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[Nigeria]Nigerian glossary


New toy

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 20:08

I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present, a SonyEricsson Bluetooth-controlled car:
Picture of a small, green and white toy car plugged into a mobile phone

In the picture you can see it plugged into my phone to charge. There’s no need for (yet another) charger because it sucks power from the same phone you use to steer it. The red light indicates that it’s charging and status messages pop up on the phone’s display.

It’s utterly frivolous and stupid but it has cheered me up no end after being miserable with a cold all week. The cat doesn’t seem to know what to make of it but spent a happy ten minutes chasing it around the kitchen floor.


Ericsson T610

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 17:57

It’s that time of the year again, when I was wandering past the Orange shop in Cambridge last weekend I realised my year was up and I could upgrade my phone.

The new phone had to have Bluetooth, IrDA and GPRS. That narrowed the selection down quite a bit and I ended up trading in my old T39m for a shiny new Ericsson T610.

A week later I’ve had a play with most of the phone’s features and I’m pretty pleased with it.


Cautious roll-out for phone boxes in Bhutan

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 09:07

[via The Register] An article about the introduction of automated phone boxes in Bhutan.

As a solution to the worries about loss of jobs among telephone operators in Bhutan we could suggest that BT (that’s British Telecom, not the other one) outsource more of their operator services.


Digital Radio

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 14:27

I thought digital radio was doing badly here in the UK, sets are expensive and people are being very slow to change over. In the USA things seem to be even worse, according to this article in the NewScientist their system has been judged too poor for broadcast use.

After a quick look on Google I turned up some tests carried out by Canada’s CBC, they don’t seem too keen on IBOC quality either.

One thing that really puzzled me while driving around the States was the lack of RDS, which meant constantly having to manually retune and not getting station names displayed. Is American radio just generally neglected and technologically backward or did I just pick up a bad impression of it?


Mobile phone standards

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 10:42

This morning I found this article, written by a former Qualcomm employee about the struggle between GSM and Qualcomm’s IS-95 CDMA system.

Quite apart from the fact that he really doesn’t seem to know much about GSM technology (GPRS doesn’t require a separate carrier, bandwidth can be dynamically reallocated for data), it seems to be the usual American rant about how CDMA is technically superior.

This is true, CDMA makes more effective use of available bandwidth. That’s why both the European and American variants of 3G use CDMA. But that’s not the point. The reason GSM has been successful is that the phone manufacturers and networks have generally provided the public with what they want.

Very few people care if their phone uses some amazingly advanced technology, as long as they can make calls, send text messages and download horrible ringtones. None of the American networks (GSM or IS-95) had even managed to negotiate sending text messages between themselves until fairly recently. It’s the services, stupid!

Qualcomm’s monopoly on IS-95 chipset pushes up prices, the small market for IS-95 phones means that they get whizzy new features later than GSM or not at all.

OK, CDMA2000-1x may be a lot faster than GPRS, but I can read my email on my phone while relaxing in the Spanish Pyrenees or hurtling around the streets of Rome. If my phone breaks I can take out the SIM and put it in another phone without having to change numbers.

So, GSM isn’t perfect (try reading any of the standards documents!) but at least it’s better than a single-company monoculture.

Disclaimer: Of course, you realised that when I talked about reading email while hurtling around the streets of Rome I didn’t mean reading email while actually driving, didn’t you? That would be stupid.


Testing Kablog

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 20:06

I’m testing another tool that should let me post via GPRS and my PDA.

[Update] It works! By the way, the tool is Kablog.


Linux on my laptop, easy!

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 16:13

I’ve been battling with trying to get a working Linux setup on my laptop for quite a while now. It’s an HP, with one of the usual wacky laptop graphics chipsets, a weirdo soft-modem and the processor is only a K6 at 466MHz.

My first attempt was to install Gentoo, so the laptop setup would be the same as my desktop PC. With Gentoo you build everything from source, which takes forever on such an elderly machine. I also hit problems with some bits of KDE which would almost finish compiling then fail.

I lost patience with making Gentoo work on the laptop and tried doing a network install of Debian. The first attempt failed when I discovered that the boot CD didn’t support PCMCIA, which makes using my network card tricky. The second attempt failed because I couldn’t be bothered with the amount of time it was taking to install.

Fortunately I’ve got a Knoppix CD lying around, this is a pretty full-featured Debian system that runs from the CD. After a bit of poking about on Knoppix sites I discovered instructions describing how to install it on your hard disk.

The hardware auto-detection was flawless, the installation only took about 20 minutes and I now have a working system complete with OpenOffice, KDE and loads of other software.

Now I just have to remember how to use Debian’s package management stuff again…


New MP3 player firmware

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 22:03

The Rockbox project has released a new version of their open source firmware for the Archos Jukebox portable MP3 players. It’s pretty good, some extra features as well as being more stable than the original firmware.

I also installed EasyTAG to tidy up the filenames and ID3 tags of my MP3 files.

To make things even better Opera have release version 7.10 for Linux, so I can use the same browser at work and at home.


Posting via GPRS

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 11:28

I’m trying out another web browser on my PDA, to see if it actually works for sites I use.


Old games on my PDA

Filed under: tech — kevin @ 09:16

Now I can play my favourite old Spectrum games on my PDA (a Sony Clié T625) withZX-Pilot. Ahh, nostalgia!

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