A Conversation for h2g2 On the Move
Deadlock Started conversation Feb 16, 2000
Everyone seems to be getting excited about WAP phones as the realisation of the concept of the guide, but the technology has been available for a long time to provide an even closer version of the origional concept. Personal Digital Assistants, or Palmtops, or whatever you want to call Psions, Palms, Windows CE devices etc.
How about a version of h2g2 which is easily accessable from these devices, ie no flashy graphics, quick download time for slow connections etc. Then for the price of a Nokia 7110 everyone can buy a far more useful PDA ( although it may need to be 2nd hand to keep the cost down ) and any old Phone with a built in modem which you can pick up for around £20.
Adam C-R Posted Feb 17, 2000
Don't think we haven't thought about it.
The great thing about WAP is that the mobile phone companies are saying that they'll build it into *all* new phones in a year or two. That's a lot more people than have PDAs... And phones like Ericsson's R380 combine the two (see http://www.ericsson.se/WAP/products/r380.shtml for more details).
Oh, and if anyone has a Palm they want to sell, my fiancee needs a replacement for her ancient USR Palm Pilot. We're looking around the £50 mark
Researcher 106186 Posted Apr 3, 2000
Is there any way a PDA with a web browser can access the WAP pages or does it have to be a WAP browser?
Deadlock Posted Apr 3, 2000
It would have to be a WAP Browser.
There are rumblings of some being developed but no hard news yet. You should be able to get most of the internet-h2g2 site through your current browser, although disable graphics in the settings if you can.
Garion Posted May 1, 2000
I have a Palm IIIe. The Palm operating system has so many applications written for it that are so much what we are looking for, it would be the easiest to kludge something up. Many programs, like AvantGo and PenDragon download HTML for offline viewing in compressed form. Now, we need to get H2G2 to make a special web sity thingo that was just plain text with no graphics and the approved guide entries. That would be pretty easy. Custom software would be fun, that HotSynced the Guide, a search engine, a pretty H2G2 start-up logo and a feature that allowed to to write & work on guide entries and journal entries.
Your input please on this.
Adam C-R Posted May 2, 2000
We currently have a demonstration Palm-friendly site based directly on the h2g2 On the Move service. However, downloading the entire Guide onto a Palm is not physically possible, given the large size of the Guide (thanks to our Researchers!) and the small size of the Palm's memory. This would also miss out on the whole point of having a dynamic, continually-updating Guide
Consequently, we're currently focussing on connected devices such as WAP phones. I agree that a Palm is an ideal device to access the Guide and from which to write entries - I have a Handspring Visor myself and find it incredibly useful!
I'm in the process of adding some new features to the h2g2 On the Move service, but for the moment you'll need a phone with Internet access (or a WAP browser on your Palm) to see them...
Garion Posted May 4, 2000
I don't think space would be a constraint. I have a Palm IIIe, which has 2MB of RAM. Now, I have the whole Hitch-Hikers Guide To the Galaxy Trilogy (of 5 books), and that only takes up half. Also, you should only include Approved Entries, no forums or user pages. I don't think the WAP service has those either.
Also, if you read the trilogy, the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy was updated, but definatly not continually. It had about a monthly release. HotSyncing would make it daily.
Also, all of us in Australia (and a lot of other countries I suspect) don't have Palm VIIs or Handsprings, as the wireless connectivity in Australia is not up to American Standards so I can't use a WAP browser on my Palm.
Adam C-R Posted May 4, 2000
Erm... while I'd love to have the whole of the Guide stored on my Palm, space is a *big* constraint.
Let's see... 5 books, each of roughly 200 pages, with each page having 30 lines of 10 words each. Average length of a word is c. 6 letters. Total uncompressed bytes: 1.8Mb. Given that your document reader could compress all that to about 60% brings the total down to just over 1Mb.
Compare it to h2g2: so far over 1200 Approved Entries, with an average length of about 5K each = 6Mb. Even with 60% compression that's still 3.6Mb!
