The Nokia N800 rocks. I picked one up two weeks ago and I’m more than happy with it.
- Great design, great form factor. The build is Nokia quality.
- Vivid 800×480 display.
- Great WiFi network connectivity and easy bluetooth phone pairing.
- Both Opera and Minimo browsers.
- Several email clients.
- Canola media player.
- Cisco VPN client.
- VNC client (and server!).
- ssh client (and server!).
- Remote Desktop Client.
- UPnP streaming client.
- Mplayer client.
- Gizmo Project (VOIP) client.
Try that on your iPhone! One other positive comment has to be around the user community – both maemo.org and Internet Tablet Talk seem to be busy which bodes well for future development for the platform.
There are minuses but importantly most are software issues (and are hence addressable)
- No obvious contact/calendar/task list sync app.
- RSS feed reader usability sucks – no OPML import.
- Flash video framerate still isn’t quite there, even after installing the latest IT OS 2007.
- GAIM doesn’t seem to want to install.
- The virtual bluetooth keyboard (XKbd-BTHID) doesn’t seem to want to run.
The lack of a decent flat rate data plan from my mobile provider (O2) continues to restrict my usage but perhaps that will change in the near future.
Now I’m just waiting for the GPS Navigation Kit to be released…
I still think that Jan Chipchase has one of the best technology jobs on the planet. His recent blog posts are as thought provoking as ever. Moving Atoms is just great, making me both laugh (at the sight of all those little red cases) and worry about the irony of this type of commercial behaviour.
Recently I switched to O2 (Ireland) in order to be able to replace my aging Sony Ericsson t610 (workhorse!) with a k800i (Ã¼ber-phone!). Vodafone will probably release the same handset at some undefined date in the distant future but their customer service was completely incompetent in dealing with my queries.
Anyway, the k800i is a full on 3G phone – video calling, mobile email, blog-this-photo – lots of features I have no immediate plans to use (and it turns out lots of features that the O2 configuration & network do not support ‘out-of-the-box’). It does support RSS feeds though and that will be useful to me for a number of reasons. Plus it can run Opera Mini so I use it occasionally to get my PVR (EyeTV+Mac) at home to record tv programs via TVTV mobile.
I’d use it a lot more for data were it not for the incredibly expensive data pricing plans that O2 have in place. 1c per kB (O2 refer to them as ‘kb’s – I hope to God they don’t mean kilobits!) is the default rate. So, that 21kb BBC News RSS feed that SonyEricsson pre-install (actually a wrapper feed URL that is not accessible from full internet browsers?) costs 21c for every update. It gets better though – downloading a single MP3 (say a conservative 3000kB) would cost you, wait for it, 3000c = â‚¬30 for the data alone. Hahah, you’re having a laugh O2, no wonder nobody uses these services.
A lot of people in Japan buy not only digital (music, games, videos) but “real” or “offline” goods on their mobile. They use auction services, blogs and use assisted-GPS powered navigation services to walk the city. And they have been doing so for already 2-3 years, at least. Market maturity is not only about getting a device in people’s hand, it is also about the service offering and the actual usage rate.
But you don’t even need to go to the orient to find examples. T-Mobile UK offer flat rate unlimited internet access (with fair use policies) for around an additional Â£7.50 a month.
In Ireland, it’s like the switch from dial-up to broadband internet access all over again. Except in this case there are no excuses like decades of underinvestment in infrastructure or a low density population. Nope, we just have a duopoly that just like to charge extortionate prices for services that are way behind those offered in rival information societies.
Ireland an Information Society? My ass.
