Feet up!

Tube Strike

There's a strike on the London Underground today, so the office is half empty as people are working from home or meandering their way in. Fortunately Moof has discovered Social Scrutiny's Tube Strike Emergency Map, which should make the today's journeys more palatable and easier to manage. Good stuff!

[Wed, 30 Jun 2004 08:59] | [comedy] | #

Shiny New Toys - Reviewed

Sendo X Ewan posts a huge review of the shiny new Sendo X, probably the number one series 60 phone in my view right now, especially given that it's fully featured and not hampered by marketing, a point which I expand upon on Mobitopia.

Nokia 9500 Not to left behind however, Nokia still have a few tricks up their sleeves. My-Symbian's 9500 review is very detailed and even though this is a prototype phone, there's plenty to get excited about.

Personally I was expecting to find the 9500 a huge yawn, business phone, blah, ideal for executives, blah. But, actually having played with one, it's no more boring or business like than a laptop, sure you can write spreadsheets and prepare presentations on it, but it's a fully fledged networked (WiFi, GSM, GPRS) personal computer that just happens to fit in a shirt pocket.

[Tue, 29 Jun 2004 13:24] | [mobile] | #

Football's Coming Home

Urs Meier with assistant

As Ben feared it went to penalties; the fat boy got injured; the referee made numerous incomprehensible decisions, including disallowing a perfectly valid goal; Sven made some odd decisions too, like bringing on Phil Neville and letting Beckham take a penalty.

A great game though, 2 hours plus of intensity, let down by the referee and the appalling condition of the pitch - in all three penalties missed, the striker slipped or mishit the ball due to the loose surface around the penalty spot. Hardly a fair way to conclude a major international game.

Roll on the World Cup, with any luck Beckham and the ugly brothers will have retired, and Owen might have consistantly found his shooting boots again.

Talking of boots, many players are sponsored to wear different football boots in the hope that dumb punters would want to emulate their heros. But, would you buy the same boots as Van Nistelroy or Heskey? After all, the rest of your team will laugh at you continually falling over.

Various Jocks seem to be following the usual knee jerk anti-English traditions, it's nice to see Martin taking a more rational approach.

[Fri, 25 Jun 2004 14:11] | [football] | #

Wind and rain

So the weather's gone pear shaped this week, what did people expect? Wimbledon and Glastonbury fully explain the hopefully temporary change in climate.

[Thu, 24 Jun 2004 17:30] | [general] | #

The C++ Source

Given that Guru of the Week has gone pretty quiet it's hard to find consistant high quality sources of C++ information these days on the web.

The C++ Source is a new peer-reviewed, online journal for the C++ community. The advisory board are hardly waht I'd regard as my peers, being headed by Bjarne Stroustrup and comprising the following luminaries: David Abrahams, J. Stephen Adamczyk, Andrei Alexandrescu, Matthew Austern, Pete Becker, Walter Bright, Steve Clamage, Greg Colvin, Jim Coplien, Stephen Dewhurst, Howard Hinnant, Bjorn Karlsson, Andrew Koenig, Scott Meyers, Thomas Plum, Dan Saks, Jerry Schwarz, Jeremy Siek, Herb Sutter, Matthew Wilson, Leor Zolman. Erm, can I say "wow!"?

Best of all, there's an RSS feed too.

[Wed, 23 Jun 2004 13:14] | [dev/cpp] | #

The Cat is Back

CC logo CC Share logo

Bloomsday was a great day to launch a public beta, I'm only disappointed that I've been too busy to try out the Bloomsday release.

Diego and team, congrats. There's a pint (or two) of the black stuff waiting for you when you venture over here!

[Fri, 18 Jun 2004 13:58] | [tech] | #

The Tin Man goeth

He's back!

This time he's back in Ecuador for good, looks like I was too optimistic back in November. It's a shame that Tino never got a chance to have a good shot at the Premiership, but with injuries and a strike force more prolific than all of the strikers England have taken to Portugal he never had the opportunity to break into the Saints side.

[Fri, 18 Jun 2004 13:42] | [football] | #

World's Top Soccer Championship?

A quick thought about Euro 2004, is it the World's top soccer championship?

Yes, I know it hasn't got the mighty Brazil or Argentina, but other than that there are no teams of note missing from the championship. This is rather different to the World Cup finals where there are perennial no-hopers like Saudi Arabia.

The top of the FIFA World Rankings suggest that Mexico, Turkey (knocked out by England and Latvia in qualifying), USA, Cameroon, Republic of Ireland (knocked out in qualifying), and Iran(!), are significant omissions. But to be honest this only highlights how seriously flawed the FIFA rankings really are.

