September, 2002

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Texting

Monday, September 30th, 2002

Last week I mentioned to some of my friends how we were already starting to fall behind the technological curve, much like those people who can’t figure out how to program their VCRs. The specific example I cited was “texting”—the exchange of short messages via SMS (Simple Messaging Service)-enabled mobile phones. I’ve heard it’s quite popular amongst teens today, often used as high-tech replacement of note-passing. However a quick survey showed that none amongst us (my twenty-something friends and I) had ever done any texting, confirming my example.

With that in mind I’ve decided to fight obsolescence and keep up with the technological trends. Specifically I’ve been sending SMS messages to my friends and getting the hang of text entry on my mobile phone’s keypad. So far no-one has sent me any SMS messages back but I’m still trying to push the envelope, and send out enough messages to evoke a response from someone…

More downtime…

Wednesday, September 25th, 2002

I’ve been neglecting this website for the past few weeks for a number of reasons.
Foremost I think is that as a side-effect of my main workstation still being down, I haven’t been spending (as) much time in front of a computer outside of work, and hence haven’t had as much opportunity to log any thought that might come across my mind. Also, my work, projects and (dare I say it?) social life have been keeping me rather occupied.

I installed a TurboNET adapter in my TiVo box a couple weeks ago. Instead of getting program information updates via modem, my TiVo now fetches this data via the Internet. What’s more, I can control my TiVo through a web browser; the upshot of this is that with my firewall configured just right, I could make programming changes from any web browser anywhere. (Granted I’ve rarely felt the need to do so.) What’s most interesting about having a networked TiVo is that I can download the recorded video stream to another computer, record it onto a VCD or writeable DVD disc, save it as a video file on my laptop, etc. My experiments in this domain have so far met with limited success—the video stream tends to have extraneous bits of random data. Furthermore, decoding and re-encoding the TiVo data into a format I use (for example DivX) is a rather slow and labour-intensive process. The software for extracting the stream isn’t quite ready for prime-time yet but I’m betting it will continue to improve.