A Conversation for h2g2 On the Move - The Vision

Why Not?

Post 1

JininTonix (Confusion is best taken with a wedge of Lime!)

Yes, this is a 1st posting, but I love the fact that I found this site.

How about using a few of those sleep() cycles on whatever neurons are leftover after doing the unabridged "Galactic Cocktail Tour" and crank out an architecture that will do "something" that people find easier, better, whatever. Who out there is able to help piece together what h2g2 is dreaming about.

You need refined ideas, and a little integration. But you have to know WHAT you want (at least to start). I don't need a device to tell me when to take a leak more than the rest of you (excluding those NOT raising your hands). I have been "dreaming" about such a combination for many years and guess what? NOW the damn thing is possible. Sure, it might not actually work (at least according to what the tech providers say) but it may do something you like.

Interactive cellular is slow and expensive and trying to type on a mobile's keyboard (even w/ t9) is exhausting. Sprint here in the US actually charges for every minute you are "ON" the Web. Meaning, if you do a search, read it, and then fall asleep for 20 minutes (which is VERY probable if you are searching for the after hours "After Hours" club that's nearest you), you get charged for the 20 minutes too.
I recommend that collectively, since this is a society (virtual world, temporal quantum cosmic dust-ball), we stop complaining and do something!... Ever heard that before?

Anyhows, I am starting this thread and will hopefully get some useful posts from those who have opened the doors: beyond ADD/Ridalen; beyond attempts at (fatal)*1 alcohol poisoning; into more than "TWO WORDS" at a time (at times); and have any technical or non-technical ideas/thoughts/attempts/even warped-realities that might be condensed down into a functional piece of electronics.

Here are some basics that could be transferred to a "Build the Imperfect Guide Area (Area 42?)":

The technology for using PDA's as Guides is here today with just a few tweaks left out.

First, Java will run on a PDA... unfortunately the Palm has one of the most difficult VMs to work with but let’s get beyond that.
Java RDBMSs (relational database management system(s)) exist and run even on the tiny PDA's with so little memory, and even on the newest cell phones.

WAP and SMS are just transport protocols or "carriers". They allow anything to be transported to and from the Mobile Device MD (i.e. updates to databases DBs). Not just screen shots or HTML.
The DBs that run on PDAs can also be configured with a smart replication system that connects to a Host system. This can allow for updates in real-time. Anything new can appear on the MD and anything that hasn't been touched for a long time can go away (what is called "degeneration" - no it has nothing to do with your morals or 'Star Trek') to make more space. You can always get something back or mark something permanent if you want.

The idea here is what you need when you need it. Forget GPS receivers, they currently suck up so much energy, you would need to be cabled to a portable generator to make it past your first Pub. The currently Emergence Service regulations in the U.S., require the development of a tracking/homing system for all portable phones. This will allow 911 users from mobiles to be "found" (triangulated) within 100 feet maximum of their location without GPS (kinda scary though... where's Sandra Bullock?). Next gerneration MDs even have other methods for locating themselves (because of the same problem). So toss that doorstop.

I don't know if I need to talk on the same thing that I .net to either. A phone is a phone (even with all the cables and junk), a .net device is just that. Let the PDA model provide better everything in this case. A special "Palm" looking device has been created by a company (will get the name) for just this purpose. Runs wireless .net on the cell network not the lousy Palm VII link; speeds are about 10x better.

Even better "BLUETOOTH" (http://www.bluetooth.com/) wireless networking is a short distance device connector. So a mobile phone could easily talk to the PDA device and exchange any information between them. Next generation devices have this "chip" in their design. So either share the wireless technology or run them on separate best suited connections and share all the data... PDA asks, ' you whanna talk to the Bartender and see if your credits good there?... Phone says, 'I am dialing the bar now so pick up.'... Bartender says 'Your Intergalactic Express card is 3 years expired, 5 years overdue, and is 2Giga-credits (some OtherWorldy sum) over the credit line, but I'll buy you one.'

Uploads, and live chats are good, and Samsung has built a small digital camera into their wacky new MPV phone. So it can send the picture instantly, anywhere (nice LITTLE touch). BTW, this phone is shown on the Samsung site, but only the Asian version (available about NOW). So some of the "dreamy" ideas are here today.

