Archive for the ‘Internet/Telco’ Category


17 March 2013
Melbourne Oz
@mr_internet
Loren

Why RT is the necrosis of Microsoft (cut it off)

As a fan of Paul ‘MacGvyer’ Thurrott, of twit.tv fame, I was pleased on many occasions to hear him agree that RT was not very good, however, recently views have contradicted this and hints of some ‘saveability; have been alluded to being possible.

Paul is not responsible for RT but it got me a bit curious why anyone would hold this view and made me think for some reason of the great adventurer / writer Ranuplh Fiennes.
In 2009, when explorer Fiennes became the oldest person to climb Mt Everest at 65, and later the oldest to stroll solo around the north pole alone, he eventually got necrosis in some of his fingers and cut them off himself. Cutting off his fingers did not take away from him being one of the greatest adventures of all times (and a damn good writer as well).
I see Windows RT as Microsoft’s own necrosis. A perhaps well-conceived idea, poorly communicated, poorly delivered and poorly priced. Having recently purchased the average Asus ME400C Tablet, I realized very quickly that currently Windows 8 is not happy in tablet form. It needs a keyboard and a mouse to survive. Try entering a URL in the browser a few times scroll around any website, to read something, and you might start wanting to question your own digits, or eyes as to the awkwardness of it all. Or pick up an iPad or a Android Nexus 10.
The real issue here if nothing else is price. The Asus ME400C, a great device ( that is had it been released 12 or 24 months ago) but is priced $80 less than an RT device. Running the full version of Windows 8, I am not sure why anyone would want RT if well informed, and something the media (including PMT) seems to have missed.

If Microsoft was to have released RT and Pro (full Win8) at the same time it could be viewed as a 2 different products for 2 different purposes and at 2 different price points. But with the eventual well staggered release dates, and the actual lower price point of full featured devices why would anyone on there right mind not think the 2nd is an evolution of the 1st.

If Microsoft is not careful (it might be too late already) RT will be their next Vista (though I was fan of Vista).

About the Author:
A pompous old guy, from Melbourne Oz, via Texas, California, and England, that was laughed at by his peers when he tried to stop them @  BT from enforcing a patent on the ‘http’ protocol, earned the name mrinternet, and for spite introduced business broadband on the world.  Serves them right.

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Or oh hell another tablet contender

Melbourne Australia
8 March 2013
by Loren

Asus Windows8 ME400 – Review

Asus ME400C

The Name Game: Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 RT
When Windows unveiled the naming strategy for windows tablet, IT folks from around the world sighed. We knew this was a bad idea, and confusing at best. If respected and knowledgeable IT journalists knew this was bad and confusing, what were the poor consumer going to do.

Politically, Microsoft decided to make their own flagship devices so partners like Asus and others were a bit on the back foot.

The result would be a dead WindowsRT, and a confused public and retailer. To this day I cannot find a single retailer in Australia that knows which device they have that is WindowsRT vs Windows 8 RT, vs Windows 8. I add the Windows 8 RT as many have sold devices labeled as such as well as Windows RT (no 8). THis is before you ever compare and look at reviewing a device.

The review:  Asus ME400C- Imagine taking your average laptop or good netbook, running Windows8 (yes the real version), add an average touchscreen to it and throw the keyboard away. What you have left is this new (and perhaps all) Windows8 tablets. Yes you can then add back a keyboard and yes you can add an OSK (on screen keyboard), but it is what it is.

So Windows8 in tablet form is a total failure, emmm, not quite yet boy blunder.

Unlike Apple, – the iPad was re-imagined to not have these problems it offered pages that get re-sized, and the OSK is intuitive.I will try to not make this a total whinge-fest promise, but I am aggravated. As you can tell from the photo I am tablet agnostic. I have 2x iPad2, (kids) 1x Nexus 7 (in my Jeep), 1 x iPad mini (mainly for streaming TV from PC to Apple TV with AirVideo Server Software) a Nexus 10 for everyday use (as well as various PCs/Macs/smartphones/phablets).
Living in a Microsoft World – I live in the hope of the golden chalice. Affordable powerful able to do everything I need, good video,  the versatility of Android, the steadfastness and it just works aspect of the iOS of iPad (but tired of that interface). For those living in at least a partially influenced Microsoft world crave a device that is well, like removing the keyboard form a good (adequate) windows laptop, but still working well.
I say this as they all have their strengths and weaknesses. However now having an iPad mini, I see no benefit in the larger iPad form factor (but that is just me). Within the plethora of strengths and weaknesses (enough to spend a week on the SWOT analysis alone), there are gaps.
Flash Surfing– For the avid online surfer, it is unfortunately impossible to easily avoid flash. The horse that will just not die (and go to Europe to be dispersed evenly among us otherwise normally safe beef-eaters), was not supposed to live this long, Steve Jobs announced its passing, years ago, and HTML5 was one of the daggers that was supposed to save us all has not happened.This means that we can tweak our Android devices until the cows come home  all we like,  or even Jailbreak our iPads, so they will show that video we want to see, but it is just not user friendly.

For goodness sake we are days away from the 3rd  anniversary of the launch of the iPad1, and a perfect device has not met us yet. I do not think I ask much, a tablet that has a good selection of apps, business software and good interaction, and watch anything a browser has to offer easily.

asusme400cvivotabsmart64gb01_thumb.jpg
Asus ME400C VivoTab Smart 64G

Microsoft on launching Windows8 has got it pretty right despite themselves and their partners. Being in Technology Product Management for decades, I can never imagine a worse managed launch and ongoing debacle then Windows8 has thrust upon the masses. So bad it continues at this moment with no sign of stopping the blood-letting, and already killing their own products before they almost even launch.

When Windows 8 began their seemed Lewis Carol like visions, what-ever made them to want to offer an under developed, under resourced product like Windows 8 RT, defies logic. Making things worse there are a bevy of Windows 8 RT in the marketplace, making even the seasoned Pro, have over examine the products to determine their OS.

So is the case with the new Windows ASUS ME400C. Before I knew much about the device, it was already in the stores here in Australia alongside its non-touch laptop, and android tablet brethren. However what version of Windows 8 is on it? I looked at the device I could not tell, I looked at the box I could not tell. I ran the device it was not obvious (in stores they are locked down so you cannot just type system. I asked the friendly (sometimes staff). When I had to explain what Windows 8 RT was I knew I was not likely going to get an informed answer. Low and behold I went into one shop and they knew what Windows RT was but had no idea which device was which. A bit of research later we are at this point.

The ASUS ME400C – screams to be early adopter in so many ways, and is buggy. I guess in some ways I and the market have been waiting years for this though. An affordable tablet running the latest (and full) Windows OS and needing no key board, or mouse to make it work. However, the transition of windows8 from a PC or laptop is not flawless in tablet form as mentioned

It might be the form factor or a Windows 8 issue, I cannot tell, but is a great early attempt at a full-fledged Windows 8 tablet specifically for the $500 price tag.

Not Tablet Ready – One thing Android and better yet Apple do, is scroll to fit the appropriate videos or websites. Even typing in my name to Gmail, was not an easy exercise. I could not scroll, even when I turned the tablet. Even something as simple as trying to run a bandwidth speed test on a website was hard. Worse still is a problem the ASUS has with videos. If you go from portrait to landscape or visa verse sometimes the video will not render back. Sometimes even the UI itself has this problem. I am not sure if it is the Power VR SGX545 Graphics or what exactly. There lays the biggest challenge. Is it a form factor, is it the device or is it Windows 8. I cannot tell yet.

