A coincidence or are the people over at Engadget a bunch of cheap copycats?

Edit: For the people not reading comments, the brilliant Peter Rojas of Engadget just assured that this is a 100% coincidence. And I believe him. Case closed.

And now the writer of the guide over at Engadget, Barb Dybwad has contacted me as well. No doubt about the fact that we worked on these articles in parallel.

Keep up the good work over at Engadget. A coincidence does not make you copycats. But those pictures where a bit blurry, wheren’t they? :-)

I posted this how-to on my blog on August 14th. I was quite satisfied with the guide so I sent a message to Engadget notifying them about my post in case they wanted to link to it.

No answer from Engadget, but two days later this article shows up. Dangerously close to mine, but with bad pictures… Maybe a pure coincidence. I shure hope so, taking suggestions from users and just copy them without even mentioning where the original could be found seems too unprofessional for one of my favourite web sites.

A coincidence or are the people over at Engadget a bunch of cheap copycats?

Enhanced TV Show & Mobile TV Forum in London

I am going to speak at the Enhanced TV Show & Mobile TV Forum in London at the 29th of September. It will be an interesting conference. My presentation starts at 1050:

The mobile phone as a remote, television set and production tool
Eirik Solheim, Programme Manger of
Interactive Television, NRK, Norway

• NRK’s experience in distribution to mobiles
• Using the mobile phone as an interactive remote for enhanced TV
• The mobile in the production chain for both professional and user generated content

If you plan to be there, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Enhanced TV Show & Mobile TV Forum in London

Could YOUR computer help scientists look into the future?

A while ago, I read about The Global Consciousness Project over at RedNova News. Being a quite sceptical engeneer I usually don’t find experiments like these very interesting, but this one tickled my brain…

From RedNova:

“One of these new technologies was a humble-looking black box known was a Random Event Generator (REG). This used computer technology to generate two numbers – a one and a zero – in a totally random sequence, rather like an electronic coin-flipper.

The pattern of ones and noughts – ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ as it were – could then be printed out as a graph. The laws of chance dictate that the generators should churn out equal numbers of ones and zeros – which would be represented by a nearly flat line on the graph. Any deviation from this equal number shows up as a gently rising curve.

During the late 1970s, Prof Jahn decided to investigate whether the power of human thought alone could interfere in some way with the machine’s usual readings. He hauled strangers off the street and asked them to concentrate their minds on his number generator. In effect, he was asking them to try to make it flip more heads than tails.

It was a preposterous idea at the time. The results, however, were stunning and have never been satisfactorily explained.

Again and again, entirely ordinary people proved that their minds could influence the machine and produce significant fluctuations on the graph, ‘forcing it’ to produce unequal numbers of ‘heads’ or ‘tails’.”

Read the story at RedNova and think about it. If you find it even remotely interesting then start experimenting with the idea that the data from random number generators could actually say something about global events when analyzed properly.

If the nodes are simple random number generators then you could easily turn your computer into a node. Someone should make a project like Seti out of this. A software that you could download to your computer and turn it into a node for this project. You would have millions of computers generating data to the project. It would be possible to add location to the data and see if changes are greater near the events that will make a change in the flow of numbers.

I also immediately start thinking about another wild project that I have suggested here before:
Everything you would ever want to see

Even for a sceptical engeneer it is important to sometimes let go of physics and what I base on current knowledge. If not for anything else, for creativity alone…

Could YOUR computer help scientists look into the future?

How to modify your Nokia headset to accept your favourite headphones

I am syncing my podcasts onto my mobile. I have found the perfect software MP3-player. The final step in my quest to make a good device for podcast listening out of my Nokia 6630. I am now modifying my Nokia Handsfree set to accept standard headphones. All I have to do is to open the little box containing the mic and mount a standard minijack connector.

By doing it that way I will keep both the mic and the button that lets you answer calls.

All the pictures in this guide can be clicked to give you a closer look. And, for readers in countries with stupid legal systems I will have to mention that I do not take any responsibility for you destroying your new hansdfee while trying to apply what I have described here. That said, if you have ever laid your hands on a soldering iron, this is as easy as drinking a good dry martini.

This guide was inspired by this post in the HowardForums. If you have an Ericsson headset that post will help you out.

Let’s start

Use a small screwdriver to open the cover. On my headset it was tightened with a small amount of glue. It was no problem to carefully open it without destroying it.

Open it carefully. You will clearly see the mic and the switch. The interesting stuff is on the back of the board. Flip it back carefully from the top.

Now you can see where the headphones are connected. The four cables are connected to points clearly marked: L+, L-, R+ and R-.

Pick up your soldering iron and remove the old headphones.

I used an extension cable for headsets that also featured a volume control with a small clip so that I can clip the device onto my jacket. This will let the mic be placed in a useful position as well. The pin layout for a minijack is: tip=left, ring=right, sleve=ground. You can of course use any female minijack. Just make sure you know what cables is left, right and ground.

I made a hole in the plastic to be able to insert the new cable. Solder the cable connected to the tip contact point to the place on the board marked L+, the cable connected to the ring to R+ and the ground cable to one of the negative connections, left or right. Here you can see that I have used L+, R+ and only L- for the ground connection.

