Thursday, March 29, 2012

Competition best for wireless industry? Maybe not

So apparently the finally tally is we need competition, but not too much. Unfortunately Canada doesn't have enough, we're at least one national player too short. Not all our providers are studied in this report, and it pre-dates our new entrants arrival on the scene. But it does make a very good case for the need to add some competition to our telecommunications landscape.

It makes a lot of sense too. Lots of little players aren't going to to have the resources to execute a national strategy - neither to build-out and operate a network across all geographical markets, nor to deal with the regulatory and market issues across our country, nor negotiate with suppliers to offer a wide selection of reasonably priced devices.

And of course a couple behemoth's dividing the market and capturing enough money to satisfy their shareholders aren't going to go out on any limbs for their customers; or make any particularly risky business moves either. Just coast their way from annual report to annual report.

So who's our fourth national carrier going to be? Can Wind Mobile's Anthony Lacavera bring Moblicity and Public together under one name (without Public he won't have any spectrum in Quebec). Or perhaps Videotron can leverage their resources and pick-up spectrum outside of Quebec and become our newest national carrier?

Source: Effect of Regulatory Reform on the Efficiency of Mobile Telcommunications (PDF)

Via: The Globe and Mail

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Go!

Google's revolutionary new programming language Go has just hit a major milestone: version 1.0!!!

I know the computer science world doesn't really need another programming language. We've already got so many to choose from it's hard to find two programmers with overlapping skills. The only language that has really stood the test of time is C/C++. Granted Go didn't make it into the top-50 on Tiobe's March 2012 Index (neither did Google's other language, Dart) but considering these languages were already on the chart while in beta is important (Tiobe's index tracks languages that are actually used, they have to be more than a figment of someone's imagination).

The other thing to consider is that Go is a server-side language, there's no UI elements (no native at least, nor official). So now that Go is at version 1 and out of beta; and as the world of the cloud heats up where micro-clients on mobile phones and tablets hand the processing, data storage, and sharing to web services we'll probably see more and more demand for a language like Go. Currently any Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, or OS X system can run Go; as for PaaS support there's Google App Engine of course but we should see more PaaS support now.

So good luck to Google, and their Go language. Happy 1st birthday!!!

Source: The Go Programming Language Blog

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Google’s Dropbox competitor will reportedly launch in April

The famed, mysterious G-Drive is apparently finally coming to the internet! There have long been reports since 2006 that the G-Drive, used internally at Google as Platypus, was coming. It's hard to imagine that the initial, free, limit is 1 GB when services like Drop Box offer 2 GB and Sugar Sync offers 5 GB. Even Microsoft's Sky Drive offers 25 GB (at least through certain partners) so why would Google only offer 1 GB?

Still, I like the idea of Google offering a cloud storage service. Of course it will integrate Google's other services, like photos from Picasa Web, music, documents, books, and others. We'll probably even be able to send files directly from our GMail account; and of course share them via Google+ (if you're into that kind of thing).

And let's not forget the Android integration! Of course Google needs that to put something on the plate to compete with Microsoft's Sky Drive (on their Windows phones and tablets) and Apple's iCloud.

So let's line-up our files and get our internet connections ready, the uploading is about to begin!

Source: Boy Genius Report

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Angry Birds Space needs a big screen

I succumbed and installed Angry Birds Space. After seeing the promo by NASA it was hard to resist. Angry Birds is great time killer for when the day is done and my brain is on vege-mode.

But the latest addition to the franchise is a bit hard on the eyes on my little (um, well, 4.3 inch) screen. It definitely looks like it was made with tablets in mind. There's so much going on the screen, and there's a lot more movement in this game. It's no longer just up and down, the birds are zipping around planets and swinging back in the same direction they came from.

I don't know if Rovio has admitted this one was made for tablets, but it definitely feels like that's where it would be best played.

