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Friday, March 21, 2008

Nokia N800 & N810: Word processing with Notes and Google Documents

Word Processing on the Nokia N800 & N810

There are two main ways to do word processing on the internet tablets: using a word processing application installed on the tablet, or using a word processing application hosted on a website.

This tutorial will look at the two easiest options: the built-in Notes application, and the online application Google Documents.


Some general hints on entering text on the N800 and N810

- You can enter text on the tablets using their on-screen keyboards (a small one for styluses, a big one for fingers), or the built-in physical keyboard of the N810, or using a wireless Bluetooth full-size keyboard. The best option for large amounts of typing is a Bluetooth keyboard as it has proper full-size keys. Click here to read our tutorial on using Bluetooth keyboards with tablets.

- You can activate the large on-screen keyboard by clicking on the text entry area and then pressing the button in the middle of the direction pad.

- Whatever application or text entry method you use, remember that you have to click on the area where you're going to enter the text, so that the cursor appears in that area.

- If you ever want to highlight text you just need to move a stylus or finger across it. See the video above for examples of this in action. If you are using the N810's built-in keyboard or a Bluetooth keyboard, you can also highlight text by holding down shift and moving the cursor across the text you want to highlight.

- If you are using the N810's keyboard or a Bluetooth keyboard, you can cut text by highlighting it and pressing Ctrl and X, you can copy text with Ctrl and C, and pasted text with Ctrl and V. These are the same shortcuts used on most PC applications.

- You can usually increase the size of a word processor's text entry area by pressing the tablet's "Full Screen" button on the top edge.


Notes - A simple built-in word processor

If all you want to do is write text with a little bit of formatting (fonts, font sizes, bold, underline, italic etc) then Notes is a perfectly reasonable application for that purpose.

To access it:

1. Click on the Applications icon (the green squares on the left)

2. Click on "Utilities"

3. Click on "Notes"

Click on the main view to edit text, and start typing. The icons and menus at the bottom of the screen handle most of the formatting functions and can be seen demonstrated in the video above. There's also a menu at the top of the Notes screen lablled "Notes" which contains a few more options such as text alignment and file format.

The "Notes" menu also lets you send the document by e-mail using the tablet's built-in e-mail application: click on "Notes", then "Note", then "Send", then "Via E-mail". Alternatively, you can attach the document yourself within whichever e-mail application you use.


Google Documents - An online word processor

Google Documents is significantly slower to load than Notes because it runs on Google's own servers rather than on the tablet. However, the online approach used by Google Documents can bring some significant advantages over normal word processing applications:

- It lets you use exactly the same word processor on your PC and tablet.

- Because Google Documents stores your files online, it doesn't matter which computer you access your Google Docs account from, the same set of documents will always be visible and up-to-date.

- It lets several people collaborate on a single document, by giving each other permission to access the same file within the application.

- You can publish documents online instantly through Google Documents, either as a web page or as an entry on a blog.

You access Google Documents on the tablets just like you do on a PC, by opening a new web browser window (from the globe icon on the left) and visiting the address docs.google.com You can access it using your Gmail username and password, or you can register as a new user if you don't use Gmail.

To start a new document, click on the "New" menu on the left of the screen and select "Document", which will open in a new window. To edit an existing document, simply click on its title on the page you see when you log in to Google Documents.

Google Documents automatically saves documents while you're working on them, and even automatically names them using the first line of text that you type. If you want to manually save the file, click on the grey "File" button on the left of the screen and select "Save".

As you may have noticed if you've tried it, Google Documents is far more advanced and complex than Notes, so if you find yourself confused it's worth paying a visit to their Help section, by clicking on "Help" in the top right hand corner of the screen.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Internet Tablet School Companion

Since the Internet Tablet School launched last year, it's had an ever-growing audience and it seems that many people appreciate a tablet site aimed at beginners.

As a bit of an experiment, we've done something new: a book (just a short one though).

