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[29 Feb 2012 | | ]
Clipman: a clipboard manager on the N900

Having to deal with textwork on your N900? Well, perhaps you’ll have to use copy-pasting from time to time, and then you’ll find it nice to have all your copied text to be saved for future use. Clipman is a clipboard manager that can help you with that.

Fetch Clipboard from Extras with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install clipman
and launch it, now all the text you’ll copy to your clipboard will be saved to a small database, so when you decide to copy something else, you can always go back and return the text you’ve copied in the first place by pressing the button in Clipman’s window. Simple.
One problem with Clipman is that you’ll have to leave it running in order for it to work,  no daemon-like functionality, but that is bearable, as you’ll probably wouldn’t want it running when not doing heavy textwork.
So, Clipman is fairly good clipboard manager and certainly worth having it in your application base.

Applications, Featured, Games, Reviews, Software »

[27 Feb 2012 | | ]
FlashLauncher: Flash app organizer for N900

If you are into time-killing Flash games/apps/videos/whatever, then perhaps you’d want a better way for organizing them than simply bookmarking them in MicroB. That’s when something like FlashLauncher comes in handy.

Besides being a pretty good organizer and a database, FlashLauncher helps a bit more when it comes to running Flash stuff. Mainly, anything you add in is very configurable, you can chose between engines to run the app, force the quality (everyone who has been trying Flash on MicroB knows how much pain it is to change the quality sometimes), and you can add your own instructions, picture and other pieces of information in.
Launching Flash in Webkit has quite some advantages, such as having the unwanted screen elements of MicroB removed, and with FlashLauncher you can also launch apps that are not just simple swfs, I was able to launch some stuff from Kongregate, for example.  And, yes, there’s now some proper portrait mode support.
So, why bother with MicroB bookmarks when you can fetch FlashLauncher from Extras-Devel and have better Flash experience on the N900?

Featured, Hacks, Headline, Software »

[24 Feb 2012 | | ]
[How-To] Using your desktop via N900 with PresenceVNC

Ever wanted to control your desktop computer right from your N900’s screen? This post will show you how to do that using PresenceVNC.
This guide is for *nix (GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, MacOS) users. Windows users can look up a guide on setting up VNC online and try the same, by connecting to their PC directly, however, without ssh this will be much less secure.
First of all, fetch PresenceVNC from your N900:
sudo gainroot
sudo apt-get install presencevnc
Get openssh too, if you don’t have it:
apt-get install openssh
Now, on your PC you’ll need to generate an SSH key (again, if you don’t have it yet):
ssh-keygen -t dsa
This will create a file ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub
You will have to drop this file into the same directory from your PC to the N900, you can use file sharing sites, USB, ssh, whatever you want for that.
Verify that you have the SSH server running on your PC, try to SSH into it:
ssh <user>@<ip_address>
Repalce <user> with your username on the PC and <ip_address> with your PC’s IP address. If you don’t know it, use sites like this one. If your PC and the N900 are connected to the same network, you can usually try the local address, 192.168.1.33 or 192.168.1.34. It should ask you to verify the key (type ‘yes’) and your PC’s password. IF it doesn’t then it’s likely your 22nd port is closed, use tools like iptables or Firestarter to open it.
You will also need x11vnc to start the server, look it up in your distro’s repositories.
Once that is set up, open up your N900’s terminal and connect to your PC with the following command:

ssh -C -L 5900:localhost:5900 <user>@<ip_address>
And start the server (yes, right from your N900)
x11vnc -ncache 10 -display :0
Now, just open up PresenceVNC (don’t quit the terminal!) and connect to localhost:0 Watch in amazement as your PC is fully controlled through your N900.
On the screenshot below you can see IceCat opened on my ArchLinux desktop’s StumpWM:

Enjoy!

Featured, Games, Maemo 5, Reviews, Software »

[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, Reviews, Software »

[17 Feb 2012 | | ]
Learn Japanese kana with Kanatest

Learning Japanese, or wish to start? Maemo port of a libre desktop program Kanatest can help you learn both katakana and hiragana characters.

