Feet up!

Nokia go crazy

Nokia 7600 phone

Nokia keep the faith and refuse to follow for the path of least resistance and descend into the mire of indentikit silver clamshell handbag phones. Russ has more info about the barking Nokia 7600 over at Mobitopia.

Ok it's not a Symbian phone, but the specification list is none too shabby:

[Thu, 25 Sep 2003 11:00] | [mobile] | #

RDF and iCalendar

In interesting round-up of the state of play of RDF and iCalendar from Libby Miller, following on from Ray Ozzie's queries about XML, RSS and iCalendar. Mobitopia's very own calendar nutter Russ also runs through a nice redux of the iCal situation.

I've lost track of the number of times Russ has got excited about vCard, vCalendar, iCal, and xCal. There's something rather interesting in all this stuff, so I've notched up on the mental todo list for future investigation.

[Thu, 25 Sep 2003 09:26] | [RDF] | #

Jabber grows and grows

Jabber Instant Messaging User Base Surpasses ICQ - 4 million paying customers and 6 million open source users sounds great. It'll certainly add some mass to the Foaf World when Jabber transfer user identity from vCard to Foaf, as Jabber documentation guru Peter Saint-André seems to be planning.

The ghetto-isation of MSN and Yahoo! is only going to aid the transition of people to the open IM world, and with IM clients like Trillian joining the revolution, it can no longer be said that all Jabber clients suck.

[Wed, 24 Sep 2003 13:41] | [jabber] | #

Weekly blogroll week 39

Return of the infamous weekly blogroll, still manual I'm afraid as I've not got around to automagically parsing my proxy logs yet.

Here are the people I read at least once a week:

Abe Fettig
Adam Sampson
Alan Cox
Anil de Mello
Chris Clancey

Chris Gulker
Danny Ayers
Danny O'Brien
Dave Beckett
Ewan Spence

François Planque
Fredrik Lundh
Glenn Fleishman
The Independent
Jenny Levine

Jeremy Hedley
Jim Ley
Joi Ito
Matthew Langham
MMS Memo

Moof
Pete Barr-Watson
Phil Wilson
Peter Saint-André
RDFWeb (FOAF)

Simon Brunning
Telsa Gwyn

Update: I suppose it serves me right for trying to read French blogs, I've just had to update this post to make my feed validate with all those exquisite little (but highly significant) accents...

[Tue, 23 Sep 2003 15:00] | [blogging/blogroll] | #

Site down

For some reason (I haven't found out why yet), this blog was down earlier today, an inadvertantly amusing exchange took place with Aletia my hosting provider. Me:

Hi, I'm having problems running cgi scripts on feetup.org, has anything been changed to the Apache setup because things were working fine yesterday and earlier.

Example urls returning http error 500

http://feetup.org/cgi-bin/pyblosxom.cgi & http://feetup.org/blog

Their reply:

Please do try executing the perl script via the shell. I found a large number of errors with the perl script. ... etc. ...

I suppose that's quite a relief, pyblosxom is a pretty crappy perl script, it's quite useful Python though...

[Tue, 23 Sep 2003 14:00] | [blogging] | #

Schadenfreude

One of the more interesting words the English language has recently grabbed from German, definition from dictionary.com -
Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

Maybe it's because I'm a Southampton fan, or maybe it's because I had a bet on who would be the first Premiership manager to get the sack this season. Anyway, I am currently experiencing and enjoying large dollops of schadenfreude.

[Sun, 21 Sep 2003 21:15] | [football] | #

Another small step

As part of my ongoing transition to pyblosxom (new release this week incidentally), I've redirected traffic to my old blog (html and rss) to here.

So if you were looking at my old blog wondering why I had gone quiet, welcome!

The old content will be migrating over here, just as soon as I can make it a little more xhtml sane and get the comments moved around, in the mean time it's all still accessible from the Archive links on the right hand sidebar.

[Fri, 19 Sep 2003 16:59] | [blogging] | #

Verisign - Domain Hijackers extraordinaire

In a show of arrogance, ineptitude and complete cluelessness VeriSign added wildcard DNS records for all the .com and .net domains directing traffic to one of their sites.

The Register's coverage - All your Web typos are belong to us - is the least emotional I've seen so far, personally I'm fuming about it. These people are not fit to be let near a domain server, and I'm still angry about the protracted wrangling I had with them to transfer Feetup.org to a real domain registrar...

If anyone else wanted an unlimited supply of .com and .net dns addresses for the purposes of selling advertising and domains they'd quite rightly have to pay a King's ransom, why should VeriSign be any different?

The only positive thing is that they'll be receiving quite significant amounts of spam. Fortunately patches for Bind 8 and 9 are now available, and it's probably worth black holing 64.94.110.11 too.

Update: ICANN have for once shown some backbone and forced VeriSign to remove Sitefinder - Report from El Reg.

[Tue, 16 Sep 2003 15:53] | [rants] | #

Phone Mast Stupidity

mobitopia article
Phone mast in stupid 
installation

There's been a number of scare stories about the risks of mobile phone masts cooking small children and the like in the media. Whilst there's no conclusive evidence of any risk and some simple maths and physics shows that masts are probably less of a real risk than handheld phones, there is still not much sense in phone networks installing antennae virtually inside someone's house, what were they thinking?

