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It’s taken me a few days to catch up with my x-mas RSS backlog, the below are worth a mention :-)

n800 Getting started (n00b) Guide… Part Two.

It’s taken me much longer to get this together than initially intended, so my apologies for that. Depending on your reasons for buying your n800 will make a difference to how much this document is relevant. What I wanted to do was concentrate on getting your n800 up and running, i.e. you’ve covered the basics, now lets install some applications to make this brick useful.

Before re-flashing my device, I always take a list of what is installed, here’s what’s on there at the moment…

becomeroot
camera,
canola
dates
devicescape
fmradio
hildon-theme-cacher
hildon-theme-plankton
maemo-serivice-handler
maemo-wordpy
maemokrypt
media center
microb-browser
openvpn
webmail notify
mplayer
navicore
openssh
oss-statusbar-cpu
pidgin
python2.5-runtime
simplelauncher
skype
videocenter

I won’t cover them all here, as we’d all fall asleep, so I’ll pick out some favourites…let’s get installing!

Multi-Media, Music ‘n’ Video to you and me.

In my opinion every n800 should have Canola installed, it’s a great multimedia app. Canola has had some dependency issues in the past, so I’d recommend you install it before anything else. To get this working disable all your repo’s except the “Nokia Catalogue” and “Nokia Catalogue 3rd Party”, then hit this canola one click install.

UK Media Player (UKMP) is another great application to install for multi media, it has a couple of dependencies. You’ll need to switch on the extras repo, install mplayer (even if you don’t want ukmp, I’d recommend installing mplayer as it’s brilliant at playing back virtually any video file) and python either by using the application manager or the one click install files.

Utilities, those little extras you might need.

Here are some extras that’ll enhance your n800 experience, you should already have the xterm install right? But some other things that might take your fancy would be the oss-statusbar-cpuit adds a nice little applet to the systray that show how “busy” your n800 is, and you can add some commands to it too!

Camera & FM radio, are two Nokia apps that enhance what you can do with the n800 hardware that aren’t loaded by default, I’m not sure why… but to make it easier for you I’ve published a copy of my sources list, if your application manager has all these catalogues installed you should see the Camera and radio as options you can install.

Since writing my first document, OpenSSH has made its way into a repo, whether you use that or dropbear is up to you, I prefer openssh as it supports the keys that I use on the rest of my linux kit.

Plankton theme is probably one of the most popular themes added to an n800, to get it working you’ll need both files plankton + hildon theme cacher… also as quick tip, always change your theme to a default Nokia one before running a backup and re-flashing your device… basically it’ll stop the restore trying to use plankton before you’ve installed it.

Web, well it is a Nokia touch, I mean internet tablet after all.

I’d recommend you install the firefox derived web browser for maemo, it’ll allow you to run “non opera supported” sites like google docs. You can switch between the opera and firefox rendering engine; to do that you need to enable the hidden menu by editing /home/user/.browser and set hidden=true (Reference).

If you have a gmail or google apps account you’ll also want the Nokia mnotify, it’ll add a little applet to you systray … personally I’d prefer it to completely disappear if you haven’t got any new mail.

If you’re into instant messaging, then you’ll need a copy of pideon. It’s installed in components so if you’re an msn or googletalk user make sure you install the correct protocol support, if all else fails install them all :)

For mobile blogging you may want maemo-wordpy, it’s not yet something I’ve taken massive advantage of as I don’t have a keyboard and you need a reasonable amount of patience or practice to write a post with the stylus, but this is something I intend to tackle!

Pim, you know contacts and calendar stuff.

There’s no right answer to this, infact I’ve still yet to find something that suites me. As a user, I prefer Dates, Contacts and tasks by pimlico, they’re built on the existing nokia “contacts” back end (evolution data server), but I’ve yet to find a way of sync’ing them with anything which makes bulk importing and general day to day usage an issue.

The alternative is the GPE suite (calendar, contacts and todo). Lots of people recommend GPE, originally I had dependency conflicts on my when I was running the 2nd version of ITOS, I’m yet to install it, but I plan to as there’s been lots of complementary projects like erming for google calendar syncing and GPE summary – a desktop applet summary of your tasks and calendar

Ok, I think we’ll finish there….
I think this post long enough, I’d like to also do a part 3 and look at the security apps you can install on your n800, this won’t be so much of a n00b guide cause it won’t appeal to most people but it’s one of the reasons the n800 caught my eye originally.

