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SadGamerGeek
2006-11-14, 14:49
I've been mulling over the idea of a Nokia 770 for some time now, but just can't make up my mind. I know there are loads of threads about the unit on these forums and I've read quite a few of them, but I still can't decide.

I'd be looking to use it partly as a SS controller, and partly for a handy way to surf the web from the sofa.

I've been trying out the Nokia 770 skin via Firefox. It seems a little slow on my Intel Dual core machine, so I'm wondering what sort of performance I can expect on the 770 itself (SS is just running on a Epia Via C3 / 1Ghz / 512MB, but this gives acceptable web performance on the default skin).

Searching the web for general reviews of the 770, I've found some very positive ones, but an equal number that complain of poor performance. Having said that, most of the negative reviews seem to be based on the older software, and it seems that the 2006 update was quite an improvement.

So, 770 owners, what do you like and dislike about your toy?

Also, has anyone compared using the the 770 with a PDA (and one of the relevant apps) to control SS?

Any thoughts gratefully received.

Richard

azinck3
2006-11-14, 15:19
I've been mulling over the idea of a Nokia 770 for some time now, but just can't make up my mind. I know there are loads of threads about the unit on these forums and I've read quite a few of them, but I still can't decide.

I'd be looking to use it partly as a SS controller, and partly for a handy way to surf the web from the sofa.

I've been trying out the Nokia 770 skin via Firefox. It seems a little slow on my Intel Dual core machine, so I'm wondering what sort of performance I can expect on the 770 itself (SS is just running on a Epia Via C3 / 1Ghz / 512MB, but this gives acceptable web performance on the default skin).

Searching the web for general reviews of the 770, I've found some very positive ones, but an equal number that complain of poor performance. Having said that, most of the negative reviews seem to be based on the older software, and it seems that the 2006 update was quite an improvement.

So, 770 owners, what do you like and dislike about your toy?

Also, has anyone compared using the the 770 with a PDA (and one of the relevant apps) to control SS?

Any thoughts gratefully received.

Richard

I just got a 770 and can say that it's not yet mature. Whether or not it's worth buying is largely dependent upon how willing you are to part with your cash. Ben's skin is excellent, and makes the most of the device's slow processor, but expect an overall slow experience. It's certainly not going to be faster than your experience on your PC. It's workable, but be willing to be patient. The now-playing playlist seems to be particularly slow in loading. The 1-by-1 cover display, on the other hand, works *quite* well and speedily. Ben apparently plans an update to make it not jump to the now-playing screen after pushing play on a track, which will be a huge improvement for my usage patterns.

I generally like the device, and it can be handy to have at a party for guests to scroll your music collection (it's a more familiar interface and easier to see lots of music at one time), but at the same time they sometimes get confused by the delays and the difficulty in tapping accurately (it can be tough to precisely hit the letter of the alphabet you want to go to when browsing music). If I know what I want to play, and am within reach of the IR remote, then there's absolutely nothing faster than the IR remote. You can positively fly through the SB's interface with the IR remote.

I use the 770 to read the occasional RSS feed or email, but it's 10x more efficient just to sit down at the computer--particularly if you're going to be doing any text input at all.

I think the PDA control options are probably much better from a speed/usability standpoint but perhaps aren't as pretty as the 770 skin, nor as sexy as the 770 itself. I would have bought a PDA if slimremote or telcanto supported Rhapsody. As it is, Rhapsody (oh, and AlienBBC too!) is pretty much the reason d'etre for my squeezeboxen, so a PDA wasn't even an option.

As I look back over my post I notice I haven't organized my thoughts too well...hopefully I've provided some useful info here...

adamslim
2006-11-14, 15:56
Also, has anyone compared using the the 770 with a PDA (and one of the relevant apps) to control SS?

I suspect that what I am going to say is not of the greatest interest to you, but...

I have an O2 XDA Exec (the HTC Universal) PDA phone, and it works well to access the SlimServer via IE on it. The screen is big enough (using the handheld stuff built into 6.5.0). It is slower than the PC though.

