David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

January 29th, 2008 at 10:49 am Print This Post Print This Post

Typed LIVE on the Nokia N800!

As promised, this post is coming to you from my new Nokia N800. When I received it on Saturday the 19th, I immediately spent the entire rest of the day examining it and testing it in many ways. Like Christmas in January! I was so busy playing with it, I neglected to post about it (and from it). By the time Monday rolled around, I might have posted if it weren’t for my son getting sick from what we thought was some spoiled milk. Tuesday, we discovered it wasn’t the milk: Now I was sick, and ended up working only a half-day before I could muster up the energy to get myself home and crash. Wednesday, I was better but my wife was now sick (opposite end from my son and I). By Thursday, everyone was feeling better but my wife had no energy yet so I stayed home again. Friday I finally made it back to work, and you can imagine I didn’t have much spare time at this point! I also had a bit of homework due a couple of those nights.

As you can imagine, the N800 didn’t get much of a workout at work and wasn’t a top priority at home, either. I even forgot the charger when I left work sick on Tuesday, and was left with a dead battery at home all day Wednesday!

I’ve still managed to give the device a pretty good workout, and it’s a very nice little system that has already been handy to have in my pocket on more than one occasion. The main limitation has been that the system is slow when loading large or complex websites, although it will still handle most of them. The onscreen keyboards (for stylus and thumbs) are much poorer than the thumbboard on my Treo 650, where I can almost touch-type at high speed, but the bluetooth keyboard is a huge improvement (over even the Treo usually) when I turn it on.

The HelpSpot helpdesk software runs a touch slow (pun unintentional but fully intended, I’m sure :-) but otherwise is almost completely normal in the Gecko-based web browser. The response field is not as wide as it could be (there are gray bars on the sides where it could expand but doesn’t), but it’s functional. All AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript And XML) appears to work properly. Gmail is also slow but usable. WordPress, at least my heavily-plugin-customized version, runs well except when composing a post, when the text editor is slower than molasses. in January. Switching to the WPhone mobile version is much faster and even easier to navigate on the smaller screen. Supposedly, WPhone is optimized to provide an even better interface on the iPhone than on other mobile devices that support AJAX, but this doesn’t carry over to the N800, although I am assuming the browser is more than capable. It’s probably an auto-detection thing.

There is a Nokia N800 WordPress editor called Maemo WordPy which was a bit difficult to figure out initially due to a poor user interface and one or two limitations that should be fixed in future versions. It will do some cool things (in the latest beta) like upload images directly to Flickr and insert that into a post! However, I am using the web-based WPPhone for this post as I mentioned. Copying and pasting links is not the best experience on this thing, so I am going to cheat and do some hotlinking from my full-sized computer before posting :-) (And a bit of proofreading and editing, it turns out!)

Is it perfect? No. Nothing is perfect when you are looking for a 22″ widescreen monitor on a quad-core desktop that all fits in your pocket! But it makes some good compromises and performs well for what I want it to do, at a (very) reasonable price. (Amazon had it for $231 when I bought mine off of eBay for a bit more with an SDHC memory card and Bluetooth keyboard that Amazon also had for $50.)