2007-12-11

Nokia vs Ogg

It’s lovely to see Nokia embracing “Web 2.0″…

You can participate too, with a related issue. Help convince Nokia to provide out-of-the-box support for Ogg Vorbis:

  • Vote for bug 176
  • PledgeBank (* I haven’t pledged – sticking with my N800)
  • The organization responsible for the Ogg formats have provided a template for writing a letter to Nokia

According to Nokia’s Ari Jaaksi, some time ago, “There’s nothing technical that prevents it. However, the 770 is a consumer device. The challenge is that there is not much [Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora] content right now.“.
I hope Wikipedia qualifies as “content”, not to mention personal music collections.

Meanwhile, the intrepid Tuomas Kulve has released a new version of ogg-support for maemo that enables the built-in media player to play Ogg Vorbis files. He notes, “It’s untrivial to get everything working properly as the FileManager, the Metalayer Crawler, and the Media Player are all close source applications and their behaviour is not really documented anywhere.” Hopefully this situation will change.

See also:

Filed under: Freedom,maemo — twegener @ 23:26

2007-12-08

Updating the N800 to OS2008

Here are my notes from updating to OS2008 for getting root access via ssh and taking an early snapshot of the image filesystem with rsync:

  1. Download the OS2008 firmware image.
  2. Follow the instructions for flashing with new firmware image
  3. Go to Settings->Application Manager and go to Tools->Application Catalog and enable the Maemo Extras repo
  4. Click ‘Browse installable applications’ and inst the OpenSSH package
  5. Repeat the flasher steps but replace the flash command line with flasher/flasher-3.0 --enable-rd-mode to enable R&D mode
  6. Go to Utilities->X terminal and do sshroot@localhost
  7. Change the default password: passwd
  8. Repeat the flasher steps but replace the flash command line with flasher/flasher-3.0 --disable-rd-mode to put the tablet back into production mode
  9. Install rsync from the .deb package
  10. Take a snapshot of the root file system by using rsync to copy from the device to another machine: rsync -avzx root@:/ snapshot_dir
  11. Follow the instructions for entering Red Pill Mode
  12. Install apps such as less, screen, wget
  13. Return to Blue Pill Mode

The tips needed to get ssh root access working again mainly came from here.

Most of my previously installed packages in OS2007 are already available for OS2008. The main ones that I am still missing are gtick (metronome) and a UPnP client. IIRC, I grabbed everything form the official maemo downloads page and this list of Working 2008 OS Software.

Impressions:

  • This update increases the maximum CPU clock speed from 330MHz to 400MHz. The graphical interface feels snappier.
  • The browser is now the mozilla-based microb browser which seems to use more memory and slightly slower than the previous Opera browser. However, it’s free software and supports newer web standards, so I’m happy with the change.
  • The graphical interface is nicer. The designers appear to have responded to user feedback well in this area.
  • There are more codecs , but still no Ogg Vorbis support, which is very disappointing. The third-party package works fine with third-party media players, but doesn’t work with the default media player.
  • Media streaming on the ABC now works. Among other things, this means I can listen to the local radio station from anywhere, and not have to suffer crappy AM quality. Annoyingly, when playing Internet radio from the widget it keeps a message box open (“buffering”) for as long as I have it playing.
  • I haven’t done any careful measurements of the battery life, but it seems to be about the same. This is a bonus given the increase in CPU speed.
  • Newer kernel (2.6.21), Gtk (2.10) and DBUS (1.0) and gstreamer now supports the generic playbin,
  • The built-in media player has been substantially improved, but without Vorbis support it’s of limited use to me. I prefer to use Kagu or Exaile.
  • Why is there still no support for recording videos in the camera app?
  • The problem where, if Bluetooth is disabled from the system tray, the Bluetooth icon disappears, so must be re-enabled from Control Panel, still persists. Annoying.
  • Text prediction and automatic capitalization are off by default.
  • The on-screen keyboard seems to be a bit over-sensitive and often registers a key twice when it was only tapped once.

With this update, it feels like the Internet tablet OS platform is maturing nicely.

Filed under: maemo,N800 — twegener @ 23:35

2007-12-05

Exaile for maemo 4.0 (OS2008)

I’ve made a new release of Exaile for maemo 4.0 (i.e. OS2008, chinook). This drops a bunch of backward compatibility patches needed for OS2007, and takes advantage of some gtk 2.10 features. Also, there was a bug in the gtk shipped with OS2007 that prevented activating items in the sidebar. This has gone away, so now there are more playlist actions available.

Exaile on N800 (OS2008) screenshot

Note that the previous release won’t work on OS2008 because the id3lib gstreamer element is called id3demux in OS2008.

If you are in need of a player that handles Ogg Vorbis, m4a and mp3 (among others) on OS2008 and has decent playlist management features and you are willing to put up with a slightly slow and fat app then Exaile for maemo may be for you. :-)

Filed under: exaile,maemo,N800 — twegener @ 22:38

2007-12-03

Exaile 0.2.11 for maemo

I’ve updated the maemo port of Exaile to version 0.2.11. There are not many visible changes, apart from alphabetic separators in the collection list. I now include the bytecode-compiled pyc files, so startup time should be reduced slightly. It still takes a bit long to start up though. I’ve been using this for about a month now and it seems to be stable enough.

This will probably be the last release for OS2007. I’ll make a release for OS2008 once I have that installed and working on my N800.

Filed under: exaile,maemo,N800 — twegener @ 22:09
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