[maemo-users] New N900 user - Few ideas...

From: Craig Woodward woody at rochester.rr.com
Date: Fri Dec 11 06:11:36 EET 2009
I wanted to say hello, and thank the development team (that's clearly watching/interacting here) for doing such a great job on the N900.  I've been waiting for it a long time, and it's better than I even expected it to be, which was a pretty high bar to start with.

First I should mention I'm a software developer myself and work in embedded systems, mainly on ARM 5 based systems. :)  That said, I'm pretty familiar with the architecture, and a few distros available for it.  Maemo appears to have a nice focus on portable usability around net connectivity and communication, which is great.  And yes, I've signed up for the dev list, the garage system, and brain storming. :)

That said, I do want to make a few tweaks and fix up bugs with the core system, and haven't found a way to express those, or get at them.  There are bug trackers for garage projects, but there's none for the core (haldon?) and it's shipped apps that I could find.  If there is, I'd love to get a link to that.

Most of the major bugs (issues) I've had involve the GPS/Mapping system.  It's the one area that's just majorly lacking.  My biggest issue is that the GPS startup has major issues.  When enabled without "Network Positioning" turned on it almost never gets a lock before the requesting app (Ovi, camera, OmWeather) gives up.  On a few occasions I've had it tell me I was somewhere in Spain, which I'm guessing is how an error-ed return is being interpreted. (OmWeather and Camera have both shown this.)  If Network Position is on, it keeps asking for a network connection until one is made, which is quite annoying if I'm out of range of any networks (Wifi or GPRS).  My guess is it's getting A-GPS-like info to pre-seed the GPS system.  Can't this be done with the last known position?  Or maybe a pop-up or setting with a few options (like home, work, school, etc).  Needing a network on to get Ovi to start up (especially after pre-loading maps) makes it almost useless.

And while talking about Ovi, I'm disappointed in how lacking it is.  No turn by turn, no spoken instructions (despite me downloading maps and "voice" files), no ability to save points or use saved points as route-to addresses.  It's almost useless as a navigator unless you can mount it right in front of you while driving.  And having to look up addresses every time vs having saved points is a real pain, to the point that I'm not using it for GPS, favoring my old Magellen with outdated maps. :P

The lack of phone-like things (MMS, multiple profiles, voicemail waiting indicators, etc) isn't surprising, but I'm hoping they'll show up eventually.  I am surprised that more isn't free-formed though, like having the ability to change the app list order, setting the led color for IMs vs Email vs SMS vs calls, or changing presence based on outside indicators like wifi or GPS.  My 6230 from five years ago could update my IM presence based on my profile (of course it could do RFIDv1 as well, which most people didn't know about).  I'd think something closer to a netbook like the N900 would be up to speed on the concept of "presence" and updating it on the net.  (But then I also expected it to connect to popular IM services too, like Yahoo, ICQ and AIM.  Especially with open-source libraries like libpurple available to do just that.)

Overall though, I have to say:  It works great right now as a phone AND decently as a PDA.  Base functionality, I can call people, I can SMS, I can sync my calendar, set alarms, surf the web, read my e-mail... And since I've installed Pidgin, I can even IM. :)  I'm satisfied with it's current functionality and trilled by the possibilities.  Plus, with not only the new N900 users but older N800 series users updating to Maemo 5 as well, I can't help but think there's going to be some major evolution happening soon! :)

So great work, congratulations on a great base system, and I look forward to watching and helping it grow!
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