Saturday, December 30, 2006

Something Shiny This Way Comes...

What could it be? Find out 01.01.2007, here at NET9.

Friday, December 29, 2006

With These Features Combined...

I think once wireless devices and accessories begin to have more open integration with each other, a combination of motion powered handset, super small ear piece, and display [HUD] will become mainstream. But only when the technology becomes very simple to use and can be recharged through the same methods as each other.

Of course some of this technology is not available just yet, but when it does eventually make it to market, wouldn't you want to be able to use it with all your other gadgets without a lot of hassle?

So note to device manufacturers, carriers, and service providers: If you bridge the gap between your products by allowing the features your customers paid for to work the way they are intended, I think we can all be happy with the results. Because crap like this will only lead to "technology of mass confusion".

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hacking Maemo

SeRi@lDiE over at Internet Tablet Talk has put together a nice tutorial on hacking maemo menu icons, system sounds, startup screen, and more on the Nokia 770.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Cool Christmas Story

The Christmas Truce... [Nice find ZHU]

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays From NET9!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa from NET9.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Interesting Eggnog...

I think the title and image speaks for itself. Remember kids, don't drink and draw.

Also, check out the new Internet Tablet Art Gallery for more of the same. And anyone else that would like to have their tablet artwork presented in the gallery let me know.

Happy Holidays

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mini Comics And Other Art Stuff

So I think I found my drawing style using sketch on the 770, and I even learned some tricks that the app can do that I never knew before.

- I'm pretty good at perspective drawing, which is easy for me to use when doing 770 sketches. It helps organize the space well and is quick filler.
- I also think the monochromatic option [varying shades or tints of a single color] is best for shading and I find four or fewer levels of shading works best.
- Silhouettes are cool and quick for drawing people on the fly.
- And of course what I call my "string shading" technique gives a quick and incomplete look while making a sketch appear less "digital".

- You can increase the canvas size to the left, right, top, and bottom from the Edit section in the menu.
- The zoom toggle changes the thickness of the line. One less movement to change an option saves a little time.
- Unfortunately, the undo option only remembers the most recent action, so the eraser tool is going to be your best friend.
- There's no fill tool either, but if you really must fill a space with color, big brush to little brush filling works well. this rate, I may need to set up a 770 art gallery to organize all of this.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Another 770 Sketch

Next digital sketch experiment: Micro Comics

Please Excuse My Fuzzy Logic

Back in October, when there was only that single blurry image to go by, I shared my thoughts on some of the external features of the new Internet Tablet hardware in the works from Nokia. Now that we've gathered a few more crumbs of info and some more images of the device, many questions about the the device have been answered. Now I'm going to take the speculation to the next level. Here are some of my new thoughts:

About that camera...
It's going to be a major feature, but not the main feature. After all, the addition of a camera alone is not a very smart reason to roll out a new tablet.
- 2 megapixels or higher with VGA-quality video and image capture
- Ability to rotate 180° [towards or away from user]

The mystery of the two memory slots...
It just makes the most sense for Nokia to support the full-size SD format [for both slots]. It would mean you could use SD, MMC, RS-MMC, SDmini, and SDmicro. Plus it would make a lot of people happy, I'm sure.
- 2x SD memory slots

On the inside...
Here's where I think the real surprise will come. The video capture requirements alone makes it logical to upgrade to a more powerful processor. Internal memory is likely to get a boost as well.
- OMAP2420 or OMAP2430 processor [because the OMAP1710 is just not capable of capturing video efficiently]
- More memory [256MB with 128MB available to user]

And software too...
The initial camera software will probably not be the only new addition with the launch of the new tablet. I think there will be a big upgrade to the Application manager as well.
- Opera browser upgrade [v8.02 to v8.5]
- Google Talk [with video of course]
- Possible Adobe Flash upgrade [v6 to v7]

Can't forget the price...
And finally, the price we're likely to pay for all these wonderful new features will of course be slightly higher than that of the 770. I believe it will still be worth it, how about you?
- $400 - $450

Don't get your hopes too high with all of this though. After all, I was wrong about one or two things in my last shot at this.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

770 + Canola In A Car

ThoughtFix has a cool post about using the 770 for Canola on the move using some new mounting gear from ProClip USA. Seriously people, if you don't have this setup, you're missing out on a lot. Check out the video too, it rocks...literally.


