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View Full Version : Nokia 770 & Slimserver- Any regrets?



bouton
2006-02-09, 08:29
Was wondering is those of you who have bought the nokia 770 as an interfaceand or remote control to slimserver have had any regrets?
Should I hold off and see if a new model comes out that will adress some of the hardware issues (eg memory) or should |I hit the 'buy' button now :)

thanks

fuzzyT
2006-02-09, 08:58
No regrets here. It's a fantastic device.

My two main uses are web+email when traveling (no lugging a laptop), and
SB rich remote. There are some limitations, but I'm living with them.

Biggest flaws:

--The native email client is rough. Nokia has committed to improvement.
For now I just use my webmail, which works very well.

--Memory and CPU limitations. This is balanced by the fact that
limiting these resources makes for better battery life. There are small
lags, and you can only load so many apps at once, but it's not really so
bad. Of course I look forward to future models, but I will happily use
this one until then. And some of the performance issues will improve as
better software is released.

Some other flaws (WPA-PSK, inline HTTP auth URLs, performance) have
already been addressed in software.

And of course it's been hard waiting for the stable release of SS6.5 w/
the 770 skin. I'm running a reasonably operable nightly cut and that's
working for now.

And for an unexpected joy: tune in to a SlimServer stream using the 770
music player, jump over to the 770 skin to control it, pop in
headphones, put the 770 in your pocket and move around. Portable,
personal radio (on a WiFi and battery leash, but still...).

I'm happy.

--rt

mattg
2006-02-09, 11:52
I returned my 770 after two weeks. I bought it primarily for use as a Squeezebox remote. While the Nokia 770 Slimserver skin is great to look at and easy to use, the 770 is just too slow to make it useful for me. I could walk over to the Squeezebox and find my music much faster using the standard remote than I could sitting on my couch with the 770.

I would have kept the 770 if I had a need for a portable web browser, because it excels at that, but as a Squeezebox remote I found it lacking. Again, this is no reflection on the great Nokia 770 skin, it's the hardware that isn't up to it.

atlslim
2006-02-09, 14:17
Unlike mattg I'm definitely enjoying the Nokia 770 in combination w/ Ben's sweet skin. I can access my music collection much more efficiently using the 770 versus standard remote. It goes without saying that browse by artwork has a real "wow" factor using a browser-based remote.

There was a recent firmware upgrade for the 770 that has improved its 'snappiness' but you don't want to have lots of other apps running in the background or things do slow down. Also, you will need to run the 6.5 (beta) version of slimserver as the 770 skin is not supported in earlier releases.

Ben continues to update/improve the skin and I am officially "hooked".

Fifer
2006-02-09, 14:29
atlslim beat me to it, but I wonder if mattg tried the updated 770 firmware? I find the 770 almost perfect as a SB remote but I'm really surprised at just how much I use it for regular browsing. I bought it primarily for SB use, but now use it much more as a web tablet. I haven't even begun to explore using it as a media player (that's next). To answer the original question, no regrets whatsoever. It massively exceeded my expectations already.

fuzzyT
2006-02-09, 14:54
mattg wrote:
> While the Nokia 770 Slimserver skin is great to look at and easy to
> use, the 770 is just too slow to make it useful [...]

The 770 firmware updates have improved performance somewhat.

One area that may improve soon is network performance when using an
encrypted wireless link. I believe I read where the encryption work may
be offloaded to the DSP chip, speeding it up greatly.

Another factor for performance will likely be the forthcoming changes to
the SlimServer itself.

In particular, the changes to the skin code (better CSS based layouts,
fewer image widgets) and server-side album art resizing and caching
should reduce the CPU and memory requirements of any browser displaying
the SS web interfaces. Most desktop users may only notice minor
improvements, but it may be an huge boost for users of slow systems and
handheld devices.

All of which is just icing on the cake as it is working acceptably for
me now. Sorry you didn't have a better experience with yours.

RDaneel
2006-02-09, 16:03
It's hard for me to answer this question - as I don't have a SqueezeBox yet! My SB3 is out being modded before arriving, so all my experience with the 770 is with SoftSqueeze.

So far, though, it's a killer app for the 770. I agree that snappier performance would be nice (I have the newest firmware, which is good, but it's not desktop speed, of course) for loading. However, that is a relatively minor nit - it is still FAR faster to use this interface than the OEM remote. Plus, it looks awesome and the 770 makes a fun toy in other ways...

I highly recommend jumping on this combo. If fuzzyT is right, things are only going to get better! I run WPA encryption, so offloading to the DSP would be awesome.

EnochLight
2006-02-09, 16:46
I think this might have been asked before but... when you have the 770 on standby and "wake it up", how long does it take to connect to your WiFi and actively refresh the 770 skin?