You might have to wait a bit to get them into the right package but that's Okay. Look and how well Palm's stock is doing and the things only good for writing crummy longhand of 20 words or less.

The best way to get a full refresh of info into the h2g2 device would be to link it up to a PC the same way everything does it. The next generation of PCs will have Bluetooth chips in them too so no problem with the wires!

Voice recognition is pretty good, not great. Voice trained commands are great, use'em on my NP1000 all the time. But, Text-to-Speech is here now and with nice voices too. No more cranky Japanese woman telling me that my "lights are on". Why not ask me if I want to find a Good Japanese restaurant nearby? Or, tell me an obscene joke or two on the way to work so I can at least show up with a grin.

1) This is a documented and required stage in developmental psychology... if you are in the middle of this attempt and you will not sacrifice your current adventure then kindly disregard this notice. A NON-fatal attempt does NOT count, and a successful fatal attempt is not endorsed /desired/or otherwise considered a "positive thing" (since I have known a couple who forgot to stop drinking their shots and instead stopped counting them *2.)

Warning the following has turned into a rant. I disavow any memory of its creation.

2) Remember this formula: (for a 120lb. Person) If you drink more than 8 drinks (12 oz. beer, 1.25 oz. shot or 8 oz. wine) minus 1 for every hour since you started, and you DON'T blow, then you could be on your way into a coma (you are @ 0.25 + BAC). So if you start blacking out, then BLOW or get the stomach pumped! There are a few sites (I like a good drink, but 'its only funny until someone pokes an eye out', see http://www.brad21.org/effects_at_specific_bac.html as an example) that will give you pointers on avoiding AP and even better, hangovers (later). The "perfect" non-sloppy BUZZ is obtained @ about 0.13 BAC (remember driving past 0.08 is ILLEGAL). And for GOD sakes DON'T drive if you still have more drinks in your stomach! (It can take an hour or more to absurb them). I especially hate DUI drivers in HUGE SUVs playing "Drunk Tank Commander". Go play "Drunk Pole Position" (a rather fun game) instead at your local arcade/Bar, unless you have it @ home.

Why Not? revisited

Post 2


JininTonix, you seem to be up on the tech stats (I'm not, I'll take your word on it). I appreciate the let's find a model, imperfect or what, enthusiasm.

Regarding interactive cell, "slow and expensive": I don't know the prospects for speeeding it up, but the expense is likely to come down, given more users etc (tell me if I'm off track here). Like basic cellphones and desktop internet access, which got cheap pretty quick. If the baud rate won't increase significantly in near future for interactive cell (ie WAP), can the existing baud rate be used more efficiently - better question, will it be used more efficiently?

Palmtops are great, but here is the thing. Whether I'm going to the corner store, the office, overseas, or what have you, I want minimal gear. Generally, this means one tech device only, (maybe more if luggage brought maybe not, I'm talking carrying on person) and right now that makes the one device a cell phone, because that's what I find will get used most. I realize these sorts of items are rapidly converging, but as they do, it's the cell phone that most folk will pack around, whether it uses WAP or something else.

Cell phones are a drag for data entry, esp. if using what passes for a keyboard. To get around that, I have a couple simple remedies. One, I use my own voice message system to phone myself and leave audio messages (my service lets me leave lengthy ones) that I can retrieve from any phone. Great for notes and reminders, contact info, which can be accessed on the road or in office. No need for the little devices which record 30 seconds or a few minutes of audio, the phone does it. I can type in relevant info later to a desktop, my own or any connected to the internet.

Pen and paper I use in a similar fashion: write notes just like the old days. Easier and quicker than writing them w/a stylus onto a palmtop. I either type it in later, read it aloud into above mentioned phone, or if I print the text neatly (not all that hard unless severely intoxicated) I can scan it in.

When voice recognition gets to where a cell phone type unit will easily make a text file, then really we'll be railroading.

Speaking of voice recognition, I want a Babel fish. What I mean is, my cellphone (and whatever else it happens to do) with voice recognition, a translation program, and a voice output.

What do people want their portable guides (whether they be cell phones with WAP, or palmtops or what) to do? Do many people want a guide that tells them where to find an art gallery in Cairo? I'm thinking nice bonus, but I can find that or a pub etc without an electronic guide (especially if I had that Babel fish). Most of what I want to do with an electronic device (buy plane tickets, find schedules, make reservations, leave audio message for self or other) I can do with a simple phone.

