Category Archives: Technology

Techcrunch 50

 

Techcrunch started this morning. I’ve been watching/listening to the great live video feed (although I missed the Aston/Goldberg presentation).

I’ve been looking over the program and I’m looking forward to playing with some of these new services! Check it out:


TechCruch50 Program – Get more Information Technology

iPhones and Rogers

There’s quite a bit of talk passing around the interwebs of Canada lately regarding the coming release of the iPhone on the good ole’ Rogers network… and little of if it is positive.

What has been, essentially, a great play by Rogers (the iPhone makes a perfect flagship product) is starting to turn ugly; and Rogers has no one to blame but themselves.

Before I continue, I’ll say that I’m not anti-Rogers, in fact, most of my technological life is powered by Rogers currently. Yes they’re expensive, yes their customer service is spotty, yes they lock you into crappy contracts, but I’m happy enough with the service and the competition really isn’t any better.

Rogers has never had a shining history of customer friendliness, but then they didn’t have to. They only had to be a little better than Bell, and that wasn’t hard (as a past Bell customer I’m talking from experience here).

So Rogers kind of sucks, but so does their competition… where does that leave us?

On familiar terrain.

Canadians should be used to being dictated to, and over-paying for things… oh, and for taking it all sitting down. There’s a lot of talk online right now, but I hold no delusions that it will actually change anything. Even worse, Rogers knows the same thing and is so confident in their power to do whatever they feel like that they’ve been brazen enough to throw it back to the Canadian public:

Rogers… has sharpened its pencil. It is watching this very closely. If this starts to truly negatively affect significant opinion — and you have to be careful about 5,000 on a blog versus what’s really meaningful — we will be on top of this thing to ensure that we manage that tension between responsible pricing and not [upsetting] customers.

- Luke Sklar, of Sklar Wilton & Associates – from the Globe and Mail.

In other words, Rogers has decided to gouge the Canadian public in order to try and drive their share prices back over $50 (they’re sitting around $40 right now), and have no intention of changing their behaviour unless it looks like they may come out losing in some way.

Or, in OTHER other words, Rogers really doesn’t care about their paying customers as long as their stock prices aren’t suffering as a result.

Excuse me a moment while I try to shake off my disgust.

I want an iPhone. Really. But I won’t buy one.

Firstly, I’m not big on text messages or mobile data consumption. Not for lack of interest or savvy, but because I’m in front of a computer far more than the average person (12 hours in a day wouldn’t be unusual), so I just don’t need a mobile phone to duplicate what my desktop/laptop can do.

Secondly, and by far more importantly, I believe that in today’s ever more transparent commercial world, companies should be open and honest with their consumers, that they should listen to what their customers have to say and that they should tailor their products to the NEEDS of their market. And I don’t believe that Rogers is doing any of that with the launch of the iPhone.

Despite the fact that I am only one person, I have to make a stand somewhere and I cannot justify forking out any more of my money to support a company like Rogers, in an endeavor like this.

Rogers, if you are listening (no, don’t laugh), and want to win me over, how about offering a package for people like me.

I want to use the iPhone like I use my current phone.

  • I don’t make a lot of calls
  • I don’t send many texts
  • I don’t use much data
  • I want to use the iphone as it was intended, as a gadget (ipod, camera, tv, etc) that happens to also be a phone and mobile internet connection
  • I would be happy to use wi-fi – there are plenty of hotspots around

To sum up the above, my usage would be, over your network, no different than it is now. But, to do exactly what I currently do, you want to more than double my monthly rates!

Why? I really don’t understand!