Take Mexico's record for instance - they're fouth in the rankings somehow - and apart from a 1-0 win over Brazil 12 months ago they have only played friendlies, one of which was a 0-0 draw against 65th ranked Iceland. Or the USA's record - ranked 9th - where they have no wins over any significant opposition since beating a mediocre Portugal 2 years ago at the World Cup.

Euro 2004 vs World Cup 2002? My money says Euro 2004 is the better tougher tournament.

[Fri, 18 Jun 2004 13:34] | [football] | #

Bloomsday

ReJoyce Dublin for today is the 100th Bloomsday, celebrating James Joyce's epic novel Ulysses.

Ulysses is a vast novel: Project Gutenberg has it in various formats for downloads, although the BBC's Cheat's guide may be more palatable for many people. I've been reading Ulysses on and off for about ten years now, ever since I took it on holiday to Greece - I can read a paperback in 2-4 hours, so a hefty tome or a suitcase full of books were the options, I chose Ulysses.

Ulysses brings back happy memories of sitting on a sunny hotel balcony with my feet up, sipping ouzo, reading and being entertained. Molly Bloom's finish to the book sums it up for me: "Yes".

The only sad point in the proceedings being the continued copywrong nonsense by the Joyce estate. One can only hope the new edition sorts the situation out for good.

[Wed, 16 Jun 2004 14:23] | [rants] | #

Jabber Roundup

Most of this has been sitting in my backlog for too long, but given that Jabber Journal #18 came out yesterday and mentioned some of them, here's a chance to pop some goodies off the stack.

First off Jabber IRC integration, the journal goes into more depth, but I've found the irc.jabber.org.uk IRC transport most useful. Simply try to join a Jabber groupchat with say #mobitopia%irc.freenode.net as the room name (pick a channel, any channel), and Bob's your uncle, easy integration, nice!

Stuck behind a firewall? Jabber80 run a Jabber server on port 80 (and 443), ideal for those moments when you just can't use the standard Jabber ports, indirectly it's yet another way to use IRC from behind the firewall too.

Kiwi Java hero and king of the curry, Talios has joined the elite and become a member of the Jabber Software Foundation. He let me have a tinker with his Jabber SMS transport recently, very easy to use and something I'd have killed for in the days before my phone had a Jabber client.

Psi 0.9.2 comes out, my preferred desktop client just keeps getting better.

In other (old) Jabber news - Jabber Inc and EBS announce joint solution: EBS are the big hitters in the foreign exchange trading world, and many of their solutions are XML based, so it's a natural fit. Nice to see Jabberbeing validated in this way. AOL opens ICQ interface, but does anyone care any more? Too little and too late, if they wanted to announce something smart they should have thought about migrating to and supporting Jabber.

[Wed, 16 Jun 2004 13:28] | [jabber] | #

How not to fly a kite

Aerial shot of University of Kent Paul Mutton - Jibbler - sent his £300 camera on a wild ride under a kite. One of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Unfortunately, it didn't go quit as planned and the camera is now a write off. Undeterred, Jibbler has launched a KiteCam Disaster Fund Appeal - with photos and videos of the ill fated ride - in order to replace the broken camera and fund future madcap adventures. Give generously, future lunacy depends on your generosity!

[Tue, 15 Jun 2004 21:53] | [general] | #

Snake Oil, or not?

Receive message from Nokia 3650?
Yes/No

Installation security warning. Unable to verify supplier. Continue anyway?
Yes/No

Install Cabir?
Yes/No

Three little dialog boxes with similar wording to that shown above may be the only things stopping people installing the latest attempt at a Symbian virus Cabir, sure this is rather more labour intensive than the usual "whoops, I clicked on an attachment" or "D'oh! I'm running Outlook" but still some people will fall for it, and then attempt to send this same worm to all the Symbian phones within 10m, so we're talking about a worm with reproductive capabilities that need human assistance, and a limited audience for it to infect. Not a big deal really.

Ok, maybe I'm being a little cynical, but until these worms become truly capable of self-propagation they are really not worth talking about, unless one is deperate to sell snake oil anti virus software of course.

Conceivably one could write a Symbian worm that operated successfully along these lines, but it would realistically involve say a buffer overflow of the bluetooth stack to get the malware onto the phone stealthily and perhaps many other buffer overflow style exploits to actually install and run the software, non trivial, and not something that's really likely to be a problem now. Initially I thought this worm partially validated the Symbian Signed program, but in fact it proves the opposite in that the malware would have to get onto the phone in an unconventional manner, and would therefore probably attempt to circumvent any signing restrictions. In fact if Symbian Signed makes it difficult to get software onto phones, legitimate authors will investigate alternative routes for getting their software in user's hands, possibly making the Symbian Signed program as effective a road block as DECSS or Apple's broken iTunes DRM.

