First Impressions of an old device: Welcome the Nokia N900

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Recently, while being really excited about the beautiful Nokia N9, I realized that the prizes for used N900s had finally dropped into regions, where it was an instant purchase for me. So I went ahead and bought a device, which I hadn’t really ever seen that often.

In fact, while taking it out of it’s box, I was almost overwhelmed by the good condition my used unit was in, and while taking the hefty device in my hand, I finally realized what this skinny nerd girl, which is the only person among the people I call friends that has ever had an N900, had meant: The N900’s thickness, surely not looking good on spec sheet or photos, doesn’t to it no harm once you hold it and use it.

The soft touch feel of the device is really enjoyable, and aside, the software looks really good on the 3.5” WVGA screen. And not only that, while you notice that the N900 has a resistive touch screen, you will soon realize, that it doesn’t kill this device, in fact I am sure that as soon as you start exploring possibilities like that debian chroot option, you will actually be happy that Nokia made this decision.

Naturally, the speed of the late 2009 N900 doesn’t compare well to todays top notch competition’ still the combination of a TI OMAP 3430 with 256MB Ram is likely way more fun on this device than on a equally specced Motorola Milestone and surely more fun than on a orginally Palm Pre.

Asking myself, why I didn’t get that thing right at launch is a question I asked myself later last night. As far as I remember it simply was the superficial comparison (photos and spec lists),
that the N900 really lost to the Motorola Milestone for then obvious reasons. Today, it is different: If you are really up for making a bargain on a used and aged device (which is not the worst thing one can do, as last years top notch hardware is usually better made than this years mid level thing), you should rather consider the N900. I know, this feels odd in a post titled “First impressions”, but even though both devicea have arrived at a dead end talking of software, the N900 is way better than a poorly supported Android phone.

Maemo 5 really is as promsing as it always seemed to me from looking at videos. Really, I will never umderstand Nokias’ decision to kill software platforms shortly after or at launch. Not that Maemo 6 Harmattan, aka “MeeGo 1.2” on the N9 looks even more compelling – but seriously, it took them to effing long to get out the door with it, far longer than I assume it would have taken to make a smaller N900 in an E7 shape running a Maemo 5 iteratin ironing out lacking features like a portrait mode. I could go on ranting on this issue, as I could really rant myself into a rage over many bad decisions of Android manufacturers.

To wrap this up: My overall first impression of this N900 is very positive. I like it, it was a good decision to spend roughly 130 Euro for it.

This article was written on the N900.

iPad 2. First Impressions

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So I got myself an iPad 2, to be precise the one with integrated 3G, in order to be connected everywhere.

Why, you may ask, did I do that? Why didn’t you buy a nice honeycomb tablet?
Or a MeeGo tablet, like that good old WeTab? Well, first of all, I have been noticing that I have noticed that I have become real picky about bad usability, and Honeycomb IMHO isn’t that great in terms of that – and as I felt like I would need 3G for my use case, the otherwise o.k. HP TouchPad didn’t seem exactly suitable.
Besides, I am now in the media business and at least as far as the German market is concerned, the iPad is currently THE content platform – almost the only.

When I unboxed it, I became very excited, after having installed iOS 5 on this device, I knew I had entered the often mentioned reality distortion field, that Apple devices are known to impose on their users.

Right now, as I am writing this, I am less than overwhelmed, as I stumbled on a few annoyances, despite those that I expected anyway (iTunes, being forced to spend money in the App Store to have an usable device after all, there isn’t even a voice recorder preinstalled), and so on. The most annoying thing I stumbled upon: if an app (or media file in iTunes) is larger than 20 MB, you will be forced to download this over WiFi, which simply doesn’t make any sense to me at all. I can’t understand why this is so, as downloads in the browser work nicely without any hassle, no matter how large the requested files are – while a warning would certainly be nice to those with a very limited data plan, being forced to find a hotspot near you is a real PITA.

On the other hand, everything is really smooth. I had a few apps that didn’t work too well (itself or in combination with that new split keyboard), some even crashed, but that maybe related to the new features and thus changes Apple introduced with iOS 5. In general, everything’s smooth, and those Music and painting apps are something I’ve been longing for for quite a long time, so I really enjoy that.

