Month: November 2003

  • Javascrypt

    Via Slashdot, Javascrypt is just that: cryptography tools written in Javascript.

    Cool idea.

  • Sendo X and The Stability of MIDP 2.0

    It is amazing what one can learn via IRC and a Jim Hughes proxy about a new phone.  Someone from Sendo showed up at the All About Symbian/Mobitopia pub meet this evening in the UK.  I learned quite a lot.

    They’re not using MIDP 2.0.  They don’t think that it’s stable enough.  That’s pretty big thing considering that the Sendo X is a brand new phone.  Sendo seems to be making a lot of interesting decisions like this, and I’m inclined to believe that they are making the correct ones.  Luckily for J2ME developers, Sendo has included many JSR’s to their MIDP implementation, which brings the usefulness of J2ME on the Sendo X well beyond a stock Series 60 device.  Yes, I’m told that our good buddy JSR-82 (Bluetooth) is among the bunch.

    So from a programmer/platform, the Sendo is in a unique position.  It is a spanking new Series 60 phone to the market.  It comes from a company known for their solid lower end phones.  It has MIDP 1.0 but lots of extra goodies.  It has that XML-based Now! screen.  It can accept an SD card! (praise be to the engineer(s) who is/are repsonsible for that one!)

    All of this is coming from a relatively small company (read: agile) that has what it takes but lacks brand recognition.  These are interesting times for Series 60.

    It is also quite interesting to see the definition of Series 60 broaden and broaden.  We’ve got Series 60 running on multiple versions of Symbian OS, with varying levels of capability (7650 to 6600 to the forthcoming SX-1), and various stages of product lifecycle.

    I still keep coming back to their decision to use MIDP 1.0 rather than the up-and-coming MIDP 2.0.  Is MIDP 2.0 really that unstable?  As long as Sendo includes a few critical JSRs, they should be just fine (and pretty much equivalent to MIDP 2.0).  I’m sure this is unrelated, but Russ is having a helluva time getting Java stuff to run on his 6600.


  • Mobitopian Conference Call

    I just got off the phone with Martin, Russ, Rafe and Jim.  (Thanks for connecting us, Martin!)

    Now that’s how technology is supposed to work.  The only hard part was figuring out who was talking on what phone!

  • iTablet? Maybe. Probably Not.


    Robert Cringely is pretty convinced that Apple is going to come out with a Tablet Mac, possibly as early as January.

    Cringley says more.  It’s one of those things that I wish was true, but wouldn’t be suprised if it is not.  The Mac tablet and the reintroduction of the Newton always seem to be on top of the rumor lists.  I’d love to see a Mac tablet just as much as I’d like to see the Newton come back, or see other random rumors come true, but they don’t always.

  • Gobble Gobble

    Happy Thanksgiving.  I expect to be offline most of the day.

  • Jabber Journal #15

    Jabber Journal #15 is out.  It covers recent IETF info, PubSub, In-Band Bytestreams, encrypted chat sessions and more.  Ejabberd as well as jabberd2 (the rewrite of the original jabberd) are two open source servers worth keeping an eye on.

    A few months ago a new version of Smack (a client-side library for Java) was released.  I would suggest it to anyone who needs client-side functionality in Java. has tons of resources including jabber libraries, client software, server software, and a list of public servers.

    XMPP on!

  • Sexy 7700

    I was poking around the Nokia press page and stumbled upon a new picture of the 7700.  It really has that geek sex appeal.

    More! I want more!

  • Thoughts on Mobile Multimedia

    I sat in on part of the Nokia 2003 Capital Market Days last night, along with Russ and other scattered throughout the world.  Particularly I caught the end of Enterprise Solutions [pdf] and all of Driving Consumer Multimedia.  This is good, since I’m a one man 7700 fanclub.

    I was thoroughly impressed with the way the webcast was handled.  There was a small but bearable image of the webcast on the left, the current slide to the right, and resources (pdf files) below.  It made sense, I didn’t have to guess what was on the slide, and it was fast.  During one presentation, the speaker asked to go back to the previous slide, and the webcast did too.  I think I was 10 seconds or so behind Russ on the feed, but this was Close Enough to realtime for me.

