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Nokia bring out Linux Cellphone/TV/Browser 164

Matt Booth writes "New Scientist has an article about a new cellphone from Nokia which is also a digital TV and web browser. It runs linux, and apparently it won't be available in the States because of the poor Digital TV standard there. " Cursed am I!
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Nokia bring out Linux Cellphone/TV/Browser

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  • Some people don't use slashboxes...they take up valuable space.
  • The release date is still two years away, so expect big changes. But for the moment the size is announced as 25x35 cm. That gives a screen size of about the size of an A4 paper.

    Not bad, huh?
  • Personally, I think the EU approach is pointless. We are quickly moving to a point where ALL audio and video traffic happens over TCP/IP (like Voice over IP for phone traffic and video conferencing for video traffic). Making a specialized wireless system for JUST digital TV is a waste. Spend the money on improving wireless bandwidths and then you can just broadcast the MPEG-2 video streams from your DVD directly to the wireless devices.

    Data is data and I think if that you get broadbast wireless up and running (like the lucky folks in Tuscon, AZ have wireless T1s) the rest of the broadcast of digital TV... will be simple.

    Unfortunately TCP/IP is not necessarily the best protocol for video, the reasons being:
    • It does not have "Quality of Service" built in (you don't want your video signal breaking up every time your email arrives, you'd rather the email downloaded a little slower)
    • TCP garauntees all the packets arrive, and arrive in the correct order. This is not appropriate for video where if some packets go missing then there is virtually no loss in picture. You'd rather slight degradation than the video keep freezing whilst a stray packet is retransmitted.
    • There is some overhead with IP. As to whether the cost is worth it depends on bandwidth available etc.

  • In my experience, PAL is the superior standard (superior judged by quality of picture and resistance to vagueries in signal). NTSC has problems with colour. SECAM in France, the signal only has to degrade slightly for the picture to revert to black and white! Belgium uses PAL, but they stuck the sound on a different frequency which is rather annoying. Belgium borders on France so sells dual PAL/SECAM sets. It would have been nice to have had equipment I can use in both England and France. Pretty much all English video players can play PAL and NTSC.

  • Not to mention that the range of a TV broadcast is rather limited (line of sight and all).

    TV broadcast limited by line of sight? I think you are mistaken.

    No different from the problems associated with mobile reception of FM radio which is crap too

    In Europe we have digital radio (Digital Audio Broadcasting, or DAB) which provides CD quality sound over the radio. Still new, so receivers are quite expensive.

  • Tell me - which makes more sense. Designing
    for compatibility or causing the 250 million
    people in this country who own NTSC TV's to
    junk their hardware? Boy- now that WOULD be
    a boon to the industry, and do the consumer
    no good at all.

    Incorrect. You will need a box to interface between the digital signal and the analogue TV no matter what standard you decide on. The final analogue encoding (whether PAL or NTSC) is irrelevant to the standard.

  • Maybe I'm mistaken in my terminology (sorry, I'm a railway fan, but English is not my mother tongue), but as far as I know, Britain and France (as well as the rest of Europe, except for Spain and Russia) all use the same gauge for a large majority of their railway lines: 1.435 meter.

    This is, however not to mean that they use the same rules when other measurements are concerned, such as how close to the tracks a signal is allowed to be etc. These things are indeed different in the UK.


  • Imagine a soccer mom driving her van/tank while watching oprah and talking to her friends over cell phone at the same time. Forget NRA, LA ghetto looks like heaven compared to that.
  • The US has a long history of going their own way as far as telecom is concerned. TV signal (analog and digital) is one of them, but probably the most amazing of these difference is cellular communications. Europe and Asia (I don't know anything about Africa or Australia) uses GSM. So what does the US have to do? Use their own system (TDMA, etc.). Actually, what am I thinking! They use several digital systems, since an AT&T digital cell won't work on the Bell Atlantic network, etc... It's silly, it's annoying, and it's inconvienient for the user and for themselves (they could share a lot more of their towers if they could just agree on one standard - GSM).

    Although, aside from the cell phones, Europe is not necessarily a whole lot better. For analog TV, France uses PAL, Belgium (and most of Europe - methinks) uses Secam... But at least I don't think Europeans makes any new mistakes like that (could be wrong - i am belgian but i live in the us, my european info may be a bit stale).
  • Sigh. I haven't had much luck with the moderators the past few days. That was meant as a tongue-in-cheek joke - it seems the ACs invariably post a question like that to any list announcing Product X running linux. I was just trying to mock them - rather like saying "d00d u r s0 l335!" to a script kiddie.



  • there's a commercial for some car company where the people do just this (hop in their car to drive down the driveway to get their mail). maybe some people just take things a little more seriously than others.

    either way, you may want to have your blood pressure checked. if you get worked up over this, you may have bigger problems to deal with.
  • >[snip] the Nokia 9110 has a special operating system

    It runs an incarnation of GEOS, from Geoworks. GEOS is/was one of the early contenders for the PC GUI back in the '80s. The 9110 is basically a tiny PC linked to a mobile phone in the same box.

