Rupert Goodwins' diary

Thursday 05/04/2001Microsoft's big investment into R&D at Cambridge is paying off... slowly, but that's the way of R&D.

Thursday
05/04/2001 Microsoft's big investment into R&D at Cambridge is paying off... slowly, but that's the way of R&D. The WebCamSIM (odd name) turns mobile phones into Web servers, meaning you can contact them from any Internet address and get back info from the phone. E-commerce is the obvious place for this, even if that's an online idea that dare not speak its name just at the moment, but the same system could do stuff like serve up your location. Lots of nice ideas there. This continues in a long tradition of making tiny web servers. Search on the Web and you can find lots of matchbox-sized devices doing mostly pointless tasks: there's a mechanical hit counter that just increments an old-fashioned relay counter, coke machine status boxes, people's light switches and so on and so forth. It's surprisingly cheap to do; about fifty quid and some interfacing nous gets you there. Once Bluetooth happens (yeah, right), that interfacing nous will no longer be required. We'll be able to buy tiny boxes for a few quid that just appear on the Internet whenever they're within range of a Bluetooth gateway and do... well, what, precisely? Add video and audio and you can watch and listen anywhere -- or talk back. Soon, there'll be no part of our environment we won't be able to vicariously experience or manipulate. I'll give it five years...