Monday, September 29, 2008

Steve Ballmer Wrong Again

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has once again made another prediction that makes me start to think that it is possible to have one foot on their mouth while having their head stuck up another orifice. Ballmer predicts that Apple and RIM will Nokia will lose and Microsoft will win the battle of the Smart Phone operating systems according to a CNET article.

Ballmer claims that because the competitors to Microsoft's Windows Mobile because they design proprietary hardware and tie it to proprietary software. In Ballmer's distorted view smart phones are just going to be like little PC's with most hardware manufacturers buying Windows Moble.

What goes to show that Steve Ballmer really has the blinders on is that he makes absolutely no mention about Google's Android which like Windows Mobile is designed to operate on just about any smart phone regardless of manufacturer.

Hardware manufacturers such as Motorola have have relied upon Microsoft's Windows Mobile to power their smart phones are now taking a serious look at releasing new phones that use Google's Android. While any Android phone may only join a line up smartphones that are powered by Windows Mobile, it's only a matter of time before smartphone manufacturers drop Windows Mobile and go Android only. Let's see what Steve has to say happens when Windows Mobile loses.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

WiMax, The Lost Potential

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October 8th will be the official launch of the first WiMax service to be offered to American consumers. Subscribers in Baltimore will be the first to receive broadband using WiMax technology. While that's a good thing to see an alternative to the cable and DSL services already in place, the new entrant into market in Baltimore from the same old club of telecom companies. Sprint is the first out of the block to provide WiMax.

WiMax was seen as a techology that would allow new companies to break the cable telco broadband duopoly instead of breaking the duopoly it will only extend it to rural and remote areas that the cable and telcos couldn't justify the cost of wiring for broadband.

There would be more than enough spectrum available to allow more than one provider of WiMax service but how likely would it be that startup ISP would spend the money on WiMax knowing that their competition is both DSL and WiMax service from the big telcos and the cable modem and WiMax service from the cable companies.

In short this probably will relegate WiMax as a supplemental service for the cable and telcos, and not as a competitive technology. The greatest potential for any technology has just been lost.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SanDisk Wants To Get You Back Into Stores To Buy Music

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Flash memory card maker SanDisk with four major recording labels have a new proposal to get people back into stores to buy their music. The initiative called SlotMusic sells MicroSD cards loaded with music and CD cover art. The proposed standard puts high bitrate MP3's onto the memory cards with no Digital Rights Management.

With most new cell phones having MP3 playback and MicroSD slots. There may be a new business model here but with very few of the dedicated MP3 Players with MicroSD slots then SanDisk is missing one important device that most turn to play music on.

With online music download stores well entrenched it will be an uphill struggle to get music buyers off their computers and back into stores. While SlotMusic uses no DRM for songs purchased on the cards, many of the music download stores have DRM free music.

The only retailers that have pledged support for SlotMusic are Wal-Mart and Best Buy, which will make any market adoption even more difficult. SlotMusic maybe an interesting idea, only five years too late.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Regulate and Tax the Internet? Only in Canada

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About a decade ago, Canadian government regulator of the broadcasting and telecommunications industries, the CRTC dismissed the possibility of regulating the Internet as too big and virtually impossible. According to a CBC News story the idea of the Canadian government regulating and putting special taxes on Internet access is again rearing it's ugly head.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission is going to review the regulation of "New Media". Eli Noam, drector of the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information is recommending that Internet should regulated but special taxes should be collected to put more Canadian content on the Internet.

If the past decade of the web as mass media has shown anything, it's that having the Internet unregulated has helped Canadian content not hurt it. A decade ago the .ca subdomain was heavily regulated and as a result only goverment and academic web sites domain names ended in .ca. It was only when regulations were broken down that thousands of .ca websites appeared.

As if the idea of putting Canadian content regulations on the Internet is height of delusion, the Idea taxing Internet access takes the height of delusion into the stratosphere. If a Canadian content tax goes onto Internet access, then a tax for the recording industry and movie studios wouldn't be too far behind.

Such abusrd ideas usually don't come to light during an election campaign, let's just hope that those seeking elected office see these crazy ideas as insane as they are.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Canada Needs Election to Kill Copywrong Bill

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If an expected Canadian election gets called at the end of the week it will kill one of the worst pieces of legislation on the order paper. Bill C-61 the bill to "reform" Canada's copyright act which has been stuck having only made it past first reading won't even make it past parliament.

This hasn't been the first time that a bill dealing with copyright legislation was lost due to an election. When the Liberal minority government was toppled in 2005, there was a copyright bill that died on the order paper.

Like the previous bill this copyright bill contains provisions that would create a clone of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the highly unpopular legislation in the United States. A ban on circumventing Digital Rights Management (DRM) is one of the provisions that is contained in both the DMCA and C-61. This ban on removing DRM is considered by many to strip citizens of their right to fair use of copyrighted works that they own. Ripping movies off of DVD's onto a computer for viewing in another location at another time will become illegal in Canada as it is now in the United States.

Bill C-61 also implements the use of the Broadcast flag technology which is supposed to prevent recording of television shows that are transmitted in a digital format be it Digital Cable or Satellite or OTA DTV. The use of the Broadcast Flag was banned in the United States because the supreme court felt that it violated fair use rights.

The cries of "I don't want another election" still ring out from citizens from coast to coast. To them and the politicians who represent us and potential politicians wanting to represent us, I've got three words for them "Bring it on"

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