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Bill Ray

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Top Stories by Bill Ray

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 conditions remarkably sea-like, with waves generally around 3 feet but often larger.  The top of the Loch is in the North East of Scotland, just south of Inverness, and along its length it heads South West diagonally following a line known as The Great Glen, which bisects Scotland in a series o... (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)

What Is the 'Wired Advantage'?

It was quite a wireless Christmas in 2003, with wireless speakers; a wireless headset that's (apparently) all done with magnets; a wireless thermometer (so we can tell the temperature outside without leaving the house - very important here in the Highlands); and even a round flying thing that uses infrared for its remote control (yes, you do have to point the remote at it, which is half the fun). It seems that wireless communications are being added to just about everything, and as far as I can see it's all for the good. Of course, with all these wireless devices talking to each o... (more)