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As the Maemo Summit came to a close on Saturday afternoon, I was sitting down at the front of the rmeeting room, looking for an outlet to charge my Internet Tablet. An unexpected and oddly stirring session on where we were going had ended abruptly, and now the microphone had passed from the audience back to the stage. The last words of these eventful two days were being issued by the same keep-things-moving ringmaster who had enforced the five-minutes-and-not-one-second-more lightning talks, and in the same keep-things-moving tone.

And I found myself calling loudly for the microphone, interrupting things simply to prevent the benediction from being pronounced on our assembly.

Some three hundred people were about to leave the Maemo Summit, having experienced an extraordinary feeling of optimism and gratitude. Happiness, you might even say.

Achieving that result was no small accomplishment.

I didn't particularly have anything to say. But if there was one thing I knew, it was that there was a more fitting tone to close on than merely reminding everyone of the last item on the day's agenda.

So when the microphone was hurriedly passed to me — What? We're ending now! — I just spoke about what I was feeling: gratitude. And that gratitude was most focused on the ringmaster standing in front of us then. Because of course the person most responsible for the Summit's having taken place and had such remarkable results was Nokia's Quim Gil.

I don't know if I would say Quim has a thankless job, but surely in his role of interfacing with the Maemo Community and, as he says, “promoting intelligence at maemo.org,” he has to field more of our negativity and dissatisfaction than anyone else at Nokia.

Quim is forceful and optimistic and more tolerant of benighted foolishness than anyone has a right to expect. (Anyone expressing that foolishness, that is.) I know this from my own dealings with him, in which I have evinced rather more than usual of my benighted and dimwitted side.

From the initial notion of a Maemo conclave — which he suggested spontaneously if not off-handedly during a cab ride — to organizing the schedule and then orchestrating its execution, every part of the Summit bore his fingerprints.

In no small measure, the remarkable vibrations we experienced resulted from Quim's efforts, his passion, his optimism and tolerance and forcefulness.

We have a lot to thank him for — and others too, but let's focus on one thing at a time.

I hope that our thanks for all Quim did to bring this Summit into existence and make it so eventful will help balance against the manifestations he experiences of our less gracious side the rest of the time.

At least we can say that we — people here and everywhere who make up the Maemo Community — are consistent in our behavior: we are always going to hold someone responsible for something that just happened.

In this case, it's you, Quim. This has been a great experience for all of us. Thank you.


Well, that's what I was trying to say, when I said whatever it was I actually said. I kept it short and didn't mention any of the traits of the magnificent I've identified here, but I figure Quim needs much more of our gratitude expressed than he usually hears, so I have permitted myself to add the unexpressed subtext of that verbal thanks here.

Plus I don't work behind the scenes, so I don't know who the unsung heroes of our Maemo Summit are. Our gratitude extends to them as well, of course, but for today, Quim will have to stand in for everyone's contributions. He'll need to apportion our thanks to the deserving others on his own.

Note: Part I: What I didn't say and Part II: What someone else said are in progress.

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Up until last week, getting Maemo developers, Nokians and what Reggie describes simply as “enthusiasts” all together in one location, a Maemo Summit, seemed to me to be a good idea. I was wrong, I realize now: not a good idea.

A brilliant idea.

We all know the next steps in the development of this “mobile internet device” niche are critical — critical for Nokia, for the market itself, for the users, especially those first adaptors (that would be us, the posters and readers of itT forums), the recently dubbed “Maemo Community.”

At several disparate points in the summit, speakers noted how putting, say, coders and UI designers on the same team made for faster progress, fewer missteps, information being communicated with less noise.

Having the Summit took this idea of integration a level higher: instead of all the misconceptions that occur from separated contributors, whose every written note can be misinterpreted and its tone wildly misconstrued, now three-dimensional humans exist in the spot where virtual constructs and avatars stood.

