The Swede in the middle of Silicon Valley

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 down

As some of you may have read we recently had an outage with we're now back up and in better shape. Due to this I'm now back in Sweden for a couple of weeks hacking a bit, hopefully I'll be able to post some fancy diagrams here at some point around it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Going private

Given that the nature of this blog has become quite technical I've decided to break out a portion of it that has more of a personal touch to it. I'll try to post updates more frequently on this blog with things going on in my life and my thoughts on various decisions. This blog will stay around but I'll limit it to technical information/solutions only for now.

You can follow the new blog at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Communicating over the Atlantic in an easy and cheap way has always been a hassle, surely products like Skype/IM has helped with this a lot but it's still not a perfect solution given that there's some restrictions.

I've recently gotten myself into the situation where I want people in Sweden to be able to send me SMS from Sweden not paying more than their usual local rate and have their messages end up on my phone with no extra charge.

I'm sure that if anyway at AT&T sees this they're going to get furious about it but hey, hackers will always be around doing stuff like this, adopt to the new technology instead.

Either way, starting to look into this problem I was thinking about a couple of SMS projects I've done a couple of years back, unfortunately all of these were payed services meaning that if I were to receive any message the sender would pay a minimum of 5 SEK ($0.5) which kinda kills the idea of the project. After poking around with colleagues someone gave me a tip about Ballou that has SMS services.

So I registred and looked around in the FAQ to figure out how to get things working, I expected there to be an option to have a prefix in an SMS followed by the message which would be sent to a 5-digit number or similar but I got a nice surprise, upon request you'll be assigned a dedicated number for no extra cost.

Obviously I would meet some more issues around this, Ballou does have an email forwarding service so I figured I should try sending it to AT&T's mail-to-SMS service, unfortunately it turned out that Ballou included a lot more information than I needed for this setup. When receiving an email it is formatted like:

2009-07-13 18:57:36
Från +467066XXXXX
Till +4673012XXXXXX


And yeah that's HTML being sent as well. I could probably see myself making use of this extra data in another project but for this the only thing I wanted to have was the actual message, given the restricted amount of people I am giving this number to I would be able to figure out who it is anyway, so this is kinda where my project took of.

As I've posted about before I'm using the Google Enterprise services including email for my domains, I had somewhat of a naive hope that they would support some kind of macros when forwarding emails but unfortunately this wasn't the case.

Given the situation I decided to look into alternative ways to get the essential information to my mobile, what came to mind was a quick Perl hack.

This script is quite simple but yet powerful, essentially what it does is:
  • Look for any unread message from Ballou notifying me that a new SMS has been delivered.
  • Download the given email.
  • Parse the email for the actual message.
  • Mail to AT&T's mail-to-SMS service.
Even though the setup isn't as straight-forward as one could wish it to be it does the job, if anyone knows another solution that's free you're welcome to ping me about it :).

Oh and btw Ballou, please honor newlines and don't run s/\n//g on my messages, it's putting words together and it's honestly pretty damn annoying.

Monday, July 6, 2009

iPhone, a next potential thin client?

I've blogged about this before but after discussing it with friends and colleagues recently I got a new eye-opener. Looking at thin clients on the market today many of them has equal or less performance compared to the iPhone 3G(S).

As you may know Citrix has release an application called Citrix Receiver allowing you connect to a Citrix server and control Microsft Windows applications from your iPhone. As this may be a step in the right direction it's really not enough as you're limited by the size of your screen on the iPhone.

Looking at patents filed by Apple there's one that comes to mind within this category; #20080002350. This patent describes how you would be able to dock your MacBook (Pro) in an iMac looking device (see MacRumors). I haven't read the details of what this patent covers as far as which devices that's potential candidates but the iPhone surely could be one in conjunction with a remote X like environment like Sun offers using it's thin clients.

Another touch which Gizmodo posted about is to make something similar to what Asus is planning to release soon. A keyboard with a built-in computer. However in this case the computer would be the phone and the keyboard would really just be a docking-station.

So Apple, hopefully you're R&D department has someone reading blogs and ideas how Apples products could be utilized, and if so, dump the projector stupidity and give us a solution to use the iPhone as a thin client.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Feedback to Google

So since it's rumored that Google does check on the Internet for feedback in recent changes I wanted to give my $.02 on some things:

- Spacing in google search on the left side: Why would you do this? Unfortunately we live in a world were screens are getting smaller and the resolution stays the same with this netbook-mania, removing any valuable space is moronic.

- Apply of labels in Gmail: I'm a "Enterprise"-customer of Gmail and quite a heavy user. I've became quite abusive with my labels but I like to have things organized causing me to tag multiple emails with multiple labels, the extra click of accepting that I've chosen a label when searching for one is a PITA, if you did choose the wrong one it's just one click to remove the wrongly selected anyway, why make it redundant?