    Obligatory /. request : I wonder if anyone's ported Linux to the 9110?
  • I think it was meant as a fine way of critizing the so called "American way of life," which many Europeans (including myself) believe is a deadly serious threat to mankind's future on earth. As my old American gov't teacher used to say, the citizens of United States constitute about 5% of the total world population (?) while consuming *one third* of the world's resources. The "American way of life" would maybe be more appropriately be called the "American way to death."
  • The MILLIONS of UK tellys arn't useless. You get a FREE dig-decoder box, plug it into your telly (via the scart) and bobs your uncle one digital telly.

    Sometimes it's good to make a leap and leave the old standards behind, you just have to provide a stop-gap to give people time to change.
  • "The TV set at work connects to a roof-top antenna."

    OK, you want wireless, that's possible too. But that's not my point. The point simply is that most people will have fast internet connections in a few years. Lets get this into your thick skull. Once the connections are there they might as well be used to transmit video. And I just claim that if it can be done it will be done. As for wireless TV, in Holland there are only three channels available that way. If you want to receive the rest of the channels you need a satelite dish or cable.

    BTW. I don't like to be called a Jerk, especially with such weak argumentation. I also think star trek the next generation is a piece of crap as most of the stuff America pukes out on european television. I can't stand those mediocre sitcoms and these poorly written&acted sf series. Not to mention those mind numbing talkshows. But that's beside the point, it's just my opinion.

  • Just letting you know - you need to shop around a little more for your cell phone services in the states I guess.

    1. I got a motorolla startac digital phone for free (that's a $350 value)
    2. I do pay a montly fee of $20 - (the all have fees, the only thing that stinks I suppose)
    3. No roaming or long distance charge for any call made to and from the East Coast (you can get the same plan for the entire usa if you want).
    4. There is enough free airtime included in the monthly fee that I basically never have any charges other than the monthly fee. Additional air time is about $.10
    5. Caller don't pay anything extra when they call my cell phone (it's just like a regular landline - no strange area codes, nothing like that)
    6. A bunch of services come free as well, such as voice mail, caller id, text messaging, etc.

    Now, the reason why you might think that digital service is more expensive, it's because it fairly new here in the us. In fact, you typically can't get digital service unless you live in very populated areas (like suburbs of big cities or most of New Jersey). The rates will go down with time - right now they are installing the infrastructure (towers, etc.) as fast as they can, but this is a very large country if you have not noticed, so it's very expensive and the consumer gets to pay (no government help like in europe).

    If you want cheap cell phones, use analog (based on where you live, you may not have a choice). That's pretty much dirt cheap.
  • If the source code (and development kit) will be available as well, then it wont be long until someone implements strong-crypto point-to-point voice connections between two such cellphones - and this with widely available commodity hardware.
  • Turns out, it wasn't the accuracy of the thermometer that was the problem, but his subject had a bout of 'flu.

    Farenheit is a decimal scale though, 0degrees for freezing point of sea water (or alchohol?) up to the temperature of a man's armpit at 100degrees.

    He was just unlucky I suppose - or lazy more like, he most likely didn't test the scale on anyone else.
  • 1) How much will it cost? 2) When can I get one? 3) Can we tweak our digital TV standards to make this work? ARG!
  • They use linux in their own cell-phone project and let the gnokii project [] go begging.

  • I have no objections about anything you said - except for one:

    Why should I pay for someone to call me? Why shouldn't a cellphone have its own area code? Besides USA&Canada, the whole world works that way (including other non-GSM countries like Japan).

    Because if I don't pay for the airtime to receive a call, the caller will. I know you are going to say: who cares? Well, a lot of people like myself do. Some people want to be called (like business people on the road, or people that choose to have a cell phone as their only phone) and don't want the burden to be on the caller. The only case where this could be a problem is wrong number or telemarketers, but that problem is currently taken care of since the first minute is usually free of airtime (therefore free).

    You don't have to agree, just stating that if they were to change this particular policy - it would piss people off (like me) just as much as it would make others happy (like you). Maybe they could have both systems in place - and I believe they are thinking about it (as of a recent article I read somewhere. Wait! Wasn't it here?)

    It would be nice not to have a yearly contract, but I wouldn't have if I had actually paid for the phone (like with AT&T). And I suppose that it would be nice if there was no monthly fee, but I don't think that is a reasonable expectation or a big deal (regardless of what europe does) - no unless they drop the monthly fee for a landline. Would it be nice to have all the prices drop a bit? Sure it would. And it will. In a few years, when the company have built their infrastructure and are making pure profit - until then, it is not reasonable to expect them to do so.
  • Anyone know if this thing has a built-in nic?
    Would make a great portable net connection if you could run ipmasq on it.
  • You might be referring to the difference that used to be in measuring the power a car engine produces.

    I'm not. I'm aware of the old gross vs. net horsepower difference, but the "PS vs. HP" stuff I was thinking of was after 1971.

  • We always take the hard way into things. The metric system is a good example, here laid out in front of us was this wonderful system of measurement based on the number 10. Us? Bahhh, screw it, we will just make it more difficult. Then theres that whoel Celsiuis/Fahrenheit thing. I get Celsius, 0 is when water freezes, but Fahrenheit? Whats that? water freezes at 32 degrees ABOVE 0? huh? Oh well, enough ranting. I know I wouldnt be too keen bout switching now as it is, been using the good ole US system for to many years. But that article has a point, it appears out digital signals really ARENT as hardy as the european ones. But it does look like we might be switching, so Ill be looking for that first handheld all in one in my local over-priced CompUSA soon I hope. Well, enough complaining form me. Judg3
  • A cellphone web browser. Now I can have the web on the subway, on the job, at a restaurant. Just click in and I'm there.

