Ken-Young on Orrery, bringing more stars into view than you can see
Orrery is a new application, available in Extras, which shows you the night sky. Its author, Ken Young, says, it was originally written for Openmoko Freerunner phones, which have about 1/20 (really!) of the processing power of an N900. So I had to work hard to make the calculations run efficiently, or else it would have been unusable on a Freerunner. On an N900, it is quite responsive. The response to the application has been very positive and is worth checking out for any amateur astronomers.
Hands-on Mozilla's pocket-sized Firefox mobile
Browser Switchboard makes it easy to define alternative browsers as default
The developer of Browser Switchboard is looking for testers and feedback on the beta version for Maemo 5. Browser Switchboard is a program which allows you to choose which browser to use as the default browser. It supports MicroB, Tear, Fennec/Mobile Firefox, and Midori out of the box, and can also be used to launch MicroB without having browserd running. With the publicity surrounding Firefox Mobile (Fennec), it is likely that an increasing number of users will want to change their default browser; so this is a chance to help with the development of a low-level utility of use to many users.
Foursquare social networking/geolocation service & game
Foursquare is an interesting service combining the virtual and physical worlds into a multiplayer game; as well as providing geolocation services and tangible benefits for its users. Barriosquare is a Foursquare client for Maemo, Foursquare is a social networking service that is both a game and an information tool with ties into Twitter and Facebook. You “check in” to various locations and then can have your location sent to Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook friends. You can add “shouts” when you check in to add a statement along with your check in. It is an easy way to see who else in your friend list is in the area and even cooler you can leave and find tips that are location based and live in the cloud as virtual tags. I have found this most helpful at restaurants where people have left tips on what is good to eat or what you should avoid ordering. There is some huge potential here for expanding this tips capability and even having venues give you coupons if you login or other incentives to play the game. Screenshots of the private beta are available in Matthew Miller's blog post.
More info on community-designed levels for Angry Birds
Following on from our article in the last issue, Christopher Stobbs shows the custom levels he and craig garvie have been working on, complete with screenshots, video and installation walkthrough. Christopher concludes his guide, a big thanks to everyone over at maemo.org and to Rovio. Now lets get playing.
Low-level recovery tools: TestDisk and PhotoRec
Luigi Cotignano has announced that he has ported TestDisk and PhotoRec. TestDisk is a powerful data recovery tool that helps to recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again. PhotoRec is file data recovery tool designed to recover lost files including video, documents, archives, audio files, databases and much more from disks and SD/MMC cards. It supports more than 300 file formats. Luigi is currently asking for feedback. Join the discussion linked below.
MaePad notepad/jotter for Maemo 5
Thomas Perl has announce MaePad for Maemo5. MaePad is an update to Maemopad+, an application for creating texts, drawing sketches and managing lists of things. You can manage the information you are working with by using a node tree that can grow as big as you want. It's currently in beta and you can find it in extras-devel, so standard caveats apply.
Comic widget in early development
Marcus Wikström has announced his Comic Widget for Maemo. I made a widget for myself so that I can get my favorite comic strips on the desktop. It turned out pretty nice so I decided to package it and upload it to devel. The widget currently shows xkcd, Dilbert and Sinfest comics. It's currently in early beta and you can find it in Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply).
Nokia N900 running emulated SNES controlled with PS3 SIXAXIS controller
Tomasz Sterna has managed to get a PS3 SIXAXIS controller connected to his N900. This offers another controller input option for Maemo users on top of the existing Wii Remote option.
Extension enables Flash for YouTube on Firefox Mobile
Firefox Mobile has, in the interests of "user experience" disabled (but not removed) Flash support in their browser. However, it can be enabled on a site-by-site basis, and the 'YouTube Enabler' does exactly that: This add-on enables Flash on YouTube because the overall experience is pretty good on YouTube content. Firefox's extension-based architecture makes such addons simple to develop and deploy, and there are dozens of extensions already.
Showtime - TV listings app
rama kurvakat has released a TV guide application for Maemo which supports multiple countries by using the XMLTV format: I don't watch too much TV but I never like to miss my favourite programmes. I could always do with an app like this to display TV channel listings with a facility to set reminder/remote record. This does exactly that and only that. It's not intended to be a multimedia player if you know what I mean. The listings for the UK are provided by your editor in a side-project which predates Maemo by about 9 years! The application is now in Extras-testing, so it eager users should test and vote to help ensure quality software gets to end-users in Extras.