But then, there are those mixed feelings again, because of all these limitations, the fact, that I miss certain open source apps and know that it’s virtually impossible to ever use them on this device (more unlikely than it would be on Android, whether it would even be easily doable on the HP TouchPad using the homebrew software Xecutah) – I don’ t really know whether I will actually keep this tablet, which doesn’t lead the tablet market for no reason.

I will keep you updated about me and my iPad – don’t worry, it won’t be more often then, say, monthly.

Samsung Galaxy SII (GT-I9100) – Review

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After about three weeks I feel ready to write this late review on the Samsung Galaxy SII, an Android best seller. I have been using it, switched back to my Acer Stream (2010 gen.), compared it to the Pre Plus and the old and dusty T-Mobile G1 to come to the conclusions I will share now. The Galaxy SII in question was running Android 2.3.3, build Gingerbread.XWKE2.


The first thing one notices when one gets the SGSII is: “Wow, that IS a small box.” The next is, after opening the box: “The box couldn´t be smaller.” One takes it out and thinks: “Hey, that is thin and light”. A second later one notices, that the battery isn´t inside the phone yet – I could go on like this, but who would read it like that.

HARDWARE


It´s thin (8.49mm), but huge – and light (119g). It´s fast, a 1.2GHz Dual Core ARM Cortex A9 chipset, accompanied by ARM Mali 400 MP graphics (developed and made by Samsung, called Exynos 4210) and 1GB of RAM  provide a stutter free Android experience on a WVGA (800×480) Super AMOLED Plus screen (12 subpixels. 16GB of onboard storage (microSD slot is there, too), an 8 Megapixel Camera with LED flash, a 2MP front camera and a HSPA+ capable 3G module make the spec sheet complete.

While the device feels good and solid in my rather large hands (at first I found it a little bit to light and was terribly afraid of breaking it), the hardware has its weaknesses – I don´t want to comment on the plastic skin of the device, which makes it so super light and feels sturdy, but on the button of the SGSII, which are.. well, not that great.

First of all, there is the missing camera button. Not that I would particularly like dedicated camera buttons, but with such a good and quickly starting camera like the one of the Samsung Galaxy SII, this IS annoying, as starting the camera becomes more interesting, as you know that you could do a quick shot if only there was a dedicated button (or maybe a lockscreen option, though that would be slightly inferior in my opinion) to start the camera. But there is none, and so you find yourself searching hecticly for that camera shortcut – I placed one on every homescreen, but that´s an ugly hack.

The three buttons the SGSII has on it the sides, volume up and down and power, are, to make this button game even worse, poorly placed, on opposite sides at the same height. This made me hating them, as I, while short pressing the power button to save power by switching the screen off, often accidentely raised the volume without noticing. Think of sitting in a business meeting (or a lecture at school or university, or in a play at the theatre) and your phone starts ringing loudly – it didn´t happen to me, but that was because I was lucky. I believe that Samsung should have placed both buttons on one side or moved the power button to where the iPhone has its – if engineerly feasible, they should do that for their next superphone, even if that means an extra milimeter of thickness.

These are the most annoying buttons, and I´ve got to say that the one physical, surrounded by two capacative ones, sitting right under the screen, aren´t that great, too. As Samsung seems to be trying to resemble the iPhone as good as possible, they didn´t watch usability here. While there is nothing to complain about the physical Home Button, the other two (you can configure their illumination in the settings, which is a nice touch) are so close to the bright and amazingly colorful screen (I didn´t miss qHD resolution, though more is always better ;) ), without anything that makes a haptic differentiator and at a low height of 14 milimeters, that it occurs that you touch them while trying to access the buttons of an application or the other way round – especially while you´re in a haste.

One more thing: There is no notification LED on the SGSII.

Nontheless, all these issues are neglectible, the Galaxy SII is a great hardware, that looks awesome (while sort of knock-offy), sometimes at expense of usability.

SOFTWARE

TouchWiz 4.0, slightly customized

The Android 2.3.3 software (as reviewed, I will update to 2.3.4 right after this review, unfortunately not OTA) doesn´t come stock but has a layer on top of it, that is custom to Samsung devices and has the name TouchWiz, iteration 4.0. With 4 buttons at the bottom it resembles a well known fruit phone. Besides that, Samsung has replaced many icons, and added in blue as an additional color.

