long as possible.  Overall, this development will hardly affect Nokia, compared to the damage it does to itself.
 
Source: Google Blog

Featured, Headline, News, Release Date, Release Info »

[14 Aug 2011 | | ]
N9 Australian release date?

So I’ve just had a delightful trip into Nokia Care, where I’m told most people don’t like much.  I do wonder why, and upon noticing that the ‘please don’t abuse our staff’ signs are no longer up from last visit, perhaps things are becoming more fun?
Anyway, during my visit I was served by a fella who was also interested in the N9, and planned on getting one as soon as it was released.  What I learned from my visit, is that according to order records, the store will be receiving a whole bunch of NFC ready accessories around mid September.  This is one such link to inevitable release of the N9, having NFC itself, but isn’t anything solid.  It’s not unheard of for companies to release accessories well before the release of the device in which they are made, look at AMD for instance.  The good part is that after a bit more of a chat, I was able to find something far more promising.

After some innocent questions, I eventually stumbled upon the answer.  The Nokia N9 will be released in Australia on the 15th of September, according to internal files.
Now, that’s not helpful information for the rest of the world, but it is a start.  Once it comes to us people in the land of the future, it shouldn’t take too long to spread to everyone else.  I am still surprised that Australia isn’t getting the N9 six months later then the rest of the world like usual, but I’m not complaining.  Now to start counting down the days.

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[3 Aug 2011 | | ]
Q2 Reports are in… things don’t look good

On an ever steady decline and it just goes to show that you can always fall just a little further.  The second quarter reports are in, and its good news for Apple, but it’s not all quite so rosy for Nokia.
Nokia were the leaders in smart phones back in the day, but since the launch of the iPhone, it’s not quite true anymore.  It seemed to be this time period that really sent the smart phone industry into high gear, causing the likes of Samsung, RIM, HTC and others into releasing smart phone after smart phone.  It feels like either Nokia never quite caught on, or they were just over confidant.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Either way, it is now that there last quarter loses stand at around $692 million.  Sales in Symbian smart phone handsets have declined dramatically, and it seems like everyone is waiting for Nokia to bring Windows Phone 7 to their lives.  With that, everything would ride on this move by Nokia, and CEO Stephen Elop.  Word from Nokia plainly states that the challenges they face from their move from the apparent burning platform “manifested in a greater than expected way in Q2 2011”
Although merely my opinion, but jumping onto the soapbox, and telling your loyal following that you will discontinue the most market saturated OS in the world, in favour of one of the least doesn’t help sales, nor does announcing an amazing product, then straight away telling us that you will offer little to no support for it.  True that Nokia has back paddled on both of these statements, but one must wonder what is really happening inside Nokia?  Possibly a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing?  Im not sure how Microsoft Execs do it, but I don’t think multinational CEO’s are supposed to be doing this kind of thing?
It will be interesting keep an eye on the Q3, and Q4 results from Nokia down the track, as the N9 rolls off the lines, and the Windows Phone strategy starts to come into fruition.  I for one hope that Nokia really pushes the …

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[24 Jul 2011 | | ]
Nokia – Really at its end?

What ever happened to the glory of Rome?  Surely something as great and epic as Nokia could never die right?  But as Nokia share prices, and market share continue to fall, we all end up asking ourselves the hard questions.
An article published over at dailymail.co.uk talks of Nokia’s beginnings selling rubber boots and gas masks to the Finnish army, to Nokia’s success with the 1100, all the way to now, with the N8, and the burning platform concept we hear about so often.

It’s a rather good read, if you are interested in such things, but one thing that I find rather true is Nokia did seem to get complacent.  I know when I had my N95, which I loved, trying to find a replacement was kind of like it now, very difficult.  The reason it was so difficult was that so many smart phones Nokia released were kind of average, and they would only occasionally make a diamond in the ruff.  N900 was a good upgrade for the N95, but on the Nokia front, I couldn’t really have gone anywhere else.
Now that we’re in 2011, the scene has definitely changed, and Nokia is being attacked on all sides, so it will be interesting to see what Elop does with Nokia, and although I question the radical strategy being employed, at least he is doing something.
Check out the article here

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[15 Jul 2011 | | ]
Nokia N10 – Is this the future?

Although only a mere concept, the good people over at Nokia Blog have mocked up what they believe to be a ‘Dream Phone’.  It is listed as Nokia N10, and with imaginary hardware such as a duel core processor, 3.9 inch capacitive AMOLED screen, and 1GB of RAM, I suppose it isn’t really a stretch for such a device sometime in the near future.  Heck, phones with stats like that are already out, just take a look at the Samsung Galaxy SII.
What really sets this apart from every other concept, and makes it that much more interesting to me, is the idea of out of the box multiple operating systems.  At present, you can already duel boot an N900 to run on Maemo, Android or Meego.  What this dream phone is proposing is a triple boot, where you can choose on start up, to run Meego, Android, or Windows Phone.