Other challenges, I have had multiple problems from getting my Wi-Fi set up, and have to spend 2 days trying to activate (yet able to get online and get updates,) so I am likely to have to phone in for activation.

Not a big deal for me, but one that means I have to spend days getting it set-up properly before possibly having to return it.

Other issues – When not at 75% charge, the screen with dims slightly at different intervals, when playing videos. I have checked power settings and changed all those first of course. The device came with Netflix, which is annoying as it does not work without IP spoofing in Australia.

Good News: The size of the tablet is almost identical to devices like the Samsung 10.1 Tablet / Nexus 10, allowing you to use accessories like the Bluetooth Folio Keyboard Case. The keyboard offers great versatility and gives you that keyboard back a dedicated version is also available that does fit a bit better.

Unfortunately like a PC when you add a wireless keyboard you can equally you the OSK it doesn’t care and worse doesn’t act any different.

I believe the mostly likely scenario will be tweaking the Windows8 tablets, with better browsers or even a better UI enhancements to allow it to do the many things everyone expects. Otherwise Windows8 will die in tablet form.

Some niceties  – with a microSD card on board the device is useful though it is unfortunate you cannot connect it to another PC using the microUSB cable, I will work on that hack next. The sound is as tinny as you would expect form a netbook. At 1,366×768 it is far from the quality of other devices on the market so is average at best. The tablet tested has 64GM onboard storage, 32gb Asus cloud storage as well. The camera is a healthy 8MP/2MP and Bluetooth 4 is on board with WLAN 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 Ghz. It comes in Red, White and Black, though here in Australia it is harder to find anything other than black so far.

Splitting with the Atom– I promised myself I would never own another Atom processor device, however, this one is not as sluggish as previous Atom model devices and actually nippy in cases (video aside). It is the refresh rate of the shared graphics that I think with the I will say average CPU that is the culprit here.  Note: If I understand the Intel blurb the CPU in this ‘new’ device is end of life already.

SummaryThe ASUS ME400C  is a comprise on a grand scale. As the 5th generation of tablets looms,  this is an affordable at $500-600 device. An attractive selling point for one of the 1st Windows 8 Tablets (with the real Windows 8), though, its design feels a bit clunky between the ACER 500 that ran early versions of Android Gingerbread, and the Asus Nexus 7. Far from BAD, but not uber great (our demands our hire than they would have been 12 months ago.

However, this is kind of a compliment in the world of compromises in terms of what has been out there before for Windows OS previously. Weighing in at 580g, it is 12% lighter than the non-LTE version of the iPad4 at 652g, and only 6% heavier than the new nexus 10 at 603g.

However the CPU is way under spec, even an i3 CPU offers a 300% increase overall (per Intel Atom vs the Intel i3 CPU 

Like other devices, you actually need to spend some time with the device, if launched a year ago it would be 8/10, but in today’s market, compared to other devices, it is at best a 5/10.

What else- Making things better – Firstly to run this tablet effectively, you need to do some tweaking  to make it usable  something most consumers will not do. Also if I said to you I was going to sell you a PC with an Atom CPU and you knew what is was historically , you would laugh, cry, run or punch me. This needs a real CPU even an i3. My suggestion is wait for an i5 or i7.

In the modern day, average performance and great battery life, will lose out for many when offered better quality, faster performance  and average battery life.

Another consideration is running you Android apps on the windows 8 device. Bluestacks has brought out a VM that allows you to do just that and is customer made for the Win 8 OS & device.

Even better would be a dual boot Android ICS / Win 8 device running an i5 or i7, offering the best of both worlds (coming soon)

Key Features

  • Intel Atom Z2760 Processor
  • 1.6Ghz Burst to 1.8Ghz Processor Speed
  • LPDDR2 2GB RAM
  • 64GB HDD
  • Power VR SGX545 Graphics
  • 10.1″ IPS with Soda Lime 1366 x 768 Screen Resolution
  • 8MP Rear Camera

Comparable Devices 

Nexus 10 $500 16GB but the best screen out there)
iPad 4 – $539 (16GB vs 64GB (32Usable)

 

 


by Loren  @mr_internet
Melbourne Australia
21 Nov 2012

missing

I told them so -a really bad bad idea avoided  for now. 

I read recently from a great writer for the Australia Financial Review James Hutchinson, @j_hutch.   His article reads to me of the junk the Australian Government has tried to offer us and surprised many are still chewing the cud on this bull.

When I answered a job advert some time ago, for an Internet filtering expert here in Australia working the Australian Government, I applied with great interest. In the Internet  industry for 20 years, I introduced, ‘productized’,  evangelized and offered Internet filtering for sale on behalf of British Telecom, UK in the 90’s for the corporate masses.

BT was just coming out of being owned by the government, and the Internet at the time was for the corporate world only due to prices.

The idea then was simple, there was this thing called newsgroups that had a lot of good things but also lots of porn and worse. Business wanted the content and to provide the content that newsgroups offered but not porn or other things. The Internet included newsgroups so if you could not offered filtered services some large corporate would not take the regular newsgroups services.

Certain newsgroups sites with obvious sounding names, made it easy to filter out some sties by name. Others were not so easy and as crazy as it sounded we actually employed teams of people to manually filter newsgroups, to then offer only a clean feed for corporate consumption and sold this premium service for a good profit as part of our regular $12,000 per month 64k Internet connection (sounds crazy huh).

When the Australia Government wanted to do this now (in 2011), ‘to protect our children from porn’, I was intrigued and of course skeptical. Most activity to protect ‘children from porn’, was really just another way to condone censorship. Australia has dabbled in it before and was shown to be able to be ‘hacked’ if done at the client level by an Australian school boy in 10-15 seconds with only basic knowledge of the Internet. Thusly, the Australian government had to do this at the pipe level.

Hardware at the time to do this was rare, and then there was a bandwidth issue. Congestion on the Internet would get worse, regardless to what was said, and the ISPs would have the biggest burden of all, managing it.

What troubled me most, was the ‘protect our children banner’ yet what was really being asked for was the ability to filter any content an unnamed Australian Government individual could ask for or worse manage themselves. When I queried this anomaly in the interviewing I was bluntly asked if I had any objection to this. I asked again, ‘Filtering certain nasty content, no I had no objection, I am passionate on it and have demonstrated that ’. Offering the ability to filter other content like anti-Australian government content from the Australian Internet, or censorship as a whole, I obviously had a big objection (being American now Aussie) around the US 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech, and a contributing Internet pioneer in my own mind, Introducing many Internet Services of my own including Business Broadband in the UK.

I was left out of the final round of interviews. Interestingly when I went to the EFF on this they doubted the whole filtering idea was real (and I guess me either), and after a few attempts I gave up, thinking this thing would (hopefully) never work, but have watched with interest.

Australian communications Minister Stephen Conroy dabbled with this a bit more publically as addressed in the artice here http://goo.gl/k9pnM

So for now I get to say I told you so, but the thin line between ‘protecting our children’ and just plain censorship of the Internet for other purposes is getting more tempting by Governments and something we all need to be aware of.


