Cheap, hackable Linux smartphone?

Prototype Linux smartphones

One of the world's largest computer and consumer electronics manufacturers will ship a completely open, Linux-based, GPS-equipped, quad-band GSM/GPRS phone direct, worldwide, for $350 or less, in Q1, 2007. First International Computing's (FIC's) “Neo1973” or FIC-GTA001, is the first phone based on the open-source “OpenMoKo” platform.

When I first heard about this, I didn't think much about it but then I started to check out the specs. It sounds and looks a lot like the Windows Mobile devices made by HTC. And to be honest I like the devices but I'm not super keen on the mobile windows operating system. However Symbian for me still isn't great.

The Neo1973 is based on a Samsung S3C2410 SoC (system-on-chip) application processor, powered by an ARM9 core. It will have 128MB of RAM, and 64MB of flash, along with an upgradable 64MB MicroSD card.

Typical of Chinese phone designs, the Neo1973 sports a touchscreen, rather than a keypad — in this case, an ultra-high resolution 2.8-inch VGA (640 x 480) touchscreen. “Maps look stunning on this screen,” Moss-Pultz said.

The phone features an A-GPS (assisted GPS) receiver module connected to the application processor via a pair of UARTs. The commercial module has a closed design, but the API is apparently open.

The Neo1973 will charge when connected to a PC via USB. It will also support USB network emulation, and will be capable of routing a connected PC to the Internet, via its GPRS data connection.

Moss-Pultz notes that the FIC-GTA001, or Neo1973, is merely the first model in a planned family of open Linux phones from FIC. He expects a follow-up model to offer both WiFi and Bluetooth. “By the time one ships, the next one is half done,” he says.

Like most things, its maybe best to skip the first generation and wait for the next one. There's no way I'm getting a phone with no Wifi or Bluetooth. But that super rich VGA is certainly worth checking out.

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BarCampLondon in .Net magazine

.net magazine

Paul Annett's article on BarCampLondon made it into issue number 156 of .net Magazine (hits the newsagents tomorrow – 18th October). You can see some previews on his flickr stream. But not everything is rosey, there was a miss quote by some freelance sub-editor who rewrote a sentence by Sarah Blow, who wrote the whole lot up in a good blog post. Paul has a response…

Apologies to girls who came for the bit about “token” girl attendees – this was re-written by the mag after I submitted the article, and is not my words. It's disrespectful and goes completely against the sentiment of the paragraph, which was about encouraging more girls to attend – now it sounds unwelcoming, as if there was only one girl and her attendance was worthless.

I look forward to seeing Future Publishing's official response to this. But according to a brief chat with Sarah earlier today. .Net Magazine may be sponsoring a girl geek dinner as an apology for their mistake in the print of the last BarCampLondon female representation. Good on you Sarah…

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number 12 – Religion

Faith

Me and Sarah this time get to grips with the very difficult subject of religion in this 1 hour podcast. This might be a little shocking if your not aware of me and Sarah's position on the religion debate. And yes its not going to be as clean and as well thought out as Dave Slusher's podcast about the same subject but its just me and sarah talking like we usually do. Nothing more, nothing less.

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London Geek Picnic – 26th August 2006

Diana Memorial Fountain

Almost directly from Geekdinner.co.uk and following on from my earlier post

This month we're going to do something a little different…

I call it a London Geek Picnic

The geek picnic is simply an excuse to sit around with other geeks, enjoying the sunshine and contributing towards an excellent day of fun. This is also a chance to bring your better half, friend, crush to something geeky but not overally geeky (save it for September).

Who's the Guest?

There will be no guest this time around, so we're providing a soapbox and megaphone for anyone to talk about something geeky. I'm hoping we can get everyone up at one point, even if its for 30secs.
Other entertainment will include Frisbee and anything else people decide to bring

What will you need to bring?

Something to sit on like an old rug, some drinks of your own choosing and something from the list of picnic food and gear. And don't worry besides bringing plastic cups or crisps there will be no other cost. (the list and wiki are being generated)

What about the British Weather?

If it looks like rain a couple of days before, we will cancel the picnic and we'll try again for another better day. If it rains on the day, we can camp out at a local coffee shop till we get sunshine again. I would love to find an alternative venue, if you have one in mind let us know.

How do I sign up?

Unlike previous geekdinner's I need people who sign up to also bring a certain item. So you can now sign up on the wiki by marking your name next to an item or two.

