Manual focus during video capture using lfocus
A small hack, by Talk user m2cm2c, allows the use of the volume controls on an N900 to control the focus when capturing video from the 5MP camera. Maemo Central describes the problem: The N900 records video in the 800 x 480 resolution and is one of the few Nokia devices to be able to focus before starting to capture video. But if the position of the subject changes, the N900 is not able to keep up as the focus remains fixed once the video capture has started. This however is about to change. The article guides the user through the install process, but it is currently fairly manual due to the package not yet being in an official maemo.org repository.
Portrait SMS writing comes to Maemo 5 thanks to community efforts
The Phone application is one of the few out-of-the-box apps that support portrait-mode; Conversations is not. A number of times your editor has felt the need to send a quick SMS one handed, for example, walking down a train station platform to update someone as to which train he's on. Fortunately, the community has again stepped in to fill the need. VertSMS, by Timo P, resembles a traditional phone keypad allowing you to compose SMSes whilst holding the phone vertically. Maemo Central summarises: There is no predictive input so far and it lacks notifications as well. Another annoying thing is that the phone's default virtual keyboard comes up when you hit the `Write your message here' area. But everything said and done, its a great start. The package is still under Extras-devel, which means Timo isn't quite ready for widespread testing yet. However, if you're feeling brave and make sure you don't update any other packages from that repository, he's looking for feedback.
Using icedtea (Java port) and microemulator to run Opera Mini on Maemo 5
torshind, a Talk user, has tested Opera Mini on the N900 with the icedtea microemulator. I've installed icedtea6 from Extras-testing, microemulator and Opera Mini. icedtea is currently available from Extras-testing, but users should note that the usual warnings and disclaimers against the use of this repository still apply.
PortaBase: portable database application for Maemo
PortaBase, an "application for managing one-table database files", of Zaurus heritage has been ported to Maemo 4 & 5 by Jeremy Bowman. The feature set is fairly robust for its initial Maemo release because PortaBase started its life as an application for the Sharp Zaurus PDAs, and also got ported to Linux and Windows PCs years ago. Development stalled when the Zaurus community fractured into multiple ROMs, with minor differences between them and all using increasingly outdated libraries; maintaining it all just took too much work. But now that Qt 4 is available on Maemo, I've done a major housecleaning of the code and released PortaBase 2.0 beta 1 for Diablo, Fremantle, Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, and Windows. The beta is available from Extras-devel, so interested contributors and testers should check it out (after first familiarizing themselves with the usual warnings and disclaimers for the repository).