Random GPS driven sounds from an N900 in python

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2010-07-02 07:17

Check out latlongsound.py, my N900 hack to produce random sounds from GPS coordinates (it's basically an unholy :-)  combination of keyboard5.py from MIT and the PyMaemo Location API sample sound code using PyGame, thanks to the MIT and Maemo folks for sharing!). What should I do with this next? I have lots of ideas, love to hear what would be cool from others!

Nokia could win big with a social camera

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-06-30 07:36

Dave Winer has been writing for many years about a social camera. I have been writing for years about how ShoZu + Nokia Cameraphones are killer apps and built-in ShoZu would be a killer app (e.g. Nokia should buy ShoZu).

My current thinking is:

Canon or Nikon's sensors and lens +  Nokia phone with "comes with world wide connectivity and built-in easy to use app for uploading photos and HD video to all popular social sites e.g. flickr, facebook, picasa" + sideload to your Computer and OVI files (i.e. Eye-fi done right, not as an aftermarket kludge - don't get me wrong, unlike Dave I love my Eye-Fi card; it's done well but at the end of the day it's a hack!) for backup in real time using ShoZu-like technology to do it in the background and auto-resume if connectivity lost  =

an awesome social camera that would sell well

The current Nokia solution is Share Online which is:

  • a) hard to use 
  • b) hard to configure 
  • c) doesn't work in the  background and auto-resume like ShoZu  
  • d) requires folks to figure out the whole "3G/WiFi don't automatically switch to 3G when I am roaming" dance

As Dave points out if Nokia doesn't do it (and Nokia is the only company with all the pieces including camera hardware and software, ShoZu-like tech, etc) and the biz dev clout to do something like a "Comes with bandwidth" partnership like Amazon did for the Kindle), somebody else will do it e.g. Apple or Google or some social camera upstart.


Wind Mobile software billing bug says I was data roaming when I wasn't

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-06-28 07:38

Got my first Wind Mobile bill on the weekend and it says I was "data roaming" when I stayed in the Wind Home zone. It says the following:


WIND AWAY Zone + Roaming $7.64

WIND AWAY Zone + Roaming charges kick in when you use your phone outside a foreign country. We’re constantly improving our reach across Canada so we can give you the best service possible.For an up-to-date map of WIND HOME & AWAY Zones visit windmobile.com or call us toll free 1-877-80WIND1


Date Time 06/17 02:10 PM 1.865 MB Away $7.64


I believe this is a bug. I was not in a Wind Away Zone. I spent the whole day of Thursday June 17, 2010 in East Vancouver, and Gastown, all of which are in the Wind Home Zone. Anybody else experience this? Is this really a bug? I'll contact Wind support but love to hear what others have experienced.


iPhone4 HD Video is a killer app - James Burland's HD video's proof of the awesome sound & video quality - Game on N8 :-) !

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2010-06-25 07:55

James Burland's (a video and still cameraphone expert since the N90 and N93 days))  stunning video of a bee pollinating flowers shows the high quality sound and video of the iPhone 4 camera.

Total killer app for parents and aspiring film makers !! Who needs a Canon 5D Mark II? You could easily do something like the Blair Witch Project with shaky non stabilized video on the iPhone 4.

Don't believe me? Register for vimeo, download James Burland's iphone 4 HD video, put on your headphones and check it out.

Because I have tried an N8 prototype, I know the Nokia N8's stills are better than the iPhone 4 stills but not sure the N8's videos are going to be better than iPhone 4. Bring on the competition!

N900 PyMaemo - How to synthesize sounds & read the GPS simultaneously?

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2010-06-24 07:39

Just for fun, I am writing a little PyMaemo python script (sorry but I don't do C++ anymore so that's out :-) !) to compute and then play sounds based on my GPS coordinates (using the N900 Python Location API).

The easiest way to synthesize (rather than just play sounds) seems to be to use the PyGame sound synth (e.g. keyboard5.py from MIT computes some nice sounds) but I don't know how to make it work with the PyMaeMo GPS loop.

LazyWeb, anybody have some sample Python code :-) ? I of course will do my homework and post on the official very hard to follow forum (should I ask in talk.maemo.org OR the pymaemo list?) , but any help would be much appreciated.

iPhone 4 camera better than every Nokia phone except the N8 which I remain optimistic about

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-06-23 07:35

If you examine the iPhone 4 photos and videos floating around the Internet you will see that the photos and videos are fantastic. Not as fantastic as the upcoming Nokia N8 but for 99% of the folks it's more than good enough. And that includes the "I have taken 40000 cameraphone pictures since 2004" cameraphone geeks like myself.

