Feet up!
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Picture free zone
That's what I'm tempted to have here, let's face it Jeremy Hedley is a very hard act to follow.

His recent photos of rooftops and a local festival are eye-wateringly crisp, colourful and beautifully composed. Superb stuff.
Ringtone hell
Dom Joly as the phone toting buffoon

I'M ON THE TRAIN! Far too many Dom Joly moments on the train this morning. Is it just me or is the default Nokia ringtone (the Nokia Tune) the noughties equivalent of a VCR flashing 0:00?

If I hear it once more I'll scream...
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Mobitopians and alcohol, a dangerous mix
Seeing as the last All About Symbian and Mobitopia pub meet ups were a blast, we're having another one in London on August 12th. Details are on Mobitopia and AAS. The AAS guys are being super efficient in blagging some raffle prizes and general organisational stuff, whilst us Mobi chaps are franticly stress testing our livers.

As before all are welcome, frankly I don't even care if you don't own a mobile phone, an interest in tech things and/or beer will be more than sufficient.
Kent Beer Festival 2003
Click for bigger pictureClick for bigger picture

A bit of delayed action moblogging here, a couple of pictures from the Kent Beer Festival showing local blues legend "Doctor" Bob on stage with his band, and the cowshed on Friday night. Word is that 3000 people were in the shed by the end of the evening.

I'll have to sign up for MFOP2 (Moblogging For Other People Too), and then I'll be able to do this stuff automagically from the phone.
Friday, July 25, 2003
A reader!
Blimey, I've found him!

It sounds like he's getting frustrated at the lack of regular content here too, well tough, two posts a day is about as excessive I get, five posts a week is probably the norm. Of course I try to trickle one or two things onto Mobitopia too, some of which I post here, and some that I don't. Anyway, more volume probably wouldn't increase the quality here either...

Update: Thanks for the votes of confidence chaps, I already knew from the logs that a few people do read this stuff, about 300 odd (some very odd I suspect) every day or so. Which reminds me, I really ought to get AWStats working again, I find it a very useful companion to Analog.
Crap website of the month
Via Tom the extraordinary Odeon cinema website, which Matthew Somerville has fortunately beaten into accessible shape, I have no idea what the original site is supposed to be like as it's so broken as to be completely disfunctional!

The only thing that would be less useful would be black text on a black background, isn't there a law against web design this inept?
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
FoaF quickies
A handful of interesting FoaF related links:
Update: A comment from Eric Vitiello points me at the best links to his trust and relationship modules for FoaF, I already use the relationship module in my FoaF, thanks very much for the useful feedback Eric.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Secrets and lies
Interesting tales over the last few weeks, people telling me various things that they probably shouldn't for contractual or NDA reasons. Interesting stuff, new hardware, software and financial details.

But ultimately rather frustrating, I like to pretty open about stuff and I've got to keep this lot internalised. Also it's all largely unverifiable until it comes out into the open, at which point the specs turn into something definite and sometimes far more mundane.

A case in point being the Siemens SL55, I lusted after one of these and almost put off buying my Siemens S55 for one, then the thing ships and it turns out not to be an S55 in a very funky package (in a World where funky is good), but a far lesser phone. No Bluetooth for instance, and I'm no longer interested in one. Because Siemens held back in releasing the specifications of the SL55 they almost lost the sale of an S55 too.

Solutions? I can't think of anything obvious, I'm far too inquisitive to say "no thanks, I don't want to know", I can only hope to persuade people that secrecy is ultimately rather futile and frequently has negative repercussions.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Metadata roundup
An interesting article about metadata on webmonkey, all the favourites get covered GeoURL, SMBmeta, Dublin Core, RDF, and FoaF.

A nice overview with useful links to resources for these projects.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Kent Beer Festival 2003
It's that time again!

