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[23 Feb 2012 | | ]
Ren’Py visual novels on the N900

With not so strong aspect of gaming on the N900, some gaming engines can be great, as they can provide us with tons of games to play. Well, there’s one engine ported to the N900 I’d love to tell you about: Ren’Py!

Ren’Py is a visual novel engine which allows you to create and/or play various visual novels. It holds a database of many novels created with it, both by amateurs and some more professional companies. Many well-known VN’s have been created with its help, Katawa Shoujo, for example.
If you don’t know what a visual novel is, in short, it’s a Japanese genre of interactive fiction games, close to those good ol’ “choose-your-own-adventure” game books, but with music and pictures. You can read the article on Wikipedia, if you wish to learn more.
With the Ren’Py port, you’re free to play many of those right on your N900, which may suit you if you’re travelling/waiting for something and wish to kill time. Right now it’s available in Extras-devel only, so go and enable it before running
sudo gainroot
apt-get install renpy-launcher python-renpy
To get it. Disable it afterwards. Before you launch any VN, you’ll need to fix a couple of issues, mainly the keyboard shortcuts and a small issue with text input. Get the patched versions of two config files and force-copy them over the old ones:
wget http://talk.maemo.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=11071&d=1276592409
wget http://talk.maemo.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=11122&d=1276701240

sudo gainroot
cp -f main.py.txt /opt/renpy/renpy/main.py
cp -f config.py.txt /opt/renpy/renpy/config.py

After that, you’re free to try any novels from the database or try the small novel shipped with Ren’Py. Most of the games can be launched by extracting them anywhere, cd’ing into them and running
python2.5 /opt/renpy/renpy.py ./
Some may require trickery, like symlinking them to /opt/renpy and launching them from the launcher (with “Select Project” -> “Launch”)
The overall performance of the games is pretty good, although there are a few issues. For example, 95% of the games will have the bottom of the screen cropped when launched in a window (usually by default), so you’ll have to play them fullscreen. And things like click sounds can be huge laggers, you might want to disable them from the options file of the game.
Apart from that, most …

Applications, Featured, Maemo 5, Reviews, Software »

[22 Feb 2012 | | ]
Control infrared devices with Pierogi

Have you lost a remote for an infrared device? As long as you have your N900 with Pierogi on it, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pierogi is a really good (and tasty) infrared remote for your N900, and allows you to control tons of different devices that are already preconfigured into the app. While apps like Raemote and QtIrreco can do the same, Pierogi has a better design in both the UI and the way the app works.
Pieorgi has tons, tons, of keysets preconfigured for just many devices you’d need, even things like air conditioners and there’s no need to download them. All supported and tested devices can be found here, but there might be more. If you have a device not seen on the list, you can request it in this TM thread. The user interface is very nice and understandable, you don’t need to spend hours trying to figure it out. And there’s no need to launch the the LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control) daemon, the app speaks directly with the device.
Well, I found every single keyset for devices in my house working well and out of the box, I had much more problems trying to configure them all to work with QtIrecco. So, go on and fetch Pierogi off Extras, or even better, Extras-devel (as that version has more devices and some bugs fixed) and stop worrying about missing remotes!
 

Thanks to our reader, Salut Ct for suggesting the app. Have your own suggestions? Please leave them in the comments or on our forum!

Applications, Featured, Maemo 5, Reviews, Software »

[16 Feb 2012 | | ]
Calculate derivatives with Derivative

Doing some math that requires you to calculate derivatives? Rather than calculating them yourself, you might want to let a calculator do it for you. Derivative is rather good one.

Derivatives runs on SymPy, which is a powerful symbolic math library and allows Derivative have a couple of interesting features. Mainly, Derivative can count all types (ordinary, partial and multiple) of derivatives from 1 to 3 variables, calculates gradient, divergent, curl and laplacian, has support for many output formats (from simple and bidimensional to even LaTeX, C and Fortran), simplification methods for non-numerical calculations, support for variable names like alpha, lambda etc. and much more. Of course, it’s completely free software. Just fetch the app from Extras with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install derivative
and check all the features for yourself.

