Hello from Seville, Spain

Not much time to type. Trying to fit a lot of internet into a little bit of time. Just wanted to post real quick about how things are going so far. Here are just a few of the highlights…

  • Barcelona is a wonderful city and we did not have nearky enough time there. The apartment we found on Craigslist was perfect and the host, Kevin, was gracious and kind. The aprtment itself was very well located and was easy access to all of the main parts of the city. I can not detail all of the things we did here, I will do that when I return. Let me just say that there were all sorts of wonderful moments and surprises. Too many to list.
  • Seville is proving to be equally special in its own way. It is a beautiful city. Very old world. Very respecful of its many influences. We saw and amazing flamenco show last night, had tapas in some wonderful little local bars and had a great walking tour today. We hope to get a carriage ride in as well before we head on to Ronda tomorrow.

  • Being able to have the Nokia N800 for internet and VoIP access has been a life saver. It has been a breeze connecting from wherever we can. I even was able to do a little ¨wardriving¨¨with it last night when language barriers prevented the night hotel person and I from figuring out I needed to know what the password was. I simply walked around with the N800 and let it scan for networks until I found an open one. I then connected, started up Gizmo Project and was able to call back home.

All in all this has been an amazing honeymoon so far. Even though Bethany is a bit under the weather we are managing to make the most of every minute. I may post again but I will certainly do a few posts when we return. I would like to go into more detail about so much of what we have seen.

Off to Spain

Princess Bethany and I will be leaving tomorrow for our, much delayed but well deserved, honeymoon to Spain. Here are some details, thoughts, and observations I have before we leave:

  • We plan on visiting several cities over a 12 day period including Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Ronda and Granada which should give us a fair sense of the country as a whole.
  • Most of our travel within Spain will be via Vueling Airlines. They seem kind of like a Spanish version of Easy Jet. Unbelievably cheap fares for travel within Spain. We are not making reservations. We will just show up at the airport, choose the flight we want, put some cash down, and go. Adventure baby!

  • While we are staying in hotels in most of the places we are visiting, in Barcelona we will be renting an apartment in the Raval area we found offered on Craigslist. I have had several e-mails back and forth with the very friendly host of the place – he seems like a great guy. I even was able to use Paypal for the deposit. I feel so very 21st century.

  • We will be leaving our laptops behind. Instead, I will be bringing the Nokia N800 and a Think Outside Bluetooth Keyboard for our connectivity needs. We will not only use it for internet and e-mail access but also plan on using Gizmo Project to make cheap VoIP calls. I plan to post about how this works when we get back.

  • I also have a Moleskine City Notebook for Barcelona which I plan to use the heck out of while there. I have already started writing phone numbers for airlines, lodging details, etc. that I will need. I plan on trying to keep notes on places we eat, things we see, etc. I will post about this as well shortly after returning.

Although we will most likely have internet access available wherever we will be staying, posting will be slower than even it’s recent slow levels. As stated above, I plan to post much of my experience when I get back to compensate. Also, I will most likely be slow to respond to e-mail or comments. I will be on my honeymoon after all.

Open To The Possibility

I am not a hacker. I am not a guy who really needs to know what is going on under the hood. When it comes to technology, I like it to “just work”. I don’t want to have to needlessly tinker with it. This does not mean that I wont tinker if the need arises. I just would prefer not to have to do it unless I want to do so or have to do so, but I prefer the option to be mine. While the words “some assembly required” actually make me a little nervous, increasingly words like “this will void your warranty” or “this will break your licensing agreement” make me even more so.
I am not an open source zealot. That being said, the idea of software that is open source, hardware that is open and standards that are open, garners an increasing amount of weight in my making the decision to use technology. Here are some examples:

  • When it came time for me to purchase a new wireless router, I chose one that was based on open source firmware. It works just fine for my needs as it is out of the box. I have no plans to flash it with alternative and more feature rich firmware an time soon. I may never do so. It is just the possibility to be able to do so that appealed to me over other alternatives. The fact that I could add features or capabilities beyond the factory defaults if I wanted to was a huge selling point.
  • One of the big selling points in the purchase of my Nokia N800 was the fact that the software platform that drives it is open source and the Nokia’s own developers are really active participants in the open source project. The platform is based on Linux so there are hundreds of applications being ported to the platform. In other words, out of the box the device is very useful but with so many others able to develop for the N800, it can be so much more.

