igmus logo

www.igmus.org : jeremiahcode : archive : gear :


:: Segway Torpidity ::

segway and social harmony: And in the past few days, I?ve noticed a certain aimlessness about myself. Usually when I close my eyes and introspect, I feel an urge to move on to the next thing, to do something new, to finish all the work I have begun. But now I feel nothing. Just a large emptyness inside, no particular desire to do anything. So I ride the Segway, and fight over riding the Segway.

For some reason, I love this notion that balance -- something only absent during a forgettable and brief portion of life -- is core to all other layered senses, such that leaving it by (even temporarily) makes the brain question motivation, incentive, curiosity, intellectual inertia.

That this ultimate amenity will work below the level of banal, psychological sloth, convenience-bred -- it will disrupt basic feedback loops to human operation.

Link | 28 December 2002 | in Ether, Gear | Comments (0)

:: Segway Diary ::

Phillip Torrone's Segway Diary is a fun, if editorially challenged, account of an Amazon-Segway contest winner. The prize: factory sights, training, shipment earlier than others, and the coup de grace: a tour of Dean Kamen's gadget-filled home.

Check out the applications.

Link | 15 December 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

:: Vonage :: Curious how hackable your network becomes with Vonage hooked up.

Anyone know?

Nick seems to like it.

Link | 13 November 2002 | in Gear | Comments (1)

:: Manhandling Hiptop ::

The launch of Danger's Hiptop (currently sold only as T-Mobile's Sidekick) has been anticlimactic. Reports of manufacturing defects, mediocre site compatibility and delays of the most-important developer suite have attenuated enthusiasm. Further, rumors question the general availability of said SDK, or whether it will shepherd a cost barrier. All can be fixed, but my lust has drifted.

New favorite vapor device: Sharp Zaurus, GPRS unlayered and a ThinkOutside keyboard to pen airplane missives.

"Yes, stewardess, I know my bag of batteries won't fit under the seat. But I need them. Desperately need them."

However, this isn't on the drawing board. Zaurus' successor will improve ergonomics, but not attack high cost and always-on wireless. Other brands remain distant to its outstanding hacker capabilities.

As I've said before, server-side is the exciting bit of Danger's danger. Still we wait to see if they will befriend and beguile.

Link | 04 October 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

:: Enter the Hiptop, yo ::

Danger has built a sweet Java-based server architecture for managing always-on 3G handheld devices. What you carry around is a cache (8MB in the case of the Hiptop -- add water and GSM SIMM card) of data stored back at the ranch, in turn a cache for the net. Desktop data is sync'd round thru the server, as God intended. The instant data portability common to GSM phones (your SIMM card mobilizes your persona) is now available in much larger dimensions.

Dispensing with WAP, arbitrary HTML 4.0 sites can be browsed directly, modulo image downsizing. The Hiptop is considered a "reference design", but that's marketing understatement to sell the server components to service providers: it's a singular device. Reviews (e.g. WSJ personal tech) of the built-in apps claim immaturity -- something I'm sure will be remedied in 12 mos; these guys are smart.

T-Mobile (VoiceStream Internet) is a first provider. $200 post-rebate for the handheld, $40/mo gets you GPRS data, 200 daytime voice, 1000 weekend. WSJ claims this is unlimited data. Prior to release of the Hiptop, VoiceStream seems to say otherwise. We'll see.

Check the January Stanford EE talk for technical background.

Goes live in October.

Update: Several outlets (internetnews, extremetech, pcmag) report October is yet another delayed launchpoint for Danger. A shame, functionality was impressive in January. On the plus side, these reports confirm the rumor of unmetered data pricing -- yet to be substantiated by VoiceStream/T-Mobile itself.

Update: ZDNet review.

Link | 13 August 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

:: Further reading on this article ::

:: VoIPs offered again ::

Creative's VoIP Blaster offered again as a refurbished $30 model. No doubt a supply from the attic; get 'em while you can.

I'm stunned by how fast the Perfect Store can react. These were moving at $200, as the Slashdot story crested and Creative emptied their original, unwelcome inventory.

Update: Once again, stock quickly depleted. Over.

Link | 13 August 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

:: Further reading on this article ::

:: VoIP Blaster Roundup ::

VoIP is dead, long live VoIP

To close out my coverage (see one & two) -- such as it is -- of Creative's VoIP Blaster, what follows is the last bit of info.

