Monday, February 25, 2008

gears on the n810??!?

finally! (via this) (just found this, ill post how it goes after i get it going...)

maemo-mapper and google

So I've been using maemo-mapper to record tracks when we've been showshoeing and cross-country skiing the last couple of weekends. I was hoping I'd be able to do something fun with them eventually. Tonight, I finally sat down to see what I could do. I installed google earth (which, the Linux version seems to have a memory leak or something because it starts out running ok, but gets slower and slower till its unusable and I have to kill it), and tried just opening the track file from mapper. No such luck, it seemed to just silently fail. A couple google's later, and I found gpsbabel, a  nice little app that can speak many forms of gps. Low and behold, it's even in ubuntus repos! So, apt-get install gpsbabel and then "gpsbabel -i gpx -f trackfile -o kml -F kmlfile". Bam. Now I opened the kml file with google earth and there was my track. Thanks for your help, open source!

On a related note, I had been using a crappy workaround to get maemo-mapper to work with the internal bt on the n810. I had been starting the built in map software, which started the gps, then starting mapper and leaving the other map running. I read on the maemo-mapper forum that with the newest version, you can just set it to the bluetooth gps setting and leave it blank, restart it, and it will work. Sure enough, now I can use it without starting the other gps. Which is nice. Nice. 

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Changing your password on the Gnome Keyring

So I noticed this annoying bug in Gutsy where when you change your password, gnome-keyring starts prompting you for a password, and you have to put your old one in there to satisfy it. I believe this is because what happens is, when you setup your account, Ubuntu sets the password on the keyring to be the same as your login password and sets up pam to try your login password on the keyring. This makes things nice and smooth when your account is new. If, however, you change your password (say, because you were using synergy and not paying attention and accidently typed it into an IRC channel...), your login password no longer satisfys the keyring, which is still set to your old password. So, this is an improvement, because you used to *always* have to put in your password, but its kind of half-assed.  (Now, maybe I changed my password from the command line, rather then through the gui (is there a change password gui? probably), and maybe the gui would have changed the keyring password and kept everything solid, I don't know).  

Anyways, this wasn't a show stopper, just a small annoyance, so I let it ride for a while, and just put my old password in whenever I logged in and connected to a private network. Then I got sick enough of it to poke around. I found this bug. I installed  seahorse ( sudo apt-get install seahorse ), ran it (shows up in Accessories and its called "Passwords and Encryption Keys"), went to Edit->Preferences, hit up the GNOME Keyring tab, and voila! theres the change password dialoge for the keyring. I set it to my new passwords and things are right again. 

Edit, woops, someone else already figured this out, with illustrations!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Media on the n810

Media on the n810

So, I've had my n810 for about two months now. I'm really starting to integrate it into my daily life more and more now (I can almost type without looking at my thumbs!). One thing that has taken me a while to figure out is how to consume media on this thing.

My Cowon D2 has more storage (4gb) then my n810 (ok, the same amount now that I've got a 2gb external card for it). It also has insane battery life (something like 45 hours). It also takes standard sd cards which I have a bunch of kicking around. It plays Flac, Ogg, mp3, wma out of the box. When I plug it in to my 'puter, it shows up in Rhythmbox, and I can fill it just by dragging and dropping. It can bookmark files, so I can pick up an audiobook right where I left off. There is no competition for which device I'm going to use for plain old listening. The n810's biggest drawback is its lack of space, but it's also pretty clunky when it comes to interacting with a music library. I'm aware that there are a few dedicated media players out there, but they don't help with the lack of space. So, I just don't want to listen to music on this thing, and that's fine. I have another device that does the job wonderfully and is quite small and portable.

There is, however, another type of listening I do. podcasts, and Internet radio. In these areas, the n810, with its connectivity, obviously shines. Well, I haven't found a good podcast client (the built in reader seems to fare poorly), but I haven't really looked. With all the apps available for this devide, I'm sure I'll find something. For now, I've just been downloading marketplace right from their site. Internet radio, on the other hand, has been great. We have poor reception of npr at my house, so I often stream it on my n810 while shoveling snow or stacking wood (yea, I live in NH). This is one of the "killer app" uses of this device for me.

Now, on to video. My D2 can play video. But. It has a 2 inch screen. It has a horrible time keeping audio in sync.I have to plan ahead and go through the process of converting what I want to watch, plugging in the device or an sd card, and copying it over. I'm far too lazy for that. With the n810, I simply point the browser at my box running mediaserv, click on a movie, and save it. Sure, it takes a while to convert and copy over, but I can do it the night before my commute. I use mplayer for playback, so I can easily sync up the audio. The only feature I'm missing is bookmarking, to come bqck to the middle of a file, which I do often because my bus ride is only an hour and a half or so, so I don't make it all the way through many movies. Again, I haven't really looked for this feature yet, since its not *that* hard to find my place again, especially with mplayers wonderful keyboard shortcuts.

Now if only there was a (semi-legit) way to grab tv shows with rss, my video on the n810 experience would be complete. Its not too bad as is.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Gar, I'm a poor blogger...

In news:
- I got an N810 for christmas! Its a really nice device, though its taking time for me to integrate it into daily life. I started by using to read my google reader on the bus during my 6 day a month commute. Its really good for that, but my current cell plan uses minutes for data, so I'm still trying to figure out how long I can use it per commute without going over on minutes. Of course, its only $15/month more to get unlimited data, but that involves a call to verizon, which makes me shudder every time I think of it, so im still on minutes. What I'd really like to be able to do is run google reader offline, which i can do with google gears on my lappy, but i haven't found a good solution on the n810 yet, short of running my own feed aggregator. (and i'm not really sure if that would help).
I've got some other stuff i want to write for the device though. I was reading about this new device for geotagging photos, that, rather then using battery to keep a fix all the time, it just takes a quick reading off the chip and save raw data, then later resolves that info to a fix on your computer when you upload the pictures and metadata. I wonder if we can accomplish the same thing with the gps chip in the n810. Currently I use maemo-mapper to record tracks when walking/hiking, but thats annoying cause it keeps the screen on when you're moving. I know theres another app thats just for tracks, but I read that it was problematic with the internal gps in the n810, so I didnt try it, but I imagine it gets a fix before it starts tracking as well. I'd like to try this raw recording/resovling later both for tracks and geotagging, I just need to find some time to sit down and do some learning about the platform.

Well, thats all for now, though I do have many more thoughts on maemo. So more to come, hopefully sooner then this one.