#npr, #poetry and #games on my #n900

It was a rainy Boxing Day here in Connecticut, so I spent a bit of time playing with my Nokia N900. The N900 comes with a built in FM Receiver. However, software for running the FMRadio was not included on the N900. So, yesterday, I searched around and installed the fmradio package. To use the FM Radio package, you need to plug in headphones which it uses as the FM antenna. You can scroll up and down the radio dial, and when you find a station, add it to your presets. Even though you are using the headphones as an antenna, you can still use the speaker on the phone for the FM station. You are supposed to be able to get RDS as well, but I didn’t get any RDS messages. All in all, the fmradio package is fine for my use, but nothing special.

I also tried installing the Linux Infrared Remote Control, or LIRC. In theory, I should be able to set up my N900 as a universal remote. However, configuring it looks a bit complicated. I did manage to turn on the TV with it, but that is about all. I may spend time at some point trying to program it to better control my DVD player. The other thing that I’ve love to see it do is support TV-B-GONE. This is a simple device that turns off just about any type of television. As I read about people trying to set up TV-B-GONE functionality on the N900, I came across qtirreco. I tested that a little with even less luck.

Another thing that I did was visit Librivox. This site has recordings of many great works of literature that are in the public domain. I downloaded a poetry collection and now have around a hundred great poems that I can listen to on my N900. I hope to listen to much more great literature on my N900.

Then, there are the games. I’ve read about people working with various game console emulators, as well as potential copyright issues that this brings up. I’ve always told my kids they could play any game they could write and I started them off programming Logo years ago. More recently, I’ve been interested in Squeak.

Squeak is a modern, open source, full-featured implementation of the powerful Smalltalk programming language and environment. Squeak is highly-portable - even its virtual machine is written entirely in Smalltalk making it easy to debug, analyze, and change. Squeak is the vehicle for a wide range of projects from multimedia applications, educational platforms to commercial web application development.

I downloaded the source, compiled it in my Scratchbox on my Linux Laptop, and moved the package over onto my N900. Runs like a charm; almost. It brings up an Xwindow with Squeak in it. However on the small screen, it is nearly impossible to read the fonts. I tried checking around to find easy ways of changing the fonts, but without much luck. All of the instructions were based on clicking on the options within the window. However, the window is so small, it was very difficult to get the right options. I’m thinking of starting squeak on a different computer, and tweaking an image file to much more readable fonts and then trying to use that image file on the N900. If I can get all of this straightened out, I may try running Etoys on the N900.

If you’re doing anything interesting with the N900 or want to share applications or ideas, leave me a message.

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