Behavior, Content, Money – 3 Things you should never give away for free!!!

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Mobile device use, WiFi, 4G and SIM cards in Japan

Posted by bcmoney on December 28, 2015 in Mobile with No Comments


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English: Photo of a SIM Card from a Japanese F...

English: Photo of a SIM Card from a Japanese FOMA cellphone sold by NTT DoCoMo in March 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post will summarize a solution I’ve settled on for using a North American smartphone or mobile device for a short period of time in another country (doesn’t have to be as a tourist but for any stays less than the 1-3 year contracts the Telcos’d inevitably try to reel you into, even if you’re only in the country they operate in on a Student Visa). Specically this time its Japan, and the real trick, trying to do it without breaking the bank. While these instructions are pretty specific about travelling from Canada with a device from one of our country’s Telcos to Japan trying to get on their infamously exclusive yet impressively fast Mobile Data Networks, they should work with little modification to go from any country to any other (just ensure the portable mobile data device you use supports the data network type of the country you’re travelling to, some are still stuck on GSM, some only support 3G, some have killed off 1G-3G now only offering 4G/LTE, some are even testing 5G, so it varies greatly and you must get a basic understanding of the network types from your origin country and the destination country in the very least). See wikia’s landing page on Pre-paid SIM cards (and supported data networks) for a rough guide by country or try the WillMyPhoneWork brand/model/country lookup tool.

 

How I did it

For my setup I’ve relied on the use of a MiFi portable hotspot which I fortunately had already gone through a contract on at home in Canada. This type of device basically sets up a WiFi network wherever you’re going, using a Pre-Paid (or Pay-As-You-Go) SIM card to piggyback a connection off of the data network. Be sure to deactivate any data/voice roaming, cellular data, or voice network functionalities on your core device. On the iPhone6/iOS9 for instance, you can do this under Settings –> Cellular –> Cellular Data Options –> [Roaming Off] and flipping Cellular Data off and also going to Carrier and turning off Automatic setting which is likely set by default.

 

Hotspot Device

Brand: Novatel
Device: MiFi 2 (5792 model) 4G LTE mobile wireless hotspot

This device is offered by Bell & Bell-Aliant in Canada, and worked quite well for me when travelling in Japan:
http://www.nvtl.com/products/mobile-broadband-solutions/mifi-intelligent-mobile-hotspots/mifi-2-global-4g-lte-touchscreen-mobile-hotspot/

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Speech Recognition – Amazon’s Echo & Alexa Skills API

Posted by bcmoney on December 4, 2015 in Mobile, Semantic Web, Web Services with No Comments


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The final entry in this series on Speech Recognition is one which is surprisingly (for this author anyway) appearing on a large number of Christmas lists,  Amazon’s Echo which is powered by the Amazon Alexa API.

 

 

 

 

Speech Recognition – Microsoft’s Cortana, XBox Kinect & Azure Speech APIs

Posted by bcmoney on November 12, 2015 in Mobile, Semantic Web, Web Services with No Comments


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Microsoft has rolled out Windows 10 rather forcefully and included in the OS is Cortana, their take on Siri, Google Now and Amazon Alexa.

In addition, they have been in the voice and speech recognition games for a while since the Kinect for Xbox 360 and Kinect v2 for Xbox One.

 

UPDATE (2016-03-30):

Microsoft has announced the release of a set of Artificial Intelligence-enabling APIs which it is calling “Cognitive Services APIs”. Within the release are two Audio Recognition APIs named Speaker Recognition API and Speech Recognition API.

Dusting off my 2008 cover letter to RIM on BlackBerry’s future, rejected job application

Posted by bryan on October 27, 2015 in E-Business, E-Commerce, Mobile with No Comments


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The Research in Motion headquarters, based in ...

The Research in Motion headquarters, based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While backing up some files to an external hard drive from my older one, I recently came across an old Cover Letter which had accompanied my resume in a job application I sent to Research In Motion (RIM) back in Summer of 2008.

It’s interesting to look back at, because I recall back then being very frustrated with the state of the Mobile industry in North America (particularly in Canada). These feelings were only magnified by my time spent in Japan 2006-2008, a country which at that time was a clear leader in Mobile technologies and in the global consumer electronics in general. Since then, Korea and China (two other countries I was fortunate enough to have spent some time in during my Graduate school vacations in between terms) have now caught up in terms of innovation and even surpassed Japan’s leading Mobile technology companies in sales as well.

Back then companies (again particularly China & Korea but many European firms as well) were sending some of their top experts and technologists to Japan to do market research with and/or attempt to poach talented Japanese engineers from, the likes of world leading Japanese tech companies: Sony-Ericsson, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, Fuji-Xerox, Konica-Minolta, Nintendo, Softbank, NTT, KDDI, etc. The goal was of course to glean as much information and consumer insights as possible from the country which boasted the fastest home fiber internet speeds, mobile internet speeds, mobile data usage, and mobile revenue per unit (ARPU) in not just gaming which usually comes to mind when thinking of Japan, but all application sectors.

My experience in Japan indeed taught me a thing or two about “sticky” services, particularly the infamous “iMode business model” by Takeshi Natsuno of  NTT DoCoMo which succeeded by providing a cohesive ecosystem of applications and a flat-rate (about $40 USD/month) unlimited data service, which drove subscriptions through the roof. On top of this, standards and specifications which were simple to follow for developers and which reduced page-size for web content with cHTML then later WAP/WML helped grow the service’s offerings in an organic way. Only now are we starting to see the same sorts of initiatives by Google [LINK] & Apple [LINK] in North America. Over here, very little regard has been made for how to optimize mobile services for users, which is why our Mobile industry is only now catching up to and finally surpassing where Japan was 9-10 years ago. Indeed, we constantly hear reports about the growth of Online/Mobile Video (i.e. streaming ad-supported content like YouTube, Vimeo, etc), On-Demand/IPTV (i.e. rentals or purchases on iTunes, GooglePlay, etc), and OTT (i.e. subscription services like Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Prime Instant Video). However, MobileTV via OneSeg had already reached millions of users whereas SMS texting was just starting to take off in North America (in any meaningful way that resembles its adoption level today).

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Speech Recognition – Apple’s Siri (iOS)

Posted by bcmoney on October 13, 2015 in Mobile, Semantic Web, Web Services with No Comments


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Speech Recognition really hit the mainstream when Apple acquired the company and technology behind Siri, a voice-activated virtual assistant.

 

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.

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