  • I have increasingly been using Jabber for IM over iChat/AIM. It is the default protocol in the Google Talk client bundled with the N800. iChat also supports Jabber so it easy for my existing “buddies” to find me there.

  • I use GizmoProject over Skype for VoIP. Gizmo is open. Skype is not.

The point is, “open” has become huge for me and I really did not see it coming. I never would have imagined it before recently. Now it is one of the first things I consider when embarking on any technology decision. I suspect I am not alone. I suspect that there are many out there just like me. We are not hackers, makers, zealots or freaks. We don’t want to have to tinker with technology. We just want the option. We just want to be open to possibility.

Remainders 02.15.2007

37 Signals introduces Highrise (formerly Sunrise), their contact management solution.
Throw a few bones (seven of them to be exact) to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and pick up this nifty set of stickers. They are fighting for your digital freedoms after all. Plus it will give you a lot of geek cred. (via Boing Boing)
Gizmodo emeritus Joel Johnson has unleashed an editorial spanking that rips all the gadget sites a new one. It is nothing short of breathtaking. One of the most hilarious and spot on editorials I have ever read. (via Daring Fireball)
Zen Habits offers a great little tutorial – 3 Steps to a Permanently Clear Desk.
It has been a long dream of Princess Bethany and I to eat at world renowned restaurant The French Laundry. We have not been able to because they close for their winter break the same time as I am in the San Francisco/Napa area during Macworld every year. Perhaps we should do what this person is doing – Cooking every meal in The French Laundry Cookbook and blogging about it. If only I had the time… (via Megnut)

Remainders 02.10.2007

Multi-Touch on steroids… In the not so distant future, we will all interact with computers just like this. (via MacDevCenter)
Here is a great little video of how the way we are using computers in today’s Web Two-Point-Oh-no-you-didn’t! world is actually teaching the machine more about us. (Thanks Carly)
Interesting article about the construction of a “doomsday vault” in Norway designed to hold around 2 million seeds representing all know ieties of the worlds crops in case of catastrophic worldwide loss. (via WorldChanging)

Remainders 02.07.2007

Like the rest of the blogoshere, I am equally amazed, perplexed, shocked and awed by Steve Job’s essay against DRM called “Thoughts on Music“. This is a must read but I will summarize it as best I can – DRM is evil and only exists so the record companies can sell more CD’s which, Sony rootkits aside, have no DRM.
Kodak thinks they have found the “killer app” of of the personal printer world – ink prices. They have a new line of printers that, while slightly higher priced than their competitors, take replacement cartridges that are sold at a cost much lower than their competitors. the printers themselves look great, are full featured and reportedly give fantastic output. Printers have long been the “razor and blades” of the computer world – selling the hardware cheap and the consumables at prices that bordered on robbery. Therefore, this is a rather bold move.
Merlin Mann has a great introduction to Stikkit – a cool new web app that uses natural language processing to parse the data you put into it. Still confused? Go read the link and it will all make sense.
Web Worker Daily shares this good list of Skype tips for Web Workers.

Nokia N800 Video Chatting on ThoughFix

Just a little shameless geek style self promotion. ThoughtFix is a blog with a lot of great info for Nokia Internet Tablet users that I have been reading a lot lately. Dan at ThoughtFix wanted to do a video of the N800 to N800 video chatting feature to post and sent a shout out to readers for a volunteer. Silly little me could not resist the moment in the spotlight.
Some lessons learned from the experience:

  • The camera really does add ten pounds. Unfortunately for me it all got added to my lips.
  • When you look tired because it is late and you are sleepy you also look high on dope.

