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[24 Jul 2012 | | ]
De-Lite: Great Lights Out Clone

Ever had a Lights Out game? If yes, then open for some nostalgia, but if not, then familiarize yourself with it, all that with De-Lite on your N900.

De-Lite is a really nice SDL clone of Lights Out. Those unfamiliar with the game will pick it up soon, as it is really simple. The main premise is to shut down all the lights on the board by tapping a lightpiece and do it in as less moves as possible. Tapping one piece affects the pieces adjacent to it.
De-Lite has many challenging levels available and will provide you with much minutes of puzzle fun. Thinking out the most efficient way to clear a level is a good brain teaser. The graphics are great and the the touch controls are quite smooth. Go on and add it to your collection. De-Lite is available from Extras, the package name is de-lite.

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Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software, Widgets »

[23 Jul 2012 | | ]

Want to have beautiful pictures of your family/friends/places to constantly remind you about them? Place them in a frame on your desktop? Personal Photo Frame helps you with this.

Personal Photo Frame is a widget that does what the name suggest, it holds a frame with your photos and displays them on your desktop. You can choose the size of the frame, choose between a single picture mode or a slideshow mode. The second one allows you to have a whole folder of your images in a frame, which you can scroll through (the buttons for scrolling can be removed if you so desire) and have them automatically scroll after a certain amount of time.
One thing I’ll mark as a flaw is the inability to go through an image folder recursively or display two or more folders. That is, if you have all your photos carefully sorted into directories, you’ll have only one directory to choose.
That aside, the widget is pretty neat and nice to have on your desktop. Go and fetch it from Extras, the package name is personal-photo-frame.

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Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[21 Jul 2012 | | ]
KeepassX: Password Keeping Powerhouse

Can’t seem to remember all your passwords and prefer convenient password keepers? Try Password Safe. Too simple? Then KeepassX is what you might want.

The premise of KeepassX is the same as with Password Safe: it stores all your usernames and passwords into a single encrypted database, so you’ll only need to remember a single key to access your whole list. It is just as cross-platform and runs almost everywhere. However, KeepassX is Password Safe on steroids.
The amount of features is huge. Keepass supports groups, exporting, different encryption levels, URLs for your desired websites, custom icons, attachments, expiration dates, list sorting, export-import with several formats available and much, much more under the settings. Those coming from Password Safe can import it’s database into Keepass as well, the formats are compatible.
The price for much of the power is the interface: the porters didn’t seem to adapt the huge GUI for the N900’s screen. The interface is pressed down, taking it’s space. This doesn’t stop the program from being useable, but it sure makes it hard to see what’s written on the buttons and makes it hard to hit them as well. After a while, the main menu becomes a huge mess.
That aside, KeepassX is a great and very powerful password-storing app. It is only available through Extras-Devel, so if you want to try it out yourself make sure to enable the repository only once, disable it after you fetch the app.

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Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[19 Jul 2012 | | ]
Keeping passwords safe with Password Safe

Using many passwords for different websites, but having trouble remembering them all? Password Safe needs you just to remember one.

Password Safe is a port of the full-fledged libre desktop program for keeping track of all your passwords. It saves all your passwords into an encrypted database and you can easily read them off it with your master password. The master password is not saved in the database, but it’s the only thing you’ll have to remember.
Password Safe keeps great simplicity and keeps the features and security. It has group support, keeps notes and, well, usernames and passwords. You can also keep several different databases. Thanks to import/export feature, you can keep the database on the PC or your N900 and freely update and exchange information between the devices. Password Safe supports many platforms, so you don’t need to worry whether you’re on GNU/Linux or Windows.
While not as feature-rich as KeePassX (the N900 port of which I’ll review soon), Password Safe is just as cross-platform and very-very simple. Go give it a go: fetch it off Extras (package name: pwsafe).

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Featured, Games, Reviews, Software »

[18 Jul 2012 | | ]
Don Ceferino: Super Pang clone on the N900

Ever played Super Pang, a little flash game where you shoot down bubbles with harpoons? Well, apparently it has a nice N900 clone, Don Ceferino!

As mentioned, Don Ceferino is a Super Pang clone. That means the whole premise of the game is to try and shoot down as many flying bubbles as you can without them touching your character, who is Don Ceferino, trying to rescue his cow from being abducted.
If you played the original , then there’s not much to be said. It is a really well done clone, featuring several levels of challenging bubble popping! Don Ceferino can grab bonuses off defeated alien bubbles, which range from additional time to more weapons. The touch control is really good, but the game itself needs to be played on keyboard. Surprisingly, the controls are very tolerable! Several keybindings are available, so you can control the game as you see fit. The graphics look smooth and the music is nice too.
As so, the game is good enough to land in your game collection. Fetch it off Extras (package name is ceferino) and go save the cow from aliens!

