Reading RSS on NanoNote

It can be useful to read some news during traveling in bus of train. On the NanoNote one can use the Snownews RSS newsreader. It’s prety simple, fast and easy to use (actually, I have use on my desktop it for years).

RSS feeds can be downloaded at once:


snownews --update

Of course, it is not possible to read full articles if the NanoNote is not connected at them moment. It is usual situation for me. But many RSS feeds include extensive abstracts so one can read them and decide what (if any) full article he or she will read later on-line. That’s fine for me.

Snownews on Ben Nanonote - specific feed

There are some issues: the main is that the Snownews is a RSS reader. It doesn’t understand Atom feeds. It can be solved with plugin
but I don’t tried it on the NanoNote, yet.

The second issue is that some dialogs don’t fit on NanoNote’s default sc

Reading RSS on NanoNote

WiFi on the Ben NanoNote

Recently I have had opportunity to use my Spectec WiFi card with my Ben to connect on several places. So there is my personal experience.

I always have used unencrypted connection: in public places like pubs or restaurants, at my university we also have an unecrypted WiFi with VPN (vpnc works well here). I ever experienced any noticeable packet loss as it was reported by some other users.

I have used these commands to connect:

iwlist scan |less #(to find the hotspot)
iwconfig eth0 mode Managed
iwconfig eth0 essid ABC #(to connect to hotspot - "ABC" for example)
udhpc eth0 #(DHCP client)

There is one problem: it is necessary to insert the WiFi card into the slot only AFTER device boot. It is not recognized if it is inserted before boot.

Ben with WiFi Card inserted running Links
Ben with WiFi Card inserted running Links

I have used the Mutt for e-mails, the Links browser (and Surfraw to start it) and a Czech transport finder spoje.py. Of course, WWW experience is limited by text mode and (mainly) by screen size but for most cases it is acceptable (googling, reading wikipedia, online dictionaries and so on). I don’t use IM too much so I only tried to start MCabber to see who is online on Google Talk and it works (anyway the Climm seems to be a more suitable IM client for so small screen. There is only one type of application that I miss – a RSS reader.

A battery usage seems to be about 0.5-1% per minute (no power management is available in device driver). It may be too much for prolonged usage but if one needs to connect for short periods (to check emails, to send or to dowload something) it is acceptable. I’s still good for an option which is oficially unsupported by manufacturer.

I’m thinking about making a simple dialog-based configuration utility for the Ben. But the rest of things seem to be functional enough.

Anyway, I use my Ben mostly offline (for notetaking, like a dictionary, as a calendar, todo list, music player,…) and a possibility of a WiFi connection is usefull only for some cases (during traveling and so).

WiFi on the Ben NanoNote

My Ben NanoNote

I recently become a fan of the Ben NanoNote pocket-size computer.

Ben NanoNote micronotebook

The Ben is something with shape of a netbook but in very small size (actually it is smaller and lighter than many smartphones).
It seems to be too small for serious work but I thing that its size is actually right. In the past I usually traveled with 9″-17″ notebooks but they are too powerfull and too heavy for my needs. My journeys are usually relatively short and the work with computer is usually limited to making of few easy computations and to writing of several notes and sometimes laso to sending and receiving of several emails. And I always carry a handheld device for reading of books, listening and so on.

The Ben NanoNote is pocket-sized so if potentially can replace both a handheld and a notebook. So I got one and start to use it.

Well, the device is a bit strange: it has no mouse or pointer input and it runs the Linux operating system (actually it is opened to run anything and it is also open for hardware modifications – see manufacturer page for details). It can run application in graphical mode but I prefer the text mode because of size and clarity of the text.
But it’s OK for me because I need to use some of my custom applications on it. So I have welcomed that it runs a operating system with similar properties as one can find on desktop systems with Linux or with Unixes.

Mathomatic computer algebra system

I have ported several applications for use on the Ben NanoNote, they are available here. Of course I also use many programs that are shipped with the device. Screenshots of some more application are available here.

My Ben NanoNote