Bye bye, FreeRunner

I finally sold my OpenMoko FreeRunner smartphone.

Don't panic - it's only SHR...

I was mostly satisfied with my FreeRunner but I have found that smartphones in general probably are not what I need. It had some advantages over other smartphones (for example it’s openness have allowed to easily port interesting Linux software and it has been well customizable) but it also have had some disadvantages. The disadvantages have been mostly related to FreeRunner’s aged hardware design: not so easy to use touchscreen, GUI performance, strange 2.5″ audio connector and so on.

Microdef on Neo Freerunner

One of its main disadvantages has been the battery life. But it is not special problem of the FreeRunner. It’s battery life has been less or more comparable with other smartphones. And it recently have become a problem for me. I used FreeRunner’s capabilities (GPS, WiFi, special and custom applications,…) only few times during year. But it was necessary to recharge it every two or three days. I usually carried who pocket machines with me: the FreeRunner and the Ben NanoNote. I have found that the Ben is more practical for my needs: mainly because it has real hardware keyboard and it can easily run not also command-line applications. In my opinion use of mature command-line or text-oriented application (like Remind, Mutt or HNB) is more practical than use of new or half-baked graphical tool which is usually slower or functionally limited (due limits of touchscreen input possibilities).

So I decided to replace my smartphone with a dumb phone (with this one). It is not that exciting nor interesting, it may be not so user friendly like the FreeRunner was but is surely has incomparably longer battery life and it is little more durable (it is also much lighter). It si good for SMSs and for phone call and it is that I’m expecting from phone. Computing tasks (including notetaking and time management) should be done by a computer.

Ben NanoNote micronotebook

Bye bye, FreeRunner

Freerunner phone: SHR update

I have finally updated software on my Neo FreeRunner cell phone.

I have using the SHR Linux distribution for more than one year and I am less or more satisfied with it. But I didn’t wanted to update the phone before return from traveling so I have updated only recently. So I never used the new Illume2 environment before.

SHR desktop with Gry theme

What is bad?

The older environment (pictured above) have looked better to me (and it also was bit more practical). But OK, I can live with the new one (see below). And it is also less buggy and it is actively developed.

SHR desktop (Illume2)

The bad thing is that of by older Gtk+ applications now can’t work – I have to recompile them. It looks like easy task but setting up of the building environment (compilers, libraries,..) in not so easy. So I can’t use them right now.

What is good?

The good thing is that there is finally an useful calculator – the Gaculator from the GNOME desktop.
It includes all the functionality that I need (I don’t need too much: trigonometric functions and ability to use degrees is enough for me…). And trere is also the Gnuplot plotting program. Actually, I use my Ben NanoNote much more frequently for these things but it is sometimes useful to have such software on the phone, too.

I also updated the bootloader from old U-Boot to newer Qi and the GPS chip now can works even after suspend and resume (it still need a lot of time to get a fix, though). That’s nice.

Final notes

I still miss a good e-mail client and a RSS reader but it is not a big issue because a use the Mutt and the SnowNews on my Nanonote.

Galculator on SHR

Still I must say that the phone environment is more eye-candy but the simple textual environment on the NanoNote is much, much more productive.

Ben NanoNote and Neo FreeRunner

Freerunner phone: SHR update