The takeaway
In four days in Berlin — two at OSiM World (Open Souce in Mobile) followed by two at the Maemo Summit — I learned about enough interesting developments and projects to occupy a mere 10 or 12 days a week to follow completely, and participate in some.
Continue reading ‘Takeaway from the Maemo Summit’

As a nonce word, the pronunciation of maemo isn't something you can check in a dictionary. And given its provenance, I'd venture that most people first encountered this word in print, and not orally.

Should each vowel be pronounced, making this one really short three-syllable word? Could be.

Should the first syllable be pronounced the same as the month of May? Makes sense.

Or does a followed by e represent the ae diphthong, which if really stretched out would be “maaa-eee” but which English speakers consider a long i: “my”? Well, yes, why not?

I've heard all these pronunciations used at OSiMWorld the past couple days, plus the “two-and-a-half-syllable” variation (really short e) and the “silent a” (“me”-mo).

Now some might argue that, as a trademark, Maemo's pronunciation is properly decided by Nokia. But I figure if Sony couldn't dictate that its corporate name be pronounced “sunny” (intended as a slang-y spelling of “sonny”-boy), that argument doesn't hold water.

Someone said this evening that “I expect it to be 'may-mo' but I think of it as 'my-mo'.” Me, too.

The first Maemo Summit begins Friday in Berlin. Since this event is birthing the Maemo Community to formally represent all the non-Nokia participants involved in our pocket revolution — that

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would be us enthusiasts, the users and developers — I'd like to point out that one good reason for preferring “my-mo” is simply how it subliminally confers this new status. Maybe Nokia has the trademark, but it is sharing ownership with us. With me. And now it truly is my Maemo.

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The OSiM Maemo Developer Session today has previewed interesting topics to be discussed in detail tomorrow at the Maemo Summit. Below are some updates and some of the new and updated technologies that we can expect in future Maemo devices:

Newly adopted technologies:

  • Meta Tracker – content search and metadata tools
  • Pulse Audio – sound server replacing ESD & ALSA
  • OHM – Hardware management daemon
  • gUPnP – seamless connectivity between devices
  • upstart – fast system boot & stop

Updated technologies:

  • Gecko – now integrated with mozilla.org
  • Bluez – now with A2DP
  • gstreamer – now with openMAX
  • GTK+ – pushing mobile optimization
  • Telepathy – now with Farsight2

New contributions to the open source community:

  • to kernel.org:
    • HSPA/3G enablers for OMAP3 -> kernel.org
  • to garage.maemo.org:
    • stlc45xx.aka – the much awaited WLAN driver
    • DSME – hardware watchdog & thermal monitoring
    • MIDAS – media player application framework
    • Calendar engine – iCal RFC 2445 implementation

Maemo Fremantle:

  • SDK to be released soon
  • list of packages now available
  • incremental weekly releases unitl final version

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Dr. Ari Jaaksi has just finished his keynote speech over at OSiM, revealing a lot of juicy stuff on the future of Maemo. Check out the the upcoming Maemo 5 (5th generation) highlights:

  • online anywhere with cellular connectivity over HSPA for broadband anywhere
  • powerful computing with TI OMAP3 processor – for better performance and better graphics performance
  • photo sharing with hi-def camera – imaging and photo-sharing
  • Nokia is now Gold Sponsor of Linux Foundation, has contributed code today for 3G/HSPA cellular (data) connectivity for OMAP3 to Linux kernel
  • no news yet on backward compatibility for older devices

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Congratulations to the newly elected officers of the Maemo Community Council:

  • Eduardo Lima (etrunko)
  • Andrew Flegg (Jaffa)
  • Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles)
  • Simon Pickering (lardman)
  • Tim Samoff (timsamoff)

The voting results are as follows:

Thank you for the 936 maemo.org members who voted!
Links:
maemo.org Announcement
Maemo Community Council

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I’m sure a lot of you who are also members of maemo.org have received voting instructions already from Dave Neary. Just to remind everyone, voting for the maemo.org Community Council will only run from September 2 to 10.

