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A Chat - World Phone Day!

Pete and Ben chat about the iPhone 3G, a week on. We talk about:

  • Purchase stories
  • Activation
  • Hardware
    • Plastic back
      • Feels good in the hand and doesn’t slip
    • GPS
      • A bit subtle about satellite lock
    • Reception
      • 3G doesn’t drop back to 2G quickly enough
    • Sound
      • On 2G in my bad reception it’s the best phone Peter’s used
    • Camera
      • Disappointing but functional. Lens flare if there’s any backlight
    • Battery life
      • Lasts a day of pretty heavy use
  • Software
    • App store
    • Favourite apps so far
        • Google reader reader (with offline)
        • Always gets a laugh
        • It is now the top free app
        • Ben - The best use of location I’ve seen so far. You see people responding to other tweets locally. Normally these people wouldn’t be able to find each other. Recognised a name mentioned in one (a former colleague of some people at work)
        • Peter lives 5 miles from Ben.
        • Peter - Someone rather menacingly said “we know where you live” after I posted with GPS position outside.
    • Crashing apps
      • Peter - AIM
      • Ben - A few apps crash. Kind of makes me wonder if it’s the apps or the OS?
    • Problems
      • Peter - Push email notification troubles
        • Stopped on Friday
        • Rebooted and then my .mac account came back
        • removed .mac and it works again
      • Ben - Push notification works from the iPhone but not the mac itself. Found I need to sync explicitly or wait for the next sync (even on “automatic”)
  • Data usage so far…
    • Peter - Sent 3.1Mb, Received 42.4Mb = 45.6Mb -> 152Mb / month
    • Ben - I can’t say since I’ve had it reset to some value twice after the iPhone restarted itself. Currently says Sent 2.4Mb, Received 24.2Mb

A Chat - World Phone Day!

A Chat - Episode 23

Neil Young and the Java?

Show notes are here:

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A Chat - Episode 23 show notes

Neil Young and the Java?

  • Neil Young at JavaONE talking about Blu-ray
    • Story by Dan Farber  
    • He’s not a fan of mp3s 

That said, he’s clearly not a fan of MP3 quality: “Putting on a headphone and listening to MP3 is like hell,” he said.

  • He says that audio definition in blu-ray brings us back to the way we were with analogue (
  • Java based UI in Blu-ray players can create much better interactivity than before
  • Interesting quote:

Larry Johnson, of Shakey Films (which works on all of Young’s films),
said Young had the concept for his latest project on paper 15 years
ago. About two years ago, they put the footage all together and waited
for the Blu-ray HD-DVD fight to end.

  • I love the quote from the infoweek :

Perhaps Young had witnessed the earlier live
demonstrations of JavaFX, both of which froze in their tracks and
needed to be restarted. “We’re going to give a demo,” announced Young,
“and it’s going to work because it’s fake [recorded].”

  • Alternative firmware for Canon point and shoot cameras
    • Wiki
    • Works on a wide range of Canon point n shoot cameras
    • It’s non-destructive, you load it after turning on
      • Put two files on the SD card
      • Turn on in play mode
      • 1 extra menu item, “upgrade firmware”
    • You get extra on screen displays
    • Lots of great :
      • Raw file save
      • Zebra display of over exposure
      • live histogram & colour histogram
      • all sorts of techy readouts
      • They re-use the direct print button as “alt”
      • various grids, including user designed
      • depth of field calculator
      • scripts in a ubasic language!
        • things like bracketing
      • File browser
      • Calendar
      • Text reader
      • Flash light!
  • How do Leopard macs know that you just downloaded a file?
    • stops you executing it with out agreeing to the risk
    • ls -l shows an @ attribute:
[email protected]  1 marksp  staff  1368  2 May 05:44 LICENSE.txt

[email protected]  4 marksp  staff   136  2 May 05:44 bin

[email protected] 13 marksp  staff   442  2 May 05:44 dbgp
  • Peter-iMac:Downloads marksp$ xattr -l

0000   62 70 6C 69 73 74 30 30 A1 01 5F 10 39 68 74 74    bplist00.._.9htt

0010   70 3A 2F 2F 6D 61 63 70 6F 6D 6D 65 2E 63 6F 6D    p://

0020   2F 77 69 64 67 65 74 73 2F 6D 61 78 69 2D 6D 65    /widgets/maxi-me

0030   74 65 72 2F 6D 61 78 69 2D 6D 65 74 65 72 5F 30    ter/maxi-meter_0

0040   35 31 2E 7A 69 70 08 0A 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 01……….

0050   00 00 00 00 00 00 00 02 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00    …………….

