HARDWARE

OSCON 2007, Day 5 (belated)

OSCON 2007, Day 5 (belated)

OSCON ends with a half-day that goes by all too quickly. Below are some notes from those final few hours. Keynotes Nat Torkington During the Keynote segment Nat Torkington cracked everyone up with an omnidirectional roast he called Open Source Therapy. He described imaginary family therapy scenarios in which Mom and Pop are working out their problems with their various open-source-project kids. The only one I wrote down was about Python: “Mom and Pop wish Python would get drunk, get laid, and lighten the fuck up!

iPhone hacking

Hacking the iPhone! Perfect reddit/slashdot/digg material. Except that the site’s owners have requested that the link be kept off of those services, for fear of being overrun with traffic. Update: I misread their request – it covers puny blogs too. Which makes this post a lot less exciting. So all I can suggest at the moment is checking out the hackers' IRC channel (#iphone on irc.osx86.hu) or doing some googling. I love how this effort has taken off.
The Palm Foleo

The Palm Foleo

Palm has announced the Foleo laptop-ish-device, which they are pitching as a smartphone enhancer. Interesting turnabout from the days of the original Pilot, which was pitched as a “Connected Organizer” that was dependent on your computer. The Foleo is a computer designed to be dependent on your phone. I’m adding a reminder alarm (into my Palm TX, naturally) for 3 years from today, to go buy one of these on eBay for $75 and put Linux on it!

iPhone, youPhone, weallPhone

Apple and Cisco have reached an agreement on the disputed “iPhone” trademark, and – surprise – Apple gets to keep using it. From the Cisco press release: Under the agreement, both companies are free to use the “iPhone” trademark on their products throughout the world. To further differentiate brands, the Apple iPhone will also be known as “the real iPhone”, with the Cisco model being referred to as “Oh, I thought you meant the other one.

Was the old Mac a hacker's machine?

A recent discussion on the Well came around to the question of whether the classic Macintosh was “hacker’s” machine or not. Conventional wisdom would say no – it was the very definition of buttoned up. You couldn’t even develop software for it without a separate, more expensive computer (the Lisa) in the early days. But I think there’s a counter-argument to be made. Yes, the old Mac was a closed box that didn’t allow access to the internals of the OS.

What is the iPhone running, really?

In case you missed it, Apple has a new product. You can’t, you know, buy it or anything just yet – that’ll be about six months. And $500, please. While you wait you can compare it to the competition. They claim that it runs OS X. Hm. I can imagine there’s a BSD kernel (running on what processor I don’t know), QuickTime, WebKit… but really, how much of the stuff in the standard OS X architecture diagram is actually going to be in that phone?

Software, meet hardware

My friend Matt recently got a microcontroller kit as a present. It’s pretty geek-tastic – you wire up circuits on a little breadboard, write code on your PC, download the compiled code to the microcontroller, and run. At which point, depending on your skill and ambition, your LED blinks, your piezo buzzes, or your robot limbs and sensors do their thing. And your cat runs into the other room. All very cool, but the language – a BASIC dialect called PBASIC – overwhelmed my delicate sensibilities.