Utterances of a Zimboe

Programming the Internet.

Archive for November 2006

Wanderings in the world of mobile VoIP

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Nokia E70Well, nothing much, actually. I managed to configure my E70’s SIP settings and now I can make and receive VoIP calls with it over WLAN. 3G data connection suits as well, but why not then just make an ordinary phone call — unless you have an unlimited data plan, which costs 30€/mo on my operator. My phone bill doesn’t justify buying that — we have the lowest mobile tariff rates in Europe, IIRC — so my VoIP carrier shall be just WLAN for now.

I ended up using SIPphone as it provides the simplest end-user addresses (savukoski@sipphone.com), but also sipgate, PBXes, and FWD worked fine. So, I can now be reached from my mobile also with Google Talk using gtalk2voip.com — for free, of course. The phone works pretty smoothly, as it can be set to connect (register itself) to the SIP service automatically when any configured WLAN is available. Couldn’t get any simpler.

I also installed the X-Lite softphone on my laptop so I can choose which device to use for talking. Both of them ring on incoming calls and the call is routed to the client that is answered first. Very simple. (Both devices are ‘portable’, but the phone is still a bit more comfortable for calling. :) Though, the device doesn’t matter that much as my bluetooth headset supports being connected to the laptop and phone simultaneously. Well, the answer button of it works only with the phone, so I guess I’ll end up accepting more calls through the mobile… talk about transport agnosticism. :)

I guess SIMPLE is still out of scope (as in the phone not supporting it), but this is already very nice.

If you want more info about something here, you’re welcome to ask!

Technorati: VoIP, Mobile, Google Talk

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Written by Janne Savukoski

November 28, 2006 at 1:19 pm

Posted in Technology

Google getting ordinary

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Robert takes a tour in the Google’s Kirkland office and the place definitely looks very different from what is used to see from Google. Even alarmingly so, I would say. I know that at Google they are highly aware of their own doings; Google Kirkland Wall of FameI’m just presenting a humble and unauthoritative opinion here. Disclaimer done, let’s get on with it…

The office looks very ordinary, but still they’ve tried to make it a bit googly. I think that ‘Wall of Fame’ (pictured left) captures the whole issue well: the playful style just doesn’t match the rest of the place. Such a wall probably fits very well to the plex — occupying at least 1416sqf! — but on that tiny wall it looks only ridiculous. I understand that the kind of artifacts are an essential part of the culture, but I believe such a culture just cannot live in a place like that. There’s something fundamentally lame in that office! I wouldn’t want to work there. If they needed an R&D-office in Kirkland, A brainstorming mezzanine in Googleplexthey should’ve just built another, smaller Googleplex with inspiring spaces like the one on the right (click image for more). The magnificient and ingenious makings of the company are nothing but sorry fillarcs on a creamy-white wall. I bet it’s only a matter of time for their apps to start resemble that Kirkland office. (They produce many current apps there; watch the show.)

Hello, Microsoft 2.0, and goodbye! Let’s us else move on. As they could ask, will the next real programmer Shangri-La please stand up? (It’s found within, of course, but a nice environment wouldn’t hurt still.)

Technorati: Google, Office, Culture

Written by Janne Savukoski

November 24, 2006 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Culture

Universal Presence and Interaction in Virtual Worlds

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Melanie gives a nice introduction for an interesting virtual world platform Multiverse Network, where I’d see a good fit also for a common interaction platform. I’ll be discussing the actual subject below, but, as a side-note, I’ve been long waiting for a platform with a common data model, where there would be e.g. Civilization and some FPS implemented on top of the same information – also, a mobile front-end for World of Warcraft would be a somewhat restricted example of this. You’d control the exact same entities from all different types of perspectives. This would probably require multiple players on both sides, as someone should manage the strategic level while others are doing some fast-paced shooting in first person. However, a deeper abstraction of roles is already provided in Battlefield 2/042, so the concept surely is feasible.

To the point… As there’s the ‘universal sign-in’ already provided in the Multiverse (OpenID, pretty please), I only hope they’ll use an universal and open XMPP network for interactions. And why not, since so many web services already do, at least internally. It would be such a nice feat for being able to interact with those worlds outside of the actual game interface, e.g. with mobile IM clients. Logging in with a simple IM client would produce some rudimentary presence to the virtual world, for others being able to ‘see’ and interact with you. This would bring at least some ubiquity to those worlds, and it would cost about nothing to implement if the system was already using XMPP. Perhaps there could also be some basic exchange features provided over IM so that one could do mobile bartering… (Or, why not use the standard platform.) XMPP could also open up many other types of interaction beyond text messaging, like VoIP. Naturally, it would also enable cross-world communication, like WoW <-> SL; VoIP etc. included. I see all this interaction-ability especially significant as the social aspect of online worlds is becoming more important.

Isn’t all this very trivial? Why I’m not seeing any discussion on this?

Btw., if you happen to know a decent mobile IM client – comparable to the very comfy Google Talk – please give me a hint. All the clients that I managed to find were relatively crappy. How come it’s taking so long to come up with a mobile Google Talk client with VoIP and video? I just fail to understand. There’s even the Flash-platform in new Nokias (my E70 included) which could be useful for creating a sleek interface.

Virtual utopia, here we come! That Orwellian utopia is so yesterday’s news.

Technorati: Virtual Worlds, Games, XMPP, (Mobile) IM, Presence, OpenID

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Written by Janne Savukoski

November 7, 2006 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Internet

Efficient XML in airplanes, military etc.

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There’s a very interesting podcast by Jon Udell of an interview with John Schneider (AgileDelta) about efficient XML. In addition to the XML technology itself, there are many application-related aspects discussed as well – for example, it was interesting to note that also the US military has adopted the WS-technologies; possibly even to some further extent. So, I’m sure the podcast is well worth listening even for people who are interested in just web services or such – there are some very exciting points.

Furthermore, it was delightful that John confirms some aspects I noted in my previous postings, like that the binary XML is (potentially) as efficient as proprietary binary formats. While the discussion much emphasizes the compression aspect, I guess there are many other advantages as well; some of which I mentioned before. And I’m expecting to have a bunch of open source implementations to choose from when some standard emerges.

Technorati: XML, Web Services

PS. I left thinking about drafting a proposal for having some support for efficient XML in XMPP as suggested, but ended up to avoid doing an ‘academic’ specification; that is, it’d be good to do some testing to back up the proposal, which I’m unable to do right at the moment. Sorry that I failed to respond in the comments.

And what comes to the web services stack of GlassFish, that’s absolutely on top of my list – just check out this comparison. I haven’t tried it for streaming, though, which will be interesting.

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Written by Janne Savukoski

November 2, 2006 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Internet