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Dave Cridland
Faster than a sleeping cat.
Faster than a sleeping cat.


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Safe awesome level exceeded.
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"Open the pod bay doors HAL".
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Dear LazyWeb,

Please write me an XMPP client or two and self-hostable web thing such that I can do the following:

Give someone a URI (as text, or as a QR code on my phone) such that when they visit that URI, it tells the person whether I'm online, and allows them to initiate a call to my XMPP client(s).

When the call comes in, I should be able to see who's calling (ie, the URI needs to be unique for the caller).

Extra Credit:

If the caller actually has an XMPP client that understands this, feeding it the URI should allow them to add me as a contact with ease.

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So, upgrade time has come and gone, and I thought I'd write a review on my two new devices.

First off, I've replaced my aging +ASUS TF700T - beautiful form factor but awful performance - with a +Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. Unlike the old one, this is a LTE tablet bought on a contract (with +O2 in the UK as it happens). This isn't the latest Sony tablet - that would be the Z3 Tablet - but it is the latest 10 inch, and I remain unconvinced by the smaller 8" Z3's form factor, especially when paired with a large handset.

Physically, the Z2 Tablet really weighs next to nothing, despite the fairly extensive bezel surrounding the screen. This bezel is claimed to be intentional by Sony - certainly I think it'd be hard to hold the tablet one-handed without it being present. The back of the tablet it a comfortable, grippy and tactile material - I think it's polyurethane - and although it picks up fingerprints very easily, that neatly bring me onto the first of its party tricks.

The Z2 Tablet has two party tricks - firstly, if you're careful about closing covers, it's waterproof. This allows me to read in the shower - an unnerving experience I'm not sure I'll repeat - or watch videos in the bath. Also, it means there's no concerns about using the tablet outside in the rain, though as usual, the capacitive touchscreen behaves very badly when wet, making it next to useless for anything practical. Still, it gives some peace of mind, and it makes it very easy to wash away any fingerprints.

In order to be sure you're not leaving covers open (or damaging them by overuse), the received wisdom is to invest in a charging dock, which uses external exposed power connectors with a magnetic coupling. In addition, I invested in a case as well, and though the dock can be sued with the case, I'm somewhat suspicious, since the additional weight of the case seems to put strain on the tablet chassis.

My final investment was in a pair of MCR-NC31E's. These are in-ear headphones which have noise-cancellation microphones in - the hardware for their support being in the tablet. This is the second party trick - and it's really quite impressive. The tablet cuts out constant background noises really very well - fans, much traffic noise, trains, and so on - while leaving speech and other inconsistent noises alone. The practical result is that I can listen to audiobooks at a much lower volume. They're no Quiet Comfort replacement - those things more or less isolate everything - but they're virtually the same size as normal in-ear buds, so win for me on balance.

In terms of performance, the thing I really notice is the 3G of RAM - switching between apps is tremendously fast and effective. Otherwise I'm really no judge - it seems blindingly fast generally, but having moved from the appalling performance of the TF700T that's not a surprise.

The screen is very good - hardly a shock, as Sony certainly know display technology - and the sound is impressively loud and clear from the front-facing stereo speakers. The software is, of course, customized by Sony, but as with all the recent Sony firmware builds, the customization is quite light, and the majority of the "extra" software can simply be uninstalled.

Overall, I would, and have, recommended this.

As for the mobile data - well, it's O2, and O2 really have very little coverage here. It scrapes some HSDPA when I'm in town, if I'm lucky, basically. Unusually, the Z2 Tablet can actually make calls - most tablets don't have the hardware or software for this - but an O2 data contract explicitly blocks calls, including, so I'm told emergency calls, which I find a little annoying. I suspect that in practise, it could make emergency calls on other networks, but I'm really not sure.

It's my remaining frustration; having the capability to make calls in an emergency (whether a emergency services call or a call to a mechanic) if my tablet happens to have signal when my phone doesn't would be nice, but O2 keep telling me that's a big no.

The next upgrade was my phone - my aged, but still good, Xperia T being up for a renewal. I've stuck with Sony - this time I've got a Z3, the full size one. The form factor is best described as a bar of soap - I'm not a fan of cases on phones, but I may have to with this one, since it's terrifyingly slippery, with low-friction glass on both front and back. I've tried to wake it by tapping on the back several times so far, too. I appreciate it probably looks nicer, but I have to say the polyurethane back of the Z2 Tablet is more practical.

Like all the Z series, it's also waterproof - though it becomes even more slippery when wet, of course - and it also has noise cancellation built in.

It also has a coprocessor - actually reading between the lines it's almost a co-computer - which manages the sensors at very low power. This means that since Monday morning - it being Tuesday mid-morning as I write this - I've had it counting my steps. The impact on the battery life doesn't seem to be much - and this brings me onto the "feature" of battery life.

I've become inured, since leaving Symbian, to having to charge my phone once a day. The Xperia T would last about 24 hours with my software load, which I considered good.

I unplugged the Z3 on Monday morning at about 0730, about 28 hours ago, and it's now telling me I've only got about 20 hours left now -  I'd note that this isn't with the Stamina mode on, which reduces performance and background activity, either. Quite honestly, this seems like voodoo. Knowing how well stamina works, I'm pretty sure I could stretch this further - it thinks it can keep going for another two days on Stamina as I type this, and while I'm not convinced by that, I think three days wouldn't be tough with a fully charged battery.