Even the mighty, not released until the fall, Nokia N8 doesn't have the fun and funky cameraphone applications that the iPhone has. One could argue as I have in the past that these are gimmicks to make up for the lousy camera which was true.  But with the iPhone 4, the camera is excellent: fast, plenty of pixels and excellent quality and the HD video on the iPhone 4 is unequalled by the N8.

So has Nokia lost the plot? I would certainly say so. Definitely lost the geeks and other "small c" and hobbyist creators to Android; the high profit, high margin trendy middle class and rich folks to the iPhone; the only thing remaining is low margin high volume phones and lingering vestiges of brand coolness in Asia and Europe.

Is Nokia doomed to "IBM-like 1980s irrelevance" where Apple and Android are like Microsoft in the 1980s - popularizing  and growing the market and pushing Nokia like Microsoft pushed IBM to the margins?

Certainly seems that way. I still think all is not lost. If the N8 ships on time and Symbian^3 is actually much more usable than I think it is and more importantly, the N8, post N900 device and Symbian are marketed properly worldwide and if the Meego post N900 device is cool and compelling, there's definitely the possibility of a rebound.

My fingers are crossed for the big N. I'll continue to enjoy my N900's unabashed and unequalled openess and hackability (disclosure:I received my N900 free from Nokia at the recent Nokia adventure but was going to buy anyway) and I am pretty sure I will buy an N8.

And to participate in the fun and use its great camera and software, I'll also get an iPhone 4.

6 years of Northern Voice 2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2010-05-06 22:14

As Paul Weller sings, "Time Passes". I feel like yesterday was 1999 December and I had just started my Manila Blog, dreadnet.editthispage.com. I feel like it's yesterday that I first met the Northern Voice Organizers but that was back in 2004. 6 years! Incredible. Thanks for the great memories to each and every Northern Voice participant and organizer past present and future!

I was right about flickr (80000 photos in 2 flickr accounts and growing!) and blogging (Countless folks told me as late as 2003 that blogging would die and they couldn't see the ROI :-) )

I did not foresee micro-blogging and twitter and the rise of the 21st century walled gardens like Facebook. I figured that we had learned our walled garden lesson with RSS and blogging and had left walled gardens behind with AOL and Geocities!

I thought we'd have usable video calling and multi-party video conferencing and ubiquitous 10MB/s bidirectional access Canada-wide. Wrong.

I didn't foresee Apple's iPhone. I thought and I still think that Nokia could and would get software. Unfortunately it looks like the big N is pulling an IBM instead of an Apple but I remain hopeful :-) !

See you tomorrow at Northern Voice 2010!


N900 Review Part 1 - Great potential but Maemo 5 still a work in progress

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-05-03 00:39

[thanks to WOMWORLD Nokia for the N900 review unit, the following is my usual stream of consciousness; conclusions later :-) !]

Things I like:

  1. Eye Candy - Great Effects
  2. Audio - Fun sound effects
  3. The truly open potential of Maemo since Maemo (now Meego) is a "normal Linux" not some half open / half proprietary b*stardized Linux like Android. This means out of the box I can install with minimal effort and do all the normal Linux things like install Ruby, python, use SSH etc
  4. Firefox ! Yes. Being able to write Firefox add-ons and HTML5 webapps is (eventually once the speed is improved and Firefox has some time to iterate and improve)) going to be very very good thing
  5. Camera while not as great as the N82 is much better than the iPhone

Things I don't like:

  1. Phone is an app and seems like a half baked app at that. Not sure how to invoke it.
  2. The media player app doesn't multi-task with the camera app. If I am playing music and switch to the camera app, the music stops
  3. Touch Screen is unresponsive
  4. UI performance seems to lag and the latency of the UI is often too slow. Seems very sluggish in other words
  5. No real twitter client, give me something like Gravity please
  6. No ShoZu - the built in sharing programs and PixelPipe are not my cup of tea; I prefer my multi-media to be uploaded automatically (or at least not 1 at a time; need to be able to select unlimited number of photos and videos and upload them)
  7. Maemo UI is non-intuitive but it has potential (to me Meego has more potential in the long run than Symbian!)
  8. Camera is sluggish when processing photos and is also slow to power up and auto-focus and to take a shot when compared to the N82

