Month: February 2004

  • Minimo

    OSNews points to Minimo, a Mozilla project designed to bring the Mozilla browser to embedded and mobile Linux distros that have 32-64MB available to them.  Check out the screenshots of Minimo running Familiar Linux on on iPAQ.

  • More on the Nokia 9500

    Forum Nokia has some documentation about the Nokia 9500 and Series 80 in addition to the SDKs and emulators.  The Series 80 UI Style Guide is designed for programmers, but sheds quite a bit of light on the inner workings on the newly revamed Series 80.  There is quite a bit of information about how native apps behave.

    There is also an IPv6 guide for hardcore Symbian C++ programmers.

    The most up to date information can be found at the Forum Nokia Series 80 page.  If you have not already, check out my Nokia 9500 roundup and my look at the Nokia 9500 emulator.

  • The End of an Era: Herzog to Leave Redskins Broadcast

    Washington Post (free reg required as of a couple of weeks ago.  There goes one of the last newspaper free reg BS holdouts):

    Frank Herzog, the longtime play-by-play voice of the Washington Redskins, was bounced from one of the NFL’s most popular local radio announcing teams yesterday. Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff will remain as team broadcasters, but Herzog will be replaced by veteran broadcaster Larry Michael.

    This is really sad for Redskins fans.  When I was growing up, it was standard practice to turn the TV to whichever station had the Redskins broadcast and then tune the radio to WMAL, the oldskool home of Sonny, Sam, and Frank.  Frank’s play-by-play was always better than the TV coverage.

    Years later I found myself doing the same thing: turning on the TV and immediately muting it.  I had to tune the radio to WJFK (the new home of Redskins Radio), but on the other end of the dial was the same old Sonny, Sam and Frank of my childhood.

    Frank is still on staff at WUSA 9, but I for one am going to miss him over the audible air waves.

  • Color LCDs for Mobile Devices


    In another sign of LCD progress, shipments of color LCD screens for mobile phones will outstrip those of monochrome LCD screens this year, research firm iSuppli/Stanford Resources predicted Wednesday.

    Wow.  I had forgotten that cel phones with monochrome screens were still being made.  Sure, I still have a couple of phones kicking around with monochrome screens, but they’re left over from my years of Sprint.  At wireless stores the monochrome phones tend to get hidden in the corner, while the color ones are showcased.  Except for those tiny Siemens phones, and the requisite oldskool Nokia.  Those will be around forever.

  • Gigabit: Finally Affordable

    I took a trip down to my local Micro Center today.  One of the gems of the trip was finding out the Gigabit networking is finally affordable.  Card prices have been dropping considerably, gigabit has been in Macs for years now.  The thing that had been holding everything back was the switching hardware.  Hubs or switches with even one gigabit port were outrageously expensive.  Hubs/switches with ports that were all 10/100/1000 were extremely expensive (read: hundreds of dollars) and not ont he retail shelves.

    That was then.

    Today I saw on the shelf a Hawking Tech HGA32T: a gigabit PCI card with about the same footprint as any generic Realtek-style card.  You know, the ones that you buy on sale for $5-10 just so that you have an extra laying around.  The beautiful part about this gigabit card is the price: $20 bucks.  That’s all well and good, you’ve been able to find gigabit cards in the $40-50 range for quite some time if you found them on sale.  Switches are going to be a problem still.  Right?


    I tried to search out a gigabit switch (mostly so that I could prove my point to a friend that they were still too expensive), and found one.  Enter the Hawking Tech H-GS8T.  8 ports of full-on 10/100/1000 autosensing, full-duplex goodness.  The price? $130.  Holy crap, this stuff is finally affordable!

    Of course this Hawking tech gear is good but not top of the line.  The switch does not have a huge buffer and you’re probably never going to see the theoretical maximum throughput, but who cares, it’s cheap!  I’ll bet that you can see and feel an improvement over 10/100 at the very least.

    So hey, someday I might even migrate to gigabit.

  • Breaking WEP With OpenBSD

    LinuxSecurity has a great little tutorial about how to crack WEP pretty darn quickly to wow your friends and scare the crap out of your coworkers.  The tutorial was run on an old laptop running OpenBSD with a PCMCIA 802.11b card.  I’ve got similar hardware just kicking around.  I might have to have a go at it.  The Airtools package (installed by default) covers pretty much everything you need for sniffing out Wi-Fi, logging wireless packets, and breaking yourself some WEP.