While speed and responsibility aren´t harmed by TouchWiz (which is a notable thing, as other custom layers, like the ones of LG, Motorola (Motoblur), Sony Ericsson, and HTC (Sense) have been reported to slow the phones down – to there defense I have to add that the customizations of the latter two change a lot more),  my eyes and usability are.

It´s a personal thing, but I find these TouchWiz icons ugly in comparison to what Android 2.3.x (Gingerbread) delivers. While the colored buttons in the settings menu may help some, the changed battery icon definitely doesn´t – it´s always green, while the stock icon features different colors that help illustrating the battery status.

Samsung has added some applications in, as all manufacturers seem unable to resist to (this, btw, is a great pro of the Nexus series). Most prominently these are the 4 Hubs (Social Hub, Gaming Hub, Readers Hub and Music Hub), that offer you content for money – even the Social Hub, which just comes with a limited feature set. All of these hubs seem to be an attempt to build an ecosystem like the one Apple offers – but it´s no more than an attempt in my opinion. In addition to this, there is “Samsung Apps”, an application market which offers you a bunch of free Apps, among these many, that are in the Android Market anyway (which is still crowded and appears sort of unorganized). It has some special Samsung applications in the “Utilities” section, which are quite usable though (many of these come preinstalled, but not all), including Kies Air (which is great, you connect your Phone to your PC via WiFi and can access the phones data via your PCs browser), Samsung Remote, Samsung Mobile Print and a tool which you can use to update your phones camera firmware.
The most welcomed additions by Samsung to Android (they have added in a custom email app (somehow connected to that Social Hub crapware, customized dialer, contacts, calendar in a million small ways that don´t add value in my humble opinion) are 3 three pre installed apps: A Video editor, a picture editor and Polaris Office, which allows to view and edit Microsoft Office documents (+ view PDF). While all of these apps surely have a limited feature set (this is mobile!), they come in nice and handy and one is glad to have them. Swype is a nice addition that deserves to be mentioned, too.

A friend of mine just bought a SGSII (as his first real smartphone), and I want to share his first impression with Samsungs Software stuff (translated):

“I’ve now bought the SII 9100: D and I’m still happy ….. I wonder just how much garbage is already on the homescreens – mega lots of windows for gaming hub, movie hub, … etc – if you use them, does that cost money? Are these applications where one has to download stuff et cetera or where you are directed into a store?”

Sounds like fail, Samsung!

USABILITY/MULTITASKING (Software side)

Well, this is Android. Usability on Android has never been exactly award winning, and Samsung didn´t manage to really improve this with TouchWiz 4.0, which makes the whole TouchWiz story even more disappointing. Multitasking on Android means using a “Share” option (when you want to send something to another App) or using the Home Button with a short or a long press. While short press brings you back to the homescreen where you left of (another press then directs you to the first homescreen in TouchWiz (as opposed to the one in the middle on stock Android), a long press on the SGSII´s home button leads you to a Screen showing the “Recently used Applications”. This seems nice, but say you´ve got a notification (new email) and entered your eMail app using the Notification area (which Samsung enhanced nicely, though CM does this in a better way), you won´t find that eMail app among the recent apps that pop up after another long press after you´ve gone elsewhere (e.g. browser, to look things up). Google should really improve this in Ice Cream Sandwich, the next Android release which is going to unite smartphone (Gingerbread, 2.3.*) and tablet (Honeycomb 3.*) branches of Android again.
And then there´s this Menu Button, which, mostly because of bad usability decisions by App developers is a pain in the neck – comparable platforms like iOS or WP7 don´t have such a button, which shows that it isn´t necessary – in fact this button is a relict of the early days when Android was developed to become a Blackberry competitor using Googles services.
None of these things are genuinly Samsungs fault though, it´s a problem of Android itself.

PERFORMANCE

Nothing to complain here. It´s fast, it´s fluid – I experienced crashes using 3rd party applications, but that´s most likely not Samsungs fault. It´s on a speed experience level with the latest fruit phone. However, for those of you into gaming, you may consider to get a nVidia Tegra2 powered device (such as the LG P990 or the Motorola Atrix, which both have more flaws then the SGSII), as these feature the Tegra Zone with special games – what Samsung offers in their “Samsung Apps” can´t compete yet.