Have questions or suggestions? Maybe a problem? Drop us a comment or leave a post on our forum and we’ll look into it.

Applications, Featured, Headline, Maemo 5, Software »

[25 Jan 2012 | | ]
Miniature: Play online chess games on your N900

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Are you in a liking of chess games? Playing with the AI doesn’t seem as good as playing with real players for you? Then you should totally check out Miniature, an FICS client for Maemo!

Miniature is currently only available at Extras-devel, which means you would want it enabled in your repo list. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean the game is not good enough for everyday use, I myself have tested many releases and they work perfectly. In case if you need help enabling it, check out this wiki article. Make sure to disable it right after downloading the package though.
Now, Miniature enables you to play games hosted at FICS with thousands of players all across the world and even allows you to play P2P games with people nearby or with people in your contacts list. Registering at FICS is not required, but is recommended, if you want to keep easy track of your own games and stats. Host a game or join one of those already available and you’re ready to dive into a nice game of chess with anyone. And you even have easy to use text chat!

Miniature also holds quite some learning possibilities, as you can watch games already played, view chess lessons and participate in one of the tournaments FICS often holds! In case if you would want to play different kinds of chess, like antichess, Miniature allows that too.
 
A great client for every chess player, or just somebody who would want a nice game while waiting for the bus to arrive, Miniature is definitely worth checking out.

Applications, Featured, Maemo 5, Software »

[20 Jan 2012 | | ]
Evopedia: Offline Wikipedia Reader

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Want to read some of your favorite articles on Wikipedia? But what if you don’t have any internet available for some reason? Or maybe you just want to save up money or battery charge for keeping internet connection.
Evopedia will allow you to download an archive of all Wikipedia articles and read them online, optimized for the N900 screen size.

Archives of Wikipedia for many different languages are available. A few Wiktionary archives can be downloaded as well.  A demo archive with 999 articles is available under the name “small”.
Note: Most archives take up more than 100 mB of space on your MyDocs, make sure you have space.
As soon as you download the archive(s), you can search for any article from the main screen. Since all archives are stored locally, the search is very fast. Pick any article and it will be opened in your Web application, and easy to read, thanks to optimized view.

One and only problem I had with Evopedia is that most archives are downloaded via BitTorrent, which takes up a lot of system resources and sometimes can be very unresponsive. Maemo’s watchdog reboots the phone in such occasions and this sometimes messes up the file system. In case if you get a problem with MyDocs mounted read-only, run this as root and reboot the phone (don’t worry, you won’t lose any files):
  fsck.vfat -a /dev/mmcblk0p1
Apart from that, Evopedia provides a nice and easy way to read Wikipedia articles without having any internet connection whatsoever.

Featured, Hacks, Maemo 5 »

[19 Jan 2012 | | ]
[How-To] Changing in loading bar at startup

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Note: The steps we go through this how-to include modifying low-level system files. Changing the loading bar is done at your risk, do not attempt if you think that you might mess something up or if you don’t understand some parts of this how-to.

Want to make your boot sequence more cooler? Maemo allows you to change the loading bar that appears at startup.
First, we want to go root:
sudo gainroot
Next, backup the files we want to change:
cd /usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/hildon
mkdir /home/user/MyDocs/Bar_Backup
cp indicator_update* /home/user/MyDocs/Bar_Backup
Now, for the fun part. Create your own loading bar images. You may use the originals as a base, you would want 8 PNG images with a size of 192×48, alpha-channel is optional. You can look at this custom loading bar set, for example. Name them all as indicator_update№.png, with № going from 1 to 8, in the order you want the images to appear.
Drop all the images to /usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/hildon
cp -f [your images] /usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/hildon/
Once done, try rebooting your phone and checking out if all went smoothly.
Enjoy!

