Controlling your TV from your mobile phone has been possible for a long time now, I have personally used the Nokia 6600 for this functionality in the past. Then IR ports started to disappear from most devices and recently they have made a comeback of sorts. The N900 has one, so the obvious use is turning it into a remote.
You have already seen Raemote, which turns the N900 into an Apple remote, today is the turn of the Irreco widget. This compact widget features basic features that include volume and channel control, mute the TV and power it on or off.
It works independently of the Irreco app and can be downloaded from extras-devel in the Application Manager. The range is obviously nowhere near that of a dedicated remote, but is good enough for the odd use. After installation reboot the N900 to see the widget on the homescreen.
- Next, longpress the widget to enter its settings and go on to download your specific remote.
- Once downloaded you should see the following. If you don’t find the specific remote you are looking for, try selecting something close to it.
- Simply exit the settings and start using the widget.
Lets us know your experience with it.
Barriosquare, a dedicated foursquare app for the N900 has been available for quite a while now. But in my usage I have found it to be slow and unreliable. Infact when it is refreshing with the server, your ability to multitask on the N900 is taken away.
In comes Cotchin!, a web based app for Foursquare which can be used to going to cotchin.com/m from your N900. It uses the Geo-Location extension of the N900’s MicroB browser to locate nearby venues for checking-in. Even on a slowish connection, it is fast and also offers the ability to look for your friends, at your history, search, shout and of course check-in.
- A simple tap on the ‘Places’ button brings the following up within seconds.
- You can tap on a name to check-in. Also tap the Facebook and Twitter buttons depending on whether you want the notification sent to the respective service. I love this feature.
- Clicking on ‘Friends List’ brings a list of your foursquare friends, sorted by the time of check-in. You can also use the search function here.
- The ‘Me’ reveals your history, mayorships and badges.
To use Cotchin! on your N900, you will need to install the Maemo Geolocation plugin if you already haven’t. You will find it in the Application Manager’s repositories. Alternatively, download it from here and install.
When you open cotchin.com/m on your N900 for the first time, you will see the above popup, select ‘always allow for this site’. The developers have pledged their support for the N900 and promise features like mini reviews, an enhanced history page and enhanced venue search in subsequent versions.
In my opinion, it is currently the best way to check-in from the N900.
At this point I am wondering if there is something that the community cannot do with the N900? The latest in the line of hacks to come out for the N900 is USB Host Mode. The same functionality that will out of the box on the Nokia N8, can greet your N900 as well if you are happy to hack around quite a bit.
As you can see from the following pictures, connecting a USB flash drive is a go and it pops up in the File Manager once connected.
If you would like more than one flash drive connected, that is a possibility too.
At this point it is not available for the average consumer to try, but if modding is your thing, here is the garage entry for it. If you would like to follow this development more closely, this is the thread to keep an eye on.
A calendar widget is a must have for the N900 and almost everyone has it on their homescreen. Unfortunately it is not customisable and a tap on it opens the day’s agenda and not the month view, something I hate. Fortunately nicolai has produced a replacement for it that is based on the default N900 theme and looks just like the default, but with a few additions and the ability to customise. Get it from extras-devel, search for ‘Calendar Home Widget’.
You can now set the duration for which the calendar checks, the number of rows the widget shows (2-9), the calendars it displays, and what mode it opens when tapped on. Here is what it looks like in the ‘Large’ size, notice the default widget for comparison sake. The extreme right of the replacement widget shows whether an entry is a birthday or has an alarm set, it also shows the month on top.
The only disadvantage is that it does not adapt to the current theme like the inbuilt widget. Hopefully, a future update will fix that as well. Follow this TMO thread for the latest.
In my last post, I asked why couldn’t Nokia deliver a system wide portrait keyboard for the N900? In this post I am glad to tell you that the community has once again stood up to the challenge and produced a system wide portrait keyboard that can be used by any app automatically.
The ‘portrait-keyboard’ package by Robin Burchell and Frals is available in extras-devel and once installed, it replaces the inbuilt virtual keyboard and pops up in its place wherever you need to enter text be it Conversations, Notes, Web Browser and so on.
It features a landscape mode (pictured above) as well as a portrait mode (pictured below). After installing the package, reboot the N900 to get this working.
- No fast input. Multi-tap to enter a letter, it’s slow and *very* painful.
- Changing orientation results in the text you’ve written so far being lost.
- To use it, you’ll need to ‘killall hildon-input-method’ after installing the package (or reboot your n900)
- It’s (a bit) painful to use in landscape mode.
Possible future directions (but this is by no means going to happen overnight, these are all quite difficult – feel free to pitch in and help):
- Separate layout for landscape mode, for easier use
- Fast, predictive input
- Automatic capitalisation
This is a great start and eliminates the need of dedicated apps such as VertSMS (although it has a QWERTY layout as well). If you think you can contribute, talk to frals or w00t / w00t_ on #maemo, and see this. You can also follow this TMO thread for the latest. If you haven’t enabled extras-devel, here’s how to do it, the usual warning about software from extras-devel applies.
I can’t wait for the next update. Awesome work.
The N900 has a predominantly landscape design, Nokia has said that full portrait capabilities will not come to the N900. But they have enabled portrait mode for the browser and also the shortcut ‘Ctrl+Shift+R’ (post PR 1.2) that lets you rotate quite a few apps to portrait orientation but it works once and you have to enable it again once you close the app.
Over time need has been felt for a conversations app in portrait, portrait text entry in web browser and so on but around 7 months down the line, we haven’t seen Nokia put a portrait keyboard in. A few developers have made their own version in Opera, VertSMS and the latest being Witter, the twitter client for the N900.
Witter has had portrait mode for a few days now and once in portrait all you need to do is tap the new tweet text box to bring it up. If the N900 tilts to the side even a little bit, the landscape QWERTY comes up so keep the N900 as straight as possible.
Pressing the ‘123’ button brings the following up.
It is really great to see the community bring such things to life. But my question to Nokia is, why not make a decent portrait keyboard for the N900 and let all developers use it, rather than each one having to make his own? This will not only save times but also rid users the need to get used to different layouts all the time.
Yes, we know you don’t really plan on portrait mode for the N900, but please give developers a hand at least. Or is something like this already in your plans, considering ‘Ctrl+Shift+R’ was introduced in PR 1.2?