  • My Subversion DUH Moment

    So I’ve been wanting to play with Subversion for awhile now.  It looks great, I’ve skimmed the Subversion book, and I’m ready to rock.  Getting and installing the subversion client has been no problem.  There are binaries available and I’m pretty sure that I installed the subversion client from source.  The major pain has been getting a local subversion server and repository set up.

    I’ve never managed to make it past the complex (but well written) installation instructions.  It involves some bleeding edge stuff that depends on some bleeding edge stuff.  This installation from source complaint is probably one of the most common among newb Subversion users.  I remember reading that there is a Debian meta-package under unstable called subversion-server.  Installing a Subversion server should be as simple as apt-get install subversion-server, but I’ve not had a disposable Debian box kicking around nor enough free time to do a quick network install on something.

    On to my Subversion DUH moment.  I’ve got SUSE 9 installed on my laptop, which is with me pretty much all the time.  I was vaguely familiar that there were binary packages available somewhere (linked directly from the Subversion site of course), but had kind of written them off as being client binaries only.

    They’re so not.  This directory at has freaking everything I need to get started including an RPM for Subversion server.

    The binaries currenlty lag behind the 1.0 source release, but should be up to speed real soon now.  I’ll probably wait until the binaries reflect the 1.0 release, but once they do, *BAM* I’m going to start mucking around with Subversion, no painful install from source neccesary.

    Mad props to Olaf Hering at SUSE for maintaining a binary release for SUSE Linux.  By the way, there are packages for 9, 8.2, 8.1, 8 PPC, and UnitedLinux x86-64.

  • Text_Wiki 0.8.2

    Via freshmeat, there is a new version of Text_Wiki out.  I’ve mentioned it in the past, but I have not had a chance to play with it yet.  Here are the changes in the new version:

    There is a major change to the Wiki class property $rules definition which breaks backwards compatibility with 0.7 alpha and earlier for any user-defined rules. The $rules property is now an associative array (‘rule_name’ => ‘/path/to/classfile.php’). A bug where marked up numbers would sometimes be mistaken for delimited token numbers has been fixed. Rules are now loaded in the constructor method, not on-the-fly as part of the parse() method. This corrects the “can’t parse twice” bug. There are many other bugfixes and feature additions.

  • Programming by Contract with Web Services (in Python)

    Via the Daily Python URL, Georg Bauer talks about programming by contract with web services in Python.  The next version of the Toolserver Framework for Python will have support for the concept, which itself has been around for quite some time.

    I think that a lot of people would love to program by contract using web services, but I don’t think that we’re there yet.

  • LiveJournal FOAF

    A quick heads up from the gang in #FOAF: LiveJournal FOAF is live.  I even wrote up a quick entry in my stagnant journal about it.  FOAF data ends up on /users/username/data/foaf.  My LJ FOAF is hereMy geek FOAF is here.

    Carry on.

  • 3GSM Phone Roundup

    Lots of new phone models are being announced.  Here’s a quick rundown of the ones that I’ve found this morning:

    • InfoSync World: The Motorola A1000 (PDF fact sheet) (Symbian [UIQ], 3G/GSM/GPRS available Q42004) and the Motorola E1000 (PDF fact sheet) (similar form factor, less capability, proprietary OS, sometime in 2H2004).
    • Mobiletracker: Motorola MPX (PDF fact sheet), a big bad flippy super phone running Windows Mobile (assuming 2003) with Wi-Fi, bluetooth, 2.8 inch display.  Availability: 2H2004. Brighthand has a nice pic of the interior of the MPX.
    • MobileTracker: Motorola MPx100 (PDF fact sheet), a candy bar running Windows Mobile (howardchui says Smartphone 2003) has Bluetooth, IR, Java, and a 1.3 megapixel camera.  Availability: 2H2004.
    • Phone Scoop: Panasonic introduces the X700, a flippy Series 60 smartphone with IR, Bluetooth, MiniSD (gah! another format!), Class 10 GPRS, and MIDP2.0.  Availability: this fall in Europe.
    • Sendo: The M570 clamshell has 4MB of free memory and MIDP2.0.
    • Sendo: The S600 has MIDP2.0 and a digital zoom.  Thanks to Dave for the Sendo links.
    • PCPro: GSPDA unveils the Xplore G88.  They claim it to be the world’s smallest Palm-powered phone.  Brighthand has a picture of it.  I honestly don’t see this phone coming to mass market.
  • Nokia 9500 Emulator: A First Look

    The Java emulator is smaller than the C++ emulator, but in the past the C++ emulators have been closer to the final product.  I was suprised when I installed the Java emulator.  It looks a lot more polished than the Series 90 Java emulator was when it was released.

