Author Topic: Does it worth buying Ben NanoNote for retro hacking?  (Read 10128 times)

Offline darkborn

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Does it worth buying Ben NanoNote for retro hacking?
« on: January 03, 2011, 06:39:31 PM »
Hello,
I want to buy Ben NanoNote but.. I'm afraid of.
I read Beez review: "Pure fun, but not for the faint hearted", and it sounds like a hell for "ordinary" user.

It is pocket size and got keyboard: it could be fun for retro comp programming.
I find out this post "NanoNote now fully compatible with Dingoo A320 games" at qi-hardware.com

I'm interested at some 8/16-bit/etc emulators, mainly:
C64, Atari 2600, Atari XL, Amiga 500, Atari ST, GB/GBA, DOS. SCUMMvm will be nice because of AGI interpreter.
I would like to program/hack at abandoned platforms,
I'm especially interested at C64 Basic programming, AGI (which is multiplatform), and batari Basic.
However it is lack of proper C64 emulator* at Dingoo, and for NN things are even worse.

3D Construction Kit is great, and it exist for many 8/16 bit platforms & DOS, but it is slow at original speed; emulated could be hell.

I'm interested at LÖVE too, it is ported to Dingoo (nlove) but not know how much is it good... especially for NanoNote.
e.g. mouse driver and so on. (btw I don't have a clue about LUA but it sounds challenging)

I recently bought A330 to my nephew as a Christmas gift and I was amazed how cool this thing is.
Only one thing is missing: keyboard.
So, there is my question: how much is possible to get those emus works @ BEN NN for us "mortals", non-hackers?
In addendum, how much of those Dingux stuff is repacked/ported to NanoNote? What should I expect in the future?

I managed to run Dingux at A330 (but it was pain in the ass - because of SD card problem); I know basic Linux stuff, but, I'm not impressed
with bash/prompt scripting at mini screen/mini keyboard... so I vote for nice, clear GUI.
Also I'm interested at remaining compatibility with Dingoo platform, so my choice is GMenu2X for now.

Any suggestion is welcome!

* There is Frodo and Vice port for Dingux; basically, it should work almost the same at NN. However,
hardware power is not questionable, but some emus are not compatible as they should be.
E.G.: there is Stella Atari 2600 emulator for Dingux, but:
"Pitfall II works but you will need to overclock to 420Mhz and it's still slow" ???
OMFG, You can run Descent 2/Quake, but not Atari2600.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 06:45:25 PM by darkborn »

Offline zear

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Re: Does it worth buying Ben NanoNote for retro hacking?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2011, 06:52:55 PM »
Well, I don't know where to start, so i'll just write what comes to my mind at the moment:
Ben NanoNote is definitely not for linux newbies. The dingux compatibility is somewhat broken and if you want to run dingux apps you have to copy all the libs from the dingux toolchain and replace the default nanonote ones with them, which might break the nanonote-native, non-dingux apps :)
Also, while most of the non-emulated dingux games work fine on it, emulators have less luck. Most of the emus I tried did not work.
I haven't used my nanonote for a good 6 months, so maybe some suff had changed, but the last time I checked the default distro was quite broken and not as usable as dingux on the dingoo.
But there are other distros for the nanonote, the most complete being jlime, which (in my opinion) is more advanced than the default one, and features stuff like X11 window manager (matchbox), mplayer (with osd) and a huge software database in the repository. It is not binary compatible with dingux stuff though.

If you want to use the NanoNote for a retro computers emulation, it should be ok, but you might need to recompile most of the emulators yourself. NanoNote is mostly used by linux hackers, which use it rather for non-gaming purposes, and the minority of game loving people, like me, prefer to play non-emulated games, hence the lack of emulators for it. There are no hardware limitations that would prevent from porting emulators though.

As for nlove, I believe there's an official port for the NanoNote, i don't remember the details though.