This is why I'm with you (JininTonix) on the 'refined ideas' theme. What will the device do, that people want it to do and will use it for, that isn't already easy to do with another device, ie a phone?

Okey, all the best.

Why Not? revisited

Post 3

JininTonix (Confusion is best taken with a wedge of Lime!)

Hey there...
So not two devices... well how about this... why do the cell phone companies especially the one's unsing gitial CDMA technology have to support three modes of "roaming" and then GSM isn't even covered... so take your cell phone with you to Cairo .. okay but good luck finding a carrier that will not only accept your signal but also your calls inbound or out. smiley - sadface

Then, the Babel Fish is great though... there are a few devices that will let you pick a phrase in a foreign language and then "speak the phrase to you". So, even if you can't handle it (repeating it that is, if you seem to be very slurry) the object of the transmission (probably) human can listen to the thing (broadcast over a speaker). So, in case they are blind and can't read the microscopic letters on the device - okay what I really mean is that if you can train the device to understand your voice via a link to a bigger computer for now then the bigger computer can put together a nice smooth sounding sentence that can be read or spoken to the repicient. smiley - winkeye

Now back to the original problem... you can't want the device to do stupid things that much is true... I would want one that knows where I am headed - downloads what is most important in advance (while connected to a bigger box) and then updated as I move around or ask it for some more detailed information. Now what I was on about (including have to drag a seperate cell phone around - but now you can ear one on your wrist) you can connect to some type of wireless networking "bridge" that will get you to the Hitchhiker Guide to the Universe - unabridged version.

So, if the telephone is only one type of transmission device (and remeber that talking to somebody from "somewhere" is really not that important if they can get a guaranteed mesage to you. Ok it is entertaining though. I just see phone getting to the size of my new Samsung 1in, 1.5in, 2.8in and smaller.. try doing anything with that. So maybe the phone is just a big screen that you talk to and through in order to always get to a bigger box because the phone ain't going to handle it for a while. In a few years (maybe 3) we might be singing a different tune.. What about between now and then so we can start playing with it... I do appreciate the voice memo stuff that is a good trick similar to the camera/scanner/linkup that any device should incorporate. Personally I think that a digital camera actually makes a good starting point for a h2g2... think for a bit add the link and voice like samsung already has and then....smiley - bigeyes

Look forward to any other('s) ideas... where will this thing get some more responses... I feel like the people using this site think the black box will arrive Fedex next year free of charge just for the hell of it and do what?

Why Not? revisited

Post 4

Adam C-R

Whoah smiley - smiley Where should I start?!

Well, for the first one, don't stop coming up with ideas smiley - winkeye The more people we can get "thinking outside the box" the better: I put a post in the Technical Feedback forum asking people who said they wanted a "Java popup" on his desktop, what kind of features it would have, and all I got back was a list of existing features in h2g2... Fun, but not exciting. We're already drawing up plans as to how to do much more than that, but fresh perspectives *always* help!

Babel Fish: well, if you have an HDML phone in the States or Japan, you can already get the Babel Fish in text on your phone smiley - smiley Admittedly it doesn't talk and can't recognise your speech, but that isn't yet technically possible (ever tried doing voice recognition over a *mobile* phone line...?).

One box, two boxes: we aim to cater for both. At the moment the On the Move service works with Palms to some extent. I get the iMode service (compact HTML) on my Handspring each time I synch using AvantGo. I can even post Journal entries, though I can't see them until I synch again. Yes, Bluetooth will make a big difference - people can use their phones for talking and their PDAs for the screen, whilst still using their phones for the transmission. Other people will just buy bigger phones with screens and earphones.

Phones in Japan are about to get Java VMs on them and I want to make an h2g2 client to put on them. Smart clients can do a lot more than download the more recent stuff and "degenerate" the old stuff (what would you choose as old, by the way? What about old entries with new postings in their forums? Do you keep the entry? What about the other threads? And what about very long threads that might have started over a year ago but are still active? I'm not flaming you, I'm just very interested if you have some ideas for this smiley - smiley ). How about building up a profile of what kind of entries you go for and using that to perform a much more effective search?

Keep up the good work!

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