Santa gave me a Nokia N810

I was a very lucky boy this year and Santa left me a Nokia N810 under the Christmas tree, it’s a Web Tablet featuring the OS 2008 Linux distribution, based on Maemo, 4.0

Having sorted out the girls iPods, updated the software, how’s that work then? The new nano has only ‘just come out’ yet here we go again yet another “Newer version of your software is available” anyway next on the list is sorting the wife’s new phone and then it was my turn. Like a good boy I sat at the table and opened up the ‘Pin up’ poster sized instruction sheet.

Stage 1 “First charge the battery on your new Nokia N810” Bugger! Three hours later, well its got some juice in it hasn’t it?

Stage 2 “Insert your SD memory card” Arrgghhh! Frantic searching of boxes, paper, families’ pockets and bins no SD card! Quickly jumped on the Laptop to look on the Internet “What’s in the box?” phew there is no SD card so why talk about it in the STAGE 2 of the set up?

Stage 3 Is the usual this button is this routine.

Stage 4 Here we go, setup wizard

OK so I switch it on, pair it with my phone, detect my wifi, set the date and time and that’s about it really but hang on how do I work it? There are some very basic, and I mean basic instructions on what icon to click on for a given application but no instructions on how to configure say your email. Now I have a bit of knowledge so after a bit of trial and error I got mine working, although I think it’s not correct, I can only delete mails from both the Nokia and the mailserver, there is an option to just delete from the N810 but it won’t let me select it?

I could rant on about this suffice to say the instructions are crap really crap given the price of the unit, there is a pdf file buried somewhere within the unit but that would be a nightmare to read while trying to set up your chat program.

Updating and installing software

I haven’t a clue! Actually that’s not true you use something similar to click-n-run or one-click-install you go to some website (For Christ sake don’t delete the short cut) where there is a small selection of apps, click on the one you want and it’s a pretty standard “Do you want to install this” wizard but yet again no instructions on how to do it or get there I found it by accident.

Transfer Data

In the box is a data cable but hang on where’s the software to stick on my PC so I can talk to the Nokia? There isn’t any or at least not for the minute if you plug it in to either Linux or Windows your PC just thinks it’s a Camera and opens the Video/Images folder, I tried to transfer some files over which my PC said was there but the Nokia couldn’t or wouldn’t see them so for the minute transferring from PC to N810 is non-existent.


After a while I got pretty used to it there is another niggle but I doubt there is a way round it, you can have some applets running on the desktop I have a clock and an RSS reader they can be freely moved around and here is the problem they move too freely and they are a real bugger to move back to where you had them before what’s needed is some sort of ‘Lock to desktop’ option.

Just because the screen looks small don’t be fooled there is a neat zoom feature so everything is viewable you just have to scroll a bit more that’s all.

The N810 has ‘Maps’ and a car kit so I suppose you could use it as a sort of tom tom go travel map thingy but I’m pretty good with a road atlas and have a good sense of direction.

I came across another problem which actually made me roll around with gutsy belly laughs; there is a built in Webcam the instructions read: “In the top left corner is a Webcam, when the red light is on it is working” WTF? How do I turn it on mate? Trial and error again helped me discover that you go to /Extras/Camera (I think I had to install the Camera software by the way) and hey presto you have a nice orangey, grainy low quality Webcam. As a media player it’s not the best IMO it plays music, it works, I just think it doesn’t sound as good as my iPod.

Gripe List

  1. Instructions are appalling; there is no printed full featured manual in the box.
  2. No Syncing/communicating software either in the box or available for download.
  3. The carry case for it is pants.
  4. Applets cannot be locked in place.

Summing up

I love it to bits I was pleasantly surprised that my sausage fingers can use the keyboard pretty well and in conjunction with the stylus I can nip round stuff quickly, once you have the applications setup any Linux user will feel at home with the N810 I installed Pidgin and found another sad friend to talk too on Christmas day. The signal strength is good and the build quality is sturdy. Its one of those gadgets that just feels good in your hands.

Given that it costs around £300.00 I think Nokia needs a slap on the wrist for items 1. 2. And 3. On my gripe list but having said that I’m chuffed to bits all I need now is lots of people with open wifi connections so I can stay on the net wherever I go using my Nokia 6300 phone via Bluetooth could work out expensive!


Linux Outlaws

For the past couple of months I’ve been listening to Linux Outlaws its a fairly new podcast by a couple of guys, Fabian Scherschel and Dan Lynch, who create the show over the phone.


Dan lives in the UK and Fabian lives in Germany so its not as if they can nip round each others house on a Friday night for some cold pizza and a can of Tizer, I have to say the show is pretty good given that they openly admit they’re no experts and that the podcast is in its infancy. I’ve been listening for about a month now and each release gets better and better Its the usual mix of emails, news and reviews, possibly because its one of the new kids on the block they haven’t had any interviews or phone-ins yet (I think?) so come on people give em some stuff to work with.


There is a new forum for the show which already has some lively activity and also some merchandise such as tee shirts that can be purchased, $2.00 goes to the upkeep of the show which at today’s rate is £1.00, a pittance in my opinion. Hop over to and download the podcast or join the forum.