Maemo And Modularization

Let's face it everyone, we all love the Internet Tablet and Maemo is a great platform to work with when creating the applications that help make it greater every day. But as we all know, there are some parts of the Internet Tablet OS that could use a little polish. To keep consistent with my thoughts in the Internet Tablet Talk forums, I'd like to expand on this topic and give some reasoning as to why it would be beneficial to Maemo developers, advanced users and end users alike.

Starting Simple
Let us start with the built-in applications in Maemo. There have been users that would like the option uninstall the applications they don't use or don't plan to use in the future. Most of these applications have been replaced by installable apps that do a better job and sometimes combine the functionality of multiple built-in apps [Canola for example]. It would be one thing to further development of the built-in applications or to offer that same mash-up of features to users, but that's not happening. The ability to improve these apps aren't even available to developers, most likely due the apps being "closed source" by Nokia.

So it's not likely Nokia will free up their code for their contribution to the platform, but I think it would be rather trivial for them to give the option of at least removing the built-in applications just like you can with other applications developed for the platform. Why should we be forced to live with an application we no longer have a need for or has been replaced by something better? By giving more flexibility to users as to what goes and what stays, there is less clutter of similar applications. The lack of this option makes the mobile experience a bit frustrating, and in most cases defeats the purpose of working on mobile devices such as the 770.

By the way, this is not the only platform that has this issue. Ever try to uninstall Solitaire from Windows, or the Calculator app from Ubuntu?

Advanced OS Building
The customization features need not be limited to just the Internet Tablet applications. Why not give users the option to play with the Hildion user interface, or provide the tools to easily build their own? For instance, there should be options in the flasher application for Windows [or command line options for Linux or Mac] which allow one to choose alternative file systems, UI themes, or other OS components. This might disrupt the functionality of most "Hildonized" applications, but then again, the Hildon UI shouldn't have been the only UI option in the first place.

Of course this modularization of the OS would frighten off most users, but it would also give developers the greatest freedom to extend the platform in more directions. This would eventually provide less advanced users more options to choose from at the OS level. For example, a group of developers could produce a multimedia specific operating system that caters to children and teens where games, movies, music, and pictures are the focus of attention on the device. The possibilities for optimizing the OS to the needs of the different user would be of great benefit to the community.

This idea is not new to the desktop OS market, where there are variations of an OS [Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, etc.], so why not enable a mobile equivalent of this concept?

A Matter Of Time?
I sincerely believe these capabilities are possible to implement into Maemo, yet the question that remains is will it be done? And if so, when? Until Internet Tablet users can control every application that runs on the platform and developers can control how effective the OS is at running those applications, the Internet Tablet OS is not fully open and will eventually become quite difficult to scale as time progresses.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Some Quick Sketches Done Using The 770

So after checking out this post over at Ring Nokia, I was a little inspired to try my hand at some artwork using the 770's sketch application. They're no masterpieces, but I could get the hang of using the 770 as a digital sketch pad.

Lazy Morning Post

[Link] - A great idea. If it works, give it wings, let it fly.

[Link] - Well there's an interesting approach to implementing a keyboard. But is it real?

So Far, So Good

As you probably have read NET9's "Top Nine Predictions" for 2007 post by now, you probably have noticed this one

- Watch for the beginnings of deals between mobile manufacturers, carriers, banks, and credit card companies to provide mobile integrated payment services in the US towards the end of 2007. Think Motorola/Cingular/American Express/Bank Of America, Nokia/Verizon/Visa/Wachovia, Samsung/T-Mobile/Master Card/Washington Mutual, or other combinations of the sort. [see NFC]

It's still too early to count this one right, but from the looks of things, it just might make it. Citibank, MasterCard, Cingular, and Nokia have joined forces to test the NFC technology in mobile phones for the first time in the US. At this point, the NYC Mobile Trial will be open to participants who meet the following requirements:
  • Have a valid Citi credit MasterCard card with PayPass
  • Be a Cingular Wireless customer
  • Live in the New York City trial area
  • Provide feedback regarding their experience in the trial
Although the trial is limited to a relatively small demographic, I expect to see this spread to other major cities quickly once people warm up to the concept.

