Hardware Hacking – The new frontier

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I have been reading this book for quite a while and since everything is becoming a computer of sorts and computers can run software (even if its saved on flash memory) there seems to be a new wave of tinkerers.

In the old days is was mechancial parts in the potting shed like Trevor Bayliss. Now is rewriting the software or improving on it. A great example of this is Bob Cringely’s column this week talking about a Linksys wiresless ASDL router.

While I don’t agree with Bobs model of the people’s ISP, I do believe that hardware hacking will change technology in new and exciting ways. The main thing that worries me is when will I have to run anti-virus software on my washing machine or microwave.

TV station fragmentation

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As TV station fragmentation has increased, viewerships of individual channels have gone down – think the launch of Channel 4 or the rise of Sky. Now Strategy Analytics have have interviewed 800 people to prove the obvious, the choice provided by broadband internet connections in homes is diminishing the amount of time people spend watching television.

Electricnews has a review of the Strategy Analytics report here.

Panasonic Car Stereo With Real HI-FI Cred

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Panasonic claim that they have made the worlds first car stereo with a vacuum tube amplifier. Well despite the fact that that claim could easily be disputed by the likes of Motorola who were making them in the 1920s its a fantastic piece of kit. It plays CDs, CD-RWs, and MP3 encoded CD discs. Considering it build quality and specification its price of $650 seems quite reasonable. Now if the Japanese manufacturers started turning out affordable high quality hifi separates like this I would be a happy man. Details on on the Panasonic site here – warning its all in Kanji script Japanese.

Good news in tech sector shocker

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PalmOne managed to have the Xerox patent covering the Graffiti pen language declared invalid. Hopefully that means they can get rid of the shocking Graffiti II method and go back to the future.

Mixed Crop of Apples

The Good: Apple made a number of improvements to the web design around its .mac services and provided a number of useful features including help with loading up your own html pages to your .mac account rather than having to use a template, better icards and a fancy navigation bar in .mac webmail.

The Bad: Further security flaws discovered in Safari and Internet Explorer browser applications for MacOS X.

The Ugly: Apple is moving its chess pieces around the table. Development of OS X is to slow down according to executives. In addition the iPod has been broken out as a separate division. I personally am not terribly excited by this. The iPod is not built on an Apple platform, is easily replicable and the music industry is fighting against Apple becoming a force in digitial music downloads outside the US. You can read Bob Cringely’s take on it here