N900 tweaking

I’ve been tweaking my N900 quite a bit (just because I can).

Power management. Sadly there are some issues with some wifi routers related to power management. If you find yourself with connections timing out, the solution is going to settings, internet connections. Then edit the problematic connection and go to the last page which features an advanced button. Then under ‘other’ set power management to intermediate or off.

With that sorted out, you’ll want to be offline most of the day. So don’t turn on sip/im/facebook unless you need it and switch it off right after you’re done. Push email is nice but with 15/30 minute polling your battery will last longer.

To gain insight, of course install battery-eye. This plots a graph of your batteries power reserves. Finally, you may want to install a few applets to dim the screen, turn on/off wifi, and switch between 2G and 3G. You can find these in the extras repository that is enabled by default in the application manager.

Apt-get. The application manager is nice but a bit sluggish and it insists on refreshing catalogs after just about each tap. Use it to install openssh and make sure to pick a good password (or set up key authentication). Then ssh into your n900 and use apt-get update and apt-get install just like you would on any decent Debian box. This is why you got this device.

Finding stuff to install. Instead of listing all the crap I installed, I’ll provide something more useful: ways of finding crap to install.

  • Ovi store. Small selection of goodies. Check it out but don’t count on finding too much there. Included for completeness
  • Misc sites with the latest cool stuff:
  • Advanced (i.e. don’t come crying when you mess up and have to reflash): enable the extras, extras-testing, extras-devel repositories from here. Many useful things are provided here. Some of them have the potential to seriously mess up your device. Extras-devel is where all the good stuff comes from but it’s very much like Debian unstable.

Browser extensions. The N900 browser supports extensions. Install the adblock and maemo geolocation extensions through the application manager.

Use the browser. Instead of applications, you can use the browser and rely on web applications instead:

  • Cotchin. A web based foursquare client. Relies on the geolocation API for positioning.
  • Google Reader for touch screen phones.
  • Google maps mobile. Includes latitude, routing and other cool features. Relies on the geolocation API for positioning.
  • Maemaps. Pretty cool N900 optimized unofficial frontend for Google Maps.
  • Hahlo. A nice twitter client in the browser.

3 Replies to “N900 tweaking”

  1. Please do not use a password on the device, use ssh keys only !

    There are no shadow passwords so it uses weak DES encryption directly /etc/passwd.

    Everybody with 5 minutes access to use N900 can scp /etc/passwd (world readable) to itself and crack all passwords in another 5 minutes with john.

    I would love to see shadow passwd and stronger encryption on the device. But a lot of people in Maemo chat-rooms reacted like stupid idiots so I gave up on that and just hacked it in for my own use.

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