    A few things screamed out at me during the presentation.  I’ll try to go in semi-chronological order as I look at the slides again. 

    Some of their stats were impressive, but they’re just stats, so you can go ahead and read them too.  They’ve definitely got their market share and are taking the long haul approach.  It looks like Nokia is trying to divide devices up in to several categories while at the same time noting that the lines are blurry and that there is tons of convergence.  I think it’s more of a safety net for the suits: show them that revenue is coming from more than one ‘section’ of the ecosystem.

    Interesting note: According to Nokia, there are two types of fun: active fun and passive fun.  A little shocking, I know, but interesting nonetheless.  Of course, this really just means that Nokia sees that different people use different devices differently, but the wording was interesting.  I believe that this is the point where Mr. Vanjoki noted that rowdy teenieboppers had different usage scenarios than say business users on a train (Hi Jim!).

    Slide 11 has some goodies.  There is a new word in my vocabulary now: Multiradio.  The near-term next-gen mobile media devices are going to have to deal with many different ways of connectivity.  You’ve got your cellular based voice stuff, your cellular data, Bluetooth, digital video, and WLAN, among others.  Multiaccess is going to be key in any mobile device of the near future, but is a necessity for a mobile media device.  Time will tell if some more ways of connectivity sneak their ways in to media devices on their way soon (like the 7700 perhaps?).  Eventually you’re not going to ask if a phone can connect via WLAN, it will be a given feature on all but the cheapest of phones.  Ideally I’d be able to connect via my home wireless network to stream the latest news report from the BBC and catch up on my RSS feeds via EDGE when I’m away.  I can’t wait.

    I think they’ve pegged the digital camera industry pretty well, but they’re a little too focused on themselves to see the big picture.  I am almost certain that they have underestimated 100 million still and video camera devices annually.  The figure is just too low.  I don’t really think that the megapixel race will ever really be over, just like the Megahertz race will always be around in one form or another.  Granted, you’re probably going to get a less noisy picture from a 4 megapixel chip as compared to a 5 megapixel chip, but customers have been taught that more megapixel == better quality.  It’s going to take a lot for them to think otherwise.

    Which reminds me, why does my cel phone still take images in 640×480?  The image quality sucks compared to my little 2 megapickle DSC-U20.  I think that Nokia is going to have to put higher quality imaging sensors on their phones in order to stay competitive.  If they know what is going on, they will.

    Anothing thing that jumped out at me while watching this presentation is that Nokia “gets” blogging.  I don’t remember Mr. Vanjoki using the word ‘blog’ but he definitely referred to it many times.  They know that posting pictures and annotating your life is going to become commonplace.  They know that you’re going to keep track of your friends and what they’re doing via your mobile phone.  Clue++;

    Again on slide 19, they’re alluding to high speed connectivity (including WLAN) with several screenshots of series 90 devices.  Can I safely infer that at some point in the semi-near future, Series 90 will mean WLAN connectivity?  I sure hope so.

    Now to the N-Gage.

    During the question/answer session, a reporter asked Mr. Vanjoki to elaborate on the 400k N-Gage units that Nokia claimed to have sold/shipped last quarter.  I don’t remember his exact words, but it came across as there are 200k happy N-Gage users out there.  So did he admit that they have only sold 200k units to end users by accident?  Did he mean to say 400k?  I’m not sure, but Russ and I both heard 200k.

    Another interesting development on the N-Gage front is Nokia-as-game-distributor.  He spoke many times of having to deal with a distribution system that already had its ways and its royalties.  They way he spoke of it, he made is sound like the game industry is as bad as/worse than the music or movie industries.  Nokia has a long way to go on the gaming front.  Hopefully N-Gage Arena will both boost sales and add to the positive gaming experience.  GPRS is too slow for all but the least network intensive (read: turn-based) games.  EDGE is the logical worldwide gaming solution, but I think that Bluetooth gaming is going to become the Next Big Thing in mobile gaming.  If I were a kid on a playground right now, I’d so be playing several friends in some locally mutliplayer shooter or strategy game.  Comeon now, you would be too.

