@madpilot makes

Getting JoikuSpot to play nice with the EeePC

The EeePC is such a sweet little laptop, and it’s really handy when you are on the road, in a meeting or on the train – however being sans network can be pretty limiting. Now, I’ve got a Nokia N95 8Gb on Three, so I have a delicious 1Gb of traffic to burn each month. If only I could connect one to another…

I first tried with Bluetooth, but no dice – besides the obvious issue of the EeePC not having bluetooth, even with a dongle I couldn’t get a network connection. They chatted, but they couldn’t connect on that meta level that can push 1’s and 0’s around.  Besides, bluetooth is slow, I could probably only get 50% of my mobile broadband speed. FAIL.

Next I tried a USB cable. After installing 3egprs, and ith a minor tweak to a chat script, it actually worked, and at full speed! Having a cable hanging off kind of sucks though. PARTIAL CREDIT.

I downloaded JoikuSpot when I got my phone. It’s a cool little app that turns your phone into a mobile hotspot – the only caveat at the moment is the beta edition only supports HTTP, HTTPS and SSH (via tunnelling and only with version 1.2). NATing of more protocols are planned apparently, and I wait with baited breath. When I got my EeePC, I tried to connect, as this would be the ultimate solution, but no dice. After some Googling, I found a few suggestions, and success stories, but no full instructions – so here they are:

  1. Install JoikuSpot
  2. Start it up
  3. Find the Access Point on the EeePC
  4. Stop JoikuSpot, and close it
  5. Open “Configure Network Connections” on the EeePC, select the AP and hit Properties
  6. Click the “Wireless” tab.
  7. Set Mode to “Adhoc”
  8. Set Channel to “Auto”
  9. Select the “TCP/IP” tab. Select “Static” from the drop down
  10. IP Address:
  11. Subnet Mask:
  12. Gateway:
  13. Select the “DNS” tab
  14. Enter as the primary server
  15. Hit the “OK” button
  16. Connect to the AP (Make sure JoikuSpot ISN’T running. Yes I said ISN’T) it should connect
  17. Start up JoikuSpot and connect to the net
  18. Browse somewhere on the EeePC – you should see the JoikuSpot splash screen

That’s it! I hope that makes sense…

Hot or Not

Call it lazy blogging, but the beginning of a new year is a perfect opportunity to write a list post. I’m not going to call the list below predictions for 2008 as there is absolutely no scientific basis for any of this, so I’m calling it Hot or Not – stuff that I think/want to be hot in 2008 and stuff that I would love to see head to the big TCP/IP stack in the sky.

OAuth: Hot. Anything that brings some sort of order to the big bad world of web APIs is a good thing. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a specification that describes a method for token-based access to third party applications. So now there is really no excuse for that confounding social network to ask for your usernames and passwords to all of your other confounding social networking sites, just so it can spam have access to all of your friends.

Confounding Social Network sites: Not. OK. That is enough. I am over been bamboozed at the sight of another social network that has no direction, meaning or business model. The concept behind a social network is cool – we used to call them forums, remember – but it is now officially out of control. To the “entrepreneurs” behind them – stop trying to kill Facebook, they have more money than you and careless less about their users than you ever could (Exception: Spock – You are still Satan’s spawn).

Software as a Service: Hot. It’s kinda like Web2.0 but this time with meaning. Bring back computing to what it was meant for – helping humans to do what they do. The web is the perfect delivery method for a lot of the desktop software we use everyday. Google has already shown us what can be done with apps like GMail and Google Docs and there is a myriad of web applications that have made the leap (If I can build one, anyone can). Pay for what you use, don’t worry about license fees any more, don’t worry about what happens when you hard drive crashes, or about deploying to all 500 machines in your organisation.

Advertising as a Business Mode: Not. The darling child of Web2.0/New Media/Social Networks. Unless your site is already doing the traffic of Google/YouTube/Facebook or your are a porn site, go and erase the “we will pay for our hosting via advertising” line from you business plan. Seconds thoughts, if you are Facebook, you should probably do the same (Nice work on beacon – at what point did that actually seem like a good idea?). Advertising only works if there is eyeballs a LOT of eyeballs on pages and if your target audience is the type that clicks on ads. And since every man and his dog has released a social network this week, you aren’t a unique snowflake. Get a real business plan first.

Mashups: Hot. Yeah, I know – these have been around since the first beta of Web 2.0 but it has never really extended much beyond adding a Google Map to your site. I think 2008 and will see some really cool productivity apps built leveraging the webservices of other web sites. I think that it may even spill over in to the corporate world – I’d love to see company intranets using webservices to customise workflows.

Getting VC funding then hoping to sell to : Not. Now, I have no problem with the concept of funding, or the hopes and dreams of having a large company with a bank balanace bigger than your phone number (including country and area code) throw you some bones, per se. Where I do draw the line, however is pitching with a business plan that can’t really pay back a return to the investor unless the business get bought out. Mind you, the investors really should know better – or maybe they are just much smarter than I am, who knows. Regardless, when this whole thing collapses in on it’s self, I’ll be dancing like it is on sale for $19.99…

Mobile: Hot. This is the next frontier for the web. Everyone has a mobile (some people two or three) and they are generally on their person at all times. Extend the SaaS idea to these small devices and you really will be able to get your stuff done when it suits. Again, this isn’t new, but there have been some advancements in technology and some new players who understand the web much better (that’s Google if you were wondering). I think 2008 is the year that see the mobile platform as a first-class netizen rather than something that the work experience kid gets to work on.