Details

When: Aug 26th 3pm till about 10pm (expect to move on by 10pm)
Where:
Hyde Park, London.
Nearest Underground:
Lancaster Gate station
Special Guest: You!
Cost:
Nothing, just bring something from the list

More details and the link to the wiki (use password ty1t1yyyp1p1) will be published this weekend. Feel free to post a comment to show your interest. please note i moderate comments, they will be authorised asap…

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Geek picnic and geek in the park

picnic

So to clear things up before things get confusing. I have been planning a geekpicnic for the last month and totally independant of my thoughts the great guys at multipack came up with a simlar idea called geek in the park. But to be honest, its nothing new, I've been thinking about a geekcamp for a good part of a year and there has been geekbbq's for a while now. By the way, the next one is next week Saturday (Saturday 5th August). So what I'm saying is that Geek Picnic (named to be confirmed) and Geek in the Park are not the same and are aware of each other.

So whats up with the date? Well I searched for stuff which is happening in August. The first major free festival is the Notting Hill Carnival is on Aug 27-28th. There's stuff happening on the weekend of the 19th August including the V Festivial, Secret garden party and others. While on the August 26th there is only South West Four and Creamfields which are both pay only event for ravers (I guess I'm over the hill now). Now there is a BBC Prom but I don't think I need to worry about it too much because there's one almost everyday during August. I also had a flick through Craigslist event calendar and Jigsawuk but there pretty quite for August right now.. So generally the 5th and 12th are maybe too soon and I'm not sure about the 19th. But the 26th August looks great except the weather looks to be not so hot.

More to come… More about the Venue and what will happen on the day…

So whats the deal with the speaker? Well there wasn't going to be one… I was actually planning to pull up a couple of the people who will be there and ask them nicely to speak about their passion. Generally the day would be a chance to just chill out with likeminded people and enjoy the sun and food. Depending on the choice of park we could have a BBQ which I would prefer, as it would be a focus point and at least a common talking point. We could have some music from a battery run device and therefore a microphone and amp setup if needed.

Where will the venue be? Like everything I've been thinking about this a lot too. Ideal it would be Hyde Park, which everyone can get to or even Regents Park. But both don't allow you to BBQ. So looking around I could suggest a whole range of other small parks around Holburn, Euston, etc. But they also don't allow BBQ's either. Battersea looks good but I'm unsure about BBQing. You will also notice I'm starting to work my way out of central London which always causes arguements, but I know for a fact Clapham Common and Wimbledon Park both allow BBQ's.

Talking to Sarah (my wife), she seems to think there's no point in doing the BBQ part. Keep it simple and just have a cooperative picnic in somewhere central London seems to be the message. And maybe shes right specially after the geekBBQ which is happening on the same month. So it looks like somewhere in Hyde Park will be fine.

So in summary, It will be a geek picnic in Hyde Park and should happen around 26th August. I'll write it up fully tomorrow and stick it on the geekdinner website.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number eleven – The Experience

Me and Sarah discuss a few things in this 1 hour podcast. Some things I've talked about in previous blog entries and others are quite new.

  • Xbox 360 hacked?
  • Sanyo HD Camcorder
  • Movie Piracy
  • Its the experience that counts
  • Snakes on the plane
  • Don't copy that floppy
  • Geekdinner
  • Rocketboom
  • Police with guns
  • Sarahs now British

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Last nights geekdinner with Chris Anderson

 Chris talking to Dedrie, Rachel and Chris

Well I'm still pretty speechless about yesterday's Geekdinner with Chris Anderson. Not only was it the most popular geekdinner I've done to date (between 80-90 people came along, not including the @media social) but it was also the most stressful in a good way. Before I go into details, I would like to say thank you to Dr Jo Twist, Rina Gill, Nizam Shaikh and of course Chris Anderson.

What made the geekdinner stressful was the amount of time between announcement of the event and the actual event, which was a total of 7 days. I found a venue the Bottlescrue on Holburn Viaduct which allowed me to have the back room free on a Friday night. The room held about 40-50 people maximum, but there was space outside of the room for overspill. This was great because according to the signups on Wednesday it looked like we may get about 35 people. (The maths I usually do according to most other geekdinners I've done is, take the signup half them and add a few more.) Well this time my maths was badly wrong. Almost everyone who signed up, came along and then some. So we quickly ran out of food. So half way through the night just before Chris talked, I pleaded with the manager to buy more food. And in the end all the extra cash went straight back into more food. Honestly, ask Nizam, we bought everything they had. Nothing was left after the geekdinner, no chips, no pittabread, no crisps, no nothing. So big cheers to the Bottlescrue for doing everything they could and coping under the massive pressure. I'm sure there profits for the night went through the roof. I'm also glad I didn't have to run to tesco and buy tons of stuff.