Loren Wiener
Melbourne Australia
8 August 2012 (tomorrow for many of you)

TV and The Olympics Never Looked Better

Way back in 1994, I spoke to English MPs and TV exec’s in my role of head of Internet Products and Security for British Telecom, about what would later be called ‘pirating’. I discussed what I viewed as the safe use of ‘copyright borrowing’. I had been already advising banks and grocery stores about how they could best use fast Internet, with both later becoming ISPs in their own right.  Unknown to those in attendance I was already a ‘pirating freak’  with a free $20k internet connection at my house (for testing purposes), I spoke of what I believed should be a consideration before throwing an illegal label over all those that download content from the internet specifically UK TV. I suggested charging additional fees for downloads, and spoke about how the torrenting sites could work hand in hand with the TV channels (some government owned). Years later a torrent site rose up, and introduced this model to the world. The basics are simple UK TV will tolerate torrents until a month or so before the shows are DVD. The torrent site then brings down the shows and all is well. Throw in a limited distribution, limited users, a T1 Internet backbone, and today you have the fastest downloads of HD Olympic Coverage in the world. Remember the site is UK shows only. If you use it support it. It is amazing. I am sure it had little or nothing to do with me but was nice to have a front row seat for the principals now being followed. The torrent site is http://www.uknova.com consider donating to the folks there, if you get in and like the service.

Picture courtesy of JClem


So Easy to Fix- Consumers Not Aware How Much They are Being Overcharged For Home Internet

by Loren W
22 November 2011
Melbourne Australia

Image001

What’s the Deal

There are 2 Issues;

1. If you have had an Internet Service unchanged in 6 months or longer than you are likely over paying for your service, sometimes these costs are dramatically more than they should be.

2. Also worse you would have data usage that might go over your usage allowance, incurring excess charges that are very high, or degradation of service. This overcharging can be hundreds of dollars per month (not per year per month).

 

Why Now ?

With more and more videos and music in the cloud for us to download,  or upload, the world is downloading and uploading more than ever. In Australia we are no different but most are over paying for their Internet sometimes dramatically for years.

What Caused This?

Actually greed and the refusal to think outside the box by the Internet Service Providers, from a market perspective.

The problem has been ongoing for years but the overcharging was worsened in September 2010. At the time the wholesale cost of Internet dramatically reduced.  Internet Service providers big and small Telstra, Optus TPG, iiNet, etc. all faced the problem of how to maintain profits and revenue. When this happened to in the UK (I was working for British Telecom at the time), this actually put some smaller (and not very good) Internet providers out of business. I did some research on how you could offer existing customers lower prices proactively, and increase revenue as well, the US and UK adopted that pricing model, Australia did not.

The result of this is the monthly charge of the Home Broadband Internet Service you bought 1 year ago  has not changed but what you get for itis a fraction of what a new customer would get for the same price today.

‘It is like going to get fuel and there are no prices advertised, as everyone gets a different price for the same fuel depending when they signed their contract’. 

The practice is common.

Yet many Australians have not spent the 30 minutes it takes to sometimes save 50% or more by knowing what service they have, and adjusting their bandwidth appropriately. This means in most cases being able to call your existing supplier and letting them know from their website that new customers are paying less for their new service, than I am paying as an existing customer, can I please have my bandwidth upgraded to the current rate, or move to a new service etc. Most Internet providers will be happy to do this if you hint you prefer not to shop around.

Why So Serious ?
So, if the price is the same then do I care if my service is ok? Well it does not work that way, There are 2 scenarios,

1.  The amount of bandwidth you are using is more than your allowance was a year ago.

In that scenario, when you exceed your data allowance either your Internet speed will get really slow, or if you defaulted to pay for extra bandwidth, then you could be hit with extras more than your monthly bill (we are all downloading more than we did a year ago remember)

2.  You might not be using all your data allowance so the plan you have is right, or you bought a new plan in the last 6 months, then you might be fine.

What To Do ?

1.  This is all so easy, check your bill online to see what your service is you are paying for (something like a 25GB plan on ADSL with or without telephone bundled in for $xx per month ),

2.  Go to the website of your current Internet Provider, or call them if you have to, and see what the comparable product is today.

3.   Phone your ISP and get that lower price.

4. Check a website like Whirlpool.net and see what broadband services you can get in your area from others. Your ISP might be overcharging  everyone.

Why is a Smaller ISP Potentially so Much Cheaper than a Big ISP like Bigpond/Telstra

There are a few reasons for this;

1. Financial Overhead Cost Allocation – FOCA this means in a big company they allocate costs to the service you buy, that cover part of the parent company costs

2. Ease  – It is easier to let customers over pay on services than to update them, if they are unhappy and you have been proactive they might leave (customer churn)

3. Greed – Let’s face it if consumers are happy (or blinded) to not know the right questions to ask, then why lower your prices.

How Can they Get by With This

1. Smoke and Mirrors – The Internet is a commodity like gas or electric (and just as important for many of us), yet ISPs still make it a bit confusing when ordering a service. If you know what you want then it is easier, if you need advice, it is sometimes so forthcoming. If you know what you want but the ISP has a better deal they might not always offer it as it might not be the most profitable service they they offer.

The Bad News

If you have incurred any excess charges for your Internet service and again you have had a service unchanged for some time, then the lack of proactivity by your Internet Provider could have meant you paid higher prices as a result, sometimes twice as much as you regular rent.

Example 1: My friend has been on BigPond for 2 years they are paying $90 for a 25GB download internet and phone bundle. Today for that same price other Internet Providers are offering 500GB or an unlimited service. This a difference of 20 x not a small amount

Example 2: By friend in on an Internet Service that charges excess (pay as you go) when you exceed your otherwise allowed usage). These charges have been a lot,  and going on for some time. On further review it turns out a new service would have a huge difference in the data allowed, but because the customer does not know this and their ISP Telstra did not tell them they could upgrade for free, the result was the customer having regular $200 and $400 in over charges bills for a $60 per month service.

Here Telstra failed to disclose to the customer by not being upfront on pricing, that the customer could upgrade for free and save $200-$400 per month in excess charges also to Telstra. I suggested a pert call to Telstra on this lack of Duty of Disclosure Issue before sending a letter to the Ombudsman,  Telstra was happy to change the plan and credit the yet unpaid $400 in excess fees.

Recently is was reported that many Australians are planning to look at changing  Telcos in 2012.
Not a big surprise.

Why Don’t More Consumers Upgrade or Move

It was recently reported that only 16% of Australians will move or upgrade their mobile phone plans, due to the perceived complexity of doing so.
The excess customers are paying on their mobile service is often a fraction of what they are being over charged for their home Internet connections.

Moving an Internet Connection can be more complicated as with mobile phones you can often keep your number, with home Internet consumers lose their email address from their ISP, this requires a lot more preparation, ahead of time like moving all their Email to gmail or their own domain name so the loss of their ISP email address is transparent.

This is not widely known, so ISPs will often use this to get customers to stay, almost bullying them into staying.

Not All Bad News

Internet Providers like TPG and others are offering unlimited Internet to many areas for $60 per month

What about the ACCC – Austraila Competition & Consumer Comission

If all of this is true (it is) then surely the Australian Government would act ?

