In Flight Movies … next generation

As I am sitting here in my office, weeks after my trip to Singapore,
there are thoughts that hit me about the trip and some of the more
interesting points.  One of these was the great services on
Singapore Air.  They really are a spectacular airline, and one of
the technology points that I missed was something that I discovered on
the way back from Singapore.

On these flights, and many of the newer planes and flights, each seat
included its own “seat-back” TV for watching a variety of
programming.  I have used this before on JetBlue flights to New
York where they offer dozens of channels of satellite TV.  On the
flight over to Singapore I was reading the book Blink, and did some
catching up on magazines, and so I never did turn on the TV.  I
did, from time to time, hear people snicker or laugh and glanced over
to see one of the various new movie releases playing on someone elses

On the way back from Singapore, I was tired of reading and completing
work on my laptop, and so I thought I would check out the movie
system.  I first grabbed the in-flight guide and saw there were 60
different movies – besides the various TV programming that was being
offered.  Out of the 60 films, at least half of them were
Hollywood flicks … some new, some older.  The other half of the
movies were international movies.  I turned on the TV, put on my
headset, and started to cruise through the channels.  On each
movie that I came to, a small display appeared on the screen for a few
seconds that told me how far into the movie it was.  I found a
movie that was only 10 minutes in, and started to watch.

As I was sitting in my seat, I accidently squashed the controller –
which pops out of the armrest – and suddenly the movie started to
fast-forward!  WHAT?  I was shocked.  I hit pause …
and the movie paused.  I hit rewind … and it quickly returned to
where I had been watching.  I hit rewind again and went back all
the way to the beginning of the movie.  I had no idea that each
person had complete control of the movie they were watching!

I’m not sure how this is done, and how much control is being given,
however I was impressed.  I was able to pause to go to the
lavatory, and when I was done watching one show I could go to another
and simply rewind to the beginning!  I could not find a way to
simply “stop” the movie and restart it from the beginning, however
rewinding worked.

What is amazing to me is that for this level of control to be given,
there must be some impressive bandwidth within the plane, and they must
count on the fact that most people would not do this.  If not,
then there is even more intelligence in the system than I would have
thought.  Not only would the system have to keep track of each
person and what they were watching, it would have to be able to send
the appropriate content to the appropriate person at the appropriate
time.  Or the TV displays have the ability to buffer the movies?

In any case … I have to admit that I was impressed … nice system.

New HP tc4200!

I finally got my new Tablet PC at work … a brand new HP tc4200! 
Once I have completed getting it all configured, updated, and all of my
software installed I might even be able to use it … maybe in a few
days.  I have to admit that I like the form factor, and the
extended travel battery adds just the right amount of tilt to the unit
when sitting on a desk.

We have been far too busy here at Agilix Labs for me to spend non-stop
time on getting it ready … but I keep spinning up new tasks on it
while doing other work.  I’m thinking that I might take it home in
the next day or two and see what I can wrap up there.

As we are now thoroughly into our beta testing of GoBinder 2006, and
our new release of Backpack, I also want to get going on developing
some plug-ins for our new architecture.  I have to get Visual
Studio installed on this new machine, and then see what I can start to
experiment with.  I know that many people have started to ask
about the beta, and the SDK … please go and check out our new support
forums as … and if you want to get on the
potential beta list, send an e-mail to:  beta2006 at

Apache -> Tomcat -> Java still too complex

On another note, I once again installed a copy of XPlanner on one of
my Linux boxes.  XPlanner is a very cool XP/Agile project manager
that allows a team to create user stories and plan development
iterations.  I really like the tool, and am looking forward to the
next version.

To install XPlanner, I had to install Java, along with Ant, then build
XPlanner.  The version of Ant on my FC2 box was too old, and so
then I had to upgrade Ant.  Then build XPlanner.  Then
install Tomcat, and deploy XPlanner within Tomcat.  Then go and
get mod_jk to connect Apache to Tomcat.  Then configure
mod_jk.  Then configure Apache.

All in all … this whole process is still far too complex, and is
overly complicated.  I fully understand the “power” and
“flexibility” that many people will claim … but it is just too hard
for the simple tasks of getting things working.

This is one place that I believe that Open Source falls down. 
This entire suite is a very incomplete solution due to the manual labor
required to install and configure.  It’s just not a “complete” nor
“polished” solution … IMHO.

Fedora Core 4 … and Up2Date still sucks

I haven’t posted for a bit … too busy with work, play, and
family.  I did get a chance to install Fedora Core 4 though, and
is was a good experience.  I actually did an upgrade of a Fedora
Core 2 box, since that is what most of my servers are running now.

I wanted to see just how hard it might be to bring them all up to
date.  I had tried to do upgrades to Fedora Core 3, but that
failed completely.  There were far too many packages broken when I
tried to do this.  I’ll do some more work with Fedora Core 4 and
see if this might be my next platform to move to.

One thing that I have to comment on is that Red Hat and Fedora still
have a LOT to lern from Microsoft and Windows Update.  Since doing
this upgrade I have tried numerous times to get the server up to date
using the free Up2Date application.  And it fails 90% of the
time.  I fully understand this is free … and uses distributed
servers across the globe … but it still fails.  The packages
begin to download and inevitably there will be one that simply stops
during the download … and it never recovers.  I have left it for
hours, and nothing … just stuck sitting there.  What a piece of
crap.  Anyone that understands network programming has to account
for these types of failures and deal with them gracefully. 
Up2Date still isn’t completely baked …

Anyhow … we’ll see how things go besides that.  I really wanted
to get to Fedora Core 4 so that I could install and get some PHP5
applications working.  I have had to run them on Windows up till
now.  I’ll see if I can get things working by this weekend.

