My first steps with the N810

It’s been already a full week since I got my little toy (the N810 for those of you who don’t follow), and what a week !!!
I spent the first two days (over the week end) with the tablet replacing my second hand ! The third day, at work, I just had time to configure the local wifi connection (which is by the way as easy as it could be) before entering an hectic week that took me to friday night without having touched my toy except for a couple of minutes late one night in the remote countryside of Rodez !!!
Anyhow, now is time for a little roundup of my first impressions… I won’t do the traditional unboxing as there are already a couple out there, and clearly I don’t understand how those people have the patience to take pictures when opening that box ! (Oh wait … Someone tells me they’re getting payed sponsored 😉 … No comment !) I’ll rather share with you some points of focus on this device, how I used it, and my feelings about it.
First point : It is a really neat device, looks cool, is beautiful, and simply turning it on makes me happy. Okay maybe this is because it’s been only a week since I got it, but I really don’t think so ! Supposably the kind of feeling you can only get when buying an iPhone Apple product … I’m sorry Mika, but I’m really glad I have this Nokia device 😉
Second point :Apprehension is really easy as I got wifi connectivity less than 5 minutes after powering it for the first time. The next day I connected it using my bluetooth phone as a gprs/edge modem (Actually I had to slightly modify the default Orange Entreprises settings to match my settings after a failed attempt), evene demoed to some friends over lunch. Starting from that, basic Internet usage is as simple as it can get. The browser is Firefox like and the web pages I hang around most of the time were really sharp looking despite the slightly smaller screen. This of course includes Google Mail and Reader (although for this last one I would recommend learning the keyboard shortcuts).
Third point :Portability was the key interest for me, and it delivered big time ! This mean I can follow my little boy everywhere he goes (and believe me, for him, stability is a 2min timespan :-D) while typing this message, or watch a girly serie with my wife while getting my day’s fix of RSS. Of course this also includes chatting with Clowny while watching the pittyfull defeat of France versus Croatia in the European Handball Championship semifinal. Of course it comes with some drawbacks that is it is hard to loose the device, for example when going to bed (ask my wife) or when some attention is strongly required (ask my son).
Fourth point : Global usability is very good. The OS2008 comes with some pre-installed programs as well as a program to facilitate the installation of new programs provided you configured the correct repositories … Does it ring any Ubuntu bell ? It sure does and it’s for the best of it !
The keyboard, although kind of small, is really efficient and I got acquainted with it very fast ! Typing isn’t as fast as it can be on a real one, but it’s much better than T9, and makes the available autocompletion feature almost useless after a week of training !
Fifth point : Now lets start with some complaints ! Battery life is not rising to my expectations. At first I would always leave Wifi on … Bad habit as the device would not pass the day without being charged. Altough I understood that quickly and now use the easily acessible offline mode as soon as possible, I find that a small deception that I cannot stay connected a full day, even with a fully charged battery at the start of it. Anyhow with this usage rule, I can go a week without charging the toy, which is largely enough for me !
Sixth point : I’m slightly disappointed with the default applications as they don’t make a full use of the device. For example to make video calls, you have to use Gizmo (I don’t know a lot of people using this program) as Skype does not seem to support it (Even sound seems a problem). There is no default application for recording videos or taking pictures. The official app “Camera” does not yet support video 🙁. There is no real efficient app to manage podcasts/videocasts as the available ones don’t really work (no flv playback, no capability to differenciate articles from podcasts …). Even blog reading is slightly hectic as offline reading is not that well implemented …
Seventh point : I have not yet really tried the GPS but I know I’m going to be disapointed with it. The few times I tried it, it took like forever to “fix”. The navigation app is actually not free, and does not seem to be up to the level of TomTom for example (Anybody up for the port ?). And although some workaround (other apps) are available, none of them seem to really work offline.

Well I thin I’m going to wrap things up here … I wrote the full article from the toy itself(One other reason why I bought it) with MaemoWordPy (Yes there are some gems out there for this blogging device), an offline writing tool for WordPress. Only thing kind of lengthy to integrate are links … For the rest of it, it’s great ! So all in all I’m definitely thrilled with the N810, even though I waited a long time for it !

See you later for some more feedbacks and insiders tells on the N810

How I moved a blog from Serendipity to WordPress

I had a blog using the S9Y framework aka Serendipity but obviously since WordPress is THE blogging framework around I had to move to it.

Unfortunately S9Y is not one of the supported import modes of WordPress. Fortunately, a quick Google search pointed me to the following page, which gives one ! You just need to drop the file in the wp-admin/import directory of your wordpress installation, and use the standard import mechanism.

After that, I ran into the following error beause of my hosting provider (free.fr) : “failed to delete and flush buffer. No buffer to delete or flush”. After lots of goggle search which led nowhere since this is a classic PHP error happening on lots of blogs, I decided to tackle the problem myself. After some good old “echo debugging”, I found out, that the problem was the following line of the serendipity.php file :

$cats = $this->get_s9y_cat_assoc($ret_id);

I commented it out and replaced it by :

$cats = array();

Now, you might say “cool, but this has to have some side effects!”. And you’re right. Apparently with the posts category, but since there was none on the imported blogs… Who cares 😉

Don’t hesitate to post, if you know a better solution !

To WordPress or not ?

When I started this blog, I clearly did not search around for the various blogging platforms available out there. I followed Sebz instincts although I had a previous experience with Serendipity with my son’s blog.
Blogger seemed like a good platform (aren’t all Google tools one of the best ones ever ?), and I had previously chosen s9y only because it was easily installable on Free. And since I mainly use Google Reader to read my blog feeds, I do not often see the real platforms being the blogs I read.
However I have been quite disappointed with the platform. First of the preview is really lame since it does not take into account the template chosen for the blog, and so alignment and spacing often need some fixup once a message published. The HTML edition feature is nice although it seems that there always is some reprocessing once you edit the code. Another thing that troubles me is the lack of possibility to reference posts via meta keywords. This means that visibility of your blog is not really controllable and I would like to have better control over that.
As a result, I have been looking for other platforms available out there. WordPress seems to be plebiscited as one of the best ones. Vince has recently made this choice, and so did Guy ! (Vince you can thank me later for the comparison ;-)). So my question is simple : should I switch over to a WordPress platform ?
I already do like the multi-tab possibility which allows to go beyond blogging and add extra functionalities. This might be why WordPress defines itself as a “semantic personal publishing platform”, not only blogging platform ! It seems that on the edition side, it is more than OK. The missing thing might be the limit on the images (50Mb) although I’m not sure about the limit in Blogger. One deal breaker seems to be the impossibility to add flash content on the hosted platform wordpress.com 🙁
Anyhow I’ll continue to look into this… If you have any comment to make, do not hesitate ! And you might see some changes in the near future !