Thanks to Petri for spotting this lunacy. There are far better ways of installing antennae, the Undetectables for instance do some particularly cunning installations, and Orange have some masts that look like trees.

Can you spot the masts in these pictures?

Hidden installation from The 
Undectables Tree mast, before final 
painting

Quick overview of how radiation levels diminish over distance

Radiation exposure diminishes with distance on a square law relationship, i.e. if you double the distance you quarter the exposure. Hence a 1W mobile phone 10mm from your brain (10,000W/m2) exposes you to 10,000 times the rediation that a 100W mast could generate at 10m (1W/m2)! I'm guessing a little at power outputs whilst 1W is a typical value for a GSM phone, also I'd expect a base station to output far less than 100W, maybe as little as 5-10W.

This doesn't take into account duty cycles, where a base station would transmit almost continuously whilst a handset would transmit as little as possible, but it still shows that a handset will expose you to higher radiation levels than a base station ever could.

[Mon, 15 Sep 2003 14:27] | [mobile] | #

FoafMobile some suggestions

One of the main themes with FoafMobile is to use a Bluetooth equipped mobile phone to identify someone, currently the thinking is for a simplistic model to get a prototype into the field and working as soon as possible. Jim Ley has spotted yet another need for FoafMobile.

There's currently a sticking point with how one should represent a Bluetooth device in one's Foaf file from a perspective of both privacy and spoof-a-bility. A Bluetooth device effectively has two id's; one is a user-changeable text field typically "Jims Phone" or more frequently a factory default like "Nokia 3650" and the other id is a 12 digit hex identifier not dissimilar in concept to a network card's MAC address.

Both of these are modifiable (although the hex id is rarely changeable in a mobile phone) so spoofing is always a posibility. One solution that would make spoofing harder would be if the Foaf file was to contain a hash or checksum of both ids, this would be hard to replicate unless one had seen both the ids, but this would make generating the entry in the Foaf file entry more difficult.

Privacy is going to be tricky, although there's always ways of mitigating this:

Another thought - maybe it would be useful to put something easily identifiable in the user modifiable field primarily as an advert for FoafMobile, but maybe also to help FoafMobile apps know that this Bluetooth ID really is worth looking up. I'm proposing a user identifier something like "FoafMob Jims Mobile" actually how about "FoaM"? Short, sweet, and it should be easy to type with T9 text entry.

[Mon, 15 Sep 2003 13:07] | [Foaf] | #

Yet more Foaf updates

I did a little bit of tinkering with my Foaf file earlier, fixing a few errors and adding a few more hooligans, and I somehow (through luck rather than planning) ended up with the first Foaf file with foaf:gender in the wild.

Thanks to the #foaf crowd (Libby and JibberJim in particular) for pointing me in the right directions.

Other notable points in the update, I've sorted out some of the confusion with my Ecademy Foaf file by including my foaf:mbox_sha1sum foaf:homepage and rdfs:seeAlso for this file in my foaf:Person rather than having a seperate foaf:Person for that content; that makes sense when you think about it, it's just more data about me, it's not about another person. I had Mobitopia as a foaf:weblog, sure it's a weblog I contribute to, but it's not just mine, so I added a foaf:Group which has a weblog (Mobitopia) and a number of foaf:members, and because of this I've also added most of the Mobitopia contributors to my Foaf.

A few useful pointers from this exercise, Jim's files of bad Foaf helped me spot a few errors, and the W3C's RDF Validator and Libby's Rosco tool helped me fix the worst of my stupidity...

The infamous Foaf Explorer and the RDF Photo codepiction tools were useful for surfing the ever increasing Foaf World, apparantly I'm less than 15 links removed from JFK somehow.

Note: If you're one of the handful of people linking to my Foaf, please check your content, there's a few people out there with the wrong details for various things! There's a simple summary of stuff I'd like you to carry in a comment at the top of my Foaf file.

[Fri, 12 Sep 2003 13:39] | [Foaf] | #

Foaf on the move

The Foaf folks have been busy scheming in #mobitopia. Not content with Foaf's emerging World domination as the primary format for relationship description, they are now looking at mobile Foaf. Dan Brickley has a holding page on the Foaf Wiki for FoafMobile resources.

Tying Foaf, Bluetooth, and Smartphones together is a very smart move. Some of the concepts they're talking about are covered here in very broad terms:

Coming to a Symbian phone near you soon!

[Wed, 10 Sep 2003 17:33] | [Foaf] | #

Don't Scream It's Over

So nearly 7 years after Crowded House split up I'm listening to their famous final gig at the Sydney Opera House. What a great band, I can't think of anyone who's consistantly produced such a rich variety of quality music since then, although Neil Finn has gone on to produce some very interesting solo work.

One can only thank the internet for keeping archives of Crowded House's live stuff available via resources such as the Jane-Music ftp site. Very much in the spirit of the Greatful Dead's approach to bootlegs, and the sort of the stuff that builds real loyalty to an artist amongst their fans.

I assume other bands have similar fan run and unofficially supported sites, I'll have to start looking for them!

[Mon, 08 Sep 2003 17:57] | [music/CrowdedHouse] | #

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