E75 Review Part 5 - Cost reduced E75 w/built in Qik, ShoZu & Gravity would be a killer multi-media creator phone aka buy the C6

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-05-03 00:11

The Thrilling conclusion: Archaic OS + wonderful 3rdparty apps (e.g. ShoZu + Qik + Gravity) = mobile multimedia creator happiness iff:

  1. You can get this phone at a good price (since it's now over a year old, maybe you can get the E75 at a substantial discount e.g. $200)
  2. You don't mind the user unfriendliness of S60V3 and the puny 320x240 screen. S60 V3 is unfriendly and archaic compared to iPhone and Android and other modern mobile operating systems but Symbian has some excellent free or cheap 3rd party programs for mobile multi-media content creators i.e. Gravity + ShoZu + Qik are all free or under 10 Euro each which means that with these programs you have a multi-media creator's powerhouse.

But since the Nokia C6 was introduced does it make sense to consider the E75? Not for me. the C6 is cheaper, has a bigger screen and more up to date software!

C'mon Nokia bundle ShoZu, Qik and Gravity with the C6 and pitch the phone to multi-media creators, students and journalists! It would be a killer combo.

E75 Review Part 4 - Streaming via Qik uses lots of bandwidth

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2010-05-02 23:49

Got my phone bill last month and it's my highest bandwidth usage ever. 875MB primarily because I streamed 640x480 video using Qik on the E75. Just goes to show you that as I have suspected, once you start streaming at 640x480 or higher e.g. HD, your mobile bandwidth is going to start rapidly rising and suddenly having a multi-gigabyte data plan makes sense!

In other words once Apple catches up :-)  with Nokia in terms of being able to stream 640x480 or higher resolution video over 3G, 3.5 G or 4G, it's going to bring the mobile network to its knees (at least the Canadian mobile networks and probably most other North American ones which are not designed for mass market video streaming)!

Boris & Roland pontificate on iPhone 4.0, Meego, qik, Drupal,Aegir, Acquia, etc. aka "Mobile and Web Pontifications w/o borders"

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2010-04-09 00:51
More shaky backlight video from the fantastic combo of the E75, Qik and 3.5G. this time mobile and web related pontifications from Boris Mann of Bootup Labs (and fellow co-founder of Bryght). Check out the video after the jump or read my stream of consciousness pseudo-transcript :-) !
  1. Please port Maemo to Qik, and Nokia please buy Qik; just like Nokia should have bought ShoZu :-)
  2. Miss604's Denial of Service of Attack
  3. Bryght - the first hosted Drupal, first Drupal as a service, 5 years ago
  4. Bryght partnership with Workhabit - 50 servers, Cisco routers, pre cloud, we had DOS attacks and Workhabit's awesome Gary, Aaron and Jonathan fixed the routers
  5. DOS cannot be fixed completely but it can be minimized through various means including taking out the DOS IP addresses at the router level, taking your site down is not a solution, shows that real hosting companies need to own their infrastructure or have DNS separated
  6. Drupal Gardens aka "Bryght done right" aka "Bryght in the cloud is not using Aegir
  7. But Drupal Gardens does use Drush
  8. Bryght didn't use Drush, we used python for lots of historical reasons To upgrade 1000 Drupal sites e.g. from Drupal 5.1 to Drupal 5.2 sites I ran hmupdate.py (or was it hmupgrade.py? it's fuzzy now!) in a for loop over the 1000 Bryght Drupal web sites
  9. Aegir has commoditized Bryght (former Bryght guy, Adrian Rossouw, developed Aegir; Adrian rocks)
  10. The entire Bryght Drupal as a service is available in a box i.e. commoditized
  11. The awesome Emma Jane Hogbin has advocated a web infrastructure e.g. a Drupal cloud for every town
  12. A Drupal cloud for every town is a way to attract businesses because you can spin up a free (government pays for it, far better than bogus tax breaks) scalable, modern, SEO optimised website for a business or non profit in 5 minutes
  13. Dreamweaver doesn't cut it - Technologists have failed because there is still no Dreamweaver for 21st century but wordpress.com is close and Acquia Gardens when it's 1.0 will be even closer
  14. Does Qik have a business model? Yes bundling with handset
  15. Schmap is annoying and irrelevant
  16. Iphone 4.0 is highly relevant :-)
  17. Apple Gaming network is huge - Could Tiny Speck use it for Glitch? Yes! How porous will Apple make it? i.e. will it play nice with other social networking sites? probably not in the near term but maybe in the long term
  18. iAds - based on HTML5! Big ! Will make HTML5 "the voice of the new web dev generation"
  19. Multi-tasking - it doesn't matter, it comes down to UX; area where Nokia is lost (except possibly Maemo! go Maemo go! p.s. I hate the name Meego much prefer Maemo!)
  20. User Experience of multi-tasking is what's important and having to install a 3rd party task manager to make Symbian multi-tasking work is a really, really bad user experience
  21. Yet another shout-out to Jan Ole Suhr for the awesome Gravity Twitter App - best mobile Twitter app on ony platform, only available on Symbian for the moment
  22. Took Boris "83 clicks" to pay for Gravity, sad but true :-) ! Nokia, please fix!
  23. Maemo potential is so much greater than Apple iPhone and Symbian because it's Linux and because it's truly open from the get go rather than openness being bolted on like Symbian :-) !