Featured, Hacks, Headline, Software »

[17 Jul 2012 | | ]
[How-to] Improve N900 performance: Collection of tweaks

Want more performance and power for your N900 and give it a go at competing against today’s hardware? I’ve decided to put up a small collection of patches and tweaks that could greatly improve the performance of your N900 here.

Note: The guide assumes you know what you’re doing, as some of the tweaks might cause damage to your system, so use those at your own risk. Also, some of the packages to be installed require Extras-devel to be enabled, read on how to enable it here if you can’t find the package. Disable it right after you’ve done everything!

Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[13 Jul 2012 | | ]
VLC on the N900

There aren’t many users that haven’t heard of the VLC media player. It’s free software and is highly portable, but is there an N900 port? There surely is.
Note: the port requires you to fetch all the dependencies, and it will chomp up around 45 mB of your memory. Since some of them aren’t well optified, you’d want at least 20 mB in your rootfs.
The VLC port doesn’t have a package in the official Maemo repos yet, but VideoLAN’s repo has all the packages you need. Go and add it, either via the Application Manager (Name: VLC; Address: http://downloads.videolan.org/videolan/maemo/; Distro: freemantle; Components: free), or via Xterm:
sudo gainroot
echo “deb http://downloads.videolan.org/videolan/maemo/ freemantle free” >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/hildon-application-manager.list
After you got the repo installed, simply install VLC from the App Manager or run:
sudo gainroot
apt-get update
apt-get install vlc
After that, reboot and VLC is installed.
 
The port itself is fairly functional, although a bit unstable. I had a couple of crashes trying to open a video.
All the desktop functions are there, they work, and are put it a more tight menu, for better mobile integration. You know what to expect. The videos play smoothly as well.
And while I myself always preferred mplayer, VLC is a solid, well known player, and certainly is a nice addition to your app library.

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Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[12 Jul 2012 | | ]
Plans Plant: A powerful task manager

Like to have things planned out? You’d want a good task manager, and there is a really good one available just for your N900!

Plans Plant is a really powerful task manager. It holds a wonderful task tree system, with your parent tasks, subtasks, dependencies… The tasks can hold a lot of descriptive information (if you’d like to fill it out), can hold start-finish times and the time required to accomplish the task. If you need to print out the whole sheet you can export the whole task tree into an HTML file! Numerous projects/task trees can be held as well.
The unstable release (available in Extras-Devel) features even more neat features, such as the time counter, with which you can mark the tasks as started and it will calculate the completion percentage for you. It also features task priorities, task search and sorting.
Future releases promise to have a calendar view, more informative buttons, desktop synchronization and much more!
Perhaps the only little downside to the great app I found is a rather huge and non-intuitive interface, it would take you some time to figure out which button does what, how to remove/modify tasks, but once you get the grasp of it, the app is wonderful.
Fetch the stable version off Extras, or the more feature-rich version form Extras-Devel, you won’t regret it.

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Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[11 Jul 2012 | | ]
Pomodoro time management on the N900

Ever tried the Pomodoro time management technique? It’s an interesting technique, which uses a timer to break down the periods of your work into “pomodoros”, 25-minute intervals. You take a break after each “pomodoro” and increase the breaktime after every fouth “pomodoro”. And it’s so easy to use with the nifty app on the N900.

The Pomodoro app on the N900 has everything for the easy use of the technique. It has a nice task list, which includes task editing, allows you to start-stop tasks and shows you complete info on the process. Pomodoro also has visual and/or audio alarms (with the feature to add in your own alarm tune) and a short usage guide for those new to the technique. Complete guide and a free book can be fetched off the website.
Nicely done, and certainly applicable to jobs or studies. If you’re interested, do fetch the app off Extras right now and make sure to check out the main website as well, as it features a lot of interesting information.

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Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[10 Jul 2012 | | ]
MeBook: A great ePub reader for the N900

Like e-books? Well, the N900 certainly has a fine choice of readers available. fbreader is a very well-known cross-platform reader, but there are many others. MeBook is one of them and puts up a fine fight.

One of the main things to love about MeBook is the interface. It’s beautiful, intuitive, very finger friendly and oh, so smooth.
The support for every basic thing is there: annotations, bookmarks, various screen modes, which surely includes portrait support and the ability to toggle between scrolling/page flipping among other things. The interface helps here too.
Reading books is fast, scrolling through several pages does not have any lag whatsoever, while being as smooth as ever. Of course, there’s support for a search engine and it’s very nicely done.
A few downsides would be: only one search engine (MeBook uses feedbooks.com, albeit the engine is great and you’ll find many books you’d need) and the lack of many cool features fbreader has.
So, should you keep it in your app library? Definitely. While it might be short on features the interface alone makes reading experience a very good one and all the life-needed features are there! Go on and fetch the app from the Extras, you won’t regret it.