    (That slurping sound is productivity going down the drain)

    -- Moondog
  • I generally prefer metric but I really don't see how celcius is all that much better. Kelven is useful since the base is absolute zero. No need to adjust when doing thermodynamic calculations.
    But what does celcius buy you? Nothing really, except being a little easier to convert to Kelvin.
    In Farenheit, freezing is 32 and boiling is 212. I learned that when I was knee high to a grass hopper. The numbers are aren't pretty but who cares? You don't do any calculations on them anyway.

    From a climate standpoint, farenheight may actually be better. The range is more reasonable. 100 is very hot, but it happens. 0 is very cold, but it happens. Negative numbers are reserved for very cold. Middling temperatures are near the middle of the range.

    Contrast with Celcius. Negative numbers normal in the winter? And how often do you see temperatures above 50C?
  • Base10 probably happened because we have 10 fingers and 10 toes. It's not a *bad* choice but base12 is probably better. More divisors. In base12, 1/3 is 0.4 exactly. 1/2 is is 0.6 1/4 is 0.3 1/5 is funky but 1/5 really isn't use that much.

    Base8 and base16 are only really good for computers. All the uglies of base10 + you can't divide by 5 evenly.
  • by Szoup ( 61508 )
    Read the article!!!!

    "The set, based on the open source Linux operating system..."

  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Monday September 13, 1999 @03:43AM (#1685854)
    I don't pretend to understand the relative merits of DSB and 8-VSB, but the fuss over selecting a standard reminds me of the difficulties people in the 19th century had with railroad gauges.

    During the last century (well, I suppose it was nearly two centuries ago now...) when railroad was the primary means of transporting goods, Russia pulled a similar egotistical maneuver and selected a railroad "gauge" or width (12?) that was inconsistent with the gauge gaining acceptance in neigboring Europe (8?). As a consequence, when trains passed the Western Russian boarder, all the passengers and contents had to be humped out, placed in another train, and sent on their way. Needless to say this retarded commerce between Russia and Europe.

    Now information, not gold or even dollars, is becoming the crucial international currency and nations are building their information infrastructure. If nationalism entices us or any other country down the same path as the Russians, they will quickly learn their mistake. Devices built in adherence to the de facto standard will suddenly cease to function the moment they enter the rogue country. This will be far more inconvenient - and costly - than converting between Standard and Metric.

    Let's not forget when advocating standards that common usage is an important factor, and that the world isn't limited by the San Andreas and the Potomac!

  • Actually, Norway have had Digital test transmissions the last couple of years, and are planning to switch to digital only in a year or so.
  • 1 Kelvin = -272 degrees Celsius
    273 Kelvins = 0 degrees Celsius

    I'm not sure if this was just an "oops" in your message, but you're basically right: 0 K = absolute zero, 0 degrees C = freezing point of water. Aside from those starting points, the scales are the same.
  • I know i could use mobile TV.. Just for all those long bus rides back and forth to school. And it even runs linux *drool* :)

    But why do people whine so much about an unfortunate joke about americans? :)
    I get the feeling that if this product would have been developed by an american company, people would have been talking about how cool it is for linux to be used in yet another product..

    Yet another standards war, as if we didnt have enough of them already.. The Europeans decide on one thing, and then the Americans go off and develop yet another standard.. But in the end the japaneese wins the game with something thats 3x as smart and cost half of the othe solutions. (Or turn it around all if you like, that's not my point) The world needs everybody to agree on a standard, and not have half a dozen incompatible standards that only work in their own region.

    I thought the coming of the internet would signal an end to nationalism.. oh well, maybe in time.

  • oops :)
    What i was trying to say is that the unit of measurment are the same. They both use the same basic unit, although with different starting points as you point out.

  • Digital TV is available now in the UK - but only
    via satellite, and possibly some cable. Not on terrestrial _quite_ yet, but it will be very soon.

    Sky has just started broadcasting some sprots events in digital format, so that users with the right set top box can select camera angles blah blah blah.

    I'm not convinced any of that is all that useful, but I'm sure they;ll find a use for it all one day.

    Shame about the way HDTV died though - that was, in some ways, miles ahead of the new digital t.v.
  • Well blood is a more complex fluid than water. I think that the freezing point of water under controled circomstances (pressure and purity) is much more precise than the freezing point of blood.
  • ...when a product is released in the US only.

    All I can say to your whingeing is: HAR HAR HAR!!
    Mmmm, revenge is sweet... ;-)
  • Media-screen is a laptop-sized device, with integrated GSM, and it is more like a portable TV than a phone. It will not run programs designed for 9110 and I would guess that future communicator-type products from nokia use EPOC32 anyway (not GEOS as 9110 or Linux as mediascreen). Anyway, Mediascreen is very nice device and hopefully much of the software will be opensourced. You (in the states) also have a model of old communicator (9000-series) available there. I had one, but got tired of nokias policy not to support Linux-connectivity.
  • I think French local trains run on the same guage as British ones. Its the high speed trains (TGVs vs InterCity) where there is a difference, because the French (and most Euroean countries) have separate high speed networks, whereas the British do not.

