Feet up!

2006-06-29 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Fri, 30 Jun 2006 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

Fon's five buck challenge

FON's cheap routerFON's charging scheme

The guys at FON are getting plenty of press for their latest efforts at rolling their WiFi network out into more locations. Five Euro/USD (plus P&P) sounds pretty tempting for a WiFi router, but, are a million routers enough to get a critical mass of FON WifI coverage around the globe?

No, it won't be even close as the basic maths just doesn't work out. FON will be useful for many people, if only because it's provided them with a cheap router, or a simple way to serve WiFi to their customers, or because they regularly travel to some of the tiny islands of FON's WiFi coverage. But as a way to get WiFi everywhere, forget it.

Martin Sauter has some fascinating figures about the municipal WiFi rollout in San Francisco, with 25 WiFi routers per square mile, At a similar density, FON's one million routers would only cover 40,000 square miles, or 4 major cities.

Then again if global domination and uniform coverage isn't the aim, FON will win a lot of customer goodwill with their easy to use and cheap (that word again) routers. The basic costs of a FON router make it an attractive proposition for say a bar or coffee shop. Rough maths - costs of a dsl line at say 20 Euro a month plus a FON router (say 20 Euro once VAT and P&P are included) i.e. 260 Euro for one year, you can cover that with 130 paying users a year (Aliens or Bills in FON-parlance) i.e. 2-3 a week. Tempting, no? And, if you've already got the dsl, then all you have to cover are the router costs and possible bandwidth fees if things take off.

Whether FON can make or raise enough money to cover their costs, buy new routers, and keep the whole caravan on the road is another matter altogether, it's certainly an interesting experiment, almost collective entrepreneurship. One to watch, and perhaps an opportunity that's worth grabbing.

For the record I've been running a FON router for a while, it's had minimal usage by myself or any other users, and the next nearest FON router is 20 miles away, is that indicative of Fon's future? Who knows.

[Thu, 29 Jun 2006 07:18] | [tech] | #

2006-06-28 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Thu, 29 Jun 2006 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

How to set up a new Dell PC

Is Martin stalking me?

I don't think so, but his great overview of what to do with a new Dell PC is spookily similar to what I did recently on a new box for home.

Of course, after you've followed Martin's guidance and got the basics right, you have to add a few essentials, in my case that's this lot:

I need to sort out a few dev tools too, Python, and the freebie VC++ are the most likely candidates, I'm well overdue for another look at Eclipse, so I guess that might get included at some point too.

And finally, why Windows? Well I have to use it for work (vpn client etc) and most of the kids' games won't run on anything else, so it's a necessary evil, and Dell still don't offer the chance to buy standard boxes without the Microsoft tax. I'm still deciding on whether to go dual boot or VMware for the sanity relieving Ubuntu install on the box. VMware has the vote currently, as it'll make the new box look like 2 (or more) boxes at the same time.

[Wed, 28 Jun 2006 13:38] | [tech] | #

2006-06-27 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Wed, 28 Jun 2006 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

World Rankings and real life

I've ranted before about the FIFA World Rankings and how wrong they appear, it seems that I'm not the only one and that a new method of ranking will be used after this World Cup. However, I've also found an alternative ranking system called the World Football Elo Ratings based on the Elo rating systems originally used to rate chess players. It appears to be far more relevent to real life than the FIFA scheme, and the following table shows this in the 16 qualifiers for the knock out round of the World Cup

TeamFIFA rankElo rank
Germany 19 8
Sweden 16 13
Argentina 8 4
Mexico 6 17
England 10 5
Ecuador 39 28
Portugal 8 3
Holland 3 7
Italy 14 6
Australia 44 16
Switzerland35 12
Ukraine 41 20
Brazil 1 1
Ghana 50 35
Spain 5 2
France 7 9

The figures tell the story, FIFA's rankings have teams rated 50th in the World in the last 16 of the World Cup. With 6 of the last 16 being ranked higher than 16. Noticable omissions being the team rated second and fourth in the world by FIFA; the Czech Republic and USA respectively, who are 11th and 27th on the Elo rankings. Need I say any more?

[Mon, 26 Jun 2006 22:37] | [football] | #

Easy security blanket

Back in May del.icio.us announced some changes to their api, in a post curiously titled Security blanket.

It took all of two minutes to update my linkblogging script (a different url, and https rather than http), source code for which can be found in the usual location: pydelicious.py

One gotcha for Pythonistas is that the default win32 build of older versions of Python doesn’t have any ssl support, I’ve tried Robin Dunn’s drop-in replacement for _socket.pyd and it seems to work fine.

[Mon, 19 Jun 2006 13:32] | [dev/python] | #

2006-06-13 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Mon, 19 Jun 2006 13:01] | [linkblog] | #

Music industry shoots foot...

...again

You really couldn't make this stuff up, first off there's the dubious shutdown of The Pirate Bay - dubious because there's a lot of contention as to whether any Swedish laws have been broken by TPB, and the Swedish minister responsible for the seizure appears to have been operating far beyond his scope, plus there's the fall out from the other legitimate companies whose servers were also seized.

Then the promotion of Allofmp3 by the BPI "hey kids, want cheap mp3s? Try here..." What next? The FBI pointing out bomb making sites? Turkeys voting for Xmas?

Finally (probably not, but we can hope), along comes the news that the music industry is trying to close a legitimate music site. Does PR and legal work for the music industry require prior training from Ratners, and the Prince Philip charm school?

[Thu, 08 Jun 2006 22:02] | [rants] | #

2006-06-07 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Thu, 08 Jun 2006 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

Backpack goes Mobile

Main screen for ListsReminders screen for Lists

Yes, I know Backpack has had limited mobile functionality for a while, possibly due to Russ's rant, but wouldn't something fully featured be much better?

Whilst some people don't seem to think so, Chris Heathcote certainly does. Chris has written a Backpack client for any S60 powered smart phone, using Nokia's S60 Python. Ok, it's only a prototype so far, but it's certainly an interesting development. I assume it's talking to the Backpack api. I'll have to ask Chris for a copy to play with, I've shyed away from using any of 37 signals product's because they're so desk-bound, despite them looking rather interesting.

It's an obvious move, so what's next? Campfire? I'd like to echo Russ's thoughts that anyone planning a web based product in this day and age is crazy to ignore mobile. Should mobile be treated as a second-class citizen? The numbers of mobile devices compared to desktop devices certainly make compelling evidence that for many applications mobile should be the primary client.

Update: Chris has asked me to clarify that he didn't write it, he actually managed the project. He's sent me a copy and it's jolly nice so far (hence the screenshots).

[Wed, 07 Jun 2006 17:32] | [mobile] | #

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