Hmm, This seemed obvious to me, if you are being overcharged or have a complaint, about Internet Services then the ACCC will act.
Recently they acted against one of the few ISPs actually doing a good job and that is TPG. TPG offers unlimited Internet Services for $29.99 per month (plus a $30 phone), or $59.99 per month without (the same price either way). The ACCC took exception to TPG as they were not being as upfront about the phone cost. Silly really.

So I raised a complaint to the ACCC about the ACCC on this (more to prove the point and raise the issue formally). My point was simple they investigate singular acts of consumer problems what about the widespread fact that most customers do not know they are getting over charged then paying for these over charges with yes more overcharges.

The ACCC was clear on this, (and very polite) they do not regulate an industry,specfically on their web site here  they say The ACCC does not regulate voluntary industry codes of conduct, only individual complaints. I understand I worked closely with OFCOM, in the United Kingdom for the better part of a decade on these same issues. OFCOM did try to regulate  an industry and not very well. However, some folks did not overcharge the customer the way Australians are being over charged.

What Now?

If nothing else the ACCC  should add this information to their website, on this page for instance . But I think it needs a show like a current affair to look at this as it is so blatant and a topic they covered recently on mobile phones that is nothing compared to this.

Twitter: @mr_internet

Note: Loren is a 17 year veteran of the Internet Community, and introduced Business broadband in the UK in 1998  for British Telecom and has been evangelizing and introducing new products and Services on the Internet / Cloud / and Online Services in Australia for the last 6 years. since. His blogs and twitter following is around 10,000 at any time (8700 on twitter alone)


21 November 2011

Melbourne, Australia

When OXX Digital a Danish Company introduced their ‘Classic’ Internet Radio, into Australia a true legend was born, with a very appropriate name. A  little ahead of its time, that many did not fully appreciate, very few people were yet streaming their music, knew what DAB+ was and even fewer had a personal NAS (network attached storage). Today there are many NAS devices to choose from and many are using their PC’s or Macs to stream music and podcasts across their homes. The Classic is a radio that few are  yet to fully appreciate. The Classic introduced not only a great looking radio with modern Scandinavian design,  but one with DAB+ the best in radio quality, Combined with Internet Radio (able to access over 10,000 radio stations across the globe), wireless music streaming, and obvious FM Radio. This at a time for finding a DAB radio alone was more expensive than this full featured hi-tech marvel, that still years later has  stood the test of time with few competitors when comparing like for like features, price and design. Time moves on and the classic if it lacked anything was portability. The ability to take a DAB+ radio with you, not requiring a power connection was also lacking in the marketplace.

OXX Digital has addressed this with the OXX Vantage, here they have changed the look for this portable model, added a ruggedized rubber feel on a nice retro looking radio.

The OXX Vantage has the same features as the classic with DAB+ Radio, FM Radio, but as it is portable the WiFi, and Internet Radio is not needed.  The OXX Digital Vantage is a welcome addition to the impressive OXX Digital line up.

I for one cannot wait to see how OXX impresses us next.


Image001

6 December 2011
Melbourne, Australia

by Loren W

 

 

Love or hate porn, is not at issue per se. 
By it’s own definition, a domain name is attract visitors to a web site

Now for the first time a URL is being used mainly to detract visitors, nuts. 

When the debate started many years ago about launching a XXX domain name, it did not seem so silly. It gave the opportunity to create a red light district on the Internet. Perhaps forcing every adult site to use the .xxx domain name, it did not fly. Years later and many discussions later on how much money it might make and surprize .xxx has been launched.

The fly in the ointment was that corporations, businesses, and individuals,  realised their own brand could be used to launch a fake adult website, so the XXX monetisation model was born.

It addresses 3 groups;

·         Those in the Adult Industry that will use XXX for their new adult site.

·         Larger companies that could pre-register their .xxx domain name (and not use it), just block it from hijackers.

·         Now the rest;   On 6 December 2011 anyone can register their company.xxx / name.xxx and block others form using the XXX domain name, and not use it either.

With the revenue generated from the blocking of. xxx sites expected to far exceed   those actually using it many are asking why is it needed, now.

However there are many that feel the .xxx domain should be forced on the adult industry.  The civil rights’ group, the EFA (Electronic Frontiers Australia, ) has been quoted as saying having a website with XXX gives consumers the ability to know what they are going to.  

 

American IT Consultant and 17 year Domain / Cloud / Hosting Veteran CEO Loren Wiener of Melbourne Australia’s

Australia Internet PTY Ltd, Melbourne, disagrees. ‘

I appreciate what the EFA is saying but if adult sites are not forced to use .XXX domain names, then there will be more confusion not less.  Adult sites already adhere to principals laid out in the CPOEA (Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act) of 1988), a US Department of Justice enforced control, that forces strict guidelines Adult sites and allows strict enforcement or similar. Worse still it gives governments leverage that say the adult industry is out of control.  Parents have many tools available to block adult sites from their children if they choose to do so, and do not need XXX domain names or government intervention to protect the unwanted viewing of web sites if they are not able to monitor their children’s Internet usage any other way. I personally believe this is a mistake and ICANN and other domain naming bodies, will face the wrath of the industry in the future over this and closer scrutiny.’ he says.


 

6 September 2011

Tech-News.TV (coming soon)
Melbourne Australia
by Loren Wiener (@mr_internet)

 

Samsung to Be Eventual Winner

 

 

Whilst Apple fights Samsung across the globe, on tablet patents, many tablet manufacturers like Motorola (Googorola) Toshiba, Acer, Asus, HP, RIM are all hoping to gain some benefit here in Australia.  Samsung will likely win and Motorola lose for a few reasons.

1) Apple patent wins will at best,  just delay the Samsung selling of their tablets. Remember Motorola also has injunctions against them.  It is not likely a totoal coincidence that the patent wars are going on leading up to the announcemnet in the next few days of the iPhone5.

2) Samsung marketing machine, though not great is better than any of the others on the market

3) Previous versions of Samsung tablets have been sold in Australia for some time, they already have a large presence not just in tablets, but mobiles, televisions and home appliances. The product awareness offers a big association for other products like tablets as they are sold at the same retailers as well as carriers.

4) Samsung products have been offered for some time unlocked, offering more choices for consumers to choose their own carrier, this carries over to the tablets.

Motorola To Be Biggest Loser

 

1) Samsung network for selling tablets is much larger than others, more retailers and carriers than Motorola.

2) Other tablet suppliers have strong market associations in the marketplace / market share, Blackberry (RIM)- Mobiles, Toshiba/Asus/Acer/HP (Computers). Though the recent HP position confuses things.

3) Motorola New Relationship with Google with take time to gain momentum. Remember Google is a company that sells advertising. Google is NOT experienced in selling hardware product.

30 September is an important date currently in the patent wars, when it is believe Samsung will be allowed to sell their new tablet  in Australia.


Or a Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Webisphere ?

I have had more than a few folks ask (especially recently) where I got my twitter tag of @mr_internet due to the arrogance of its perception. That arrogance (not my fault actually) is why I got the nickname, and it stuck and I kept it to remind me that humility is not a bad thing.

