Feet up!

2007-09-28 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Sat, 29 Sep 2007 05:29] | [linkblog] | #

2007-09-27 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Fri, 28 Sep 2007 05:29] | [linkblog] | #

2007-09-21 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Sat, 22 Sep 2007 05:29] | [linkblog] | #

Garrison Town Blues

According to this story on the BBC, Gen Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the British Army is concerned about "the growing gulf between the Army and the nation".

He says:

"Soldiers want to be understood and they want to be respected for their commitment.

When a young soldier has been fighting in Basra or Helmand, he wants to know that the people in their local pub know and understand what he has been doing and why.

Soldiers are genuinely concerned when they come back from Iraq to hear the population that sent them being occasionally dismissive or indifferent about their achievements".

Part of the problem is that much (the majority?) of the population disapproves of the UK's involvement in these two wars of questionable legitimacy, and secondly there is also the long standing issue of serviceman's behaviour whilst off-duty.

As someone who has lived in or near a garrison town for many years, the mutual antipathy isbased on the soldiers' traditional penchant for recreating their work environment in the town's pubs at a weekend. They may relish being in a war zone, the locals do not.

As the old saying goes, you have to earn respect, and any good deeds in a far-off land will be far less visible than local misbehaviour.

[Fri, 21 Sep 2007 17:58] | [rants] | #

An Interesting Day

So, an interesting day in mobile, one non-event and three fascinating developments.

First off, the shiny new Nokia E51 yet another solid looking, high performance, yet subtle, business oriented S60 smartphone from Nokia, in a pocket friendly package too (cost and size). S60 finally appears ready to take a serious chunk of Nokia's mid-range phones.

Adsense mobile made easy: So you've got a web site (with Adsense) and you want a mobile version? There's at least two routes, one's tough, you've got to learn about mobile, and re-develop your site to work on a swath of different browsers. Or, you can take the easy route, and let Russ's mobile chops do the heavy lifting with Mowser. Sure, there's plenty of other transcoders out there, but many are as poor as Google's and you'd be better off giving them a miss. One killer advantage of the others for Mowser? It now understands Adsense and Adsense mobile ads, so it'll automatically place your Adsense mobile ads on the transcoded versions of your pages if you had Adsense on the "normal" versions. Of course, if you want something better like AdMob ads on your mobile pages, it'll do those instead. Smart and easy, I'll pick both, thanks Russ!

Vodafone Portugal launches their first HSUPA mobile broadband service. It's only 7.2 Mbps downlink and 1.4 Mbps uplink currently (more later), but please try to stop me from laughing when people say EDGE is fast.

And now to the non-event, the iPhone has reached the UK. Gosh, overpriced 2G phone, lets all run out and buy one...

Maybe we're more cynical this side of the pond, but Steve's infamous Jedi Mind Tricks (aka lies and bullshit) don't seem to work too well over here. Gustaf points out that we're quite familiar with 3G phones (it's four and half years since the UK's first 3G network rolled out) and battery life is fine thanks (I believe my E61 has better battery life than that quoted for the iPhone despite a smaller battery), whilst Tarek shows that the iPhone's price is far from compelling, something like 920 GBP for the iPhone (over 18 months) versus 190 GBP for the iPod Touch - in other words 730 GBP (1460 US$) for a 2G chipset? You're having a laugh...

[Tue, 18 Sep 2007 23:48] | [mobile] | #

2007-09-13 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Fri, 14 Sep 2007 05:29] | [linkblog] | #

TPN Rock - unofficial decades show

Given that Ewan slipped up and didn’t come out with one of his “best of” decades show for TPN Rock 101–110, here’s my take what I think are the best bands in the last decade of shows. No doubt Ewan will actually find a better selection if he does TPN Rock 111 as a decades show.

TPN Rock 101

Rock The Week In 15

TPN Rock 102

TPN Rock 103

TPN Rock 104

TPN Rock 105

TPN Rock 106

TPN Rock 107

TPN Rock 108

TPN Rock 109

TPN Rock 110

[Wed, 12 Sep 2007 10:15] | [music] | #

2007-09-10 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Tue, 11 Sep 2007 05:29] | [linkblog] | #

Insecurity via stupidity

Have you ever run into the email configuration that some network admins think aids security? This one: "you can't send me a zip/doc/exe file by email, you have to rename the file first"

This approach might add a little security if users hadn't spotted the obvious loophole of renaming the file, but instead it reinforces user belief that the admins are just there to be worked around, so it's a security, PR and policy failure.

