That’s right, I said applications – and not apps. Get over it. On with the show!
My fellow N900 user and abuser, EverythingBlaxx over MaemoFanatics will soon have his top 5 applications for the N900 up. He’s gone the route that includes eyecandy and shiny things to look at. I’ve taken the liberty to introduce my favorite applications/scripts/daemons/addons that don’t have a packaged GUI, ones you might not know about – but should definitely take a look at.
This is basically a daemon that provides an interface to dbus calls as they happen. You can create events for specific hardware changes (lock/unlock, slide in/out keyboard, charger in/out), connectivity changes (bluetooth device attached, connection to specific WLAN) and basically anything else that dbus controls (which is just about the entire device). It’s absolutely perfect for automating things. Have it connect to your home WLAN when plugged in, fire up gPodder and automatically download any new episodes. Have it send an SMS when your battery is dying, letting anybody who needs to know – they can get a hold of you at a different number. Have it automatically switch you into Sleep mode, provided it’s charging, you’re on your home cell tower and it’s between the hours of 11 PM and 7 AM. Nifty, huh?
It’s available in extras-devel as dbus-scripts and dbus-scripts-settings.
I lie, there is a separate GUI for it. dbus-script-settings;
It still only provides an interface to act upon calls, you need to write a script or application that will “do stuff” once the event is trigger.
Geotoad is an existing ruby script, that is used for collecting and mining geocache data. It has a ncurses-style interface which is actually extremely easy to use. It’s very powerful and pulls from geocaching.com using your login credentials. You can export to different filetypes (and then import, into applications such an GPXView). You can set many of the same options that you can on geocaching.com and will run recursive and continuous downloads. You don’t need a premium account to grab all local caches. It’s extremely handy to use, either with the N900 as your main co-ord device, or a standalone GPS.
Here’s what it all looks like. Sure to get some questions, when you fire it up in the middle of the woods with a weak EDGE connection and start leeching data off servers in order to get hints and tips for finding that elusive cache;
You will need an account on geocaching.com to get the information, but if you’re an avid cacher, you already do. This is in the repository, so real easy to install all the required dependencies by using `apt-get install geotoad`
I’m including these all as one. vncviewer is, well, a VNC client. It will connect to any VNC server you can access from the network you’re on. I use VNC on all my workstations at home, rDesktop on my Windows machines and keep SSH open for shell access. I also use rDesktop at a few places I manage networks at. It’s a real trip to quickly enable when you’re over at a friends place who uses their XP laptop to play music, but hate having to get up to change the song all the time. Yeah, I’m real fun at a party. How about when your Aunt who lives in Halifax calls you to help with their computer, but you’re sitting on a nice warm day in the Skydome, watching a baseball game? Consider it done, Auntie. How about when EverythingBlaxx makes fun of you for wearing plaid slacks and a sombrero? SSH into his device, get his home address and show up with a bag full of BBQ sauce to smash him in the face with. Don’t play around! To install, simply `apt-get install vncviewer x11vnc rdesktop` or omit whichever ones you don’t want.
4). headphoned / actionmanagerdaemon.
Real simple stuff with this one. Accidentally yank out the 3.5mm audio cable, instead of blaring out Shania Twain, headphoned will automagically pause the media player and save your bacon. ActionManager also provides the same functionality, and includes the ability to play music when the cable is plugged in. Available in maemo.org repos. Simply `apt-get install headphoned` and you’re done.
Simple Media Player Status Area Applet. Say that 3 times fast. This little precious, will stick an entry in your “drop down” menu with quick access to your media player. The music player widget seems to bog down hildon, so I did away with it, and use this instead.
And just as you imagine, artist, song and album art are all updated immediately after a song changes.
Bust an `apt-get install status-area-applet-mediaplayer` from within xterm, you might need to restart X and hildon or just reboot in order to re-arrange the menu entries and get everything in working order.
So there you have it. 5 applications that will make your N900 more enjoyable to use as a power user, a regular user and maybe even a basement hacker/junkie. These are completely free and open source. Let’s see your smartphone do this;