Monthly Archives: August, 2008

Adieu? Or Adeona?

What are the chances of getting your laptop back if it’s stolen? Pretty slim, probably. But you can at least improve the odds.

There are various utilities out there which, when installed on your machine, will call home from time to time. If somebody steals your machine and connects it to a network, you can then use information from these connections to help track it down.

I’ve created various home-brewed versions of these in the past but I guess a perfect utility would be:

  • not dependent on any one company
  • usable on multiple platforms
  • secure
  • open source
  • free

Ah! That would be Adeona you’d be wantin’, so it would.

More info here.

Quote of the day

If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

– anon


It’s fascinating to watch people discover new ways of using the iPhone/iTouch. The fun, I’m sure, is only just starting. It’s the first widely-deployed device that has a multi-touch interface. It’s the first mobile device with really good accelerometers in it. It’s the first thing you can drop easily into your pocket that has such a beautiful screen. It has good connectivity and location-based services. It’s really easy to install new applications. And, significantly, it’s the first to combine all of these with a sophisticated GUI and operating system.

Sometimes, though, it’s the simple things that can be the most useful. People have just started realising that you can make your phone into a fileserver on the local network, which means (a) you can transfer stuff to and from your phone without using iTunes if wanted, and (b) you can do it from any machine on the network, not just the one you normally sync with, and (c) you can also just ask your family or colleagues to drop files onto your phone. Do you remember how, in the old days, we would carry around memory sticks that had to be plugged in?

The application I’m playing with, DataCase, appears on your network as an AFP and FTP server, which means you can just open it in the Finder or in Windows, and, as an aside, it makes the contents available over HTTP. Yes, it’s a web server. And we’ve certainly only just started to imagine the full implications of carrying a web server in your pocket…

Quote of the day

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.

– Jack Handey

Joiku to the world

In the past (here and here) I’ve written about how I really wanted my 3G phone to operate as a mobile wifi basestation. I got excited when I discovered the early versions of JoikuSpot, and played with it, but it was very flaky.

Well, I’ve just JoikuSpot Premium is out, supports full connectivity and doesn’t depend on the web proxy that the ‘lite’ version used. I can now get 3G connectivity to my iTouch and my laptop at the same time. If you have one of the supported Nokia or Samsung phones, it’s well worth the €15.

Rock (and roll)

If your neighbours share your musical tastes, or are very distant, this might be just what you need:

Now, wouldn’t a little light Vivaldi add the finishing touch to that garden party you were planning? You can pretend that the string quartet are hiding behind the rockery…

Take the long way home

From our long drive to New York last week, a sight you don’t often see in the UK…

Note the bottom right-hand corner of the SatNav: “Turn in 242 miles”.

Oh, and it turned out really to be more of a lane-change.


There’s a nice demonstration of a ‘vanishing point’ as you come up the stairs in Apple’s 5th Avenue Store in New York.

Old Harry visits New York

Rose met Henry VIII (or at least, experienced what it might have been like!) in the Met. This is one of his suits of armour.

Monday is now upside down

For those not familiar with the finer points of operation of the British postbox, the little metal label just above the slot is changed by the postman on each visit, to indicate the day of the next collection. This one got inverted by mistake, making it appear as if our local service might be rather prompter than usual!

Postcard from New York

We weren’t the only people enjoying the Delacorte mechanical clock in Central Park last week…

The Apollo

I have very little interest in the Olympics – and strongly object to the hundreds of pounds of my taxes that will be wasted in 2012 – but I do get a regular report of recent events over the dinner table, and a thought occurred to me tonight….

I think there should be a unit of Olympic achievement for countries. We might call it the Apollo. Your Apollo score would be something like the number of medals won divided by the number of your athletes attending and by the population of your country and its GDP. You’d also want to subtract something for the proportion of your athletes who had tested positive on drugs tests in the past…

Rose says it’s more complicated than that, because so many athletes do not train in their own country; they get scholarships to US universities, so the GDP of their country is less relevant. And I think an athlete who gets medals in several different disciplines should score more than one who just gets the 100, 200 & 400m medals in the same thing.

So it’s far from trivial. The definition of the Apollo would need to be refined over time.

Still, it might make an interesting discussion in the pub. If you wanted a realistic measure of a country’s sporting achievement, how would you do it?

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser