Showing posts with label linux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label linux. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Open Handset Alliance: an Android bad guys did not expect.

The hints kept coming. After unveiling Android, their new mobile phone software, it appears that Google's plans go way beyond another proprietary new software. Instead a consortium of top tier wireless companies is already on the run, developing Android to be "the first complete, open, and free mobile platform" As Linux for mobile still has some troubles gaining an honorable spot, and giving the history of previous Google attempts to move things around, allow me to bet this might work and the world of mobile computing is about to be changed completely.

Companies in the alliance, already counting more than 30, say their purpose is to "accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience" and plan on releasing an access software development kit next week. Yesterday we learned that Federal Communications Chairman Kevin Martin supports Google's Open Handset Alliance saying "more openness, at the network, device, or application level, helps foster innovation and enhances consumers' freedom and choice in purchasing wireless service." More about the new open platform for mobile phones and the Open Handset Alliance in this official video.

According to InformationWeek Google partners include T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm and Motorola. "Google is picking holes in the traditional hegemony of telecommunications providers," says Google analyst and author Stephen Arnold. "This is just using what Google's already got. There will be much more to come." Google refer to their Android platform "the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices."

Google's Android competes directly with other smartphone software available in the market today. This include software from Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm, and Research in Motion. According to CNET the new Android platform consists of "an operating system, middleware, a user-friendly interface, and applications." and we can expect the first Android phones to be purchased sometimes between June to December 2008. There you have it - one Android the bad guys did not expect.

As opposed to mobile operating systems, Android will not be tied to a specific device but will support a long list of devices from major players such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG as well as Wind River Systems Inc. that joined the alliance as a Linux commercialization partner. A minimum of 200MHz ARM 9 processor is required to run the new system, promised to be "flexible, compatible with small or large screens, keyboards and other input methods."

According to Wikipedia an Android is "a robot designed to resemble a human, usually both in appearance and behavior". The term was first mentioned by Albertus Magnus in 1270 and was popularized by the French writer Villiers in his 1886 novel L'Ève future. I wonder what Magnus would have to say about the new Android.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Jathia's Wager: Open Source Social Movie Making

The opening scene in the first draft of Jathia's Wager shows a group of people is led by an old man to the edge of a dark forest looking outside into a new world:

EXT. GRASS FIELD - DAY: A dark forest sits at the end of a perfectly maintained sea of grass. Small clusters of buildings shimmer in the distance. A huddled group of people slowly walk through the grass toward the edge of the forest. Their faces turn deadly serious as they get closer to the edge. An old man with flowing gray hair leads the pack. He stops abruptly and holds up a fist. OLD MAN: This is as far as we go.

Change this old man with a young passionate dude, the forest with our existing life and the new world with the Internet and you might figure out the same metalanguage metaphor I see here, as Jathia’s Wager will be no ordinary movie.

Defined as "an open source collaborative filmmaking project" this project invites Internet community to re-interpret, revise, produce, reuse distribute and redistribute a movie for free. Officially announced on July 16, 2007 by Solomon Rothman Films the short Sci-Fi is planned to be telling the story of a "young man living in an isolated community of humans, who must make a life changing decision about his future and his species."

Other than being a cool movie buff and an avid blogger, Solomon Rothman is an American filmmaker living at Los Angeles who has already used the new challenges of online video revolution and released a full movie online. Boy Who Never Slept tells the story of a stagnant insomniac writer who meets a beautiful teenage girl online and falls into an "unlikely love story wrapped in hard reality" and with some sex. As Youtube only allow a maximum of 10 minutes per clip Rothman distributed it in 20 pieces. Took me a while to dig it out but here is the first piece, you can get the rest by searching Solomon Rothman on YouTube:

According to Rothman his hopes are that the new project of Jathia’s Wager "will fully explore the concept of open, collaborative filmmaking and inspire people to create a true open-source filmmaking community." We sure hope so too. It is not yet clear how "fully" it will really be at the end as it seems to be quite a new concept with many edges still remain unsolved. Yet, I think Rothman already deserves my applause for helping us take the first steps into... mmm... how shall we call that? Open Sources Social Movie Making? OSSMM?