Depending on what kind of cable there is on your new connection you might want to throw in a drop of glue at the spot where it leaves the box. You want it to sit tight so this baby will last through all the extreme sports you do while listening to the Engadget podcast on your mobile.. You might also want to use some drops of glue on the case itself.

It will clip nicely back together, but you know – that 360 mute grab on your new pair of skis might put some strain on your equipment…

Now I can connect my Creative Travelsound to transform my Nokia into a ghettoblaster. I can connect my Sony noise cancelling earbuds and I can even borrow my wife’s PortaPro and look cool in the park. Or, how about using an FM SoundFeeder to listen to whatever I want to from my mobile in my car?

The mic still works fine, and when using the phone as a …phone, all the people I talk to sound great as well!

How to modify your Nokia headset to accept your favourite headphones

The increase of pages indexed by Yahoo shows on Trendmapper?

I have followed parts of the discussions around the fact that Yahoo claimed to have increased its index to include about 20 billion web pages.

A claim that several people questions. I am not in the position to have qualified theories about that, but I am running a web site that reflects that something clearly has happened to the engine over at Yahoo.

In Trendmapper nearly all the charts searching for phrases with a significant amount of hits had a big jump in its Yahoo curve earlier this month.

Actually, a search that looked useless at first have become quite useful for me. Every night Trendmapper searches for several thousand phrases and records the amount of hits. The word “the” has been added in the system, and is in itself not interesting. However, the word is so common that the charts actually reflects something about the performance of the engines themselves.

As you can see in the thumbnail here in my post, something happened to the red Yahoo curve in the beginning of August. If you click the thumbnail you are taken to the page for the chart.

To be precise, at the second of August Yahoo reported 1 978 791 943 hits on “the”. On the third of August this jumped to 9 583 745 268.

Hera are some example charts showing the Yahoo-jump:
Trendmap: “kottke”
Trendmap: “Xbox 360″
Trendmap: “DVD-Jon”

The increase of pages indexed by Yahoo shows on Trendmapper?

Yellow Arrows, celltracking and moblogging

Annelogue points me back to a project I read about in Wired some months ago. The disussion at her site suggests ways to place the Yellow Arrows geographically.

I just installed a small program on my Nokia 6630 mobile called CellSpotting. It works like this:

Your mobile is always connected to a mobile transmitter somewhere. These transmitters have unique ID’s and are called Cells. By reading what Cell you are connected to and do a lookup in a database on that particular cell, your location can be roughly determined (I think at a level of detail down to a couple of hundred meters).

With CellSpotting installed on your mobile you can always hit a “Go cellspotting” button. What it does is that it makes note of the cell you are connected to and do a lookup in a database on the web. If someone has spotted that cell already and submitted a description you will recieve that description. It could be anything. Info on nearby points of interest or simply a greeting. If the cell is “undiscovered” you can fill in info on the cell yourself. Anyone visiting that cell after you will get your info if they hit “Go CellSpotting” in the cellspotting application.

Now, if the people behind the CellSpotting program could enhance it with the following two features:

1. A possibility to let people snap a picture with their phone and add to the description of a cell
Would be great fun to be able to look up pictures of the surroundings where you are. Both because it would help you decide if the walk to the park described would be worth it and because having pictures from the actual spot you are, from different seasons and different points of time could be interesting in its own way.

2. A possibility to record the latitude and longitude and add it to your spot if you have a GPS connected to your phone

3. Some kind of possibility to send a mail from your phone with the cell and a link to the description in the CellSpotting database. Would be great information to add when moblogging

….anyway. CellSpotting is kind of Yellow Arrows… without the arrows.

Related post:
Odda GeoBlogged!

Yellow Arrows, celltracking and moblogging

HighPad Media Control – PDA Remote for Windows Media Center

I continue my quest to find a PDA based remote solution that lets me control my music without having to pick up the stylus on the PDA. I have talked about other solutions here and now I have played around with a promising package from Germany.

Meet HighPad – another PDA-remote solution. Here is my first impression.

The approach is quite ambitious. The HighPad Media Control solution promises to do the following:

1. Give you remote control of your media libraries
2. Give you remote streaming of your media to your device
3. Give you a possibility to sync media to your PDA
4. Function as a plain remote control for MCE
5. Give you a possibility to program the PVR in MCE

The HighPad Media Control will be able to control a full Media Center Edition System or a plain Windows XP computer running Windows Media Player. The system consist of a server application running on your media box and a client application running on your PDA.
And if you are like me, you want the conclusion right away:
This is an impressive package that is very powerful already (it is in version 1.02). It packs huge amounts of features but not all of them works perfectly well. Because of the fact that the most important features works well, and the other ones have great potential this is an addition to your home media center that is very interesting. Still, you should spend some minutes on testing the Niveus Remote (for ease of use) and NetRemote (for flexibility). You can read more on those here.

The installer is one file. During installation you choose if you want to install the client, the server or both.

At this point I ran into a little trouble.
Continue reading “HighPad Media Control – PDA Remote for Windows Media Center”

HighPad Media Control – PDA Remote for Windows Media Center