Building a country wide wireless network is environmentally friendly

I do quite a bit of travelling. Most places in Norway are accessible through public transport but I used to prefer using my own car because that is much faster. Especially if you have to change transport on the way. Using public transport you’re also limited to specific schedules.

But lately I have started preferring the much more environmentaly friendly public transport like trains, boats and even long distance busses. Now it saves me a lot of time. Why?

Internet connectivity. Two hours in a car driving gets you there. But apart from that it’s a waste of time. Two hours on a train has turned into very productive hours. Norway has pretty good coverage of Edge and 3G. On my last boat trip from Bergen to Balestrand I could turn the four hours of travelling into productive work. Emailing, answering comments on the blog I work on for the NRK, NRKbeta. Getting some answers from people all over the world through IM. I had a reasonably good internet connection through my mobile on the entire trip. Something between 90 and 160 kbps. Not broadband, but enough to make me productive.

I know that I am no average person when it comes to how I spend my time and what I need to be productive. But more people might want to choose productive transportation as they get laptops, iPhones and all kinds of devices with internet connectivity. To be able to spend more time working and having fun online.

But we need to fix the pricing, speed and stability.

I like the fact that during Live Earth they made note of the fact that buying music online is environmentaly friendly. And I still like the old slogan of the first online only newspaper in Norway, called “Nettavisen”: “Ten of ten trees prefer Nettavisen”.

Actually the internet in general is environmentaly friendly. Especially here in Norway where we power our server farms with hydro electric power.

And by the way. This post was written on board a bus on my way from Kongsberg to Oslo.

(I have also written a Norwegian version of this article over at NRKbeta)

Building a country wide wireless network is environmentally friendly

Mounting your N95 on the dashboard

After my article about how to entertain your kids with the navigation system in your phone several people have asked how I mount the phone on the dashboard. I use a simple magnetic mount. My wife use one as well, so together with the iPod our dashboard gets slightly crowded with gadgets.

The system consist of a magnet that you mount at the place you want it using a form of double sided tape.

Then you tape a small piece of metal on the back of the phone.

And it will sit nicely on the magnet on your dashboard. I don’t know if this will harm the phone, but I have done it with several models and none of them has been damaged by the magnetic field. The N95 sometimes invokes the mode that would otherwise need you to flip the media playback keyboard open. Exactly when I mount it on the magnet. I guess the switch in the phone that opens that menu when you slide the phone is based on a magnet or something.

Mounting your N95 on the dashboard

Time lapse with Nokia phones

Sequence Mode

The people that are lucky enough to run around with iPhones in their pockets probably wonder what to do with their old phones. Here is a suggestion. Regular readers will know that I like photographic experiments. So first, the ones that just retired their Nokia N95. It has built in time lapse photography. Something called “sequence mode”. Simply choose what kind of sequence you want, click the trigger and let the camera snap an image at the selected interval.

Sequence Mode

I did an experiment and placed my N95 in the window of my car while out driving. It happily snapped an image every 10th second. Giving a stop motion movie of my short ride.

Very short and very useless.

The problem with proper time lapse photography is the fact that it takes time. I am not the happy owner of an iPhone, so I can’t just place my N95 in a window for a couple of weeks. So I decided to put my old and trusted Nokia 6630 into duty. You know, the phone that survived the 20 meter drop. It has no proper time lapse function built in. A little searching around the net and I found a solution. One involving a Java application and one involving a Python script. I decided to try the last one.

Nokia 6630

First you install Python on your phone. That involves installation of two applications. You find them here. You need the versions that are right for your phone. For my 6630 these are the files I installed:

1. PythonForS60_1_4_0RC1_2ndEdFP2.SIS
2. PythonScriptShell_1_4_0RC1_2ndEdFP2.SIS

You find some help installing Python on your phone here.


When these are installed your phone will start running “.py”-scripts

The script on Foozia’s blog mentioned earlier was made for Nokia N80, so I had to do some modifications to make it work on my old 6630. You can download my 6630-version here: 6630Timelapse.txt

Before you install it on your phone you need to remove the “.txt”-extension and replace it so the file name ends with “.py” and only “.py”. In other words, the file you send to your phone should be named “”.

Before you run it you also need to make a folder on the memory card of your phone. Use the built in file manager and make the following structure: Memory Card (e:): python/timelapse/

Your images will be stored there.

Run Script

Then you start Python and select “Run Script” from the menu. Give the project a name, decide a number of images and an interval. Note about the interval, choosing anything less than 5 seconds might cause problems. The phone needs some time to store the image on the memory card.

Time Lapse

Time to test it. I simply put it outside our window facing the sky. Snapping an image every 15th second during the evening until the sky went dark. My experiments indicates that the phone can snap about 500 or 600 images on one charge. Of course depending on the time interval. If you connect a charger you could leave it until the memory card is full.

And here’s another one. A couple of hours outside the window at work.

And how I made the videos? Install QuickTime and choose “File->Open Image sequence” on the first image of the sequence that your phone just made. Or just google “software make time lapse video from image sequence” or something like that…

I’ll bring that phone when travelling. Leave it in my hotel room to document the cleaning process. Leave it on stage while speaking, to document how many people left during my presentation… Endless possibilities.

Time lapse with Nokia phones

Quick image comparison – Nokia N80 vs N73

I just did a very quick image quality comparison between the Nokia N80 (left picture) and the Nokia N73 (right picture). Snapped one picture with each camera. Under quite poor conditions. Both are 3 megapixels.

For me it seems like the two biggest differences in addition to the form factor on these two phones are better image quality but no WLAN on the N73.

So what do you want – WLAN or high quality images? As usual, we want both. Good camera and WLAN…

You can download the original pictures here.