Shaky pontifications without borders video

E75 Review Part 3 - I'm a fan of the future - High Speed always on always available connectivity w/great video & still cameras

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2010-04-06 23:08

As I blogged about before (e.g. with my N999 concept), the future is great cameraphone pictures & video coupled with always on, always available connectivity. And the closest thing so far to this future is 3.5G combined with a cameraphone with a decent video camera and still camera, i.e. not the current iPhone's cr*ppy camera.

Sometimes I actually see glimpses of the future. That's how I felt tonight with Qik streamed live (check out the video below after the break) over HSDPA 3.5G from the E75-1. What a great wonderful tool for artists and journalists. Imagine if instead of the decent camera in the E75, it was replaced with the camera from the N93 i.e. something with a usable optical zoom and a Zeiss lens!. Magic! Nokia please make it so :-)



I'm a fan of the future - quick video at Vancouver Startup Drinks

E75 Review Part 2 - E75-1 compatible with Fido Rogers 3.5G

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-03-22 22:36

Part 2 of my E75 review is a short update to say that the E75-1 works great with Rogers/Fido 3.5 G aka HSDPA and it's fast with ShoZu and Gravity. I thought that Rogers HSDPA was only compatible with the E75-1 (but a search through the specs shows that the E75-1 works great with 2100MHz but not 850MHz HSDPA and Rogers offers 2100MHz so that makes sense!). Now I am dreaming of having an N86 and/or N900 with 3.5G. Wow that would be fast and a great experience!

E75 Review Part 1 - Gravity Rocks, still the same old frustrating S60 issues like "Create WLAN connection in offline mode"

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2010-03-21 23:20

A while back I thought I lost my N82. In my panic I tweeted about the horror of using the iPhone 3G's camera (I love iPhone apps but hate the camera!) and the nice folks at WOMWORLD Nokia offered to lend me an E75 with a QWERTY keyboard and 3.2 megapixel camera until I bought an N82 replacement.

Fortunately I found the N82 but by then I had the E75 (thanks to Tom Hall of WOMWORLD Nokia!)

So this will be an abbreviated series of stream of consciousness reviews

  1. I actually like the E75 form factor. It's light and thin! And the slide is nice
  2. Gravity rocks on it. Best Twitter client on any mobile platform. Only limited by the small screen.
  3. The screen doesn't have enough pixels! (320x240 belongs in the dustbin of history :-) certainly doesn't belong on a "business" phone like the E75 that was introduced in spring of 2009!) So Gravity and other heavy text and graphics based apps like the web browser suffer
  4. S60 5th 3rd edition shall we say is "long in the tooth". I am not going to repeat my past anti-S60 whingeing (e.g. N97 S60 whingeing) :-) Suffice to say that anachronistic unusable error messages  like"Create WLAN connection in offline mode?" abound. As well as the many other S60 issues (e.g. the antiquated web browser, c'mon Nokia, put a modern Web Kit browser on the E75 via a software update, please!)
  5. The camera is decent. Far better than the iPhone (and the E71) but not nearly as good as the N82 which shows you that Nokia is still ahead of Apple (but for how much longer?) - check out my e75 photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roland/tags/e75photo/