    Here’s a look at what the J2ME emulator looks like (click on the thumbnails for full size images):

    The bootup screen

    The desktop


    Opera 6.x browser


    Word processor



    Office applications

    The media folder

    Image viewer

    The tools folder

    The control panel

    Sync program

    The new Series 80 is really growing on me.  Things seem to behave as they should for people with older Communicators, but at the same time, the look and feel is much more modern.  As evidenced by a screenshot on a device, the interface should be much more colourful and polished before the 9500 hits the streets.

    Update: it appears as if they shipped the standard emulator with the J2ME toolkit.  I just finished downloading the C++ SDK and the emulator looks and feels the same.  Rock on.

  • Subversion 1.0!

    O’Reilly Network Developer News:

    The Subversion development team has announced the release of version 1.0 of their CVS replacement for source code version control. OSNews has a great run down of Subversion’s features and a quick tutorial to get up and running quickly.


  • Nokia Communicator 9500 Roundup

    There are lots of bits and pieces out there about the new Communicator, the 9500.  It has Wi-Fi and EDGE.  We’ll know more later after the official press release.  I’ll update the linkage as it comes in.  Here’s a link to the webcast at 3pm CET (which is 2pm GMT or 9am EDT or 6am PST).

    • Via Russ, Time has an article called Innovate and Dominate.  Of interest is the comment on availability: “After all, the gadgets won’t be ready for trial until the summer, or for general commercial use until late in the year.”
    • ZDNet: Nokia and IBM unpack new ‘brick’.  I love my 9290 brick and would carry one everywhere if it had Wi-Fi and EDGE was more affordable.  My favourite quote: “The new phone, which will sell at around 800 euros (£538) and is slightly shorter and lighter than earlier Communicators, flips open to unveil a keyboard and also has the ability to connect to wireless local networks, known as Wi-Fi or Wireless LAN.”
    • The Wall Street Journal has a spot on the 9500, but I haven’t read it.
    • has all of the specs.
    • Frank has posted some highlights at Mobitopia.
    • Forum Nokia: Nokia 9500.
    • Forum Nokia: Series 80 Developer Platform 2.0: API Differences.  It looks at the differences between the oldskool 9200 series communicators, the 9500, and Series 90.  Designed for hardcore Symbian C++ heads.

    Tools and SDKs for developers:

    • Series 80 C++ SDK for the 9500.
    • Java MIDP SDK for the 9500.
    • Java Personal Profile Plug-in for the C++ SDK is an early look at Nokia’s Personal Profile implementation on top of the CDC.  It also includes support for the Personal Basis profile and Foundation Profile.  It requires IBM WebSphere Studio Device Developer 5.6

    I’m still not sure what I think about the 9500.  I think it’s great of course, but parts of it feel like a point release or product refresh rather than a big new thing.  The connectivity is great and foreshadows what is to come.  Choose your connection: GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth.  This is the way it’s going to be.

    Overall I like it.  It has a camera, the external phone is Series 40, etc.  I really wish that Nokia would have decided to put a corporate skin on top of Series 90 rather than continue on with Series 80.  Series 80 is great and has served well, but I think that it should be retired.  Since the 9500 is a corporate phone, I understand the decision to go with tried and true rather than bleeding edge.  At the same time, the 9500 is running on Symbian 7.0s, the same OS that Series 90 runs on.

    It looks like corporate software developers will be able to do quite a bit with the platform.  I have not looked too deeply at the developer specs, but I see that the phone has MIDP2.0, and hopefully JSR-82 and other APIs neccesary to rock some corporate apps.  The 9500 also supports Personal Profile, which has the potential to be much more powerful than poor sandboxed MIDP apps.

    At the same time I’m a bit dissapointed.  As I said before, I’d much rather see the new communicator running on Series 90, but I’ll have to get over that.  It’s very important to remember that the 9500 is designed for the corporate market and not the consumer market.  Corporate users want something stable that works, consumers want a cheap phone.  It also seems a bit like too little too late.  The Communicators have been stagnat for quite some time now.  I picked one up used from Craig’s List for $50 a few months ago.  I would have liked to see something with even a little less capability quite some time ago.  Why did it take so long?

    I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the now revitalized Communicator platform.  As long as the MIDP2.0 implementation is pretty good, I can see a lot of people making use of the platform.  At the same time, I hope that Nokia has a lot more up their sleeves.

  • 3GSM

    3GSM World Congress 2004 begins today.  I’ll be doing most of my coverage on Mobitopia.  I’ve already posted about the announcement of OPL for UIQ, and will probably have another article or two up later today.