Sources: atmospheric | endeavors | Gearlog

And if you liked that, just wait until I talk about Nokia's upcoming new tablet some more.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Predictions For 2007

Well, last year's predictions of this year were a little too vague, a lot of it was pretty obvious, and some were just plain wrong. You can see for yourself which were right, close to right, wrong, or straight out of the Twilight Zone. So let's make things a little more interesting this time around. Here are our "Top Nine Predictions" for 2007:

- Google polishes it's "golden code": Watch as a lot of Google services come out of beta with increasing speed. YouTube starts to earn Google ridiculous amounts of money through embedded ads in/as videos. Mobile is Google's next biggest target for everything from ads to zeitgeist. Oh, and look for Google to gobble up an entity that makes even more sense than YouTube (Digg, Second Life, Pandora, or Netvibes anyone?). Some possible new services from Google: Google Radio, Google Life, and Google Games.

- More Linux powered mobile devices emerge, but none of them will become the runaway success story that Nokia is in the process of writing with the Internet Tablet platform. However, there will be some very good developments in the embedded Linux camp that will carry over to future attempts at building mobile Linux platforms. And don't be surprised if you see Internet Tablet hardware from other companies announced that adopts the Maemo platform. Also, watch for innovative new user interface techniques via cameras on mobile devices.

- Sony hemorrhages a ton of money with the PS3 throughout 2007, but somehow manages to keep a weak pulse in the consumer electronics industry never the less. It's been said by some that this is Sony's last console, but if they're going out, they'll do it in a very big way. Watch for a "changing of the guard" to occur really soon and an attempt to refocus several of their product lines. This will be the year of desperation for Sony as they continue to make stupid mistakes even as they try to clean up the mess they made over the past few years.

- Apple will begin to grow more quickly in the computing space now that they've moved to x86 architecture, and watch as they continue to expand the entertainment and communication markets with tech such as iPod and iTunes, iTV, and yes the iPhone. Apple will begin it's lean towards the mobile device market more with the iPhone, but that's just the beginning as they begin to embrace wireless options to connect a lot of the Apple products together for the first time.

- Of course Nokia will launch it's new Internet Tablet, and I'm betting they will sell more units than the 770 within a year. The Maemo platform is maturing very nicely, and more people will warm up to the Internet Tablet idea as a result. Developers will come up with amazing uses for the new built-in camera, creating unique UI experiences. Applications for the Maemo platform will continue to become more sophisticated and the site will get an update* which will greatly improve the way users install programs on the Internet Tablets.
*[1] [2]

- Nintendo climbs it's way back into the game, so to speak, with the Wii as it's much needed edge. They've got a great gaming concept and it will very likely produce amazing new ideas. Their success will come from its encouragement of creativity. A new Game Boy handheld will be announced but will launch late in the year or early 2008.

- In 2007 the failure of the Zune will be the least of Microsoft's concerns as they struggle to keep Vista and Office 2007 from becoming rotten apples (no pun intended). Three factors play a role in Vista's and Office 2007's demise. [1] Ubuntu Linux is growing fast to becoming a viable competitor, and it will be much cheaper alternative to Vista. [2] Now that Apple has crossed over to x86 architecture, they have more room to grow into Microsoft's once dominant space. [3] Google is coming for Microsoft with a vengeance with online applications that will continue to eat into Microsoft's Office suite profits, also providing a cheaper (even free) alternative. Good thing they've got Xbox 360, right?

- Google will finally announce some sort of web OS product that will unify all of it's productivity and entertainment services into an easy to use interface. The service will tie your offline and online data together in a way that just makes sense, and you'll even be able to access your local data remotely over an encrypted connection. Of course you'll have easy access to the service via your mobile device as well.