When I use the 770 skin with my PSP, it takes about 15 to 25 seconds to "wake up", connect to my network and refresh. I'm 50% vested in buying a Nokia 770 like next week, but I'm just wondering if it will feel much faster than my PSP. I can have 3 webpages open on my PSP's browser but the touch-screen of the Nokia 770 is the selling point for me. Speaking of which, how well does the touch screen work with the 770 skin?

Victor Brilon
2006-02-09, 21:32
Just out of curiosity, did you update the software at all? The
latest maemo.org release did some phenomenal things with memory
management which improved performance quite a bit.

Victor

On Feb 9, 2006, at 12:52 PM, mattg wrote:

>
> I returned my 770 after two weeks. I bought it primarily for use as a
> Squeezebox remote. While the Nokia 770 Slimserver skin is great to
> look at and easy to use, the 770 is just too slow to make it useful
> for
> me. I could walk over to the Squeezebox and find my music much faster
> using the standard remote than I could sitting on my couch with the
> 770.
>
> I would have kept the 770 if I had a need for a portable web browser,
> because it excels at that, but as a Squeezebox remote I found it
> lacking. Again, this is no reflection on the great Nokia 770 skin,
> it's the hardware that isn't up to it.
>
>
> --
> mattg
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --
> mattg's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=2239
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=20910
>
>

fuzzyT
2006-02-10, 08:24
EnochLight wrote:
> I think this might have been asked before but... when you have the 770
> on standby and "wake it up", how long does it take to connect to your
> WiFi and actively refresh the 770 skin?

Well, I haven't timed the wake-up and load process, but I would
characterize it as fast enough not to be irritating. I'll describe the
process and estimate times. YMMV.

Here's how it goes:

Pulling the device out of it's sleeve brings it out of sleep. This is
instantaneous. Usually I rotate it and put it back in the sleeve,
screen facing outwards.

If you put it to sleep with a browser open and the SS web interface
loaded, then that is still right there. No additional load time.

If you closed the browser, then you have to relaunch and reload. I have
desktop shortcut that loads the SS interface in the browser with one
click. This is much faster than keying the URL, or even using a
standard bookmark. Recommended.

Hit 'refresh' in the browser.

Next, the device has to re-associate with the wireless LAN. This usually
takes about 3-4 seconds once you select the preferred LAN.

Selecting the LAN can go two ways depending on your settings. If you
use the 770 mainly at home, you can select a preference to just connect
to the same WLAN every time w/o asking. This cuts out an extra step and
is very fast.

Otherwise, it will scan the air for available WLANs and show a selection
dialog. One click to pick and you're off. The scanning takes about
another 3-5 seconds or so to complete.

Basically this setting is a trade-off between being slowed up by
scanning at home, or by a doomed-to-failure connection attempt when away
from home. It's something you quickly reset when home or away. It
would be great if this setting were easier to get to. Some sort of
Home/Away or Home/Office/Away toggle right on the desktop would be great.

Once the connection is made the browser refreshes and repaints after
another 2 or 3 seconds.

So, if you're optimized for 770 as SS remote:
Open sleeve, click shortcut(unless already open), click refresh, connect
automatically, see page. Total time I'd estimate maybe 10 seconds,
maybe less.

Did I mention that the screen is gorgeous? And the touch screen
interface works very well.

And once the skin is loaded, it's acceptably responsive. Similar to the
other web interfaces. Hopefully much improved in the 6.5 release due to
DB changes, CSS skins and server-side album art resizing and caching.

All and all it's pretty sweet.

bklaas
2006-02-10, 09:03
since I'm the 'Nokia skin guy', I figured I'd pipe in on this thread...

One of the things that hasn't been mentioned on this thread is that, even if you aren't completely satisfied with how the 770 works today, there is great promise for how it will work tomorrow. Already we've seen that with Nokia's Dec 30 software upgrade, which vastly (at least in my case) improved memory management and stability. This is a really cutting edge product and I'm looking forward to seeing it improve with time. VOIP will be coming out in 2006, which at the very least should be technologically interesting.

On the Slimserver side of things, there are still lots of improvements to be done to the skin.

I think the one that is going to most improve the user experience is putting some AJAX functionality into the 'now playing' and 'playlist' windows. What that will do is allow elements on those pages (e.g., song being played, cover art, etc.) to be updated dynamically without a full page refresh. The ExBrowse3 skin already does this, and I've had some communication with the author of that skin in porting some functionality over to Nokia770 (btw, where'd ya go, Jacob?).

