Nokia N900 Annoyances

I'm currently (Feb 2010) trying out the Nokia N900 smartphone. FWIW, the runner up was the Palm Pre (Plus, probably). I went with the N900 because it's even more open/geeky, I'm less worried about Nokia folding than than Palm (Nokia is freaking huge) and it supports T-Mobile's 3G network, which is far and away the fastest in the US right now.

The big problem with the N900 right now is that it's basically a beta/dev platform. This isn't obvious from Nokia's site, slightly dishonestly IMO, but it sure is from the amazon reviews of the N900, for example. They're expecting "the community" to fill in a lot of the gaps.

In general, I'm fine with that, but I'm not here to take on a project, I'm here to use a tool. So it's important that I track the stuff that really drives me nuts, to keep me honest: too much annoying stuff and I should try a Pre instead. Hence this page.

  • the browser keeps crashing -_- I lost a couple of versions of this page that way.
    • I have a suspicion that this only happens when I install things like plugins without rebooting, but that's still broken because if I need to reboot, you should tell me to reboot
    • there's a firefox for this thing, but it has its own problems (like popping to the top of the page most times I hit enter, which on a screen this small is very annoying)
  • the big failing for me with basically every smartphone that isnMt the iphone (the iphone is a total fail for me, I need a physical keyboard) is ebook support. The iphone has kindle and stanza, and as far as I can tell the books that are exclusive to those platforms can't be gotten anywhere else. You can get Kindle books on the PC and then (probably illegally) strip the DRM, but I have no idea how to get Stanza-for-iphone books on anything but the iphone.
  • neither browser seems to do much autocompletion (that is, they don't seem to store anything for most form fields, but the do store some search stuff and URLs)
  • password saving issues: the builtin browser has a habit of popping up the password saving dialog without any actual buttons, which is not helpful
  • the built-in browser loses track of typeahead a lot, when vim isn't even typeaheading at all. something about javascript on the wiki page? I don't know, but quite annoying.
  • you can't re-order bookmarks in the built-in browser
  • the built-in calendar is amazingly under-featured; you can't do repeats more complicated than "weekly"; not even "every 2 weeks". fortunately, you can sync it with google calendar and the repeats mostly work.
  • the google maps support is really spectacularily bad, but YoDude's hack (along with the geo-location mod mentioned there) actually makes it quite functional.
  • I seem to have hit a bug with the screen tapping sounds, where it won't turn off and I have ro go into the xterm and kill stuff
    • except this reboot it worked. shrug.
  • the silent mode, in general, doesn't imply what one might expect... like you know, being silent. videos, and web pages, use a seperate volume slider; silent mode omly affects the phone, it seems. Survivable, in that I can move the slider down to mute, but surprised the hell out of me a couple of times.
  • text copy is harder than it should be, because the drag moves the web page around, but it's not as hard as I thought. shift+arrows will select text, and you can drag from off the left edge to get a mouse pointer in the default browser
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