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Fan blogs and advertising crap… February 14, 2006

Posted by Florian in Maemo.

I just read that 770 PIM review blog one more time… oh dear, what did they pay? ;-)

There must be a reason to write something like this – the most offensive comment was this completely irrelevant complain about “military time”. It seems to be really hard to look around and see how many countries use 24 hour time and which that old-fashioned AM/PM system.
After taking a look at DejaPIM i must say that i’m really impressend… assumed that they really found someone paying for it. I must admit that the GPE PIM applications are not perfect on the 770, but this is mostly a problem of some missing infrastructure on the 770:

  • There is no useful mechanism to set up timed actions which work while your application isn’t running.
  • You can’t start a daemon automatically without hacks.
  • The application installer does not support dependencies and feeds.

The application installer problem leads to the situation where people (like our 770Fan) end up in missing one of the packages. In this case it lead to the assumption it would be necessary to install the packages in a certain order. Good that this is likely to be fixed soon, maemo.org SVN contains an updated version of the Application Installer now.

But back to the comparison of DejaPIM with GPE:

latest Deja build (215) looks pretty impressive, many buttons for various functions… apart from the fact that they don’t fit into the style of the 770. You find out very fast that the major number of buttons is used to switch between the applications. That would have been a good idea if the buttons stayed depressed to indicate which one of the applications is selected. Thats even more important because three of the look absolutely the same without entries in them. The main menu is useless, no signs of common functions like in the other applications… but the error message trying to sync without a proper setup is nice, it asks you to open the browser. (Yes i really tried, but no luck… i guess its really necessary to sign up for an account ;-)

The next good idea to break the ideas of the UI guidelines are the editing views – a terrible mess of options in a single view… scattered widgets (tasks, calendar) or excessive amounts of input fields in one view (contacts). The concept of dialogs seems to be unknown like the fact that you maybe want to close an editing view with the X button in the window decoration without closing the whole application. Managing categories seems to impossible like selecting categories for new entries or having multiple categories for one enetry.

There is no way to import/export data without paying a monthly fee for a synchronizing account – that’s a good business idea: Pay for an application and pay every month to use it. Too bad the website doesn’t tell us the price for the final product, or is it hidden between some screenshots or colourful buttons?
It might be a good idea to stop before we come to details… ususally i’m a much more constructive person, but the “review” 770Fan wrote was really impolite from my point of view. That’s no good way to do commercial advertisment. For everyone who thinks about wasting money for DejaPIM i would suggest considering to invest it into an open solution… maybe an Outlook connector for Opensync or the into a GPE connector for the Funambol / Sync4j project which is able to sync against several well known solutions including Outlook.

So now its time fo me to go back to some productive work – improving GPE :-)


1. Thomas King - February 15, 2006

Hi, I like your review. However, I posted my own review on my blog: http://www.t-king.de/blog. I think it is worth a read.

2. Alslayer - February 16, 2006

Wow, I was never expecting this. Impolite and a commercial advertisment. I really don’t know how to respond.

3. fl0rian - February 16, 2006

I take this as an indication that i can’t be that wrong… there is a difference between a review and what you wrote. It might be a good idea to read the blog mentioned above too. Another good idea would be just to fire up your favourite browser and file some bugreports.

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