BATTERY LIFE
Well, it´s ok. It worked a day for me usually, and I am pretty hard on my phones – the SGSII did better than the Palm Pre Plus or the Acer Stream. I could critisize some of the Power Saving Mode stuff Samsung did (no revert to 2G, etc. pp.), but at least they tried to help users with power saving. What´s annoying: Once battery drops under 10%, you can´t take anymore pictures. Doesn´t make sense to me.
ACCESSORIES

Samsung doesn´t put much into the small box. Among a wallcharger and an USB cable and an everlasting Quick Manual, all you find is a surprisingly good in ear headset, which really sounds good. I am going to get myself one of these for my Palm Pre Plus as it just is a lot better (though not as good in the looks department – but, as you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder).

VERDICT


The Galaxy SII is a good phone, that offers great performance. Samsung really did a good job with the Exynos chipset – unfortunately the phone doesn´t deserve the title “great” due to aforementioned issues. Many of the issues, mostly those on the software side are fixable – if they aren´t fixed by Samsung, the community will attempt to do so.

+ / Pro

  • huge, great, responsive, colorful Super AMOLED + touchscreen
  • thin
  • Camera
  • fast. really fast!
  • battery life is really ok for such a beast
– / Contra
  • TouchWiz / Samsung Software additions don´t add much
  • no Camera button, overall button placement
  • WiFi isn´t that good
  • Multitasking isn´t always fun thanks to Androids UX

More:
Screenshot Gallery on picasa
More LINMOB content on the SGSII

A day at CeBIT. Again.

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I am starting this very subjective write up sitting on a chair in the Webciety’s Bloggers Lounge and I feel pretty tired and exhausted – it‘s just as it has been the years before. You walk around all day and spend time out there, go hands on with the few devices you are interested here, talk to booth people… There are great moments and less great – this time there were few less great ones, even the sun was shining all the time, which I never experienced in CeBIT seasons Hannover.

After having strolled around many booths in many halls,  I visited a place that is a must for a guy writing about Linux, the Open Source park, which is a rather small area full of people that show off their more or less popular projects. Among many business related projects (including some I´ ve never heard of, as I am a little bit ashamed to admit) and more popular ones like Firefox 4 and LibreOffice I stumbled on a small Enlightenment corner and there on Carsten „raster“ Haitzler, who, as some of you may remember, was once involved into the Openmoko project. I talked to him for quite some time, first in german (as his father´s german) then in english about Linux, Android, toolkits on mobile devices. As you can read on his website as well, he´s with Samsung now, who are investing heavily into Enlightenment to build a platform on – which will actually be LiMo r4 compliant (there is EFL in LiMo r4, not only GTK+, cairo, clutter and so on). He showed me some EFL demos on an obviously Samsung built device on par with Galaxy S (using Hummingbird and an (approx.) 3.7“ WVGA screen) – most likely a developer model of the never released Samsung H2 / GT-i8330 hardware, which was supposed to be released during last summer, but didn´t make it (at least on Vodafone in Europe). I think I will write a dedicated article about what we talked about as soon as possible, because it really was great to talk about the downfall of MeeGo (back to Moblin, mostly – a fact he wasn´t too unhappy about, working on LiMo, which is certainly a rival to MeeGo on handsets.

Besides that, I didn´t hang out for too long in CeBIT´s OpenSource paradise (it was so crowded!) and headed on to webciety to get a little rest while listening to some panels I didn´t plan to listen too (at the one I had on my schedule, one about tablets with the MeetMobility guys + 2 others (a Qualcomm representive + @petweetpetweet) I arrived late, just to get a rest after all these tablet hands ons (in fact I used my partly broken (headset jack) Palm Pre to capture a hands on with the Hanvon A116 tablet, but I will have to edit it before uploading, so don´t expect that before saturday) and walking (I liked both ASUS Android tablets I wrote about recently (the MeMO and the Transformer, of which the latter really features amazing build quality and a really great finish), and then went on to have a look at some more devices before coming back late to the panel I just mentioned. After that, I managed to talk to @sascha_p for a few minutes, exchange business cards and head on to Huawei, were I had a look at their Android devices, entry level and up before „winning“ a Vodafone 246 dumb phone at the stand of a popular german PC magazine, which was about the last thing I did before heading out to catch my train.