Since you can get this direct from O2 for just 150 on a sub-20-per-month contract, it's good value. For me I needed Pocket Word, which was a clincher (plus the good keyboard), but it's nice to lose the separate phone.

Anyway, thought it might be of interest, but I do recognise it's kinda last year's gadget ;)

Adam

bklaas
2006-11-14, 16:42
I've been trying out the Nokia 770 skin via Firefox. It seems a little slow on my Intel Dual core machine

This statement has me scratching my head, esp. since you say that the default skin seems to perform just fine. IMHO, you should *only* see performance improvements with Nokia770 over default on a PC. There's tons of AJAX enhancements to make responsiveness better when using that skin. It doesn't make sense that it should be slower than the default skin from the same browser/PC. Anyone else see this?

I don't think there's a person on the planet that would give the Nokia 770 an unequivocal thumbs-up, but it does have a lot of whiz-bang features.

pros:
fantastic screen resolution kicks the pants off of most if not all handheld devices on the market
opera browser renders pages beautifully
VOIP with gizmo project works quite well
if you format the video properly, watching vids is quite nice (and what the 770 can handle improves with each update)
newest 2006OS is pretty stable, and light years ahead of the original 2005OS
streaming audio works well
open-source model means tons and tons of free apps to run

cons:
performance can be an issue for some. i'm patient and find it to be reasonable, but not great
delay on waking from sleep, auto shutoff of wireless and/or screen makes using it as a slimserver remote somewhat limited
if i work at it, i can crash it
it's right-handed
i want it to be a streaming video client, but i have to load vids locally to view them

the 770 is a first-of-its-kind device. With it comes all of the baggage associated with such a gadget.

cheers,
#!/ben

SadGamerGeek
2006-11-14, 17:21
This statement has me scratching my head, esp. since you say that the default skin seems to perform just fine. IMHO, you should *only* see performance improvements with Nokia770 over default on a PC. There's tons of AJAX enhancements to make responsiveness better when using that skin. It doesn't make sense that it should be slower than the default skin from the same browser/PC. Anyone else see this?


Sorry - my initial statement re. speed was a bit vague on this, and I've just revisited the skin and compared it to the default one side by side. Navigating albums/artists etc. is done at a very reasonable speed - it seems pretty much the same as default to me.

Where it is significantly slower than default for me, is in initial loading of the icons. When I start the browser & first navigate to the skin there frequently seems to be quite a delay as it loads all the icons for the main screen, and also the transport icons (play, pause etc.) This may well be a Firefox issue (though I don't have it set to clear the cache on exit, nor do I manualy clear the cache).


Thanks very much to everyone for all the thoughts so far - this is all really helpful!

cshaida
2006-11-14, 19:36
As sb remote:

I've had a 770 since last march and use ben's skin on the 770 (obviously) and on my pcs. After an initial period where I used the 770-as-sb-remote a lot, I now use the pc more than the 770 (other than at parties, where it's still the cats meow!). I think this has more to do with my perhaps peculiar rhythm in selecting music than with the device per se; I tend to que up 4 or 5 'albums' (I still prefer listening to tracks in the order they came on the original album/cd) or a pandora radio station so there's not a lot of moment-by-moment interaction and the always-on laptop or the actual sb remote tend to be a bit easier since I generally already know what I want to play.

As a browser:

I use the 770 as a lying-around-on-the-couch browsing device quite a lot. You'll see on these forums a vibrant pov re 'why not just use a laptop' and that makes sense UNLESS you're like me and find that somehow a laptop is just a bit too awkward and a bit too hot (literally) to have anywhere near your actual lap for an extended period of time. If that's the case for you AND your browsing doesn't require a lot of typing (a pretty big stack of 'ifs' I know) then the 770 is quite remarkable as a browsing device and in a whole different league from other pdas since most websites work as-is on the 770 and most definitely do not on other pdas (because of the 'full' screen size of the 770). fyi, I read a fair number of blogs everyday and the 770 is really great for that; I also read but do not reply to email on the 770.
I own a Dell Axim as well as a drawer full of blackberry, treo, q phone devices that supposedly have internet accesss but I've never in my life willingly accessed an internet site on them unless I was miles a way from a pc/laptop. I will use the 770 instead of a laptop if I'm 20 feet away from the laptop.

