Wednesday, December 12, 2007

how Google Maps for mobile with My Location works

Few weeks ago, Google has released a new version of Google Maps for mobile which incorporates a nifty feature - My Location (now in beta). Location services are no news to the mobile area where several vendors are competing to sell their solutions to operators, which in turn charge users for the service (if the customer's mobile phone supports location services, that is)

But, there's news for them: Google was able to avoid both the vendors and operators (as in no $$ for you) using an ingenious design. They've launched Google Maps for mobile late last year, tracked the cell towers power signals and map them on GPS coordinates (when provided by the end-user external GPS receiver) since then.

And what are they offering now? (based on the acquired data)
Approximate location for everyone not having an GPS receiver :-)

And the real (location services) killer app will be an open API to GMM My Location in order for the other/all mobile applications to be able to geo-locate and provide local services.

PS. I doubt Google put any disclaimer in their original GMM to inform their users that the application might/will send GPS coordinates and other (non-personal) data to Google servers. Yeah, Don't be Evil Google (way to go... NOT!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

is Nokia taking the heat?

Last week was spectacular for mobile phone fans. It started with an announcement from Google about their open development platform for mobile phones codenamed Android, when everyone was expecting an Google Phone :-) and it has ended with iPhone going on sale in UK and Germany. And I have to stress on sale due late sales reports from T-Mobile and (an unconfirmed one) from O2.

T-Mobile has sold over 10000 iPhones in Germany on the first day and O2 has seen over 8000 iPhone activations on the first day in UK. WOW! Let me repeat that for UK also: WOW! :-)

Very good numbers, still, they're about 6 times less (in units sold per capita) when compared with USA's first day of sales (estimated at about 200000 iPhone units). Numbers crunched with help from Wikipedia.

But how is this related to Google, err... Nokia? Remember the other big Blue from the North? They have a long run target of 40% market share penetration in mobile phones and this year, if you take their last quarter results of 39% they might be able to make it happen. Still...

The 4th quarter is the holiday season and this time is the 1st quarter when iPhone is selling in (about half of) Europe plus USA. Will Apple be able to make a dent in Nokia's market share? It will be worth waiting for the 4th quarter results (especially in the smart phone niche)

If Apple can't do it, Apple+Google will do it :-) Remember Android? It has Moto+LG+Samsung among the founding members, which accounts for about 35.7% in mobile phone market share. Well, that doesn't mean they'll produce Android powered mobile phones overnight plus Samsung is playing at both ends here, since they are part also of Symbian (Sony-Ericsson has no plans yet to join Android, they're too in bed with Nokia on the Symbian board), but this 35.7% has good denting potential.

Lets see...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

hdd divx player

Oops, I've been quite busy lately - but not that busy to spend some (quality? :-) time with one my favorite toys (see picture). It's an enclosure for an 2.5" PATA HDD (commonly found in laptops).

What's so special about it? It can slide show your pictures, play your audio files (mp3, ogg, etc), but most importantly it plays your divx AVIs :-) Output can be your computer CRT or analog TV.

It comes in a package that includes cables, screw driver, remote control and a small guide. Just mount your laptop HDD in there, plug it to your TV/CRT and start enjoying your media files.

- once USB is connected, you cannot use it for playing (it would have been a great feature to be able to feed/update content to this device via PC while still watching media files).
- HDDs must be partitioned in slices of maximum 30GB (FAT32 supported), PATA only!
- for about $43 (including shipping in my case :-) it gives you a great bang for your buck :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

(time) waste o meter

I bet your time is a precious thing, who's isn't? :-) but have you ever counted how much time you spend on the Net chatting with friends or browsing?

Willing to compare that against the time spent on the computer while producing something useful or even working? (yeah, your boss will love these stats :-)

Now you have the tool. You can define productivity percentages per running application and get amazed by the results. The application it's still in early stages, but the developer would be glad to hear from you, whether it's a bug or a feature request.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

about online payments

At some point in your Internet life you'll need to send or receive money, but what service should you use for that purpose?

Friends might steer you towards PayPal, which might (... not!) be an option, given their proven record of customer happiness and devotion. If (for some reason) you choose to stick with them: a) don't EVER link your bank account with them, b) pay attention to their (by default enabled) conversion rate (adds a 2.5% fee to your payments in another currency) - disable it and let your bank handle this - they're better at it, plus they'll do it for free, c) add your own piece of advice here.

