Can we have store-and-forward SMS please?

So I'm on the tube this morning and realise I need to tell Holly something. I send her atext message on my phone. Now this is pretty damn advanced phone, you'd think it could handle that. There is, of course, no mobile reception on the tube, but it should be trivial for the phone to wait until there is reception and then send the message. Don't fucking expect it!

So when can we expect store-and-forward to work for SMS? We're not talking rocket science here.

Whatever happened to the self-cooling can?

As a kid growing up in rural Australia, I used to religiously watch a programme called Towards 2000 (inexplicably renamed Beyond 2000 in 1981) which showed cool technology we could look forward to seeing. For the Brits, I imagine Tomorrow's World was the same idea and probably where they nicked the idea.

Anyway, I distinctly remember a really cool thing being demonstrated: a drink can that cooled the drink within when you popped the top. Now this was back in the early to mid eighties and now, twenty years on, I still haven't seen the technology.

From memory the can had a small CO2 cylinder which was released when you opened the can. The expanding gas would cool down the drink, so cold that there would be a thin film of ice on top. Brilliant!

Holly and I are going to be spending a lot of time over the next half year camping, and there's nothing nicer after pitching your tent than a cold beer. But we won't be carrying an esky, so where are these self-cooling cans we were promised?

A quick Google around finds New Scientist talking about such a device, though it looks like a fairly different technology. Maybe the CO2 thing was too expensive or there were safety issues. So it looks like this sucker exists, and has done for some time. So, beer manufacturers, how about it? I'd pay a premium for only having to carry the beer, not ice and insulation!

It's a boom, not a bubble!

Bubble Goo IPO cartoon seriesfrom Suck

Wired are doing their cheerleading again. This time, we're assured, it's a boom and not a bubble. Of course, last time Wired told us we were in for 25 years of prosperity, freedom and a better environment for the whole world.

Still, the last bubble was a lot of fun, even if it means my CV is littered with companies that no longer exist. Must be time to dust off my plans for Bubble Goo and make bank.


I was about to recommend Konica Minolta for anyone buying a digitial camera, but now I guess I won't bother. Reason for the recommendation was their repair division. The lens got stuck so I posted it off and got it back, no charge, in two weeks. It's what we should expect for warranty repairs, but not often what we get.

Geo hacking

Got back from NYE in Paris last night. Photos soon.

Meanwhile, I've been toying with my new phone (Nokia 6630) and Bluetooth GPS. Took this track while wandering around Paris on Saturday. You can see me wandering around the square in front of the Louvre pyramid looking for Margaret, then we wander off to grab a (rather good) kebab in the Quartier Latin.

I'm toying with this stuff. The tool I'm using, AFTrack is nicely configurable. You can set it up to hit an arbitrary web page passing it GPS data, which will make some cool stuff possible involving travel and blogging.

DLT drive working

Thanks to Christian's provision of a SCSI cable, I've been able to get a DLT drive going for Peaceworkers. The drive itself came free from Freecycle. I'll be a lot happier knowing Peaceworkers are getting proper backup.

So now we need to get it installed into Peaceworkers and get them some tapes. Anyone got a cheap source for tapes? They're DLT IIIxt which are 15 (30 if you use tape manufacturer arithmetic) gigs. They'll need a cleaning tape too.

This is the first time I've really messed about with tape drives under Linux. Not entirely obvious or well documented, but fortunately my brother was online to point me in the right direction. Once you know the basics, it's quite easy.

Locked BIOS on laptop

A while ago I bought a broken Toshiba 3110CT laptop for parts for the functioning one. I needed one bit and buying a laptop with a broken screen was a lot cheaper than the part from Toshiba.

Anyway, the laptop itself is otherwise fine and I was thinking of using it to record telly using my snazzy new DVB-t thingy. I hadn't bothered powering it on in the past, but now I discover it has a BIOS password set. Toshiba laptops seem to be pretty secure in this regard, no little CMOS switch or battery backup to wipe the CMOS.

So I've been hunting around on the net to find a solution. For this model there seems to be two possible solutions. Option 1 uses a floppy, though I suspect this is for older models. I'll try making the disk at work tomorrow and see. Option 2 involved paying stupid amounts of money to snakes like these for some magic USB key thingy. Bah!

Anyone got any better ideas?

New toy!

Freecom DVB-T USB Stick

Just bought a new toy, the Freecom DVB-t USB Stick. It's a tiny, USB digital TV receiver. Worked brilliantly at work yesterday (sixth floor, Windows 2000) so now to try and get it going at home (ground floor, Linux). Nice piece of kit, and finally this kind of thing is becoming reasonably priced!

I bought this because, while there's plenty of good stuff on British TV, the schedulers all seem to be smoking crack. At the prime times, when I'm likely to be watching telly, they run terrible reality and lifestyle programmes. Movies all seem to kick off after 10pm, meaning you're up after midnight to watch it. And the best stuff, targetting at the yoof market, is all on Friday and Saturday nights; times, one would think, when the yoof are all out and about, no?

So with this piece of kit, I'll be able to record it and watch it at leisure. Homechoice does timeshifting of some programmes, but it's mostly soaps and crap. Worst of all, they timeshift BBC TV news (lousy and very dumbed-down) but not Channel 4 (excellent and informative, with the wonderful Jon Snow). So I'll be timeshifting that.

A picture tells a thousand words

I've been gradually putting photos up on Wikipedia and I now have quite a huge number of photos. It's amazing how many places I've been in the last few years that have supplied photos suitable for Wikipedia. Ranging from the mundane through the historic and technical to the current and topical.

All the photos I've supplied are here. All dual-licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.