It’s strange, but Maemo’s original activity indicator always seemed a bit clunky to me. Luckily, you can replace it. Based on a license-free animated GIF taken from the ajax activity indicator collection, here’s a replacement that feels a lot more soothing and makes you glad you have to wait for a tiny moment:

throbber2.png

Download this tar archive, uncompress and untar it on your Nokia 770 or N800 in the / directory. This will overwrite the original activity indicators.

throbber.gif

You need a root shell to do that, so it’s not suitable for beginners, yet. (I will try to put these files in a .deb Package to make installation easier.)

P.S.: If you copy the files to your device manually, make sure that the files have the correct read permissions, as the device will freeze if it cannot read these files and you end up having to reflash the system…

The N800 has arrived. Some quick first impressions, most of them in comparison to the previous 770:

It uses the same batteries and charger. Yay! It uses standard SD memory cards. Yay! It has two memory card slots. Yay! It has more built-in RAM. Yay! The CPU is faster. Yay!

The 770 felt rugged and I wasn’t afraid to break it. The N800 appears a lot more delicate. I really wouldn’t want to drop the N800.

The camera feels like a useless add-on, I would have preferred a built-in GPS receiver. Is there a desktop application that I can use to do video-calls from the N800 to a desktop? I hope that the recently announced Skype client will support video-calls.

The UI’s graphic design looks even stranger than on the 770. Still not quite to my taste.

I hope that PDAir will come up with a bag for this device, again. Their 770 leather bag was just perfect.

The N800 now supports Bluetooth keyboards by default and it just works. The 770 didn’t handle BT keyboards this well. Yay!

All in all, some very good improvements.

Yes, the Nokia 770 convinced me: Since Nokia announced the successor to it, I sold mine on ebay and ordered the Nokia N800 right away.

I liked the 770 very very much: A wonderful high-resolution screen, very light, near-perfect size (could be a bit smaller for me, though). It uses a Debian-like Linux, so I felt right at home. And which other 230 gramm computer is running full versions of Perl and Python?

It is fast enough for most activities and the recent OS upgrade (2006SE_2.2006.39-14) made it even snappier. I used it to watch DVB recordings so that I had my own portable video player on the subway to work.

Still, this thing is a weird device. The user interface is very different to previous PDAs I have tried, a strange mix of touchscreen use and GUI-menu environment with an unusual taste in graphics design. All taken together, the UI never really feels consistent. I guess that only people who used a MacOS/Windows-like UI before will understand how to use it. This is made worse that application developers all have their own ideas about the UI and a true styleguide appears to be ignored. Also, the UI wastes way too much screen estate for system information.

So now the 770 will find a new home. The N800 has arrived by now, as well, so I’m going to review that one here, shortly.