August CTO Roundtable Breakfast

This morning was a good crowd of people … with several new faces to
me. With this many people we were sure to have a number of great

I started things off by sharing some of what I have been learning about
China. On my recent trip to Singapore I began reading a book
given to me at work called China, Inc.
… an eye-opening review of what is going on in China. One of
the interesting areas is where the Chinese professors that I met one
evening started to explore my thoughts on Open Source software.
They wanted to know who in America really thought they could compete
providing service and support for Open Source compared to the work
force they are creating in China. Good question …

We then ventured into discussion about Utah State Education. One
of the people who came works for the state school board. After
covering some of what the board does, we heard about what the new
`charter` schools are … they are a new type of school popping up all
over the state.

Since an employee of Utopia was
here, we got to hear about the progress of this 100% fiber build out
here in Utah. Some of the other people that came, who live in
some of the original 14 cities, were anxious to hear when they will
eventually be able to connect. There was a lot of complaining
about the lack of information about the progress of the Utopia build
out. What was amazing to hear, was that the biggest product that
is selling is 10Mb of Internet bandwidth – fully symmetric! – for
$39.00 per month! I want to see Wasatch County and Heber City get
involved in this!

While talking about streaming media over Utopia, we got to hear about
Phil experimenting with streaming, and that got us into talking with
streaming over wireless. As we explored this conversation we
returned to the conversation about Utopia.

As the meeting went on, we talked about various job opportunities in
the valley, and then got to hear from a couple of the folks from CleanFilms who are providing cleaned versions of movies to their customers. We also talked about ClearPlay
who does a similar thing. They are both dealing with lawsuits
from Hollywood about destroying the `artistic integrity` of their
movies. Looping back, I suggested that they might look to China
as a market where editing of content and `censorship` of content is
government sponsored. They indicated that the recent arguement
from Hollywood is that they fully intended to enter into this market

I brought up Google Talk, and we exploded into the whole conversation
about where is this going.  There were a lot of good ideas, and
this spun into the entire discussion about identity, digital identity,
certificates …

Too much to talk about … it was a great morning … we probably could have gone all day!

In Singapore again

I meant to blog more while I was here, but it was just too busy. 
It’s been a great trip back to Singapore … I really enjoy coming
here.  I believe that the last time I was here was probably 10
years ago.  It seems so familiar.

One thing that I really love is the food … Nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng
… currys … seafood!  Last night was a wonderful buffet dinner
with a wide range of foods.  There was an awesome mushroom and
baby octopus salad … roasted squid … dragon fruit.  Even some
golden watermelon … awesome stuff.

On top of that it was bright and sunny yesterday, and then overcast and
rainy today.  I ended up having to go and take a walk today in the
rain … the smells, the humidity … all of it was great.  I
walked to one of the malls – the Great World Mall – and looked around
at the shops … too cool.

I also went to visit the NTU campus
today … what an amazing place.  It is beautifully designed, and
is immense.  What a great place to go to school.

Well … I head home tomorrow … the trip was too short.  I
really want to come back here some time and spend several weeks. 
Singapore is an amazing country …

Live from Singapore …

Well … I got here in only 24 hours!  We left Salt Lake City at
~11:15am on Sunday, and got here to Singapore almost exactly 24 hours
later.  It was a great set of flights, and a nice trip.  We
took Singapore Air from Los Angeles through Tokyo, and then on to
here.  What a great airline …

Anyhow … I’ll be blogging more.  I was able to read the entire
book Blink … very cool book, and I have some thoughts that I want to
write about.  I also got my new Zire 72 working, and am going to
see if I can get the GPS operational …

Anyhow … good night for now!

Darwin slow down

I’ve stopped working with Darwin and OpenDarwin again … at least
for a while.  It’s funny, but I report various bugs and problems
and I get that there just in not much interest from the community – or
Apple – in fixing them.  No big deal … although I really think
they would gain from making sure that these distros worked in more

I’m getting things working in Virtual PC 2004, but with a lot of
effort.  And then I hit some roadblock … like I have right
now.  So I lost interest again for now … I’ll pick it back up in
a while when I have some time to play around.

Heading to Singapore

Well … I’m on my way to Singapore!  As part of my work at Agilix Labs I’m going to be attending the e-Agenda International Roundtable.  It ought to be a fun trip … I haven’t been out of the country in a while.

It looks like I’ll be taking a quick flight to LA, then on to Singapore
via Tokyo.  I’ll be flying Singapore Airlines, and so it appears
that I’ll have wireless Internet along the way!  Woo hoo!

I’ll have to see if there is any way to re-charge my laptop batteries
along the way … although Internet access is there for everyone, the
power connectors are not in “Economy Class”.  Bummer.

Longhorn Beta 1 installation update …

Well … hours later … I almost have it working!  I was able to
get Beta 1 of Longhorn – Windows Vista – installed in Virtual PC. 
I just added the VPC Additions to get my video driver working. 
I’m going to shut down and save the image … it appears to be good
enough to have a decent installation to work with.

I’ll probably check it out further and play with it over the weekend as I have some time …