The Good (if you can call it good)

  • The iPhone is coming to Canada
  • You can switch your pricing plan without penalty
  • You can switch your pricing plan without resetting your 3 year contract
  • You can switch your pricing plan up and down the scale
  • Rogers will notify you when you are approaching, and have reached the data limits for your package

The Bad

  • The iPhone is coming to Rogers
  • Most of ‘The Good’ revolves around switching your pricing plan to another crappy pricing plan
  • You will probably have to switch your pricing plan a few times
  • You will pay through the nose for this fun gadget
  • Rogers considers this ‘Responsible Pricing’
  • You will be supporting another gouging of the Canadian Consumer

Firefox is the #1 Browser

I was just glancing through some of the analytics for this domain (MichaelValiant.com) and noticed that Firefox has taken over as the number one browser being used by visitors.

And firefox didn’t just slide ahead, it blew by IE usage!

So either Firefox is taking a huge market share nowadays (and I love the new betas of 3 (other than the fact that my plugins don’t work)! So keep it up FF!) or I am attracting more and more of the geeky side of the interwebs.   :)

Either way, Firefox rocks this blog!

FireFox rocks this blog

What if the internet just stops?

Undersea Cables - http://www.flickr.com/photos/angusf/423828944/

A few weeks ago a conversation floated back and forth around my office about how reliant we all are on our technology and what would the reprecussions be if anything would ever happen to affect our symbiotic relationships.

Then, last week, undersea cables carrying massive amounts of Internet bandwidth (as well as telephone service) started getting severed.

The first cables to go, off the coast of Egypt, caused huge outages from Egypt to India. Then later in the week, another cable was severed off the coast of Dubai. And yet another was damaged between the UAE and Qatar over the weekend.

And no one knows how or why this is happening but apparently there were no ships in the area.

And while there are some great theories spreading this week around why this happened or who could have done it, it really sheds a different colour light on that office meme I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

What would you do if you were suddenly disconnected?

Picture the poor sap on the Rogers commercials who’s always dropping cell connection everywhere he goes. Now picture that being you. Now picture that being you ALL THE TIME.

The thought probably sucks. And if you’re someone like me… the thought REALLY sucks :)

I can’t live in an unconnected world for very long anymore. As much as I don’t want the Internet to morph into a cloud, I’m submitting to the concept more and more all the time. I twitter and upload photos from my phone. I use Google docs so I can easily share, collaborate, and access my work. My address book, years worth of email communications and blog posts are all online. I have ultimate trust in the internet to protect my data for me.

So what happens if it just stops one day?

There are people who claim the Internet is reaching it’s maximum capacity or even an end of life and we shouldn’t rely on it. There are others who claim the Internet is one of the more reliable of modern ammenities. I think (fortunately) this event proves the latter. Despite losing more than half of it’s internet capacity initially, India had managed to rerout its bandwidth and had regained most of its capacity within 3 or 4 days.

But what if the infrastructure is aging… and what if the bad guys fly their planes into a couple of major datacenters next time? What if an act of nature takes it all out?

Earthquake takes out internet - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshaw/351306634/

I don’t know, but I think I’m going to go export my Google spreadsheets. ;)

Building – or is that growing!? – Sprouts

I love what the team at sproutbuilder.com has put together. They’ve barely launched and have been struggling with server-load issues but the product is incredible (or remarkable as Seth Godin may say)

Basically, if you know what you’re doing (and I don’t!) you can jump in and create great flash widgets for your site in just minutes… it took me an hour to do the widget below!


There are a few things I really wanted to do, and the functionality simply isn’t there yet, but OMG! I am amazed at what these guys have accomplished with this…

It’s times like this that make me sit back and spend a couple minutes thinking about how I likely would have reacted if I could go back and tell myself (around 1980-85) about this product…

A time when I was using a Tandy 1000TX with 24 meg hard drive (I’d convinced my dad to upgrade from the 12 meg hd despite the salesman insisting we’d never need more than 12 megs of space!) and struggling to get my first 1200bd modem working so I could access a local BBS that had great .gif based games :)I never would have believed myself…

Go check out sproutbuilder today! (or take a look at their blog)

** update – having issues displaying the flash within wordpress… wondering if it’s just me :)