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Bill Ray

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Top Stories by Bill Ray

We hear that Vivato has raised $44.5 million for their wireless infrastructure business. It's nice to know someone's got the cash! It's enough to remind us of the excesses of the dot-com days, with inflatable boardrooms and business plans written on the back of napkins sure to follow. I'm not suggesting that Vivato is using napkins for stationery, or bouncing around their boardroom (though on getting $44.5 million, a certain amount of bouncing would be expected), but with hotspots still being a completely unproven business model, it beggars belief that this kind of money is being thrown at them. Let me be clear, I'm not anti Wi-Fi. I use it at home and at work, and I've even been known to log on from the hotel on occasion. But what I am having problems with is the way Wi-Fi is being promoted as the solution to problems we didn't even know we had, a replacement for a... (more)

Wirelessly Insecure

Ethernet has been with us for a while now, and setting up a network has passed from an arcane art to something most users are happy to do at home. Home-networking kits and improved operating systems (to be fair, I'm mainly referring to Microsoft Windows here) has made the process more or less idiot-proof, and even company networks just aren't very complicated any more. This has led to a shift in emphasis. Where technical progress used to be concentrated on getting the physical side of the network right, now the concentration is on the applications being deployed on that standard n... (more)

A Witty Walk Through the Wireless Stacks…

Setting out to start programming a new wireless device is never easy. A lack of documentation and badly thought-out development environments, conspiring with a prepubescent developer community, ensure that the information you need is always somewhere else. But things are changing; as fast as authors can get the words down, publishers are rushing to fill the gaps and provide comprehensive and affordable guidance. Unfortunately, in their enthusiasm they sometimes forget what they were trying to do, to the point that the cynical might accuse them of just trying to cash in on a techn... (more)

Getting the Whole Picture

Is it possible to get an entire film onto a mobile phone or PDA? Would it be a practical viewing experience? We started with a DVD, then used only free software in an attempt to view the film on a Nokia 3650 handset, a Microsoft Pocket PC device, and a PalmPilot. Everyone seems to be talking about getting video into your pocket, from network operators to the latest Silicon Valley startup. The dream of being able to watch videos in the palm of your hand (or, more importantly, to collect revenues from users watching movies on the move) is alive and well. Of course, no one knows wh... (more)

GPS

Back in 1957, US scientists tracking the first Russian satellite, Sputnik, noticed that they could use the Doppler effect to work out exactly how far away it was. Since they knew where they were they could use that information to work out where the satellite was, and from there it’s a small step to realizing that if you know where the satellite is then you can work out where you are. It wasn’t until 1978 that the US launched the first experimental Earth-positioning satellite, and it was 1993 before the array of 24 satellites, which were needed for accuracy and global ... (more)