David Szpunar: Owner, Servant 42 and Servant Voice

David's Church Information Technology

January 29th, 2008 at 10:49 am

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.)

  • 1

    Doesn’t sound to bad. I would guess from your other comments that anything which relies on a fair amount of javascript is going to be a little slow. That makes sense really as JS requires more client processing power, but good to hear most things are usuable for the most part.

    For quick access you might want to install the HelpSpot iPhone UI. It’s simplier layout may be faster than the full UI (right now you can only do public updates to existing requests, not sure if that’s enough for you though you could always go to the full UI as needed).

    Ian on January 29th, 2008
  • 2

    Ian — Yes, JavaScript does seem to be the culprit in slowdowns. For example, PassPack runs on the N800, but very slowly, and it pushes the limits of JavaScript speed in desktop browsers! Flash can be slow as well.

    I’ll have to check out the iPhone UI, I remember you posting about it but I forgot all about it–and the name didn’t exactly ring any bells with my N800 :-) But it would probably work. I do many more private updates than public though, so that could be an issue, and I also utilize the time tracking function a lot (don’t know if that’s available or not). I’ll have to take a look soon.

    I actually am considering taking a look at the Mobile Phone UI for HelpSpot on the N800, but I haven’t done it yet–I’m curious to see how usable (and fast) it is. The WPhone plugin I mentioned for WordPress, even without the iPhone tweaks, looks slick and works lightening fast on the N800 (and my Treo 650 for that matter :-)

    David Szpunar on January 29th, 2008
  • 3

    The regular mobile UI has the features you need and should be very fast as there’s no JS at all.

    Ian on January 29th, 2008
  • 4

    Dude! I saw you grabbed the Nokia this afternoon but I never got to see it! Next time?

    Brett Anderson on January 30th, 2008
  • 5

    Yeah that’s OK, it’s not like we ran out of stuff to talk about! Frankly, discussion is better than toys, which I’m kind of surprised to hear myself saying :-) But yeah, I wouldn’t mind showing it off when given another chance ;-)

    Glad you and the team made it back safely, hope it wasn’t too late.

    David Szpunar on January 30th, 2008