Archive for November, 2007


Example: Lacie Hard drives now 40% cheaper in US than Abroad

One of the interesting examples of the impact of the falling dollar is that those outside the USA, are now looking more than ever at buying online. A good recent example of this is a Lacie 500GB Hard Drive.

In North America it sells (from Lacie’s own shop Direct) for $119 USD plus shipping, or $133 Australian Dollars (AUD). The same drive in Australia sells for  $190-215 USD  amazing.

Before the recent fall of the dollar there was still a difference, sometimes sizable. But this recent fall makes it almost stupid to buy American sold products abroad (as it is here in Australia), rather than directly. With the likes of EBay (scary I know), or better yet resellers of Lacie in North America (less scary), they have a real chance to clean up by selling internationally.

Most Lacie web sites outside the Americas have now removed pricing from their web site.  


Hard Drives and Over Heating are the Main Cause.

As an early adopter in the UK and now Australia of Foxtel/Sky’s Very Good DVR (digital video recorder), it will not surprise many to learn that the boxes are now dying in droves.

This is mainly due to the hard drives dying after 24/7 use. Unknown to most users but even when the Sky+ (UK) or IQ (Australia & Asia), is not being used on purpose for a scheduled recording, it still records (up to 60 minutes of TV all the time), and a load of on demand TV you will not likely want. This means you can turn on your TV having missed the 1st 5 minutes of a show and rewind it. A great feature, but one that is killing the hard drives in the hi-tech boxes. In Australia customers are now seeing more and more failed recordings, only to be told to format the drives (via Foxtel) and to turn units off when not in use. This is because the risky pricing model in Australia has users paying to ‘use’ the box but not owning it outright. A good thing for when it fails, but not so well for Foxtel that will soon have to start replacing the hard drives.

Industry wide it has been reported that due to the ever increasing number of hard drives being used in everything from PC’s, Network Servers, to DVR’s and the increased amount of heat from PC’s (CPUS), or TV components (plasmas, Xbox 360’s) etc. and you have a even worsening effect.

Users will need to be vigilant but forceful with their suppliers as they will not repair or replace this failing hardware easily.

Some useful tips to prolong the live of you DVR is a no brainer or in a worse case scenario if failed recordings start appearing. Do a reset via your instructions a hard reboot is needed sometimes and not normally in any of the instructions so a call to Sky or Foxtel will be needed (unless you track down the model and Google it for hard reset instructions). If things don’t get better you may need to do the following:

1) Turn it off – Good for the environment too I guess, if you do not use it for the instant rewind feature (it will turn itself back on when a show is due to record).

2) Erase any failed recordings (the drive corruption if not erased encourages more failed recordings, due file corruption on the drives)

3) Breath– Increase ventilation around the DVR if possible, if next to a Xbox 360 (The oven of all consoles), make sure you turn it off when not killing baddies on Halo 3.

4) Back-UP & Reformat– If all else fails back up any shows you want to keep and with your broadcaster they can format remotely (with your help). It is easy to back up to a PC, DVD Recorder, or one of those old VCR thingys (geez has it been that long).

PC Gaming: Rumors about my death are greatly exaggerated.

So the release of a little game called Crysis looms next week. It could be said that it is a ‘far cry’ from, previous releases. 

Yes there have been Vista PC games released before and even a few that work (Bioshock is best, Halo 2 is good). But here we have a couple of firsts here. The 1st big game release made to push the new range of high end API Direct X 10 (and soon Directx 10.1) faster CPUs (at last me quad core has something to wake it up), and even uses a little bit of my ram. Add in a state of the art video card 8800 gtx please, a nice monitor (24”) 5.1 or 7.1 sound system and if you dare a MS XBOX 360 adapter for the PC. You actually have an experience that rivals the console for the 1st time. Like many I have my 360 and my PS3, I have my home theatre, with surround sound. But the first time I am torn. My 360 looks pretty awesome on my HD 52” big screen, but having a PC tear into a game, a good game, so easily, and without patching is exceptional.

Let the games continue.

Here’s an account of how exactly I created a profile & became a power user that had 4 stories front paged with no help from any IM friends, within 48 hours of creating the Digg Account.

read more | digg story

To make sure their future is secure in their own right Google is in talks with Asia Netcom to provide a under sea cable to the USA from ASIA. More soon

Analysis: An Open GPhone? Dream On

Posted: November 6, 2007 in Software
Tags: , , , ,

The gPhone is about Developers.. Developers.. Developers.. Developers..

