30 May 2005

new nokia n90 preview comments

as nokia starts running out of cool 4-digit numbers to name their phones, they are now also running out of cool ideas to make their phones look unique. they've tried hideous lipstick cases, curved dialing pads, and even the fisher-price my-first-phone!

it is no surprise they have fallen back on the tried and tested patented clam-shell design pioneered by motorola. yes, in fact the rumour was that nokia never used the clam shell design because they had to pay motorola license fees. problem is that nearly all the phones in japan are clam-shell, so there must be some reason it is so popular.

mobile review has a nice preview of the new n90, which features a carl-zeiss lens on a phone. for those who don't know, carl-zeiss is a very famous lens brand on high-end lenses, and now also features in isights. this phone and the sony ericsson k750i are the high-end cameraphones to look out for. they approach the 2-3megapixel mark yet maintaining their phone look to encourage people to carry them around.

 Review Image Nokia N90 Pic3

the phone has a weird clamshell design containing a swivel joint so they can fit a nice big lens to solve the big complaint about camera phones on their low quality lenses. actually, if you look at that, it's kinda like the isight's construction. EXCEPT, that someone has taken apart the isight and the lens isn't actually that big!

back to the phone itself, it is part of nokia's new n-series, which i guess stands for nokia? i'm actually more interested in the other n-series phones, especially the n91 which is basically the ipod mini killer with phone. the only thing that can stop the n91 from being the ipod mini killer if it gets the software wrong. and that is something that nokia has proven it can screw up time and time again! (btw, why is nokia's website so hideously covered with flash?)

anyway, back to the n90, i'm more interested in the software. it seems like they've prettied up their icons a bit to make them look more like sony ericsson's icons (some weird 3d perspective). the phone physically is quite big, bigger than my nokia 6600. the phone has two colour LCDs, one on the outside, one on the inside. this one actually has an MMC slot that doesn't need you to remove the battery to access. finally they learn their lesson from the n-gage disaster!

 Review Image Nokia N90 Pic47-1

the thing i notice, and the review also talks about is the screen fonts. notice the photo above, the n90 is on the left and an old nokia phone is on the right. they've seemed to have swapped the title and the button bar fonts around. the top fonts are fatter and the bottom fonts are thinner. i'd prefer if they used a consistent font in the interface rather than whatever suits their mood on the day.

other notable thing on the software side is it is still symbian series 60. also plays AAC and AAC+ (what is that?) that is the same for the n91 i was talking about earlier. i noticed that realplayer is on the n90, so maybe the music playing features for the n91 is also from realplayer. if it is, then i'd stay clear from the phone if my experience with realplayer on palm is anything to go by.

realplayer on palm looks nice, but is clunky and hard to use. i ended up using aeroplayer on my palm zire 71 to get any decent performance. realplayer would also refuse to play mp3s with low bitrates, etc. all sorts of gotchas that you wouldn't expect. i hope their version on n91 is not going to be as crap.

finally, there are some videos in the preview on the operating speed. suffice to say, i'm disappointed with the speed of the menus. please, can we have something faster than my nokia 6600 menus? i don't want to wait 3 seconds for my menus to show!

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30 May 2005

delicious improvements

over the weekend, i spent some time to improve the delicious module for drupal. i've basically re-written the whole thing to be more drupal-style.

features now include:
1. recent links blocks now can be restricted by tags (so you can tag things with a custom tag and only have your block show those links)
2. the backend puts the links into the database rather than parsing XML on demand every time. this means it should be faster.
3. reduced the number of XML-RPC calls needed. getting all the posts in one hit already gets us all the recent posts and tags from delicious.
4. i've hacked in some favicon fetching stuff after a special request. it looks pretty sweet, except that firefox seems to be able to render some .ico that safari can't. (on another note, my favicon renders in a weird way when used in firefox.)
5. removed all the local delicious link displays (go to delicious for those, why replicate the same interface?)
6. multiple blocks supported
7. fixed some utf-8 issues that stopped chinese/japanese characters to be displayed on utf-8 compliant sites. i'm not quite sure how i can go about detecting that in drupal.

still needs some more testing before i'm going to suggest to the maintainer of the current delicious module to give up on his version and use mine. but if you'd like to play around with the code, let me know and i'll send you a copy.

