[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] N800 GUI Improvements from a Newton Developer's Perspective

From: Levi Bard taktaktaktaktaktaktaktaktaktak at gmail.com
Date: Mon Jan 22 01:54:27 EET 2007
> Before I made the site public, I thought I'd post it to the
> developers' group and ask for some comments, agreements, and
> disagreements.  The site URL may change afterwards.
>         http://cs.gmu.edu/~sean/stuff/n800/

Plenty of valid criticisms here (handwriting recognition, screen
rotation, dearth of available specialized widgets), but I have to
disagree on some points:

* N800 should use a DB instead of a standard filesystem
A lot of the power of this device is that it's Linux-based and that
there are a huge selection of applications potentially available with
a minimal amount of manual porting (Generally UI tweaks and
performance hacks).  Having a nonstandard backend would severely
increase the work required to port an existing application, without
something like a FUSE driver that would slow the system's performance,
and many ported applications thus wouldn't be taking advantage of the
db backend in that case.

* N800 doesn't have powerful interapplication communication features
Uhh...DBus?  It's accessible from C and Python, the two most popular
(so far) dev languages for the 770 and N800, and generally from nearly
any language that's widely used for GNU/Linux development.

* N800 apps should be able to move files around in the filesystem,
instead of having to use the file manager
IMO it makes more sense to have a file manager for the express purpose
of manipulating the filesystem, rather than reimplementing that
functionality (probably in a different way) for every client app.

* N800 has too many triangle icons
OK, this one is really reaching.  Your basic issue with this seems to
be that, taken out of context, a triangle doesn't really mean
anything.  Taken out of context, very few symbols mean anything.  It's
very standard to have arrow-shaped icons at the ends of scrollbars and
combo boxes, and I don't really think diamond shapes, circles, or
monkey heads would be inherently more intuitive.

* N800 isn't enough like (Newton|OSX)
I get it, you like the Newton and OSX.  However, just because Newton
or OSX do something a certain way, or have a certain icon to indicate
a certain thing, and you've spent the last few years getting used to
it, doesn't mean that the OSX way is objectively better, or that the
Newton icon is inherently more intuitive.  Surprise, a
Linux/Gtk+-based tablet has a substantially different UI than a
10-year-old Apple product

Overall, you made some good points, but it felt to me like they were
semi-submerged within the general current of, "I'm angry because the
N800 isn't a Newton with updated hardware and a stripped-down OSX."

Just stop and take your secret journey, you will be a new box. --Leeta

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