If you want to, have a look at the photos I took.

Frustration

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I’ve been preparing to publish something here for quite some time. I started a writeup on smartphone platforms while sitting in the train on the way back from an useless job interview in munich. I didn’t finish it, had other things to do, my parents were on holidays nearby, and I had another stupid test to pass. While I was working on that, I head to learn the hard way why exactly Apple came up with their magsafe stuff: The power supply of my netbook somehow managed to pull it down when I stood up from my desk. Screen broken. Nice black area on the right of the screen. I most likely won’t fix it. I will rather sell it, and buy something that’s more helpful and an additional battery for my 14″ notebook.

In addition to that, another semester has started. As I hate printing all the stuff you need to be prepared at lectures and later be prepared at the examination, simply because it takes so long, is an effing waste of natural resources and it’s a pain in the neck to carry all that paper along whenever you travel in order to be able to work, i tried to find something that could fit my workflow. An electronic device, like Amazons kindle, plus some features to be able to make annotations during lectures. I hear someone shouting TabletPC. Sorry, that’s not it. It can do too much else and thus distract me badly, it’s heavy, expensive and in addition to that, most TabletPCs have a terrible battery life.

And don’t talk me into the iPad or an Android tablet. They seem (if my inquiries weren’t too bad) to lack the appropriate software – not to mention their sunlight readability. It’s too bad that there are so few tablets using Wacom technology.

Really, the only device that’s close to fit and available is made by Apple, and i am not talking of any iOS device here. I think of getting one of these crazy Newton MessagePads. Unfortunately, those that are powerful and thus interesting (2000,2100) are rare and still expensive, and then there is another drawback: Apparently no PDF support. PDF just wasn’t that popular in the 1990s. Converting is possible, maybe it would even work out.

But really: Isn’t it effing frustrating that there is no effing device that is really suitable to survive university without having to carry a huge load of paper? Is this market so uninteresting?

Probably I should turn this disaster into a business plan.

Frustration

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I’ve been preparing to publish something here for quite some time. I started a writeup on smartphone platforms while sitting in the train on the way back from an useless job interview in munich. I didn’t finish it, had other things to do, my parents were on holidays nearby, and I had another stupid test to pass. While I was working on that, I head to learn the hard way why exactly Apple came up with their magsafe stuff: The power supply of my netbook somehow managed to pull it down when I stood up from my desk. Screen broken. Nice black area on the right of the screen. I most likely won’t fix it. I will rather sell it, and buy something that’s more helpful and an additional battery for my 14” notebook.
In addition to that, another semester has started. As I hate printing all the stuff you need to be prepared at lectures and later be prepared at the examination, simply because it takes so long, is an effing waste of natural resources and it’s a pain in the neck to carry all that paper along whenever you travel in order to be able to work, i tried to find something that could fit my workflow. An electronic device, like Amazons kindle, plus some features to be able to make annotations during lectures. I hear someone shouting TabletPC. Sorry, that’s not it. It can do too much else and thus distract me badly, it’s heavy, expensive and in addition to that, most TabletPCs have a terrible battery life.
And don’t talk me into the iPad or an Android tablet. They seem (if my inquiries weren’t too bad) to lack the appropriate software – not to mention their sunlight readability. It’s too bad that there are so few tablets using Wacom technology.
Really, the only device that’s close to fit and available is made by Apple, and i am not talking of any iOS device here. I think of getting one of these crazy Newton MessagePads. Unfortunately, those that are powerful and thus interesting (2000,2100) are rare and still expensive, and then there is another drawback: Apparently no PDF support. PDF just wasn’t that popular in the 1990s. Converting is possible, maybe it would even work out.
But really: Isn’t it effing frustrating that there is no effing device that is really suitable to survive university without having to carry a huge load of paper? Is this market so uninteresting?
Probably I should turn this disaster into a business plan.

(Crossposting, originally posted at brimborium.net)

„Der Wolkenatlas“ von David Mitchell

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This is a short comment on the novel “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell. I´ve read the german translation, thus I did my “review” in german as well.