The candidates are as follows (see full declarations):

  • Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles)
  • Jamie Bennett (Baloo)
  • Andrew Flegg (Jaffa)
  • Eduardo Lima (Etrunko)
  • Ryan Pavlik (megabyte405)
  • Simon Pickering (lardman)
  • Tim Samoff (timsamoff)

To vote, you need to go to http://maemo.org/vote and provide the vote token number you have received in the email. You can only vote for one candidate so vote wisely. The whole voting process will only take less than a minute, so there is really no excuse to not vote.

The council will serve to help distill and focus issues and ideas (from the maemo.org mailing lists, IRC, itT, Bugzilla, etc), bring them to Nokia’s attention, and seek to understand Nokia’s position on these issues and help to explain it to the rest of the community. The council will also serve to facilitate a dialog between Nokia and the community on

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these issues, holding monthly IRC meetings with Nokia representatives to discuss progress on existing issues and raise new issues.

Three years ago, the Nokia Internet Tablet was revolutionary: it had a screen wide enough to display a web page, it cost way less than you'd expect, it was meant for carrying around in a way that no laptop/notebook ever had been. WiFi was engendering the walkaround web.

Add a webcam, GPS, keyboard; make it faster, more reliable; keep churning away at the migration of free-libre-open-source software. Three years down the road and the tablet team has not stopped pushing the envelope.

But is Nokia's tablet revolutionary anymore?

My son's friend does as much or more with his iPod Touch (16GB model for $269.99) [1], — even though it is more restricted in what it can do.

Both Apple's and Nokia's tablets forgo disk drives, emphasizing the screen. But the the iPod touch and its progenitor, the iPhone, instantly persuade you that a keyboard is unneeded and unnecessary. The media aspects — video and YouTube video, music and accessing music via the web — push other considerations aside: the idea that the lame telco phones suffice for the walkaround web couldn't be more effectively (or contemptuously) dismissed.

Contrary to the optimistic predictions, ubiquitous and free WiFi hasn't materialized yet. For now, the walkaround web depends on a tablet screen and a data-cellphone connection. That's where the iPhone is situated, not the Internet Tablet, and by its sales figures you have to concede that bundling the connection with the screen appeals to more people than separating them.

I'm reminded of the quote from a French revolutionary leader [2], “There go the people. I must follow them. I am their leader.”

Um, the people are heading off in another direction.

Are we going with them? And if so, what is necessary for the Nokia Internet Tablet to remain in the forefront of the tablet revolution?

Dropping the price would keep it there. (For a while, anyway.) Some people have argued the interface ought to abandon the computer GUI heritage and adopt a big-graphic Apple-like approach. You know you'll see phone companies offering some Apple-influenced devices soon.

And there's the phone.

Some while back, I wished for an impossibility — a slot in the NIT for a SIM card, so it could connect via a telco data plan. Why not just make it a phone then, a la the iPhone? I don't know. I guess I want it to be a tablet, not a phone, unless I'm using a voip connection.

Subconciously, I must have accepted the argument that Nokia is approaching the iPhone feature-set from two directions — smart phones that would become more and more computery, and the Internet Tablet, which would be always a complement to (and not a replacement for) a cellphone.

But without ubiquitous online access, the NIT just gives us the semi-revolutionary walk-around-the-office-or-home-only web. So, one way or another, that has to change. Maybe it means we'll see a phone added to the NIT. Or phone/NIT bundles from the carriers. Or WiFi-hotspot/NIT bundles.

Unless it gives me the web everywhere, the NIT falls into the merely convenient and not revolutionary category.

Of course, there is one way we're still participating in revolutionary activity. That's via the FLOSS/Linux connection. The keyboard on the N810 may be a step backward from the perspective of the interface, but it greatly simplifies using a ported Linux-desktop app.

And that's a big deal. Partly because it ensures an inexhaustible supply of software. And underlying the web and our incarnation of it, the walkaround web, is our understanding that it has flourished because of the open nature of that earlier revolution.

