Feet up!
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Symbian Exposium winds down...
The title says it all, after a couple of very busy days the Expo is shutting down, Russ and I are sitting in the Press centre (fame at last!).

Russ is posting a vast tome to Mobi whilst sitting next to David Levin Symbian's CEO - who's got the best ring tone I've ever heard, it sounded like tropical bird call to me, but I'm no ornithologist - whilst Peter Bancroft (VP Communications), and David Mery (Developer Outreach) look on. I suppose this sums up how friendly and open the Symbian guys have been all week. They're all smart people and everyone we've spoken to has been hugely enthusiastic about Symbian's future. More later!
Monday, April 28, 2003
Follow the Mobitopian progress, or not...
Here is a little semi-realtime location display of where your favourite Mobitopians (and other worthy Symbian Exposium visitors) are, it's Python and Jabber powered naturally. If you want to be allowed to play with it, give me a shout!

However, here's the bad news, the main thing is that it's not going to be updating again until I get to install it properly later (and much drunker) late tonight, and being rather crufty "I'll knock something up in 5 minutes, lads" style code frankly I can't see it staying up for too long either, we shall see...

Update: Well as I foresaw it didn't work, actually it did, but only for a very short period, I'm suspecting something funny in the newer version of jabber.py that I was using, but it doesn't look insurrmountable to fix. It's something I'm going to play with on and off, as I've a few geo-location and prescence based concepts I want to kick around.
Friday, April 25, 2003
Obligatory sunny pictures...
Tankerton beach looking North looking across Tankerton slopes towards Herne Bay I walked home from the station using the scenic route along the seafront on Tuesday evening; it was great, the sun was out, it was warm and there was hardly any breeze, so here are a couple of nice shots of the beach, the first looking North West towards nothing much in particular (you might just make out some sea forts in the distance), and the second looking along Tankerton slopes towards the Tankerton Bay sailing club, with Herne Bay in the distance, as usual click on the pictures for a bigger version.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Mobi down, but not out
Looks like Mobitopia is off the air at the moment, dns troubles. Strangely I was about the only person able to see it yesterday, but the internal dns at work is famously broken. No, it's not bind, it comes from a small software company in the Seattle area, who appear to be newcomers to writing software for tcp/ip and they haven't discovered rfc's yet...

For those of you deperate for your daily Mobi fix a quick solution is to stick in your hosts file for www.mobitopia.com until everything propogates through.

Update: - it finally it seems to have all propogated, I've not heard anyone saying they can't get to it for about 24 hours now, just what we needed when gizmodo were linking to us...
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
The Eye Bent Grape Spasm
Yes, erm, well I think they rock.

Today's listening is The Eye Bent Grape Spasm's seminal 1993 classic album Large Scary Nasal Hair. Personal favourites have to be Steenkin' Bandito's and Serious Jazz. What more can I say, excellent stuff, especially the Hendrix-esque excursions into previously uncharted sonic domains.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
What we were doing yesterday
Here are some clues.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
London Pub Meet - Tues 29th April
Us Mobitopians are going out for a beer on the Tuesday night of the Symbian Exposium, which should be fun, Russ will no doubt be extolling the virtues of iMobs unless Nokia drive him completely mad...

Anyway it should be a fun night (details here), I've already had a few bloggers saying they'll be coming, the more the merrier in my view!
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
BuddyZoo - FOAF for AIM users?
BuddyZoo is an interesting idea, it's a way of comparing and linking "Buddy Lists" - yuck, buddy list is just a grotesque term.

Unfortunately it requires that you use AIM to create a buddy list file, also it's only interested in your "buddies" who use AIM; I think the majority of my friends use MSN or Jabber. At least there's Dougal's Jabber FOAF Utilities to generate FOAF for all us Jabberistas, and we get cool stuff like BuddySpace and the Jabber World Map to play with too :-)

Anyway I suppose it has reminded me that I really ought to update my FOAF file...
Sunday, April 13, 2003
My word, what a device!
I've been raving about my Siemens S55 to anyone who'll listen - and plenty who won't - for the last couple of weeks, and then yesterday my wife got a shiny new Nokia 3650.

The S55 is lovely, jewel-like device stuffed full of features, but the 3650, wow!
Thursday, April 10, 2003
Hey, I like Google, and to be honest I can't think of many people I know who don't find it a very useful resource.

But the recent rebranding of Google News as Google Press Releases and blatant manipulation of search results like this, stinks to high heaven, and that's before I mention their data protection policies...
Good afternoon Dublin! Or feed clowns revisited...
Hello to the folk working in Dundrum, Dublin 14. I'm chuffed that you like reading this blog, but do you really have to fetch my feed almost 200 times a day every day? I'm not quite that prolific...

Hourly (or even half hourly) checks would be far more apt (not twice every 15 minutes), and it'd be far nicer if you either fixed your aggregator (or complained to whoever wrote it) so that it didn't download my feed if it hadn't changed.

If it is your own aggregator have a look at these two articles by Mark Pilgrim which are chock full of links on how to sort things out. Sure it's only a few million bytes per day of my bandwidth you're wasting, but it's going to make reading other sites slower if you're eating your bandwidth re-grabbing the same old stuff from everywhere.

