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I hear a major American financial market data organisation is having big problems trying to recruit staff in London. The pay package sounds interesting and the company is one that would look good on the CV, until they tell you how many hours a week they expect (45 hours) and how little holiday you're going to get (15 days). I've heard tales of people laughing and walking straight out of interviews on being told this.

To put this in perspective a pretty typical UK job is around 37.5 hours a week with around 25 days holiday, assuming there's around 10 statutory holidays a year as well, that's 1687.5 hours per year. These chaps however wanted 2115 hours, and were they willing to pay the 25% extra for the 25% extra hours? Nope. That's just dumb, why alienate your workforce from the very first day they sign up? I can't imagine that a tired, pissed off workforce are very efficient.

[Thu, 29 Apr 2004 00:14] | [rants] | #

Jealous, moi? Nope!

A little bit of chasing around and I've found the right chap at Nokia to badger about getting access to their Python for series 60 phones. It looks like I've managed to get much the same deal as Russ, in that I've got to sign an NDA, I can't re-distribute the app to others and there's some things I can't talk about, but on the whole it's great. Ewan is also giving it a go and you should see some comments from us both about Python on AAS.

So I'm waiting for my (not very onerous) NDA to wing it's way off to Nokia - snail mail, how quaint. In the mean time I'd better Dive Into Python to brush up on my Pythonic skills.

[Tue, 27 Apr 2004 13:05] | [mobile] | #

Official: Jim is 'leet

CC logo CC Share logo

Or so Gustaf tells me, all because I emailed NTK a week or so back when Diego's splendid clevercactus share didn't get a mention in their round up of cunning P2P sharing applications.

I didn't think much more about it until this week's issue came out and there in this week's tracking section Diego gets a huge dollop of link love and I get a name drop, cool stuff!

[Tue, 27 Apr 2004 00:21] | [tech] | #

Fine Woodcuts or Great Hacks?

IRC Hacks book, front cover Congrats to the Jibbler - Paul Mutton - on his first O'Reilly book. IRC Hacks will be out in July and features some content from yours truly in chapter 14 on using IRC from mobile phones, although god only knows what havoc the American editor has unleashed on my English spellings and idioms...

It's great to see that he's got possibly the best ever front cover for a book in the Hacks series, the hacksaw is just perfect. As you'd expect from the author of PircBot there's plenty of IRC bot coverage in the book, but the rest of the book certainly doesn't look flimsy and there's lots of quality contributors; I certainly feel a little intimidated being called one of "of the world's most renowned IRC hackers"!

The sections I'm really looking forward to reading (other than all the bot sections) are those on enhancing clients, and providing alternative ways to access IRC.

[Mon, 26 Apr 2004 13:11] | [tech] | #

Jealous, moi? Yes!

So Russ gets an early look at Nokia's Python, I am seriously jealous and will be badgering him relentlessly over email, irc, im and even sms for info, whilst throwing crufty scraps of Python in his direction and asking "does this work?", "what happens when you run this?" etc. I'd love to be able to try my 25 line Wiki on the phone, maybe not for full-scale editing, but as a resource it would be superb, and the content would be easy to pass from phone to phone or PC as it's only a collection of text files.

From what I hear the only people outside Nokia who've had a serious play with Python so far are those on the Forum Nokia Pro service (which costs a not so cool € 3000 per year), and who are tied heavily down with NDAs, even so the rumours leaking from these chaps seem pretty positive.

This restrictive way of licensing and distributing Python initially seems very strange compared to the usual open source routes, although as the Python FAQ states:

You can do anything you want with the source, as long as you leave the copyrights in and display those copyrights in any documentation about Python that you produce. If you honor the copyright rules, it's OK to use Python for commercial use, to sell copies of Python in source or binary form (modified or unmodified), or to sell products that incorporate Python in some form.
So, this doesn't breach the Python license, and it does seem a little odd, but then again I'm far more familiar with the GPL and the LGPL (as used by OPL).

Personally I really hope that Nokia will release their Python source once they're happy with it as a basic product to allow it to flourish as an open source project. This would make it far easier for the series 60 port to keep track with mainstream Python releases and fixes, and also avoid wasting the opportunity for a series 60 handset to run the vast range of publicly available Python software.

[Fri, 23 Apr 2004 13:45] | [mobile] | #

Hot Abercrombie Hoax

I was wondering wtf the Hot Abercrombie Chick blog, a.k.a. Amanda Doerty was cropping up like a rash on Blogdex, in various referrer logs and comment spam, now I know (or think I do).

It seems that the Hot Abercrombie Chick blog is a hoax (more coverage on MeFi), I guess we're gonna see more of this sort of crap now that it's possible to make a few quid from blogging :-(

"Amanda Doerty" can join the cast in my War against Bullshit.