USB Networking with Fedora 7 & n800

There are times where you cannot use WiFi, for example my workplace’s WLAN uses LEAP, which maemo doesn’t support. I found that setting up USB networking on my n800 was a bit of a pain since there isn’t a single document… if you check my del.icio.us feed you’ll see I bookmarked all I could find with a usbnet tag.

These are the steps I ran through to enable usb networking between my nokia n800 and my fedora 7 laptop.

First we’ll start with the basic setup… I’ll assume you’ve read a getting started article similar to mine and already have root & xterm. By default n800 has a usb interface configured, you just need to enable it, so on your n800 type:

sudo gainroot
insmod /mnt/initfs/lib/modules/2.6.18-omap1/g_ether.ko
ifup usb0

The default settings add an interface with a static ip of 192.168.2.15/24 with a default gateway of 192.168.2.14.

Now lets set up something similar on Fedora, you need to create a file in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts called ifcfg-usb0 with the following…

DEVICE=usb0
BOOTPROTO=static
IPADDR=192.168.2.14
BROADCAST=192.168.2.255
NETMASK=255.255.255.0
NETWORK=192.168.2.0
ONBOOT=no
MII_NOT_SUPPORTED=no

Now plug the usb cable into both devices, and on your fedora box (as root) type

ifup usb0

You now have connectivity, of course if you have a default fedora install pinging 192.168.2.15 will fail because of the firewall, it is probably best to temporarily disable the firewall (/etc/init.d/iptables stop) to see if it works, if so move onto configuring your firewall correctly (/etc/init.d/iptables start starts it again) :) You may also get usb conflicts, you can try

rmmod uhci_hcd

but it will disable any USB devices, you have been warned.

With this basic connectivity setup you’ll have two issues; you only have connectivity between fedora & n800 nothing else works, and opening any application on n800 causes it to try and connect to your wifi, so lets look at those….

I’m going to assume you used system-config-securitylevel to configure your firewall, its worth noting that any changes you make now will be overwritten by any future use of system-config-securitylevel so it’s probably best to take a backup of /etc/sysconfig/ipatbles now and later when you’re finished.

So as root type:

iptables -I RH-Firewall-1-INPUT 2 -i usb -j ACCEPT
iptables -I FORWARD 1 -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -I FORWARD 1 -s 192.168.2.0/24 -j ACCEPT
iptables --table nat --append POSTROUTING --out-interface eth0 -s 192.168.2.0/24 -j MASQUERADE
/etc/init.d/iptables save

This will allow all connectivity in from the usb interface allowing the n800 to send packets into the fedora box whilst the firewall is running, it will also NAT any traffic from the usb network hiding the n800 behind fedora so that you get onward connectivity. To get the NAT to work you need to enable ip forwarding, this allows fedora to pass pakets between interfaces, to do that type

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

and to get it to survive a reboot update /etc/sysctl.conf with

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

The final part is to enable name resolution (DNS), on n800, I updated /etc/resolv.conf with the opendns servers…

nameserver 208.67.222.222
nameserver 208.67.220.220

All things being equal you should now be able to ping www.google.com from your n800 :cool:

To get applications to connect, I found on the latest version of ITOS that the DUMMY IAP didn’t work, so I stumbled across this solution.

Create an “ad hoc” wifi connection with static IPs… anything it doesn’t matter, and when that’s connected in xterm (as root) type ifconfig wlan0 down , you should now be able to connect to the web with your browser / skype etc over your usb network… sweet!

Nokia n800 icon

After seeing this post on planet maemo, I wanted to replace my “applications” button with an n800 icon, but I couldn’t find one anywhere… I found a couple of icons in /usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/hildon that where close to what I wanted (there’s a bluetooth icon, and input one) but they weren’t quite right, so this is what I managed to mash up. :cool:

Nokia Internet Tablet Icon

Nokia Internet Tablet Icon

(Image License)

Hope you like it!

My Maemo Bugs Activities.

Apologies to anyone who works on the bugs.maemo team, I was bored this AM and decided to ask for some features I want, as I felt guilty about using up someones time (who could be coding fixes for real problems), I also decided to check if some bugs reported by other people where also bugs on my n800…. ahh, back to work :D

Man arrested for stealing wifi broadband

This is interesting….

ITN – Man arrested for stealing broadband

A man who was spotted in the street using his laptop to access an unsecured wireless connection has been arrested.

The 39-year-old man was seen sitting on a wall outside a home in Chiswick, west London, by two community support officers.
Dishonestly obtaining free internet access is an offence under the Communications Act 2003 and a potential breach of the Computer Misuse Act

When questioned he admitted using the owner’s unsecured wireless internet connection without permission and was arrested on suspicion of stealing a wireless broadband connection.