As per (almost) usual I'll be going on Friday night, and maybe Saturday lunchtime. Here's a quick run down on the sessions for newbies to the festival:
  • Thursday night: Relaxed and laid back, some of the beers may not be ready, not very crowded.
  • Friday lunch: Pretty good, if a little quiet, very much as Thursday night, a slight air of the calm before a storm.
  • Friday night: Often ticket entry only, busy, but invariably good natured, the best session in my view.
  • Saturday lunch: Relaxed and very laid back, with a slight feel of the morning after, the string quartet are a soothing touch. If the weather's good you can sit outside in the field and watch the children's activities.
  • Saturday night: Avoid, the beer runs out (by design) and the local pond life discover the festival and wander around looking for ersatz lager.
More details, how to get there, how to get tickets etc. are on the festival website.
N-Gage the knockout gaming device?
small N-Gage pictureThis recent interview with the famous game developer John Romero about developing games for the Nokia N-Gage pretty much confirms what anyone that has used a Symbian Series 60 phone already knows, which is that the N-Gage is going to be a winner. John sounds excited about the device and enthuses about the multi-player opportunities of Bluetooth.

Sure the N-Gage is going to be a rather good smartphone it's not that different to a 3650 in gothic clothes, but it's also going to be a rather nice games machine, maybe it'll not impact on the teen market, but for the slightly smarter (and richer) 20+ market it'll be very interesting. As a cool looking games console that'll be almost free with a phone contract (the 3650 is free on most UK networks with a contract, I can't see the N-Gage being any different), can anyone really see the N-Gage not flying off the shelves when it hits the shops?

Something John Romero didn't mention is the so-called lower end games market; games written in J2ME and OPL might not be quite as sophisticated as the native C++ games, but they're going to take a big chunk of the market. The "low end" games will be readily available as over the air downloads from many of the operators' portals and sites like Handango. I can see people shelling out for quite a few of these games if they are priced at only 2 to 5 Euros, Dollars or Pounds, they'll almost be disposable games. Download, play, enjoy, play, get bored, grab another.

Something that's only just struck me about the N-Gage is that it hasn't got a camera, maybe this is a cost cutting move, and perhaps a camera is a feature earmarked for the next rev of the N-Gage. In my opinion this omission diminishes the N-Gage's abilities as a smartphone, and takes away a novel feature which could be used in a game.
Monday, July 14, 2003
Blog Census
Yet another blogosphere cat herding exercise - Blog Census - the unusual feature with this one is that the data is open and available, there could be some interesting stuff done with this!

Via Danny O'Brien

Update: It didn't take much foresight to predict that people would do interesting stuff with this data, the API is trivial to use in Python, effbot has a 3 line example.
Friday, July 11, 2003
Thought for the day
Via Samizdata:
By a free country, I mean a country where people are allowed, so long as they do not hurt their neighbours, to do as they like. I do not mean a country where six men may make five men do exactly as they like.
- Lord Salisbury (1830-1903)

Amen to that, Samizdata is a thought provoking site, I'm not sure if I'd agree with their assertion that the Conservative party are Britain's libertarian party. I'd certainly vote for them if they were, though....
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Ship Ahoy!
There's been an interesting sight from the train as we've crossed the River Medway for the last few days, it's the Ross Revenge the former pirate radio station Radio Caroline's vessel. Now if I'd been reading Nigel's website (especially his news section) a bit more often I'd have known about it already. Nigel, you need a feed mate!

It's a shame Radio Caroline's internet radio feed won't get through the firewall here, as it's normally a good listen.

For those of you with GPS or mad Geo-location urges it's currently moored at approx 51.394 N, 0.5035 E (WGS84 values), Streetmap.co.uk put those values about here.
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
More TV crews...
Star blogger hounded by the press! Sadly this is not true.

This story is one I really didn't want to have to revisit, but sadly the 102 year woman evicted from the neighbouring old peoples' home has passed away.

So we've got TV crews and tabloid journalists galore wandering around again. Great...
Tour de Force
So the 2003 Tour de France is well underway, 4 days in, and plenty of thrills, spills and more already.

I've knocked up a really simple feed scraped from http://www.letour.fr/2003/us/live.html giving the latest positions in the race each day. The feed is here: LeTour.xml and the source for the scraper is here: LeTour.py as usual feel free to modify, improve, etc.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Engineering coincidences
"A purpose of FOAF...is to engineer more coincidences in the world." An interesting viewpoint on FoaF from Dan Brickley (via Danny Ayers).

