[maemo-users] N810 for $180

From: Peter Flynn peter.flynn at mars.ucc.ie
Date: Wed Jun 17 01:01:21 EEST 2009
Mark Haury wrote:
> I'm using GPE myself, but I've spent 6 months trying to fix the botched 
> data import. There's just no way to reliably import data or specify 
> corresponding data fields.

Yes; the apps seem to have been designed by someone who has heard PIM 
apps described, but has never seen any.

> I have yet to get Abiword to import or export Word or OpenOffice files; 

The new version I mentioned here a couple of days ago sems to open all 
the ones my Windows-using colleagues send me.

> ... which is exactly the problem; you have to encode everything 
> specifically for the tablet. You can't just drag-and-drop existing files 
> (unless they're really low quality) onto the tablet and go.

I wouldn't expect to drop an full-rez video onto a small device and 
expect it to play. The CPU just won't take that kind of strain.

> Actually the calendar is the easy part; Erminig syncs GPE Calendar with 
> Google Calenar very reliably. That's the one sync that *does* work. My 
> problem is that I need to be able to print mailing labels etc. from the 
> contacts, which can't be done from the tablet in any way, shape or form.

Not so. You can export records from GPE Contacts to a VCard file, and 
then run the file through vcf2csv and awk to create a file of LaTeX 
\label{} commands which do the job just fine. Something like:

$ vcf2csv -i contacts.csv | awk -F"	" '{print "\\label{" \
   gensub("&","\\\\&",1,$2) "\\\\" gensub(",","\\\\","G",$11) "}"}' \

(that's a TAB in the -F argument to awk).

> There's been a lot of hype about the new crop of "MID" devices, which 
> are basically clones of the Nokia Internet Tablets, but they're being 
> very slow about actually coming to market. The Asus R50A is an example, 
> but seems to have similar problems with unfinished OS and apps. I guess 
> the price point keeps these companies from dedicating many resources to 
> sorting them out properly because of the fear they won't sell well and 
> make money, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What puzzles me a little (and perhaps some of the developers here can 
comment) is that not that many years ago, a 64Mb desktop was perfectly 
capable of running a full Linux distro. Not blindingly fast, but usable. 
Given a decent ARM chip, and a 16Gb SD card, I would have thought it not 
impossible to run something equivalent on a pocket device, assuming the 
device drivers can be written. I'm not a hardware engineer, so there may 
be something missing in this, but what I am running on the N800 now is 
extremely close to what I was running on my old Dell desktop. I have 
heard of moves to port Ubuntu to handheld devices, I think.

Nokia had most of the right idea, but if the OS and apps are the 
problem, there are people willing to make them work provided they have a 
sensible and standards-obedient platform to target. Unfortunately the 
manufacturers are approaching the problem from the wrong end (misled by 
Marketing, as usual).

More information about the maemo-users mailing list