The only other negative for the night which was also related to the huge crowd of people who turned up, was the move to outside. Outside was fantatstic and the London summer air was warm and inviting. But it also meant traffic and noise from the street. When it came time for Chris to talk, he was always fighting against the background noise of the street and general bar area. I positioned him where I thought it might be best, aka noise behind the crowd but there were so many people it was hard for Chris to shout that loud. I'm very sorry to everyone who were around the fringes who found it very hard to hear him. If we were inside it would be very different and usually at geekdinners, I have a microphone and PA system setup. Oh and for the record, I did try and rent one from work, but they wouldn't let me take it out of the building. So I might have to invest a cheap one from ebay or something.

Ok finally on to the positive and frankly amazing night of fun the geekdinner was yesterday. Chris was on top form, I was worried because Rina did say he had just done 3 talks that day and was slightly tired but was very much up for the geekdinner. Actually talking to Chris briefly, he said he was actually look forward to the geekdinner more than anything else, simply because it was his type of thing. Who could say no to Beer, food and good conversation in a nice London bar during Summer? Anyway he was a little concerned about projecting his voice when he finally got to the venue but was happy to hang out and speak to people after a 45min Q and A. So while the food was being consumed quickly, I hit two glass bottles together and got the talk going.

Now I didn't record the whole thing but Kosso did. So as soon as he uploads the video, I'll link to it. I did however start to record the question and answers. And will have them up soon. As usual there are tons of photos by myself being uploaded to Flickr using the tags londongeekdinner and geekdinner.

I was highly impressed with the amount of new people who turned up and I have to say the percentage of women to men wasn't that bad either.

Thanks again to everyone who came, I'm planning the next one with someone from Amazon for late July. So keep your eyes on the geekdinner site for announcements.

The videos from yesterday are now up.. There a quarter of the size and encoded in Mpeg4. Quicktime and VLC will play it back no real problem.

Chris talks about wired's advertising problem
Chris Anderson on the Long Tail – 4meg

Ask the first question
Chirs Anderson starting the question and answers – 31.8meg

Chris disagrees on Net Netrailty
Chris Anderson on Net Netrality – 13.7meg

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Geekdinner with Chris Anderson – Today Friday 7th 2006

Me recording Chris at the BBC

After a weeks worth of promoting, the Longtail geekdinner with Chris Anderson is today. Funny enough, it may turn out to be one of the most popular geekdinner's we have done for a while now. The sign up looks like we may get close to the Dave Shea geekdinner which was limited by the venue more that anything else. I actually thought it would be a low sign up because Chris has been talking all over London the last few days. But then I saw this from Beers and Innovations Dedrie.

In addition to press interviews and the like, Google, The Economist, Reuters, IPPR, Amazon and the BBC have internal events with Mr A in the Greater London Area. All corporations (IPPR excepted) that produce and / or aggregate content, all looking to engage with a thinker and perhaps emerge from the meeting with a light dusting of Long Tail magic on their staff, processes and strategy.

For the rest of us outside the corporate walls, there’s a Geek Dinner this Friday 7th July at which Chris will also speak and partake in a Q&A with the crowd. To attend you just need to add your comment here.

If it’s anything like the last Geek Dinner I went to (which featured Marc Canter as guest) – this could be a better chance to get past the basics and really get the synapses firing than more high-profile public events.

The key part is the last part. See Chris won't have the chance to simply do his presentation again. There will be no projector or laptop, just geeks. This is certainly a chance to really get geeky and discuss the long tail at a level which you may not get anywhere else. To be honest, geekdinner is a great example of the longtail. Its very niche and wouldn't work as a mass market type of thing. This is what I don't get when people write to me and suggest that geekdinner could be something bigger that it is now.

Back to tonight. I've finally worked out all the details.

When: Friday 7th July 2006 (today)
Where: The Bottlescrue
53 – 60 Holburn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2FD
Nearest Underground: City Thameslink (Holburn Viaduct) or Chancery Lane Station
Time: 18:30 – 23:00
Special Guest: Chris Anderson
Cost: 5 pounds (Final price)

Hope to see you all there…

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Videos from the @media Social now online

At the @media Social, there were some talks given by some of the speakers of the @media conference. And I managed to stick slightly smaller versions on my server. There in Mpeg4 format because thats what my new Sanyo shoots in and VLC compresses nicely into. I've tested them with Quicktime and VLC but nothing much else sorry. I may try compressing to Xvid at some point in the future if people ask for it. Enjoy… and I'm sorry the Javascript one is slightly cut, my camera battery died near the end.