Cloud Atlas

igb

Ich schreibe über dieses Buch, weil ich mir vorgenommen habe meine Freizeitbeschäftigungen bewusster zu verarbeiten. Eigentlich würde ich lieber nicht über dieses Buch schreiben, denn es ich habe es in der deutschen Übersetzung gelesen, was, wenn man bedenkt, dass ich die englische Sprache doch immerhin leidlich beherrsche, fast ein Verbrechen ist. Aber gut, in der Buchhandlung war das Buch nicht auf Englisch vorrätig und das bestellen des Originals, ein gar nicht mal so langwieriger Prozess, wollte ich nicht auf mich nehmen, denn ich kaufte es doch nur aufgrund der Empfehlung einer hübschen Buchhändlerin, die mir erzählte, dass dieses Werk von David Mitchell eines ihrer Lieblingsbücher sei – nachdem wir uns etwas über die sich doch stark ähnelnden Geschichten von Paul Auster und außerdem über Dostojewski ausgetauscht hatten. Wäre ich geistesgegenwärtiger gewesen, hätte ich das Buch auf Englisch bestellt, dann hätte ich eins, zwei Tage später das Buch abholen können, aber gut, war ich nicht, und so habe ich das Buch nun auf Deutsch gelesen, was auch nicht so schlimm war, nein, sogar eine Recht gute Erfahrung.

Mitchell, ein Doktor der vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaften, hat in dieses Buch mehrere Erzählstränge eingearbeitet, die sich sprachlich so stark in ihrem Stil unterscheiden, dass er die Handlungsstränge auch ohne Probleme hätte stärker durchmischen kĂśnnen. So aber beginnt das Buch als Tagebuch einer beruflicher Pazifikreise eines Notars aus San Francisco namens Adam Ewing, setzt sich 1930/1931 als Briefsammlung des – gleichfalls fiktiven – bisexuellen Komponisten Robert Frobisher fort, geht danach in einen in den 1970er Jahren in Kalifornien spielenden Kriminalroman fort, dessen Hauptprotagonistin Luisa Rey heißt und Journalistin ist, um anschließend weiterzufĂźhren Ăźber den mutmaßlich in der Jetzt-Zeit des Buches in England lebenden Verleger Timothy Cavendish, in die Zukunft. Die Zukunft, das bedeutet einen Ortswechsel in die Konzernokratie Korea, in der wir die protokollierte Lebensgeschichte des Aufgestiegenen Bedien-Klons Somni 451 erfahren, um dann den Gipfel zu erklimmen mit der Geschichte des Zachry, der sich zu den Talleuten von Big I., Ha-Why zählt, und in einer Zeit nach dem „Untergang“ lebt, als Ziegenhirte – die Sprache ist entsprechend reduziert, wirkt geradezu archaisch. Nach dem Gipfel (Zachry erklimmt nebenbei denselbigen des Mauna Kea) folgt der Abstieg, wir erfahren einiges Ăźber die GĂśttin der Talleute, Somni, die kurz darauf wieder selbst in der Protokollaufzeichnung zu Wort kommt, es geht weiter mit Cavendish, bis man schließlich wieder bei Ewing auskommt – welcher die innerste Puppe dieser Matroschka darstellt.

All diese Erzählstränge sind mit den ihnen vorangehenden verknĂźpft, mal Ăźber Personen, mal einfach als Geschichte – man kĂśnnte auch sagen, dass die Matroschken leicht transparent sind. Die Verweise mĂśgen teilweise zwar etwas konstruiert erscheinen, ein wiederkehrendes Motiv sind kometenfĂśrmige Muttermale – aber insgesamt fĂźhlt man sich als Leser nicht so sehr in einem elaborierten Machwerk gefangen, dass man deswegen das Buch weglegen wĂźrde, denn es bleibt spannend (und wird spannender, etwa durch Vorgriffe auf die Fortsetzung des vorangehenden Handlungsstrangs, die neugierig machen).
Ein gutes Buch. Worum es nun aber in diesem geht, will ich nicht in Gänze darlegen, nur so viel: Es geht um Lebensfragen. Mehr vielleicht dann, wenn ich das Buch auch noch im Original gelesen habe. Das Buchcover des Originals ist auch viel schÜner.

