Secure Screeners

The film industry still doesn’t get it:

“Cory Doctorow: The British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) is treating all judges as criminals this awards season. They are supplying special lockware DVD players that can play back the “secure” DVDs that the Academy is distributing. My guess is that anyone elected to judge a film award has a highly tuned, specialised home-theatre setup and that this will represent a serious goddamned pain in the ass for them”

Wouldn’t those “secure players” need to issue a video signal somewhere? Or will the judges also get “secure screens”?

You’re either with or against us . . .

After reading Giuliani’s speech, one of my favourite songs comes to mind:

“There’s a country where no one knows
what’s going on in the rest of the world
There’s a country where minds are closed
with just a few asking questions

Like what do their leaders say
in sessions behind closed doors
and if this is the perfect way
why do we need these goddamn lies

This doesn’t go down too well
“We give you everything and you throw it back
Don’t like it here you can go to hell
You’re either with or against us . . .”

There’s a country that’s great and wide
It’s got the biggest of everything
Try to attack it and you can’t hide
Don’t say that you haven’t been warned

You can’t hide in a gunman’s mask
or kill innocent folks and run
But if you’re good at it they might ask –
come on over to the other side

There’s a country that’s tired of war
There’s a country that’s scared inside
But the bank is open and you can draw
for guns to fight in their backyard

I could go on but what’s the use
You can’t fight them with songs
But think of this as just
another tiny blow against the Empire

Another blow against the Evil Empire

Just another blow against the Evil Empire”

Does anyone understand Nokia product management?

No, I’m not talking about the colors and shapes of their phones. What continues to puzzle me is how they manage (or don’t) phones’ technical features.

Take the Nokia 6230: You can’t possibly put more multimedia features into a phone, it even has MIDP 2.0 support, and yet the MMAPI implementation doesn’t allow you to acces the camera. I could understand that for first release versions of the firmware, but apparently they don’t even plan to fix that.

Then there’s the Nokia 6600 – damn fine phone, MIDP 2.0, Symbian 7.0 – all the latest whizbang stuff. After you’ve spent all that R&D money for this, why oh why do phones appearing after the 6600 feature older versions of Java and the Symbian OS???

Let’s talk about the N-Gage QD. This is a phone I really liked. Excellent battery, perfect phone features, good game deck, Symbian – what more could you ask for? As the USB port was left out in comparison to the “Taco”, Bluetooth is your only option to connect to a PC or a headset / car kit. Unfortunately the bluetooth stack in the QD crashes every 5 minutes and you have to manually stop / restart it. Why is it so hard to copy the (working) bluetooth stack over from the Taco? Doesn’t anybody do QA anymore?

PC Suite. One of my favourites – where should I start? Connecting to it via bluetooth is next to impossible. Nokia’s BT implementation insists on initiating the connection from the device, ignorant of a connection initiated from the PC, which results in an error on the PC in the best case. Even if the devices are connected, the BT symbol on the PC does not always reflect that. Synchronizing contacts on Series 40 devices: Nokia’s address book is still one of the best implementations I’ve seen in a mobile phone. What makes it so hard to include an option to sync “last name, first name” instead of “first name last name”? It’s about swapping two strings! Customers have been forced to buy third party software to do this for years now.

N-Gage again: you can’t find any information for the N-Gage or the QD on the main Nokia web site. Nokia’s marketing experts insist on redirecting you to a special N-Gage site, which means that you can’t look for stuff (manuals, drivers, PC Suite, accessories) on the otherwise excellent Nokia product pages. I know you’re trying hard to position the N-Gage in the mobile entertainment category, but neglecting the fact that it’s also a damn good business phone (imagine a more business like cover on the QD – why would that *not* sell???) is turning away potential customers, IMHO.

I could go on, but my experience with Nokia over the last few years is that in working to be a trend setter in design and usability, they may have left common sense behind. Each and every Nokia phone I had has disappointed me due to one or more of the problems above. I wouldn’t bitch about that if fixes were not so simple. I know that a company of that size has many things to worry about, but a small focus group of mobile enthusiasts <hint, hint> would have discovered these problems early in development (and I’m sure people have reported these – so it seems to be a problem of nobody caring) and fixes might have been cheap.

Can anyone explain to me why this is not happening???

Deutsche Telekom buys 80 million Identity Management licenses

According to Financial Times Germany, Deutsche Telekom has bought 80 million licenses of Sun’s Identity Server, consisting of the Java System Identity Manager, the Java System Access Manager and the Java System Directory Server.

Apart from this being a big deal for Sun regarding license fees (although they surely will not receive the full price of approx. $8 billion ), this may announce a major push for both identity management as a discipline and the Liberty Alliance.

Looking into the crystal ball, 80 million licenses might be enough for Telekom to act as an identity provider for all of germany’s population – now that would be a major push if I ever saw one…

Car MP3 player with USB storage

Engadget has the story of the Logitec LAT-CARMP3 in-car MP3 player.

At roughly 65 Euros, this looks like an interesting device. It’s basically an FM transmitter that allows you to feed it with a USB pen drive. I often listen to stuff from IT Conversations by burning it to a CD and putting it into my car MP3 CD player, so this would be a good alternative.

I wonder how far its USB support goes. It might be the perfect companion to all those USB drive MP3 players. Maybe it can even play stuff of the USB drive in a Nokia N-Gage??


(Via MobileWhack:) Sync4j is an Open Source implementation of a SyncML server with various tools. I had looked at it some time ago, but found it too bleeding edge then.

Now they’re at version 2, and they even have tools to sync from Outlook to the server, as well as several other clients and connectors. This looks as if I should try it. Can anyone tell me what a MacOS X installation means, and if there is something to consider before I try?

Diego: atomflow

Diego writes up his ideas about a simple unix tool that uses atom as an input format and through different pipes makes it possible to transform the atom input into different output formats.

Diego even hacked together a quick and dirty demo:

“ provides feeds, but they don’t have the whole stories. Sometimes, after some time has passed the story becomes unavailable (I’m not sure when that happens, but it has to me). Other times you want to look for a particular story, based on keywords, but within a certain timeframe, to avoid getting dozens of irrelevant results from more recent news items.

So I built a scraper for that takes their stories on the frontpage, and outputs them to stdout as Atom entries. Then I pipe the result into atomflow, which allows me to query the result anyway I need, and, more interestingly, subsequent pipes to atomflow calls that can narrow down content when the query parameters are not enough.”

Cool stuff. Will be interesting to see where this leads. Certainly an interesting way to make use of the XML stuff inside newsfeeds more than we do today. Regarding the different ways to format the output, Matthew should be interested, too.