Dan mentions something I'd not considered before, using Bluetooth with FoaF; so that my Bluetooth prescence could be associated with my FoaF file and "things" could done automagically when I get near to a FoaF aware Bluetooth device. Right, so how do I add the Bluetooth id for my phone to my FoaF file?
Thursday, July 03, 2003
Cutting off the air-supply
Maybe Russ has stirred up a shitstorm with this one - Turning A Blogger Off - it's not an easy thing to do, but some people would really benefit from slightly less exposure. Russ didn't say who the former A-list blogger is, and frankly naming him would only stroke his ego, so I'm not going to continue the charade.

However, in light of this I'm revising my blogroll slightly over the next few days, I think everyone should consider who they have on their blogrolls. You are giving these people an endorsement, you are recommending that people read their blogs. Think about that, it's your reputation they are profiting from.

People are on my blogroll because I read them, because I find their blogs interesting, if you've been "ejected" it might be because you've pissed me off, but it's more likely that I just don't find I read you as much as I used to. Top tip, I can't read Welsh.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
David Beckham, expensive buy?
Not if you are Real Madrid it seems, an interesting article in today's Independent breaks down the likely cost to Real Madrid of the Beckham deal; total expenditure between £34.3M and £41.3M depending on Real's performance in the Champions' League, against an expected extra income of around £39M.

I wonder if I could persuade Luis Figo to play for our local pub team for a net cost to us of around zero, I suspect not...

Later thinking about it makes Ronaldinho look like a really poor buy for Manchester United at £31M - let's face it he's not photogenic, and he's pretty much unknown in Europe outside of football circles, how could Man Ure reclaim that sort of expenditure?
Today's blogging is brought to you by the letter A
Following on from my earlier mention of ads, I had an interesting comment from Henry Copeland from Blogads.

He didn't say it in these words, but the World needs an alternative to Google ads. With the numbers of bloggers I've seen complaining about being turned down for Google ads, there is a significant opportunity for someone to offer that service.

Therefore I've signed up for Blogads (but I've not sold an ad yet), if you're looking for ads I suggest you have a look around before jumping for Google. Sure Google are paying good rates now but is this rate guarenteed in the future? Also you have next to no control over the Google ads that are being displayed on your site, and let's face it the Google ads are far from pretty...
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Are the smartphones really that big?
A frequent cry I hear when I suggest to someone that they consider a P800 or a 3650 for their next phone is "yes, it's a nice phone, but it's too big".

I get the same retort when I suggest the NEC e606 too, which I've been suggesting not because it's an outstanding phone, but because the "fire sale" phones and tariffs from 3 look like a really good deal.

However, are these phones really that big?

All About Symbian have a nice page giving comparative sizes of all the Symbian devices released so far. They range in size from 105 x 55 x 19mm (Siemens SX1) to 158 x 56 x 27mm (Nokia 9210) and weigh between 110g and 244g.

Sure this is bit bigger than the miniature Siemens SL55, but it's more likely that people are upgrading from phones like the Nokia 6310 or 3330 or even the 3210. The table below shows the phones we've mentioned so far, it's ordered by weight, because that might be the most significant factor for how a phone feels in your pocket. The Nokia 2110 has been included for all you retro-phone fans:

Phone height width depth (mm) weight (g)
Siemens SL55 82 45 22 79
Siemens SX1 105 55 19 110
Nokia 6310 130 47 19 114
Nokia 3650 130 57 26 130
Nokia 3330 113 48 22 133
Nokia 3210 124 51 23 151
SonyEricsson P800 117 59 27 158
Nokia 2110 148 56 25 236
Nokia 9210 158 56 27 244

Put in this light the smartphones don't look so big after all, sure they're closer in size to phones from 2 years ago than the very latest handbag phones, but look at the extra functionality you're getting!

Incidentally, I feel like I'm starting a one man campaign to reclaim the term smartphone, My definition is based on the categories Russ formulated, my view is that a smartphone is what he dubs an Intelliphone. If you feel that smartphone should relate to a particular manufacturer's product consider this, how smart is a phone if it hasn't got Bluetooth? If it can't talk to other devices surely that makes it dumb, doesn't it?