A portion of the cover price goes towards keeping the Tablet School going. If you want to show appreciation for what we've been doing, then click on our bookshop link below and buy a copy! :-)

The book is called The Internet Tablet School Companion, and it's been designed to complement the Tablet School website by providing tablet-related reference material which beginners can understand. The idea of the book is that you can look at it while using the site's tutorials or visiting other tablet sites. Most of the book is devoted to a Glossary section which lets you translate any weird tablet-related words you can't understand into plain English. The book also has some features discussing the past and future of the tablets, and an article on why tablets are better devices than smartphones.

The book does not contain any tutorials though, the tutorials will only be on the website.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Do you use the built-in memory card on the N810? If so, read this.

The N810 built-in memory card bug

There have been several reports of a bug on the Nokia N810's built-in 2 gigabyte memory card. If you use the built-in memory card, you may want to read this post as it will tell you how to fix the bug.

It's very easy to fix, so don't panic.


What is the bug? What problems can it cause?

The built-in memory card on some N810s was incorrectly formatted at the factory. This may cause files stored on the card to become corrupted, which means you wouldn't be able to open them. If your N810's built-in card has this bug, even if it works fine now, it may run into problems later on. For this reason, it's a good idea to fix this bug now before those problems happen in the future.


Does Nokia know about this? Have they fixed it?

Yes, Nokia now knows about it, they've documented it on their official bug-reporting website. They have presumably fixed the formatting process in their N810 factory, but there is nothing they can do about N810s which have already been sold.


Does this affect the N810's main memory, with all my applications and other files?

No.

The main memory is separate from the built-in memory card. Any files stored on the main memory will be unaffected by this bug. The main memory's folders appear uppermost on the list of folders in the tablet's file manager, under the section marked "Nokia N810". Anything in these "Nokia N810" folders and sub-folders is unaffected by this bug.

Applications are all installed to the main memory, so the built-in memory card will not affect them either.

This bug only affects files and folders in the "Internal Memory Card" section of the file manager.


Does this affect all N810s?

No, it may only be a small percentage, but it's quite a tricky process to check whether your N810 is affected. It's actually much easier just to carry out the repair procedure below.


How do I fix this bug?

This bug is very easy to fix, all you need to do is reformat the card yourself using the tablet's file manager.

Before you do this though, you should be aware that formatting a memory card wipes all the information from it. If you have information you want to keep which is stored on the N810's built-in memory card, you should make sure you have a back-up copy of it somewhere else (such as on your computer). You can find out more about this topic by clicking here to read our tutorial on how to connect to a computer using the USB cable.

Another thing to be aware of: if you have used the built-in memory card to extend the N810's RAM, you will have to switch this extension off before you format the card. You can do this by going to the Control Panel (click on the Applications menu, then Settings, then Control Panel). Once you're on the Control Panel, double-click on the Memory Icon, then click on the "Virtual" tab at the top of the box. Make sure that the "Extend Virtual Memory" box is UNticked, i.e. make sure it is empty. Then click OK.

After you've backed up any information you want to keep, and made sure the virtual memory extension is switched off, you can format the built-in card. Here's how to do it:

1. Click on the Applications menu (three green squares on the left).

2. Click on Utilities.

3. Click on File Manager.

4. Click on Internal Memory Card.

5. Click on the menu at the top of the screen, select Tools, then Format Memory Card.

6. Click on OK.

The formatting process should now begin. After it's finished, the bug will be gone (if it ever existed on your N810).


Does this bug affect the N800?

No.

The N800 does not have a built-in memory card so this bug cannot exist on the N800.


Does this affect my N810's ordinary separate memory cards?

If you've formatted your memory cards on the tablet itself, they should work fine.

However, cards formatted on other devices such as a PC may have problems. If you're unsure about a memory card, format it on the tablet using the tablet's file manager. Make sure you select the correct card when doing the formatting. Cards show up in the file manager with the name you gave them when formatting them, or the name they had when you bought them.