    I just though the use of Talgo trains held an interesting moral ...
  • they're still bad, not as bad as the US but bad. The fact that we drive smaller cars, with more economic engines & generally have better Mass Transit systems helps a lot
  • TGVs run on standard tracks. They use specially constructed railway lines because running at those speeds requires the bends to be less sharp and all that, but the gauge is the same.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    * Shoulder strap to carry the car battery this will need to power it :^)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Digital TV is available now in the UK - but only via satellite, and possibly some cable. Not on terrestrial _quite_ yet, but it will be very soon.

    You haven't heard of OnDigital [] then? DTV over terrestrial broadcast? It was there around the same time as Sky Digital arrived and works quite well thankyou.

    You can get the box for free and only pay for the channel packages. Check out Dixons or Radio Rentals or Granada for the Philips or Pace set top boxes.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Zero degrees Fahrenheit was the lowest temperature mr Fahrenheit could create in his lab, using a mixture of salt and ice.
  • The 9110 is the end-of-the-line as far as that model of phone goes: Nokia have said that future devices are going to use EPOC (32-bit, multitasking, etc) as opposed to GeOS (DOS with twiddles). Ok, this project uses Linux, but I can see why - EPOC is great for getting a lot out of small hardware, but isn't as easy to develop for as Linux.

    (a longtime 9000i user)
  • Nokia 9xxx phones are running GEOS.

    Go here s/geossdk/geossdk.html

    I have been on a project where a GPSGSMServer program was made for C9000. European Space Agency will start using it soon (I hope).
  • The reason that America and the UK never switched to the metric system

    Er, the UK pretty much has except for the minor areas of beer (we like it in pints thank you, exceot if it is served in bottles), milk, and the legacy roadsigns because they would be very confusing unless all changed at once. We certainly dont use that funny Fahrenheit stuff.
  • Is there any real reason why we process base ten numbers better, other than the fact that we historically only have 10 written digits. Also, I guess that's what people are taught.
    I've always thought it would be an interesting experiment to teach a kid octal or hex or something first, and see how they adapt to "weird" bases that aren't powers of two. :)
  • A cellphone web browser. Now I can have the web on the subway, on the job, at a restaurant. Just click in and I'm there.

    (That slurping sound is productivity going down the drain)
    And in the car.
    (That crunching sound is your car being hit by someone trying to drive and browse at the same time)
  • I suspect the 'it won't work in the US' claim is based on some kind of misunderstanding. The gig for this beast is that it uses broadcast to deliver the Web content and wireless to request it. So there's no obvious technical reason why it couldn't work in the US, as far as I can see. It's just a neat packaging of an approach that's being used elsewhere.
  • Now to correct some errors: Part of Africa uses GSM, South Africa among them. France uses Secam, PAL is the big standard in Europe(With the best quality, I might add). I think GSM is starting to spread in Asia too, especially after Ericsson selling large amounts of cell-phone systems. Darth Shinobi, Champion of Lady weeanna, Inquisitor of CoJ "May the dark side of the force be with you"
  • (off-topic)
    Actually, 0 Fahrenheit is when mercury freezes and 100 Fahrenheit is the temperature of your blood. So it's based on two different things, one of them not even really precise.

    Like all good stuff this will be totally over-prized for a long time. And I still doubt the usability. Nobody ever liked watching TV on one of those small LCD screens. And Internet? It might be handy for e-mail, instant messaging and perhaps a stripped down version of Lynx ;-) but it's useless for any other purpose. And don't tell me that you can hook up a laptop to it because that's not exactly something new.

    Looks to me this thing is just a smaller version of Nokia's Communicator or the Philips Velo.

  • I once saw a program about standards evolution that talked about track gauges. They reconed that you can trace the standard European gauge back to the roman standard for chariots(enforced by roman law).
    Basically it worked, so nobody ever changed it, and every new technology simply inherited it to ensure some compatibility. Sounds like ASCII to me.. if it aint broke, don't fix it. Unless you're M$oft.
  • The Register [] has more on this [], but their info seems to differ from the above. They imply that this is merely a wireless networking framework that will use cellular and Digital TV bandwidth. In other words, its not a phone or a TV or a combination of the two. But I guess the potential's there. Maybe. Please.
  • Drool... droool.... wantit! gimme! wantit now! drooool...

    Simon, off to have a cold shower.

  • Not to shabby, but still basically just a prototype, not a real shipping unit quite yet..
  • My Seimens S25 GSM mobile phone has a built in web browser, but I prefer to use its onboard modem over an IR link with ProxiWeb on my Palm III as the Palm has a bigger screen and I get to check my mail too.