The man was bailed to October pending further inquiries.

Dishonestly obtaining free internet access is an offence under the Communications Act 2003 and a potential breach of the Computer Misuse Act.

I wonder if he’d have been arrested if he was using a PDA or n800 ?

It’s also interesting how it’s considered stealing, I wonder if you could argue if they were giving it away… If I leave my front door open and you walk in and use my DVD player I wonder where the law stands on that ?

Being an n800 owner is expensive.

I’ve had my n800 a couple of weeks now, and I’m still in the “lovin it!” phase; but one of the things I’ve quickly noticed is that being an n800 owner is quickly going to become an expensive affair.

I’m a novice PDA person, in fact this is the first one I’ve brought, previous companies have leant me smart-phone PDA’s so actually buying one was a big commitment to me… we all know that computer technology, especially gadgets have a limited lifespan.

To ensure I get the most out of my n800, I insisted on buying the Navicore “sat nav” upgrade, my reasoning being that if n800′s basic functionality doesn’t meet my needs that sat nav functionality will be invaluable… I’m always getting lost!! This decision was in it’s self an expensive move; the n800 is 280… ok not bad for such a feature rich pda, but the navicore pack is 150, half the price again!

In the time I’ve had n800 the navicore software has been great, it’s got me door to door when I don’t know where I’m going, and when I do just having it on and “beeping” when I’m near a traffic camera is a real bonus for me, but in my day to day use of n800 I’m wondering if I could have spent the money better else where?

To start with the case that come in the n800 pack, is a flimsy felt thing, ok so it’ll protect the screen from the odd scratch, but other than that I’ve got to be careful that it doesn’t [a] fall out my pocket or [b] have something sharp (like a parker pen) “poke it”. It looks like a leather case is about 35 and a screen protector would also be a good idea, that’d be another 6, I guess in relation to what I’ve already paid out that doesn’t seem like a lot (well excluding postage).

The expense really starts to stock up when you look at the usability, you get a 120Mb Mini-SD card, which is enough to store a little music (I have two cds) and a short video (I have 30mins), this is not exactly a library of entertainment to choose from if you have to hop on a train for an hour where an internet connection is non-existent; it appears that memory hard range from a modest 10 (512mb) to 50 (8Gb) considering there are two slots and you can’t yet run n800 as a usb host to connect a usb disk to, what you spend here really is dependent on how often you are “removed” from the net. A final area to look at on my radar would be the usability, I’m typing this on my laptop, I could use my n800 but trying to use the handwriting thing or the touch keyboard is so slow it’s frustrating, so I’m looking at a bluetooth keyboard but look they’re another 75.

Of course there are other bits and pieces you might need, like chargers or spare batteries so, if you’re looking to buy an n800, be prepared. As you can see I only budgeted for n800 + navicore and I feel now that I should have thought further; that said, I’m still happy, and the other stuff will just have to be brought in good time, just make sure you buy the right accessory’s for you !

Disclaimer: The n800 is an Internet Tablet, not a PDA, but I don’t buy that marketing B*&$!”%

n800 Getting started (n00b) Guide… Part One.

I’ve had my n800 a little over two weeks, and the length of this post will propably explain why I haven’t posted about it before. I love the box, it looks sooo good, and the linux inside means that the scope of potential is just unimaginable… but… the experience isn’t perfect. I guess the experiece is very much like the windows / linux thing as a whole, what works is great, but sometimes getting linux “just so” can be more of an effort than in windows.

I’ve decided to write up all my notes, and bookmarks to make things easier for any other n800 n00bies :) Before we get started the compulsary screen shot !

Screenshot of my n800 Desktop

Adding Software.
You’ll notice that there’s not a great deal installed, and what’s there very much resembles a phone ( *shock* ) and very quickly you’re going to want something extra. Now you’re in a bit of a chicken and an egg senarior, some software requires root access (more on that later) and some have a neat “single click install”.

First place to look for “single click installs” is maemo.org/downloads but you’ll notice, that some of the icons are greyed out, so I’d recomend going though the pain (lots of typing / hand writing with a stylus is) of setting up all the application repositries. To do so, open up the application manager, click (menu) Tools -> Application Catalogue -> New and simply fill in the fields for each repo one at a time. After completeing this you’ll be asked to refresh the catalogue, if you get errors you”l have to go through each one singley disabling it, doing a refresh until it works, and then check that you’ve made no mistakes; on the other hand if it works you’ll notice loads of new cool things you can install.

