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Do I look like your travel agent?

1 November 2009 21:50

This entry is primarily composed of "random".

Palm Pre

Several people have persuaded me that I need to change my phone. I've elected to purchase a Palm Pre. Rooting them, and installing Debian is trivial, though I think its missing an openssh client - so I can read my mail in mutt via the device.

(I've seen mentions of the "scary black window" as a terminal; it isn't obvious how well that works.)

I went shopping yesterday to purchase one, but because my mobile phone contract doesn't end for another 9 days I'd have to pay an extra fee. Instead I'm going to wait 9 days and get it for free.

Getting Bigger

Having randomly remembered the idea that people shrink over the course of a day due to gravity affecting the spine I decided to test this.

For a few days in a row I measured my height before going to bed, and then again in the morning. It certainly appears to be true, average difference in height is about 9mm for me.

SEO - Is it hard?
I was involved with the setup of a new site last weekend. Today it is top-5 when searched for by two pretty broad keywords in google.

This does not seem unusual for me - though I appreciate there is a difference between "site being popular/succeeding" and "site being findable".

(I remember once attending an interview for a hotel portal site. The interview wasn't that interesting, but I remember they perked up a lot when I said "Search google for Steve Kemp - I come top".)

ObFilm: Mortal Kombat



Comments on this entry

icon Anonymous at 18:49 on 1 November 2009

Why the Palm Pre? In particular, if you haven't yet reached the stage where you can't get talked out of it, I'd strongly suggest the N900 instead, for many reasons.

First, see http://cool900.blogspot.com/2009/10/comparing-freedom-on-maemo-and-android.html ; the same arguments apply to Maemo versus WebOS.

Second, see this review: http://laforge.gnumonks.org/weblog/2009/10/26/#20091026-palm_pre-experience .

Third, Palm does a fairly bad job of actually releasing source code; see http://laforge.gnumonks.org/weblog/2009/06/11/#20090611-palm_pre-gpl_incompliance and http://laforge.gnumonks.org/weblog/2009/10/14/#20091014-palm_pre_gsm-no_source_code .

Fourth, see Joey Hess's blog post on the Palm Pre's privacy violations: http://kitenet.net/~joey/blog/entry/Palm_Pre_privacy/

Having covered many of the reasons why not a Pre, I should mention why the N900:

- Much better hardware specs: 800×480 screen, OpenGL ES, fullscreen video, better camera, more storage, ...
- Package management based on apt, and the ability to install your own packages (and provide packages for others) without going through contortions.
- Based heavily on existing FOSS technologies, and supporting the enhancement of those technologies.
- Possible to program in arbitrary languages, and as a result, possible to port existing programs. Not at all possible with the Pre's WebOS.
- No need to root the phone; you get root by default. See http://flors.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/software-freedom-lovers-here-comes-maemo-5/ .
- Support for booting alternative environments natively, not just in a chroot. Nokia even provides support for some of these, such as Mer.
- Has an SSH client. Or, you could run mutt directly on your phone.

Personally, I already have an N900 on order.

icon Steve Kemp at 20:56 on 1 November 2009

Thanks for the extremely detailed response there, Anonymous.

There are very many possible responses I could make, but I think I'll keep it short:

1. The palm pre is small, and easily fits into a pocket. By contrast the Nokia is large and bulky.

2. The palm is "open enough". Getting root on the machine is trivial. Yes having Palm open the source as they should is important, but regardless the phone itself is not locked down in any significant fashion.

3. The Palm is a phone, not a smart-phone. It does some things, and does them well. It's a different market to the iphone/n910 and I'm happy on that smaller side of the fence.

4. The Palm is available now, in the UK, easily. The same cannot be said of the nokia.

icon Simon Waters at 21:51 on 1 November 2009

SEO itself isn't inherently hard. Easier than playing chess. But like most things competitive, including chess, you just have to do it better than the competition. Which means fewer mistakes, and lots hard work.

Now the number of Steve Kemp's with ranking in search engines is probably about the same as the number of people with my name. So being first is largely a side effect of doing Internet related work, and remembering to link when you can.

Hotel portal sites live or die by ranking, they are competing to an extent not only with each other but with hotels own sites, and hotel chain websites. All of whom want to be #1 for the search term "hotel $cityname".

Have you ever tried SEO in something very competitive? Think high value items, attractive, mass market, likely to be bought on the Internet. One I looked at was the new Nintendo DS, the one with Internet built in, and a few months before release all the obvious (and less obvious) domain names had gone. A few to Nintendo, no doubt before they revealed the name, but hundreds of variants to SEO folk aiming to get that little extra help of owning a domain name relevant for the search terms people will use.

I suspect that doing SEO full time would be quite interesting. As it would give you the time to do the kind of tests needed to reverse engineer relevant parts of Google's ranking algorithms.

On the other hand there are still niches which are easier to exploit, than trying to rank for Viagra or similar.

icon Anonymous at 22:11 on 1 November 2009

Thanks for responding. Your point about "phone" versus "smartphone" seems fair enough, and if you primarily want the thing for "phone" capabilities, then either should serve the function. (Though, strictly speaking, the pre does position itself as a "smartphone".)

Regarding availability, you mentioned waiting 9 days; the N900 should become available on a comparable time frame.

Regarding "open enough": possibly you don't care about this particular item, but having a native programming interface in C (and thus any languages with a C FFI) makes a big difference. Specifically, it means the difference between "I can run a custom SSH client on my phone, SSH somewhere, and run mutt" and "I can run mutt". The ability to reuse existing code proves fairly awesome.

And finally, regarding dimensions, I wonder about your description of the N900 as "bulky". Have you held one? (Note that they have a smaller size than the previous tablets.) Palm Pre dimensions: 100mm x 60mm x 17mm. N900 dimensions: 110mm x 60mm x 18-19.5mm. Doesn't seem that notable a difference, and I find the N900 very pocketable.

Now, one downside of the N900 compared to the pre, at least for your situation: you won't find the N900 carrier-subsidized, whereas you say you intend to get the pre for free. Though, I do wonder about that: free, or discounted? Most carriers don't offer phones as expensive as the Pre for free.

icon Steve Kemp at 22:50 on 1 November 2009

Yeah I guess the distinction between "phone" and "smart-phone" is a little vague. Still I can illustrate the dimensions preference easily enough: I can fit a pre in the pocket of my jeans, but I cannot do the same with a Nokia - or an iphone. (Shirt pocket would be fine, but I rarely wear shirts!)

Currently I see the Pre available on a contract for no charge for myself; but I don't see the Nokia available at all on my carrier (O2). Perhaps looking elsewhere would be an option, but having played with a few peoples phones nearby I think I'm pretty much convinced - so most of this discussion is academic.

icon Steve Kemp at 22:52 on 1 November 2009

I've done a little SEO work on "competitive" and in-demand terms, but not on a really organised basis.

I think there would be a few interesting challenges to be made, not least in doing it ethically. Almost anybody with a few domains and the advantage of reasonable syndication could SPAM links into prominence - but doing it without that level of "evilness" would be more challenging.

As for my name? I tend to find that I have to compete with only an American baseball player. He's obvious got a following, and can get included in lots of "directory" sites - so I do sometimes play leapfrog.

Still searching Google (UK) for the single term "Steve" I tend to come first, and if not first then top-5. I think thats probably more impressive than my full name.

icon Steven Kemp at 16:09 on 7 November 2009

Search for Steven Kemp and I come top though ;)

icon Steve Kemp at 17:45 on 7 November 2009

Steven - small world!

Thankfully I'm not going to try to compete with you, only my family ever uses the trailing "n" - and only then when I've been bad...