keskiviikko 2. joulukuuta 2009

New tweaks

I've been testing out the N900 for 10 days now and have ran into some interesting situations and found some interesting solutions. Here is a fresh batch of "tweaks":

Tweak 1:
I've stopped using the Facebook widget. It sucked my battery dry at a substantially faster rate. The very first day I closed it, I had more than 50% battery left halfway through the day. Normally it would hang at around 35% by then. Try it, you may find it has a huge impact!

Tweak 2:
I've put my mailbox on a diet. I used to have 5600 messages in my IMAP inbox and now I have only 700 (a month's worth). Due to a bug in the mail client Modest, it appears the IMAP folders are completely refreshed every time you open them. With 5600 messages I waited around 20 seconds to actually see my messages each time I opened the inbox. Now I wait only 3 seconds. You can always file your old mail under different folders (I have 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 plus a separate folder for each client). It's not like the N900 can search mailboxes anyway.

Tweak 3:

I bought a cheapish bluetooth headset (at 59€), the Nokia BH-214. It's pretty nice, because you can connect your own headphones to it. I use it mostly for music, but since I've had the microphone bug, where the microphone is suddenly and inexplicably muted and requires a reboot, I can still talk to people over the headset if my mic fails.

The microphone is in the dongle, which has four different buttons: Phone, play/pause, next, previous, so that means I can use any headphones and still am able to talk to people.

Tweak 4:
I yearned for a numerical battery level and now I have one. Just issue this command in the x-terminal:

lshal | grep battery.charge_level.percentage | awk '{print $3}'

It performs the lshal command, which lists HAL devices, looks for the row that contains "battery.charge_level.percentage" and then extracts the third column from that row.

I put this in an executable shellscript /usr/bin/bat, so that I can just write "bat" anywhere to see this output. I'll try to make a desktop widget or status bar module of it some day.

There are some limitations: It doesn't appear to update when the phone is sleeping (unconfirmed) and it goes to zero when the device is charging.

Issue 1:
I've installed Fennec (Mozilla Firefox for mobile devices) and later on learned that it messes with the FM Tuner software (or rather, some libraries they have in common?), which is why I was never able to make the tuner work. It should be fixed in the next version of tuner, but right now, I can't even fix it by uninstalling Fennec and Tuner and then reinstalling only tuner. It's dead and would require a reflash of the N900 to fix. So don't mess with Fennec if the tuner is important to you.

Issue 2: 
When i relaunch the camera, it doesn't remember that I told it to never use flash and always flashes anyway. I've made it a habit to always go into flash settings, turn on flash and then turn it off again, when I launch the Camera app, to ensure that it won't flash. So far it has worked.

That's all for today, folks. I will return with more stories as I keep on testing the N900. Today a lot more people received theirs (at least here in Finland), so we will be seeing new reports and rants shortly.

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