The kind of interesting story goes like this, I have been pretty blessed to be on the front line of the creation of business grade Internet in the UK.

I was working for a large telco , (one of the largest and oldest in the world) I was lead on the team that introduced several new products across the globe one being something called

business broadband (perhaps you hear of it). One of the cool things about the Internet has been how it evolved slightly differently in different countries and with what sort of products is that its life cycle is different in different countries.

The US got the internet from DARPA and ARPA, as a result of the USSR and Sputnik etc, meanwhile (and forgotten by many) the UK developed packet switching. Vinton Cerf with others developed TCP in the US, the latter bit was in the 70’s

The WWW , Tim Berners-Lee, CERN  thing happened in 1989. Though hotly debated there is a view that UK invented the Internet (with the first multi-national Internet usage). The first head of state sending an internet communication between countries was Queen Elizabeth II.

So here I was part of the team introducing new Business Internet  products and the face (as ugly as it might be)  for this telcom  giant, with one of my jobs being taking the front line on initial legal issues from customers.

Unknown to me the higher up sin the organisation decided to exercise a patent law it had unearthed, saying they had invented hyperlinks under patent 4873662 in 1989.

The Telco then started discussions with a view of extracting funds from ISPs to license hyperlinks  and hypertexts  http://www . This meant the mere million users of the Internet at the time were likely to face costs and the few ISPs at the time Prodigy facing the highest costs).

This went viral as much as it could in the early days of the Internet, I was first made aware of it when I was called for an interview and was asked (thinking I had something to do with it personally) , ” Who Do you think you are  Mr Internet’ ?

The Telco eventually let the patent enforcement go silent (not dead). But the press (and my colleagues) kept the Mr Internet  nickname for so long I eventually kept it as a reminder of the potential arrogance that can come out of this business and to never forget about the most important part of the business (me.. no) the customer.

Regards

Loren (@mr_internet)


Some Content Courtesy of Redmond Pie
For Jenny (no comment)
By Loren (aka @mr_internet)

Apple iPad2 vs. Samsung Galaxy 10.1 vs Motorola Xoom vs RIM Blackberry Playbook vs HP TouchPad

I have had a few folks asking me about a Tablet preferences of iPad vs this or that. But it is not that easy. For now as of 12 April 2011, there are 4 tablets worth really considering, and a few more soon.

I made a conscious descion a while ago to avoid the Android Google world. But with new versions out I am being tempted more than ever.

I ditched my iPhone some months ago and I must admit I do miss it often as I have an iPad.

This is relevant as I have not seen a good phone, that plays well with another manufacturer tablet operating system, and having 2 inventories of apps to keep up with is a pain. In this day and age where our pc, mobile phone, and tablet are all part of our lives having them not play well togethermakes life hard.

I realised this when my windows phone 7 phone, did not do much, an idea I kind of liked, but now feel very inhibited.
But the apple iPhones are feeling rather dated as well.

So I have a new Google Motorola ATRIX, arriving soon, the latest mobile not out in Australia yet and an android.
This might mean I also cosider ditching my iPad in favour of an android tablet, we will see.

I hear the Andoid store is a mess as there are so many versions of android, that you cannot tell when you purchase an app if it will work with your device or not. That is silly, I will see in my next review how good or bad the andoid app library is.

The other thing to consider is iTunes. I hate iTunes as much as I love my iPad. But you need it really to manage the iPad.

So It Really is Google vs Apple

Again this is relevant because I think keeping to one platform  for phone and tablet might be the best way to go.

  • If you own an iPhone and plan to keep it, I would stay with iPad.
  • If you are considering seriously getting a tablet other than an iPad (as I am now), then you seriously might want to consider a phone form the same operation system, if you have or are considering an Android phone, you have more choice available on the tablet from but I think the Motorola XOOM is one to watch.

All the tablets have their own merits and flaws, here is a view of all 4.

The Reviews
Some Content Courtesy of Redmond Pie

Well, it’s finally here. Apple recently launched the anticipated 2nd-generation iPad. With Google’s Android, RIM’s BlackBerry powered PlayBook, and HP’s webOS getting fancy new tablets either recently or in the future, buyers are going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a new slate device.

We thought we’d take a closer look at the iPad 2′s four main competitors in the tablet space: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola Zoom, HP/Palm’s TouchPad and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Apple iPad 2

First up we’ve got the new kid on the block, Apple’s iPad 2. Announced by Steve Jobs to be powered by a dual-core CPU that’s supposedly twice as fast as the current iPad. The new graphics chips are ’9x faster’ too. Impressive, at least on paper. In typical Apple fashion, we don’t have actual figures other than the usual dimensions. Thickness? 8.8mm. That’s one third thinner than the current model.

Interestingly, the new iPad 2 features two cameras, one rear and one front facing and the most interesting specification of them all is the availability of the new white iPad. Apple couldn’t get a white iPhone 4 out the door but no such issues with the iPad 2.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung showed off its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with the new tablet hoping to build on the success of its smaller sibling.

Sporting a new 10.1-inch 1280×800 display (hence the name), the new Tab boasts some impressive specifications. Powering that new screen is a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 CPU with both front and rear facing cameras providing the video input. The Tab’s rear camera is capable of HD video recording and has the now obligatory in-built flash.

Software-wise, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will run the latest and greatest from Google’s Android stable, namely 3.0 Honeycomb.

Motorola Xoom

Another Honeycomb-endowed offering is Motorola’s Xoom. Recently released in the United States, the Xoom has been very well received by the gadget press. Arguably a very similar machine to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – at least spec-wise – the Xoom’s party piece is its LTE capability. The downside here is the wait. Early-adopters will need to send their unit away for a hardware upgrade in order to take advantage of LTE speeds. Fortunately a quick turnaround is promised by Motorola, with 6 days the expected wait.

With the Xoom being powered by Google’s Android OS in its latest Honeycomb guise, there is little to differentiate it from the Galaxy Tab 10.1 when it comes to software. The main difference? The Xoom is in stores now!

HP TouchPad

Originally expected to go under the Palm name, the TouchPad will run on a new version of webOS. Now at version 3.0, webOS is promising to be a truly tablet-optimized experience. Even during the Pre’s death-throws, many believed the OS was the phone’s best attribute and a tablet was always the logical home for a future updated version.

HP isn’t scrimping on the hardware front either. A 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core CPU is the heart of the machine, with 1GB of RAM keeping the CPU busy. An iPad-like 9.7-inch 1024×768 screen is used, along with all the usual radios we’ve come to expect, including a 4G one. The TouchPad does sport a front-facing camera, though there’s nothing around the back.

BlackBerry PlayBook

With PlayBook, Research In Motion (RIM) is the fourth major platform (in no particular order) after Android, iOS and webOS to enter the Tablet Wars. PlayBook features 1Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 1080p HD video playback and HDMI output.

Powered by BlackBerry Tablet OS with UI designed by QNX, RIM’s PlayBook is expected to hit retail shelves in April this year.