Of course, that figure excludes all the forums, and if you cut them out then you'll miss out on some very useful comments. And they *are* included in the WAP service!
The only ways I can see to make things fit is either to provide a customised service for each Researcher that only downloads the entries on the subjects that interest them, or to have the PDA able to download entries on-the-fly by being wirelessly connected.
Both of these are coming, but we only have limited resources
As for WAP browsers on your Palm - all you need is a standard mobile phone that you can attach to your Palm as a modem. Any carrier will do - all you need to do is make a data phone call. See http://www.mobileid.com/ for a WAP application that will work on any Palm.
Oh, and as I remember the original Guide was only updated once in five books worth of time - this the main reason for the structure of h2g2 (in which everybody is a Researcher and Entries are continually updated in real-time).
Goblin Posted May 16, 2000
I have reasently tested a thing that could be of interest. A WAP browser for Palm.
I use a PalmIIIx and a Ericsson 888 (Any phone with IrDa compliant modem would do it) and a wap browser from a Swedish company called AU-System. (www.au-system.com). The browser is beta but free and it actually works. I dialed a Swedish ISP called Tele2 from the browser in my Palm with my ordinary username and after that I went to mobile.h2g2.com and voila. h2g2 on the move! Be sure to read the requirements before you put it on the palm. You got to have a lot of mem.
NightOwl Posted Jun 2, 2000
While I will admit that the Palm devices are very capable, they are unfortunately limited in their memory configurations. WindowsCE/PocketPC devices typically have larger memeory configs, and could definately support something of this size. Could this be made a reality amybe. I have no intterest in a web enabled phone. I am however, piddling with developing a phone enabled PDA, using a CF card type device, but that's another matter. I think the Guide would work well on a CE Device. Maybe with a custom interface, Don't Panic and all that good stuff.
Adam C-R Posted Jun 6, 2000
A phone-enabled PDA would be the ideal device for the Guide... It's definitely something we're aiming for.
One of the problems we're facing is the immediacy of the information. h2g2 is a continuously evolving guide: if you're reading an entry on a particular restaurant and someone has recently visited it and made a comment in one of the attached forums, you're going to be very interested in what they have to say. However, if you have to update your copy of the Guide manually, you could quite easily miss this crucial information.
Having a wirelessly connected device is one way to solve this. It would be able to fetch the latest information on-the-fly.
As for interfaces - of course each device (or kind of device) would need its own style of interface. There's no point having the current web design, with its large graphics and white on dark text on a PocketPC or a Palm. But then the Guide's content is entirely separated from its presentation, so adding new interfaces is always possible (that's what the WAP service does!).
Will Jenkins (Dead) Posted Jun 7, 2000
In the very long term (and I'm talking years) if we get lots of researchers then maybe TDV might make an actual guide. (They could imitate the Palm IV's layout etc). It's just a thought.
The researcher formerly known as binky Posted Jun 8, 2000
Windows CE / Windows Powered devices have more memory because they need it. Apps are bigger and documents are compressed as much as on a Palm.
As for being limited for memory, try thr TRG Pro, a licenced Palm OS machine, which has a Compact Flash slot capable of taking the 370Mb IBM microdrive! That should provide plenty of storage
Palm themselves are targeting a specific market, they are leaving it to their licencees to do clever things with expandability. So it's unfair to right of Palm OS based machines based just on the ones Palm sell.
(A Newton, Psion, CE and Palm owner. A Palm user )
Adam C-R Posted Jun 9, 2000
I still haven't been able to use up more than half of my Visor's built-in 8Mb... let alone the 8Mb Flash module in the springboard slot
But at the moment these are the exception rather than the rule.
A quick question for all those PDA users: how long do you get out of your batteries before you need a recharge/new batteries?
The researcher formerly known as binky Posted Jun 9, 2000
Well my Palm III/IIIx used to go for a month, maybe longer on a single set of AAAs.
