Aaaaages ago, when the ‘pc on every desktop’ meme still had to be dreamed of and DOS wasn’t coded yet, a company named the Philco-Ford Corporation launched a pretty foreseeing prototype video of the technology they would see arrive in the homes of people. Philco-Ford was funny enough an aeronautical company, but the devices they’ve placed in the living room or in dad’s home office look a lot like the ones you’d see in the early Bond movies. Despite the age of the movie, things like online shopping, home surveillance, automated backups and online payments were already being discussed. The movie is estimated to be of 1967. Enjoy the flashback.
Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
A sysadmin unpacked the server for this website from its box, installed an operating system, patched it for security, made sure the power and air conditioning was working in the server room, monitored it for stability, set up the software, and kept backups in case anything went wrong. All to serve this webpage.
A sysadmin installed the routers, laid the cables, configured the networks, set up the firewalls, and watched and guided the traffic for each hop of the network that runs over copper, fiber optic glass, and even the air itself to bring the Internet to your computer. All to make sure the webpage found its way from the server to your computer. So, If you can read this, thank your sysadmin!
The Boondoggle agency claimed the Dutch alternative for this event for their client digibewust.nl, an initiative of the Dutch government and the companies to stimulate companies to maximize and realize their potential. Pretty cool idea. We should have SysAdminDay more often. So, check out the sites below, sign up your sysadmin and show him some love !
I promised a review for the Nokia N95, a device I’ve received through the TheseDays agency a while ago which I could keep for three weeks to test it and experience its options. I must say the mini-pc looks very cool and is very ok to take it with you everywhere you go. It weighs only 120 grams, which is not at all that much. I mostly used it as a camera to take pictures while I was in Las Vegas, and with its 5 MegaPixels it rendered 2592 x 1944 pixel images that really stood out to any pictures I’ve ever taken with my mobiles. The Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus made it possible to photograph items really sharp, even though they were hundreds of meters away.
The videos you shoot with it are of good quality and the sound of the things you record is too. With 30fps, it’s a nice experience to play back your adventures. I didn’t use the secondary CIF videocall camera because I didn’t quite know who to call :-)
Scanning for wireless networks, connecting to them and uploading goes very fast. I have nothing to say about that. Holding on to the network has proven to be a little more difficult, I had to reconnect at least once every 10 minutes when I was uploading pictures to Flickr. Once the connection is there, it’s almost as fast as broadband. I like this feature the most. It is, however, VERY battery-consuming.
A few downsides to the device though:
Even though it has up to 220 hours of stand-by time and up to 6.5 hours of calling time, I ran out of power quite a lot when I used the wi-fi feature to upload images to Flickr or to browse sites or make videos. I realize that for regular use this power supply is really good, but if you deliver a mobile multimedia pc and show off with its features, I think there needs to be some more power to it to cover all the fun. If you play some movies you’ve put on the little 1 Gigabyte memory card, you can see the battery power bar shrink almost in real time. That’s a bummer.
The mobile GPS works fine when you’re on foot and you could download maps for free from the website to cover more than 100 countries. The service becomes paid as soon as you want voice guidance added to the road descriptions of your travel route. Here’s something I don’t understand either. It takes a really long time to locate the 5 needed satellites when you’re in the middle of the city. You need to find an open spot to get a signal (took quite some time) and from then on it’s pretty smooth, but it’s only good when you’re on foot. I tried it on a bike and that was about as fast as the thing could go. For usage in a car, it simply is too inaccurate and sometimes it loses contact with the satellites, leaving you stranded and waiting for a signal to continue the quest. Then comes my question: why would you need voice guidance? If you go slow enough to read the map I don’t see a need/market for it, unless the receiver becomes stronger and the service improves.
I’m very satisfied about the speed of the browser and the fact it has RSS built in. It’s also remarkable that it’s not an ordinary WAP browser, but a full browser ‘as is’. It’s the same sort of browser you’d use on your regular pc. That’s pretty cool.
What I don’t like, or rather, what I miss, is the touch-screen functionality. I’ve been using the HTC TyTN (and still do) and it’s really a super thing that you can navigate with touch. Switching back to a device that needs confirmation keys and has keys that require multiple touch for a character or action is very challenging. I kept pressing the screen, expecting something to happen out of habbit. Sending text messages or answering email is far more time-consuming compared to when you have a sliding keyboard.
If Nokia was keen enough to have a slider in two ways, it would even be so much more cooler if there was a three-way slider or if the regular phone keyboard could be replaced with a small keyboard similar to the one you use on a pc. If they aim to be the leading mobile multimedia device, they need to let go of the old mobile phone functionality and approach pc users with an environment they are more familiar with.