- Watch for the beginnings of deals between mobile manufacturers, carriers, banks, and credit card companies to provide mobile integrated payment services in the US towards the end of 2007. Think Motorola/Cingular/American Express/Bank Of America, Nokia/Verizon/Visa/Wachovia, Samsung/T-Mobile/Master Card/Washington Mutual, or other combinations of the sort. [see NFC]

"Don't let the future happen, make it happen."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

770 Meets Robotics

There's still some new and interesting applications being created for the 770 and the Internet Tablet platform as a whole. This stuff is really quite amazing.

Puppy robot

Best Of NET9 - 2006

It's been a great year here at NET9 and we still have a couple weeks left, but we think it's about time to look back on some of the great posts that show how much we've grown and changed. It's always good to remember where you came from in order know where you're going. So here are our most notable posts from our journey through 2006:
Happy Birthday NET9!
A Little Nokia History
Most Overlooked Nokia 770 Features
Mobile Future: Part 1 [Part 2] [Part 3]
Giving Credit Where It's Due
I Had To Ask Myself...
A Touch Of The Future
La Fonera Unboxed
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Worth Holding On To
News 08.21.2006
News 07.10.2006
Next gen Linux tablets get Nokia thumbs-up
News 06.12.2006
News 06.09.2006
News 05.16.2006
Welcome To The Future...
3pm Injection [1]
Next stop..."Predictions For 2007"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Refreshing Your Memory

IBM, Macronix, and Qimonda have teamed up to create what may well be the successor to flash memory with a demonstration of a prototype phase-change memory device that switched 500 times faster than flash while using less than half the power to write data into a cell. This could possibly be a viable solution for mobile devices that are becoming increasingly demanding for faster, more efficient memory. However, don't expect to see this new memory technology until around 2008.
Techworld | Ars Technica

For slightly faster and higher storage capacity than current memory, Sony and SanDisk are rolling out a new Memory Stick format. Memory Stick Pro-HG is slated to be up to three times faster than the current Memory Stick Pro format, with that same "theoretical limit" of 32GB storage capacity. Expect to see the new card some time in 2007. For what it's worth, it sounds as if the two formats [Pro and Pro-HG] are compatible with Pro-HG functioning as Memory Stick Pro in Memory Stick Pro compliant host devices. Of course, many a consumer will likely be baffled once again as to why Sony persists on creating "Yet Another Memory Stick Format" every other year.
Gizmodo | TechSpot

Speaking of memory, check out the essay by Nokia's Dr. Ari Jaaski at LinuxDevices for an excellent rundown of the work put into
creation of the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet and the platform and essential software that powers it. There's a good bit of history being built around this new mobile genre, and a lot of us are excited about its future as well.

Also, stay tuned for our "Best Of NET9 - 2006" and "Predictions For 2007" posts coming soon.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another Way To Use That Cameraphone

The V-Code: boatloads of data via barcode [Engadget Mobile]
Looks like this idea has been kicked around for some time though. Could this become one of the many ways cameras in mobile devices change the physical landscape in order to interact with them on a virtual level? What's next, RFID?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Happy Birthday NET9!

That's right, NET9 is one year old today, and we're celebrating with a fresh new look. We've come a long way since last year this time, and I believe we're going to see a lot of great new developments going forward. As a quick glance into the past, we've made the site more dynamic, we added great new features, 3pm was born, and of course the Nokia 770 changed the way many of us experience the Internet on the move.

We thank all of our visitors, old and new, for checking us out and showing interest in the NET9 experience. We hope you join us as we continue to create, report, and debate "The Future Of Mobile Information Technology".

Friday, December 08, 2006

Nokia 770 Winter Theme

Now you can dress up your Internet Tablet for the holiday season with the new Winter theme, available for download at

Are We There Yet?