  • Being able to do such things with a handheld device is one of the coolest things about being alive today.

Go on over, check it out and try not to laugh… I dare ya!
ThoughtFix: N800 to N800 video calling – on video!

Random List: Open Protocols

Here is a list of open protocols and standards that I recently have learned more about. It was much to my benefit and hopefully will be to yours as well:

  • Jabber/XMPP – Jabber is an open, free and secure messaging and presence protocol built on streaming XML technologies. Sort of like a “Linux for instant messaging”. This is the protocol that Google Talk is built upon and is built into my lovely new Nokia N800. Also, lots of instant messaging clients on many platforms provide support for it (For instance, iChat, Trillian and Gaim). Due to it’s open nature and my desire to use my shiny new toy as much as possible, I am going to try to use it as much as I can and encourage my “buddies” to do the same. My Jabber ID is patrickrhone -at- gmail.com (at = @) for anyone who wants to get in touch with me there.

  • SIP – SIP stands for “Session Initiation Protocol”. I have installed Gizmo Project on my N800 so that I may make VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls and SIP is the technology on which Gizmo Project is based. Think of it as the “Linux of VoIP”. There are lots of other projects also based on SIP as well (Asterisk PBX for instance) and there has been some efforts to integrate SIP with Jabber.

  • OpenID – OpenID is an open, decentralized, and free framework for personal digital identity. As it stands today, lots of places you go online require you to log in or otherwise provide authentication for who you are. As a result, you end up with lots of usernames and passwords everywhere. With OpenID, instead you will have all of those credentials on an OpenID server and all you will have to do is type in the URI to your credentials and the servers will handle all of the authentication securely for you. Lots of big players like Microsoft are getting behind this idea and supporting it in their products and sites.

  • Microformats – Microformats are simple pieces of code that one can add to a web site that contain small snippets of data and can not only be read in a browser but also easily imported into other applications. For instance, imagine if you came across a website and that person had a business card published as a Microformat on the site. With one click you could then add it to your contact manager of choice. The idea is to make such data adhere to simple and easily readable standards and to make it highly portable. I am sure if I am not explaining this well, someone will jump in the comments and correct me.

Remainders 02.04.2007

Kathy at Creating Passionate Users has an good article on randomness and why one should introduce it into their lives. The idea being that adding unpredictability increases creativity. (via LifeDev)
Donald Norman, writer of such design bibles as Design of Everyday Things, has a list of some of his favorite household items. Great list with a few obvious choices and a number of ones I am betting you have never heard of before. (via BoingBoing)
Have a Mac? Have a Mac that is not running Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger)? Well, here is how to patch it for the upcoming day light savings change because it is looking like Apple has no plans to do it for you.
My friend Micheal over at Etherdust has given his site a major redesign. I have to say I really like the new look. It is less cluttered and easier to read.
Oh, one more thing… I finally broke down and got myself a Nokia N800 Internet Tablet. In short, it is very cool and being able to have access to my online actions and projects easily will be a sure boon to my prouctivity. Look for some mention and review in future postings.

Remainders 01.30.2007

Web Worker Daily has a wacky idea that just might work for some folks. Using a blog as a to-do list manager. Crazy.
The Apple Blog has a rundown of some note taking apps for the Mac although there are some notable omissions (MacJournal? DevonThink?). The many omissions are very well noted in the comments, so it is worth scrolling down to see the plethora of great options.
Speaking of MacJournal… As you may know, it is a favorite application of mine. I am using it right now in its glorious full screen mode to write this very post. I use it to write all of my posts, in fact. Well, my good friends there have a special offer going to celebrate the release of the latest (totally rockin’) version. Just type the word “Live” into the promotional code at checkout and you can get it for less than $25.00. It is well worth the price. The offer is only good until midnight on Feburary 1st so best get on over there to get yours.