Jathia's Wager is not the first collaborative open source movie. A Swarm of Angels, by Steve O'Hear, was recently announced to be moving into its next phase, which "should see the community grow to 5,000 paying members" from just under a thousand in June this year. This interesting article on titled Can open source methodology make a movie? claims the folks behind The Digital Tipping Point (DTP) are betting it can.

Main Jathia’s Wager page
First Jathia's Wager draft
Official press release

Saturday, October 13, 2007

ASCII Art Linux Penguin

Here is a place for you to use when testing your browser capabilities for font resize (or if you are just bored and looking for something funny.) We stumbled this unbelievably cute ASCII art Linux penguin at

Don't ask what is he doing there, other than just evangelizing a better operating system than the one we - and probably you too - are using to write this, because we have no clue.

For those of you who wonder how have we managed to take such an extreme sized screenshot as the one at the top of this post check on this great Firefox plug-in named ScreenGrab.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

gPhone goes for advertising and Linux

Continuing months of speculations, rumors and global buzz, more details of Google's secret plan to dominate the mobile phone industry have been revealed by The New York Times yesterday. While Microsoft charges mobile phone companies a licensing fee for their Windows Mobile system, Google goes for advertising. If this is true, and the NY Times is not usually easy to manipulate, this might indeed be the large scale Google plan to rival Microsoft's Windows Mobile and redefine the mobile media world.

The most significant aspect of gPhone is that, as opposed to Apple's iPhone and countless of other products using the currently in lead mobile operating systems, it not likely to be another "what a bummer" proprietary, closed environment, mobile device. Even though nothing has been official confirmed by Google it is pretty clear that Google has developed their mobile OS based on Linux kernel for the operating system. As of last talks with folks at Google, the gPhone's user interface is still being finalized and the phone reference design will be open source, using the Apache license. This reference design will be an unlocked, neutral environment.

Dozens of references

Earlier this summer reports from India stated Google is "currently in talks with India's first and third largest telecommunications companies, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar about the Google phone." It is also believed to be in talks with some Indian companies to offer "data, content and platforms including Instant Messaging (IM) and Search functions".

The buzz around gPhone gains interest for its own making some of us wonder how much of it is planned by Google and how much is out of control. Dozens of references to the gPhone project in both online and traditional media channels collected by Search expert Danny Sullivan of SearchEnglineLand are just a very partial list. Google offer 2,820,000 results for gPhone at their major search and 193 entries in the past month within their news search section. By now Google has refused to confirm any plans for the GPhone.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Utterz: speak your blog entry

1.8 billion people on this planet have mobile phones. Finland*, Italy, UK, Sweden and Hong Kong have already exceeded 100% market penetration and the Chinese wireless mobile market is expected to grow by 65% through 2010. Even though globally, after rising by an average of 25% in 2004, 2005 and 2006, the over all mobile phone subscriber growth is expected to decelerate in 2007, mobile phones are being used for new purposes every day, including for blogging and social networking.

While some companies are already doing their best to capitalize on the increasing popularity of this Mobile 2.0 phenomenon mobile phones are becoming more significant as internet connectivity devices as they now allow not just consuming of the content but also producing it. Even Linux based phones are becoming more popular with over 20 million units.

Podcast voice messages directly from your phone

Taking my first steps as a mobile phone blogger recently I bumped into this article by Kristen Nicole reviewing a new mobile blogging platform named Utterz. I have heard about and done some mobile blogging. It's pretty obvious that if people send so many sms messages to each other they can also send messages directly to their blog, making them walking bloggers. But Utterz take this idea one step further. They allow you to podcast voice messages directly from your phone. now that is cool.

The Utterz stream was implemented similarly to the way it was done by the Twitter guys, only, naturally, they made it smaller and obtained support for spoken blog entries, appearing as audio files as part of your stream.

