Monthly Archives: March, 2007

Searching for the phone

It isn’t only Apple who are designing a new phone. According to The Register, Google have one coming too.

It makes a lot of sense – others will follow, I’m sure. There are many more phones sold each year than PCs, and you have more opportunities on that platform for branding, for promoting your services, charging for them, and locking customers into them. I’ve often found it useful to have Wikipedia and Google in my pocket, and for many people a phone which made that really easy could be attractive, especially when it might be subsidised by advertising, and tie in location-awareness, and…

Mmm. The PC is so 2006…

Have you convinced it yet?

Yesterday I came across this picture for the first time – it’s Tom Rabon interviewing me at last year’s FiRe conference.

Quentin and Tom

I quite liked it.

I showed it to Rose and she said “It looks like you’re talking to the plant! Perhaps that’s why Tom’s smiling?”

And now, of course, I can’t look at it without thinking of that.

Twitter contd

Perhaps the main reason for Twitter’s success, beyond the ‘search for acknowledgement‘ mentioned yesterday, is the fact that it’s so controversial. Alternately derided as the biggest timewaster since Big Brother and fêted as the next big communications medium, it’s managed to get a lot of press. This posting being a case in point.

Does it demonstrate that our attention spans have now fallen so far that composing and reading even blog posts is too much like hard work? Or is it significant because the world-changing technology of SMS has finally found a way to be the channel for user-generated content?

Ewan Spence has mixed feelings about it after SXSW.

One thing I do know – their servers seem to be very heavily loaded at present. Painfully slow.

A Nivo by any other name…

Samsung USB monitor

It’s now official – Samsung has announced their 940UX monitor, which has DisplayLink‘s technology inside, so can be connected to the computer by USB. News of this leaked a few weeks ago, but, contrary to the reports that spread across the web, this model does also have VGA and DVI connections. Here’s DisplayLink’s press release.

If you already have a monitor, but want to connect it using USB, you can get the technology in adaptor form from IOGear – you can find it from around $73. Sunix are about to follow suit with their VGA2625.

Disclaimer: I’m no longer a director or employee of DisplayLink, but I am still a minor shareholder. And proud of it.

Phone connections

If you have a phone which isn’t supported directly by Apple’s iSync, it may be supported by the extra plugins available for a few Euros from Nova media.

I’ve been using their Nokia E61 plugin for a while now, but I’ve just discovered they do Address Book plugins too, which enable the SMS-sending and other functionality. Good stuff.

No connection – just a happy customer


Your Status-Q quote for the day comes from Norman Lewis’s eTel talk:

The search for acknowledgement is the key to most online activity.

Yesterday I signed up for a Twitter account, to see what all the fuss was about. I was more interested in it as a social phenomenon than because I actually wanted to use it. Which probably indicates that I’m getting old.

For those who don’t know it, Twitter is all the rage amongst the youth of today. You can type out a few words saying what you’re currently doing, and anyone interested in watching can keep up to date with your exciting life. Twitter is to instant messaging what blogging is to email; it’s chiefly a broadcasting mechanism rather than a conversation. This is very convenient for the youth of today, who would otherwise need to send the same updates to their 15 simultaneous IM conversations.

You can send Twitter updates using your mobile, via the web, using an IM client, or a dedicated application, and you can keep track of your friends in a variety of ways including via RSS.

To clarify things, here’s the ‘History of blogging’:

History of blogging

(Many thanks to Dave Briggs, who found this on Mashable.)

Springtime continued

My commute to work is a short walk, past hedgerows like this. I’m a lucky guy.


I spy with my little wifi…

Got interference on your wifi? This looks like a cool toy:

Call me

Quote of the day comes from Stephen Uhler of Sun, who, in his talk at eTel, said:

Cellphones have reduced peoples’ expectation of the phone system to the point where VoIP is now viable.

He’s quite right – it wasn’t that long ago that you would have been very surprised, upset even, if a phone call were just to hang up unexpectedly…

Now, as a friend and I once discussed, there’s a problem. We need a new social convention. When the line drops, who should re-initiate the call? The person who made the call in the first place? The person with the cheapest outgoing charges?

We decided that it was probably the person who was on the move, assuming at least one party was mobile. Because they’re the ones who will know when they’re back in a good coverage area.

Of course, we also realised that in an ideal world the service provider, or the phone, would do this for you.

“Press 1 to have the call reconnect automatically when possible…”

Lonely as a cloud?

Ha! John and I managed simultaneously to post pictures of daffodils yesterday. But if you’d been walking around Cambridge with a camera, you would have done so too, I promise!


Extremes of colour everywhere…

Leaves and daffodils

Make some space on your lap

Hard disk space can be a problem for those of us who depend on laptops for our day-to-day life. It’s now easy and relatively cheap to install a terabyte in a desktop machine, but my Macbook Pro has a 100G disk and I seldom have more than about 2G free. I only achieve that by shuffling stuff onto a portable Firewire drive. And now I have a camera that shoots RAW images I’ll need to reorganise things again!

Slowly, however, the capacities of laptop drives are increasing. Hitachi now have a 200GB drive and people have successfully installed it in a MBP.

But I can’t help feeling that I’m going to have to start basing my life on desktop machines soon and use my laptop as a cache of the bits I need to be portable…

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser