Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category


The N95 successor

February 12, 2008

I just found this on Infosync

They have videos and pictures of the n95 successor, it looks pretty cool! I like the looks, but it will probably be a fingerprint magnet. It doesn’t seem to be that different from the n95 though, just the new looks and the mobile tv.

I agree with their take, symbian s60 is not really that cool anymore… and where is the touchscreen? that’s the only thing I really miss.


My N95 to the rescue.

February 12, 2008

My dear N95 has been saving my day in unexpected ways lately.

Last week I went with a friend for lunch, but oh, when I was there I realized that they didn’t accept credit cards and I was out of cash (and my friend didn’t have enough as to lend me), but they accepted the Food card, but mine had no credit. No problem! N95 connected to the wi-fi and I was able to deposit some money to my food card just there. Ok.. any phone with wi-fi can do that.

But today, I was late for a class and I was supposed to turn in a report which I had already done but not printed, and to make matters worse, there was a construction going on through my usual way there, and me being as poorly oriented as I a m would have gotten lost if not for the GPS enabled phone, just took a minute (of course I stopped outside of the road) and I knew what to do. By the way if you don’t want to pay for GPS service on your n95 check, it’s free!

Anyway, I was still late, and I had not yet printed my report so… I ended up using putty from my n95 while walking from the parking lot to the classroom and printing from the command line, thanks to that I was able to pick up my printing and submit it just in time. I still want to see an iPhone doing all that.


Sharing your stuff in Twango

November 26, 2007

There was really nothing interesting during thanksgiving (well, a lot of deals) but nothing catched my eyes enough to make me spend so I won’t comment on that.

Anyway, a friend just let me know that the new Nokia’s media sharing service has some interesting features which I considered worth mentioning.

You get quite good storage (unlimited?) or at least all you can upload within your 250 MB a month and a 100 MB maximum file size all for free, both are considerably larger than lets say Picasa (1GB/???/20MB max) or Flickr (Unlimited/100MB per month/10MB max).

Also a weird thing is that there is no automatic filtering at all, so you may find all kind of content in there (it doesn’t take too long to find nudity for example, but it is not like its everywhere). The idea is that if a picture is censored by five members it will be removed.

Since you can share all kinds of media I am surprised why people haven’t started using it that much… because of the space, bandwidth and flexibility and I don’t doubt people would be interested in using it for shady purposes (I am not doing this, nor suggesting, encouraging,  etc, etc)

Branding and having a established community are really important features that make it hard to compete with the good old ones, but I think it is worth giving a try.


I DO work for Nokia… at least until the end of this week when my internship ends, but I am not getting paid or anything like that for commenting on this. I just happened to find this interesting as everything else I have commented on.


Jajah Direct! and more ways to place cheap long distance calls!

November 21, 2007

Since I moved to the U.S. I have been looking for cheap ways to call home, and so far the best one in my opinion is Vonage. It is relatively cheap (19.99 for basic service and 5.99 for a proxy number at home) and i get 500 minutes, quite a good deal. It gets forwarded to my cellphone so everyone can call me and it is completely transparent for them and for me.

However since I really don’t use the local service, I never use it to call (I only use the cellphone) and I don’t even use the equipment they gave me, I feel like I really shouldn’t have to pay the first 19.99, so I looked for new options.

Jajah is a startup company providing phone call services through VoIP, but unlike Vonage they don’t give you a number, or a rent plan. It is simple, you enter your number and the number you want to dial, they will do the connection and “call” you, when you pick the call the person you are calling will be about to be connected.

The rates are very good, (more expensive than Skype though) and if the other party has the service you get 150 minutes free! The main problem I found was that you needed to be connected to internet and log into the site to be able to dial (of course the cellphone internet can come to the rescue but it is annoying)

Fortunately that problem is gone and now with Jajah Direct you can enter your friends number and get a “proxy number” that you can use that will redirect your call to your friend. This is exactly the way that Jaxtr works, with the difference that Jaxtr for not very high usage purposes is practically free (you get 100 minutes a month for free, and getting minutes by referring people is easy).

The problem with Jaxtr is that the quality of the call (both sound quality and delay) is quite poor, and sometimes the calls don’t even connect (I am NOT complaining, heck it is free!) and for sometime I used as my main way to calling back home (since I cannot make calls with vonage without paying extra, only receive).