Which device you ultimately stump up for very much depends what you want from a tablet device. Apple’s iPad 2 has the massive advantage of being tied into the largest App Store on the planet, though many would also consider that to be its biggest weakness. If you’re the tinkering type, and prefer the more gritty approach of Android then the Xoom or Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be right up your street. The Android Market is constantly growing though the quality of apps perhaps isn’t quite there just yet, and Honeycomb promises a new raft of software specifically designed for tablets. HP’s offering is a real unknown at this point. A new OS, with new hardware from a company that hasn’t done well with mobile devices in the recent-past could prove disastrous though we doubt it. What we’ve already seen of the TouchPad looks mighty impressive, and the thought of webOS on a 9.7-inch screen excites us. Same goes for RIM’s BlackBerry powered PlayBook. Will there be enough apps for HP’s new tablet or RIM’s PlayBook? That’s the real question.

Ultimately the decision as to which tablet is right for you is a personal one. Many will plump for the safety and security of iOS while others want the power of Android. A few will even want to take a chance on the TouchPad or PlayBook, and who could blame them? We’re not sure where our money will be going, but today’s iPad 2 announcement sure makes for an interesting few months ahead.

Is 2011 the year of the tablet? You betcha!


Buyers Beware, a warranty is not all it seems.

Like a lot of self- proclaimed ‘technology evangelists’, I buy a considerable amount of computer hardware. Some of this is for work, some on behalf of colleagues, friends and some (or most) for self-gratification.  Also some is loaned for testing by the manufacturers and returned or purchased.

  • However I have never bumped into a unit that failed where the warranty the unit is covered under is so blatantly miss represented (and by such a normally great company with great customer service).
  • So is the case with Netgear and my Netgear Stora . I recently bumped into a hardware issue, where the device would not allow on a regular basis local files to be dragged and dropped to the hardware (no software involved). The error can easily be duplicated.
  • I thought I would do the proper geek thing and update all software and firmware to make sure problem experienced was not easily fixed myself. Unfortunately, on attempting to update the firmware, I then received an error message saying the software could not be updated.
  • On calling Netgear technical support (for the first time for the device), I was told that my ‘software’ warranty had expired and was directed to ‘their other department’ but they could help me on the hardware and software.

Note: On the Netgear Stora there is a software element that allows various users to be granted various access levels via the cloud, and there are other apps and features as well.

  • In my case the software was not needed to drag and drop files as it sees the Stora as just another hard drive (part of the charm of this device).
  • On calling the ‘other department’ the call immediately went to on hold music, with no mention of anything (no thanks for waiting, nothing) on answering the phone, I was greeted with thank you for holding do you have a reference number (given by the other department), which I did. A few moments later I was greeted with I believe you have a software problem.
  • I then corrected the technician saying I have a hardware problem for sure but maybe a software problem as well, but did not need the software for the hardware problem to exist. The hardware problem being the problem that I could not correct by updating firmware. I was then reminded that my warranty for software had expired after 90 days but they were happy to help.
  • This help involved no hardware diagnostics (I have a 3 year hardware warranty remember), but instead they would help with the software first to see if solved the problem before they could agree for me to send back the hardware. Unfortunately this support would cost me $136.. ouch. A new Stora currently costs $141 at good suppliers like Harris Technology. So if it did turn out to be hardware then I would be out of pocket anyhow.
  • I then queried if it was not software but was indeed hardware, would they credit me the $136 for diagnosing a problem that was covered under warranty. Again I was told no.
  • This amazed me as I recently had a bad modem and Netgear offered to swap it out after a few minutes diagnostic. Now there was no diagnostic just a charge for $136 to then confirm it was hardware (and covered).
  • It then turns out this ‘other department’ is a 3rd party supplier to Netgear called Gearhead and they of course are selling customer service and had nothing to do ownership wise with Netgear.
  • I queried why I needed software support for the hardware only aspect of my problem and they insisted they needed to follow process which was ‘software first’. On complaining that the only way I could exercise my 3 year warranty for hardware was to pay for software support, I was directed back to Netgear that again told me they offer no in house support for the Stora at all.

Amazing ..

  • Netgear really was ahead of the curve on the Stora , there was nothing like it for ease of use and value. The closest alternative was other Netgear products. Times have changed; I have referred dozens of folks to Netgear that I am aware of, (likely more) but will likely be looking to for alternatives in the future as there are many more now than a few months ago and the list is growing almost daily.
  • Note: When sked to speak to a supervisor at Netgear or for a complaint procedure in both cases none was offered, again I am very surprised and disappointed by this. Netgear deferred me to Gearhead that had already deferred me back to Netgear.. etc.
  • Further checking online shows the 3 year warranty is still being offered but no clear definitions or terms and conditions could easily be found that covered any devices.
  • I still believe that the device is a great device (call me a fanboy) but to charge exactly 100% of the cost of the device to diagnose the warranty is just wrong. Netgear should just do away with the warranty.

Consumers Not Aware How Much They are Being Overcharged.

18 November 2010
Melbourne Australia

 

by @mr_internet

Not a week goes past without me hearing a horror story where consumers are being ripped off by their ISP, running out of Internet (usage) or worse paying for more usage needlessly.

It Goes Like This

Last year in September 2010, all the ISPs in Australia (to be competitive) and as a result of lower wholesale broadband costs did 2 things that benefits heavy  Internet users and everyone else.

1) Increased the usage available for almost all services for all users for the same price (up to a 500 or 100% increase in usage available for the same price); I even saw some plans go from 25gb to 500gb for the same price. More importantly

2) Lowered the cost for almost every plan in Australia for every single user based on the plan they were on (that is home broadband, mobile (that is sim based in a handset or on one of the many sticks).

Why So Serious ?
To steal a  phrase from Heath Ledger, so why isn’t Australia rejoicing? Why so little in the press of the HUGE savings. Turns out 95% of consumers were not aware their existing service lowered in price as there is NO obligation for an ISP to tell their customers.  Now for us heavy users (that say download movies from Foxtel, Microsoft, Optus or others), this is a great thing. For low users to be fair the lower price is not always a lot, the usage amount is the higher benefit.

It Gets Worse

But there is another impact of this that is costing consumers even more money. As the download usage continues to increase (for many reasons from downloading  iTunes, You Tube or Movie Downloads when consumers are not aware they can get more usage for free, in many cases they are being charged for  excess usage far in excess of the same account they can upgrade for free.

Example
Supplier T doesn’t cut off customers when they exceed their usage they charge per MB for excess charges. Customer A, has a low usage plan (say 500mb)  from 1,2,3, 5 years or 6 months ago, they all of a sudden start using 1GB (a low amount for most of us) or 2GB or more,  their excess charges now can be 10 times their monthly bill $500 vs. $50. When questioned the ISP never suggests the customer upgrades their plan for free just negotiates on their excess usage due to the complaint.

This is criminal (socially speaking) but actually legal, as there is no mandate to force ISPs to tell their customers of the better service they can get with a phone call or online, and it should be addressed.

Impacted Services Every Internet Service, Home or Mobile?  Even those that have monthly recharge mobile Internet may be using an old usage plan.

What to Do ?
Easy check your next Internet bill,  home and mobile see what plan you are on, and check with your existing ISP (even can be done online in 5 minutes or less) to see what that same money buys today from your existing ISP  (or shop around if you are more adventurous). Having multiple devices and accounts means more savings and these savings can be huge.

