Step away from the N900!

My wife says I am obsessive! She is of course referring to me and my new friend/toy the Nokia N900, which arrived two days ago after a slight delay. You can read all about that in the previous post. Since then I have managed to run the device dry 4 times and when I say “run the device dry”, I mean use it “non stop” for 5 or so hours until the battery is dead. So I guess that is what she means by “obsessive”.

I read the manual that came in the box and it was pathetic, all 17 pages of it. It explained nothing. So I did a search for a manual or a how to guide and found a 231 page Nokia N900 User Guide. (now we are talking). It’s a PDF file and I now have it on the phone for easy access and will be reading it front to back and back to front.

So what is the big deal about this device? The first thing noticeable when it’s turned on is the fact that it runs 99% of the time in the horizontal mode (as in the image to the left). This is so the large 3.5inch screen can be utilized fully. One also notices the lack of buttons anyone on the front. Not even a red or green buttons for making or ending calls and that is because the N900 is more a mini computer than a phone. I received a call while on the train home and to be honest, I didn’t know how to pick it up (ha ha).

It runs “Maemo“, which in simple terms is an open source linux operating system. Open source means anyone can develop software for it and there is a ton of software available in various stages of development. I have loaded quite a few applications already and haven’t even touched the surface of whats on offer.

Here are a few of my favourites so far:

  1. Angry Birds – a very addictive game by Rovio (check out the trailer here). Simple idea but brilliant!
  2. FBreader – Ebook reader, also trying out MGutenberg.
  3. gPodder – Podcast player.
  4. Firefox – Yup, the N900 can display a full browser perfectly and it’s fast. Did I mention add-ins, just like the application on the PC. It’s awesome! One particular awesome add-in is called Weave and I quote;
    The Weave Sync add-on lets you securely take your Firefox experience with you wherever you go. You can now surf the Web on your PC, get up and go, and have everything waiting for you on your phone: your history, open tabs, bookmarks, the Awesome Bar – just as you had left it.
  5. Mauku – Twitter application – I also tried out Witter, but find Mauku to be more finger friendly.
  6. Mediabox – an alternate to the default media player.
  7. Pidgen – Instant Messenger application allowing me to be logged into MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, and Skype. There is a whole host of other IM’s. Facebook chat would be nice. Actually Skype is built into the contact section, which is cool because one can chat, make VOIP calls etc.
  8. Facebook – Social networking application that we all love/hate/know!
  9. Extra media codecs for playing just about any video / audio format. All my files on my home server work perfectly and I got a real good mix (FLAC, MP3, MP4, MKV, AVI, DIVX, etc).
  10. Vagalume – it plays Last.FM and Libre.FM. As there is no Mobbler yet, this is the next best thing. Upon starting the application it soon becomes apparent that Last.FM will not work because of some licencing issues, but fear not as there is a hack or work around and it works perfectly if one follows the instructions over at – Thanks @Gerrymoth.

One very cool feature is the ability to play Music / Video / Photos from my home media servers over wireless. The N900 makes uses of Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA). The device supports up to 4 media servers at one one. I currently have two connected (my iMac and Cubestation), so I have been streaming music and video to the phone with ease. No need for cables or SD cards etc. It’s so amazing.

It’s impossible to tell you all the features, because there are thousands all made possible by the Maemo operating system. Simply the best mobile device I’ve ever owned! Now stepping away from the N900.



Simply Electronics Service Review – N900 online purchase

I placed an order online at Simply Electronics for the Nokia N900 ten days ago and it finally arrived today, but it was not plain sailing and I will explain why:

Their website says “This product has FREE Delivery! 7 Units In Stock ,Usually Ships in 1-2 Business Days“… Well that is total BS, and what’s more, the second you place the order on their website, your money is taken immediately out of your account. It’s not ideal.

You get a very cheesy email minutes later saying, “Thank you for contacting us! We have received your inquiry and are assigning it to a representative. You can expect to receive a response from us within one – two business days during this busy Christmas period“. Very poor considering I placed the order on the 18th of January 2010, 11 months away from Christmas.

Two days later I emailed them asking when they expected the phone to be delivered. You get the same cheesy reply as above and then a response, “We would like to confirm that we have received your order 1234567. Regarding your request, we are doing our very best to dispatch all orders within the shortest period of time. Although we cannot confirm the exact delivery date, we will certainly try to deliver your order as soon as possible. As soon as your order has been dispatched, we will send a dispatch email and the parcel can be expected to arrive at the delivery address on the following working day.

On the 22nd of January, after hearing nothing I emailed them again, this time stating their delivery policy was SHITE. On the 25th of January I get the following reply, “With regards to your order, we would like to inform you that there has been a slight delay on your order due to high demand for our services. Nonetheless, we have contacted the relevant department regarding your order. Rest assured that we are utilizing all resources to dispatch this item as soon as possible. Once the item has been dispatched, you shall be receiving a confirmation e-mail from us as well as a tracking number to assist you in checking the progress of the delivery“.