CSS get together

Molly quizes Andy about moving on the CSS discussion
With Molly Holzschlag and Andy Clarke

Have I got Accessbility for you?

Have I got accessbility for you
With Andy Clarke, Patrick Lauke and others

Javascript get together

Javascript get together
With Jeremy Keith, Dean Edwards, PPK and Chris Heilmann

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Next geekdinner is the @media Social

@media 2006: Europe's Premier Web Design Conference. London, 15th - 16th June.

Something I've been working on for the last few months now, has now finally become reality. The next geekdinner will be part of the post @media social event. And the whole event is FREE for anyone to enter enjoy. Unlike most geekdinners, we are going to be open for 10 hours. Right off the bat, between 1pm – 2pm will be the @media lunch. Which will be a chance to have lunch with some fine designers while discussing the previous nights at the conference or webdesign generally. Then we dive into some key webdesign issues like CSS, Accessibility, Javascript and Design generally. These get togther sessions will quite adhoc and may contain a small panel of people if we get enough people interested. This is also a good time to relax with some beers or wines with likeminded people in the different areas of the Livery. Just before 6pm its a good idea to put your order in for dinner, because from 6pm we will be having a tradional sit down geekdinner with maybe some entertainment or discussion before the party at the end of the night.

So the date for your diary is Saturday 17th June from 1pm onwards at the Livery. Which is 130 Wood Street, just off Cheapside or a short walk from St Pauls Station which is on the central line. I hope to see you all there.

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Diggnation in London?

Diggnation 45 at E3

So me and Sarah were watching Diggnation episode 44 and at the end there was a email from a guy called Martin in York (england) who asked if the guys were coming to England any time soon? At this point Alex and Kevin start talking about coming to London… Now its no real secret that me and Katy have been talking to the guys about coming to London for a geekdinner but this was a suprise for even me. I've got the whole 1min (3meg) clip on my server in Xvid and Divx formats.

So if you would like to show your support for the Diggnation guys to come to London, do email them on diggnationfans@gmail.com.

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London geekdinner’s the most popular geekdinners?

London geekdinner top of flickr clusters

I spent a lot of time on Flickr this week, something to do with our BBC awayday presentation. Anyway I was amazed at the quality and quantity of photos. The longtail effect can easily be witnessed on Flickr. But something struck me while looking for pictures of geeks. First if you do search for the tag geek in the cluster format, you will notice Londongeekdinner is 3rd on the right and theres a selection of pictures from the last few dinners. But also if you search for geekdinner, London is 1st. So if you do the maths, according to Flickr's engine. London has the most popular geekdinners in the world?

Looking at Google, the same is also the case. Amsterdam gets a mention at 3rd spot and Denmark gets 5th place. Although Google still thinks I'm searching for gardiner. Google's blog search for geekdinner echo's pretty much what the regular search has. Theres actually quite a few pointers to this blog in the top 10 list. What I find funny at the moment is the lack of American geekdinners, so I thought I'd try searching in Technorati. And believe it or not, only a single geekdinner from north america came up in the top 20 results. The Sussex geekdinner came up first with talk about Amsterdam and other European countries not far behind that. Singapore was also mentioned a few times, which is great to see.

So it looks like London is the popular geekdinner destination right now. I'm expecting this will contuine with some of the great events being aranged in June by myself and July/August by Sarah Blow of Girlgeekdinners. Oh on a side point if you try searching for girl geekdinner in anything, you always find links back to the London Girl geekdinners. There doesn't seem to be any other part of the world doing girl geekdinners.

Talking about Geekdinners the interviews from the last geekdinner are now up on Archive.org. There all in Xvid format for now, but licenced under a share-a-like licence so your welcome to re-encode them.

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Last nights geekdinner with Marc Canter

London Geekdinner with Marc Canter

So how did it go? It was bloody awesome! Marc Canter was a fantastic guest and really went into lots of detail in regards to his next project – The digital life aggregator. There were tons of questions and as usual a bit of a conversation broke out in the cellar bar of the Polar Bear. Marc loves interactivity and started asking questions of the audience which was a little amusing. The turn out of people was close to 35, which is not bad for a Bank Holiday Monday before work the next day. A lot of the regulars were not there due to other commitments with Family over the mayday Bank Holiday. But once again we had a healthy mix of new and regulars at the geekdinner. You know Geekdinners have a good rep when people start attending from another country. No but seriously Eric and Anne were passing through from Chicago and decided to come along to the geekdinner too. Thank you guys for coming and next time someone says I would attend but its too far, I will remind them of you guys who made it from Chicago.

