yes, they look for stego, as a "Hacker Tool"

Major Variola (ret) mv at
Sun Aug 15 11:04:57 PDT 2004

At 02:43 AM 8/15/04 +0200, Thomas Shaddack wrote:
>On Sat, 14 Aug 2004, Major Variola (ret) wrote:
>> It was disturbing that, as the bottom fell out of telecom, and
>> became commoditized, faceplates and ringtones were highly profitable.

>> Faceplates are at least made of atoms.  There are several lessons
>> from economic to sociobiological (if there's a difference), none of
>> which are terribly pleasing in my aesthetic.
>Care to elaborate further, please?

I found it troubling that the tech was becoming commoditized, since this

disturbs the innovation that I find attractive.   OTOH cheap products
are nice.  And commoditization is the end-game for tech anyway.

Selling ringtones (static bits, not even a service) struck me as
oldschool as selling music, enforced in this case by proprietary

That "personalization" features were lucrative I found to be a comment
on human nature.  Or human-teens' nature.
Since I tend to have an engineer's aesthetic, which
I take to be fairly spartan/functional, as well as believing that
personalization should
be done by the person desiring it, I found mass-market faceplates
kind of silly.  But then I don't own any Nike baseball caps or Coke
t-shirts to express myself.  I am un-Amerikan, clearly.  There is
I clearly don't "get".  Herd mentality, perhaps.

Besides, the phones should be covered in conformal photocells to trickle
charge them.

>> Fortunately the whole PDA vs. cell vs. camera vs GPS vs. smartcard vs

>> MP3 player vs. email-pager etc bat-belt [1] frenzy will resolve in a
>> years, and perhaps some of the Linux based solutions will not be
>> involuntary citizen-tracking devices and will support privacy of data

>> stored, and in transit, including voice data.  And free ring tones
>> All that's needed is one of the hardware-selling companies to start
>> process, making money off the atoms, and possibly Sharp's Zaurus (?)
>> already has?
>Or buy an Enfora Enabler GSM/GPRS module, add a Gumstix module with
>built-in bluetooth, slap in a suitable display and keyboard, eventually

>add a GPS receiver, and we're set. All features and security modes we
>imagine, and then some.

I liked the Handspring's modularity, but don't know how they did in the
marketplace.  I do think that the cell makers have a decent enough
share to take over the PDA/camera/email etc. market, and they know
that and are working on it.  I read recently that in 5 years only pros
own digital cameras that do nothing else.  Similarly with GPS, PDAs, MP3

renderers & recorders, calculators, authentication tokens, smart cards,
How much extra does a hifi
audio ADC or DAC cost than an 8 Khz telecom one?   Why not let users see

their location, even if its only triangulated and not satellite based?
Non-volitile memory is only getting cheaper, smaller, with less power
requirements or awkward properties like page-based access.

>Preventing spatial tracking is difficult though, as we're dependent on
>cellular network for staying online. Though if the given area has wifi
>mesh coverage, it could be easier. (And if the device becomes widely
>popular, the handsets can serve as mesh nodes themselves - but that's a

>song of rather far future.)

Yes, but a nice Heinleinian corollary.

>> Perhaps there's a biz model in buying a 3-D color prototyping machine

>> for $40K and setting up a custom faceplate biz for the integrated
>> of the near future. Hmm, with freedom-enabling software being
>> distributed on the side, it sounds like a Heinlein novel...
>Why not? :) Isn't the main purpose of science-fiction (at least its
>certain kinds) to be the inspiration for the future?
>On the other hand, perhaps it's cheaper to just get a bulk supply of
>"blank" faceplates and hire an artist with an airbrush and a talent.
>It's also possibly easier (and cheaper) to make the parts in more
>classical way, eg. by casting them from resin. The rapid prototyping
>machines so far usually don't provide parts that are both nice-looking,

>accurate, and with suitable mechanical properties at once.

I was thinking there are too many models to keep the things in stock
on a little beachside storefront; and you could add custom textures
with a prototyping machine.  Its also possible I'm enamoured of 3D
which have no place right now in making consumer products.

>> [1] Batman (tm) wore a belt with too many gizmos.  Some
>> friends/early adopters are similarly afflicted.
>There is nothing like "too many" gizmos! (Well, you could call such
>situation "almost enough", but never "too many".)

Aesthetics and convenience.  OTOH when your Everything Gizmo dies,
you are seriously out of luck.  Much like when your combo
power supply dies, you have zero functionality, instead of the degraded
you'd have if each were a separate machine.  And sometimes the
gizmo does nothing very well, eg early cell-phone cameras.  But
(done well, and reliably) does sell.

My $50 prepaid cell phone does voice recognition.
Its the 21st century, and I want my Dick Tracy watch now!
And it better run Java, or Python, damnit!

(I was impressed that the Zaurus PDA can be a web server, BTW.)

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