2010 Social Media Predictions aka Know your rights, aggregate & own your stuff and back it up

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2010-01-03 20:14

I have been blogging for 10 years, started Dec 1999 (dreadnet.editthispage.com which sadly died a few years back due to my own negligence) so some  2010 social media long term predictions and gratuitous advice which again is worth what you paid for it

Social Media 2010 predictions and gratuitous advice:

  1. Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Tumblr and other walled gardens are over in the long term; an open solution will replace them in 5 years or less.
  2. Don't be afraid to use and experiment with the walled gardens but recognize that your stuff can be deleted at any time and unless you have backed it up to an open format like HTML, it won't last forever (most likely scenarios: service goes out of business or your account is deleted for an arbitrary reason). I wouldn't shed a tear if all my tweets were deleted, YMMV. If you have fun with the walled gardens, get your domain and start a blog, videoblog,podcast, etc., you won't regret having an online presence you own and control
  3. If you care about your closed garden stuff, back it up to an open format. If you aren't geeky enough to figure this out, ask a geek, there's lots of them, just don't ask me :-)
  4. Have a "hook" and nurture and grow it. Not good enough in 2010 to be a jack of all trades social media whatevah :-) You actually need to *know* something. Most people do (they just don't realize it!) so that's not a problem.
  5. Don't know why I have to write this in 2010 department: Don't trust reviews or content on Urban Spoon, Yelp (i like the idea of yelp & other aggregators  but in practise most of the reviews are shall we say not helpful), Gowalla, Facebook etc unless you know the person in real life or have read their stuff over a period of time. Most restaurant reviews like most content on the Internet are wildly biased but that's a good thing because objectivity in food reviews is ridiculous.
  6. Get your most valued content out of the walled gardens and your email (email rocks but it's not a place for long term knowledge storage and retrieval) and back it up. The best way to back up is to put the content in an open format like HTML on your own domain and backup all the stuff on your domain. Again, ask a geek. And really most people's stuff that is truly valuable is not a lot, myself included :-)  e.g. I bet my best emails, best photos, videos and blog posts for the last 5 years could fit on 1 DVD!

2010 Mobile Tech Predictions

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2010-01-03 17:30

Hard to believe that I didn't make any predictions in 2009 (my 2008 predictions)!

Herewith again some randomly ordered Mobile predictions which are worth what you paid for them!


  1. Google will introduce a "comes with data" mobile phone featuring an easy environment to write HTML5 & JS apps
  2. A Canadian mobile phone carrier will actually sell mobiles other than the iPhone that have current software & aren't 6-12 months old :-) The current "sell old phones with old firmware with bogus customizations" model of Rogers, Bell and Telus will be over in 2011.
  3. Apple's tablet will be introduced, it wil be big seller and a great creator and consumer of multi-media and it will be closed and have the iPhone App Store model rather than the Mac app model.
  4. Nokia will deliver Maemo 6 and an N900 successor but it won't be good enough for the mainstream but will be awesome for me & other mobile devs because mobile Firefox will offer superior HTML5 and JS experience (yes working for Mozilla I am biased :-) !)
  5. The next iPhone will boast a 5 mega pixel camera and other still and video imaging improvements which will be more than good enough for old cameraphone snobs like me and accelerate Nokia's decline among mobile multimedia creators.
  6. Mozilla Messaging (my employer!) will introduce a version of Raindrop that doesn't require you to do geeky things like install things like CouchDB yourself and it will rock on Android, Maemo and any other modern open mobile web  environment (sorry Blackberry, iPhone and Symbian but you lose since you are all neither open or modern or both :-) !) Just kidding, it will rock on any modern mobile web browser open or closed methinks :-) !


My ideal mobile mad scientist language

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2009-11-24 22:35

After some digging and research around the web, my ideal mobile mad scientist programming language would:

  • have the 2D and 3D graphic manipulation power of Processing, Nodebox and Shoes
  • be cross platform mac, windows, linux, maemo on mobile, iPhone, android
  • be 'web native' i.e. REST, JSON, XML and all the other web API stuff built in and not bolted on like it is Processing, trying to use the flickr api from Processing is shall we say kludge-o-rama (awesome code from bryan chung but indicative of the unnecessary struggle one is forced to engage with in Processing and other non web native languages)
  • not use a Java-like syntax, death to curly braces and wasted semi-colons
  • be dynamic, death to the Java/C++ cargo cult of typing for no reason 
  • be easily adaptable to new APIs and new sensors through the ability to create a domain specific language and/or easy to use and beautiful foreign function interface
  • be open source, sorry but for my mobile art,  i can't use programming environments and languages that are not open source
  • support the REAL loop, I don't want to spawn threads for the sake of questionable 'concurrency' like I am forced to with OSGI and the Bug Labs Bug