I've also put some effort this week into putting more of the layout load into CSS instead of tables. I think this will eventually make all of the pages render more consistently.

FWIW, I keep my to-do list for this skin available publicly--
http://mcstayinskool.tadalist.com/lists/public/170297

As far as my own experience with the 770 as a slimserver remote, I have mostly high praise. There is no doubt I can select music quicker with the slimserver's remote, but for playlist management and manipulation the 770 is far superior. I find the response time to be acceptable. Connecting to my wireless after being in standby is typically a 10-15 second operation. Not fantastic, but I can live with it. Once it's up, response time is great. For example, if I hit pause on a track, it will pause more or less instantaneously.

Streaming slimserver direct to the 770 is also super sweet. I wrote a lot about this in the wiki page I drafted up:
http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?SlimserverAndNokia770

cheers,
#!/ben

mattg
2006-02-10, 09:36
My 770 had what I understood to be the latest software, the Dec 30, 2005 release. I suppose if I had used the older software and then got that update I might have been impressed with the performance increase.

The fact remains, it was faster to find music with the lowly stock remote than the 770. My needs are very simple - I want to find a CD to play. I don't futz around with playlists or need to check what song is currently playing. I can identify the majority of my 8000 tracks by ear. I just need to cue up the next CD, and it took an order of magnitude longer to do it with the 770. I can see myself buying the next generation 770 or a similar device in the future, but this one didn't do it for me.

oktup
2006-02-10, 10:20
Someone here pointed out Coverflow (http://www.steelskies.com/coverflow/) not too long ago - if that (or something similar) could somehow be ported to the Nokia 770, it would be immensely cool!

JJZolx
2006-02-10, 10:30
My 770 had what I understood to be the latest software, the Dec 30, 2005 release. I suppose if I had used the older software and then got that update I might have been impressed with the performance increase.

The fact remains, it was faster to find music with the lowly stock remote than the 770. My needs are very simple - I want to find a CD to play. I don't futz around with playlists or need to check what song is currently playing. I can identify the majority of my 8000 tracks by ear. I just need to cue up the next CD, and it took an order of magnitude longer to do it with the 770. I can see myself buying the next generation 770 or a similar device in the future, but this one didn't do it for me.
Could you definitely attribute the slowness to the 770? I've heard that it's pretty slow, but at times (and very much depending on the server hardward) SlimServer's web server response is pretty sluggish. You'd have to directly compare the 770 to the web interface performance at a computer to really tell the difference.

I've seen the difference that client hardware can make in web page rendering, and it's significant. If the Nokia 770 is a dog in its browser performance, it would pretty much negate its usefulness as a remote.

mattg
2006-02-10, 11:40
Could you definitely attribute the slowness to the 770? I've heard that it's pretty slow, but at times (and very much depending on the server hardward) SlimServer's web server response is pretty sluggish. You'd have to directly compare the 770 to the web interface performance at a computer to really tell the difference.

I've seen the difference that client hardware can make in web page rendering, and it's significant. If the Nokia 770 is a dog in its browser performance, it would pretty much negate its usefulness as a remote.Regardless of what causes it to be slow, it was just too slow for me to use. It's not my wireless network, as I had great signal strength (all green bars). None of my wireless devices that report signal strength report less than 100%. The response speed at my computer (also connected wirelessly) is noticably faster than the 770. It's not instantaneous, but it's very usable.

If I was in a situation where I could lie on my couch and control the Squeezebox, the 770 would have sufficed. The time I spend listening to music is the same time I'm cleaning the house, playing with the kids, cleaning the kids, and playing with the wife. I don't have time to play with my gadgets. They have to serve their purposes well and quickly. I have all of this stuff to make my life easier, not harder, and the Nokia 770 didn't make the cut.

Simon Still
2006-02-10, 12:18
I really like the 770 as a slimserver remote. I play a lot of musicmagic
mixes and it's great for that. I've not got the 770 skin as I got fed up
with running Slimserver betas ages ago but the handheld skin with optimise
switched on at 150% is perfect. The 770 skin might be better but it's not
essential.

As a slim remote for building playlists the speed and responsiveness is
perfectly adequate.

As a webbrowser the 770 does start to suffer - open too many windows and it
will fall over, not all websites resize usefully and it's still a small
screen for reading from. It's not *that* cheap - you can buy a bottom end
Dell laptop for 50% more so it's poor value as a computer. I can't see why
you'd carry it around with you elsewhere - if theres a wireless lan you can
probably find a proper computer to use. Browsing over GPRS is painful if
you're used to broadband and it's not really a great music player (stupid
card format) and comes with no PDA (or more importantly sych software)
functionality as standard. Yes you can put it on but unless the synch is
100% it's a waste of time.

bklaas
2006-02-10, 13:25
Someone here pointed out Coverflow (http://www.steelskies.com/coverflow/) not too long ago - if that (or something similar) could somehow be ported to the Nokia 770, it would be immensely cool!