I did do a selection of video recording on the night but not Marc Canter's talk. However Kosso might have the last half of the talk recorded. I expect to have the other videos up online maybe over the weekend once I clear it with the interviewers. One of the weird ones which will go up pretty soon is Me being interviewed by dotBen who is leaving the shores of the UK for the golden shores of America soon. Other videos include Deirdre talking about Content 2.0, Tom and Kosso talking about OPML which has also been captured here. Simon talking about SXSW and how he got there and of course Marc Canter summing up how he felt the night went. There's a whole bunch of Geekdinner pictures from me, Rachel and Lloyd on Flickr using the tag geekdinner and Londongeekdinner.

A big thanks to everyone who attended the event and made it another great geekdinner event. I'm hoping to do one when I get back from the states (June). But look out for the Girl geekdinner on the 16th May maybe at the Polar Bear. There maybe a suprise geekdinner with someone quite big in the web 2.0 world in late May, hosted by someone else. Best thing is to keep an eye on the Geekdinner.co.uk website for future details. And don't forget to send me a email if your would like to be on the Geekdinner mailing list.

Thanks once again to everyone who attended once agin and a big thanks to Marc Canter who was the mashup meetup tonight. See you all at the We Media Fringe event tomorrow.

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London’s Intellectually Curious dinners?

Food for thought, from Slashdot on Wednesday by an anonymous reader.

Slashdotters are certified geeks, but apparently there's a bunch of other people out there who are very interested in science, technology, politics and culture but they don't want to be known as geeks. A media consulting firm called OMD did a study for the company that owns Space.com and LiveScience. They conclude that 60 million Americans can be called “intellectually curious.” Intellectually, I'm curious what that makes the rest of them.

I know for all the progress people have made with the word Geek, people still cringe when I ask if they fancy going to a geekdinner. Its kind of weird being a self confessed geek and seeing geek tendious in other people but they refuse to submit to these natrual urges. So i've been thinking maybe just maybe we would actually attract more people if the name changed. Not to say I'll be changing it, its just a thought that we could actually be celebrating the side effect of intellectual curiousity not the source its self. I guess like celebrating a blogging application rather than the application of blogging?

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One of the meetup features I miss

Meetup

I will be first to admit that Meetup.com has some good features, but since they started charging the group origaniser it seems like there has been a move away from its system. The problem is where do you move to? Eventful and Upcoming are my prefered services but there are things like Zevents also. However all of them don't quite have all the features of meetup.

One of the features which I miss from Meetup is the ability to print out signs to attract people to the event when your at the actual venue. Last nights London Blogger's meetup was a small affair but attracted some regulars to geekdinner but I also finally met Jo. Jo printed out the meetup sign and placed it on the long table in all bar one, soho. I certainly miss this.

So I've decide to build a XSL transform to generate one of these for Eventful events. My first thought was to transform the XHTML page which already has microformat data for the event.. But quickly realised that the page isn't XHTML at all, for example my next geekdinner event. So unless I cleaned up the HTML first using something like Jtidy first it seemed pointless. So I started looking at the RSS and ATOM feeds. And there is where I struck gold. In the ATOM feed there is everything you need and more. Unlike the RSS feed which is simple RSS 2.0 with A9 Opensearch and Yahoo Media RSS extentions, the ATOM feed has some google data extention. The schema links no where but contains the event dates, location and more. All defined in nice namespaced elements which means its easy to pull out the data needed for the XSL transformation. I was hoping to adapt the XSL to transform not only Eventful ATOM feeds but also upcoming events. But there syndication is either ical or some odd combined html/javascript yahoo or google export. Which really sucks because its not valid XHTML. I'll post my XSL one I'm done. But I'm also considering a XSL-FO transform instead of CSS and XSL. Although its tempting to use XSL 2.0, I 'm going to resist so people can download it and apply the XSL locally. Humm maybe a simple Greasemonkey script will make this even easier to apply to any eventful event.

So using Cocoon and a simple XSL, you can now see any event from Eventful in a design which can be printed out on a black and white printer and pinned up at the event or before the event. Its not quite the table things I was thinking about before, Instead its a useful A4 poster. To use the service? simply enter the eventful unique code into the url after http://cubicgarden.com/cocoon/eventful/poster/{eventful code}. So here's a list of test events.

Please note you need to view the print preview to actually see the correct poster, because I'm using two stylesheets one for print and another for the screen. Oh and the current XSL is here. Please modify it if you feel the need, its released under a creative commons licence.

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