Feet up!

2005-08-30 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Wed, 31 Aug 2005 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

2005-08-26 links

[Sat, 27 Aug 2005 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

2005-08-25 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Fri, 26 Aug 2005 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

Band of the week: Hoof

Hoof This week’s band are Swedish classic rockers Hoof. With hints of Deep Purple, Hendrix and a significant nod in the direction of the funky Paice, Ashton and Lord, Hoof are original and they’ve got a bundle of great tracks available for download on their website.

I’ll start with the oldest set of tracks, So Long. The slowest set of tracks, melodic, and almost Doors like (I’m a big Hammond organ fan), these three tracks from 2002 featured an early lineup of the band, the full history of the band being available on their excellent website. My favourite of this set being And You Are There the third track.

Bringing the band up to date are two sets of tracks from 2004, the Been on a Show “album” is more fluid and punchy than their earlier tracks, Child of a Vicious Mind and The Colours wouldn’t have been out of place on Deep Purple In Rock or Fireball (without the air conditioning noises). The third track, Too Tired is pure PAL, and the fourth and fifth tracks are funkier and slow the pace down whilst adding a little variety, my favourite of the bunch are And The Colours, and The Media Club with its superb lyrics.

There’s also a third set of songs – Live In Replokal. These won’t win any awards for musical fidelity being unmixed and merely recorded on a single stereo microphone at Hoof’s rehearsal studios, but they prove that Hoof can actually play and are a tight and together band, rather than the product of some painstaking studio work piecing together samples.

Hoof are smart guys, they’re the only TPN Rock featured band I’ve seen so far using Last.fm to promote their music, surely this is an obvious route for small bands to get their music heard?

So, in summary, great band, superb tunes, stylish website, the only downside being they don’t seem to gig very often. Next time they play in Stockholm I’m very tempted to grab a cheap flight and beg some floor space from Gustaf for the night (in exchange for a few beers, natch).

Yet another top band, it’s going to be tough finding something for next week, or is it?

[Thu, 25 Aug 2005 21:49] | [music/band-of-the-week] | #

Google Talks, or at least Jabbers

Google Talk on PsiNice to see Google’s much vaunted IM solution finally break cover as Google Talk, and under the covers their IM is a Jabber / XMPP solution. The only real shame so far is the odd slightly odd setup of the whole thing.

For instance, as Mark notes the JID is of the form user@gmail.com and the server is talk.google.com – most other Jabber servers use the same addresses for both i.e. user@example.com on example.com – still this isn’t a show stopper for many Jabber clients, and Google provide details for using these, or you could of course use Google’s own client if you’re on Windows.

Google Talk Setup on PsiI found the supplied details for Psi didn’t actually work, to get it working I had use SSL encryption and allow plain text logins on port 5223 rather than the suggested port 5222 (thanks Pedro), the revised details (as shown in the dialog box on the left) being as follows:

The other odd things are Google’s insistance on a restricted federation approach rather than the conventional open Jabber server-to-server communication, SPIM (Instant messaging’s version of SPAM) is not a problem on Jabber for architectural reasons, so retricting Google Talk users to a walled garden seems rather lame and a complete contradiction of their stated aims of service choice. Maybe this will change, I certainly hope so. The only folks in my Google Talk roster are also in my far larger Jabber roster, guess which I’ll use out of choice…

Btw, I’ve noticed that my publicised JID is a little out of date, my primary JID these days is jimh(at)jabber.org.uk and I’ll be using TacoJim(at)gmail.com for testing for a while, feel free to ping me is I'm marked as available.

[Wed, 24 Aug 2005 22:33] | [jabber] | #

2005-08-23 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Wed, 24 Aug 2005 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

6680 is old hat?

Nokia N70 I’m hearing rumours that the Nokia N70 will be hitting the shops shortly, Vodafone UK are announcing it on their coming soon page as being available in September, and O2 are reporting October. Based on this I think we can look at seeing the 6680 becoming dirt cheap by Christmas time, and rapidly taking over Charlie’s mantle as one of the top selling Series 60 phones.