RECOMMENDED (for lazy readers) : Cloud Atlas (novel) at en.wikipedia.org

Prē only – Days 5 to 12

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It’s about time to give an update on how my feelings on the Palm Prē are after using it exclusively for a time close to two weeks. After I found out how to switch to 2G only mode (which doesn’t hurt at all, as I have been wasting the 200 megabytes that run fast pretty fast (thanks to tethering)) battery standby time has become good enough to make using the Prē quite a pleasure. Even though apps are limited (exspecially for me, as I don’t have a credit card and can’t purchase any paid apps), thanks to the pleasant web experience (web rendering speed is fast) and the best multitasking experience I have ever had on a mobile device. After all this time I suddenly feel like I got used to the bits I didn’t find before, because I simply wasn’t used to the way webOS, I really don’t miss Androids menu button no more. What I still miss a little bit (but only a little bit) is a softkeyboard for the landscape mode which works like androids soft keyboard (tap the text area and up it pops). That would be cool, but I got used to what was so annoying at first: slide to have a hardware keyboard, and of course my typing has become faster as well.

Besides that, I did some testing to confirm the experience, that webOS’s browser version is not the latest. HTML5 Browser Test result is 132 points (plus 5 bonus points) out of 300 possible – your average stable Google Chrome (5.0.375.125) does a 197 (plus 7 bonus points). In particular this results difference is shown in webOS lacking support of most HTML5 section elements (all besides nav), several form element types and attributes, a session history management, support for web applications, geolocation and webworkers. We’re told that all this will be fixed with webOS next major overhaul, webOS 2.0 – HP / Palm is going to follow the web, as stated several times, e.g. in this Palm Developer Podcast. – which are an interesting watch if you are really interested in webOS or even just contemporary web development, but you’ll need some knowledge, I as a web layouter and maybe designer (but not really web developer, though I am trying to get into that), I struggled to understand more than just terms from time to time.

More will follow soon..

Prē only – Days 1 & 2

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Soon after my “Further Imprēssions” post I felt like I should give the Prē another chance and try to use it all day for at least a week (without using my G1 in the meantime). In fact I plan to do so for at least two weeks, and I will try to blog some tips and tricks regarding the Prē, and I’ll try to do so frequently.

Before I actually started to use the Prē again I re-read the instructions manual. Probably I should have done so earlier, but as I was self concious that would find out how to use this device just by actually using it, I just had had a short glimpse at it before. No I read it really carefully while actually trying out all the described features and gestures which aren’t to self explanatory. Then I went on, sat down at my PC to watch some videos about webOS.

In the first video on webOS I watched (after quite a long time), a very important term that was mentionned: “Concious design decision”. Actually this didn´ t really get me overexited (like I was when I saw the announcement video stream of the Palm Pre), but it enabled me to finally get rid of my Android glasses and see the Pre without having certain expectations. I decided to stop missing the “menu” button.

This actually didn’t kill all the points I criticised about the Prē, but it already sort of killed my “landscape mode” point because I suddenly was able to imagine that Palm did this with having something in their mind, and while I was browsing the web I understood that Palm tried to make landscape mode a “better readable” mode, which is not the worst idea I ever saw.

Soon after that I realized, that the slider is a lot less annoying when you don’t use it that often. In fact, when you sit down to have some nice, hot coffee, and want to use the Pre to surf the web while sipping that coffee in a casual way, it´s really comfortable to keep the slider slided out, and hold the pre one handed at the bottom. And it’s fast, this Pre on steroids (Überkernel), compared to my good old G1 – and multitabbing becomes multicarding on the Pre.

Preware (which I had installed before, but hadn’t really looked at is another great thing. Whenever there is something lacking (talking of the default apps), I simply check Preware whether there isn’t a patch.

The first patch I want to talk about, is a rather simple one called “Read/Delete All Email”. It extends webOS’s mail client by offering two extra buttons, one to delete all mail (which I don’t use at all), the other to mark all mails as read, which is handy when dealing with mailing lists and ebay reminders as a person that get’s distracted when a device claims that there is mail waiting to be read.

Another one which turned out to be pretty nice is “Alarm Daily Options” which extends the otherwise too basic (Alarm) Clock, rendering it useful – I will not describe what it does here, it’s too obvious.

More Prē/webOS observations / wishes soon.