As big a fan of John’s that I am I think he misses a few big points, but in all fairness, it typifies the understanding from the majority of folks.

The phone world doesn’t rotate around the U S of A. Sorry John, but thank god they have a bigger agenda. The ongoing crap around the I-phone, much more digestible in Europe and even better here in Aussie world in Q1 2K8, when/if it releases here, typifies that.

So if you were making a mobile phone (or phones) today the market you would make it for folks where you have the largest market. That today is outside the USA, the numbers prove that.

Mention the word HTC to most Phone fan boys (like me), and salivation soon follows, however most in the US have not heard the name. They are one of the world’s largest phone producers globally, and make the majority of the worlds phones and until recently usually branded it as someone else’s. The Palm Treo 750 is a good example. They know the brands they make phones for :

O2, T-2, Vodafone , CHT , i-mate , Dopod , NTT DoCoMo, Qtek , Cingular 8525, AT&T, Swisscom , Siemens, SoftBank and others.

This whole thing points to no real standards and too many OS’s for handsets, too many for good 3rd party apps, it doesn’t make sense to have all the VHSs and Betamaxs .. it is stupid an evitable that there would be some consolidation of ideas.

As Steve Ballmer screeched and monkey danced some time is developers… developers.. developers.. developers. For global development, distribution, creativity and common sense to to flurish in the eons to come, a massive (yet suttle) change needs to occur… open source apps for phones, but offering (eventually) consistency.

Why would Google want to bring out 1 more phone when they can work on developing many more… via a single (but modular app) for ALL phones. The money is not in hardware.

A New Age Dawns.

For the first time in history, people are seeing Google for the 1st time not on a PC but on a phone.

If you consider that the flavour of mobile phones now fits into 2 groups (everything or nothing). Everything can be PDA/camera/consumer email, business email, 3G, 4G, wi-fi, Internet(s), blutooth, sexy UI or group 2 just a Phone.

Then an open source open app idea makes sense.

I once pushed a view in the old days of selling the internet as IP over everything, everything over IP.

Now and always it has been about eyeballs and now that the next generation of folks will see the Internet(s) for the 1st time not on a PC but on a mobile device, whomever can control mobile content and thus mobile APIs or the catalyst for those apps wins a chance to offer the masses social networking, like myspace, yourspace, facebook, I-google etc.

So this won’t work in the USA WRONG but if it was right who cares move on. Let the USA catch up later. It is behind now the much of the mobile world any how .



The original John Dvorák Story


<blog author> This high profile semi-anonymous pretentious now often senile author is known to have worked professionally in the ISP/Telco Space in the USA, UK, Europe, and Australia, for over 20 years. He has introduced countless new Internet, and Mobile Phone Projects, for the world’s largest Telco’s, and continues to do the same today. Now an alien in every country he visits or lives, if you use a fixed internet connection in the UK or Europe he introduced ‘it’ the product. If you are pissed off at business always on internet (non-dsl) in the UK it is his fault. 



The original story on this was more important for what it did not say and thus is missing these big points.

1) The phone has to be NextG (beyond 3G) the only network Telstra will operate soon & not a platform the I-phone currently works.

2) This will also mean (as it is the Telstra model) it will likely get the 33 TV Stations on it from Sky/ Foxtel (at a sligthly higher price

Discussions are ongoing.

<Another Comment>

So, this will likely be Next G (sometimes called 3.5G) for Australia.
HSDPA is 3.5G. It is an extension of 3G, it uses the same network frequencies. 3G handsets can reach up to 384Kbit/sec. There are two HSDPA networks in Australia. Telstra run off the UMTS850MHz and this is HSDPA enable, they label their network NextG, since they believe its Next Generation.
Optus, Vodafone, Three (and Telstra too, as Three and Telstra co-own the 2100 Network) run off UMTS2100MHZ and this is also HSDPA enable, they just label it HSDPA.

I am not sure about other countries, but there are only a handful of countries which run off the UMTS850MHz frequency, from memory AT&T and Cordova in the States run off 850. UTMS2100 MHz is more widely used.

Note, Telstra claim their network is faster, since it is capable of 14.4Mb/sec. However there aren’t any 14.4Mb/sec devices, their current handsets (only the V6 V3xx and a few of the ZTEs) and turbocards only reach up to 3.6Mbit/secs.

Optus, Three, Vodafone don’t really state how fast the network is capable, but they too have devices which reach up to 3.6Mbit/sec, ie USB Modems and Nokia 6110 and n95, ironically phones which Telstra rejected as they were not UTMS850.

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