Applications, Featured, Maemo 5, Software »

[18 Jan 2012 | | ]
Alarmed: “Cron-like” jobs with a GUI

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Sometimes you just really need for a certain command to be executed every X minutes. Or maybe you could use something that will notify you to check your bags every hour. Not a problem, Alarmed will help you with that.
Alarmed is a little GUI app that allows you to schedule any sort of event to be done at a certain time, pretty much like cron, an utility well known to every *nix administrator.
Install alarmed:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install alarmed
Once launched, you’ll see a screen with all your currently scheduled events and buttons for creating new events, removing and editing current events.
Creating a new event is simple with a user-friendly interface of Alarmed: press a button, chose what exactly will be done at that event and schedule a time.
Easy and effective, now you don’t need to constantly remind yourself to walk the dog or switch your profile to silent when you’re at a conference.

Featured, Games, Headline, Maemo 5, Software »

[17 Jan 2012 | | ]
The Battle for Wesnoth on N900

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Do you like strategy games? Well, then you probably have heard of “The Battle for Wesnoth”, a popular free software turn based strategy game with a strong, Tolkienesque fantasy setting. But did you know that there is a complete port of this PC game for Maemo?

The game is currently available in Extras, you can find it in the Games category.
sudo gainroot
apt-get install wesnoth
Note that the game is pretty large and will consume about 240~ Mb of memory on your /opt Unpacking a large package can also take a lot of time, so make sure you have enough battery charge.
Optionally install the music files. (Not recommended as this will take up 100 Mb more of memory and will slow down the game a bit):
apt-get install wesnoth-music
Once installed, you can launch the game from your applications menu or with
wesnoth
Loading times can be a drag, but apart from that and a few resolution issues with menus, the game is completely playable. Add-ons, Multiplayer, Singleplayer campaigns are all functional. I was able to both finish one of the mainline campaigns and play co-op survival on the official server without any trouble, right with an N900 in my hand.

The Battle for Wesnoth is definitely a game every N900 gamer should take a look at. So install the package and dive into the world of dwarves, elves and orcs!

Featured, Hacks, Maemo 5, Uncategorized »

[16 Jan 2012 | | ]
[How-to] Custom symbols in X Terminal

Are you in need of special symbols while in X Terminal? Don’t want to bring up the special characters menu all the time? Well, here’s an easy way to customize the special characters  line on the bottom of your X Terminal window.
 
Open up your XTerm and use those commands to modify the characters line:
Note: Run these commands as a regular user, not root.
Modify the key labels:
gconftool-2 -s /apps/osso/xterm/key_labels -t list –list-type=string “[keylabels]”
Replace keylabels with the set of labels you want to use, separated by colons without any whitespaces. You’re free to use any text, just don’t use labels too long. The maximum safe amount of labels you can use is 7, if you use more, they will all go to a side-menu.  For example, if we are to add pipe, input and tilde symbols you can use this:  Tab,Esc,PgUp,PgDn,|,>,~
Next, set the characters that those labels will correspond to:
gconftool-2 -s /apps/osso/xterm/keys -t list –list-type=string “[character values]”
Replace character values with the corresponding values. You can look up which values respond to which characters by looking at /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/nokia_vndr/rx-51 file (do it as a regular user, so you don’t modify it by accident)
If we follow the example for pipe, input and tilde characters, we shall use these values: Tab,Escape,Page_Up,Page_Down,bar,greater,asciitilde
Restart your X Terminal, so the fullscreen button goes where it should go and enjoy!

Featured, Headline, Maemo 5 »

[2 Jan 2012 | | ]
Tweaks to improve your N900 performance (Advanced Users)

Tweaks posted here are for advanced users. Any beginners can give it a go, and if any problems occurs feel free to discuss it in the forums.
1. Enabling Hardware Accelerator which would speed up the hildon-desktop ( currently unstable and requires disabling if not working. Might need to reflash in case of reboot loop ).
First using XTerm, run this command
sudo gainroot
leafpad /etc/powervr.d/hildon-desktop.ini
Then change
WSEGL_UseHWSync=0
to
WSEGL_UseHWSync=1
 2) Installing Swappolube
sudo gainroot
apt-get install swappolube
Then use proposed values and click store
3) Install tracker-cfg to allow tracker using less CPU power
sudo gainroot
apt-get install tracker-cfg
Launch it and set to lowmemorymode
Any other tips and tricks are welcome. Just leave a comment and we will post it in our upcoming posts
via : Talk Maemo
 

Applications, Maemo 5, Software »