It seems a little odd to have a 4 month old phone that’s old hat, but maybe that’s the pace of progress…

[Tue, 23 Aug 2005 21:45] | [mobile/Nokia6680] | #

Samsung, the Series 60 enigma

Way back in the mists of Series 60 time when the only realistic phone choices were the Nokia 7650, 3650 and the Siemens SX1, Samsung announced their first Symbian Series 60 phone, the SGH-D700. It was the first Series 60 flip-phone, and looked pretty interesting, but for one reason or another it never shipped and the world moved on.

Samsung then announced another Series 60 phone the Samsung SGH-D710, again it was innovative, being a slider rather like the much loved but aged Nokia 7650. As before, it looked pretty interesting, but for one reason or another it never shipped and the world moved on.

Lo and behold, Samsung then announced a third Series 60 phone the Samsung SGH-D720, which being on the face of it a revamped D710 looked pretty interesting... Do you spot a theme here?

A year or so after the first news of the D720 appeared the Samsung SGH-D730 has been announced, this time it's getting some column inches and apparantly it will be available in Germany very soon. I suspect it will be on the Vodafone network first as they seem to have the biggest take-up of non-Nokia Series 60 phones, having already offered the Sendo X and Panasonic X700 to their customers.

Fourth time lucky? Who knows? It doesn't appear to offer much more than the say the X700 or Nokia 7610, both of which are getting long in the tooth. Still it looks pretty interesting...

[Mon, 22 Aug 2005 22:01] | [mobile] | #

Band of the week: Arthur Vance

Can I solo artist be "band" of the week, sure, it's my category, what I say goes!

Just to muddy the water further, Arthur's actually more of a song writer than a full-on rock star, and he didn't even play on Cool Creek his most famous track to date, but with a tune this good that really doesn't bother me, and it's an admirable bit of ego-control by Arthur. Cool Creek appeared on TPN Rock 15 and can be downloaded (alomg with 9 other cracking tracks) from Arthur's weblog, personally I'm really looking forward to hearing the other 11 tracks recorded by the guys.

[Thu, 18 Aug 2005 22:48] | [music/band-of-the-week] | #

Clipboard, fun, games, and magic

Interesting post by Gustaf bemoaning the fact that he can't seem to find an easy way to implement a very useful clipboard manipulation process in Windows.

The basic user action is simple, select some text, copy, run the manipulator, paste. In this case Aristotle was using to hook markdown (and smartypants) into the process of entering text in the the browser, but you could just as easily use any text manipulation tool. It's a great trick, rather like Roberto de Almeida's Textile favelet but even more generic.

Anyway, cutting to the chase, this is possible in Windows, you just need the right tools to get and put stuff from the clipboard. Enter UnxUtils, this is a port of many GNU utilities to Windows (without the hassles of Cygwin), and tucked away in this mass of useful tools are pclip.exe and glip.exe - pclip puts the clipboard onto stdout, and gclip gets stdout into the clipboard. There's even a one line example of how to use sed with these to do some string replacement, like so:

pclip | sed "s/string1/string2/g" | gclip

The markdown example sounded interesting to me, so I've implemented it to use PyTextile. Being Windows there's always gotchas, but it's not that complicated.

First off PyTextile won't read/write from stin/stout by default, so I wrote a one-liner in Python to grab stdin, stuff it into textile and print the output to stdout, I'm calling this PipeTextile.py, and it's as below:

import textile, sys
print textile.textile( ''.join( sys.stdin.readlines() ) )

Then I also needed a batch file to avoid having to type a long command line every time I want to run this process, I've put a shortcut to this on my taskbar, so the whole process is as quick as select, copy, click shortcut, paste. I've called the batch file TextileIt.cmd, and it's as below:

pclip | python PipeTextile.py | gclip

The only gotcha here is having to run the python interpreter explicitly because the windows shell is too stupid to run it implicitly. And that's it, problem solved, now I just need to brush up on my Textile syntax!

