Fri 6 June 2008 @ 17:42
Recently I discovered a fabulous project called ybox2. It is a very small set-top box that you have to self assemble. By very small, I mean that it fits inside an “Altoids” box, which would be slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes to those over this side of the Atlantic. It comes with a TV output, an Ethernet connection and a lot of interesting programming capability. Most interesting to me is the Twitter app that receives updates from your feed. There are some other good applications available too which might make it worth the investment in time.
The original YBoxes were made for Yahoo’s Open Hack Day and subsequently sold off for about $130. One of the guys at the event was a designed called Robert Quattlebaum, who subsequently hacked together some updates and released them to the public. His updates weigh in at less than half the price of the original, and are supposedly more flexible. The only drawback that I can see is the reliance on television to handle the display. Now, there is another option which seems to be to buy an old portable DVD player and use it for display purposes. That’d likely double the price though, which isn’t really the goal of this project.
It comes with a built-in web server, which does give it some interesting possibilities. It has 32k RAM which doesn’t allow that much storage, but the CPU is very powerful and does have enormous potential. Oh, it fits inside an Altoids tin, did I mention that?
An interesting thing happened over the last twenty four hours. I had saved this post as a draft and went away to do other things. The concept really excited me however, and I wanted to do something with a small device that would display interesting information to me. It had to be separate from any of the PCs I have here, and I had to be able to display a Twitter feed on it. That was my main motivation really. I wanted to be able to keep up to date with the news without having to start my PC or switch to a different application. Then it hit me. I have something that does this already. Not only that, but it has an operating system that I can write applications on. It is of course my Pocket PC, my trusty iPaq that I have had sitting here for ever.
I recently updated it from Windows Mobile 5 to version 6, which has resulted in a substantial speed increase. This version also allows remote display of Windows Sidebar applications, which has a lot of potential for.. well play really. I would post screen shots and a mini review of it, but it unfortunately doesn’t work with the Toshiba Bluetooth drivers on my laptop. I presume there will be a fix however which will deal with that issue soon enough.
Fri 21 January 2005 @ 05:25
Here's one unexpected benefit of this app I wrote for the PocketPC. I can write my blog from outside the house. Today this is of benefit because I've locked myself out. Anna is still in university, but my wireless LAN reaches outside the house. So I can post this data from here. Yay.
Wed 19 January 2005 @ 06:51
Today I started my new course in VB.Net. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting it to be as completely absorbing as it actually was. gone of the concepts I had understood intelectually but never actually put into practice. One of the core pieces that I picked up was about PocketPC, and namely that development of "Smart Device" programs was not actually rocket science. So, I came home and wrote a program to publish my blog from my PocketPC. This post was written with it!
Sat 2 March 2002 @ 11:27
This is pretty cool - I'm writing this on my PDA ;-) The quality of sites displayed on Pocket IE is far better than I had seen before. Text is still a complete bitch to enter though.
Mon 30 October 2000 @ 11:00
Been an intense week, did a course on Monday and Tuesday on time management, then fixed bugs for the rest of the week. The time management course was interesting and somewhat relevant to how I do stuff, and I'm hoping that I'll have the discipline to put it all into practice properly. Most of it can be applied to using MS Outlook, which means I can continue to use my PDA :-)
Sat 30 October 1999 @ 11:00
Going to get a hair cut - this is turning out to be an expensive habbit. For the second day in a row there was a fault with our phone line. It took me 10 minutes to get through to BT, and after an hour they rang back to tell me that yes - there was a problem! (later) Got a deadly job done on my hair. I was booked with the same stylist as before, and he was really good. He recognised me too, and was asking what the reaction had been to me getting my hair chopped. So, I embarrassed him a little by saying everyone went wild when they saw it.(later) We went to Waterstones after that and picked up my German course book. Discovered that Waterstones have a fantastic cafe in the basement. I also bought a book on Linux programming, with which I intend to learn a little more on C & C++ programming. The challenge is to re-write a shell script I have which tests the contents of a CD against previously stored checksums (if they exist). By the way, in case you were wondering, I've taken to writing this on my Palm Pilot as it happens usuallyon the tube - makes it a little bit more accurate :-) (later) We we going to qo and see a plotographic exhibition by some guy whose name we can't remember now, which consisted of pictures of Hollywod stars from the 40's onwards. Apparently this guy got better pictures than anyone else because he was friends with many of the people he was photographing - they saw him as an insider instead of one of the papparazzi. Anyway, I wasn't really in the mood to see this and we would have had to walk for ages in the rain to get to it, so we went to see the Blair Witch Project instead. I'm dissappointed, I thought it was going to be a lot more scary than it really was :-( In fact, we really didn't think it was that good at all. It has perhaps ben hyped a little too much, and there have been too many reviews saying that it was the greatest scary movie since before the introduction of special effects… but I didn't really enjoy it that much.
Sun 22 August 1999 @ 11:00
I'm back :-) If any of you out there in cyberspace have actually missed my daily rants, then I apologise for taking away your fix. Get a life! You all know my phone number… use it! So, here's a synposis of the last 2 months : I've been working a lot, been away to the US twice, nearing the end of project Kili, getting on brilliantly with Anna, making tentative plans for our wedding, discovered the joy of Palm Pilots, seen some good movies, and it looks like we're going to Turkey on holidays.
OK, here are some details : work is the usual ballistic it was before I stopped writing. We're in the process of hiring some new staff though , which will make things a little easier on me. Anna doesn't like it that I work so much, and I have to agree with her. Unfortunately I have to do the work too - otherwise it simply won't get done. At least the end is in sight - AOL5 should be out before too long, and at that stage I'm going to take a holiday for a while. It looks like myself, Anna, Mum and Dad, and Kevin and Clem are all going to go to a small place outside Kusadasi in Turkey in late September. I'm rather looking forward to that, should be a lot of fun. It's going to be one of those drunk sunny shithead weeks ;-) Plans for the wedding have started to take shape too - from the point of view that we've actually started to formulate some kind of plan for how we want the day to go. We're thinking period costume for the principles, particularly considering the setting, which is lik something out of a fairy tale. More on that as we decide it :-)