I received the Nokia N900 that I bought on eBay last week today. I’ve been playing with it… finding applications I want to use, configuring things… learning how to use it. It’s a very different world. I destroyed my Palm Treo 680 last week (dropping out outside a Tims) and I’d been using Treo smart phones for about 10 years now. Because this left me without a phone, period, I have been slumming with a wretched iPaq 6955. It was an acceptable phone, and its features were amusing at times — but I never got it paired with my bluetooth hands free and at one point… at 40% it ran out of battery and lost a lot of things — including my email account preferences — which it subsequently refused to allow me to re-add (claiming they were already installed). Sigh.
Sadly, Palm and the Treo’s are no more. I’d get another one if they were updated into the modern era. Since they’re not, I’ve been eying the market for a new smart phone for some time now — and the N900 has been consistently topping my list. When I broke the Treo, it just pushed me over the edge… getting a new smartphone was the only solution.
After Canada post’s email told me that they had delivered my package to its destination (my supermailbox, not my home), I walked out to get it. Since then, I’ve been attempting to make it useful.
There are things that are really cool about this phone. Out-of-the-box support for WiFi and VoIP calls, for instance. I’m sure that I’m going to have much to say on this phone in the future. There are also some rather dumb things — the lack of IMAP IDLE in the supplied mail software, for instance.
But as I was looking for software on the internet — and finding a debian distribution of packages like openoffice (?!?) that claims to be loadable on this phone, and as I was reading the installation instructions, I was directed to the shell. I was vaguely aware that the thing had a shell — but like an iMac, the shell isn’t the first thing you play with. Kinda like setting the radio stations in a Porche before you start it.
That caused me to look on my phone. Low and behold: xterm. And it works. And I have a prompt and a filesystem and a working bash shell. With this kind of power in the hands of people, will things be the same again?