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28 May 2005

offline for 1/2 day

whoops. not quite sure what happened. but a combination of php updates on the debian stable box which this web site is hosted on (i have no say on this free web host i'm using) and also me mucking around with a next generation delicious module for drupal has managed to bring down me site for half a day.

i've fixed it out, but things may still be screwed for a little longer. on the up side, i've managed to setup a nearly identical mirror of my drupal setup on my powerbook.

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27 May 2005

virtual holiday in tokyo

check out the cool virtual map of tokyo from tokyo picturesque. overlayed on top of a satellite photo of tokyo is points where people have submitted photos of places they've taken photos that make tokyo look picturesque. (how many times can i mention tokyo in a sentence?)


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27 May 2005

google print knows about fight club

so google print beta is online now, and it is kinda fun to search for books that i already know about.

so if you search "the first rule of fight club" from the famous chuck palahniuk book (and brad pitt movie) "fight club", you don't actually got chuck palahniuk's book. hrmm .. so maybe google ALSO knows that the first rule of fight club is not to return a search result about fight club.

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26 May 2005

fooling around with quartz composer

in macosx tiger, there is a new fun development tool called quartz composer. it's apple's way of showing off their quartz rendering engine. you don't need to write a single line of code to create some pretty cool effects. nice thing is that the effects you use as a screen saver or just to make stupid videos for your friends.


the whole thing is a drag and drop affair. you can feed in live data or static images and connect up different effects to make your little stupid animation. i've made one that i've wanted to do for a long time. this is a particle system that uses audio as the input parameter. so the quieter your environment, the smaller the pieces, the louder it is, the larger the particles. kinda useless, but it would make a funny screen saver.

you can download it to play around if you wish. quartzify.qtz (5K - yes, the file only is 5K in size!)

if you're interested like me, check out what other people have done. looks like you can create some pretty neat computer art with it! i'm surprised that apple isn't pushing something like this with garageband for some funky DJ + artist setup.

as for research content wise, there is already a simple sobel edge detector, so you can write "patches" (thats what one box in that picture is called) that do other things like maybe recognise tags, or plot location sightings, google maps etc. too bad you can't export it to something more usable like an actual app or even a flash movie.

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26 May 2005

many questions about this product

 Review Pics 49 8
1. is that Tr"iPod" ?
2. i can't see the third leg, but if it also has a speaker, then is that tri-ereo?
3. are there really three channels for sound? left right and, emm .. centre?

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26 May 2005

don't play with your food!

mocoloco has an article covering some design-mart. lots of things captured my eye, but the best one has got to be this:

 Archives Icff Klauser Barford Solita

what, a plate of maltersers which your guests (or yourself) can play with, and eat! it just makes the victory all the more sweeter (literally!) there's some more kick ass stuff at mocoloco, check it out!

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26 May 2005

mlblog is alive at anil.recoil.org

anil has updated his blog and gallery with his new and shiny mlblog. although probably nothing to do with ml or blog, he's got a very nice gallery, should go check it out. he's managed to do something really sweet in the back end with text files and images. he's probably explain in better, but as far as i know, the backend just consists of a directory of "stuff", and the engine just generates the pages by figuring out what type each file is (pdf, img, html) and making them look pretty.

better yet, he's got a complete tagging system kinda like delicious. it maybe possible for me to hack that into my own gallery engine, foton, since all my photos (maybe around 3000) are actually tagged in iphoto with names and locations. you can see keywords in the info popup on each page, but i'll never be able to integrate my photo gallery with drupal though.

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24 May 2005

cool (useless) magazine interface

puma has a e-catalog that has some funny interface.


it looks like you are sitting in a toilet looking down at the catalog, and one hand is holding on edge of the catalog, and the other hand is controlled by your mouse. when you hold the mouse down, the hand attempts to grab the edge of the page. so apart from being very frustrating to actually turn the page on the catalog, its very slow as well!

(via coolhunting)

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