Got root?
If you’re new to linux, and don’t know about root, it’s basically the same as the “Administrator” account on windows… but with on exception root has NO RESTRICTIONS.. windows can (and does sometimes) stop the administrator from doing things (like deleting locked files) Unix / Linux will let the root account do anything, including wipe the file system, so use the root account with care.

You’re going to need root to do certain things, to use root you need to install “xterm” and “becomeroot” from you’re list of newly setup applications. Running xterm will give you a shell (like a windows dos prompt) where by you can directly type commands into the underlying linux, buy typing sudo gainroot you’ll notice the prompt will change from $ to # you now have god like access to your box… at this point I recomend you change the root password from “rootme” to something more secure, type passwd and follow the instructions. :)

(If that doesn’t work, read below, install ssh and see this)

Remote Access.
You can get remote access onto your n800 via a couple of ways. If you like a GUI try x11vnc from here you can get a vncviewer (for windows or linux) download the .deb file and open it with the application manager. I had no problems getting this working, but I did find using the mouse and keyboard on my pc a little slow and un-responsive so ymmv :)

The otherway, and what I use is an SSH sesion, much quicker very usable, and like running the xterm from your pc. From the list of installable applications choose “dropbear server” and using a client (try putty for windows).

To connect to your Internet Tablet you will need to know its IP address. To find this open the Connection manager and select Internet connection > IP address from the menu. Tip – you may find it easier to use a fixed IP address.

you can ssh root@ipaddress (using the password you set before, see why I said to change it) of course to be safe you can ssh user@ipaddress, but you’ll have to change the password for user like you did before but in a $ shell.

You’ll also want to disable ssh from starting automatically, you don’t want some script-kiddy trying to hack your box whilst you’re connected to a wifi network, as root type update-rc.d -f dropbear remove , then when you need it you can do /etc/init.d/dropbear start :cool:

Battery Life.
The 1st thing I noticed when I got my new toy was that I hammered the battery and only got about 1 -> 2 hours wireless useage. I can confirm that using adhoc wireless connections eat the battery, out in the world with proper AP’s battery life seems fine (3hrs+ online perhaps), but at home it really doesn’t last that long.

There are lots of things you can do, to improve battery life. 1st up enable “soft power off” , this will allow you to hold down the power button to but n800 into standby mode, really usefull for hitting before you put it back in your pocket. See this post here for a full set of instructions. Next up, tweak your wireless settings.. what you set here will depend on what you brought the n800 for, I would have thought most people would disable the “search for wifi” functionality as you probably don’t need it to automagically connect to a network whilst your driving or walking, so under the control panel -> connectivity set the search interval to “Never”. I’ve also screwed my Idle times right down so that it disconnets if I’m not doing anything …I haven’t yet been disconnected when I was doing something, but I do usually have to hit “connect to network” before opening a brower etc.

I’d also suggest using offline mode when you’re watching a video or something, that ways “stuff” isn’t happening in the background when you’re not using it.

End of Part One
I think that’s long enough, those few tips should be enough to make most users 1st experience better, in part two I’m going to talk about Apps, what I’ve installed and what didn’t get uninstalled :)

Nokia N800 – Waiting for SatNav

I’ve been watching the progress of the “Nokia Internet Tablet” for a while now, it 1st caught my eye as it uses gnome rendering type stuff for the graphical front end, and the backend is some linux (debian?) embedded device, so the availability of an off the shelf linux PDA for a self confessed linux nut is a dream come true !

I’ve not brought on yet, firstly because my gadget fund is low (saving for a PS3.. probably) and mainly because there were no “off the shelf” GPS solutions, since most open source projects are US based, I didn’t want to mess about with trying to get something to work in the UK… importing maps, different blue-tooth issues, blah blah, you know the deal.

Anyway, I got lost the other day, and since I refuse to pay for a dedicated GPS device, 300 (for a good one) seems a lot of money when the same money will buy you a good PDA and I’d get sooo much more use from it… This getting lost incident reminded me that the nokia n800 was launched recently, and that must have a GPS solution by now (the n770 is old)…. BEHOLD …

Nokia N800

Pic Nokia Navigation Kit for Nokia N800 Internet Tablet
Turn the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet into a convenient personal navigation system.

Nokia are answering my wishes… the detail says it’ll be available this quarter soo, fingers crossed I can clear a gadget fund with the wife and OH HAPPY DAYS !

UPDATE: Link to infomation page.