Using user data with out permission: Not: You would have by now seen my (MANY) rants about Spock and Facebook. Those playing in the dirty, back alleyways of social networking really need to take a long hard look at themselves. It’s my data, and I’d prefer it if you didn’t sell my browsing habits to the highest bigger. And don’t even think about scraping my data from other sites without my permission – they asked nicely, you didn’t.

Company-as-a-Service: Hot. Haven’t heard of this? That’s because I just made it up. We have seen Software-as-a-Service, Hardware-as-a-Service (eg Amazon EC2), so why not have have companies that can shrink, grow and churn as required? There are so many freelancers and consultants out there, as well as a huge number of micro businesses. If they all grouped together, they would be able to work on sites ranging from the very-very big to the very-very small. Many places kind of do this already (this is why contracting was invented) but I can see this working in a more peer-to-peer sort of way – you aren’t contracting for someone, you are contracting with someone (there is a remarkable difference).

New years lists: Not.

Leave a comment – Is this Hot or Not ;)

New version of Twitteresce available

After a long hiatus from development (I’ve been busy ok!) I’ve just released a new version of Twitteresce – a mobile client for Twitter. New features include:

  • The ability to delete your tweets and direct messages
  • A correct “sent from” string on the web site version
  • Other small bug fixes

So point you mobile browser at http://www.madpilot.com.au/twitteresce and download version 0.9.

Web Directions over for another year

What a crazy week we have all had, a week of much drinking, socialising and occasionally learning stuff. Highlights from the second day were Andy Clarke, talking about layout techniques that can be stolen from comic books. Andy has such a effortless presentation technique and always presents beautiful slides and this year was no exception. Coming from a developer background, well presented design talks really interest me, as it is something I know little about, although there was quite a bit of overlap with some traditional user interface theories, which is what I did my honours thesis on.

Lisa Herrod‘s presentation on usability and accessibility was awesome – she tabled her idea for splitting up the official accessibility checklist between all members of the design team, emphasising the the point that it isn’t just the front-end developers responsibility. Quite often there is the situation where the copywriter, for example, will drop the content on the front-end guy, thinking there job has been done, which isn’t the case.

Finally, Mark Pesce who is an amazing speaker presented the awe-inspiring final keynote about mob rules. Basically, he noted that the internet finds a way to route around not only technical issues, but social issues such as censorship. He made mention of companies that were quietly chipping away at the traditional network infrastructure giants not with large amounts of money, but having many individuals helping out. Everyone was mesmerised.

Although, from a technical point of view many of the presentations were aimed at the beginner to intermediate level, there was much to be learnt from listening to what the presenters weren’t saying. Picking up little tidbits about what happens behind the scenes is what has inspired me. That and all of the adhoc discussion that goes on over beers.

And beers we had. Sydney has much cheaper beer prices than Perth and coupled with free beer almost every night, the pub was a very popular destination. Wednesday night was Port80 Sydney, and myself (under the guise of 88 Miles) and Adrian sponsored the bar tab. What we didn’t know was the Quarrymans’ hotel has Wednesday night trivia in which Port80 entered two teams, one of which can second. Nice work.

Thursday night drinks were provided by Adobe at the conference venue, and the Friday night closing party was lubricated by Microsoft. Andrew Krespanis managed to drink a Windows XP Home license. Myself, Grant and Joe (from Hive Media in Melbourne) stayed up at all hours on friday discussing all things web from Flash vs AJAX to running a web business. It is amazing discussing things with people that really know what they are doing.

Saturday, I headed over to the Nerf Palace to hang with a number of the Ruby on Rails Oceania clan as well as some of of the Sitepoint boys for some impromptu hacking. I decided to see what all the fuss was about by working on an iPhone/iPod Touch version of 88 Miles. Thanks must go to Tim, Cam and Mike for letting us take over their house. After this we quickly scurried over to WebJam!

Once again, I thought I would get up to the plate and present. Nick Cowie was the other local to to the three minute thing. There were some amazing talks –  Dmitry Baranovskiy presented his microformat validator, which is going to revolutionise the way we use microformats, trust me. Myles Burne showed the power of YAML and HAML and some guys from Digital Eskimo spruiked their site lobbying for the government to improve the NSW liquor licensing (Sounds like something we should do in WA). Unsuprisingly, Dmitry won – more suprisingly, my AJAX-based front end to the Ruby on Rails debugger came second, which means I can get $150 worth of Sitepoint schwag and I get to go back to Web Directions for free! (Again!) I’m publish and release the code soon – just got some clean ups to do.

So as you can see – a pretty crazy couple of days. Now to let my liver recover!

Twitteresce is in the top 12!

… well according to Mashable it is. It made the Top 12 twitter apps for your mobile phone. I suppose that means I should do some more work on it soon ;)

Twitteresce 0.7 released

I just released version 0.7 of twitteresce. This release fixes a couple of bugs with the automatic updating system, displays how long ago tweets and direct messages were posted and it now remembers what tweet you were looking at when flicking between the tweet view and read tweet view – trust me this makes catching up out the twitterverse much easier!

As always, get it from the MadPilot website.

Twitteresce: Twitter on your mobile

I’ve got the Twitter-bug bad. Real bad. So much so that I’ve spend a large chunk of my leave this week learning J2ME (Java for mobile phones) by writing Twitteresce. Twitteresce is a small app that runs on you Java-enabled mobile phone – currently it allows you to download both public and private tweets and post updates.

I think it is so much more convenient than trying to use the twitter web page on your phone, or receiving SMSs because you can receive your tweets when you want (The API also seems more stable than the SMS alert system).

There is a list of compatible phones of the twitteresce web page, but I know the list is no where near complete. If you download the app on a phone that isn’t listed and it works, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

You can go to the official webpage the app here or type in http://tinyurl.com/2de636 into your phone browser and download it directly.

Any bugs, let me know.