If you want some first-hand info, I encourage you to join #qi-hardware irc channel on the freenode.org network. You are also welcome to join our dingoo related #dingoonity at the same network, you can find a couple of NanoNote owners there as well.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 06:56:53 PM by zear »

Offline Meneer Jansen

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Re: Does it worth buying Ben NanoNote for retro hacking?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 08:24:43 PM »
"Pitfall II works but you will need to overclock to 420Mhz and it's still slow" ???
OMFG, You can run Descent 2/Quake, but not Atari2600.
[Off topic] Pitfall II is the only 2600 game that doesn't run on a Dingoo. 'T has to do w/ the very special way the game runs. Has nothing to to w/ the Dingoo's strength.

[on topic] Short answer: do not buy a Nanonote for games. Even Jlime does not run a good as it does onthe other devices that Jlime was developed for. JLime has no Wordprocessor or an Agenda/Scheduler etc. A Ben Nanonote is for Linux enthusiasts (this may change in the future ...). And I don't think you are one.
Finally got me a new Dingoo after I Kentucky ~~::fried::~~ the other one. Yippee! [edit] And lost it!

Offline darkborn

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Re: Does it worth buying Ben NanoNote for retro hacking?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2011, 09:16:19 AM »
Well, I don't know where to start, so i'll just write what comes to my mind at the moment:
Ben NanoNote is definitely not for linux newbies. The dingux compatibility is somewhat broken and if you want to run dingux apps you have to copy all the libs from the dingux toolchain and replace the default nanonote ones with them, which might break the nanonote-native, non-dingux apps :)
Also, while most of the non-emulated dingux games work fine on it, emulators have less luck. Most of the emus I tried did not work.
I haven't used my nanonote for a good 6 months, so maybe some suff had changed, but the last time I checked the default distro was quite broken and not as usable as dingux on the dingoo.
But there are other distros for the nanonote, the most complete being jlime, which (in my opinion) is more advanced than the default one, and features stuff like X11 window manager (matchbox), mplayer (with osd) and a huge software database in the repository. It is not binary compatible with dingux stuff though.

If you want to use the NanoNote for a retro computers emulation, it should be ok, but you might need to recompile most of the emulators yourself. NanoNote is mostly used by linux hackers, which use it rather for non-gaming purposes, and the minority of game loving people, like me, prefer to play non-emulated games, hence the lack of emulators for it. There are no hardware limitations that would prevent from porting emulators though.

As for nlove, I believe there's an official port for the NanoNote, i don't remember the details though.

If you want some first-hand info, I encourage you to join #qi-hardware irc channel on the freenode.org network. You are also welcome to join our dingoo related #dingoonity at the same network, you can find a couple of NanoNote owners there as well.
Thank you very much for your rapid, detailed and proper answer!
I was afraid that things are going like you said - summa sumarum:Ben NanoNote is definitely not for linux newbies.
With all respect to the project, I think it is totaly failed.
I mean, my ooold (now broken) Palm Zire 72 fired with Ångström Linux works much better at a glance, and it has bluetooth, IR, nice touchscreen and functional virtual keyboard... and dual boot with native OS great working emulators. Only DOSBox does not works as it should - because of raw horsepower - but hey, not much worse then at NN.
Without wide user community, every project, even the smartest one, is doomed to fail. Funny thing is that Ben NN is using GNU/Linux as a common heritage of open source community, with totally awkward priorities: It sounds like masochism toy, not the widely used, geek one.
I realize that it is open hardware project (is it?), and as this, it is important paradigm in our common history. However, it became prove of what's wrong in approach... I have to wait for my  Pandora for 2 months more :) ...
And I have to admit: I'm not a Linux newbie, just I'm not infant anymore... I like Linux, but as a tool, not as a Meaning of life.
I hope that future will deny my states and Ben NanoNote will become what it should be.
Thanks again!

Offline darkborn

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Re: Does it worth buying Ben NanoNote for retro hacking?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2011, 09:20:01 AM »
"Pitfall II works but you will need to overclock to 420Mhz and it's still slow" ???
OMFG, You can run Descent 2/Quake, but not Atari2600.
[Off topic] Pitfall II is the only 2600 game that doesn't run on a Dingoo. 'T has to do w/ the very special way the game runs. Has nothing to to w/ the Dingoo's strength.
Thanks for your answer. Pitfall II was just extreme exercise: e.g. if that's not working at Dingoo, then how would at nn?