[20 Dec 2011 | | ]
Web Apps for the N900

As for some N900 users, full fledge browser would come in handy at some points but when it comes to rendering a web full of images and Javascript content may be stressful on the phone and crashing the web browser at some point.
Introducing Web App for the N900.
To make things simple, it is a native app on the N900 that renders the webpage into just the important contents for you to view, hence removing all the ads and Javascript contents that contain tons of animation.
To install, first you would have to install this dependency in XTerminal :
apt-get install qtwrt
Then click on the following links to install the Web App that you want. It would bring you to a 4shared site, and when prompted, click open with Widget Installer. After installation, you would see an icon in your menu.
These links best accessed through your N900:
Yahoo Mail
Wikipedia
Engadget

Talk Maemo

More Web apps available from this source

Firmware, Headline, Maemo 5, Software »

[19 Dec 2011 | | ]
An update on NITDroid for the N900

NITDroid have been running over the years on the N900 and here is the current latest update :
Latest stable Android version running on the N900 is Version 2.3.7. Well this is practically a Gingerbread OS with Google Wallet support. This version is called N12 for NITDroid for the N900
N12 includes receiving and sending SMS successfully. However voice calls and camera are still under development
Here is a list with compatible games being able to run on the NITDroid itself. Overclocking and installation on internal EMMC would be suggested to ensure smooth game play.
And on the day the Ice Cream Sandwich source code is being released, a port of ICS has been done for the N900. Credits to the NITDroid developer drunkdebugger. Here is the link to the video : Video
Let’s hope more updates would come soon and we can get a stable NITDroid to replace Maemo for the N900.

Applications, Maemo 5, Software »

[18 Dec 2011 | | ]
NVideo – The new youtube video browser

Everyone wants a proper Youtube browser when it comes to viewing online videos on the N900. Viewing a full Youtube page on the browser may hog up alot of data and even your memory causing a slowdown in performance and even crash the Web App. Introducing the new NVideo, designed specifically to ease the usage of Youtube on the N900.
 
Here is the breakdown of the review.
Starting the app took quite a while roughly of 15-20 seconds before it could be totally functional but from there onwards the app runs smoothly and switches between tab nicely. Logging into the Youtube account here with your current Google account requires no hassle.

The page that you would be shown for videos recommendation that relates to what you have been watching recently.

The loading screen that you are presented with when the video loads. At the bottom bar, the image with 3 lines is the additional buttons option.

The sharing and like button you would see on every Youtube videos. It also has the download video feature
One of the hiccups I got was trying to add a comment into one of the videos. It wasn’t responsive and it blocked the video.. Trying to get back to the video took much hassle and once I got back to the video, it has finished. I guess a fix should come soon enough

Overall I would say it is a good Youtube browsing app but still slightly lacks behind what the CuteTube has to offer with better UI and better response.
6/10

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

Firmware, Headline, Maemo 5, Software »

[22 Aug 2011 | | ]
Another Linux OS at its end

I have always had great respect for webOS, it was an amazing system that was ahead of its time.  Sadly some things don’t quite catch on like they should and now webOS has gone the way of the Sega Saturn. It’s a sad day indeed when it seems like HP only recently forked out around $1.2 billion for Palm, and already they have dug its grave.  While HP kind of hints that something could come of the system, they have pretty well ditched it themselves.  The death of a competing OS would usually be a good thing for us Nokia N900 lovers, cutting down on the competition for our variations of chocolate, but in this case I feel we end up losing more then we gain.

WebOS was built in a similar fashion to Maemo, laying its roots in Linux and openness.  It is that relationship that has helped both OS’s benefit from each other, between porting apps, to playing the games.  It’s a little sad that both of these systems will be going the way of the Dodo, but maybe that’s just where the market is going now?
At the end of the day, did it seem like HP really supported webOS?  In the same way that Nokia seems like it has supported Maemo, or Meego?  Even if they did or not is irrelevant and the perception of people is what is really key.  To most people, all of these products appear to not matter to the parent companies, and that there is disastrous apparently.  Maybe Meego needs to learn a thing or two before it makes headlines for the same thing?