    Sometimes I really like living in Europe... :-)
  • The US has a long history of going their own way as far as telecom is concerned. TV signal (analog and digital) is one of them

    Are you referring (for the "analog" part) to NTSC vs. PAL? If so, are you saying then that mean that PAL came out first, and the US developed NTSC instead of adopting PAL? If so, the Why Do Different TV Standards Exist? [] page on the Worldwide TV Standards - A Web Guide [] site seems to disagree - it says

    Beyond the initial divide between 50 and 60Hz based systems, further sub-divisions have appeared within both camps since the inception of Colour broadcasting. The majority of 60Hz based countries use a technique known as NTSC originally developed in the United States by a committee called the National Television Standards Committee. NTSC (often scurrilously refered to as Never Twice the Same Colour) works perfectly in a video or closed ciruit environment but can exhibit problems of varying hue when used in a broadcast environment.

    This hue change problem is caused by shifts in the colour sub-carrier phase of the signal. A modified version of NTSC soon appeared which differed mainly in that the sub-carrier phase was reversed on each second line; this is known as PAL, standing for Phase Alternate Lines (it has a wide range of facetious acronyms including Pictures At Last, Pay for Added Luxury (re: cost of delay line), and People Are Lavendar). PAL has been adopted by a few 60Hz countries, most notably Brazil.

    Or are you saying that the US "went their own way" because they didn't dump NTSC in favor of PAL?

    (That page also says

    Amongst the countries based on 50Hz systems, PAL has been the most widely adopted. PAL is not the only colour system in widespread use with 50Hz; the French designed a system of their own - primarily for political reasons to protect their domestic manufacturing companies - which is known as SECAM, standing for SEquential Couleur Avec Memoire. The most common facetious acronym is System Essentially Contrary to American Method, SECAM was widely adopted in Eastern Block countries to encourage incompatibility with Western transmissions - again a political motive.

    for those curious about PAL vs. SECAM.)

  • The European DVB standard is completely backwards compatible. All you need is a converter box, just like you'll need one in the states. If I'm not mistaken DVB is actually MPEG2 (like on DVD disks), it's just a question of how one transmits it. Actually this reminds me of how the US demand to have their own standard for the next generation of mobile phones, even though the rest of the world has agreed on one standard.
  • by Szoup ( 61508 )
    Ah, OK, gotcha. You certainly did well impersonating the AC standard. Just a little too well, that's all.
  • methinks there is only one contintent not using this one....


  • My feeling is that the market is big enough in the US that a minor setback that the standard isn't "robust" enough isn't going to hold back some brilliant engineer to get around a poor signal.

    I mean, we still deal with 7-bit transmissions and that hasn't slowed anyone down. With 265 million people with money burning a hole in their pocket, standards won't matter that much. The tech will come to the US, it'll just take a while.
  • Its something to do with mineral oil. Not certain what grade etc.
  • It works the other way too. There have been many perfectly good US standards that were ignored in favor of European/International standards that were similar but different enough to be incompatible. I suspect that this was a reaction to a fear of US dominance and a desire to protect European manufacturers. The same thing has happened with Europe and Japan.

  • thanks for straightening me out on the Pal vs Secam issue - I guess I had the two mixed up :)
  • As my old American gov't teacher used to say, the citizens of United States constitute about 5% of the total world population (?) while consuming *one third* of the world's resources.

    What are the figures for Europe? (Probably better, but are they enough better, or is the European way of life still a threat to mankind's future on earth, just a less serious one?)

  • ... support your argument.
  • Hm... Well that is possible. I for one am an american and I do agree that some of us lack common sense. Example, those three retards in Texas who decided to drag that guy (James Byrd Jr.) behind a pickup truck just because he was black.

    But I think it is a major mistake for one to assume that we all lack common sense. Question. If the people of the US lack common sense then how did we become the greatest super power in the world? It takes a lot more than genius, good looks, and a Hiroshima&/Nagasaki to win that title of respect. What it takes is a great deal of common sense.

    I would think the greatest display for a lack of common sense might lie in a place that was the focal point of two world wars. Wars that in which caused the loss of millions of Allied, Russian, and German lives. Huh... now there's something to think about.

    "The Patriotic Hacker"
  • or cars producing Y watts.

    Or kilowatts; for example, this page on the BMW 320Ci at BMW France [] lists the engine's power both in "ch" ("chevaux", presumably, although I don't know what relationship "ch" has to "horsepower") and kW.

  • Ironically, Sprint PCS just launched their data network today that allows several cell-phone models that they support to browse with a mini-browser, including a model from Nokia. I know most of the other digital PCS carriers have similar plans ready to roll in the next few months.
  • A more recent (and applicable) example is that of mobile communication standards in the US vs. the Rest Of The World. Isn't it interesting how we're the only nation that's not compatable with the rest of the planet's GSM network?

    How about PAL vs NTSC? PAL has higher resolution and is used nearly everywhere else on the planet (that doesn't have HDTV already).

    Imperial vs. Metric? Heck, even the Brits have abandoned their own system.

    Letter size vs A-4?

    120V vs 240V?

    Why should we expect anything more tha a second-best solution to come out of the lobbying process in the US, have we been brought up to think anything else?
  • I don't know how well the conversion works for DVB, but having seen the artifacts generated by a converter mapping a 1080i HDTV signal onto a 480i display here in the State, I don't plan to use a converter to keep my old sets going when the final switch happens in 2006.

