Archive for July, 2006

Net Warfare 101

July 31, 2006

Thom Shanker writes an interesting piece in The New York Times (“A New Enemy Gains On The U.S.”, 30th July 2006) about the new hybrid force we are witnessing in Lebanon today (with the agility of guerillas and more high-tech (fire)power than most nations), and some difficult implications thereof :

“We are now into the first great war between nations and networks,” said John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, and a leading analyst of net warfare.

Though if you’re searching for analogies to describe such a hybrid force, you’ll suddenly find elements of it are not as modern as you at first thought. As DEBKAfile noted last week:

Last week, Israel’s army chiefs believed they had encountered Hizballah’s primary war tactic – Viet Cong-style guerrilla warfare out of hundreds of small bunkers scattered across the country. This week had scarcely begun when a still more formidable impediment was discovered: Hizballah camouflage techniques borrowed from the Japanese in the 1945 Iwo Jima battle. … A senior officer told DEBKAfile grimly: “Now we know that when a stand of five or six trees suddenly starts walking, we are seeing a 14-barreled Fajr 3 rocket launcher on the move; one or two trees in motion may conceal a couple of Hizballah fighters.” … But the situation is more difficult when the trees or bushes stand still and blend in with the surrounding dense foliage.

Thankfully, Dovster and BEYflyer, caught up in the thick of it on each side of the border and describing the nightmare in real time on FlyerTalk, are both still going strong…

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Truth about the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet

July 26, 2006

See my short video commentary in the FlashVlog in my blog gutter. You can find tons of reviews about this cute little number, but the long and short of it is all there in the FlashVlog: Linux-based, Opera browser, WiFi/Bluetooth, tiny, cheap, cute, a little slow and frustrating, but in a unique niche of its own (no, not the same niche as Microsoft’s Origami family) and does exactly what it says on the tin.

I like my small and separate mobile phone already (see my N70 3G phone review) and I do not wish that this 770 Internet Tablet were combined with a phone: separate is OK for me.

Where’s the ‘truth’ then? I say that only because I don’t like most of the reviews I’ve read that either glorify this thing to the skies or slam it hard for being so restricted. In certain (restricted) contexts, where you need a true rendering of web pages in a tiny piece of real estate (rather than re-purposed or re-rendered), for not much money, this does the job.

Oh, and its a got a news feed aggregator, picture and video and music players, and streaming internet radio, plus games and plenty of lively 3rd-party developers. Me, I just want that browser-on-the-go-for-tight-spaces and a few mobile web demos. But not very often, because it gives me a headache. Really. ‘Whole-view’ browsing is rendered too small, and the ‘piecemeal’ view is nice and big and bright but too much ‘tunnel vision’ for me. I like it, I like it, but only on special occasions.

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FlashVlog revisited

July 18, 2006

Further to my earlier FlashVlog vs Vlog It! posting, I’ve now added a permanent widget to my sidebar which contains FlashVlog snippets. The widget is subscribed to a separate RSS feed (obtainable by clicking on the button on the lower right in case you want to subscribe also), so the list of vlog entries will grow automatically over time, as I add new entries.

Thanks to Peter Scott, Jon Linney, and Kevin Quick of KMi‘s Centre for New Media for creating FlashVlog.

Visit the FlashVlog site.

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Real-time Israel/Lebanon chat room from Israel/Lebanon

July 16, 2006

I say ‘from Israel/Lebanon’ in the title lest you think this is a link to yet more chat about the situation: au contraire this is from people caught up in the situation.

It’s an absolutely moving, spine-chilling (and essentially totally accidental) dialogue from both sides of the border by a couple of random airport/travel/plane-watching enthusiasts, one of whom (BEYFlyer) happens to be at Beirut’s aiprort, the other (Dovster) happens to be at/near a tiny airport in northern Israel; the chat room progresses from Jul 12th onwards beginning at Message #25; scroll down to find it, and then progress via the ‘page number’ buttons at the bottom through hundreds of gripping interchanges, beginning here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=563147&page=2&pp=20

(the link comes from John Y. Jones on Livejournal)

There are also numerous other near-real-time sites such as NZ Bear’s Lebanon/Israel blog aggregator site.

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OU eTMA handler for Mac

July 13, 2006

OK, this is a niche entry, but hey, I was indirectly involved in a series of emails that leapfrogged along through a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, and discovered (in the best tradition of social networking), the person who had the answer (to the problem of how to do some otherwise Windows-specific tutoring activity using an Apple Macintosh). The email chain was great – no one knew the answer, but we each we knew someone who probably knew someone who did. Prestomundo!

So I offered to post it here just to boost the search-engine-findability of this marvellous tool.

In the words of the creator Mike Hay, this electronic Tutor Marked Assignment (eTMA) tool is…

For Open University Associate Lecturers [ALs] who mark eTMAs and wish to use a Mac to do so!
….. Tested, and being used, successfully over a number of months by current ALs.

Here is the link: Visit Mike Hay’s eTMA Handler for Mac site

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Busted Tablet :-(

July 12, 2006


I don’t ever get attached to a mere ‘PC’. Except this one: the (regrettably) discontinued HP TC1100, which now has something of a cult following amongst its users.

I’ve written in The Truth About Tablet PC about the virtues of this form factor for output (as opposed to scribbling input, which is not important for me), and in my Road Warrior comments on GetReal I’ve written about the ‘zones of comfort’ (arm reach, for typical desktop and laptop use; elbow reach, for typical tablet and PDA use; shoulder reach, for typical phone use) and why the Tablet PC really scores highly in the right context.

The other day I tripped on a stairway on my way to a meeting – my encased HP TC1100 may have spared me a broken wrist, but the screen took the brunt of the fall. Incredibly it still works fine; hopefully I can get the glass replaced.

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