So now, having Jajah Direct and convincing people to join is a very cheap way to communicate long distance with very decent quality (Skype still sounds a bit better though).

So… what about Skype? Having to use it through the computer is not very “portable” and although there are solutions that allow you to use it through your cellphone like Fring, the sound quality degrades quite badly, and it is nice to have some VoIP that doesn’t eat up your bandwidth 😉 (I should try other options like Gizmo but I have been lazy)

Of course, that is Skype now. If Google buys Skype from eBay as speculated (I wonder if Nokia in its acquisition spree will jump in there too), pairing it with GrandCentral (and maybe even android) may result in a solution that will be far superior to all the other ones I have mentioned.

I am definitely looking forward to see what happens, for now I will keep my Vonage account for some more time until I feel that one of the alternative solutions is reliable enough (or Vonage launches a plan that suits my need… sadly after all the problems they have had with Verizon I really doubt it)


Nintendo Repair Service is reaaaaally fast!

November 21, 2007

When I bought my Nintendo DS lite about almost a year ago, I noticed within 5 minutes of playing that it had one nasty red dead pixel…. oh I felt so unlucky. Fortunately Nintendo had a policy stating that they would replace a DS Lite even with only one dead pixel, but they asked to try to live with it and only send it if it was really annoying.

I tried, it was annoying sometimes (yeah… probably not many people would care but it breaks the magic) , still I kept it for quite a long time, then one day I noticed a second dead pixel (that one was really unnoticeable), so I decided to send it for repairs (If I ever wanted to sell it no one would buy it and the first one was bad enough).

I was lazy and time passed, so finally when the warranty was about to expire I realized that I had to send it or live with it. Anyway I dropped it in the UPS box (they paid for shipping) and today, within only 8 days of sending it, I have my renewed flawless DS Lite with no dead pixels…. now that’s great service.


Two different Android kernel trees?

November 21, 2007

Is Google hiding the Android kernel source?

Ok, that was a bit extreme… but definitely Google/OHA is not making it easy to reach the android kernel source code. You can of course google it, and find and find a git repository of what we can call version A of Android source, but other than the announcement in the ARM Linux Kernel Mailing List (about which I commented in a previous post) there is really no way to get to it from anywhere else (in particular from the Android website or the OHA one).

However if you go through the “fine print” in the Android website (that is, go to Download the SDK, and then go to the bottom of the page and click through the not so flashy link Android project page ) and that will take you to what I would call version B. I am giving different names because they are definitely not the same thing.

Version A last update seem to have been on November 8 (13 days of no activity by the time of this post), and version B is a static tar.gz file dated November 11 (I don’t even know if that file is being updated).

There are of course more differences than the latest modification, for instance version A clearly is focused on mach_msm (for the Qualcomm chipset I mentioned in my previous post) and has as the proposed board definition the “halibut”, it is noticeable that most of the code contributions in this one are found in the architecture section of the code (arch/arm/mach-msm).

In Contrast version B is targetted to mach_goldfish and uses the board definition for “goldfish”, in this one the specific code is equally split between the architecture section and the drivers section (this one clearly named drivers/android).

Halibut and Goldfish are two of the at least four boards that Google registered at the ARM Linux Machine Registry (being the other two Sardine and Trout), it is funny that instead of having a single repository including the two, they have this two separate versions… there is something fishy here, and I am not talking about the board names.

Probably there is much more that can be inferred about potential specifications by looking at both sources, but I will leave that for another day.

Maybe I am just being paranoid about the android here and there is some reason to all this, but I am failing to see it.


Cracking out MD5 passwords with Google

November 20, 2007

As seen on Slashdot, a security researcher at Cambridge found a very interesting use for Google (full story) .

I am shocked… I didn’t know that WordPress is storing our precious passwords without a salt! and even more shocking is that Google is so great at storing and indexing everything that you can even use it to infer passwords giving the MD5 hash… that’s scary.

Of course if you have a strong password it won’t work, but it is a trivial way to break passwords of people oblivious to computer security using plain dictionary words as passwords, I don’t really know the trends but I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people still do that (when the site does not enforce a stronger password policy)

It is amazing how many things can be done with Google (maybe it will work with some other search engine… but I didn’t feel like trying), and it is really disappointing that WordPress got so careless, for most cases there is no reason to not use a salt, and the extra coding effort is negligible…. anyway if you have some simple wordpress password consider changing it.