While I can’t imagine any company actually creating such a thing due to consumer confusion, it still is an interesting idea, and would appeal to many geeks out there.  Of course, that said, it’s the geeks that would find a way to do this on devices like the Nokia N9 anyway.
While a nice mock up, it isn’t the phone of my dreams, but I think that’s where taste comes into it.  Now give me a nice dual core N950, and id be happy for a while waiting for that Nokia N10.

Headline, News, Software »

[8 Jul 2011 | | ]
Meego will be supported “for years”

“We will support Nokia N9 for years and release several SW updates” is the twitter message that Nokia just put in their page. This means that if you buy Nokia N9 you will have updates for, at least, 2 years, according to Nokia boss: Klas Ström. This is not a simple message, it comes from Nokia and they are making a comittement on stading with a support to a solely device: Nokia N9, the only Meego Open Source Nokia phone.

The same person, Klas Ström, makes a “not to worry” message with this tweet as many people are disappointed with Nokia leaving Symbian and many more (essentially developers) would be if Nokia got off Open Source and focused on Microsoft Windows Phone only. This is also a message to investors that could be thinking that a better mobile would be coming featuring Windows Phone 7 Mango which could tell us that Nokia N9 wouldn’t be that good. Another thing one can be sure: You can install Meego on Nokia N900 and get it updated whenever you want. So Nokia is supporting Nokia N900 for years too!

For those who are fancy with Nokia Windows Phone, we already have a look on how would be that phone: It is Nokia Sea Ray that Stephen Elop presented in June. When will it come? Will it kill Nokia N9? Will it be a sucess? Will it fail? We have to wait to answer those questions. Will it be released in November? A Portuguese website called PT10G is saying that Nokia will release Nokia Windows Phone in November 2011 (before Christmas) so we can say that Nokia N9 will be making the sales by September this year.
 
 

Feedback, Headline, News, Nokia N900 vs iPhone »

[15 Apr 2011 | | ]
MUST READ: What the users want from the N900?

Since my 2 weeks here, it had been fun and I have been receiving lots of comments and emails on a few problems about the N900. The Nokia N900 users want more. Here is the summary:
Facebook Games:
Lots of you guys have been wondering whether I can play Facebook games on the N900. The matter of fact it is a yes and no. Yes if you happen to find a game that runs Flash version 9.4 and no if the version is higher. From what I know, addictive and popular games such as Farmville or Backyard Monsters are not playable just because they are running Flash version 10.1. Nevertheless you can still try your favourite Facebook games on the N900 using the following tweak. Tweak Flash Plugin Version V0.4.0-Maemo1
This is what the tweak does : “Tweakflashver alters the Flash plugin so that it reports a custom version to sites. This will NOT magically give you functionality not already in the plugin, but will allow to use sites that ‘require Flash 10′ even though the actual content works with Flash 9.”
Give your favourite Facebook game a try and do tell us in the comments box which game works and which doesn’t. Might compile all of them and post it in a single post
Video Calling Using 3G:
Everyone is happy that the N900 has integrated GoogleTalk and Skype as its IM service and video calling service. But what about 3G? It seems that it is not implemented on the device itself at the first place. So far there are no stable implementation for 3G video call just yet. If happened to find one, feel free to drop by in the comments box.
Multitouch Screen (Capacitive Touchscreen):
Everyone’s wish for the N900. If it were to have multitouch support, it would been a killer phone. So many new things could be implemented on the device itself. Playing games on the NITDroid or even ported webOS games is so much easier. It would attract more developers and end up being a phone hardware and software (hopefully) sufficient to beat the iPhone and other smartphones.
Simple Usage:
Mind my words …

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[29 Mar 2011 | | ]
How to install Community SSU on N900?

I would like to give some tips on how do you install CSSU on the N900. As we know, Nokia has already discontinued the production of the N900. Therefore the community at the maemo.org has came out with their own software update on the extisting Nokia software update.
And this software update is CSSU or Community Seamless Software Update.
First you will need to click on the image below using your N900 browser (which i assume you are browsing on your N900)

Hildon Application Manager (HAM) will launch and begin processing (be patient.. It took me around a minute to 2 before any messages came out).
While waiting please don’t press anything
There are a series of installations for which it will prompt you with messages and warnings. Click “Accept” and “Done” for each to install.
Once this is completed, close HAM and go into the applications menu. Tap the Community SSU icon. This will run through a series of scripts to ensure the community repository are set up.
HAM will re-open and present a system upgrade called Maemo 5 Community SSU. Once installed, your device will reboot.