[Tue, 15 Jun 2004 14:09] | [mobile] | #

UK Tour Dates plus Dublin

The tickets for the 15 dates for the UK leg of the Finn Brothers tour (15th Oct to 5th Nov) go on sale today. With a Dublin gig on November 2nd (tickets on sale 19th June) too. There's also a fan club gig in the UK, which'll be well worth getting to if you're a fan club member.

There's the same news on the Finn Brothers News Board. But, it hasn't got permalinks or a feed so I'd much rather link to the far more usable sevenworlds.net fan site.

[Fri, 11 Jun 2004 14:06] | [music/FinnBrothers] | #

Friends don't let friends...

use Outlook (any variant) or Internet Explorer.

We've all had to do it, anyone vaguely computer literate always gets roped in to remove spyware, viruses, worms etc. from a friend or family member's PC. Martin provides details on what I also think are the two best alternatives; Firefox the web browser, and Thunderbird the email client. Both are far better than the Microsoft alternatives for as many technical reasons as you care to list, and being open source are also free as in cost and actively maintained, quite unlike the almost abandonware status of Outlook and Internet Explorer.

If nothing else can persuade you, what about the latest vulnerability du jour for Internet Exploder?

[Thu, 10 Jun 2004 16:24] | [rants] | #

Sick as a parrot

Venus transits So there I was Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday being moderately unwell, in the meantime, too many people had far too much fun. Ewan et al rocked at NotCon. Matt moblogged his wedding, and hopefully celebrated with some champagne which Martin and the other Mobitopians smuggled out to the US - we thought prohibition was finished but some of it lingers like a bad smell.

The weather has been rather warm too, great to look at but not overly enjoyable when one is cooped up in bed. Reaching the early 30s on Monday and Tuesday, although the thermometer in the garden (in a bit of suntrap) was reading even higher.

And finally, that one in a lifetime transit of Venus, lucky old Jibbler got out into the sunshine (and got burnt), and watched it happen.

[Wed, 09 Jun 2004 22:04] | [general] | #

NotCon This Sunday

Something that I'm trying to get to on Sunday is NotCon - "an informal, low-cost, one-day conference on things that technologies were perhaps not intended to do". Given that it's effectively a terse ETech with a Brit twist it should be seriously good and funny, and as conferences go at 4 quid (3 for bloggers and concessions) it's a steal.

The quid saved should go part way to buying a Joi Ito a beer at the meet up afterwards, although it wouldn't do much to pay his phone bill...

Nice to see it's getting some good coverage from NTK, El Reg, The Industry Standard, The Guardian, and Boing Boing.

If you can't make it to NotCon, there's a #notcon channel on freenode.net with public logs at http://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/people/rpg/pjm2/notcon/ which ought to provide ascerbic commentary on all the action.

[Fri, 04 Jun 2004 15:18] | [tech] | #

Waiting...

Flyer for new Finn Bros album A quick round up of some of the updates on the new Finn Brothers album: Everyone Is Here, it appears that the US release will be on the 24th of August and North American tour dates have been announced - starting on 9th July in Vancouver though to 4th August in Austin, an interview in Rolling Stone, and rumours of a UK tour after the North American tour.

Does it strike anyone else that it's a bit odd to tour 7 weeks before the album comes out?

Personally I can't wait, thank god for the Jane music site for some good old Crowded House and Finn Bros. tunes to keep me sane until the new release creeps out.

[Wed, 02 Jun 2004 14:08] | [music/FinnBrothers] | #

What do YOU want from a modern Europe?

Something that seems to be a popular sport in the UK is blaming any form of bureaucratic nonsense on "Europe" or eurocrats, mostly this is specious buck passing, our civil servants are frequently to blame, but fling enough shit and some will stick.

Your Party have a survey asking the questions that no political party appears to have the guts to ask: What do YOU want from Europe and the EU?

I'd advise all of the UK political parties to take note, because like many other people my views on Europe are currently un-represented by every single one of them.

Via rodcorp

[Wed, 02 Jun 2004 13:31] | [rants] | #

Talking To Your Behind

Rear Talkin with the taco Finally a cure for sidetalking? Ewan and I like to think so. We've written an article on All About N-Gage, telling you how to Rear Talk with your Nokia N-Gage.

It seems to be a popular subject, given that it's got coverage on Mobitopia, Erik's Linkblog, engadget, Gizmodo, and even Slashdot which is usually a clue-free zone for mobile tech.

Rear Talkin': it's the new black, y'know...

[Wed, 02 Jun 2004 09:18] | [mobile] | #

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