Assembly '05



The Assembly '05 Computer Festival (yes, that is what they call it) is once again taking place in Helsinki, Finland. Here part of the video crew is controlling the "Assembly TV" live broadcast from the event.

This is the 14th time Assembly has been arranged and a lot has changed since the time when these events used to be called "copy parties" or "demo parties". Software piracy is nowhere to be seen and very few of the participants actually create any demos - most just play network games.

What is the point of hauling your computer somewhere just to hook it up to a network in this day and age when you have got a broadband connection at home? Sure, by sitting in the same high-speed LAN the experience is a bit better, but still.

It will be interesting to see if Assembly continues to develop as an event or if it will fade away. The social aspects of the event has probably allways been important but now it is starting to be the only reason why someone might want to attend. There are signs of the event developing: now they have seminars and I personally like checking out what the hardware stores at the event are selling - although I usually end up shopping at some on-line store anyway where the selection is wider.

Sony PSP browser



Just upgraded my Sony PSP to firmware 2.0 and tested the new built in browser - it works wery well.

The screen is a lot better than this photo leads you to belive, but if you have used the PSP you know how good the screen is. Still, 480x272 is quite a small screen but the two "fit to screen" modes available in the browser do a decent job at compensating for the limited resolution. And 480x272 is certainly a lot better than 320x240 on old PocketPC devices or the tiny screens of Symbian Series 60 devices.
And I love the default font, it is really estetic.

Still, the PSP will not replace my Nokia 9500 when it comes to browsing. The 9500 has a bigger screen, both in size (width) and resolution (640 pixels compared to the PSP's 480). The 9500 also has a keyboard (witch is the reason I was willing to spend such a lot of money on it) and it allways works - regardless if there is GSM, GPRS, Edge or WiFi coverage.

But considering how much cheaper the PSP is, this is indeed a great device. No other device offers you such a good mobile surfing experience at this price.

One week in Shanghai



GPS track showing one week of walking during a vacation in Shanghai, China. Shanghai has got more skyscrapers than the entire west coast in the US, so it is not particulary GPS friendly. Especially when going by subway, walking a few blocks and then back down into the subway - usually the GPS did not manage to lock on to enough satellites to get any positions at all in between subway rides and going into department stores.

Squeeking clean

Squeeking clean

One week of walking the streets of Shanghai from morning untill evening and my shooes are just slightly dusty. In almost any other city they would look like this after thirty minutes and after a week they would have been light grey from all the dust.

Shanghai is an incredably clean city.

And I love the fact that I have not seen any trash being put out on the street. Seeing the sidewalks lined with garbage bags in Dublin was a cultural shock for me. In this respect, China is much less of a developing country than Ireland.

Gadget heaven



On the last day I found it - gadget heaven on earth: Cybermart (www.cybermart.com.cn). Well over one hundred technology shops in one large shoppingcenter. A large lan party like Assembly in Helsinki came to mind. Small shops next to each other with lots of salespersons playing Counterstrike while eating noodles, empty soft drink cans everywhere and electrical and network cables covering the floor.