One man's experience...

MelonMonkey
2006-11-14, 22:53
I think I've read enough not to get the 770 - which I was also contemplating. I was planning to restyle the 770 skin with all new graphics and make it much more finger friendly. Such a device has a lot of promise and a lot more can be done to create a fantastic consumer-level UI that anyone would be able to use at a party.

But the pitfalls seem to be in the device itself. I won't be able to live with something that crashes when using its own built-in web browser. That's just not something that a company like Nokia should ever release in any software update.

I suspect the performance of the current skin might be able to be improved slightly depending on what people actually want to do with it. One way is to streamline it a bit. Doing it carefully of course, not with an axe just by chopping out huge features. But if the device is slow to begin with, there's not much that's going to be able to change that.

I'm not sure if Nokia will stand behind the 770. The rumored images of its sequal are completely incorrect and not at all of a product in the same device class.

If I were a betting man I'd put my money on Logitech eventually coming out with some type of graphical controller. With or without ties to their Harmony product line. Who knows, maybe if Apple releases a full-screen WiFi iPod we can hack that as a controller. ;)

In any case a PDA is not an really an option due to the limited resolution, small screen and generally poor button selection/placement. And I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but Telcanto just looks like complete crap, so much so that I wouldn't be able to run it myself, let alone show it to anyone else at my home. I think letting people use one of the Macs here for browsing is going to be the best option for a little while.

I'm looking forward to using something that both looks and works even better than the Sonos controller, but I'm willing to wait for a suitable hardware platform to do it on.

bklaas
2006-11-15, 08:25
I suspect the performance of the current skin might be able to be improved slightly depending on what people actually want to do with it. One way is to streamline it a bit.

MelonMonkey, enjoyed your thoughts here (and sent you a PM about restyling either Nokia770 or Touch).

The only point that I might disagree with you on is streamlining the slimserver UI, because I don't think there's a lot to cut. IMO, there isn't anything on the slimserver web interface, with the exception maybe of full artwork gallery browsing of albums, that should take more than a heartbeat to load on a reasonable network served from a reasonable slimserver. I even tried to address the artwork thing with the '1-by-1' artwork that only loads two album covers at a time.

Also, I firmly believe that the user experience can be helped dramatically with AJAX. By using AJAX to send actions to slimserver in the background and returning control to the user immediately, this does wonders for perceived performance. IMO, far more than shrinking a 25K icon of a play button.

cheers,
#!/ben

bklaas
2006-11-15, 09:13
The 1-by-1 cover display, on the other hand, works *quite* well and speedily. Ben apparently plans an update to make it not jump to the now-playing screen after pushing play on a track, which will be a huge improvement for my usage patterns.

This has been fixed on the 7.0 branch for quite some time, but your message made me investigate on 6.5 and found that it was broken. I fixed it, and will be available on the next daily build of 6.5.1.

No jump to now-playing screen after pushing play on a track in 1-by-1 artwork. Hitting play or add will give a short-lived OSD message telling you that the action happened, but no page redirect.

On the standard browse pages, hitting play will still take you to the now playing window, but hitting add will result in a brief OSD message with no page redirect.

#!/ben

bklaas
2006-11-15, 09:29
This only peripherally on-topic, but not deserving of its own thread.

Today's "WOOT" (one deal per day, on sale 'til it sells out) is a Samsung Q1 UMPC for $750. Similar res to the 770, but 7" instead of 4", which translates to pysically larger pixels, which translates to better usability of Nokia770/Touch skins for fat fingers.

http://woot.com

if I had $750 that I felt comfortable blowing, I'd probably go for it. It may not have the Linux geek-factor that I so covet, but if it runs opera or firefox in full-screen mode, good enough for me.

would love to hear if anyone is using a UMPC to control slimserver, and if so if Nokia770 or Touch is the skin of choice.