Last year we saw the cool All-In-One card concept, and its about that time to look back on how far we've come in terms of the technology that comes close to producing something similar. We started the year off with the amazing abilities of the Nokia 770, and latter saw mobile phones likeSamsung's get super slim. Recently, we've been introduced to images of the new Internet Tablet coming from Nokia some time next year that show a slightly slimmer device with an integrated web cam and improved media card options.

So far, we have seen many realistic technological improvements in the mobile space, but we still have a ways to go be for we start seeing usable products like the All-In-One card. I think 2007 holds a lot of improvements in the technology that will power the next generation of mobile devices. Here are some of the tech that you are likely to see in your next mobile device:

- Ultra thin screens [1]
- Micro sized mass storage [1] [2]
- Better batteries [1] [2]

Thursday, December 07, 2006

James Kim, Rest In Peace

It's a sad day for many today as CNET reports that James Kim, the CNET editor who had been lost in the Oregon wilderness for the last 11 days, has been found deceased. Kim's wife, Kati, and daughters, Penelope (4 years) and Sabine (7 months), were rescued on Monday thanks to his very courageous and heroic efforts. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Kim family and friends.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Links - 12.05.2006

A new 100GB 1.8" hard disk
[Akhihabara News]

LG debuts "ebook" concept laptop with OLED screen, fuel cell

Mobile Complete: Virtual Handsets for Real World Developers


FBI using cell phone microphones to eavesdrop
[Ars Technica]

Casio develops methanol-based micro liquid fuel cell

A Little Nokia History

From paper and power to electrical wires and cables. From car tires to rubber boots. From computers to TVs. Nokia has had a very interesting history, and mobile phones is just the most recent part of it. Check out the timeline and other related information on Nokia's amazing past, and see the foundations of a company that will most certainly be a major part of our future.
[via Ring Nokia]

Monday, December 04, 2006

Most Overlooked Nokia 770 Features

Okay, so maybe they are more underrated than overlooked, but with the numerous gripes about what the 770 appears to be lacking, it sure seems some reviews of the device missed some pretty useful features. It may be the case that these features are just misunderstood. In any case, these are the three that seem to be the most prevalent in my opinion:

Thumb Keyboard
To this day there are people that still don't know there is a thumb keyboard alternative to the smaller touch screen keyboard, and that it is quite usable once you get the hang of it. It may also be true that there are people that know it's there, but just don't like using it at all, due to non-tactile feedback or other reasons. This is the number one feature that most people would like, but it's not easily noticed that it's there at first glance of the device. Hopefully, more people will be able to spread the word about this feature going forward.

To make the launching of the thumb keyboard easier: Keyboard menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Finger (tab) -> Check "Launch via rocker key"
This allows you to activate the thumb keyboard using the select key in the directional pad.

Notes Application
Paired with the functionality of the thumb keyboard on the 770, the notes application is a very capable feature that has garnered almost as much "negative" attention as the thumb keyboard itself. Seems as if half of the people knowledgeable about the Nokia 770 hate the notes application, while the other half don't even know it's there. Again, this is likely due to the fact that it's really not as visible at first glance. Perhaps this application would gain more more positive attention if it were more readily accessible and had a few more options, say via a corresponding home applet.

To save notes in plain text: Menu -> Format -> File format -> Plain text
This creates an unformatted text file that's more readable by text editors and word processors.

Built-in Microphone
I don't know how few people know that the 770's microphone exists, but even now that Google Talk and other VoIP applications like Gizmo are available for the device, there are those who still ask me where the speaker is if it can do all that. But the microphone's functionality doesn't stop there, as there is a pretty useful voice recorder application as well. It's nice for taking notes audibly which is faster than typing, even if you're quick with the thumb keyboard. However, this application could use a simple home applet as well.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Future Looks Really Easy...

Through the eyes of Nokia designers that is. By the looks of these videos, Nokia appears to be leaning more towards touch interfaces as the major UI experience. The best part about it all is that these concepts may not be too far away and in some cases, are already being incorporated in some of Nokia's products today.

Nokia Mobile Phones Of The Future [Part 1]

Nokia Mobile Phones Of The Future [Part 2]