From Industry Minister Tony Clement’s tweets yesterday, looks like the government has made up its mind to order the CRTC to start over on the issue (see also “CRTC must reverse internet usage ruling: Clement” [from CBC]). University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist made a point (emphasis added), “Given that there is no reason or obvious legal mechanism for the CRTC to withdraw its UBB opinions, this appears to confirm that the government will order the CRTC to start over on the issue.“
As a consumer and content creator, I think UBB is bad for Canada. I am interested to watch the exchanges/discussions between CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein and House of Commons industry committee members later this afternoon (4-5:30pm EST, Feb 3, 2011) (4:08pm EST update: LIVE feed in progress). If the government want the CRTC to start over, won’t the government/committee need to give some NEW directives to the CRTC?
P.S. Also see Michael’s post, “The Government’s Review of Usage Based Billing: What Should Come Next“.
P.P.S. On a personal note, four of my friends are trained “free market” economists and I am pretty sure it would be a lot of fun if we were to chat about this issue further.
The newly launched Art Project (powered by Google) is super cool and is a ton of fun for people to explore. I love it. Here is an insightful observation from WSJ (emphasis added),
“You might not think it’s possible to have a better art experience than going to an art gallery and looking at a piece of work in real life — but the folks at Google in conjunction with 17 of the world’s leading museums and galleries* have created a website that might just give you a more informative experience online than looking at the real thing.
Simply called “Art Project,” the website uses Google’s Street View technology and adapts it to give users 360-degree tours of the galleries involved in the project. While this is not terribly exciting, the real innovation in the project is the use of “gigapixel” resolution images that allow users to get a microscopic view of the paintings.
The level of detail offered up by up to 14 billion pixels is pretty jaw-dropping.“
Here are samples of the amazing details from three paintings,
As a non-painter and a technical geek, I need to remind myself that I shouldn’t focus too much in the details (the amazing 14 billion pixels) and missing the feeling from “seeing and experiencing” the bigger picture. The famous Voice of Fire, which I saw in Ottawa, comes to mind.
“In order for briefs on Bill C-32 to be considered by the Committee in a timely fashion, the document should be submitted to the Committee’s mailbox at CC32@parl.gc.ca by the end of January, 2011. A brief which is longer than 5 pages should be accompanied by a 1 page executive summary and in any event should not exceed 10 pages in length.“
I’ve attended Banff World Television Festival (BWTF) for many years now and I always find lots to learn and few must attend sessions. BWTVF has just announced that NETFLIX will be honored at BANFF 2011 and Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix, will accept the award and give a feature interview and give people a chance to hear Netflix’s strategy and vision for the future.
You can find more info on how to register for the 2011 Banff World Television Festival here.
Here is the press release text. Read the rest of this entry »
On the surface, it seems nice that RIM averts BlackBerry ban in UAE. For those who actually knows more about security like Bruce Schneier, here he talked about the possible price RIM might have paid in detriment to RIM users’ secure communications. Have a read of this telling excerpt,
“Am I missing something here? RIM isn’t providing a file storage service, where user-encrypted data is stored on its servers. RIM is providing a communications service. While the data is encrypted between RIM’s servers and the BlackBerrys, it has to be encrypted by RIM — so RIM has access to the plaintext.
In any case, RIM has already demonstrated that it has the technical ability to address the UAE’s concerns. Like the apocryphal story about Churchill and Lady Astor, all that’s left is to agree on a price.”
Without transparency of the compromises made, reading the following gives me no additional confidence of RIM’s “promise”,
“In a response to news of the agreement with the UAE, a RIM spokesperson e-mailed CNET the following statement dated today:
“RIM cannot discuss the details of confidential regulatory matters that occur in specific countries, but RIM confirms that it continues to approach lawful access matters internationally within the framework of core principles that were publicly communicated by RIM on August 12.””
The following excerpted opinion makes sense to me,
“I’m actually sympathetic to the need for government to engage in surveillance where appropriate. But even if you think you can trust the government not to abuse this access—and I don’t think you can—backdoors in systems like RIM’s Blackberry e-mail may become available to other parties, including criminal enterprises.”
For those that think internet voting system is a solution to low voter turnout, they should read this, “Hacking Trial Breaks D.C. Internet Voting System“. And here is an important observation (emphasis added),
“My primary worry about contests like this is that people will think a positive result means something. If a bunch of students can break into a system after a couple of weeks of attempts, we know it’s insecure. But just because a system withstands a test like this doesn’t mean it’s secure.“
A few interesting articles,
- A flow chart about typeface
- China’s bumper box office – Commentary: Industry sits up as mainlanders prove they will pay for content
- A view from the top: Supreme Court of Canada Justice LeBel speaks
- Google buys BumpTop
- The age of the [iPhone] app – Report on Business
- The State of the Internet Operating System (part 1) and (part 2)
May 25 Update: Google buys BumptTop, Toronto touch-screen company, for 30m via TorStar
This is a review of my WIND Mobile experiences in Calgary since joining WIND 20 days ago on March 11th, 2010 plus a phone interview with WIND’s CEO Ken Campbell (see below) where Ken very candidly answered my questions.
