In general I recommend reading all articles on Know Nokia 😉 Quality info on n900 wizardry.
Today I had a chance to test out the Capital Bikeshare. It’s a project funded by Arlington County and DC to build a better bicycle sharing system than what DC built 2 years ago (Smart Bike). Right now they have more than 100 stations and 1000+ bikes.
The system has three memberships. Daily, Monthly and yearly, $5, $25, $75 respectively. (Currently they have a discount on yearly membership: $50). Each time you check out a bike the first 30 minutes is free, then they start charging per usage.
The system is designed and priced to go from one point to the other and not to rent a bike per day. It’s a great commuting option for those who live in DC Metro area.
My test today was the daily membership. I paid $5 and got the bike from behind the Pentagon City mall (Pentagon Row). I rode it to the station at 18th and M st NW. Since I work close by it was the best option for me. It took me a little over 20 minutes.
The bicycles are cute and look like typical city bikes. They have tall and thick wheels, 3 gears on the right, a bell on the left handle. They also have a rack on the handlebar to carry some small bag or jacket, etc..
Renting them is easy. If you got one day membership, you swipe your card and it asks you your phone number and your zip code. Then it gives you a number that you punch on the left side of any bike you like on the rack. When the light turns green, you pull the bike from the rack and you pedal away. Monthly and annual members use their issued token to do the same thing.
My metro ride during rush hour is $2.45 each way. It means close to $5 per day. The commute with Capital Bikeshare will be around $1.50 and healthier. 🙂 So it’s a win/win situation! Emre approved…
Here is me doing silly videos on my first Bikeshare ride:
Nokia released a 16 MB minor release for the n900. The firmware version is: 3.2010.02-8
I had some issues with the update. I basically ran out of rootfs disk space. The update application complains as: Not enough space in location. For me disabling all the extra repositories and running apt-get clean; apt-get autoremove did the trick.
This looks like a bugfix update, and might be paving the road for the PR1.2 release. Still official changelog is a mystery. For more info check this thread on talk.maemo.org.
Also the update takes another ~3 MB on your rootfs. 😉
I am starting to believe that my battery issues were 2-3 isolated incidents. Lately the phone is staying a full 13-15 hours without any issues with moderate usage: 3g/wifi browsing, media player + FM transmitter and the rest.
One thing I did is to remove the RSS applet and empty the RSS feeds. I almost never use them anyway. The other one is to shutdown the phone, remove the battery, hold the power button for 10-12 seconds, put the battery back and start the phone. I don’t know if any of those had an effect on the battery life.
I also contacted the Nokia support, since I still believe that there is an issue with my phone battery. They will send me a new battery. I will have a chance to compare the new one and the old one.
I had a chance to chart a “normal” usage and the deep sleep mode for the phone looks like working pretty good. I’m hesitant about posting more charts to my blog, but I’ll do it anyway to be fair to the previous post. Here are the charts.
This battery life situation is kinda pissing me off. 🙁
I wrote a script to get charge, battery %, and cpu load. Made it run every 10 mins to collect the data. I unplugged the phone at 9:40 am. No 3g, no wireless, very few interaction. About 10-20 mins phone conversation. And at 15:30 the battery was completely drained. It gives me 6 hours of battery life under normal conditions.
The handset runs very warm. I found a temp sensor in the /sys folder but I don’t know if it’s telling me the truth since it’s constantly at 38° C. I contacted the Nokia support, I hope they can provide me something. Maybe I have a defect battery.
Here are the charts since I love them… 🙂
All and all I’m definitely a Linux person. That means my expectations from n900 was primarily to be hackable 🙂 I’m also coming from the world of blackberry. My previous hand-held was 8320. Other than being an extremely well designed smart-phone for business and email, it was pretty much useless for me. In this review i will also try to compare them.
I actually wanted buy the new google nexus one, it turned out that being a T-mobile customer for almost ten years would actually not allow you to qualify for the discount price of $180 with a two year plan renewal. So I said phukitol, and went and spent my $500+ to a Nokia n900 instead of a Nexus One.
N900 is the flagship product of Nokia for 2009-2010. It’s running maemo as the OS. It’s the “other” linux based handheld OS currently developed only by Nokia (well apart being open source for most parts of it). It’s debian based. So ubuntu/debian users will find theirselves pretty much at home. (System wise of course. UI is completely unrelated)
It has a full qwerty (for US) keyboard. The screen slides up to reveal it. If you don’t want to use the physical keyboard, it also offers a virtual one. It’s kinda weird though because the virtual keyboard is a full screen keyboard 🙂
It also has a great camera. Very good widescreen 800×480 resolution. It works with t-mobile 3g, which is first for me. I had a chance to test the 3g around Washington, DC and Providence, RI. I’m not very impressed. But when it really is on 3g things get super fast.
- Awesome environment if you are a linux person.
- Great user interface. Very smooth and shiny. Almost never slow and never frustrating.
- Basic applications are already bundled out of the box. Nokia default software repositories are setup. (Apt-get with a good UI) if you want community supported apps you have to enable the Extras(-devel|-testing) repositories. (Which is setup but disabled for Extras) More infor here and here.
- The maemo SDK and emulator was very easy to install on my ubuntu. I will soon start hacking 😉
- It has all the beauties of a linux box. I mean ssh, sshd, terminal, vi, grep, more, busybox, etc… you get what i mean 🙂 It’s a great feeling to port forward your home machine’s web server to localhost and open the web browser to browse your home machine through the ssh tunnel for example 🙂
- The media player is very very good. One really great thing is that it has an FM transmitter built-in! You can transmit your songs to any usable FM frequency and listen on a car radio for example. Including the network streaming radios! (Bridge between conventional and internet radio!) It also comes with a good in ear headset with microphone.
- Great contacts management. With some tricks you can import your google and gtalk contacts and manually merge them. The contacts become a unified messaging system. You can call, gtalk IM, gtalk voice, skype, SIP call from the very same contacts manager. Merging contacts are also very intuitive and easy.
Not So Goods:
- Battery: It is better than a laptop, but worse than a smartphone. OK, I’m heavily using the phone, meaning browsing, SIP, IM… And I was expecting a not so good battery life, but I wasn’t expecting this bad 🙁 This is the only thing that is on the frustrating level. With daily usage (whatever that means) I get around 6-10 hours of battery life at max.
- Email Client (Modest): It’s an OK client. It displays your emails, it let’s you write an email, if you are offline, it let’s you queue them and it knows how to send then when you get online. But it ends there 🙂 There is no search! You cannot search your emails. If you are a blackberry convert, you would be dissatisfied. It needs improvements.
- Applications: As you could imagine, there are not many applications à la iPhone or Android. But there are a lot of good, stable open applications. For example, there is no google maps. (But there is a nokia maps app which is not that bad) I think with the popularity of this phone, there will be more apps out. Ovi Store is a good start.
- Keyboard: It’s a good slim keyboard. But the top line of keys are sometimes hard to press because they are very close to the sliding “lid”. There is very little space to fit your fingers.
Overall, I think this phone has a lot of potential. It sleek, very sexy and user friendly. Absolutely a great potential for linux hackers and developers. If I would have an option to return it, I probably wouldn’t. And I’m happy that I didn’t buy a Nexus One. 🙂
Note: Wow it looks like me and engadget did a review at the same time 🙂