Absoflippinlutely. That is exactly what I hope the Slim/770 union someday to be. Simple, cover-art based music selection, just like a jukebox. Might not ever happen, but it can't hurt to dream...

#!/ben

EnochLight
2006-02-10, 17:15
Thanks guys; excellent comments. Cheers!

Victor Brilon
2006-02-10, 17:25
On Feb 10, 2006, at 2:25 PM, bklaas wrote:

>
> oktup Wrote:
>> Someone here pointed out _'Coverflow'
>> (http://www.steelskies.com/coverflow/)_ not too long ago - if that
>> (or
>> something similar) could somehow be ported to the Nokia 770, it would
>> be immensely cool!
>
> Absoflippinlutely. That is exactly what I hope the Slim/770 union
> someday to be. Simple, cover-art based music selection, just like a
> jukebox. Might not ever happen, but it can't hurt to dream...
>
> #!/ben
>

You know...if someone was good enough with Flash, I think that would
very do-able and would look great on the 770

Victor

EnochLight
2006-02-11, 00:59
On Feb 10, 2006, at 2:25 PM, Victor Brilon wrote: You know...if someone was good enough with Flash, I think that would very do-able and would look great on the 770

Victor

You know, Flash gets a lot of crap from people but in a case like this - it could *really* look cool and be functional. I agree: a Flash skin for Slim Server would be awesome! Anyone want to step up to the challenge? ;-)

kdf
2006-02-11, 02:28
On 10-Feb-06, at 11:59 PM, EnochLight wrote:

>
> Victor Brilon Wrote:
>> On Feb 10, 2006, at 2:25 PM, Victor Brilon wrote: You know...if
>> someone
>> was good enough with Flash, I think that would very do-able and would
>> look great on the 770
>>
>> Victor
>
> You know, Flash gets a lot of crap from people but in a case like this
> - it could *really* look cool and be functional. I agree: a Flash skin
> for Slim Server would be awesome! Anyone want to step up to the
> challenge? ;-)
>
someone did. it was called gordon. it got little feedback, author
apparently (not that I knew who it was, but not knowing who also tends
to indicate the level of involvement) had no continuing investment in
it, and it was unmaintainable in conjunction with all the other skins,
so it left the core distro. look back at old versions and you'll find
it somewhere. I'm sure if someone really were keen on it, they could
make something far better. maintenance, however, is the key.
-k

EnochLight
2006-02-11, 09:01
...maintenance, however, is the key.
-k

That's so very true, and with that said - Ben better stick around! The 770 is my skin of choice right now. ;-)

kdf
2006-02-11, 13:03
On 11-Feb-06, at 8:01 AM, EnochLight wrote:

>
> kdf Wrote:
>> ...maintenance, however, is the key.
>> -k
>
> That's so very true, and with that said - Ben better stick around! The
> 770 is my skin of choice right now. ;-)
>
actually, the nokia skin isn't so hard to deal with. It is still html
based, and a large portion of the backend is making use
of the skin api. The problem with flash, it that it is a big departure
(or at least the Gordon implementation was). Anyone can edit html, as
it is just text. Not everyone can write swf files, as Flash is
proprietary. Anyway, not complaining about flash. This was more about
praising Ben for making good use of the tools at hand.
-k

cshaida
2006-02-12, 13:01
to the original question:

I've had my 770 for about two weeks. Like it a lot. But I get 'dual' use: as a sb3 remote and as a web browser.

web browser - I've been hankering for quite a while for a handheld on which I could do basic web browsing while wandering around the house or the office. (I was foolish enough to buy a Dell Axim for this purpose. Yikes! it doesn't work for this at all--anybody out there want one?) Nothing too exotic--Amazon, Orbitz, yahoo, slim (and other) forums, and political blogs (which I spend an hour or so every day reading). Notice there is VERY limited typing involved above. As such the 770 is great. I can spend 20-30 minutes 'reading' sites on it much more conveniently then with a laptop on my lap (awkward, too hot, too big).

sb3 remote - I've got 3 sbs. I love the 770 with Ben's skin as a remote, wandering around the house turning music on and off in various locals. An object of much envy at a recent dinner party.

qualifications - I don't use any of the other software. I don't really need to have a lot of browser windows open at once (usually 2 or 3). And I don't need to type much for what I'm doing. I did buy a 1 GB rsmmc card for it and may try it out as an auxillary mp3 player (so I don't have to carry yet another charger).