Kanatest will test your knowledge by showing you kana characters and having you type in their romaji equivalents. At the end, your statistics will be shown, and later you can compare your older results with your new ones.
What makes it a really-really good piece of learning software are tons of helpful functions and features, like translations of the program to other languages, definable lessons together with many predefined ones, a complete character chart, test on either kata, hira or both, the aforementioned statistics, which can be shown in a nice graph or table, minor things, like font customization.

Kanatest can be fetched from Extras, there are no differences with the Devel or Testing versions, find it under Education section in a graphical package manager or simply run:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install kanatest
So, if you’re into learning Japanese, go check the app out. It will be worth it.

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, Reviews, Software »

[15 Feb 2012 | | ]
PyRadio: a Pandora radio client for N900/N9

Interested in listening to net radio, with recommendations and such, but don’t want to use paid services like Last.fm? Try Pandora Radio, it’s free and easy to use on your N900 or N9 with a good client that is PyRadio.

While available in the Extras, that version seems to have a serious issue with authenticating, so fetch one from Extras-Devel or Extras-Testing, which works like a charm. Just make sure to disable the repo after you fetched it, unless you actually want them enabled.
If you have a username at Pandora, just type it in with your password and you’re set. If not, create one. Now, you’re free to add stations, and listen to them on the go from your N900!
Liking tracks, adding/creating stations and other things are working on the client perfectly, and, unlike Last.fm it’s absolutely free to use, so why not?
 

Please note, that for quite a while Pandora has been off limits for non-US residents. While I seem to connect without a problem (and I don’t live in the US), you may experience problems. If you do (try checking by launching pyRadio from the command line), try using Tor.

Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software, Uncategorized »

[14 Feb 2012 | | ]
Protect your network privacy on the N900 with Tor

Whenever you’re surfing the net, you do want to be concerned about your online privacy. A lot of information can get to the wrong hands if you don’t. One of the good ways to protect your network privacy is an onion router: Tor.
Now if you don’t know what onion routing is, in short, using it will have your connections bounce through many various Tor servers before reaching their destination. Everything is encrypted, which will make tracking down your path difficult, thus keeping your identity safe. The picture below shows exactly how it works:

With Maemo being a complete GNU/Linux distribution, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you can use Tor there, very easily, and with a status applet for your convenience. If you want to use it, just fetch off a package from Extras:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install status-area-applet-tor
The package will pull down Tor as one of its dependencies, so yes, you can now use Tor to protect yourself, just open up your status area menu and you’ll see a button!

Click it, and you’ll be able to run Tor and have your network connection routed. Very easy.
 

When using Tor you should note two things:
1. Now your connections are bouncing through various servers, so the connection is slower than it usually is. You have to pay for your anonymity.
2. Even Tor has  it’s weaknesses, and besides that there are other ways to identify you, if somebody needs that, like flash cookies, fingerprinting, etc. so don’t rely on it strongly and don’t think you can do naughty stuff on the net without getting caught.

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, Reviews, Software »

[13 Feb 2012 | | ]
Healthcheck: check your N900 for issues

Concerned about the health of your N900? Healthcheck can help you out not only to check your phone for hardware failures, but also to view your system information easily.

Get it off extras with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install healthcheck
Healthcheck will allow you to view various bits of info, as you can see on the screenshot above, from your IMEI to hardware status. As the app name suggests, this will help you determine whether there’s something wrong with your N900.
You can also check your total memory status in a nice table, GSM information, CPU frequencies, other things, but the best part of it all are various tests you can run to check for hardware issues. Such as the pointer test, to check whether there’s anything wrong with your display.

Having all that functionality, healthcheck is a really good app to keep your phone in a good condition.

Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[10 Feb 2012 | | ]

Find your mobile carrier’s SMS rates a bit too high? Well, there’s a solution: you can send SMS via internet easily using Web2SMS!

Web2SMS is available in the Extras repository, so just run
sudo gainroot
apt-get install web2sms
to install it.
Once launched, you can set yourself up an account. Web2SMS supports many providers, so pick one that suits you from the list. You will need to register on the provider’s website. Of course, the rates for SMS sending vary from provider to provider.
Then, just tap the created account name and send a message to anyone. Selecting a contact from your contact list works too. The time it takes to send a message depends on your provider, some may take longer than others.