#!/ben

MelonMonkey
2006-11-15, 10:31
The only point that I might disagree with you on is streamlining the slimserver UI, because I don't think there's a lot to cut.


You're right. There isn't a lot to cut. :) Graphics optimization is one thing to look at (I haven't looked so maybe nothing can be saved there). Making sure a device like the 770 can cache graphics is something to be aware of (but not something anyone here can likely change unless it's just a matter of HTTP header content missing)

AJAX, as you mentioned, is a definite plus and certainly a requirement if a skin is to seem more application-like and less web page like.

As an example, I have no idea what technologies are being used in Sonos' controlled, but from the screen shots, I believe their interface can be replicated within a web browser, including the scrolling highlights within fully visible lists.

Do you by any chance have a list of the fonts built into the Nokia 770 that can be used by its web browser? Does anyone have any contacts at Nokia for development information/builds? Perhaps this is something Slim/Logitech can work on if they're interested in really promoting that device as a controller. Right now, as mentioned, it's really the only viable alternative in a small form factor.

azinck3
2006-11-15, 11:10
This has been fixed on the 7.0 branch for quite some time, but your message made me investigate on 6.5 and found that it was broken. I fixed it, and will be available on the next daily build of 6.5.1.

No jump to now-playing screen after pushing play on a track in 1-by-1 artwork. Hitting play or add will give a short-lived OSD message telling you that the action happened, but no page redirect.

On the standard browse pages, hitting play will still take you to the now playing window, but hitting add will result in a brief OSD message with no page redirect.

#!/ben

Thanks...incidentally, my poorly expressed thoughts resulted in a fix for something I didn't even know was a problem! I think there are misunderstandings all around. I had intended my comments as two separate thoughts: I was referring to play button behavior in the general case, not only the 1-by-1 artwork case. But now it occurs to me that changing the behavior of play in the general case is perhaps not something you intend to do--I must have misread some post or note of yours from a while back.

So, after all that, I'm a bit disappointed! I'd love it if the play behavior matched the add behavior. I rarely use the now playing screen and with the relative slowness of the device I'd rather get to explicitly tell it when I want to go to a new page. I almost always find myself hitting "back" after hitting the play button. I realize that not everyone's usage patterns are the same so I'm sure there will be those who disagree with me. I'll look into seeing how easy it would be to make the adjustment myself. I just hate making too many of my own modifications since it makes upgrading the server more of a hassle.

LogiSoft
2006-11-17, 03:54
First of all: I like the Nokia 770 skin but the navigation can be improved a lot.


I almost always find myself hitting "back" after hitting the play button. I realize that not everyone's usage patterns are the same so I'm sure there will be those who disagree with me.
I am using this skin on a touch screen build in a wall of my kitchen. I use the skin with mozilla in full screen. There is only a small "back flash" on the top of the window of mozilla to click on. It's not easy to push on it with a touch screen because it's in the upper left corner.

SUGESTION: make a bigger BACK button on every page.

SOME OTHER SUGESTIONS:
More buttons:
Make buttons of EVERY link. It's easier to view a button than a text link
Exemples:
in navigation: next, previous, page numbers, ...
Info bar below: server settings, player settings about, ...

Artwork browser:
Why is an album displayed when there is no artwork for it ?
Maybe you can make an option: show ALL albums or only albums with artwork.

Search Function:
I don't have a keyboard connected to my touchscreen. Is it possible to intgrate a keyboard in the skin itself: A..Z; 0..9

Why black/white ?
Is it not possible to put some color in the interface with nice 3D Buttons/Images and so? Allmost everyone has a color screen and the interface is in black, grey and white.

bklaas
2006-11-17, 08:10
First of all: I like the Nokia 770 skin but the navigation can be improved a lot.

I opened a bug to catalog your suggestions. There is some annotation in the bug on each suggestion as well.
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=4514