Once installed, you can check your CSSU version at Settings > About Community SSU
You should see your latest version as 20.2010.36-2maemo13 as on March 27th 2011
You can always check the latest version HERE
Your power key button should have something like this. You should see the CSSU features at your power key button menu.

 

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[4 Mar 2011 | | ]
Nokia N900 Community updates – what’s new

Nokia N900 community updates repository is still alive and I think it’s going in really good way and much faster that official releases once every few months. Now I can download new update at least once a week and have real new features.

Last CSSU update I have is so-called PR 1.3.3.7-6.5 and apart from ‘hidden’ bugfixes that I cannot even notice sometimes there are few really nice features introduced in comparison to stock PR1.3 by Nokia.First of all the thing that lot of people was asking for, portrait mode. It appears for new applications, step by step but much faster than before. Right now we can have settings main screen and few settings applications in portrait. Status menu also appears correctly in applications in portrait. You can see complete list of changes on maemo.org CSSU wiki page.

Among the changes you can see .ini file mentioned. It stores configurations for some graphical features of the UI. If you don’t want to fiddle with low-level configuration in text file you can use one of applications available in extras-devel catalogue: CSSU Features Configuration or CSSU Transitions Tuner. Have you seen video with dashboard made to be scrollable and have large windows in it? Now you can have it on your N900.
As you can see CSSU is going much faster than official updates, let’s hope it will be like that for longer time.

MJ

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[2 Mar 2011 | | ]
Nokia is not with us, but Qt still lives

We all know the decisions of Nokia and Microsoft, we know that MeeGo is not main Nokia smartphone operating system anymore. I was also thinking that Nokia will abandon Qt at all and it will become one of many forgotten mobile technologies. Apparently I was wrong, at least a bit.

I’m aware that porting libraries between platforms is quite common. Programmers want to have their favourite tools in palm of the hand, so that we have for example java and icedtea on N900. This time Qt (currently owned by Nokia) is going to Android. I’ve seen few projects trying to make this port but none of them was big success. Finally I’ve found Necessitas, you can check it out on Qt labs blog.
This makes me feel better, when Nokia-MS fusion (I know, cooperation not fusion) came to reality I was a bit confused what to do with my newly acquired Qt certificate. but maybe with Necessitas I can move (as programmer) to another platform without need to develop bunch of new skills and maybe soon we will have more Qt applications ported to Android and some of Nokia products will prove itself useful.
I’m waiting for something more than recently released alpha version, which still may be buggy, but I have great hopes related to this port.

MJ

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[22 Feb 2011 | | ]
What would you like to have for birthday?

We’ve passed 18th of February few days ago, my birthday. After all of this commotion around Nokia, Microsoft, MeeGo, Windows Phone 7, Stephen Elop and most probably (okay, this is just my theory, I’m disguisted so I can follow my rampant imagination) some conspiracy, I’ve almost forgot about gift for myself
For the last few years I was really happy with every gift I’ve got, but the most reliable and most useful things was the ones I’ve bought myself. Just for me, because I knew what I want to have. This year I’d like to have some things from nokia-n900 store.
I’m in pretty weird time right now. I was working for Nokia on MeeGo, which seems to be dying without any official statement. On the other hand I still love my N900 and I believe it can still be really useful. I’d really like to have it for much longer, relying on community updates. So what else can I do in hardware area?
Well, I’d be glad if someone could give me another portable charger, like solar one. In our store you can find few chargers, for emergency use time-to-time and for long trips without access to power outlet. Luckily such charger often has few different connectors or plugs, so you can actually charge many more devices than just N900, just have a look at solar chargers at nokia-n900 store. Maybe someone wants to prepare late gift for me
Or maybe one of your friends is having birthday soon and is practical geek-type like me… At least don’t forget to wish him/her the best

MJ

Featured, News, Uncategorized »

[16 Feb 2011 | | ]
Nokia have failed but MeeGo seems to be alive

Last news from Nokia are not nice, going to Windows Phone 7 with Microsoft is obviously not good news for us, but MeeGo is wider than just Nokia, Intel and AMD (most probably filled with anger ) are still working on this platform. Since I’m sitting in the middle of this commotion I’ll give you some more news on MeeGo.
MeeGo was meant to be not only mobile phone system as its predecessor Maemo 5, but also for other mobile devices, tablets, netbooks and many more. Minding cooperation with Intel and AMD this platform should be as wide as mobile devices market. That’s why we can still hear some news about tablets with MeeGo on board. PhoneReportTV have just released video showing user interface for new tablet, just have a look.

This looks nice, content oriented device, giving user more control of the content, without need of taking care of applications looks neat and quite staightforward.

MJ