Where To Go to Check Pricing ?
http://whirlpool.net.au – A great sight been running for years, has folks that can offer free advice (sometimes worth every penny), but great tool as well type in your number and they can tell you who covers your area for home service, and even links into the different prices for ISPs, many offering package deals on home and mobile usage as well (a whole bunch of caveats exist on bundles and coverage)
http://broadbandguide.com.au- Another site for comparing different plans

The Poor ISP
This is not a totally gratuitous statement (I have been in the biz for 20 years) but ISPs here in Australia have options on how to manage this better, otherwise they will see their own profits worsen needlessly (they are a business by the way).  When ISPs in other countries had this challenge i.e. in the UK (for a few million customers), the decision was made to offer the lower prices to all customers make sure they were aware of the new lower pricing and only allow customers to get the new lower pricing if they sign a new contract (as they did when they signed up) This way you are offering customers a deal and let them decide.

In Australia we consumers have not been given that chance. Perhaps why we are called CONsumers .

These are very exciting times in the techy world; no one should be ripped off.
18 November 2010
Melbourne Australia

twitter:

Did I get it wrong (or right) let me know


Now to ‘ Un-confusify’ it all.

Covertly arriving in July 2009, the new standard in Radio is now here in Australia along
with loads of hardware (radios) to choose from.

And believe me it is confusing.

oxx

The OXX Digital DAB+ Radio (Classic) offers the best value and list of quality features, and style.

To those in the know, (many UK ex-pats, audiophiles and geeks) this is a BIG deal.

Australia was an early tester of DAB radio but failed to agree the standard for
some time. By the time the standard was agreed the technology had moved on and Australia
opted for the newer better quality standard.

The bad news for some early adopters is that the old standard and new standard uses different radios  for the 12 months testing period. This means some folks in Australia outlaid as much as $2000 for hardware that is now useless as all of the old stations have been turned off.

For the smart ones that had never heard of DAB Radio or waited, the good news is there is plethora of new hardware landing all over Australia and a slew of new DAB+ radio stations waiting for you to tune in.

What is the difference between DAB+ and DAB

Simply the old DAB radio dates back to the 1980’s and remains virtually unchanged to this day. In 2003 better quality DAB+ Radio started to emerge offering quality twice as good or better.  The DAB system uses MP2 Audio Codecs and the DAB+ uses mainly the AAC format.

Now What?

Well this is the good news. Hardware (radio) suppliers have had a good 2 years to ramp up supplies, and distribution for the new radios. Additionally other technology has come into being in the radio world that creates the confusion, but the best opportunities as well for the consumer.  This includes IP (Internet Radio), Pod casting, Streaming, iPOD/iPhones , as well as the normal FM and new
DAB+ stations as well all becoming part of the crowed radio market at can offer  a different radio for every use as well as Mobile (car) Stereos.  The different radios other than the traditional am/fm are:

DAB+

– The new driving force for the convergence of technologies, offers CD quality sound via radiostations. As mentioned there new stations coming on line everyday offering high quality News, Music, Sports and more 24/7.  The screens on radios offer the music track names, artists, station information and more.

WIFI- IP (Internet Radio)

Amazing in its own right, this kicked off in the 1990’s and offersa choice of 11,000 plus stations from all around the world. Amazingly stations can be selected by country, genre and even sometimes (NOT ALWAYS) by individual stations down to its Internet URL.  It uses your own Internet connection (works only if you have WIFI or a wired Ethernet connection)

WIFI Streaming
Having your internet around the house means you can now stream from your PC to some radios, or via the wired Ethernet connection mentioned above.

iPod /iPhone- Adding your on iPod to a radio, is easy now with a docking station added to the top of
many radios.

Consumer Choice  –
The good news for the consumer is you longer have to go to specialist stores to find DAB+ radios, instead you can pop down to your favorite retailer and some (like Harvey Norman) have done a good job of stocking their stores but as of August 2009, training is not good and no one seems to know the difference in quality or features, and in the case of Harvey Norman even have DAB+ radios in 2 different departments (being they are different franchises in the store) but the selection makes them a good contender as the best. Also many DAB+ radios can be purchased online for a bit of a saving, I still prefer when possible to handle the merchandise, even if I purchase it online afterwards. Again to date online costs do not seem to be less than Harvey Norman, so bear that in mind.

Which brand of Radio? –
With as many as 50 radios on the market it can be a bit of a
minefield and the purpose of this article.

Misc
There a plethora of suppliers already from Bush, Sangaen, Grundig but the main ones are below.

Pure
When I was testing the old DAB radio standards. Pure were the only real quality players out
there and I am pleased to say they seem to be the leaders in offering choices in mostly DAB+ only radios here in Australia in every shape and size and around 20 models to choose from .  I find the
quality of their lower priced units (around $300) not good quality. Their better units (like the evoke 2-s ) are $600+ and again way overpriced I think for the marketplace). Unfortunately I believe they have missed the boat a bit and do not seem to be making the best of all the other technologies mentioned above.
Pros–  Good selection with over 20 radios to choose, from now easy to find and price points from $200.
Cons- Not a big fan of the styles they offer and low on features, overpriced at mid-high  end. Entry level models feel cheap.

Roberts Radios
An institution in Radios for 75 years globally makes outstanding radios in all shapes
and sizes  but again I feel are a bit overpriced in the marketplace.
Pros– good quality, high end radios
Cons– not kept with the times low on
features except the more expensive models, overpriced.

OXX Digital-
Based in Sydney they are  a Danish company not a name you would know
but I believe make the best DAB+ radio on the market, not  just on features  but  thebest value as well. Only the Roberts radio (at $500-800), offers the featuresof the OXX   –   http://oxxdigital.com, with DAB+/FM/Internet Radio (all  11,000) stations /streaming/and more.
Pros– great looking, perhaps in a league of their own, great value for money. Best feature is the favorite’s button that has UK BBC stations pre-programmed in the Internet Radio mode.
Cons– none to mention really, they have not truly launched with a bang yet, so not a huge selection to choose from but with these features who cares, you might find yourself getting more than
one.

More Technical info is available here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Broadcasting


Putting servers inside shipping containers is a trend that is gaining momentum

in the industry with many of the leading infrastructure operators and providers, including Google, IBM, HP and Sun now leveraging the concept to drive efficiency and flexibility of data centers. Now,  Microsoft, which has already deployed a data centre in Chicago using the idea, has outlined a new vision that aims to adopt the concept across its facilities. “Today we are sharing our Generation 4 Modular Data Centre plan. This is our vision and will be the foundation of our cloud data centre infrastructure

in the next five years,” wrote Michael Manos, general manager of global foundation services at Microsoft. “We believe it is one of the most revolutionary changes to happen to data centers in the last 30 years.” In a blog posting in association with Daniel Costello, director of Data Centre Research and Engineering and Christian Belady, principal power

16p1010004_tn 

and cooling architect, Manos says that the new data centre vision  will be composed of modular units of prefabricated mechanical, electrical, security components, etc., in addition to containerized servers.  This would result in “a highly modular, scalable, efficient, justin- time data centre capacity program that can be delivered anywhere in the world very quickly and cheaply, while allowing for continued growth as required,” he wrote. “It allows us to deploy capacity when our demand dictates it. Once finalized, we will no longer need to make large upfront investments. Imagine driving capital costs more closely in-line with actual demand, thus greatly reducing time-to-market and adding the capacity Online inherent in the design. Also reduced is the amount of construction labor required to put these “building blocks” together. Since the entire platform requires pre-manufacture of its core components, on-site construction

costs are lowered.” The new Gen 4 concept would go beyond the company’s existing Chicago

facility, which only modularizes the servers, but instead aims to develop standardized interfaces on the mechanical and electrical levels. “This means using the same kind of parts in pre-manufactured modules,

the ability to use containers, skids, or rack-based deployments and the ability to tailor the Redundancy and Reliability requirements to the application at a very specific level,” Manos said.

