keskiviikko 25. marraskuuta 2009

First real use case

Up to now I have just been playing around with the N900, spending hours trying to create that perfect wallpaper in four parts and other similarly non-productive tasks.

This morning, however, I woke up and realized it was the first time I was about to use the N900 as a tool - one of the most important tools I have in fact. How did it perform?

To say it exceeded my expectations would be wrong, because my expectations are very high. I expect it to allow me to perform some core tasks with very little effort. I expect myself to be slightly entertained whilst doing so, as the gadget freak I am. I expected it to allow me to complete the tasks as quickly as I wanted, at my own pace and with as few errors as possible.

I'm pleased to say the N900 met all those expectations. The N900 has been unstable during my tests and initial playing around, but when I got down to business, it did exactly what I wanted it to. No more and no less.

Here's a brief description of how my morning activities with the N900 played out:

When I picked up the N900, I saw the blue led flashing, indicating that I had new messages. I simply opened the keyboard (since messages usually require text input in response) to unlock the  device. No swiping. In fact, the less I need to "swipe to unlock", the happier I am! I am one of those users that almost always has the keyboard open. Come to think of it, the only thing I do without the keyboard open is talk on the phone.

Unlocking the device, I see that the dashboard icon has changed to white, indicating I have notification messages. I press it and am greeted by something similar to this:

  • I click the yellow note to get to my mails (five unread).
  • I see that a client reports our web server is very slow. 
  • I go back to the dashboard and choose the browser window (that says Facebook). 
  • I press Ctrl-N to open a new window (just like on a desktop). 
  • I open up the client's webpage to see if it appears slow. No slowness, the page comes up in about five seconds. And it's a huge thing (for me) that I can use my mobile phone to determine if a web site is slow or not.
  • I wonder what the easiest way would've been to restart our MySQL database (it runs out of connections sometimes) if that had been the problem. Mind you, I'm not wondering if it's possible or not. I am contemplating the easiest and most efficient way. I wonder if I could edit my /etc/hosts to include our servers that I need to SSH in to. It appears I haven't got vi, joe, nano or pico installed on my N900 and those are all the editors I can think of right now, so I try to less /etc/hosts. Less doesn't exist either, but naturally cat /etc/hosts works. No worries, I think I saw an installable editor somewhere in some repository. I make a mental note to install one later.
  • I go back to the dashboard, return to the mail application and respond quickly to the mail "I don't think the webpage is very slow, could you elaborate? When was it slow? Did it stay slow for a long time?". I write almost as much as I would on my desktop.
  • I respond to an sms and find joy in being able to write as much as I want, and not the short, stubby sentences I got used to with the iPhone or the Hero.
  • I greet some friends on MSN.
  • I open up Facebook (ok to check what everyone's doing. Facebook loads in five seconds. I'm very pleased with the speed, because it is no slower than I would expect my desktop to perform. On the Android, I felt the OS was conserving resources all the time, so when I put a program in the background to load a webpage while I was doing other stuff, I felt like it didn't load anything when I wasn't watching. On the N900 I can actually see it loading from the dashboard. It's never sleeping on the job!

All this with zero hiccups. I've been slightly taken aback by certain instability issues while testing the N900, but testing is never real use and now that I actually got to do what I  need this device for, it performed flawlessly. Maybe I was just lucky this morning, time will tell, but I definitely have a very good feeling about it now.

The Hero actually gave me a much bigger sense of insecurity than the N900, so I am genuinely pleased with my decision to abandon Android for Maemo.

3 kommenttia:

  1. Thanks for everything so far. Illuminating.
    Now here's some questions:

    Ease of turning off wlan? Ease of turning off GSM ("flight mode")? Ditto BT?
    Any other nifty battery-saving features?

    Calendar? Alarms?

    Any app good for reading? Which formats?
    (I'm not overly picky - by "good for reading" I mean something that lets me adjust size and orientation of text and remembers where I was, in multiple docs, of course.)
    Editing of docs?

  2. Battery life is inconclusive right now. The first weeks with a new device is non-stop nerd-bonanza - I hardly ever let go of the device. Right now I see it lasting at least as long as the iPhone, so a little longer than a day, but not two full days, so I expect I'll be charging every day. It was exactly the same with the Hero too.

    Read my next blog entry for information about Wlan, Bt, Gps, Alarms... I want to do some screenshots.

    Calendar is ok, but not beautiful and not amazingly efficient. Let's just say I'm hoping for something more impressive down the line.

    For reading there is a free app called Documents to go. I haven't tried it, but I will soon. and then there is the built in PDF-viewer. Apps are still very scarce for Maemo...

    The pdf-viewer doesn't do "fit to width". It can zoom to 100% and 150%, but not fill. I didn't like it a lot.

    You can find all available apps here:

    There are only 59 so far, but there are a lot more in the "extras" and "testing" repositories. The "testing" ones are just not considered stable yet.

  3. Ah, Documents-to-go, it's almost so I get nostalgic... Some version of that (usually not top-of-the-line, but always more than just a viewer) has come bundled with Palms/Treos for a long time.
    Not bad as a reader, actually (the versions I've seen). Especially if you have a really badly formatted e-book that you don't have the energy to re-format (hard breaks, weird spacing etc).
    Haven't used the editing features of DtG in a while, but as I remember (from my old-old Treo) the text/doc portion of it was quite good, but I managed to crash the whole phone repeatedly with spreadsheets.

    Let's hope there's a version of the Gutenberg-compatible/integrated Plucker soon.
    Surfing to Gutenberg and downloading weird old books is a very nice time-killer.

    One day battery life in full-on nerd-mode isn't so bad; I presume that means almost constant wlan and/or 3G data traffic...