[Thu, 22 Apr 2004 13:06] | [rants] | #

Imitation is flattery?

Well they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Gizmodo weren't too impressed with someone stealing their thunder, and frankly the Mobitopians aren't at all impressed with Mobilopia. Is it stupidity? Bandwagon jumping? Crap marketing? Or is it just plain old slimy typo-squatting? Well, it's bloody close to the latter in my book.

Russ, Matt, Ewan, Matthew, Erik, and Frank aren't at all chuffed either, but at least we haven't called Mobilopia pig fuckers, yet...

Update: It seems that David and Martin are none too impressed either.

[Wed, 21 Apr 2004 22:55] | [rants] | #

Interesting London Events

A couple of interesting events happening in London in the next few months. First off a London bloggers get together on May 12th, details here and here, should be good for a beer or three and a chat with some interesting people - most of the English based Mobitopian's appear to be on the list.

Secondly, and maybe even more seriously NOTCON '04 is on Sunday June 6th, at Imperial College Union, London. As NTK says "Definitely NOT the Emerging Technology conference in the UK", yet another of Ewan's cunning projects, is there no end to this man's mischief?

[Mon, 19 Apr 2004 23:58] | [general] | #

Top man!

Ewan's posted an interview on All About N-Gage that he and I did with Ilkka Raiskinen of Nokia at the N-Gage QD launch.

He's a nice chap, enthusiastic about the product and about Nokia's adventures so far in the world of gaming. Plus he gets top marks from me for answering Ewan's evil questions without resorting to pre-prepared bullshit, and still being more than willing to pose for pictures sidetalking style with the N-Gage. Top man!

[Mon, 19 Apr 2004 23:38] | [mobile] | #

N-Gage QD

N-Gage QD

Ok, so I was wrong (my wife insists this has happened before), the only things I'd wished for that really arrived are the move to "classic" talking, the hotswap MMC, and size reduction. I was wrong on many other points, chiefly additional features and newer software. Nokia have really played the conservative card and in order to maintain maximum backwards compatibility have kept the core functionality almost identical to the original N-Gage, same OS version, same Java MIDP level, same screen colour depth etc. All About N-Gage has a run down on the specifications, an overview of what it's like to really use the device, and some lovely shiny pictures of the N-Gage QD.

Possibly my biggest mistake is the most significant although it may not seem it at first. I was calling the new device the N-Gage 2, implying it's a successor or replacement for the original N-Gage. The QD is nothing of the sort, like the 7610 Nokia have embraced the commodity market, and are starting to treat their phones almost like a car manufacturer creates and nurtures a range of car models and specifications.

With the two N-Gage phones you now get a choice, one being slightly bigger and better specified original N-Gage, and another that is the more cuddly and potentially cheaper QD. Like a car you get the chance to pick the one that meets your tastes and budget. The next logical model is the top of the range fully-loaded uber phone, for which I just can't wait!

As David Potter of Psion recently said:

"In a year's time, in any case, all phones will be, essentially, "smart" and it will be a marketing decision, not a technology issue, about how much of that smartness is visible to the user."
A year isn't far off, and the signs of commodisation are already loudly signalling the start of that process.

[Sat, 17 Apr 2004 00:02] | [mobile] | #

foaf:maker in xhtml

Great tip from Phil Wilson about using foaf:maker in the meta tags of a web page to indicate who created the document. As he says, combine this with FOAF autodiscovery and foaf:weblog in a Foaf file and this really completes the circle, nice stuff.

Phil's observation that Outlook feels like holding a turd rings pretty true here, maybe it's a mindset thing but Outlook just doesn't work out for me either. Then again I know of an internet security firm who insist on using it internally, which just strikes me as wrong, after all would you trust a bank who didn't use locks on their doors?

[Thu, 15 Apr 2004 19:02] | [Foaf] | #

N-Gage 2, more info? Less content?

The N-Gage catches up with the 9210

More pictures of what might be the N-Gage 2 have trickled out at FlashFly.net - planted? Perish the thought :-)

I've written a few more thoughts about the Taco2 over on Mobitopia, it appears that Nokia's trend of producing phones with just enough features to picque the interest, but not enough features to really satisfy continues. Dare I mention the phrase inadequate product range? No, probably not, I'll save that for the launch tomorrow...

[Tue, 13 Apr 2004 13:40] | [mobile] | #

N-Gage 2, Wishlist

possible N-Gage 2 pic

I'm off to what even Nokia are grudgingly admitting to being the N-Gage 2 press release on Wednesday, I'll be representing All About N-Gage along with Ewan Spence who's also carrying the flag for the new Gaming Headlines site. Live coverage should (GPRS willing) be taking place in the #mobitopia irc channel, unless the free lunch is too good to miss...