Part of this is obviously due to the large chassis having space for a larger battery; but clearly Sony have been working on power consumption to good effect.

As for the software load - really it's much the same as the Z2 Tablet. There's more included apps - it ships with WisePilot and Garmin for example - but again, these are mostly uninstallable.

The phone is on +Three UK - which remains by far the best mobile data provider, and I'm told they're getting 4G hereabouts soon. I really can't fault the local Three Store; they make up for the huge deficiencies that their foreign call centres have - if it weren't for the Store here, I'd have more than likely moved provider despite getting worse coverage as a result.
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Oh, lookie.

So at a glance, my only concern is that the strap isn't replaceable. That could be a problem, because on my SW2, changing the strap for a leather one stopped my wrist rotting away.

But otherwise, it's Android Wear and supports the existing Sony stuff, transflective screen, IP68, and appears to act as a bluetooth capable standalone walkman, too. Which is a bit nifty.

In terms of functionality, I note the thing has a quad-core CPU and GPS.

Bravo, +Sony Xperia - I may have to have an upgrade soon.
SmartWatch 3 SWR50
SmartWatch 3 SWR50
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Hoorah, for I have duped +JSConf EU into letting hundreds of people fly across the globe, so I can regale them with tales of people burning to death!
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+LiveScience are a pop-science site that manages to - mostly - steer somewhere close to actual, peer-reviewed, stuff.

Of course, it makes sense that children just prodding smartphones aren't doing anything useful, but I have to admit I would have thought a touchscreen device would have been generally useful for various functions. And I'm wrong.
Playing with touch screen devices may have no benefits in the cognitive development of kids younger than 3 years, even though many parents swear by the devices' 'educational benefits.'
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"An odd, and somewhat nasty, thought..." says Klensin.

I hope he's wrong; but I have to admit it all fits very nicely.
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Nice footage of the XMPP: TDG cover in action.
Here's footage of a newborn baby Java mouse-deer taking some tentative steps:

The creature, born at a zoo in southern Spain, is one of the smallest hoofed animals in the world.

Footage courtesy of Bioparc Fuengirola.  
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I've been threatened with legal action due to refusing to delete some code from Yaxim, which is present in branches in my github fork of this project.

From the #yaxim  IRC channel:

23:00:24 <Nebukadneza> Ge0rG: i'm out
23:00:31 <Nebukadneza> also, i have never licensed the MUC code
23:00:35 <Nebukadneza> i should do so now
23:00:42 <Nebukadneza> please remove it from your repositories

The code in question was contributed via a git repository (self hosted, not on github), not as individual patches. Yaxim itself is a GPL project. Therefore I suspect that a git repo of the code is by definition a derived work and covered under the same license; in this case the license was, of course, present in the repository.

No copyright claims are included in the source code, and I cannot find any additional statement or license within the tree beyond that which is in the original work.

I worked with this code in good faith, on the assumption that it had been freely contributed under the GPL.

When I, too, was asked over XMPP to delete all the MUC code, I queried whether this was a licensing issue (ie, a copyright violation) or a simple request. I asked this because I suspect that, because I'm working as a Software Engineer for a company heavily involved in Open Source, if I've got a copyright violation claim against me they might want to know.

The answer was confusing; the author claimed that he had the right to ask, and would seek legal advice if I declined, but this was not a legal issue:

[23:04:03] NebuK: i am saying: "i don't care about the legal situation"
[23:04:38] Dave Cridland: I do, though.
[23:05:14] NebuK: so the situation is like this: i am asking you, from a moral and merely human standpoint, to do me a favor, just as i tried to do a favor to everybody
[23:05:23] NebuK: and you refuse due to technical details
[23:05:32] NebuK: in that case there is no sense in any further talking
[23:05:44] Dave Cridland: If this code is in violation of copyright law, my professional standing is at risk, as is (probably) Georg's. I do need that clarified.
[23:05:49] NebuK: i'll be checking if there is some loophole that may enable me to force you to delete that stuff, if not, get happy with it
[23:07:59] Dave Cridland: But if this is merely because you've got upset and want to change your mind, then not only is "deleting" the code simpler, but it's also not something I may have to declare to my employer and seek legal protection for.

At no time in the conversation did I refuse, actually. I just genuinely like to know what's at stake.

[23:12:36] NebuK: because you treated me inhuman in replying to kind requests with legal bullshit
[23:12:47] NebuK: so i start replying with legal bullshit too, obvious and logical
[23:13:25] Dave Cridland: No, you told Georg there was no license (which I dispute), prior to asking him to takedown the code.
[23:13:40] NebuK: that is what i believe from my simple understanding
[23:13:43] NebuK: but it does not matter
[23:13:49] NebuK: okay, two options
[23:14:00] NebuK: a) you either make a good argument on a non-legal basis why you don't do this
[23:14:20] NebuK: b) if you persist on legal asshole-talk, i grab my lawyer and check out what the legal situation actually is
[23:14:24] NebuK: you choose
[23:14:43] Dave Cridland: Go get your lawyer.
[23:14:46] NebuK: okay
[23:14:53] NebuK: please kindly fuck yourself

I've already given him my email address, I'll look forward to seeing what his lawyer actually says.

As for his final request, I find myself unable to comply with that either.
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