Creative's product page is still live, but no orders are possible, having depleted their stock just as news of the Blaster broke to the Slashdot crowd. Rumored here, InnoMedia has no plans to build or OEM the units again. All quite mysterious. At the moment, they prefer direct consumer sales of their PCI product. Blaster units are still available on Ebay.

Digium's Wildcard X100P might be similar to InnoMedia's PCI board, but it's principle aim is to take wall signal for virtual PBX use. And another intriguing alternative to the USB Blaster: Vipo USB VoIP Device.

Notes on use

The product has worked reliably for several months, I speak with fellow propeller heads around the country 5-10 hrs/week, saving roughly $170/mo.

The problems. Signaling is inconsistent re phones. DTMF works on some, but not others. Sending & receiving volume is quite different for each phone, requiring constant adjustment for listeners as separate callers are taken. As noted before, it's unfortunate audio is decoded on the hardware, as this prevents easy conferencing. Several times I've had to shutdown/disconnect/reconnect the physical device to eliminate insane behavior, but this could just as well be Fobbit's driver -- I can't debug easily on Windows.

Lost opportunity

Presumably, InnoMedia's InnoSphere network for PC-to-Phone calls (at rates discounted vs common long-distance carriers) failed to make money, where most of the users were using the product strictly for convenient PC-to-PC communications. Seemingly, no amount of interest from the community could make them see this alternate market: sell great, unadorned hardware while maintaining close ties to open source hackers.

I and others were jazzed to help the original, third-party driver/software author create the last word in VoIP communications, but our hearts went cold with news of discontinuation. A SourceForge site was set up in the aftermath, but miseried discussion has been the only work product.

Link | 26 July 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

:: Further reading on this article ::

:: Slashdotted three times! ::

After testing the VoIP Blaster (see below) last night, Anders scooped me on Slashdot. Hope this gets better software written. My correspondence with the Fobbit Phone author goes unanswered.

Update: via some unknown path to this post, the Fobbit author contacted me and we've had fruitful discussion. Points for the loose-yet-directed coupling of the Web.

Link | 24 April 2002 | in Gear | Comments (1)

:: VoIP the old-fashioned way, Creative's VoIP Blaster ::

I don't care about video. I don't care about presence. [OK, I do a little--] I don't want to sit in front of the dang computer with cheap crossover phone technology. I just want to talk to the ten scattered folks with whom I run up the phone bill, with comfortable tech, over my expensive broadband. Is that too much to ask?

Solution: Get a two-line house phone, buy one of these ($15, 2 for $20), run this fledgling software on your 24x7 Windows/Linux/xBSD box/server/silo, and talk to Mom by MaBell (line 1) or your buddy in Carjackistan (line 2, using said jack+software) for free. Same phone. Same answering machine. How does Creative's OEM make money on this?

This is brilliant. I tell you what.

A few issues of maturity. The box can set a phone ringing and read DTMF touchtones. No caller ID signals, bummer. A built-in codec does G.732.1, for fairly good voice compression (6.3 Kbps, at the high-end). As sound gets encoded/decoded on the device and no opensource codec seems to exist, multi-way conferencing will be difficult. Payload encryption should be no sweat. The Fobbit software is a great start (cheers to the author), but I'd rather see a wxPython front-end, with user-level software control otherwise. Another project is building Linux Open H.323 support.

Link | 21 April 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

sites & logs

· Astronomy POD
· NY Times Cartoons
· ...

Section links
· Hack the Planet
· Web Voice
· Paul Graham articles
· diveintomark
· Joel on Software
· Long Bets
· Raph Levien
· rebelutionary
· Lambda the Ultimate
· Adam Langley
· sweetcode


· Anders Brownworth
· Ed Homich
· J. Dean Brederson

“Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.” — Donald Knuth
· (Citizen Wohl)
· (Colophon)
· (Resume)
· jeremiahcode

· glastree
· triggers
· tess
· dlq
· Short Shorts
· (Short Stories)
· (Essays)
· ........
· ........
· ........
· Volleyball
igmus | My personal site. Some visual, aural and prose expository. Circumnavigate the toadstools; they've only got one leg.

Home | Correspond | San Francisco, CA
© Jeremy Wohl