FLEXIBLE QoS: One result of the enhanced flexibility is that different server containers can be given different redundancy levels to yield different efficiency levels. According to the blog post, the PUE (power usage effectiveness, which measures the amount of energy inputted into a data centre verses the

amount of power that goes to power the IT infrastructure) can be driven down to 1.08-1.14 in configurations where there is no UPS (uninterrupted power supply) or generator, and PUEs of between 1.27-1.33 in scenarios with dual backup for UPS and generator. That kind of PUE range represents an extremely efficient use of energy because almost every watt of power entering the data centre goes to running the IT infrastructure. Typical legacy data centers run with PUE ranges of over 2, meaning that for every 2 watt of energy entering the facilities, only half is used to power the IT gear. “A key driver is our goal to achieve an average PUE at or below 1.125 by 2012 across our data centers,” he said.

BEYOND THE SERVERS: Another key proposal of Microsoft’s vision is what it calls “the central spine infrastructure,” essentially a network of slots for the server containers connected together by air vents and cables ducts. The company is proposing a standardized implementation of this

infrastructure to further enhanced flexibility. “Gen 4 will allow us to decommission, repair and upgrade quickly because everything is modular. No longer will we be governed by the initial decisions made when constructing the facility,” he said. “We will have almost unlimited use and re-use of the facility and site.”


 Telstra to benefit the most from iPhone: Not Even Carrying it ! 

Leading telecoms analysts have claimed that Telstra will probably benefit the most from the iPhone’s release in Australia and may not even carry it. Two strategists from financial advisor Merrill Lynch said, despite not carrying it. This is due to the mobile data usage and wireless data services such as web surfing and music downloads, generating sales for Telstra’s Next G network and the hype that Optus, Vodafone and Hutchison, will produce.

It is believed that 1.31 million iPhones will be shipped to Australia by 2012, a figurewhich amounts to approximately 6% of the national population. The IDC report said that Apple’s newly announced 3G iPhone is expected to take 7.38% of the converged device market by the end of 2012.

 Due to the likely shortage of stock immediately after launch it is predicted frustrated buyers will opt for some other new devices like the HTC Diamond and Blackberry Bold that will be launching around the same time as the iPhone. 

It was not widely reported that the $199 US for the 8GB iPhone and $299 (US) for the 16GB model appears to be subsidised in the US by AT&T. Optus will be offering a similar plan and Vodafone may also offer a pre-paid model (charging the full cost of the handset). But it was not clear if any handsets will be unlocked so it can be used form any carrier. This might will lead to more hacking in the Australia Market where thousands already have hacked US and UK I-phones already.  

Optus and Vodafone have said that they will sell the iPhone when released in Australia on July 11.


This story reminds be of the on where my ex-employers at British Telecom tried to enforce the patent that they (we) owned the patent on hyperlinks. Even worse I was managing the Internet Products at the time of attempted enforcement, and was a little bit high profile internally at BT. Folks thought or queried it was my doing so I earned the nick-name ‘MrInternet’ it has stuck ever since.

http://eupat.ffii.org/pikta/xrani/hyperlink/index.en.html

 Here We Go Again

 

A Queensland man has begun enforcing international patents which he believes potentially entitles him to a license fee from every website in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States that publishes a URL-linked image, graphic or banner. Ronald Neville Langford of Battery Hill, Queensland successfully filed for patents over the connection of a visual image to an Internet URL between 2001 and 2004. Now a Singapore company, Vuestar, claims to have been appointed by Langford’s RN Technologies company to enforce the patents. It has recently begun sending invoices to Singapore website operators demanding “annual license fees” of about S$5,000 in order for them to have the right to embed URL links in graphics and images on their web pages. Vuestar, unashamedly, promotes itself with the tagline “Good Ideas with Vision.” Vuestar claims “a web site which has been developed by or for a URL addressee/ owner and uses visual images to hyperlink to other pages in which any first or subsequent page provides the contact details of an organisation would in legal terms appear to use the steps and methods outlined in a claim of the patent.” A Internet domain search shows Vuestar’s website at http://www.vuestar.biz is registered to South Brisbane-based Goldspirit Investments, in turn registered to Langford. Vuestar began issuing the invoices this week, creating a minor storm in the Singapore Internet community who believe, rightly or wrongly, that the patent claims are a scam. One messageboard poster suggested “it seems like the Aussies cannot escape their criminal mentality yet.”

 

LEGAL WARNING: Bryan Tan, a lawyer with Singapore tech law practice Keystone, issued a note to his clients stating “According to Vuestar, any website with visual images, Internet Service providers, telcos whose phones connect to the web and anybody else contributing to the use of the patent will require the license. In addition all search engine portals and web sites that have search facilities and images will require separate licenses.” Tan added “We believe that this development would have a wide-ranging impact on the Internet

community in Singapore given the wide claims being made by Vuestar on the intellectual property covered by the patents. Parties operating websites, offering web services or developing web-based and WAP based products and services need to be especially careful.” CommsDay has sighted Langford’s claimed patents. His US patent filing, no 7065520, provides an exhaustive definition of what constitutes his “original idea”, covering an “image, video, animation, mini-image of a web page, streaming video, logo of an organization associated with the web page, and trademark of an organization associated with the web page.” Both the US and later Singapore patent also specifically mentions the results generated by image search engines. Similar patents have also been recognised by Australia and New Zealand.

Singapore’s New Paper obtained an interview with the 68-year old Langford yesterday where he said the widespread use of his patents had damaged his company “to the tune of millions of dollars.” “Ironically, we have sat back and watched our technology used to generate millions in advertising revenue.”

 


 

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).


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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VS

Happy Birthday Sputnik, Fear, and the Pursuit of Competition.

We owe the founding of what is now the Internet(s) to being partly a result of fear.Fear from the US of A believed was not only a risk militarily due to the then USSR but|strategically as well. It could be said that any technologically advanced country especially one like Japan,
if it believes it will be left behind by a technology like search engines of all things, they do one thing VERY well, take it head on. We saw this with many things just after world war one and that has been replaced to some extent by China as much a manufacturing superpower as anything. Japan’s government has decided to do the same thing with Google. The Japanese
Government is throwing $150m at it, and who best to enlist support to do this than power houses in Japan. The 10 powerhouses include well known names such as NEC, Sony, and Toyota. This will be a good thing for consumers and interesting to see what comes out. Hopefully one less toolbar and perhaps the first real change in searching for some time to follow. Expect Google to make a push into the region to quell techo-fears and of course competition.



Sony has introduced MYLO, Personal Communicator, as the proliferation of on-line networking and communications via the Internet increases each day, especially amongst young teens and college students, a need to provide this market with communications while on the go has emerged. Pics here http://www.sony.com/mylo

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