Ramblings of a Digital Educator

April 15, 2007

My Nokia N800 Internet Tablet

Filed under: General Blogging — dtrask @ 2:18 am

Ok…yes…I am a gadget freak. I love things that make life easier and more enjoyable. I have 3 iPods (Shuffle, Nano, and 3rd gen iPod)…I have an HP iPaq (which I really never use)…and a bunch of laptops. Now…that being said, I don’t buy gadgets very often. I either have them from my work as a computer teacher or I get them as gifts. Recently I bought a Nokia N800 Internet Tablet. While I was in Mountainview, CA this past November at the Ubuntu Developers Summit at Google, I noticed a lot of folks there had a cool little handheld computer called the Nokia N770. I wanted one. I was lugging around a huge HP zv5000 laptop which weighs a LOT and has the battery life of a goldfish. You never really know how heavy your laptop is until you travel with it. I figured it was high time to lighten the load. With my wife’s blessing (trust me, it helps) I ordered the N800 from TigerDirect.com. The N800 is not like a traditional PDA. It’s basically a mini-computer. You don’t get “mobilized” web pages or have to sync with a PC….you get full sized (albeit small) web pages and you can access your Google Calendar, email, and all sorts of things. Best of all…it runs Linux and it is Open Source! Unlike my HP iPaq where I got updates to my Windows Mobile 5 operating system when Microsoft felt I “deserved” them, I get updates to my N800 OS (called Maemo) on a regular basis! Applications are being developed/ported all the time! (and the apps are FREE) Installation is a breeze and updating is too! The N800 is not a replacement for a laptop by any means, but it can replace much of what we use a laptop for on a daily basis. I use my laptop to check email, respond to email, write notes, write “to-do” lists (which I then ignore), check my Google Calendar, surf the web, read RSS, and things like that. All of these things can be done using the N800. If I need to write a report or develop a presentation, then I need to use a regular laptop, but for many of my daily tasks, the N800 works great! (and it’s a LOT lighter!) My son was amazed the other day when I left school without my laptops. I normally look like a pack mule with my two laptop bags and whatever else I may be carrying out to my truck. On this day…I grabbed my empty lunch bag and headed out the door. He asked me if I had forgotten my laptop…I said, “Nope, it’s right here in my pocket”. That was pretty cool. The interface is very easy to get around and a cinch to learn. I have posted some screenshots below to show you the interface and some

programs…(click the thumbnails to see the larger image)


My desktop on the N800


Connected to my Windows Terminal Server via rdesktop on the N800


Using Gaim (IM client)…the N800 also has a camera and you can make calls via GoogleTalk and Gizmo. A Skype client is due in the next month or so. The fact that the device is running an Open Source OS makes it easy to develop or port applications along the way.
Screenshot03 Screenshot04

Both a regular and fullscreen version of a web page in the web browser (Opera)…a mini version of Mozilla is also available (called Minimo). It also runs Flash. The N800 uses Wifi (wireless) to connect to the Internet (and the wireless card pulls in signals even my laptop won’t!) or you can pair it with a Bluetooth phone with a data plan and use the cell phone as the access point. (that’s my next purchase…along with a folding Bluetooth keyboard) 😉


The menu (similar to a Start menu)


Using the terminal to control my servers at school remotely (this is pretty cool)

N800 shot

A pic of the N800

maemo mapper

A screenshot of MaemoMapper which is a Google Maps interface (you can pair the N800 via Bluetooth to a GPS receiver)


A lovely shot of Vassalboro Community School via Maemo Mapper


Multimedia? You bet! I have quite a bit of music on a 4 gb SD card (the N800 has two SD card slots) and I’ve also ripped some DVD movies I own (but haven’t had time to watch) and used MediaConverter to put them to the optimal size for the N800 screen. Several movies will fit on a 4 gb SD card and the picture and sound are fantastic! I’ll be watching them during an upcoming flight. The application in the screenshot is called Canola and it is very “Front Row” like (for those of you who are familiar with Front Row on Mac OS X).

So…there you have it! I am having a blast with this and have found it to be one of the most useful devices I’ve ever owned. They are not very expensive (as gadgets like this go)…I bought mine for about $350. Shop around for a good deal. Believe it or not, I found that a case from Best Buy for the Nintendo DS was exactly the right fit for my N800 and it only cost me 7 bucks! 🙂

One last note? The last couple of posts on this blog were written and posted using the N800! Look for more in the near future!


1 Comment »

  1. Hi! What software did you use to make these screen-shots? Been trying to find something and haven’t managed 😦

    Comment by jaakparik — May 10, 2007 @ 5:10 am | Reply

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