[Thu, 18 Aug 2005 08:47] | [tech] | #


I've spotted a couple of interesting C++ projects being run under the Apache Software Foundation's banner. Log4cxx and stdcxx.

The stdcxx project is based on Rogue Wave Software's implementation of the C++ Standard Library, which was donated to the Apache Software Foundation earlier this Summer and is currently being incubated in the Apache Incubator. Having used Rogue Wave's non-standard library tools in the past I've got mixed feelings about this, but having another good implementation of the C++ Standard Library as open source should help all C++ developers.

Log4cxx is C++ port of the ubiquitous Log4j project. Love it or hate it, good easy-to-use logging can be a life saver for a developer. If you haven't already got a good, generic, and most importantly sane in-house logging library Log4cxx is worth a good look. It's also worth a look if you've got an existing system, after all like the Boost libraries why waste your time re-inventing the wheel when good, efficient, proven code already exists?

[Tue, 16 Aug 2005 20:52] | [dev/cpp] | #

London, Kentucky? What?!!

More evidence of Ben's missing clause today. First off, the FEEDSTER Top 500 "a ranking of the most interesting and important blogs in the US". Ok, they are using the clause, except they really don't appear to understand it. A casual perusal of the list spits out an historical London diarist, a Japanese VC, an English BBC technologist, a Surrey based Podcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation's Backstage project, and a plethora of Canadian sites. Surely some mistake?

And then the clause twists around and bites itself on the arse again from the other side. Amazon's A9 search project does a little more Google-aping with the beta release of their A9 Maps project, I assume they attempt to do a little IP sleuthing when the site starts up, because it tries to open the initial map based on where it thinks you are. The trouble is that this sleuthing is on the stupid side of broken, opening the site from a London, UK based computer returns a map centred on London, Kentucky!

Nice work lads, if you work for A9 here's a couple of hints. London, UK: Population 7.4 million 20th biggest City in the world, bigger than every US city other than the septic sprawl of New York City. London, KY: Population 5.4 thousand, small enough to be considered a village in the real world, a tenth of the size of the small town I live in, barely big enough to appear on the map. Which one would you choose if someone said "I'm in London"?

Maybe these people think that Paris, Texas is the haute couture capital of the world...

Update: Thanks to Scott (Johnson) and Scott (Rafer) of Feedster for pointing out that the "US" terminology was merely a mistake, what they really meant was the list was mainly Anglophone. As an Englishman I could happily say it was an English list and the ambiguity of whether I meant English language or English nationality would cover my arse, there's no similar fudge room for the Feedster guys. Thanks for the comments guys, if anyone has comments on the Feedster 500, the feedback paths suggested by Scott Rafer are the best route.

Rui's spotted some A9 maps oddities too, let's hope they fix it soon.

[Tue, 16 Aug 2005 20:49] | [general] | #

Python Quickies...

Here's a few nice Python quickies, I know I could have used del.icio.us to tag them and dump them here, but I wanted to add some more comments than del.icio.us really allows, so they're here instead.

First off, the invaluable Python Grimoire a vital resource for someone like me, someone who writes Python too infrequently and sporadically and hence forgets some of the syntax and the best Pythonic ways to do routine tasks. Rui's been maintaining it for a while, but he's now relaunched it in TiddlyWiki format, this is a great way to read and browse the grimoire, I love it!

Also a couple of nice things from Matt's PyS60 wiki page, the Series60 tagged items from Code Snippets and Simon Judge's Python freeware, three handy little PyS60 apps - where's the source Simon? :-)

I've really got to sit down and tinker with PyS60 again, roll on the 26 hour day and the 9 day week...