    That’s about all that I had to write up after watching the press conference.  I’m really psyched about mobile multimedia, series 90, and the 7700.  I’m also excited to see the lines of device categories blur more and more.  I might end up being off on some of my predictions, but it’s going to be a cool world if I’m not.

    Now where did I put my 3g transmogrifier?

  • UIQ to Pocket PC Total Conversion

    Why on earth would you make your P800/P900 look like a Pocket PC?  That’s just wrong, and a little nausiating.

  • View Your Site Under Safari

    Dan Vine has created a sweet little tool that allows you to see your site as it would be seen in Safari.  Check it out at Through the eyes of a Mac browser.  You can see at the right.

    I’d really love to know more about how it works, but here is the jist from Dan’s site:

    Although I am keeping the source-code private for the time being, I can and shall devulge the basics. This page interfaces to a MySQL database from which a web-service feeds. The iMac parses the requests and then pushes the data through a maze of shell, perl, python and applescripts. The result is returned in the form of a PNG to the requester’s browser window.

    Glue, baby!  Cool stuff, Dan.

  • XPostFacto Boots Panther On Older Macs

    The latest version of XPostFacto has initial support for booting Panther on older Macs:

    XPF now includes limited support for Panther (Mac OS X 10.3) on the 7300 – 9600 (and friends), as well as the Wallstreet Powerbooks and Beige G3 (with some limitations related to video). The original Powerbook G3 (Kanga) is not yet supported, but I will be working on it.

    Of course we’re still in Alpha release mode, so it may work for you and it may not.  I sent in $10 to fund development a few weeks ago, as eventually I should ne able to boot a recent version of OSX on my hopped up G4’d 8500.

  • CERT Quarterly Update

    Here’s a synopsis of the latest regularly scheduled CERT Summary:

    Since the last regularly scheduled CERT summary, issued in September 2003 (CS-2003-03), we have documented vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows Workstation Service, RPCSS Service, and Exchange. We have also documented vulnerabilities in various SSL/TLS implementations, a buffer overflow in Sendmail, and a buffer management error in OpenSSH. We have received reports of W32/Swen.A, W32/Mimail variants, and exploitation of an Internet Explorer vulnerability reported in August of 2003.

  • T-Mobile Launches V300; Nokia Sprint PCS Phone

    DC-Baltimore Metro T-Mobile stores are going to start selling the Motorola V300 tri-band flip phone tomorrow.  I wandered in to a store this afternoon and overheard a bunch of T-Mobile employees asking about it and when they could get their hands on one.  Detailed specs can be found at Phonescoop, but if a bunch of T-Mobile employees are excited about it, Moto has got to be on the right track.

    I’ve used a bunch of cel phones in both flip and candy bar flavours, and I’m currently in quite a candy bar mood, though Americans tend to favor the flip.

    In other randomness, I saw an ad for the current lineup of Sprint phones in the paper today, and it was absolutely weird to see a Nokia in the lineup.  I think it was the 3588i CDMA2000/1xRTT phone.  It’s one of those phones that has decent specs, but I’d never plop down cash for it.  Of course the lineup of Sprint PCS phones has improved a lot since I dropped them as my carrier.

    Back to the weekend.

  • cgi_buffer and Ivy

    Via Simon Willison, cgi-buffer takes care of the little things that can make your CGI programs go faster.  We’re talking things like gzip, ETags, and persistent connections.  Libraries for Perl, PHP, and Python are available.  At least in python, using it is as simple as import cgi_buffer.

    The Ivy software bus also looks interesting:

    Ivy is a simple protocol and a set of open-source (LGPL) libraries and programs that allows applications to broadcast information through text messages, with a subscription mechanism based on regular expressions. Ivy libraries are available in C, C++, Java and Perl, on Windows and Unix boxes and on Macs. Several Ivy utilities and hardware drivers are available too.

