Like most Canadians, I have paid way more than I care to admit to the greedy Telcos over the past several years. My estimates put my average monthly bill for two smartphone plans and a home telephone line with an international long-distance plan at approximately $175/month (some months higher, some months lower, but that’s the average). Carry that cost over 12 months per year and about 5 years since I’ve been back in Canada and at the mercy of the Telcos, and you’ve got a scary picture. Add in Internet, TV and Movie services (i.e. Netflix) and what you’ve got is blatant wastage and inefficiency, something I intend to put an end to now that my major smartphone plan’s 3-year contract is coming to an end.
Feel free to jump straight to my problem and my proposed solution right now, but I’ll lay out some background on my particular situation, and what lead me to this current fleecing and desparation to find an alternative.
At first I ended up with three separate carriers, which is almost never the cheapest way of doing things, but almost always the way a typical household ends up. As families grow, couples may have had separate services, and its not always easy or even possible to package, bundle or combine services due to prior contracts. It’s easy to blame the greedy Telcos, but at least some of the responsibility for this situation rests on my shoulders as a result of laziness or simple lack of time and energy to do anything about it sooner and/or do more research into all the possible alternatives.
Being incredibly busy but needing to fill an immediate need for services to get my wife a phone since I had no home phone line, before I had much chance to figure out how badly I’d be getting screwed, I had myself signed on to two 3-year contracts with two separate carriers.
Later, I needed to add a second smartphone plan, mostly because I had to get a Mobile phone plan for my wife before she was actually a permanent resident, and at the time there was a “special offer” on at Rogers that would have made it cheaper than adding a second line to my existing Bell-Aliant account. What I didn’t know was that despite it being cheaper, Rogers tends to hike their rates more later on down the line. Live and learn I suppose.
I’ve considered something like a Mobile 4G hotspot, but the thought of carrying it with me everywhere and being dependent on a spotty service that’s still being rolled out does not really appeal to me very much. That said, here’s what I found were my options: Read the rest of this entry »
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…
That should be the moral of the story with Google Video, which this month became the latest in a slew of innovative services to hit the chopping blocks in Google. Google Video Search, however, will still be sticking around; just don’t expect to find many videos other than YouTube user-generated content (and illegally ripped/ content), to which I suspect many content publishers will migrate their Google Videos if they haven’t already.
Google’s plan was executed (almost) flawlessly:
Read the rest of this entry »
In “Calling All Cloud Skeptics“, ZDNet writer Phil Wainewright begs for an antagonist to his Cloud Computing hero/idol, and asks who, as an expert in the IT community, could possibly understand Cloud Computing and still think it is anything less than a splendid idea and flawless technology.
Richard Stallman would be the man for the job that comes to mind, but unfortunately you could probably never get him to show up to a Cloud Computing conference.
He has some compelling reasons to be wary of the “Cloud”, yet of course there are also counter-arguments from Phil’s camp, mostly attacking Richard’s character rather than refuting his arguments against Cloud Computing.
I’d just like to summarize that in my humble opinion Cloud Computing is going to come and go like many other trends in IT… and to expand on this belief, I think it is a natural progression closely related to Nova Spivak’s commonly repeated analogy of computing as a pendulum swinging back & forth.
Allow me to present an example of this theory in action:
First, the Quill & paper (de-centralized)…
then the Printing Press (centralized)…
next came Typewriters (de-centralized)…
and then steam-powered mass-printing presses for widespread Book/Newspaper distribution (centralized)…
Home/Office Printers (de-centralized)…
Ebooks downloaded and controlled from central servers (centralized)
Earlier this month Bill Gates confirmed rumors and news headlines that he would be stepping down from his daily activities at Microsoft and handing over the bulk of the control and responsibility of Microsoft’s management to current CEO Steve Ballmer. (In fact, it was part of a multi-phase retirement plan already released on the company’s corporate press site)
Since the announcement, and indeed over the course of this transitionary year, Ballmer has already made himself comfortable as he prepares for the position of Microsoft top gun by redifining the Microsoft mission statement and privacy policies, shifting a significant focus towards the horizontal and vertical advertising markets, with particular emphasis on content and discovery (i.e. search). The company’s new policy and direction can already be clearly seen in the attempted acquisition of Yahoo!, the world’s #2 search provider (by market share and volume), and arguably one of the best at dealing with premium advertisers, and working them into its existing content portal & framework.
An interesting set of interview clips were posted this week over at the Washington Post’s Technology section.
In addition, Bill Gates has even made an ode to Bill Clinton and his popular “Final Days in the White House” viral video, with “Bill Gates’ Last Days at Microsoft”:
- Should Microsoft acquire Netflix? And its CEO? (seattlepi.com)
- Transcript of David Einhorn’s Speech at the Ira Sohn Conference – Insider Monkey (stoweboyd.com)
- A Fool Looks Back (fool.com)
- Ballmer going down? (amanwithaphd.wordpress.com)
- Hedge Fund Honcho Wants Microsoft’s Ballmer Out (techdailydose.nationaljournal.com)
- How Much Authority Does Steve Ballmer Have? (conceivablytech.com)
- Report: Microsoft board supports Ballmer (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
BC$ = Behavior, Content, Money
The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:
1. We regularly hand over our browser histories, search histories and daily online activities to companies that want our money, or, to benefit from our use of their services with lucrative ad deals or sales of personal information.
2. We create and/or consume interesting content on their services, but we aren't adequately rewarded for our creative efforts or loyalty.
3. We pay money to be connected online (and possibly also over mobile), yet we lose both time and money by allowing companies to market to us with unsolicited advertisements, irrelevant product offers and unfairly structured service pricing plans.