Having a Utterz account you can call 712-432-Mooo any time and speak your mind, voice an opinion or share a joke with the rest of the members. When you are "tongue-tied" you can just txt your messages to You can also post mixed messages of voice, video and text and Utterz 's system will put them together for you. Simply snap some with your cell and send them to

Must be a 10 digit US phone number

Utterz is first of all a blogging platform and as such they understand most bloggers wehere not invented just for them. Thus they managed to make themselves "blogger friendly" and provide a nice collection of widgets for their users to plug-into existing networks, including custom made widgets for TypePad, Blogger (blogspot), Xanga, MySpace, LiveJournal and Facebook.

While trying to join the party I got this message saying "Must be a 10 digit US phone number". Na... I checked and found that Utterz is kept free because they "have relationships with phone companies to get a small portion of what you are paying your cell phone company for your calling plan". This business model is interesting but it also limits expansion ratio and on top of everything is somewhat non-compatible with the Internet spirit of a limitless borderless environment.

Anyway, its not everyone's problem that I am an Israeli so bottom line I would say Utterz is one more step for mankind but I hope someone at the high windows of the Utterz building will listen to my cry and get a deal done with my mobile service provider (that would be Cellcom, Israel) as soon as possible.

* Edit 22:45 GMT+2: Leena, a proud Finnish and an avid Conceptis Addict adds that no matter how figures are interpreted, Finland is the world's leading country in terms of mobile phone penetration levels. Sorry for missing that important figure and thanks Leena!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dr. T. V. Raman's complete audio desktop

Have you ever tried using your Windows voice-to-text speech engine? If so I bet you got depressed as I did. I bet you went to sleep that day thinking how far we still are from those sci-fi movies showing people chatting with his home computers, normally having the voice of a hot sexy female. I bet you did.

Anyways, if the idea of having a complete voice interaction with your data fits well into your dreams, you might want to check out Emacspeak - a new technology dramatically changing how blind and visually impaired users around the world can interact with the personal computer and the Internet.

Conceived by Dr. T. V. Raman, (see picture from raman's Public Gallery on Picasa webalbums) who obtained his first guide-dog, Aster Labrador, from Guiding Eyes in January 1990 - Emacspeak is a speech interface that allows visually impaired users to interact independently and efficiently with the computer. Using "Audio formatting" - a technique pioneered by AsTeR - and full support for W3C's Aural CSS (ACSS) - Emacspeak produces rich aural presentations of electronic information. By blending different aspects of the Internet such as Web-surfing and messaging, Emacspeak speech-enables local and remote information via a consistent and well-integrated user interface.

A suite of task-oriented tools provides efficient speech-enabled access to the audio desktop and evolving semantic WWW. According to T. V. Raman, when combined with Linux running on low-cost PC hardware, Emacspeak/Linux provides a reliable, stable speech-friendly solution that opens up the Internet to visually impaired users around the world.

See the online manual, productivity tips, speech-enabled applications list and the various online resources for Emacspeak locatable through Google for additional details.

T. V. Raman is one of the most well known computer scientists who came from India. According to Wikipedia, T. V. Raman has worked on speech interaction and markup technologies in the context of the World Wide Web at Digital's Cambridge Research Lab (CRL), Adobe Systems and IBM Research and he presently works at Google Research.

His research interests are primarily auditory user interfaces and structured electronic documents. His PhD thesis entitled Audio System For Technical Readings was awarded the ACM Dissertation Award in 1994. Raman went on to apply the ideas on audio formatting introduced in AsTeR to the more general domain of computer interfaces Emacspeak. On Monday, April 12, 1999, Emacspeak became part of the Smithsonian's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Way to go Dr. Raman. I wish I was half as brave, strong and innovative as you are. I am also going to try installing your amazing system on the Linux machine I plan as version 2 of our HTPC. It's gonna take time, but I am going to give it a try.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How to get yourself banned from Digg

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0. It's the HD-DVD processing key you can use to decrypt and play most HD-DVD movies in Linux. Movie studios are going ballistic over this leak, so everyone Digged the story up and made it reach the front page. 15,000 votes in less than 24 hours. and then this person got banned. Here's how/why. Also, a backup of what Diggers captivated for 15 hours straight before it got deleted. this is a story you don't want to miss.

read more | digg story