  • Mainstream Bluetooth Shenanigans

    Bill Thompson at BBC News writes about as mainstream as it gets about bluejacking, bluesniffing, bluedriving, etc.

    On the 2151 train from London Kings Cross to Cambridge I eagerly checked my mobile phone to see which other Bluetooth devices I could find, hoping to indulge in a spot of bluejacking or bluestumbling or whatever else I could get up to, only to find that there were no other Bluetooth devices within range.

    I’m sure that there are even fewer bluetooth devices per capita here in the US.  I tend to leave Bluetooth off unless I’m using it, and even then I usually don’t shout out to the Bluetooth world, “HERE I AM!”  Listening to the Shmoo guys talk about Bluetooth (in)security, I’m a parinoid little user.

    Yeah, I’m no fun.

  • Thoughts on Series 90 SDK 2.0

    I’ve been going over some of the docs that cover what’s new in the latest release of the C++ Series 90 SDK.  I have not been able to download the new release, and the Series 90 page has been in flux throughout the day.  Hopefully the correct downloads will appear soon.

    Here are my thoughts so far:

    • ‘Themes’ or ‘Skins’ are the new big thing.  Skins are so dot-com era.  I thought we had moved on.  There is an example of a few skins that do look pretty cool though.  It looks like Nokia/Symbian have allowed skins while retaining a basic overall look and feel.
    • You can now work in Visual Studio 6.0!  I’ve got to find my copy of VS6 (it’s kicking around somewhere), but the more options the merrier.  I’m not too fond of CodeWarrior, but Erik does have a good point: it’s consistent across platforms and targets.  It does a basic level of functions quite well, but I’ve been spoiled by things like Visual Studio, IDEA, and Eclipse.
    • It looks like the new emulator has goodies like access to camera functions and hopefully browsing support.

    I’m pretty much a baby step beyond the basic Hello World Series 90 app, but it’s been a bit of a long process just to get there.  There are a very many options buried in very many files.  True, this is great for localization and the way that Symbian development is done, but I’m having a bit of a hard time adjusting to it.  Going from the basic Hello World app to a base that I can start coding from took longer than it should have.

    So far I have not seen any basic ‘create new project skeletion’ wizards/helpers.  You either start from something simple like a Hello World app, or you create a new project in CodeWarrior and start creating the required files.  For ease of use and quicker developer uptake, a basic project setup wizard would rock.

    Overall my experience has been quite positive, but there are definitely barriers that make coding in C++ for Series 90 not for the feint of heart.  The naming conventions took a little while to get over (but it’s no big deal), and there are tons of magic macros that do a lot of the heavy lifting.  The MVC structure that is imposed on programmers is a good one IMHO.  It promotes good patterns and discourages doing things in a quick and dirty way.

    I’ll keep stumbling along…

  • MoGeek

    Jim Hughes (on #mobitopia):

    * JimH_S55 badly needs a phone condom for irc in the rain

  • Debian Servers Compromised

    This announcement notes that some Debian servers have been compromised.  Via Mark’s b-links.

  • New Series 90 SDK On Its Way

    According to a press release, Nokia has a new version of their Series 90 SDK on the way out, though their Series 90 web site has not been updated yet.

    One of the new SDKs main features is an emphasis on browsing over TCP/IP.  This will be a welcome addition to content providers and mobile web developers.

    I’ve been waiting for browsing support since the first version of the SDK came out, and I’m quite happy to see it included in this upcoming release.  By the woding of the press release, I’m not sure if they’re unifying the two SDKs (Java and C++) or if that was just Press Release Speek that should be ignored.

    More as it comes in.

  • Content Management Haiku

    Steve Mallett:

    I’m playing with scoop.
    It is kicking much ass-age.
    Moderate my soul.

    I’m too tired to contribute my own, but one could have some fun with this.