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why I Quit Facebook

Twitter is awsome! 140 characters then STFU!!! I only follow people I know so even if I only check it on the train twice a day I'm still not scrolling more than a couple pages to catch-up. And it only takes a few seconds to read each tweet. If there's something really interesting I can star it and come back to it later.

For companies, blogs, etc. there's RSS feeds in Google Reader.

It's nice to have that separation. I know I can flush my backlog in Reader without missing something a friend says. And I know my Twitter is a quick catch-up on my friends without any corporate-ad-crap interlaced.

If I could do that with Facebook - and they had had a bit more respect for my privacy - I would still be active there. But I can't. So I'm not.

Source: Young & Thrifty

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Friday, March 23, 2012

When Office Technology Overwhelms, Get Organized

David Allen's book on productivity, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (or GTD to his followers) was the second book on productivity I read, but the one that made the most impact. It has a simple philosophy that is broad enough to apply everywhere and straight-forward. I have to admit I've fallen off the wagon somewhat lately: I'm having trouble integrating some of the tools I have at work and some of the things I do as a Dad into a nice and simple workflow. But the advice David has is just as valid today as the first time I read his book. So, how do you Get Things Done?!

Source: New York Times

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sony making it easier for developers to build custom ROMs for Xperia S

This is exactly what I expected from Android when it was first announced, before it was released, and then we saw what the manufacturers were doing and where the carriers were taking it. The device should be just hardware, you added some drivers to the OS provided by Google (or Cyanogen or MIUI or ...) and away you go! Of course there would always be an official version but us geeks expect to tweak and modify our phones. Finally, and rather ironically, Sony is stepping up and giving us that ability. It's not the first time Sony is more accommodating than others to the third-parties (they unlocked their boot-loaders before anyone else; and have worked with the CyanogenMod team) and lets hope the results encourage them to keep it up.

I have to admit I'm surprised Sony hasn't flexed some of it's retail muscle more than the other manufacturers. Perhaps now that Ericsson is out of the picture they will be able to. After all, Sony is the only one other than Apple that has such an extensive and well developed retail network. They really don't need to rely on the carriers to promote or distribute their products, so why should they worry about what the carriers want - they should just sell their phones like they sell all their other electronics, through their retail channels.

Source: Sony

Via: Mobile Syrup

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

FAA Reviewing Policy on Electronic Gadgets

So they're finally going to considering letting us do what plenty of people already do: get in one last e-mail as the plane accelerates down the runway! How many times have you been getting on to a flight and seen the people around you tapping away on their Blackberry? I was always told they have that rule so you pay attention to the safety instructions (those emergency procedure pamphlets could use an update too - they look like they all came from a de Havilland Comet).

The problem is the requirement to test every version of every device! And the FAA expects airlines and device manufacturers to cooperate; and those that don't will be on the no-fly list! But do you really think they're going to issue stewardesses with a field guide to identify tested and un-tested devices?! What if an Asus Transformer is certified, but a Transformer Prime isn't?! Or the original and iPad 2 are certified but the new iPad isn't?! Good luck with that?! And the manufacturers know that, so they're not going to pay for all their devices certified - just enough that their brand is recognized as certified and hope that'll carry the rest of the models through. Unless the FAA plans on issuing certification stamps that have to be clearly visible on the back of the device (like child car seats are certified for airplane use).

Source: The New York Times

Via: Boy Genius Report

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Monday, March 19, 2012

How Collaboration Drove Britannica Out of Print

Wikipedia is definitely a shining example of how the voluntary collaboration between complete strangers, completely un-managed and un-coordinate can produce amazing results!!! There are plenty of other examples too, but Wikipedia is one we can all appreciate because we can all participate - there's some subject to which any of us can contribute. Many years ago I contributed to the Platform as a service article, any one else out there add their name to the wiki?!