Anyway cutting to the chase, I've been backing this site up to Gmail for quite a while using a variant of Gustaf's Gmail backup script. It's worked great, but it stopped working last week, it turns out that Gmail has started dropping tar.gz files just like it used to block zip and exe files, sorry Google, but that's evil!

Fortunately, a simple rename of the files worked fine, but Gmail's behaviour is just lame.

[Mon, 10 Sep 2007 18:38] | [tech] | #

How much juice is in your battery?

Idle musings the other day about just how much energy there is in my phone's battery, quite a lot I surmised. But, to put it into perspective, how many litres of petrol is it equivalent to?

First off, my phone has a monster battery compared to many mobile phones, 1500 mAh at 5.7 V, here's how it breaks down in terms of energy.

1500 mAh at 5.7 V = 8.55 Wh
8.55 * 3600 = 30780 J

To put that into perspective, that's almost energy to bring 100 g of water to the boil from 25 °C - Specific heat capacity of water is 4.181 J / g / K - in an ideal loss-less World. So, not quite enough to make a cup of tea, but still a bit more than I expected.

Onto the meat of the matter, how many litres of petrol is that?

In a nutshell, not many. Petrol (gasoline if you prefer) contains about 34.6 megajoules per litre (MJ/l), so our "powerful" phone battery is equivalent to 0.9 ml, or less than a fifth of a teaspoon of petrol. Bring on the fuel cells!

[Fri, 07 Sep 2007 17:58] | [mobile] | #

2007-09-06 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Fri, 07 Sep 2007 05:29] | [linkblog] | #

Apple as the Cargo Cult of Steve

Lots of blind fanboy ravings about the latest stuff from Apple, but when it comes down to it what have we got?

For starters they're still copying Nokia with pride, first the Nokia 7710 -> iPhone and now the Nokia 770/N800 -> iPod Touch. I'm not too impressed, first thoughts are that it might hurt iPhone sales, although they've probably already sold most of the phones they were gonna sell.

Red "friend of Bono and Bliar" shuffle - yeah that's cool, they might as well rope Paul McCartney and Michael "I'm forever blowing Bubbles" Jackson in for added lack of street-cred, Ann Widdicombe sounds like the target audience.

iPod 'classic' going up to 80gb and 160gb, yay! Four and a half years after we (Europe) gets pretty much universal 3G data coverage we still have to lug around a fragile spinning disk that might not hold all our music collection, a small cache (flash memory anyone?) and ota access to one's music would do a far better job. Apple innovation, there's today's oxymoron.

A final bitch? Ok, 8gb iPod Touch at $299, and 8gb iPhone at $399, so the phone bits are worth $100? Symbian were looking at a BoM of $100 for a complete (3g capable) smartphone, not just a gsm radio. And how about the 16gb iPhones at $600, $200 for 8gb of flash? Nice margins guys, and no sd slot that I could use to plug in an extra $80 8gb sd card either...

[Wed, 05 Sep 2007 20:30] | [tech] | #

Are you a Linux fan?

Tux penguin tee-shirt

The actress wife of one of the chaps in the office is currently on tour around the Uk, last night she ended up chatting to some geeks in a Cambridge pub, one of whom had a picture of the Tux the penguin on his tee-shirt.

Somewhere in the course of conversation she said something like "so you're a bit of a Linux fan then?" to the Tux wearer, the crowd of geeks burst out laughing, turns out he was a certain Linus Torvalds, small world.

[Wed, 05 Sep 2007 18:48] | [tech] | #

Is it all going Pete Tong for eBay?

It is begining to look like a host of serious problems are starting to stack up for eBay.

With eBay's three main products almost turning into de-facto monopolies in their marketplaces, eBay really need to get a handle on their apparently crufty systems and their appalling customer service. PayPal and eBay have long had a reputation for poor slow customer service, my assumption is that the current business strategy is to maximise profits whilst heavily reducing any investments in staffing, development, and infrastructure. This strategy appears now to be severely hampering day to day operations. Perhaps this is a consequence of the execs leaving PayPal and Skype last year, or maybe that was just part of whole cost-paring scenario.

It may be that my judgement is wrong, but I will try to avoid using any eBay services until they can do a better job. It looks like Craigslist can do a better job selling items, and I've always preferred standards-based VoIP products - SIP works fine for me. However, I've yet to find really good alternatives to PayPal, the concept of digital gold appeals to my inner anarchist, but the realities seem far too shady for my liking. Suggestions?

[Mon, 03 Sep 2007 18:01] | [tech] | #

2007-08-31 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Sat, 01 Sep 2007 05:29] | [linkblog] | #

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