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Bill Ray

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Top Stories by Bill Ray

I've recently moved house, never an easy process, and made less so when the place you're moving to is not so much off-the-beaten-track as off-the-untrodden-footpath. The Highlands of Scotland offer little in the way of shops and houses, let alone the modern conveniences of ADSL or cable Internet access. But as the editor of Wireless Business & Technology, it seems appropriate that I go completely wireless and cut the ADSL line, which has meant so much to me over the last 7 years. Moving so far was perhaps a little extreme, and discovering that my new home lacks even a telephone connection was something of a shock. British Telecom has an obligation to provide service to any home in the UK, but they don't have to provide it quickly! The GSM coverage, on the other hand, is remarkably good, due to early competition between the networks on who had the most complete UK c... (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)

Whole House Audio from the Palm of Your Hand - Part 2 of 3

In Part 1 of this series (JDJ, Vol. 7, issue 6), I showed how I developed an MP3 player in Java, and then added the ability to control that player from a wireless handheld device using a PersonalJava application. While I could only stop, pause, adjust the volume, and select the next track to be played, I still found the application useful, but not yet perfect... The first problem to be addressed was the combinations you can get when listening to your entire music collection at random. When a nice relaxing Enya track fades out and you find yourself launching into the world of Emin... (more)

Whole House Audio from the Palm of Your Hand

In this business we often talk about how easy it is to get computers to talk to each other; computers without networks are almost inconceivable. Despite being standardized as little as five years ago, we now expect them all to play nicely together. Even in the home, a CAT-5 connection isn't too remarkable, but mobile devices still spend most of their time in lonely isolation. Of course, many technologies exist for connecting handheld devices to networks and other devices, but costs and limitations often cause people to question if it's really necessary: Why should a handheld be t... (more)

Monster Hunting Yacht Charter

The Highlands of Scotland might not be the most obvious place to take a yacht, but a combination of sea-canals and the largest body of water in the UK make it a surprisingly accessible destination for all but the largest yacht, with a history which still echoes today and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Loch Ness contains more water than all the rivers and lakes in the UK put together: it’s over 700 feet deep and 23 miles long, and the local peat makes the water extremely murky and ideal for hiding prehistoric monsters.  The size of the Loch can make co... (more)