    I wasn't aware that the US was demanding a different cell phone standard. I thought that GSM-3 and Wide-CDMA were still on track. AT&T was clinging to their current system, but it is easy enough to change to another provider; afterall, I have 7 different providers to choose from.

  • The real reason for russia choosing another track width, was fear of the railroad tracks being used for invading Russia. If the width is incompatible, it is impossible to use them for anybody else than you. :-)
  • The problem with the anglosaxon system measuring stuff is that you always have these strange formulas to remember when you have to convert to the metric system.

    Put another way: "the problem with the metric system is that you always have these strange formulas to remember when you have to convert to regular numbers."

    The advantage some of the pre-metric systems have is that they're better for mental arithmetic with common quantities. For example, there were twelve pennies in the English shilling rather than ten because twelve has more divisors than 10, and a shilling was a lot of money when it was invented, so dividing it up was common. Calculators and decimal places have changed the environment somewhat. The other benefits of metric (compatibility between weight and volume for some substances, for example) have relatively limited practical merit outside the technical disciplines.

    The reason that America and the UK never switched to the metric system was that it was invented by the french ...

    The UK has been switching for a generation, and is nearly done, despite the continental origin of the system.

    Here in the UK, for example, I buy my petrol and milk in litres, my sugar in kilogrammes, my wine in centilitres and my paper weighed in grammes per square centimetre. Everything in the supermarket has a metric size, although people often still ask for pounds and pints. Only really hard-to-change things (like road signs and bar maids) still routinely use Imperial units, and there are plans to change those too.

    I think the european [digital TV] standard only exists on paper.

    The UK has had digital TV via cable, satellite dish and ordinary, boring antenna for a year. All five broadcast networks offer digital versions of their programming, and many programmes are also shown in widescreen format. There is an unreasonable quantity of channels already, mostly via set-top boxes (given away free), but some TVs have built-in decoders for major players, such as Sky. Of course, this may well be Yet Another Incompatible System, but I hope not -- I'd like to play with one of these Nokia gadgets myself (he said, veering in a topic-heavy direction).

  • The US chose a crap standard. One that doesn't allow mobile reception (IMHO not such a bad thing especially when cars are involved), forces lower quality (ie stations are able to not use HD images, and therefore use their allocation for more channels of lower quality images...). The US standard also doesnt have progressive scan (1080i means interlaced).

    It's the like the GSM vs US hodge podge (CDMA, GSM, Satellite, AMPS, etc, etc, etc) again. Political porkbarrelling matters much more than the consumer. Again.

    Compatibility - there's a major amount of computing power in the set. They can have a analog and digital tuner to allow existing signals to be processed. If you want digitial reception for old equipment, I'm sure someone will build a set top box to convert the digital signal to NTSC, like when UHF became more common.

    A large TV I'm looking at has a slot for a digital tuner card. Since it already does 100 Hz progressive scan, it'll cope with HD Digital TV as going to be found in Europe and Australia.

  • Hypocrites, yes, but I did notice that the gnokii project (which is for Linux) is hosted on a FreeBSD server?

    ...and I noticed that the gnokii project home page [] says

    Is as also expected that the software will run on FreeBSD as well as on Linux.

    so it's "for Linux", but not exclusively for Linux.

    In fact, that page seems to indicate that it's not even exclusively for Linux and FreeBSD, as it says

    The aim of the project is to develop tools and drivers for Nokia mobile phones for Linux, BSD and other Unixes/operating systems.

    so, whilst "The development sources are currently targeted towards Linux systems", that doesn't mean it's a Linux-only project, it may just mean the developers currently have only Linux boxes, or haven't cleaned up non-portable code yet, or haven't written for other OSes versions of whatever OS-dependent code exists, or something such as that.

  • We already have cell phone Web browsers (they just don't do TV). They're filling up the Smart Phone market right now. Take a look at Qualcomm's pdQ phone, just for starters. ducts/pdq_phone/ []
  • I usually just place my outgoing mail in my
    mail slot for the postman to pickup. We don't have a corner mailbox, so when I need something deliveried timely, I'll stick in the mailbox at our local post-office on my way to work (I drive 7 minutes to the train station, so you got me there). That box is picked up earlier than when my postman shows up.

    Has anyone noticed that there are less and less corner mailboxes these days in the States?

  • Funnily enough , this, or something frighteningly similar popped up on the BBC Sci/Tech News a few days ago . I considered submitting it but then thought why bother as It was prominently displayed on the appropriate Slashbox

    Article was nearly as skimpy as this one , something along the lines of it's just a prototype piece and initial rollout is only being considered for Germany , as its a joint venture with a German television company

    Don't seem to be able to find the link now , maybe it was a different site


  • Why should we use celsius? Its based on water. What good is that? Why not Kelvins? There's something based on molecules. That makes sense. And Fahrenheit is based on something - salt water I think - not real sure.
    All measurment scales are based on something. No one scale really is better than the other. They just all have their uses. I mean common if we all used the same measuring scale then a light bulb would produce X hp, or cars producing Y watts. It sounds silly off hand.
    Oh well like this was just meant as an opposing view and not meant to be taken too seriously.
  • Not only Russia I'm afraid. Britain has a different railway guage to France, which is different again to Spain (which uses several gauges internally). Italy uses several gauges again, though I think the trains that cross the border from France run on the French guage. Switzerland has its own gauge, but trains crossing the country run on a different one ...