[Mon, 15 Aug 2005 23:12] | [dev/python] | #

The Smartphone Show 2005

Tarek has started a page on the wiki to cover the Smartphone Show 2005 at London's Excel Centre Oct 11th and 12th this year.

The initial purpose of the wiki page is to have a central point (other than the official site) to collate resources and links about the show. If you're thinking of going to the show then let us know by adding your details.

If the show's name is unfamiliar, then think of this as the annual Symbian Exposium with bells on. All the usual stuff, new phones, interesting software, fascinating people and - last but not least - the All About Symbian pub meet. They gave away a brand spanking new Nokia 9500 at last year's pub meet, how can they top that?

Who knows, this may be the year when the infamous UIQ3 finally breaks cover!

Update: More coverage from the inimitable Darla (OMG) Mack and Tarek himself - welcome back matey!

[Fri, 12 Aug 2005 13:22] | [mobile] | #

Band of the week: The Supersonics

Supersonics logo So here's part 1 of an irregular "band of the week" slot on Feet up. Funnily enough most of my choices will be pretty similar to the criteria for inclusion on Ewan's TPN Rock podcast, the band have to fit one or more of the three U's: Under-appreciated, unsigned, and unknown. To which I'll add one proviso; if the band doesn't have at least 2-3 downloadable mp3's I'll probably not mention them, after all, how can I recommend someone you can't listen to?

I'm going to start the series with a great Danish rock band, the Supersonics, they've featured on TPN Rock a couple of times now, first on show 13, and just last week on show 20, with the very appropriately timed Apollo 13 - for those of you with heads in the sand, Nasa were having yet another potential space disaster at the time the podcast aired...

Good stuff, I'd love to catch these guys live, good all-around listening, not too heavy or dull and pretty varied to boot.

[Thu, 11 Aug 2005 01:09] | [music/band-of-the-week] | #

2005-08-09 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Wed, 10 Aug 2005 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

The Phone Formerly Known As Cho?

The plot thickens...

According to a couple of my commenters, the Nokia 6680 was not called Cho during its development, one suggests that the Nokia 6681 was called Cho based on this manga series, whilst the 6680 was called Milla (based on the Finnish name for Magica De Spell - Milla Magia) and the 6682 was called Ginny (yet another manga character). However Nokia employee merely Antony Pranata refutes that the 6680 was called Cho and also apparantly airbrushes any mentions of Cho from the 6680's Wikipedia page. Maybe airbrushing is putting it too harshly, but still it's a little strange.

Odd stuff indeed, I've decided to call my 6680 Eric.

[Tue, 09 Aug 2005 14:15] | [mobile/Nokia6680] | #

From Charlie to Cho

The Nokia 6630 is widely known as Charlie which was its codename during development; it's a great name, memorable, cheeky and with risqué conotations.

I'd been wondering what the Nokia 6680's codename was, no-one I knew at Nokia had been letting on, and even the Finns I knew with close Nokia ties didn't know, now thanks to wikipedia I know; it's Cho, a weird name, it doesn't seem to mean anything in Finnish and the only interesting thing I can find from Google is Notorious Cho: the movie, surely this can't be the source of the name, can it?

Personally, I think some of Wikipedia's Cho definitions are more likely, a Myst character? The Japanese word for even numbers? Or perhaps an old Japanese measurement? Who knows? Cho's quite an enigma.

[Sun, 07 Aug 2005 11:40] | [mobile/Nokia6680] | #

2005-08-05 links

Taken from Jim’s del.icio.us links

[Sat, 06 Aug 2005 06:30] | [linkblog] | #

Pimp my phone!

Brando Silicone cases for the 6680It all started when I went to look for a Brando Screen Protector for my 6680.

Not only did they have screen protectors, they also had these cute iPod-like silicon cases, these colourful replacement covers and much much more.

This could turn into a blinging bad taste experience all too quickly...

[Thu, 04 Aug 2005 07:12] | [mobile/Nokia6680] | #

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