Quick image comparison – Nokia N80 vs N73

Mobile phone tennis

…or, augumented reality tennis. That’s what the creators of this nice application want to call it.

Mobile phone Tennis
It’s a game for Symbian based phones like the Nokia 6630, 6670, N series etc. The application use the camera in the phone to read the pattern on the table. It then analyze this stream of information and renders a tennis court on the screen of the mobile. When you move the mobile in any direction the tennis court will adjust. Meaning that the phone works like your tennis racket.

It uses both sound and vibration in the phone to give feedback to the user in addition to the actual game on the screen. The game is synchronized between the phones using bluetooth.

Link to video.

Credit goes to Anders Henrysson, Mark Billinghurst and Mark Ollila. More information and link to pictures and video here.

Mobile phone tennis

A cheap portable DVD and DivX player

Thomson DTH620
Thomson DTH 620
Travelling with kids can be anything from very rewarding and fun to a complete nightmare. Kids are in general very curious and easy to please as things happen around them on the way to a new destination. You always have the traditional games of spotting and counting special objects, following the map, telling stories etc.. If you combine these methods with some new technologies like MP3-players, iPods and portable DVD-Players you could end up managing even quite long trips with no problems.

I have written about the long plane ride and the iPod. In our car we have used a ridiculously cheap little LCD that I bought on eBay connected to my video iPod to show movies. Now the youngest one is old enough to understand what’s going on and we needed a second screen. I don’t want anything very expensive lying around in my car, so I went completely against my own rules of buying quality goods and bought a cheap portable DVD player as the second monitor. I haven’t put it on any hard tests yet, but it seems to fit in perfectly well in our media system in the car.

Thomson DTH 620 connectorsQuick specs:
– 7 inch widescreen
– DVD Player
– Supports DivX, Xvid, MP3, WMA
– Composite video out
– Stereo audio out
– Digital audio out
– Composite video in
– Stereo audio in
– Two headphone connectors
– A three hour battery

It connected to the old Eddie Bauer LCD with no problems. The old screen is NTSC only, but you can choose what signal the DTH620 will transmit on the video output.

So, pop in a DVD in the Thomson player, connect it to another screen as well, and you have the movie on both of them.

LCD screen connected to an iPod VideoConnect it to the video output on your video iPod and you suddenly have a 7 inch portable screen for your iPod. The battery life of the screen is three hours. Probably longer when you use it as a screen only (as long as your iPod provides the video the built in DVD player in the DTH 620 is at rest).

The fact that it plays DivX and Xvid is very nice. I encode my DVDs using AutoGK and end up with between 5 and 10 complete movies on one data DVD (450-700 mb pr. movie is more than enough for this little screen). The DTH620 shows a list of what’s on the DVD and let you choose movie. And I can fit in enough MP3 music and audio books for a veeeery long trip on one DVD as well.

The only problem I have found so far is that I can’t figure out how to get the right aspect on DivX movies that is encoded in true 16/9. It seems like the player only support anamorphic 16/9. Using AutoGK to encode I fix this by hitting Ctrl-F9 to bring up the “hidden options” and check off “.aspect” – Override input AR – Original. Then AutoGK will make a nice anamorphic 16/9-movie that plays fine on the DTH620.

I also miss a loop-through possibility that would let me input video from my iPod and loop it further on to the next screen. To feed both screens with one iPod I need to split the signal (not good) or buy an active video splitter. Anyway, right now the youngest boy wants to look at Teletubbies while the older one watch Nemo or Madagascar. One from a DVD and one from one of our iPods.

It came with a bag and a strap to mount it on the headrest. As well as a charger and connector for the car. I bought mine in Norway at the sometimes horribly expensive and sometimes very cheap Elkjøp for NOK 1295,- (about $200).

Time will show how long this player will last…

A cheap portable DVD and DivX player

The Apple Mobile Phone

CyberShot iPod Nokia 6630

Apple, please! Giving us an FM radio for the iPod in 2006 is an insult. Why? Why can’t you understand that it’s not the “iPod Radio Remote” we want. We want the “iPod Cellular Remote“. This product should have been a cellular attachment for the iPod. Same idea. Use the screen and the battery in the iPod. Just add a little external box with some keys, a cellular chip and preferably also wifi.

Wired had lots of coverage on what people want and why they don’t get it in issue 13.11. Seems like the biggest problem is the download service that should let you buy music directly through the cellular network. Crap.

30GB and 60GB iPod compared

This is what I want:
The 30 GB iPod is slightly thinner than the 60 GB. So, give me a device that is the size of a 60 GB iPod but with a 30 GB disk and use the available space to fit in a 3G cellular and wifi. Let me update my podcasts and buy music from iTunes music store when on a WiFi network or through my computer and let me use it like I use my cellular today when on a mobile network.

The main point here is not to be able to buy music on the go. It is the possibility to bring only one device and one set of headphones. And to own the most sexy cellular ever built.

My current mobile is close, but it lacks the storage space and the software to make things easy enough. That will be fixed at some point.

Right now I carry this around:

Nokia 6630
– Excellent phone
– Excellent calendar and adress book
– Camera (but not very good)
– Music player (but not very good)
– Video player (but not very good)

iPod 60GB Video
– Excellent music player
– OK video player
– calendar and adress book

Sony CyberShot DSC-P150
– Excellent camera

When Nokia removes the three “but not very good” from camera, music player and video player it’s good bye iPod and CyberShot.

Or, if Apple makes the perfect iPod Phone:
Apple’s Trademark Applications Hint At IPod Phone. It’s good bye Nokia…

The Apple Mobile Phone