Whoever you are, if you're really stuck give me a shout (my email and IM details are on my About link), and I'll try to help. Failing that I could always try the naming and shaming approach that Russ resorted to yesterday...
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Browser apartheid
I'm really tempted not to link to this site, as it would not let me in because I am using Mozilla (which it thought was Netscape). I really don't understand why people do this sort of stuff, maybe they are just being lazy, or maybe they actually like being tied into a non standard based platform, whatever, I just don't get it...

Anyway rant mode off, (self indulgance mode on) I found an entry in my stats from BaddesleyNET, I thought it might be interesting as I lived in North Baddesley (a small village near Southampton) between 1969 and 1977 going to the local infant and junior schools and the Mountbatten secondary school in nearby Romsey before moving away, thanks to www.friendsreunited.com I've even got in touch with a few people I went to school with.

It is great to see stuff like these little community sites, although they invariably seem a little dead and stilted (apart from some mindless rantings on their forums). I wonder if the addition of a small community weblog to each site would add a bit of life, somewhere where upcoming events, local sports scores etc could easily be posted, and it would be even better if they had an RSS feed. I've lost track of the number of websites I've where I've intended to regularly check back for updates and then forgotten over time, an RSS feed avoids this problem, and contrary to some reports I believe a feed actually helps to retain readers as people get informed about new events automatically shortly after they're posted, rather than far later when they remember to check every item in their bookmarks/favourites.

Here is an alternate link to BaddesleyNET to avoid the browser apartheid, if like me you are not using Internet Explorer.
Monday, April 07, 2003
WiFi versus 3G
The Mobitopians have a consensual response to some of the recent WiFi versus 3G commentary that's been floating about.

My personal take on the situation? Sorry, it is not controversial, I have to honestly say that I am a big follower of the Mobitopia party line. To say that WiFi will cause 3G take up to fail is hugely simplistic and misses far too many cases where 3G is technically superior or just more relevant. The simplest analogy is to think of 3G and WiFi as competing transports like aircraft and motorcycles, each fills different roles better than the other.
Sunny vineyard...
picture of grapevine with background blue sky Well it's not quite a vineyard, but here is a summery picture of our grapevine mid-way through some pruning on Saturday; keen gardeners may wish to look away, frankly as far as we are concerned the vine is primarily decorative, and the fact we get a bumper harvest of grapes from it most years is more down to good luck than green fingers.

Also the picture is mainly to prove to Russ that we do get blue skies in the UK, at least once a year...
Sunday, April 06, 2003
Rockall Ho!
Excellent! Putting an end to their own slogan - "There's fuc*k all on Rockall" (sic), the chaps from The Rockall Times are aiming to stage a dramatic liberation of the island this summer. Good luck to them, it sounds like a fun trip.
Friday, April 04, 2003
Is 3G taking off in the UK?
small Three logo Based on the evidence I saw on the train this morning, then 3 have got nothing to be worried about, it looks like 3G is really beginning to take off.

I know this isn't even close to being a valid statistical result, but over the last couple of months I've seen a couple of SonyEricsson P800s, a number of Nokia 7650s, one Orange SPV and an NEC e606 being used on the trains I catch for my daily commute. If truth be told I've also seen a vast number of run of the mill Nokias (3310, 6210, 8310 etc), a lot of SonyEricsson T68i phones, an assortment of other (generally old and tired looking) PAYG phones, and one Treo and one Blackberry (the only one I've ever seen in use in the UK).

The e606 was the big surprise, 3's network has only been live for public use for a matter of days, and I've already seen it being used for watching video clips in a few locations, including a hillside area where Vodafone and Orange don't even have adequate GSM coverage. Maybe the commuter is going to be the big market for 3G, sitting on the train watching news reports and sports highlights could become commonplace.
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Van Halen, retro-rocking experience
Reading this article about Van Halen reminded me that all my Van Halen albums are still on vinyl (they're all around twenty years old, so that's no surprise), so I've just trotted out and treated myself to a copy of Van Halen II on CD, a mere 24 years to the day after it went Gold.

This week I'll be mostly tapping my feet and gently nodding my head...
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
Link prefetching palaver
As an experiment I'm adding a few link elements to the first and last entries of each month so that Mozilla does some prefetching of my archives, I'm not sure if it's 100% sane or even a sensible thing to do, but it might make traversing my archives a bit nippier

Mozilla prefetching is explained in this FAQ, I'm also wondering whether to add prefetching hints to the "Daily reads" section of my blogroll, to save me a little time.
Microsoft and Orange still don't get it
It looks like you won't be seeing a flood of decent cheap applications for the MS "Smartphone" platform anytime in the foreseeable future.

Why? Well, it appears from this report (from a partisan MS site) that they are still committed to hindering developers from writing and releasing software. Choo, choo, Cluetrain coming through...
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Bluetooth USB adaptors
I suppose it's time to put my money where my mouth is... After announcing last week my ground-breaking concept on Mobitopia that you could use Bluetooth enabled devices as presence detectors, I really ought I put the theory to the test.

So I need a couple of Bluetooth USB adaptors to plug into a few PCs to check the theory out. I don't think I need anything too fancy, just something to connect my Siemens S55 to a PC, it'd be nice if the adaptor had Linux support, but that's not a show-stopper

The cheapest I've found have been from dabs.com at 26 pounds each (plus P&P I guess), these are the EIO Wavelinker, and they seem to have everything I need. But, please someone shout at me if these are no good or if you think I need something different!