  • Analog Life Hack

    I apologize for the lack of content this week.  I’ve been recovering from a cold/flu and have generally not been running at full steam.  I picked up a very small Daytimers organizer/planner last night.  I know that’s pathetic, given that we’re in the digital data age.  I’ve been carrying around digital organizers of one sort or another for years now.  I’ve carried pocket digital organizers, Palm III’s, Palm IIIxe’s, PocketPC devices and symbian phones.

    They’ve always been *so close* to being so completely and totally useful.  I’ve always found that when it gets down to the crunch, it’s easier to write a quick note on a scrap of paper rather than turn on the device, input data, file it appropriately, turn off device, etc.  I’m a Graffiti feind, and can probably input data about as fast as writing sloppily, with a fairly low error rate.

    The problem is that I’ve never managed to stick with a digital organization system.  It’s probably just my slacker nature, but it works for a few months and then I stop carrying digital device X with me everywhere I go.  My pockets aren’t that big, and I only have so many pairs of cargo pants.  The last time I used Palm Desktop it was okay but left a lot to be desired.  I don’t use Outlook for my email (run away screaming!), and only have it on my laptop.  It’s great for organization, I’ve just never been able to ‘get into it.’

    I’ve been carrying my satchel bag with me almost everywhere I go (home work school home work school home work school), so I’m hoping that a quick analog hack in my bag will keep me organized, prioritized, and less slacker-like.

    We’ll see how it goes.

  • EasyMoblog

    EasyMoblog is a moblogging and weblogging platform built on PHP.  It allows users to post to their weblog/moblog via Email (the classic solution).  It supports RSS and looks to have a simple and easy admin interface.  Check out the demo blog/moblog.  EasyMoblog is released under the GPL.

  • Webmonkey: We’ll Miss You

    Via the LSN Blog, Webmonkey is no more.  I’m not suprised, but I am sad to see such a great resource go.  At one point I was visiting the site daily, checking out the latest tips and linkage.

    Webmonkey: you will be missed.

  • WS-Discovery

    Via NewsForge, Integration Developer News reports on a new WS- spec: WS-Discovery.  The spec is designed to make web services work among both wired and wireless devices on a local network.

    When reading about WS-Discovery, I keep thinking of a similar technology that is already out there: Rendezvous/Zeroconf.  WS-Discovery seems like a very specialized solution that Rendezvous/Zeroconf may have already solved.  I’m sure that the way everything works is quite different, but on the surface it just “feels” the same.

    I’m quite excited about what WS-Discovery might be able to do for mobile and context-specific applications.  For example:

    mobile device: Hey!  I’m here!  What services are available to me?
    WS-Discovery server: there is local access to the following services: foo, bar, baz.
    mobile device: Sweet!  I know about baz.  I’m going to use it.  Thanks, WS-Discovery server! <cheezy grin>

    Update: after some poking around, I managed to find the WS-Discovery spec at MSDN.  I already have a headache from a cold/flu, so I’m not going to read it in detail right now.  It looks just about as complex and painful as any other WS- spec that has come down the road.

  • Cingular Wins AT&T Wireless: ATTular is born

    Via Phonescoop, Cingular nabs AT&T Wireless for $41 billion:

    Cingular Wireless LLC, a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) and BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), announced today an agreement to acquire AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE), creating the premier wireless carrier in the United States. Today, the combined company would have 46 million customers and one of the most advanced digital networks in the U.S., with spectrum in 49 states and coverage in 97 of the top 100 markets. The combined 2003 annual revenues of the two companies would have exceeded $32 billion.

    This really should be good news to everyone involved.  Cingular definitely seems committed to GSM technology, AT&T is the only one with EDGE nationwide.  With the combined capital and customer base, ATTular should be poised to take a jump at full-bore 3G as soon as it is an option.

    I am a little worried about how this is going to affect roaming agreements with my carrier, T-Mobile.  I know that in several markets (San Francisco in particular) Cingular and T-Mobile share a lot of towers and coverage.  I’m worried about some of these roaming deals may that ATTular has the clout to do what it wishes.

    It will also be interesting to see how the merger/takeover/purchase will affect phone and plan prices.  When my contract is up with T-Mobile, will it be worth switching over to them?  It would really take a lot to get me to switch over.  I’ve been nothing but impressed with T-Mobile since day 1.  Their customer support is quick and awesome, they don’t treat you like dirt at their retail stores (I’ve been treated very badly at Sprint stores and when asking questions at AT&T Wireless stores), and their coverage is good (but not perfect) and their billing is simple and consistent.

    Once everything is figured out, this new company is going to be a force to reckon with.