IF I were an idealist that pretty much rules out everything :-)

Fortunately I am a pragamatist. So I will continue my experiments in:

  • Nodebox & Python on the Mac
  • Cocoa Touch and Objective C on the iPhone

What about Processing? Sorry can't handle the Java syntax and the pain of doing XML and JSON and REST programming and the kludge-o-matic way to access Java libraries. processing.js? too early and too much impedance mismatch to use all the lovely JS libraries out there. And Shoes is promising especially if it were improved so you could easily use normal Ruby gems but given its current "hibernation" "post-Why" not sure it will continue to be improved.

What should I use on Maemo if/when I get an N900? Ruby plus SWIG or some such foreign function kludge er interface :-) to access the sensor APIs which I assume are only available in C and C++ ?

What should I use on Android if/when I get an Android device?

What should I use on Windows? Not that I really care :-) But it would be lovely to have Windows people join in my fun without having to do anyting. Eines Tages!

Somehow I think the "mainstream" world is moving towards my ideal solution and the mainstream solution for what I want will look more like processing.js and ruby-processing or smalltalk i.e. scratch then it will look like Processing, Nodebox or CocoaTouch

Technical Support Lead for Mozilla Messaging - c'est moi

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2009-10-15 23:54

A belated gig change post: Since July 21, 2009, I have been Technical Support Lead at Mozilla Messaging. It's been quite the wild ride. I have been immersed in Mozilla Messaging's product, the open source Thunderbird  Email client (in particular getting ready for Thunderbird 3 currently scheduled for November which has a plethora of improvements including the super spiffy global search) as well as tweaking the Mozilla Messaging Implementation of Get Satisfaction for Thunderbird support as well as starting the deployment of a Knowledge Base for Thunderbird. Busy times! Good times!

Sidenote: I'd completely forgotten the intensity of focus that's needed to ship a big product like Thunderbird; couple that with the knowledge that millions of people will be using it and with the history of Mozilla makes for a unique experience for me because the Unix network management software I worked on at Nortel was big but only used by 100s of users and even then by all reports most of the features were unused, contrast that with Thunderbird where seemingly every feature no matter how obscure is used by lots of folks!

REAL - Read, Evaluate, Art, Loop - N900 is the closest thing to a "REAL" machine

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2009-10-15 23:19

What I am looking for in my ongoing mobile art experiments is REAL!

  1. Read the sensors (GPS, accelerometer, compass, etc)
  2. Evaluate the data from the sensors
  3. Art - Make some art (sound, graphic, image, etc) and display and store it on the mobile
  4. Loop - Back to step 1

And I want to do it in a dynamic environment that doesn't force me to do yak shaving like spawning separate threads for each of the sensors or other such needless complexity that's not needed by my artistic algorithms. Nor the slings and arrows of outrageous certificates or certifications or developer programs or DRM malarkey :-) !

After reading the N900 technical reviews from the Maemo summit, it appears that the unlocked version of the N900 is the closest current device that could do this:

  1. It's Linux so assuming the sensor APIs are available from a standard Linux C (i.e. not using some non standard craziness like Carbide C++ for Symbian) library, Python, Ruby, name your favourite dynamic language here, etc (C++ and Java are just not malleable and easily hackable enough, sorry!) bindings could be (and probably are or are in the process of being) built to those C libraries
  2. No need for developer fees or ridiculous certificates
  3. It has all the sensors I want for my current experiments
  4. It's NOT mass market, but it's mass market enough for hackers (unlike Bug Labs Bug which I love but already probably has less than 1/10 the amount of developers working on it as the N900).

Am I right? Time for me to watch the blogs for signs of the N900 and Maemo 5 and 6 making dynamic languages first class citizens unlike on Symbian where S60 Python was far too many steps behind Carbide C++  (and time for to save up for the N910 since the N900 will probably be crippled in some significant way as all 1st gen Nokia devices are e.g. N95-1 not having enough memory)


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