    The problem is dealt with using "Talgo" trains that can swizzle their wheels around to change guages at the border (or by humping all the passengers out of the train). It can be lived with.

    Lessons for mobile phones: They'll never manage to agree on a standard. People with continue with the existing trend of using multi-standard handsets. This won't upset anyone much except those who cross international borders a lot. Once the different regional standards are locked in, they are near-impossible to change.
  • What happens when you make a long distance phone call with a 'crypto-phone'?

    Would you have any grey poupon? Oh poupon this.

  • "I am amazed that a country where people drive to the corner postbox has chosen a digital TV system that does not allow mobile reception," says Helmut Stein, Nokia's vice-president.
    -From New Scientist, 11 September 1999

    About the ' to the corner postbox...' bit; technology is nothing without common sense of which America/Americans lack.
  • Web browsing technology will be standard in the next generation of cell phones. Want more info? check out this press release [] What it really means is that [] basically has this whole thing locked up.
  • So if watching TV is illegal while driving, what is the point of a comment like the chairman of Nokia made about the standard being stupid because Americans drive everywhere? Not to mention that the range of a TV broadcast is rather limited (line of sight and all). So you aren't going to get good reception in most cases anyway. No different from the problems associated with mobile reception of FM radio which is crap too. More than 10 miles from the station you don't even get enough signal strength to get stereo.

    Seems like the Chairman of Nokia should be moderated down (flamebait) for his comment.

    Personally I think the whole concept of a DTV handheld is questionable. I mean, what is the point of delivering 5000 lines of resolution to a 3" screen? Hasn't anybody seen what a Watchman looks like? Even with a good clear signal the tiny screen makes the whole experience laughable.

    I also have to wonder about the practicality of multiple DTV channels? Aren't you going to chew up a HELL of a lot of precious broadcast bandwidth with that? In a big city with a lot of stations it seems to me that this would be VERY impractical. Myself, I'd MUCH rather devote that bandwidth to wireless networks than a broadcast media like DTV. Just think - high resolution DTV crowding out wireless networks, giving you 57 channels of High-Res Married With Children Reruns!!! I can't wait to expeerience the thrill of watching I Dream of Genie on my portable phone!!!!! Just imagine catching Jerry Springer on your cross town Taxi ride during Lunch!!!!!!! Or better yet, Melrose Place!!! What next, DTV with a tiny TiVo built in to a handset so you don't have to miss General Hospital on your 2" screen?????????

    To me this sounds like a technology whose time has NOT come.

  • Ice with salt was the coldest substance (with a constant controlable temperature) that was available to Fahrenheit. His temperature scale was/is based on two very reproducible extremes: the boiling point of water and the freezing point of water with the addition of salt.
  • Oddly enough - you're answer ignores reality.

    The US is a large enough market to go it's
    own way pretty much anytime it wants too. As
    it has countless times. See the cell phone
    situation as an example.

    This isn't the US being a bully either. We
    didn't mandate that anyone else follow the
    standard, only US broadcasters are required
    too(FCC doesn't have extra-territorial
    authority last time I looked..) I don't see
    what's wrong with the US looking after it's
    own interests in it's own way? What nation
    state doesn't do that? There was both a
    political and economic arguement to maintain
    backwards compatibility since EVERYONE will
    have to be broadcasting digitally fairly soon.

    Tell me - which makes more sense. Designing
    for compatibility or causing the 250 million
    people in this country who own NTSC TV's to
    junk their hardware? Boy- now that WOULD be
    a boon to the industry, and do the consumer
    no good at all.


  • The Register article says that
    Its base OS is Linux,
    it uses Mozilla as its browser...
    See Nokia's Press Release Q&A [] and MozillaZine [] as well.

    Linux + Moz sounds pretty cool to me. :-)


    Zontar The Mindless,

  • I don't claim to know the standards and their implementations but to me it seems absurd that an analog tv could as such receive digital signal thus making the standard backwards compatible. analog != digital. Maybe they left some room for old frequencies but who in usa uses airwave reception anymore anyway?

    Basic cable service is really cheap and available almost anywhere whereas picture quality and the number of channels available without cable or satellite is pathetic. Where I live they're introducing digital cable right now and digital satellite's been around for many years. These are all compatible with the existing tv's through the use of set top boxes. Why not get one of those for your old analog tv if you so dearly whish to stick to it.

    And why is it that everytime when europe(or rest of the world) creates something technically or practically superior americans can't accept it. This is what happened with digital mobile phones and now its happening with digital tv. I mean look at yourselves, there are more digital mobile phones in china than in usa.

    The only reasonable application of airwave reception in such a cable oriented country as usa is mobile reception. If your standard doesn't allow it then what good is it?

  • by bokane ( 36382 )
    Um...perhaps I may be missing something here, but why the hell would I want to browse the web on a screen the size of a postage stamp?

  • ...but nearly three trillion fleas eat trash. (sorry, I can't resist it... :-)
  • I believe Fahrenheit picked 0 to be the coldest he could get in his lab (lots of salt water), and somewhere around 98 to be body temperature (because it divided so nicely into a lot of factors).