My Palm IIIc seems to go about two weeks between recharges, though I'm not a heavy user, however I do do all my syncing via IR to a laptop (including installing Datebk4 at 400+ K).
I understand from talking to other IIIc users that two weeks is about average.
fatty the underweight canadian vegitarian Posted Jun 10, 2000
american standards. ha! don't worry my oz risiding friend. we are not losers, it's just in austrailia (where you live) and canada (where i live) and the us (where unfortunate people live), we have a TON of land. to set a up a digital network that covers that land is silly, as a lot of it is rather low populated. europe on the other hand, kicks our asses all over the place, as they started setting up a digital network YEARS ago, and therefore have pretty well the whole place covered. but we are moving towards them. here in canada, bell had recently replaced their older tdma digital system, with the sexy, more canadian sounding (cos of the "c") cdma system, which allows for better data transfers. (incidentally, they sold their old tdma towers to the other cell phone big boy, rogers/at&t)
personally, i think to make a really good guide, there needs to be a device specifically designed for it, instead of an adaptaion of an existing product. but that's just me.
fatty the underweight canadian vegitarian Posted Jun 10, 2000
i just thought i'd let you know, i've gone a week without recharging my palmV, but i normally let it sit in it's little stand over night. people say this is bad, but i don't beleive them. i've done it with my cell (which also runs on a LiIon battery) for well over a year, and i've had no troubles yet.
The researcher formerly known as binky Posted Jun 11, 2000
The only reason I don't stick my IIIc in it's cradle overnight is because the machine it's attached to it's can't sync with (it's running FreeBSD and I haven't got round to sorting it out yet ).
That said, my mobile phone lives in it's car kit and doesn't seem to suffer from regular short recharges. I think modern batteries fair far better than older types did.
tsanders Posted Jun 15, 2000
Well, I'll tell you what *I'd* like I have a Palm VII, and the "unlimited" data plan. I'd like the h2g2 On the Move service available as what Palm calls "web clipping apps". Wherever I like I flip up the antenna, fire off a query and get the dynamic-continually updated info. No memory hassles, no static old data.
Now, I can probably get a WAP browser for it pretty soon, but a version that spoke the native interface would be cooler And I could see some upside to h2g2 as well (secure interface might be handy if you ever start handling sensitive info, free marketing from Palm, etc.)
tsanders Posted Jun 15, 2000
Well, actually I spoke too soon. I rummaged around a bit and found a Palm VII WAP browser that works. The one I used is available at http://www.4thpass.com/kbrowser/download.html or from http://www.palmgear.com (do a search for WAP browser).
I didn't have any problems setting it up, although it seems slow even by the Palm VII data speeds (which aren't amazing to start with).
But I gotta admit the whole idea is a dancing bear. An entire world of Researchers, sitting on my belt . . . it's perhaps a bit unfair to sit around and whine about the speed
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Deadlock (Feb 16, 2000)
- 2: Adam C-R (Feb 17, 2000)
- 3: Researcher 106186 (Apr 3, 2000)
- 4: Deadlock (Apr 3, 2000)
- 5: Garion (May 1, 2000)
- 6: Adam C-R (May 2, 2000)
- 7: Garion (May 4, 2000)
- 8: Adam C-R (May 4, 2000)
- 9: Goblin (May 16, 2000)
- 10: NightOwl (Jun 2, 2000)
- 11: Adam C-R (Jun 6, 2000)
- 12: Will Jenkins (Dead) (Jun 7, 2000)
- 13: The researcher formerly known as binky (Jun 8, 2000)
- 14: Adam C-R (Jun 9, 2000)
- 15: The researcher formerly known as binky (Jun 9, 2000)
- 16: fatty the underweight canadian vegitarian (Jun 10, 2000)
- 17: fatty the underweight canadian vegitarian (Jun 10, 2000)
- 18: The researcher formerly known as binky (Jun 11, 2000)
- 19: tsanders (Jun 15, 2000)
- 20: tsanders (Jun 15, 2000)