Whereas “open” is not a word that appears in frequent proximity of “Apple.” The iPhone is engendering what we might term a Disney revolution, one in which the benefits accrue mostly to one company (which provides more entertaining or novel experiences to us customers than we got before).

When you see Nokia giving its $800-million investment in Symbion to an open-source foundation, you know that it is acting in its own financial interests. Nothing else could explain such sums. The tablet/phone OS field is weighted in favor of Apple and Microsoft and Google, and so Nokia is looking around to see who its friends are.

That would be us.

We're Nokia's friends. Us, the Maemo community, the FLOSS community, the Linux believers.

The revolutionary mob, as it were.

I believe the Nokia tablet is going to thrive in direct proportion to our community's success in promoting/extending/liberating Maemo. Because Nokia may not ever release a $100 NIT with a SIM-card slot, but some enterprising Asian manufacturer likely will. And running Maemo on all those Microsoft-spec'd UMPC's is going to bring even more people into the fold who are interested in tablet-sized apps working better. Every improvement developed on the outside will benefit the Internet Tablets that Nokia makes, and a larger pool of tablet users (especially Maemo tablet users) means a larger potential audience for Nokia to sell to.

And maybe the N810's built-in GPS and cam calling will finally get the attention it deserves.

So I'm looking forward to the meeting in Berlin next month. Will it be a revolutionary congress that dissolves into infighting and factions? Or one that presses forward to spread the revolution?


[1] 16GB refurbished at buy.com, shipping included.

[2] This was said by Alexandre Ledru-Rollin during the 1848 revolution, and not the 1789 revolution.

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Internet Tablet Talk gets

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about 700 new members per month. Out of those 700 new members, only a small percentage actually post a question or join the discussion in the forums. We think that majority of the new members would search the forums for answers but then end up reading replies that are too technical that make them uncomfortable to post a follow-up question since they don't know how to compose their replies.

We intend to reach out to the new Internet tablet users and thus, we are launching Tablet Scene.

What is Tablet Scene?

Tablet Scene is a new site for those who are really new to the Nokia Internet Tablet and the Maemo world. Tablet Scene aims to post guides and tips on how to use the Internet Tablet, as well as discuss and answer Internet Tablet topics and questions as non-technical as possible.

Tablet Scene is replacing Internet Tablet Talk's 'Tablet 101.'

Who will be running Tablet Scene?

Krisse of Internet Tablet School is joining Roger and me to run Tablet Scene. Krisse has done a marvelous job at Internet Tablet School so, a lot of the first articles in Tablet Scene will actually be pointing to articles at Internet Tablet School. It is a privilege that we will get to work with Krisse (who is also a contributor at All About Symbian and All About N-Gage).

We are also expecting that seasoned members from Internet Tablet Talk and folks from maemo.org would help contribute and provide non-technical guides and answers to new tablet users in the forums. If you want to help the site and become a regular contributing writer, let us know!

How is it related to Internet Tablet Talk?

Internet Tablet Talk and Tablet Scene are sister sites –

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the two sites actually share the same membership database! This means post counts are shared, avatars are shared, signatures are shared, and even private messages are shared. The only thing you need to do is login separately (yup, with the same password), and you can visit, search, post between sites freely.

We hope to see some of you at Tablet Scene! Note that it is still work-in-progress so as always, comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Oh, our next project is the software site. We already have plans on how it will work but we hope to polish the details with the maemo.org folks during Maemo Summit 2008 in September.

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After a month and a half and hundreds of submissions from 62 members of the Maemo community, the new maemo.org logo has been chosen:

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The logo is from Glauber de Oliveira Costa (aka glaoliver) of the INdT team, who wins a trip to the Maemo Summit at Berlin and the new Nokia N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX Edition.

Glauber also provided some ideas on how the log would appear on shirts and accessories, which we hope we'll see at the summit:

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Congrats Glauber!

Links:
Official Announcement
maemo.org

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Official Contest Page
All the entries

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