This is the hardware I’m taking to Africa for Project TOTO for ActionAid Australia, courtesy of our supporters. While I’ve said before that social media is about the people not the tools, this kind of support is great. So, what’s in the picture?
In the back row there’s a pair of laptops to leave in Tanzania, thanks to Lenovo Australia: a refurbished ThinkPad R61 (left) and a brand new ThinkPad X200 (right). I’ll review the X200 at the end of our mission. Both are running Windows Vista Business.
In the front row, from left to right:
- My own Nokia N96, to which we can compare the size of everything else. (It’s about the same size as an iPhone, Mark.)
- A Thuraya SO-2150 satellite phone from Optus, thanks to Internode who are paying the bills. Yes, that tiny little thing is a satellite phone!
- A Motorola MotoRazr V3xx multimedia phone, and
- An LG KF700Q multimedia phone, both thanks to Telstra, and both of which stay in Tanzania.
- A Lenovo IdeaPad S10e netbook running Windows XP, again thanks to Lenovo Australia, which is what I’ll be using instead of my usual MacBook Pro while I’m on the road. I’ll write about that experience as I go. However I’m very nervous about not having my usual computer with all its software loaded, and I still have to transfer my workflows to that system tonight.
So, some questions…
We’ll be able to pair the two phones to the two ThinkPads for ActionAid International Tanzania. Our blogs are running on WordPress. So they can quickly catalog their photos and videos and upload them, what tools would you recommend for the job? Remember, this is running Vista, and while I personally would consider switching to Ubuntu Linux, there isn’t time and Vista is what they already support in their office.
And as for me, running Windows XP and wanting to throw something together quickly tonight, what would you recommend?
Here’s my 5-minute presentation from WebForward@CeBIT last week, on the importance of authenticity when using social media for business.
It’s recorded on a Nokia N80 phone by Mike Seyfang so it’s a bit rough, but you’ll get the content. You’ll also hear me swear a few times because, well, that’s apparently what I’m now expected to do.
One key theme is that if businesses try to micro-manage every aspect of the communication between their employees and the rest of the world — denying that there are mistakes, or that some people don’t like them — they’ll end up becoming paranoid psychotics. I hope to expand upon that in due course.
Mike also recorded the presentations from my co-panellists Hugo Ortega, Kate Carruthers and Nick Hodge, but not Laurel Papworth for some reason.
I did see a “proper” video camera on the day, so I think CeBIT will place higher-resolution video online in due course. I’ll let you know if and when that happens.
[Update 22 March 2014: Since the Qik video service will cease to exist on 30 April 2014, I’ve embedded a YouTube copy of that video instead.]
Over the last few months, I’ve been trialling Telstra’s Next G mobile broadband as part of an experimental “technology seeding program”. Despite my initial doubts, I’ve been impressed.
Previously I’d been using Vodafone 3G, tethering my MacBook Pro via Bluetooth to a Nokia N80. It worked just fine. I subsequently moved to a Nokia N96 and Virgin Mobile, which uses the Optus network under the hood. It’s terrible. I made a big mistake.
But that’s a story for another time…
Sure, Next G is the most expensive mobile broadband out there. But it’s also the best. Clearly.
On our road trip, we could use Next G almost all the way from Cowra back through Bathurst to Sydney. Yes, the signal dropped out as we drove through hilly areas, as you’d expect. But the data link automatically reconnected once it found a new cell — with the same IP address!
Seriously. Here I was in a moving car, running a ping and watching YouTube videos. The link dropped out. It reconnected. And when it did, perhaps six minutes later when the terrain sorted itself out, the video started playing from where it left off. Pings resumed with the very next packet number in the sequence — albeit with ping times of over 370 thousand milliseconds.
In another test, the data link kept the same IP address while I caught a train from Newtown across Sydney Harbour to Pymble. In CityRail’s loop under the Sydney CBD, there was no signal in the tunnels, but the link came back up within seconds of arriving at a station.
Somebody did some great network engineering. They deserve a pat on the back.
But what else?
Continue reading “The pleasure and (minor) pain of Telstra Next G”
With Thursday’s night’s episode the Alpha series of Stilgherrian Live came to an end. What next?
Across eight “proper” episodes, plus a couple of impromptu programs from a local pub and a hotel room in Canberra, I achieved my main aim. I proved that it’s possible to do a live video program on the Internet using equipment I can carry in a backpack.
I got a feel for how much pre-production is needed. I got inbound talkback calls working via Skype. And I was very pleased to sustain a regular live audience of 30-odd people. Thank you.
Recently, thanks to Qik, I was able to broadcast live video feeds from my Nokia N80 phone. They’re still viewable at qik.com/stilgherrian. However the “standard” 3G available in Australia meant the technical quality was pretty average. It really does need HSDPA, i.e. a new phone.
So, given that “we have the technology”, what sort of programs should I create?
Continue reading “Whither “Stilgherrian Live”?”
The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones has a technology review of 2008, including:
Apple’s second generation 3g iPhone goes on sale. This time, as well as signing up to Apple’s network partner, customers have to bring a DNA sample to enter on the company database before the phone can be activated. “We’re just trying to make sure iPhone users all feel part of the Apple family,” a spokesman explains.
Nokia brings out its latest smartphone, the N99. As well as featuring music, live television, a manicure set and a device for getting stones out of horse’s shoes, it offers an ice-cream cornet with a chocolate flake. “And, unlike, the new 3g iPhone,” a spokesman explains, “it is 4g, making the mobile internet work properly for the first time.”
Hat tip to Memex 1.1.
My biggest gripe about Nokia’s Nseries “multimedia telephones” was that the management software was only available for Windows — despite such a massive proportion of “multimedia people” using Macs. This has now been fixed with the new Nokia Media Transfer application for Mac. Will play tonight.