misc. post-weekend bits

  • Diebold is considering selling their voting machine unit. RH, this is your chance.
  • Actually used a Wii for the first time this weekend. What fun. This is real thinking outside the box. (I’ve never owned a game machine, and never previously been particularly tempted. But I am now, esp. since I didn’t buy myself anything for my birthday last week. :)
  • Saw the first iPhone ad (unfree media, but at least unfree with an official player on Linux) on TV yesterday. Hope that Nokia will take the hint from Apple and put a cell chip in the N800’s successor- this is a market that Nokia should have owned a year ago, had they been willing to think a bit more outside their own boxes. I’m still glad they are doing all they are doing, and it is a unique and interesting little box, but it is frustrating to see that all the pieces are in place- except one- for the iPhone to have been a year earlier, and Free.
  • Hopefully I’ll score an openmoko at the end of the month so I can replace the one proprietary component in my personal digital stack, even if it does look to be clearly suboptimal to an N800 with a cell chip. Openmoko folks, if you see this, you really, really need some free QA experts testing and helping you refine this thing :)
  • Three bits of awesome news for GNOME distribution and testing- rpath-based images, a buildbot with integrated testing, and wider distribution of unstable builds.
  • I miss Miami.
  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that wordpress upgrades mar an otherwise excellent experience. Comments indicate fixes may be in the pipeline, yay.
  • Interesting post on property rights and how they explode over at the Volokh Conspiracy. Look forward to the rest of the posts in the series, though I wish the citations provided links, or at least enough information to be googleable. (I’d link to SSRN, but SSRN is considered harmful.)
  • Speaking of citations, am about to launch into a pile of bluebooking. Expect fun, law-school/data-organization related ranting to follow!

13 thoughts on “misc. post-weekend bits”

  1. 1. happy belated bday ;)
    2. i’m real good at testing devices like openmokos. just, you know, for the record.
    3. interesting on the WP front; i actually upgrade my instance nightly via SVN, and so far no issues.

  2. SVN? Mr. package management has given up and used SVN to manage business-critical software? If that isn’t an indictment of their release engineering I don’t know what is :)

    re: openmoko… I hope that they realize that they need to get non-software/hardware people (QA, designers, etc.) involved, as well as engineers, if they want to produce a phone regular people enjoy using. They seem to be doing everything right so far, so I assume this is the case, but the stuff I’ve seen is all about attracting serious geeks with stuff like the Hacker’s Lunchbox. If they’re working on non-hacker appeal, they should probably pimp it more.

  3. How do you think Trolltech’s Qtopia Greenphone fits into all this? As far as I can tell, the greenphone isn’t destined to be a consumer device (just a development platform??), where it sounds like openmoko will.

    I was a little surprised to read that openmoko’s phone (Neo1973) won’t contain a wi-fi implementation… There is an open source bluetooth stack but no wi-fi stack?

    What is the relationship between these open source phones and the network providers?

  4. I have not looked at the greenphone in a while; there was some reason that I flipped the bozo bit on it but I don’t remember what it was- probably licensing related?

    Wifi is a big battery drain, I believe- I get vastly better battery performance from my n800, for example, when wireless is disabled.

    What is the relationship between these open source phones and the network providers?

    Not clear. David Weinberger suggests the moko might not be available in the US at all because of the providers- have asked him for clarification on that.

  5. I’m not sure I quite understand the engineering behind why WiFi is such a drain, yet GPRS or any other cellular technology doesn’t. I remember going over the latter in a computer network architecture class (EE156), but I don’t think we went over any version of WiFi. I would guess it has more to do with outgoing broadcast signal strength than with processing power required. Isn’t the whole purpose of the n800 to have a constant connection to the internet?

    I agree, the greenphone’s license is a significant drawback (definitely non-free). I guess I’m just skeptical that a network provider (tmobile, the-company-formerly-known-as-at&t-who-is-now-on-a-reunion-tour -with-itself, verizon, etc) letting a consumer controlled device on their network. From David’s comments, possibly the FCC might have some say in this. Though I’m too jaded with the FCC to believe they will be of any help in this.

  6. I would guess it has more to do with outgoing broadcast signal strength

    I believe you’re right, though take me with a grain of salt- consider me a dumb lawyer with a polisci degree for the purposes anything having to do with EM ;)

    Isn’t the whole purpose of the n800 to have a constant connection to the internet?

    I use it in the subway quite a bit for casual reading and music, so I try to turn it off when I’m in the subway/walking around.

    As far as greenphone… I’d expect that if the problem was with the FCC, apple would happily have blamed the FCC for their choice not to make the iPhone an open platform. More to the point, I don’t really care what OS/toolkit my phone runs if it is proprietary/effectively proprietary. At that point, the distinction has to be made on functionality- which means I either want a motofone f3 or an iphone. :)

    (BTW- you know the dbdhoops guy? Cool. He does great stuff.)

  7. db hoops guy (Paul) was my roommate at Duke (and best man at my wedding =) His stats are excellent with some great analysis. Its really great to be able to objectively look at game performance when comparing teams.

    Actually… weren’t you in my EE156 class or some other EE class? I think I remember working a lab with you downstairs in Hudson… (I’m a little hazy… I could be wrong).

  8. Cool. Tell Paul thanks for doing it! :)

    Certainly not EE156, which I didn’t take, though possible it was another class- I took at least a handful of CS classes your sophomore year (when I was a fifth-year senior theoretically focusing on my polisci thesis.)

  9. Hmmm Does that mean all the linux distros are currently using closed binary wifi drivers? [KX]*ubuntu might incorporate it to give a better user experience, but not Debian.

    I guess I just find it odd that there is a open source bluetooth driver, but no wifi driver.

  10. Luis – thanks for the Diebold article. I’ll make sure to track to see who they sell to, if they do. Fascinating – I’d wish I could have a window into the internal politics – who’s pissed that their execs appeared to promote Republican loyalties over good business sense, even if both were at the original decision to go into voting. Also wonder how things are going in Brazil.

  11. Rekha: my pleasure. I’m curious as well; I think it probably has an impact on who buys them. (One could see the purchaser firing the whole exec team, for example, if the politics are poisonous enough.)

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