If you're done with PayPal (which I hope you are by now :-), maybe MoneyBookers will catch your eye (1% or at most €0.5 for sending money, free for receiving, escrow option). Last, but not least - don't keep your money too long in these "online" accounts! The bank is always a safer bet :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 down (again) due to DDoS attack

One wise guy once said: don't keep all your eggs in the same basket! Well, I came to realize it at the beginning of this week when my (free) DNS hosting provider went down (in flames) due to several hours of DDoS attack on their servers. Few domains I'm hosting with them (including this one :-) took a bit of early holiday :-)

This seems to be the second (big) attack on their infrastructure, preceded by this one. Overall XName gives you an excellent (free) service all year around, but in order to be extra safe it's wise to have a tertiary DNS somewhere else... Just in case something bad happens again :-/

Update: about 66420 domains/sites were (? maybe not all) affected by the downtime.
Update2: since 10 October 2007 XName has tertiary DNS available to its customers :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

coming to shops nearby you

iPhone is almost here. Lets follow the iStorm as it crosses Europe:

+ O2 wins the contract for UK, iPhone sells for £269 (about €390) from Nov 9th 2007
+ T-Mobile bags it for Germany, iPhone sells for €399 from Nov 9th 2007
+ Orange was the front runner for France, iPhone sells for €399 from Nov 29th 2007

To be updated... (who's next in line? :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

one of the first

Yes!! Last month I got my certificate/gift as (Joost) One of The First (testers)

It was a nice package consisting of a black paper bag, a nice black t-shirt (logos pictured here), one page filled with stickers, an original music CD and a thank you letter from the Joost's Team.

All in all, a lovely package with special delivery.

PS. I noticed (when fetching the t-shirt from my collection in order to take the picture) that Joost is using the same t-shirt manufacturer as ThinkGeek (at first I wondered where the h*ll is my t-shirt, I saw only the neck-labels and there was no diff between the black t-shirts I own). Geeky, isn't it? :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

cheap new laptop

One of these days I was checking what's new in some HiFi e-shops from Germany. Look what I found: Linux powered laptop, brand new for €470!

That's a real bargain. Please see the specs from this link and act quickly if you want it... it's a clearance sale!

Update: item not anymore available!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

how to get (some) things for free

Well, first look for the TrialPay logo on the merchant site. Do they have one? Yep -- you're lucky, read on! Select your product(s) from merchant site then choose TrialPay as payment. They will ask you to select another product from their portfolio and they will give you for free the one(s) you choose from the merchant. The catch? Try to find a product from TrialPay portfolio which can be used at no cost, or can be trialled for free a certain period of time, then cancel the registration. You'll get your desired product for free. I got my Trillian Pro for free thanks to an subscription ;-)

PS. You might have to give your credit card details in the process... so, proceed with care :-)

Update: other software I recommend (via TrialPay): Outpost Firewall and AcdSee 9

Thursday, September 6, 2007

it's Apple time!

Wow, just found out that Apple lowers the price tag on iPhone 8G to $399 (from $599!); iPhone 4G no longer available (some details here). Hurray!!! Smartphone niche is getting hotter and hotter, watch out Nokia! (is it the beginning of a new era?!)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

is God listening?

No, it's the secret service! Seems that Romanian Secret Service (commonly known as SRI) bugs the major ISPs in the country (they might have started it several months - if not few years ago). Well, if you're reading this and you're based in that part of the world, take care! (and maybe start using skype when chatting with your buddies ;-)

Friday, August 31, 2007

tcp/ip connection to God

Every day you learn or hear new things and today was no exception. I've learned that some monasteries in Romania (if not all?!) have internet connection. Way to go bro and sis!

PS. Still wondering whether they have ipv4 or full blown ipv6 connectivity ;-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

1st post

I thought I will be keeping this blog empty for a long time (not much to share, ha? :-) but these days I got the funniest(?) email reply ever and I want to share it with you (anybody here?)

It started last month when I sent an inquiry to a shop that sounded like this:

Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007
From: Customer
To: e-shop
Subject: summer sale


I have noticed that you have a summer sale ongoing.
Could you please tell me what is the ending date for this sale?


And look what landed the other day in my inbox:
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007
From: e-shop
To: Customer

Dear Customer,

Thank You for your message.

The Summer Sale has ended.

Best Regards