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Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[6 Jul 2012 | | ]
mSoma: Soma.FM on the N900

An avid music listener? Well, chances are you like radio streams with their opportunity of finding new music to listen to. I’ve already covered a Pandora.FM client for the N900, now there’s mSoma, a client for Soma.FM, bringing you over 20 non-commercial radio channels!

Soma.FM has a handful of channels available, tuned to various genres to suit the different tastes. The music is being picked by award-winning DJs and music directors, which leads to a great pick of underground music. I didn’t listen through every channel, but those I did check out have lead me to some great artists.
The client is rather simple, but has enough features for a stream player. Everything you need is available through one window. You can update the channel list, read the channel information and, of course, stream the channel. An option to view the recently played songs is available too.
You can also point the client to a different channel feed, which might work with some other radio services. Although, I didn’t try any yet.
So, feel free to fetch the client from Extras and experience some good music!

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Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[5 Jul 2012 | | ]
YTube, original Cutetube fork

While Cutetube-QML is the most popular YouTube client, the alternatives do show up. One that was found is YTube.

YTube is a fork of the original Cutetube (non QML one), the long-standing YouTube client for the N900. With the original CuteTube being overshadowed by it’s successor, YTube offers some of it’s functionality, fixes bugs, and adds in it’s own new features.
Perhaps the greatest thing YTube has to offer is complete multi-account functionality. Very useful, if you have more than one account in use. The auth is menu-based too, unlike the QML/Original Cutetube, which show up a Webkit box. The accounts can be switched on-the-go via the menu.
The player has a few tweaks itself, for example, you can now view the list of related videos and switch to them without leaving the player on the tap menu. Useful, but makes the video hard to watch if you accidentally tapped the screen.
The UI additions include video list tabs for quick switching between your favorites/subbox, more info on the video box and a few less noticeable things.
Some downsides are the lack of player choice, which forces you to stick with the built-in player, the lack of Dailymotion support and some other options have been cut out.
So, does YTube stand as a good Youtube client? It sure does, and replaces the original Cutetube well with the fixed bugs and new features. If you’re interested in trying it out, fetch it from Extras with:
sudo gainroot
ap-get install ytube

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Featured, Games, Reviews, Software »

[3 Jul 2012 | | ]
Tennix: Simple mobile tennis

Another one of those boring moments? Well, Tennix 2009 World Tour is an another little, but fun game to fill them in!

Tennix is, quite obviously, a mobile tennis game and is probably as simple as it can be (not taking Pong into account). You, your opponent, a field and a ball. Either single player, or 2-player mode (requiring you to either share a keyboard or hand your pal an externally connected one) is there. You can also switch between several locations, but I have yet to see what major difference they play.
Surprisingly, it plays very, very well with both the touchscreen and stylus or the keyboard. It’s smooth and simple gameplay doesn’t require much movement.
Definitely a good thing to have in your time-keller library. Fetch it from Extras with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install tennix
 

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Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[2 Jul 2012 | | ]
VU Meter: Just what it says on the tin

Interested in how loud your environment is, but getting an actual VU meter seems a bit too much for you? Fret not, as your N900 can replace it with this nifty app.

vumeter is just what it is: a VU meter and it has many interesting features to boot. It can measure the volume in dB or linear, has a few graph output modes, can capture audio from your N900, from the microphone (i.e. from your environment) or from the bluetooth. Through the settings you can give it various tweaks and even log the measurements into a file, which could be quite useful if you’re planing to use that data in a project or whatever else. Of course you can also find the averages and the highest values as well.
You never know when something like this could be useful! Go fetch vumeter from extras:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install vumeter

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Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[29 Jun 2012 | | ]
Symfonie: a simple music player

Looking for a simple music player that does just what it has to do: play music? Well, Symfonie is what you might have been looking for.

Symfonie has a simple and fast interface, folder-based browsing (which I myself find much more comfortable than the Artist-Album-Song etc. that the most of the players have) an equalizer and a few other things, such as a sleep timer and speed control.
The simpleness of the design also makes Symfonie less resource-hungry than most other players out there, compared to Mediabox, OMP and a few others, Symfonie takes around 1/3 less RAM and significantly less CPU.
A little drawback I found is that the sound controlling button pulls out a whole pop-up with a giant slider. While that helps to cut it away from the file browser, I’d rather have a small slider over/under the browser. But with the volume control keys it’s not much of a problem.
So, if you’re interested in a simple player, give Symfonie a try, fetch it from Extras with:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install symfonie
I found the player great to keep around, and perhaps, you will too.