Video: Nokia N900 Push Workshop – hacking back to the 80s

| September 17, 2009 | Reply

On Sunday, thanks to Donna and Robbie from, I went along with a group people went to the N900 “Push” Workshop.


What is Push?

“It’s a unique project from Nokia. And we’re looking for help from the world’s most skilled designers, artists, hackers and modders.

We want you to come up with ideas to hack the N900. A panel of expert judges will pick the most impressive ideas. We’ll support you to create them and then take the final creations on a world tour

The N900 is the most powerful device we’ve ever made. And it runs on Maemo, which is entirely open-source.

Submit ideas > Win devices and funding > Build your hack > Get your hack in Nokia Flagship stores”

For more details check out – there’s even a competition there to win a Nokia N900.

Below is a video of the presentation. It’s about 40 minutes long. You’ll see an intro to the N900, Gary Birkett’s mini presentation of his Liqbase app, and the guys and gal from Tinker who have hacked the N900 back into the 1980s.


As a bit of inspiration,! have created a few example hacks. They decided they loved the 80s.

Since this is about the present going back to the 80s, have some Calvin Harris as background music before you continue.


“I’ve got love for you if you were born in the 80s, the 80s”

Talk and Text:

When E.T. needed to call his mates for a lift home, he hacked a speak and spell to send in interplanetary text message. Now with the help of the Nokia N900’s phone functionality and Maemo Platform, you too can send texts using this much beloved childhood toy



With a Rolodex to keep track of phone numbers and newly available answering machines to take messages, businesses in the 1980s no longer missed that important phone call. Now of course, contacts and voicemail are seamlessly integrated into the N900’s user interface. Travel back in time to call your favourite characters from Saturday morning cartoons

– When you turn the rolodex, the contact list would scroll. When you stopped, so would your contacts and it would open it up ready for a call.


Valerio’s already uploaded a video on YouTube so I won’t post mine.


Phone FM

In the 1980s, we started to listen to music differently. Mix tapes, walkmen, and portable boom boxes allowed people to make personal soundtracks and share them with friends. These days, you can create and share ap laylist with just a few clicks. Text your favourite 80s musician to the Nokia N900, and tune in to your playlist on an old school radio.

I really liked this one – just text the N900 of an 80s artist and using last FM, it finds (it also shows the artist name/album art) that song and transmits it over the FM radio. This actually has some practical uses in the modern day, like a text Juke Box.  I text “JOURNEY” and the N900 started playing “Girl can’t help it”



Valerio’s on the ball again and has a video demo of the FM app.


View Master – Now in 3D

Remember those red and blue paper glasses? Did you see Jaws 3D or Friday the  13th  Part 3? Using the Nokia N900’s 5 Megapixel camera and 800×480  widescreen display, you can create your own 3D Memories. Look into Viewmaster to see miniature 3D images, or put on (3D) glasses to watch the show . Then create your own photo!

My favourite of the four. This contraption MAKES 3D images.




It only works if you view with both eyes – but that’s my N97 in 3D! What you’re looking at is a macroshot of the N900’s super high pixel density screen.

Here’s the official Nokia Video For Nokia Push N900 hacks demo. Cringe worthy for me as I appear on there too many times.



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Category: Linux, Maemo, Nokia, Nseries, Video

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]