Thursday, March 31, 2011

How Will Geeks Vote This Election

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The fall of the Government and the call of the election on May 2 has made Canadians grumble about having to go through another campaign and voting for the fourth time since 2004.  For the few, the proud, the geeky dissolving parliament for an election comes just in time to kill yet another copyright bill that was nothing but a DMCA clone just weeks before it was due to become law.  

In previous elections, I personally voted Conservative partly because they were the only party that stood opposed to the blank media levy administered by the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) which is nothing but corporate welfare for the recording industry.  Making people pay the levies on blank media is making people pay a fine even if they do not do the crime.

Under the Liberals the television broadcasting industry was allowed to take a we'll get to it when we feel like it attitude towards the transition to digital broadcasting.  It was chairman of the CRTC that was appointed by prime minister Stephen Harper that took a hard line position and told the TV industry August, 31 is the day that TV stations will go digital or go off the air. 

Unlike the blank media levy where the federal parties took sides both for and against, many tech related issues that matter to geeks have gone ignored by the federal parties.  Has any of the political parties come out and said, "Yes, we support net neutrality!", sadly not that I've heard.  Has any of the federal parties stated any opposition to usage based billing for broadband service? Again not to be found. 

Technology has become a big part of the lives of Canadians issues relating to technology require strong leadership to help Canadians who use and enjoy technology come to decision they can be comfortable about when they vote on May 2.

Monday, March 21, 2011

AT&T Buying T-Mobile, What It Means For The Rest Of Us

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Fending off a potentially suicidal buyout from Sprint, the German parent of T-Mobile USA has sold off all their American holdings to AT&T for 39 billion dollars.  After the joining together T-Mobile's 35 million subscribers to AT&T 95 million subscribers the combined company will have 125 million subscribers putting they way ahead of Verizon's 96 million subscribers.  Obtaining control of T-Mobile's infrastructure, AT&T could potentially ease some of the congestion on their wireless network in America's five largest cities.

Of course current T-Mobile subscribers will get the iPhone when the acquisition completes and become AT&T subscribers.  Current AT&T subscribers will get access to AWS network and in preparation current AT&T hardware will needed to by upgraded to support AWS.  That will give subscribers on Wind Mobile and Mobilicity a greater range hardware including the iPhone if Apple chooses support AWS.  Wind Mobile and Mobilicity subscribers will get better US roaming when AT&T upgrades their own towers to add AWS capability.

It's possible that subscribers on T-Mobile's subscribers on low priced plans will have to upgrade to a more expensive plan on AT&T, since it will be several more months before the acquisition gets approval by the FCC and FTC it maybe a good idea to sign on to a contract renewal before the approvals come.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Eulogy For The Zune

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After a long battle with public apathy Microsoft's portable media player the Zune passed away quietly.  Zune came to marker late in 2006 and attracted a small but very loyal fanbase.  Zune offered unlimited music by subscription an FM radio and WiFi sync, features that Zune's arch nemesis iPod lacked.  iPod's better music store and less restrictive DRM won people over.

Early in life Zune suffered from ugly device syndrome, looking like a brick with a screen, and brown as you know what.  After a while more models in different colours came out but after the ugly device syndrome was treated, poor marketing lead consumer apathy had set in which would turn out to be terminal. 

Zune was predecased by Plays For Sure and Windows media player.   Left to mourn Zune's passing are Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7.