Source: No Jitter

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Telecommunications Decisions

Lifting foreign ownership restrictions and 700 Mhz auction in Canada

Another political comprise wrapped in campaign speech, the latest telecom decisions serve only to ensure Canadians continue to suffer the worst mobile service in the modern world! At first glance - and that's all Harper wants you to do - it looks good: lifting foreign ownership restrictions on providers with less than 10% of the market and reserving 25% of the 700 Mhz bandwidth for new entrants. But as they say, watch I do and not what I say: consider that MTS and Sasktel can't benefit from foreign capital but at the same they'll be bidding on the spectrum reserved for new entrants. Effectively the government has said "we don't want a fourth national carrier - we want the new entrants to sell-out or die trying!"

Source: Industry Canada

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bill C-11 Committee Review Concludes: What Happened and What Comes Next

Basically the Harper government has scrapped the gun registry in favour of an iPod registry! It won't be long before anyone with an MP3 player, a PVR, or other moden electronic device (pretty much everyone) is violating the copyright laws in Canada. We'll see how aggressively our entertainment industry pursues their new powers over our freedoms. Before this law Canada had the lowest rates of piracy in the western world. This law will make criminals of us all and finally justify the entertainment industry's demand that we buy more CD's (and tapes, and eight-track cassettes).

Source: Michael Geist

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Friday, March 16, 2012

The cultural divide on data protection – USA vs EU

"The cloud" is in these days, everything has to be "in the cloud" or "come from the cloud." Apple even has an iCloud so you know that cloud is uber-cool when that happens. But somewhere along the way there's a few physical servers storing all that data. And they're physically in a country, maintained and operated by a company, comprised of human beings, and subject the laws of the land. As mundane as it may sound, have you asked yourself "where is my data stored? And am I really okay with that?" For example, a Canadian using Mint.com's Canadian edition is sending all his financial information the USA - he has absolutely no protection from Canadian privacy or banking laws and is totally exposed to the PATRIOT act and other US laws! Not to mention violating the customer agreement with their bank.

Source: Cloud Ave

Image courtesy of Blame it on the Voices.

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE Review

This review was made possible with the generous support of Pop Radiator!

This weekend I had the opportunity to play with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 with LTE. It's a great Android Honeycomb tablet with connectivity every where you go thanks to the LTE radio.

I only had the tablet for the weekend, and quite a busy weekend, but I managed to try a few things out. Of course my wife and I checked our e-mail (Hotmail and GMail) and browsed the web (including some Flash), of course we played some a lot of Solitaire, did some navigation, and to see how well LTE was working ran Speed Test on a regular basis.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Balanced Copyright Law in Canada, Bill C-11

Copyright reform is a never ending saga in Canada. Well, saga might be a generous description. The current Conservative government is making another attempt right now with Bill C-11. Currently it is in committee for review, mainly because reviewing it in parliament makes it obvious how contentious the new bill is and the extent to which it divides individual Canadian's expectations from the demands of a select few industries.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

TomTom Via 1435 TM review

This boxing day I headed out for a bit of toy shopping. It has been long time since I've been out on Boxing Day, shopping on-line is so much more convenient. I couldn't believe people still line-up hours before the stores open (well, except at Reno Depot) and the line at Future Shop went around the parking lot.

What surprised me most was the number of people lining up to buy a Playbook! The only thing different was the size of the ads proclaiming the low price that had been in effect since September. And I bet all those people were smacking themselves when the price dropped another $100 a month later!

After wandering around Future Shop and not really seeing what all the fuss was about I stumbled upon the GPS display. There were a few models at 40% to 60% off; and I know from reading the TomTom Go 720 vs Garmin nĂ¼vi 255 that the TomTom was the way to go. The first salesperson to show-up simply opened the case and handed me the GPS I was in front of. The second salesperson actually asked a few questions and answered a few of mine.

Ultimately I ended buying a TomTom Via 1435 TM. It features a 4.3" touch screen, blue tooth, lifetime traffic and maps updates.