0060   00 00 00 00 00 00 00 46                            …….F 0000;482370e0;Safari;6C367C85-D790-4381-82CB-BFA85AFF3D73|
    • To get rid of it: xattr -d <filenames>
  • OLPC in Australia
    • As reported on , the OLPC organisation has set up a local group in Australia
    • Signed up to the mailing list at  
    • Event on this Friday at Mitchell Theatre, , 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
    • Home broadband upgrade
      • Pete switches from Optus Cable to Telstra Cable
        • promises “up to” 30Mbps down and 1Mbps up
      • Blog post

    A Chat - Episode 22

    Google App Engine and more.

    Show notes are here:

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    A Chat - Episode 22 show notes

    Google App Engine and more.
    • experiences
      • Early problems with django app, used too much time, no clue as to why
      • Got it working by using later examples
      • Seems fairly quick ab says about 450ms (ping is 300ms)

      • Benefits overview
      • Lovely menus
      • Excellent examples
      • Can serve the CSS direct from Yahoo’s server
    • Home brew electronics
      • Morse ident keyer with Atmel ATTiny85
      • Programmable with gcc
      • 8 pin device
      • My code uses 1k or 8k available
      • 6 pins available for input or output
    • Amazon Web services action
      • They seem to have become very active since google launched
        • “Elastic” IPs
        • Data centre location
        • SLAs
      • New dashboard for showing service status
        • They say that users tell them there are problems some times…
      • Higher level, higher cost support options
        • If you bet your business on these services you need someone to call
    • Amazon MP3
      • Got an invite offering free tracks
      • No DRM is attractive
      • They have a downloader that automatically ads to iTunes
      • I tried but it wanted a US credit card address.
    • SafariAdBlock
      • blocks most ads in Safari
      • free from 
      • Sites that make me scroll down past ads have pushed me to this
      • Have tried other approaches such as squid with perl script to replace banners in the past
    • Trying Twitter
      • micro blogging
      • useful? hmm
      • client is an Adobe Air application
        • scary thing is that an application is installed by flash running in a browser
    • iPhone Australia gossip
      • Someone is working on getting iPhones approved on Australian carriers
      • This is said to take “months”
      • But there’s lots already on the network so presumably it could be sped up
      • Or not, if they are new models
    • Open Source Corporations
      • We talked Sun buying MySQL in Episode 13
      • How will this change MySQL?
      • What’s happened to other open source projects?
      • Peter’s blog post

    A Chat - Episode 21

    The MacBook Air is lethal!
    In this episode we chat about
    • Apologies for lack of show notes in last episode (Ben)
      • Tried publishing from Google docs and didn’t quite like the formatting
      • Tried changing using Wordpress’ visual editor and got strange results
      • Upgraded to Wordpress 2.5 this week which includes a much improved editor
        • Supposedly doesn’t interfere with crafted HTML in the code editor
      • Attempted the same for these show notes without success. Here is the error from Google docs

        (perhaps those broke something for Google?)

      • Pasting Google docs generated HTML looks OK
    • Cut myself on the MacBook Air (Pete)
      • Really!
      • My USB ethernet adapter has failed
      • Overall, very happy with the laptop
      • Sometimes would like it to be faster
    • Websites: Everyone’s doing APIs (Ben)
      • FaceBook - with some controversy about the data it shares
      • LinkedIn are supporting Google’s 
        • as are Friendster, MySpace (late to the party), Ning, Plaxo, Salesforce, Six Apart

        YouTube - offers access to the YouTube video repository and community features via a GoogleData (”GData”) API.

      • Google apps for your domain
        • Provisioning API is quite compelling
        • Only for paying users:

        • Get a strange exception when trying to use the provisioning API on a free service, that contains no information.
          • (’status’, ‘body’, ‘reason’)
        • Signed up for 30 day trial to test out
          • You need to enable it before it works

          • What the don’t tell you is that you need to make an explicit client login before you can do anything (otherwise you get the strange exception above). Kind of bizarre since you need to put authentication information in the AppsService object. e.g. to create a user:
          import gdata.apps.service
          service = gdata.apps.service.AppsService(email='ben', domain='', password='password')
          user_name = "me"
          family_name = "Cooper"
          given_name = "Benjamin"
          password = "secret"
              service.ClientLogin('[email protected]', 'password')
              user = service.CreateUser(user_name, family_name, given_name, password)
              print user
          except gdata.apps.service.AppsForYourDomainException , e:
              print e
          • The result is:

      • Twitter - Restful api 
      • Perhaps the symantic web is really happening?
    • Searchme Visual Search (Ben)
      • Got an invite to the private beta
      • Fairly novel interface to searching:

      • Suggests categories in searching as you type:

      • It’s novel for sure, but all I see with this is one of the big players licensing the technology, not actually competing in this field.
    • Apple WWDC sessions  (Pete)
      • Huge iPhone track this year
        • 40 Mac sessions
        • 27 iPhone sessions
        • 10 IT sessions
      • I try to go about every other year, not this year
      • Apple Australia no longer puts on sessions?
    • Scalr, open source AWS management tool (Ben)
      • Write-up
      • At google code
      • TechCrunch has a good
      • Interesting that the creator is a ruby shop and it’s a .
      • are that Google might release  to compete with Amazon’s SimpleDB
    • Sydney Horological Centre (Pete)
      • Pete’s blog post
      • Clock repair supplies
      • Good collection of Cuckoo clocks
      • Amazing that these places still exist
    • New linker for GCC  (Ben)
      • It’s a total re-write of the linker
      • 5 times faster at linking large c++ projects (but will it improve Gentoo’s 3 day install?)
      • Developer Ian Lance Taylor works for Google and has just  the project
      • It’s being widely tested within Google
      • Shows the excellent computer science being done at Google (if only to solve their own problems)
      • Called “gold” which could be confusing
      • The speedup effects of this will ripple through everything that uses gcc
      • Currently beta quality, if you link the Linux kernel it won’t boot, presumably this bug will be found pretty quickly
    • Visualising WSDL with GraphViz (Pete)
      • Pete’s blog post
      • Hard to read xml for humans
      • Wanted a way to visualise the wsdl api
      • Wrote a little python  that reads wsdl and outputs dot format
      • Doesn’t scale up well, needs some sort of “pagination” to divide the api into parts
      • (as a side note, I’ve never seen google ad words respond so quickly to a post)

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    A Chat with Ben and Pete - Episode 20

    Intro to random topics.

    Thanks for the Alastair and Geo!

    In this episode we chat about:

    • Ben’s Time Capsule experience
    • OmniFocus 1.0.1 review
    • Safari 3.1
    • Bicycle news from Ben (he didn’t get the )
    • Ham Radio News from Pete

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    Note: Sorry for the lack of detailed shownotes for this episode. An attempted Google docs to Wordpress export went .

    A Chat with Ben and Pete - Episode 19

    iPhone 2.0

    This week we talk about:

    • About the podcast
      • Change of name?
      • Suggestions and Feedback? Perhaps we should talk in more depth about topics?
    • iPhone 2.0 software launch and SDK
      • Ben hasn’t been able to get the SDK yet:
        • Friday signed up to get the SDK and all day the email link didn’t work
        • Saturday email link worked, logged in to find a page without functionality
        • Hit a link to download SDK and got back to the register to download page again.
      • Engadget posts an excellent SDK comparison
    • Internet Explorer 8 beta
      • Supports CSS 2.1 and they have their CSS test suite
      • Mashups built in:
        • Activities. You can do things like select an address, right click and go straight to maps (or see a preview in the menu)
        • Web Slices. A good example is where you can follow an item and place a bid directly from the toolbar
      • They’re not going all out. SVG is still
      • It has a javascript debugger!
    • Google Sites
      • Last week Google launched (built from jotspot)
      • You need to have your own domain with a email account at that domain to get started
      • Features:
        • It uses a wiki style of editing of pages
        • Very simple “list” feature that can be used for simple database tables
        • Built in search
        • Navigation tree
        • Editable nav bar, logos etc
        • Create page: web page, dashboard, announcements, file cabinet, list
          • Dashboards are made up of “gadgets” such as image, calendar, document, picasa web slideshow, presentation, spreadsheet, video, recent items…
      • It certainly is designed to bring together all the Google Apps
    • Silverlight 2
      • We all saw the impressive World Wide telescope at Ted, and the to the technology at last year’s Ted
      • The Hard Rock Cafe launched it’s new memorabilia web site at the mix conference with a very impressive of Seadragon in Silverlight 2 (it’s live )
      • A good article about data and web services support in Silverlight 2 is on
        • SOAP support by importing WSDL / generic XML support (like YUI?) / JSON support
        • No REST however.

    A Chat with Ben and Pete - Episode 18

    WiFi Balloons!

    This week we talk about:

    • Microsoft opening up?
      • They’ve the file formats for Office documents
      • Now they’ve thousands of API definitions and are encouraging open source interoperability
      • RedHat is
      • The EU
    • Google news for video?
      • Check out
      • TechCrunch story
    • GSM encryption broken
      • Researchers at a Black Hat conference in Washington to be able to listen in to GSM phone conversations with $1000 worth of equipment
    • Balloon WiFi
      • Google Space Data Corp., which provides wifi and cellular services via weather balloons
      • Original story in the
    • Document collaboration with SubEthaEdit
      • Check out
      • Very cool document collaboration:

      Document collaboration with SubEthaEdit

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    Full shownotes at

    A Chat with Ben and Pete - Episode 17

    A New Trend in Openness.

    This week we chat about:

    • Follow up
    • XML is only 10 years old?
    • Symbian touch interface is horrible
    • New browsers take 2
    • AppleTV take 2
    • Mac OS X 10.5.2
    • WiMAX VoIP Mobile Phone
    • High Performance Enabled SSH
    • Amazon Web Services outage
      • A in ?

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    Full shownotes at