I emailed them again on the 26th January. It’s getting annoying now, it is over a week and nothing! I get a reply from them on the 27th of January, “Thank you for your email and sincere apologies for the delay with your order. With regards to your order, we would like to inform you that there has been a delay on the dispatchment of your order due to high demand for our services. However, we have received an update that your order is scheduled to be dispatched today. It is expected to be delivered on the following working day after it has been dispatched. Once the order has been dispatched a notification email will be sent out which includes the tracking number of the parcel. Meanwhile, we will closely monitor the delivery process and will send you a confirmation email as soon as the item has been dispatched.

And true to their word, I got the phone today, ten days after placing the original order and almost at the exact time the tracking website mentioned.

So I am happy. The phone is in perfect working order and everything seems to be in order.

Should it have taken ten days? (No), Should I have been more patient? (No), Do you think it’s right they take your money upfront and then hold you by the danglies? (No), Would I recommend Simply Electronics, based on price & service & communication? (Yes/No/No).

Happy Birthday Bruv!

Happy birthday Pete. We hope you are having a very special day. Maybe you can steer the ship to a tropical island just for the day.

Are the rumours true? that your ship mates got together and bought you a razor, so you can shave that thing off your face! 🙂

All our love,

Mick and Jo

For Sale: PS3 (40GB Version) + Bluetooth remote + Games

We have used our Sony Playstation 3 perhaps four or five times to watch hired Blue Ray disks from Blockbusters. It’s time this PS3 moved in with someone who is going to use it in the way it was meant to be used (games / movies  / online browsing / facebook / twitter / social entertainment console).

We have an XBOX which we use all the time so that is the only reason why I am selling the PS3.

Note: This is not the slim version of PS3.


This the the 40GB version that comes with a built in Blue Ray disc drive for high definition gaming, movies and entertainment. It’s got true 1080p HD support. The box includes the motion sensitive SIXAXIS wireless controller. The built-in hard drive means there is plenty of space for movies, music, games and downloads. There is also a Gigabit network port and full broadband connectivity for easy access to the Playstation Network and online entertainment. It’s WIFI certified (B, G), can support up to seven Bluetooth devices, has USB ports on the front, which support USB Keys, USB Hard disks etc. It outputs Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, has an HDMI port and can read DVD Video/Rom. Finally it is a region 2 player with PAL support. The box weighs 6.5kg with everything packaged inside.

I am also throwing in a Bluetooth remote control + my only two games (Grand Turismo 5 Prologue and Formula 1 Championship Edition).

If you are interested, you can contact me via email on I can also be found on Twitter under the name @lookatbowen and on Facebook if you are lucky enough to be in my circle of friends. Of course you can leave a comment below with your name and email address and I will get back to you. All comments are moderated as it is.

Name your price – I will tell you YES or NO!

Holiday photos to South Africa and Namibia uploaded.

We have finally uploaded our photos of our holiday to South Africa and Namibia over Christmas and new year. They can be found in our photo gallery on this site in the usual place (* Gallery * Family * South Africa / Namibia 2009/2010). This was the first time that the families from both sides got together. Quite a mammoth task considering we have family in Stutterheim, East London, Durban, Cape Town, Windhoek, Newcastle UK and of course London UK.  We also managed to visit friends in the various towns so overall it was a successful holiday.

When I get a chance I will upload some HD Video that we took with our two Panasonic HD cameras. This will take a bit of time as I have to convert the video and then upload.

New football venue announced for FIFA World Cup 2010.

The Northern Cape and specifically the small town of Kakamas have won an appeal to have one of the preliminary world cup matches played at their grounds. After visiting the pitch, the FIFA officials deliberated for a few hours and eventually agreed that one match would be played at the rural grounds.

The brand new dust bowl outside the small town of Kakamas.

The local council and tribesmen had to prove to the FIFA officials that the pitch was playable on, and that there was enough room for spectators. The pitch is surrounded by a natural bank or bowl (hillside) giving all the potential spectators a wonderful view of the field and players. The pitch has recently been brushed of all rocks and pebbles, so should not trouble the players who are wearing body armour. The local council have promised to rid the area of snakes, scorpions and spiders.

Security fences surround the pitch and bricks mark the centre of the field.

Security of the players has always been the number one concern, but the tribesmen were quick to point out that the ground was surrounded by a fence, which would keep out the troublemakers. (foxes, small rabbits, wild animals etc).

Brand new pitch,  soccer nets and raised spectator seating can be seen in the background.

Mr Ibullsh Itunot, the sports minister for Kakamas said,

We are delighted to be having one of the football world cup games held at our ground.  We have not been told who will be playing here, but the local township are extremely excited at the prospect of having at least one international team playing on our famous “dust bowl” ground. All the big cities in South Africa are spending millions of rands building wonderful stadiums and we are proud to be apart of that world cup fever. We are a small community and this sort of worldwide visibility will put us on the map of the world. Obviously we can’t offer players and spectators the grandeurs that Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg are offering, but I am sure player/spectator will experience Africa at it’s best.

Looking at the 2010 world cup calendar, it will be the only open air game where the pitch is totally void of any solid structure (concrete walls, stands, seating etc) and it will be the only green stadium. The openness of the pitch will come as a big relief to both players and spectators as temperatures at the ground often reach 35 degrees Celsius or above.

More wild animal will be needed to light up the pitch.

There was a suggestion to play the game at night, but the local tribesman are worried they will not be able to safely manage the players and / or spectators in the dark with only a few choice animals offering the needed light for the game.