    Just when he did that, the boiling point of water (or another body) screwed with his calculation, forcing him to rescale it yet again.

    I like metric. I use it. But I like imperial for some things too (basically, for any measurement that has traditionally been done in imperial - people heights in ft/in, people weights in lbs). Also, it's a lot easier to say "1 foot" when estimating something that's around ~30 cm or so. I really hate, though, converting between units in imperial (miles to inches? uhh... 5280 ft/mi, 12 in/ft... bit inconvenient).
  • I see. I don't have a TV, but I remember seeing that commercial now at my friends' house. It's amazing that people in other countries believe that real Americans are like those fake people on TV.
  • What makes you think cable tv still worked after the earthquake in turkey. About payment, cable tv is not free either.
    I live in sweden and being dutch i hardly watch Swedish television. I completely depend on my internet connection to hear important news. And I must say it's a pretty efficient way to spread news. I heard about both events you mentioned through the internet (very early by the way).
    I sometimes watch CNN live over my internet connection. Quality sucks of course (56 kbps) but that can be improved by throwing more bandwidth at it.
    As I see it that bandwidth is coming (soon) and there will be a market for streamed video. Bye bye TV.
  • The thing to remember about Nokia is that it's really a pile of smaller units
    (cell phones, monitors, phone exchanges, misc r&d etc.) and the different units do things very differently.

    Some use VMS as a development platform (or did atleast a few years ago), some think NT is the solution to everything including world hunger
    and others (generally the ones that don't do
    end-user products) use whatever does the job best. Linux has increasingly been just that thing for quite a lot of stuff.

    If I understood correctly this was done by the
    multimedia terminal people whereas the information the gnokii people want is from the cell phone
    people and they seem to want to keep their stuff pretty secret.
  • Nokia already has a cellular phone available in Europe that can do web browsing..the Nokia 9110 series. In fact, Europeans have a way cool version with Indiglo-style backlighting that (as far as I know) will not work in the US.

    But if I understand correctly, the Nokia 9110 has a special operating system that allows third-party companies to write wireless applications that use the cellular connection (sorta like the PalmVII in the states but billed by minute per your cell phone contrct and not by KB).

    So if they now have this thing...does that mean they are scrapping plans for continuation of 9110 or can the new device also run the programs developed for the 9110?

    I doubt anyone here can answer but I thought I would ask. =) reference to this "smug superiority" of Europeans for having a better system than US, it is my belief that if you check the dates you'll probably find that development of the digital TV standard in the US began before the EU started investigating their own. So of course whoever is later is going to have the technical advantage. I doubt that anyone working on the digital TV standard back when it was created could have anticipated the boom in wireless activity.

    Personally, I think the EU approach is pointless. We are quickly moving to a point where ALL audio and video traffic happens over TCP/IP (like Voice over IP for phone traffic and video conferencing for video traffic). Making a specialized wireless system for JUST digital TV is a waste. Spend the money on improving wireless bandwidths and then you can just broadcast the MPEG-2 video streams from your DVD directly to the wireless devices.

    Data is data and I think if that you get broadbast wireless up and running (like the lucky folks in Tuscon, AZ have wireless T1s) the rest of the broadcast of digital TV... will be simple.

    My $0.02 and not necessarily yours...

    - JoeShmoe

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  • > ... when railroad was the primary means of transporting goods,
    > Russia pulled a similar egotistical maneuver and selected a railroad "gauge"

    There were some reasons behind this. When lots of space is available and building is cheap, a wider track means wider cars means more cargo on the train means cheaper transport. This was an important consideration in Russia.

    On the other hand lot of railroads in the alps (Austria and Switzerland mainly) use narrow to ultra-narrow tracks. Every inch that had to be carved out of a mountain, mostly by hand, was expensive. Doubling the with of the bed for the tracks quadruples the amount of rock they had to move. Ergo: They build single track narrow gauge railroads there.


  • You obviously havn't seen a Nokia Comunicator. The screen is about the same size as a medium sized mobile/small pda. The phone splits in half and opens up like a psion. V.nifty.
  • by Paul Crowley ( 837 ) on Monday September 13, 1999 @04:18AM (#1685972) Homepage Journal
    I've been waiting for at least two years for the Linux cellphone/PDA to become available. Here's the device I want:
    • Personal organiser sofware a la my Pilot
    • Cellphone (preferably dual band)
    • Internet comms over the cellphone
    • Real hard drive, perh. StrongArm processor
    • IRDA port, maybe Bluetooth
    • Runs Linux and 100% open source software (of course!

    And there's my PDA, phone, watch, and many other things I need. If I had such a thing, I might even leave the house from time to time!

  • Fahrenheit is based on blood. When it was first devised 100f was the temperature of human blood, but when better thermometers were invented they scale was found to be wrong (hence blood temp is around 98.5deg f). I think this is correct. Not sure what o deg.f is, mabey the freezing point of blood. Any medical students out there?

    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but it is something like that.

    The Imperial system is useful. Before the decimal point was generally understood and when times tables were more readily taught,maths was done in fractions. The imperial system was designed so that you could do the sums in your head. Though for some reason the Yanks don't seem to use stone, everyone quotes weight in pounds (?)

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"