Closing remarks are the items I already mentioned in my first review:
- Have the phone remember the location of the images, it saves about 4 clicks I think, per image (+ moving the cursor to the right link every time). The images are stored on a micro SD card, so navigating to that time and again… that’s just way too hard.
- Need more battery power, for real
- Have the phone remember password settings in the browser. If you have a strong password like $TR0ngPaSSw0rd!, typing it again and again every time your wireless connection drops… Awch
- Need more battery power, for real
Zappware is the first company (in Belgium) to use a game as a ‘red-button’ application for an interactive tv case. The interactive chapter is added to VT4’s Temptation Island and it’s in fact a strip poker game to keep people on the channel instead of zapping away during commercial breaks. Last year the iDTV company from Hasselt launched a romance test where the participants could find their own personalized ‘romantic profile’ at the end of the program. This year, they opted for a game to keep the digital viewer chained to the VT4 channel. A game with the same depth and profundity as the show: strip poker. Every Monday and Thursday night around 10.15 PM, during the commercial breaks of Temptation Island, you can play strip poker for free… 8 weeks in a row. When the show’s over you can still play again through VT4’s ‘DigiText’ section. Players get 30 (fictional) Euros to start with and once they’ve reached 100 Euros, Melissa (on Mondays) and Amina (on Thursdays) will start to strip. Every time you win you get to see a picture on which the two bachelorettes from Temptation island will wear fewer and fewer clothes. Every 100 Euros the player wins, a new pic is shown.
If you think it won’t work, you can guess again. About 5% of the digital viewers already tried to play during the first episode. Not bad if you keep in mind there hasn’t been any advertising for it (yet), apart from a mention on the digital ‘interactive landing page’. Reminds me of the good old days in 1995 where you could play strip-tetris on your 386 and all that. Totally pointless but hey, sex still sells. Even through digital tv games during a commercial break.
This has been around for about a year or so, but I never got to blog about it. Then today I accidentally stumbled upon a video from the project and I just wanted to add this to my archive, for keepers. I have a thing for virtual toys and projects. This particular one is from Anand Agarawala & Ravin Balakrishnan for the DGP (Dynamic Graphics Project) at the university of Toronto, Canada. The University of Toronto’s Dynamic Graphics Project (dgp) is an interdisciplinary research laboratory within the Department of Computer Science. The lab’s mission is advanced research and graduate instruction in human-computer interaction and computer graphics. DGP is home base to Computer Science faculty and students in these two areas.
I don’t think I can live with this sort of desktop, because I’m too attached to seeing a file name under an icon and to ‘folders’ where I can stash stuff in to. This BumpTop desktop, however, is quite a refreshing idea and I love where this is going. It would be great to have it as an optional feature in my current OS, but not really as a permanent environment to work in. That’s my two cents. Looks super smooth though.
When I first read the name, I was thinking about Bonzy Buddy or something alike. But when I checked it out, I was very impressed by what it does and how fast it does it. In their own words: “Twingly screensaver is visualizing the global blog activity in real time. Forget RSS readers where you see only what you’re interested in. With Twingly screensaver you get a 24/7 stream of all (viewer discretion advised) blog activity, straight to your screen.” – Yeah. Forget seeing only what you’re interested in. See all the rest you’re not interested in too (?) – No. Seriously. It’s for the effect. It has a better effect when you see ‘everything’. Otherwise the screensaver is kinda dead. Would be better as a stand-alone app though.
To use the screensaver you need a PC with Windows and a graphics card supporting OpenGL. Enable Asian language support in Windows, because we all know there’s lot of that stuff in the blogosphere.
Produced by PrimeLabs
The Hug Shirt is a Bluetooth accessory for Java enabled mobile phones. Hug shirts don’t have any assigned phone number, all the data goes from the sensors Bluetooth to your mobile phone and your mobile phone delivers the hug data to your friend’s phone and it is seamlessly transmitted Bluetooth to his or her shirt!
Sending hugs is as easy as sending an SMS and you will be able to send hugs while you are on the move, in the same way and to the same places you are able to make phone calls (Rome to Tokyo, New York to Paris).
The system is very simple: a Hug Shirt (Bluetooth with sensors and actuators), a Bluetooth java enabled mobile phone with the Hug Me java software running (it understands what the sensors are communicating), and on the other side another phone and another shirt. If you do not have a Hug Shirt but know that your friend has one you can still send them a hug creating it with the HugMe software and it will be delivered to your friend’s Hug Shirt!
The Hug Shirt is not meant to replace human contact, but to make you happy if you are away for business or other reasons and you miss your friends and loved ones! It also has some very interesting applications in the medical field with the elderly and children. And is fun to use and very soft!