Archive for January, 2008



An Explanation of the Recent Download Problems

Ferenc Szekely has just posted an explanation of what went wrong with the firmware and repository downloads over the holiday period on the Maemo developer list.

“The infrastructure is built so that the content from is served thru a huge caching network. We were supposed to use the same network for the firmware downloads as well, but due to a misconfiguration and _my negligence_ all the requests ended up at our origin server (

Soon after the N810 launch the traffic dramatically increased and the server could not handle it anymore. It was actually never meant to handle such load.”

Read it all at:


GPE-Cal to Windows Mobile Smart Phone

If like me you are unfortunate enough to have to work with Microsoft Outlook and a Windows based mobile smart phone for work, then syncing with GPE-Cal on a Nokia Internet Tablet seems like a tall order. In fact its not that difficult; you just need to know how to ‘glue’ the bits together.

First off the easy part. Thanks to David Hautbois and his excellent Erminig maemo program for the Internet Tablets you can sync GPE-Cal with Google calendar. From here you need some way of syncing Google calendar with Outlook. For this another bit of programming glue is needed.

GSyncit by David Levinson is a small windows based program which installs itself into Outlooks toolbar and enables you to sync Google calendar with Outlook. The free version has a nag screen and allows you to sync one calendar but the full version only costs $9.99 and is well worth it if you need this functionality.

From there Microsoft’s active sync takes over and sync’s with the mobile smart phone.

Quite a long way around but in the end you have the holy grail of calendar synchronization.


WeBot Beta Shows Promise.

So for all those that don’t know yet, WeBot is a media streaming application in the same vein as Orb from Orb networks. It allows you share your media over the internet and stream it to any web capable device. At the moment you can only stream photos and music but it looks like video capabilities are on their way.

So what makes WeBot special? Well I’m glad you ask. WeBot has gone out of its way to accommodate the Nokia Internet Tablets in particular, creating an interface especially for them.

To run WeBot under Linux you need java installed. For Ubuntu the following command should suffice:

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-bin sun-java6-fonts sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin

Accept the the blurb and you should be ready to go. Sign up and download the WeBot tar.gz at and unzip it to its target directory. Then just run the file:


This will start the bot.

You need to add directories to the bot in a fully capable web browser (read desktop browser) which you can do by logging in to the WeBot website and selecting the ‘cog’ icon at the top.

Once you are happy that you have setup the media you want to share the next step is to log in to the WeBot website on the Internet Tablet. This is where you will see the custom interface designed especially for the Nokia IT’s. You can stream music or even browse your image collection.

Thoughfix did a great video at CES for his TabletBlog site which shows WeBot’s soon to be implemented feature of streaming video to the Nokia N810. This can be seen below.

WeBot isn’t without its problems. There are a few user interface issues with the Nokia tablets and it can be pretty slow to buffer songs before they are played but I’m sure when this software is finally released these issues will be solved.

WeBot is certainly one to look out for in the future.


Installing the OS2008 Development Environment in Ubuntu

In the last week or so I’ve set up multiple scratchbox environments to develop for OS2008; the laptop, desktop, work pc, friends laptop and finally a spare workhorse in the corner that I use when I need spare CPU cycles. But it seems to me that although Nokia has made it easier to install, it can still be a little confusing for somebody new to the platform (I hate to use the term newbie). So below, in response to this, you can find a line by line install guide for OS2008. I’ve suppressed the output that you could expect from each command to make it more readable but suffice to say that if you can’t figure out a ‘Y/n’ prompt (such as the Nokia disclaimer) maybe the OS2008 development environment isn’t for you. Anyway here goes …

In your home directory:

chmod +x
sudo ./ -d

… after lots of apt-get goodness:

sudo /scratchbox/sbin/sbox_adduser USERNAME yes

Replace USERNAME with your own regular login username.

Reload the groups information using:

newgrp sbox


chmod +x

Accept the licensing agreement.

sudo nano /scratchbox/etc/nsswitch.conf

Comment out the hosts line and replace it with just files and dns as so:

hosts: files dns


nano /etc/resolv.conf

Change the name server to your own nameserver/gateway which in my case (a Sky UK router) was

Then do:

apt-get update
apt-get dist-update

In a separate normal terminal window (non-scratchbox root) type:

sudo apt-get install xserver-xephyr

If you have problems make sure that in synaptic package manager->settings->repositories->Third Party Software all boxes are ticked.

Do a:

Xephyr :2 -host-cursor -screen 800x480x16 -dpi 96 -ac

This will make sure that the Xephyr install works. You should have a 800×480 window with a black and white cross hatch on it.

Finally, in the scratchbox window type:

export DISPLAY=:2 star

and you should see the following screen:


Nokia hasn’t made it too easy to set up a development environment for the tablets but maybe thats to do with Darwin’s theory of evolution 😉 Have fun and let me know if this helps you.

Edited: Thanks for the comments 🙂


Web browser annoyance

One feature of the new Mozilla based browser is spacial scrolling. This is where you press the hardware up and down keys and the browser focus jumps to the next/previous link on the page.

I can see a use for this but on pages where links are far apart from each other, say the top and bottom, the ‘scroll’ actually misses out the whole of the page. This can become annoying if you are using the hardware keys for one handed scrolling.

If, like me you want to turn this feature off there is an option within the browser to do so.

Open a browser window and type about:config into the address bar. In the set preference name box type snav.enabled and in the value box type false. Scrolling should now be more ‘predictable’.


Thanks Nokia!

Well thanks to Nokia and the Maemo people I now have a new gym t-shirt. Read Quim Gils blog post about it.