Friday, January 30, 2009

Wireless Networking Through the Bathroom – Even Google Has a Sense of Humor

In these grave economic times, it’s great to see even large companies with the ability to laugh in the face of layouts, downsizings, and economic rout. Google once again leads the way wit their new wireless networking solution called TiSP which utilizes the fiber optic cable in the sewer system (who knew it was there?).

My favorite part is the installation page from which I’ve drawn the key steps below:

#1 --Remove the spindle of fiber-optic cable from your TiSP installation kit.
#2 --Attach the sinker to the loose end of the cable, take one safe step backward and drop this weighted end into your toilet.
#3 ---Grasp both ends of the spindle firmly while a friend or loved one flushes, thus activating the patented GFlush™ system, which sends the weighted cable surfing through the plumbing system to one of the thousands of TiSP Access Nodes.
#4 --When the GFlush is complete, the spindle will (or at least should) have largely unraveled, exposing a connector at the remaining end. Detach the cable from the spindle, taking care not to allow the cable to slip into the toilet.
#5 --Plug the fiber-optic cable into your TiSP wireless router, which has a specially designed counterweight to withstand the centripetal force of flushing.
#6 --Insert the TiSP installation CD and run the setup utility to install the Google Toolbar (required) and the rest of the TiSP software, which will automatically configure your computer's network settings.
#7 ---Within sixty minutes -- assuming proper data flow -- the other end of your fiber-optic cable should have reached the nearest TiSP Access Node, where our Plumbing Hardware Dispatchers (PHDs) will remove the sinker and plug the line into our global data networking system.
#8 --Congratulations, you're online! (Please wash your hands before surfing.)

It’s a great spook on today’s technology product offering complete with FAQ, price lining, and limited support by calling it a “beta”. As the website says, “It’s in beta because when things go wrong, they really go wrong.”

Best regards,
Hall T.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Winnowing --Google kills the iGoogle for iPhone

You can file this post under the “bad timing” category. Last week I blogged on the iGoogle coming to the iPhone and how farsighted Google was for making their software work well on other company’s platform. Just as the post went live, I received word from a reader that the iGoogle for iPhone is now dead and that the user no longer gets an optimized version. Evidently, Google pulled the plug on Jaiku and Google Notebook as well.

It may be that the current economic climate is causing the moves. The local Google Austin office was recently shuttered for that very reason. Also, an Austin-made product called Dodgeball which was the hit of SxSW several years ago and then acquired by Google has been killed off. Other applications that just got dumped include Google 3D, Mashup editor, and Google catalog.

Last fall Google killed off Lively and Print Ads. Given the large number of beta projects Google floated I guess it should be unsurprising that many are meeting a timely death before full product launch. Such is the way of prototypes and pilots.

Best regards,
Hall T.

Friday, January 16, 2009

iGoogle for iPhone – the Google OS on the iPhone Platform

One of the great things about an open source operating system is the ability to move elements of it to your competitors’ hardware platform. At first, one wonders about the sense of selling someone else’s hardware platform but then we remember Microsoft’s first OS was sold on the IBM PC. That PC platform came and went but the OS platform continues to this day.

As we watch the same war (different fighting tools) underway again, we see Google putting it’s iGoogle on the iPhone as you can see here. In addition, there’s Google Earth, Google Search, Google Chat and Reader and about a dozen other Google applications on the iPhone. String enough of these applets together and you have a toehold on a competitors’ platform.

Best regards,
Hall T.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Compiling Verilog from C code Right on the Web

No doubt FPGAs bring greater performance to virtual instrumentation applications. The challenge is harnessing the power of this tool without getting lost in the complexity. One solution is the C-to-Verilog which lets the user paste a block C-code into a window on their website and then it automatically converts the code to Verilog. It lets the user choose the address bitwidth, the array size, the number of parts, and the target FPGA which includes both Xilinx and Altera product families.

. If you want to simply avoid an in-depth tutorial on how to write Verilog then this is the site for you. It’s not clear how efficient the generated code is, but it appears from the examples to provide a solid baseline from which the user can apply more efficiency

Here’s an additional list of Verilog tools that you may find useful.

Best regards,
Hall T.