[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] Maemo 2.0 API changes, signals and properties (was: ANN: Eagle)

From: Larry Battraw lbattraw at gmail.com
Date: Thu Apr 20 02:19:16 EEST 2006
On 4/19/06, Shawn Gordon <shawn at thekompany.com> wrote:
> At 12:39 PM 4/19/2006, Philippe De Swert wrote:
> >Hi,
> >
> >On Wed, 2006-04-19 at 12:10 -0700, Shawn Gordon wrote:
> ><snip 770 praise>
> >
> > > I've got to say that this review
> > >
> > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/15/AR2006041500125.html
> >
> > > is pretty much spot on, much as I like the device, from a reviewer
> > > perspective there is nothing I disagree with in this review, I had
> > > all the same experiences other than the network connection one.
> >
> >There are indeed very valid points mentioned in the review. However I
> >think we need to change something in the attitude that is taken towards
> >this product. This is meant to be an open device, so some compromises
> >had to be made. AFAIK it would be impossible to distribute the device
> >with wmv codecs without some complicated agreements/demands from MS. And
> >honestly I really want to avoid any DRM stuff.

Definitely, yet in some ways Nokia is running into a situation of
trying to support a device that has such a large *potential* scope
that it's unmanageable in the time frame they're looking at.  Granted,
they're calling it a "Web tablet" (Whatever that is), but including
audio and video player applications automatically raise expectations. 
The fact that they're incredibly spartan and under-featured compared
to most alternatives reflects poorly on the whole device.  I'm annoyed
on a daily basis by the inability to tag multiple files/directories
for playing in the audio player.  Then there's the power-draining bug
while paused...

> I'm totally against DRM, see my iTunes competitor www.mindawn.com
> that I started a couple years ago, we use FLAC and OGG formats.  My
> company was the first one to make a portable ogg player by producing
> software to play Ogg on the Sharp Zaurus years ago.

Kudos for that Shawn, I remember it well.  It's a shame Nokia didn't
take the time to port the codec to the 770.

> yes, FLASH blows, but this is about managing expectations, you have
> to control as much as possible what peoples expectations are for this
> device, and without a clear description to the market then they are
> going to have some standard expectations for the device, right or
> wrong, and that is what you can control.

  Not having a recent copy of even the Linux version of the Flash
plugin hurts when you're trying to focus on the on-line abilities of
the device.  Poorly written or not, it's one of the first limitations
(Aside from browser crashes) people will notice when they visit their
favorite flash-laden site.  I'm no great fan of Flash but am trying to
understand the average Joe's reaction to the 770.  I think it was a
mistake to bank entirely on the web-specific capabilities it has when
there are real, virtually unbreakable boundaries to what a small
device like this is capable of in that regard.  When you play in the
same price range as other devices which include a full or even limited
suite of PIM applications, people will be first disappointed and then
irritated by the seemingly one-dimensional range of the 770.  Bringing
something like JPilot onboard as a supported (And bundled) app would
be a wonderful start.

> >Also I don't know if expecting a PIM suite was realistic on a device
> >called Internet tablet. Nokia never marketed this as a PDA. Though the
> >reviewer did look at it as it were one. And who needs a PIM now that we
> >have google/yahoo calendar...

  Unfortunately you can't take Google or Yahoo offline with you, and
it's a little rough setting alarms to have them wake you up in the
morning  :-)

> EVERYTHING has a PIM on it, you'd be amazed at how many people use a
> PIM on every dang piece of equipment they have.  Simple example:  I
> never wanted to do a PIM on the Zaurus because it already had one,

Yep, and it was pretty bad.  After releasing an initial version that
output binary files that nobody could read, followed by a version that
wrote XML files nobody *wanted* to read, it was an exercise in
futility.  Yet, they still had something for people to use!

> but Lineo asked us to put together a proof of concept for a new
> calendar app for possible future devices, which we did and they
> really liked then they went under, so we decided to release it and
> people gobbled it up and demanded we do an address book, memo and
> todo apps and email - pretty much all of which were already on the
> device by default.  To this day our PIM apps are our biggest selling
> applications.

  It's just too bad Qtopia and GTK aren't even remotely
interchangeable.  I can only imagine the rewrite necessary to redo all
the forms, C++ UI calls, and more.  Even if it was open-source I doubt
anyone would enjoy the amount of work necessary to get it done.

> > > haven't.  My company has all sorts of cross platform VoIP solutions,
> > > I would have ported it to the 770 months ago but I didn't want to
> > > compete with a free solution included with the device, but nothing
> > > has come out yet.
> >
> >Well that was your choice. And you can hardly blame Nokia for you not
> >porting that application. And to be honest bringing out one of these
> >solutions might have been beneficial for the whole development story.

  Shawn has a point though-- who wants to go through the effort to
port an application to a device that may shortly emerge with a
on-board free version?  Nokia could do a better job of involving the
community in staging/beta builds to give an idea of the direction
everything is going.  Unfortunately that takes resources and time I
doubt they have.  There's also the marketing angle of being able to
make a big splash and release a shiny feature-complete version.  This
seems like a mistake since regular releases are interesting and
generate buzz about the platform.  People can see it evolving and
commercial developers like Shawn can both gauge which way the platform
is heading as well as determining whether it's going to be a losing
battle against a constantly changing API (Not saying it will be, but
there is that chance).  Things have really quieted down now that it's
been four months since the last release.  There haven't been as many
new ports of applications, and most of the chat on ITT and mailing
lists seem to revolve around bugs and other limitations.


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