Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Canada Gets iPhone

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Rogers Communications announced that they have tentative agreement with Apple to be the provider of the iPhone in Canada. What isn't known the pricing, date of availability or even Canadians will get the expected 3G iPhone or get stuck with first generation iPhone that used the EDGE standard for data delivery. Providing only the EDGE based iPhone will allow Apple to use Canada as a dumping ground for their old technology simililar to how Tivo uses the Canadian market to dump their standard definition DVR boxes, while Americans have the latest technology.

What else remains to be seen is if Apple caved in and will allow Rogers to continue to charge a King's ransom for their data plans, or did Rogers cave in and charge rates comparible to those charged in the United States and Europe.

Look for the price for an unlocked iPhone on eBay to drop sometime soon.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Another Bright Idea From California Democrat

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Democrat Congresswoman Anna Eshoo has introduced a Bill allowing the auctioning of 2.1 GHz spectrum but it comes with a catch: The winner of the auction would have to use the spectrum to provide free wireless broadband nationwide within ten years. The service provided would have to provide at least 200 kbps connection speed and come with a built in filtering system to prevent people from accessing adult content.

What makes this bill nothing but absolute nonsense is the billions that potential bidders would have to spend to win an FCC auction and then billions more spent to build a national wireless broadband network only to mandated by law give away the service. Chances are this bill will hit the waste paper baskets on Capital Hill before even coming before to congressional committees.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Apple Clones reappear this time without Apple's blessing

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When it was discovered that company called psystar was selling computers with Apple's Leopard operating system, a commotion arised and their web server crashed. Using crackes published by OSx86 Psystar becomes the first computer manufacturer to sell OSX based computers without Apple's blessing. The End User License Agreement for the OSX prohibits installation on computers that were not manufacturered by Apple.

This is not the first time that computers not made by Apple have been made to run Apple's operating system software. In 1995 Power Computing was the first to make and sell a clone of Apples' computers. Making the money from the operating system instead of the computer and the operating systems was former CEO Gil Amelio's business plan for Apple. When Steve Jobs came back as the head of Apple, he couldn't stomach the idea of other companies making computers that were cheaper and faster than the computers built by Apple and ended the licensing agreements with the Mac Clone manufacturers.

Back in those years creating Mac clones was expensive because everything in a Mac was different from the CPU to the expansion bus and even the RAM was different that what was used in Windows based PC's. Now Apple's computers use Intel processors, have serial ATA disk drive controllers and have a PCI express exansion bus. The only thing that is different is some of the programming in the firmware of the computer and even that is changing as PC manufacturers are moving from the traditional BIOS to the Extensible Firware Interface that Apple uses.

Back in the days of the original Mac clones Apple didn't have much direction when it came to the design of the computers that they made. Now with bleeding edge computers like iMacs and the MacBook Air, Apple can make it as both a manufacturer of computer and a publisher of the operating systems for their own computers and computers made by other companies.

There has bever been so much demand for an alternative to Windows as there is now due mostly to that stinkbomb called Windows Vista. Apple is best suited to meet that demand. Now Steve Jobs and Apple can step up and meet this demand and grow the Mac OSX market share or continue on their narrow minded way. Choice is yours Steve!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why do Tech Companies Hate Canada?

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If you ask any geek in the Great White North what the most wanted gadget on every geek's must have wish list, you'll probably get Apple's iPhone as the top response. Now almost a year after Apple's iPod, Internet surfing and oh yeah it makes phone calls too gadget went on the market, the Canadian launch is still nowhere in sight. Most blame sky high rates that Rogers Wireless charges to users of data devices like the iPhone, but it's not the first time that Canadians have denied the latest tech toys.

Tivo is another example of technology that has been delayed or denied to Canadian consumers. Tivo launched in 1998 and has been a hit with users ever since. For most of that time Canadians could only watch references to Tivo on their favorite American tv shows. Tivo simply ignored the Canadian market for nine years. Prompted by Canadians hacking the Tivo to load Canadian TV listings on the boxes (a move that Tivo calls piracy) Tivo now sells the model that Americans bought two years ago. No HD recording no other Internet content that new Tivo boxes can do.

Microsoft's Zune music player the current laughing stock of the portable music player market is also not yet available in Canada. The only appearences of the Zune in Canada are in liquation stores, Microsoft is just trying to get rid of their original poop brown Zunes. Most likely that Microsoft still has to reach a deal with Canadian recording companies to sell songs online to Canadians. When Microsoft was developing the Zune and reaching the deals with the American recording companies, they could have also been talking to the Canadian recording companies too.

Undoubtely there is still a bad taste in the mouth of some executives who may have worked at DirectTV as some point, because they were banned from Canada does that mean that Canadians have to be denied the latest technologies? There were no regulatory issues with Tivo, the Zune or even the iPhone.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wake up Canada, We're losing the battle for Net Neutrality

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Undoubtedly anybody who follows the American primary races, and the race for the presidency will hear the term net neutrality as a top issue. The pure and simple definition of Net Neutrality is that anybody can use the Internet how ever they want without interference from their ISP. For example anybody subscribing to the Internet service from their telephone company could use a VOIP service like Skype or Vonage without their ISP (the telco) inhibiting or prohibiting third party VOIP services.

In the past couple of years, a few bills have been launched in Congress to help ensure that Americans can use the Internet how they please even if conflicts with the Internet providers' corporate interests. Cable megaopoly Comcast faced harsh crititism for their practise of choking peer to peer network traffic. Comcast claimed that peer to peer network traffic was degrading performance for all subscribers. Many of the video files transferred across peer to peer networks are very large and legally questionable because video files are often movies and television series transferred illegally. It was seen as more legal butt covering than network performance conservation. Citing negative public reaction to the traffic shaping, Comcast recanted and lifted the restrictions of peer to peer file sharing.

In the Great White North, the largest Internet Providers, Rogers Communications and Bell Canada engage in similar practises that threaten the freedom to use the Internet freely. Both Rogers and Bell restrict Bit Torrent traffic. Despite public outrage they continue to do it. How long will it be until third party VOIP traffic and IP TV services like joost will face similar restriction?

A solution to the threat to Net Neutrality in Canada is going to have to come from parliment. The free market is not going to bring a solution. WiMAX the closest challenger to Cable-DSL duopoly will not help ensure Net Neutrality for Canadians. The only company licensed by the CRTC and offering broadband using WiMAX a company called Inukshuk Wireless is actually a partnership between Bell and Rogers.

It may seem that writing your MP may not to be an effective way to deal with this issue but right now it's the only thing ordinary citizens can do even if the telephone and cable companies have parlmentarians in their back pockets.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Craig's List worth 5 Billion WTF??

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Stock analyst Henry Blodget has valued online classified web site Craig's List at 5 billion dollars. Given that the only revenue that Craig's List generates is from posting fees from real estate brokers in certain cities. Over blown evalation, I think so. A more down to earth value is around 150 million dollars, the value placed on Craig's List from Classified Intellegence.

This speculation about the value of Craig's List is not much more than the dipping the proverbial toe into the water to find out if there is any interest in an IPO. For Craig's list to be attractive to investors then they would have to consider other forms of generating revenue such as on page advertising and charging listing fees to all commercial sellers. I see the wand coming out of the bottle of dot-com bubble liquid.

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