Stumbling across the same piece of hardware three times (on the Web!) in three days qualifies it for a blog entry I think. The Linksys NSLU2 (commonly referred to as “The Slug”) is a tiny network node that allows you to connect USB 2.0 Disk Drives to your home network. It’s a cheap and cheerful alternative to massively overspeced and overpriced 1U units. Hey, who has a rack in their house anyway?(I bet I’ll regret asking that)
The NSLU2 allows you to plug in two USB drives (housed in external enclosures presumably) and make them available to any other box else on your network. It sounds good for remote archiving and backup, although a SATA controller would be a worthy hardware addition to the spec. It’d also be good if it supported NFS, I thought…
A day later, I stumble across the curious (and skilled!) hacker. The box runs Linux and has a suitable large back door that can be used to install, well pretty much anything that will run on a headless linux server. In theory it could be adapted to run NFS, FTP, HTTP daemons. How about a print server? I don’t see why not (although I admit I do already have an Airport Extreme doing exactly this at home). There are already two replacement firmware images available, OpenSlug and Unslung that allow you to do things like attach more than two drives, use it as a PBX or very interestingly, (apparently!) hook up a Hauppage WinTV-PVR USB2 to the Slug. By now I’m getting very curious – can anyone say “cheap PVR”?
Another day later and I stumble across someone who is trying to get an OSGi stack running on it. Not for any particular reason, just, you know, to see if it could be done. An interesting exercise at the very least, unfortunately, there the trail grows cold, I’m not sure if he succeeded.
For distributed system engineers only, three Akamai engineers have submitted a very interesting paper to the World ‘05 Second Workshop on Real, Large Distributed Systems. You don’t have to be building a large distributed system for many of the principles they employ to apply though – their approach addresses a couple (but not all) of the Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing. They do employ some very simple but effective tricks to increase availability – reducing the TTL of just 20 seconds for IP mappings in their LLNS servers is a good example.
Akamai is a company I’ve always been fascinated with. They managed to quietly develop a truly transparent, global and reasonably intelligent content delivery platform that is second to none. For example, if you’ve ever bought music from the iTunes Music Store then you’ve used Akamai’s servers. Most global high-bandwidth sites like Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft/MSN use Akamai to distribute their brunt of their HTTP content. You wouldn’t know this from Akamai’s customer testimonial page but last years Akamai DNS outage highlighted who their customers are and how much they depend on Akamai.
The one geek present I was dropping serious hints about wanting for Christmas, and now Vodafone tell me via email (yes, I want one that much)
We have no plans to launch this handset on our network in the near future. However you can check with us again after Christmas and we may have more updated information.
I can just hear the smart tone of the Vodafone rep in the way that was written.
Oh decisions, decisions. I’m now tempted to turn my interest to the Nokia 770 tablet finally released last week but I’ve no idea what they cost – I don’t want to be too present-greedy. Oh, and it isn’t actually a phone which doesn’t meet the primary requirement of ridding myself of my T610 before it croaks.
OK, I have some more scouting to do…recommendations welcome.
Which would you prefer – a PC without a place for viruses to hide or one that you can listen to your favourite Faithless CD on?
The Register have an excellent summary of the current news that Sony think it is acceptable to compromise your PC in order to make sure you don’t do any more than play one of their CDs. Meanwhile, the (ab)uses of Sony’s DRM rootkit have begun already, just wait until the virus writers get busy (virus scanners cannot see these $sys$… files). So, the question is, who wants to guess how many people have put one of these “protected” CD’s into their PC’s CD-ROM drive?
Hiding files and processes from even the system administrator should have set off alarm bells in the developer’s heads from the very start. Surely First 4 Internet (the guys who wrote the DRM software) knew they were opening a can of worms when they wrote this stuff – if not, well, they shouldn’t have been writing stuff like this.
If anything this whole fiasco is a clear indication that commercial considerations like DRM are undermining the development of safe software. Meanwhile just don’t buy Sony/BMG CDs they’ll root your PC.
Wow of the day (and proof that the Japanese are really on a different plane to us Irish). Apparently, NTT (Japanâ€™s main telephone company) has created a remote prototype that can control people. An interesting quote from a “user”:
I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced â€” mistakenly â€” that this was the only way to maintain my balance. The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands.
What-the?”Remote-control myself” How weird is that?