So, if you don’t like the rates your mobile carrier sets, or if you just want to save up some money, use Web2SMS. Most of the time it will be cheaper than sending them like you would normally.

Please note: some mobile carriers in certain countries may not like you using such methods of sending. Please read their terms of service to see, whether they allow it or not.

Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[6 Feb 2012 | | ]

Everybody occasionally needs to make a sketch or write something. But oftentimes, there just might not be a piece of paper or anything to write with lying around. On such occasions, you might want a handy sketching tool around.
The N900 sure comes with a stock “Sketch” app, but you sure might notice it might be pretty slow and unresponsive. But hey, there’s a better one available! Try PenPen.

There’s a variety of reasons, why PenPen is a good sketching app. First of all, it’s fast and responsive, whatever you will be writing will appear on your virtual paper almost instantly. Next, it has some very good support for portrait mode. Finally, there’s multiple page support, which means you can easily separate different drawings.

PenPen is currently available at the Extras repository, so just get it with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install penpen
If your job or hobbies include a lot of sketching, like mine do, then PenPen is a good thing to have on your N900. If you’re in a worry of your screen getting damaged, or just want to get a better experience from your mobile sketching, you might also want to grab a good screen protector from our store.
 
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Have a suggestion? A problem? Post them on our forum or in the comments and we’ll look into it.

Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[2 Feb 2012 | | ]
QR and Bar Codes with mBarCode

With all the latest hype about QR-codes, you must certainly would want a QR scanner on your phone. Especially if you’re living in Japan, where QR-codes are most popular.
Well, the N900 sure has a QR-scanner, and a pretty good one! mBarCode, together with a QR plugin can read both barcode and QR information.

You can get both mBarCode and the QR-plugin from the Extras repo:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install mbarcode mbarcode-plugin-qrcode
Launch the application and now you have a very good scanner! Target your camera at a QR or a barcode and the information gets read almost instantly. Links and other “can-be-malicious” content is shown to you before getting opened with your tap. You can even check the shortlinks by copying them and visiting this site.
You can also store the scanned code into a file, or read the code from a file you stored. That way you can use the codes later, or scan the codes downloaded from a website.

With all that, mBarCode is a must-have if you’re used to dealing with QR and barcodes.
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In case if you’d want to test how it works and you don’t have any scannable codes around, you can use an online generator, like this one.

Featured, Games, Reviews, Software »

[1 Feb 2012 | | ]
Teeworlds on N900

If you happen to run a GNU/Linux machine and often play video games, then you might have heard of Teeworlds. If you didn’t hear about it yet, Teeworld is a retro-styled 2-D online side-scroller, which has pretty graphics, fast-paced gameplay with the well-known game mods: CTF, Deathmatch, etc. A lot of user-created content is available for the game, including extra modes, maps, and graphical sets.  Well, thanks to the Maemo being a complete GNU/Linux distribution, Teeworlds is surely available for playing on your N900!

The package for Teeworlds is available in Extras and you can install it with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install teeworlds
Once installed, you can launch it and see how actually well does the PC game run on your phone. Teeworlds starts up pretty smoothly, can access all the servers, settings and everything else. While you might think that the N900 keyboard might not be suitable for playing, the default key bindings prove otherwise, the game is played fairly well. If you don’t like the bindings, of course you can set your own.
Another point for Maemo’s power as a mobile platform, such a game is definitely worth trying, so check it out!

Applications, Featured, Reviews, Software »

[30 Jan 2012 | | ]

Check out our new page Funny LOL Pictures (click here) – it brings you daily funny pictures that will make you LOL!
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Need to take a couple of notes? Simple calendar notes and/or text files not enough for you? Then check out Conboy, a clone of Tomboy, which is a very good note management program!

As soon as you get the package (which is available in the Extras repository) and run the app, powerful note managing capabilities will unfold on your screen. Conboy allows text formatting, text alignment, zoom and quite some extra stuff, all of which you can check by looking around the menus and the interface. And it’s all quite readable and manageable!

By pressing that little folder icon, you’ll get a list of all your notes, which can all be searched, sorted, deleted, edited… All management operations are handled quite well, which makes Conboy even better.
So, if you keep forgetting things, or if you’re used to taking a lot of notes, like I am, then Conboy is surely a must have on your Nokia N900.