Ewan and I have had slight differences of opinion on what will be in the new version of the N-Gage, but not on anything substantial. The pictures seem to bear out some of the rumours, farewell to the Taco's infamous sidetalking, and hello to hotswap MMCs. The screen images hint at Nokia Series 60 version 2 software (as on the 6600, 6620, and 7610 with Symbian OS 7.0s), and maybe a camera, the overall looks are cuddlier and less aggressive, so far so good, looks like Nokia are playing it reasonably safe (but not going too bland like the 3660 and 6600). How do the improvements fit in with my N-Gage 2 wishlist?

Interesting times, I was a little underwhelmed at first sight of the N-Gage 2, but (if this is it) it's not unattractive and the softer lines go well with their newer devices.

[Sat, 10 Apr 2004 00:21] | [mobile] | #

Sinister stuff

The left handed piano - something one of my keyboard bashing colleagues discovered, he thought it was a jape, but it's actually real. Not only has this chap had a left handed piano specially made, but he also sells a midi device that changes notes as if the keyboard had been mirrored at middle D, i.e. you play the traditional C key and it changes the note on the midi stream to an E, B becomes F, and A becomes G.

Left handed guitars are weird enough to play for a right hooker, I can't even start to understand how someone can re-program their mind to switch to a left handed piano keyboard. Perhaps it's like switching from a UK QWERTY keyboard layout to a French AZERTY or German QWERTZ keyboard layout, which I can do seamlessly within minutes.

And why sinister? Well, you'll just have to find out.

[Wed, 07 Apr 2004 13:24] | [music] | #

Footy Tips

Another season of Aussie Rules has started and the regular tipping contest I have with my mate Steve in Melbourne is also underway, unfortunately I'm currently third and last (we have a virtual player who only tips based on the current ladder position, and he's beating me too). Also Real Footy now seem to want you to register to read their stories so it looks like I'll be going elsewhere for my news fixes; I don't register for news stories anywhere as a matter of a principle. They can find some other mugs to sell their ads to...

On the plus side, my team the Brisbane Lions are picking up where they left off and are already heading in the right direction to win their fourth successive grand final, although it's very early days yet. Another plus point is that Bet 365 now take Aussie Rules bets - I'm sure they didn't last year - I reckon this could be a profitable season!

[Tue, 06 Apr 2004 22:18] | [football] | #

pyblosxom 0.9.1 released

The best laid plans of mice and men...

Well, I was going to upgrade to pyblosxom 0.9 a week or so back, but I got busy and there were reports of a few minor bugs, so I held off and pyblosxom 0.9.1 released. I guess I've got no excuses now.

[Tue, 06 Apr 2004 13:32] | [blogging] | #

El Reg gets tarted up

The Register's logo

Nice job lads! The old Register design was ok in a retro no-nonsense sort of way, but the new design just looks far cleaner and more modern. It appears that they've added some nice structural changes too, the permalinks are now meaningful rather than being just a jumble of numbers, the page titles carry a hint about the current story - exceedingly useful when one has dozens of browser tabs (or browser windows for you IE victims) open - and they even claim "We're proud that The Register uses valid XHTML and CSS on its pages".

Now, who's next? There's plenty of news organisations with lamentable sites (and a few who still haven't learnt about feeds), it's great to see el Reg leading the way!

[Tue, 06 Apr 2004 13:07] | [general] | #

Taco as an MP3 player?

So Frank was thinking about getting an N-Gage again, not as his primary phone, but for Fifa 2004, IRC on the move, the FM radio and primarily as an MP3 player. Price wise it's quite competitive with flash memory based mp3 players, and offers plenty more too. He had a query on battery capabilities so I let mine have a good play to test things out. Sure my figures aren't necessarily conclusive, but I was quite impressed.

Over an 8.5 hour period, my battery went from fully charged to flat, but during this time I did the following with the phone:

Maybe that's not quite as durable a performance as an iPod, but it's certainly handy enough (if you'll pardon the pun) to be very usable.

[Mon, 05 Apr 2004 17:28] | [mobile] | #

Gmail, a spoof?

Well it sounds too good to be true - 1GB of webmail when the opposition are offering at most tens of Megabytes - and the timing of the announcement is rather startling to say the least. Also Erik as a beta tester? A chap they shafted with Google AdSense, does that sound likely to you?

Well maybe, just maybe, Gmail might be real. I suspect Erik's taking advantage of the fun and games and pulling people's legs a little with some faked screenshots. But, when you look at the details, it's feasible.

To be honest I can't see many reasons for Gmail to not happen, it gives Google more reasons to sell ads, and that seems to be their main focus these days.

[Fri, 02 Apr 2004 05:19] | [general] | #

Jim Hughes
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