I was a Bell Mobility customer for over 10 years, but dropped calls/poor voice quality, non-responsive customer services, and expensive new plans (for the values) stopped me from signing another 3-year contract with Bell.
I also want to give WIND a try after having such a high hope for them when reporting of the news of the government overturning the CRTC decision (where I interviewed Tony) and the WIND launch in Calgary (where I interviewed Ken and Chris) in Dec 2009.
WIND Mobile Review Background
Keep this in mind when you read this review:
I do trust WIND is working hard to resolve the problems and issues. And as you will hear in my phone interview with Ken, WIND is now my only mobile service provider, so if WIND goes down, I go down with it. So I fully expect WIND to deliver on their promises (soon).
WIND Mobile Calgary experiences review
Here are my WIND experiences in chronological order.
- I signed up with WIND knowing fully their current limited coverage (Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, and Ottawa was added last week). But I also know and believe WIND is working hard to add additional cities before end of 2010 (cities like Vancouver).
Overall comment & rating: The WIND reps were pleasant to talk to. Nice to see WIND’s openness in accepting customers’ ideas/comments and keep an active blog dialogue. So, overall, I say I received good services from WIND.
2) Signup Day
- The Blockbuster store kiosk was quite professional looking and it blended in well with the rest of the Blockbuster location.
- Would be nice if the salesperson had a bit more in-depth knowledge of the basic features of the phones (in my case, the Samsung Gravity 2).
- After I signed up, unfortunately, this WIND location, didn’t have the proper and up-to-date software to transfer phone numbers from my old cell phone to my new phone. The 15+ minutes wait didn’t do any good as the rep didn’t have the computer privilege to install the new software update.
- I asked WIND to port my existing phone number over. And that gave me my first taste of inconsistent information and services. You see, I was told previously on the phone by a WIND agent that porting of existing phone number will take less than 4 hours. At the store, I was told the porting process might take 24 to 48 hours even I bought my old phone bill so they could have the exact information need to do a smooth phone number porting.
- By the way, this may be a bit of a speculation but if Blockbuster was to go bankrupt as some in the business community were talking about, I don’t know how will WIND adjust and how quickly.
Overall comment & rating: I had expected more from WIND and was a bit disappointed.
3) Ongoing experiences
WIND was launched in Calgary over 3 months ago in mid-Dec 2009, so I thought all of the basic and key problems/issues should/would have been solved already. Unfortunately, there remain to be some key problems.
There were random static/noise during phone calls since day one. Looking at the bright side, the frequency of the static/noise seems to be dropping in the last few days, so I hope all the static will soon be gone completely. Good voice quality is so basic that it is disappointing to experience static/noise.
3b) Dropped Calls
Some local and long distance calls were dropped in the middle of a conversation. And these dropped calls have been very annoying and even more unacceptable than the static/noise.
3c) Unable to make calls
In two separate cases, once when driving and once when not moving, in both cases I were well-within the Calgary WIND covered area (i.e. not at the edge of the network), I was unable to make calls. In the case while I was driving, I kept redialling for 5 times within 3 minutes but got no connection even the screen said “WIND Home”.
3d) “Limited Service”
Well, it wasn’t nice when one night I saw my phone display turn from “WIND Home” to “Limited Service” out of the blue. Sure, it went back to “WIND Home” 5-10 minutes later, but that was a bad experience at 8:30pm.
3e) The unlimited calling
To end on something positive, it was nice to have unlimited anytime minutes and also unlimited Canada-wide calling with no long-distance charge for the $45 plan that I have.
Overall comment & rating: I’ve downwardly adjusted my expectations of WIND’s service quality. Yes, I am disappointed of the problems I’ve faced so far but I am willing to give WIND a little bit of time to work out its problems and improve.
Here is a telling question I can ask myself:
Would I rather have WIND resolved all its technical issues before launching in Calgary? My answer will be, “Absolutely NOT!” You see, I would rather endure some short term service problems that will/should improve in time, instead of being locked-up in another 3-year contract with any of the existing service providers.
Phone Interview with WIND’s CEO Ken Campbell
After WIND launched in Ottawa last Friday, Ken was very helpful and gave me a chance to interview him to talk about some of the serious problems I have experienced with WIND. I want to thank Ken again for his time and his candid answers.
On the day I signed up with WIND, I honestly felt and wanted to post the line,
“Free at last! Free at last! I am free from Bell at last!“
Sure, I wish WIND was perfect and I didn’t have any voice problems. But in the long run, I am very happy that I did not sign another contract and locked myself into another 3-year jail sentence with anyone.
Since WIND doesn’t use contract and penalties to lockup customers, it has to earn my business every month. And WIND has to show its customers that it is working hard to improve the services. Unless WIND improves its call qualities and its services quickly, it may not be able to keep its existing customers and recruit more customers.
If you are a WIND customer in Calgary or thinking of joining WIND in Calgary, please leave a comment to share your thoughts.
From The Economist, “The many voices of the web – The internet: New combinations of human and computer translation are making web pages available in foreign languages“. The following is an excerpt (emphasis added),
“This fantasy is still just that, but bits of it are starting to look plausible. Start with the translation part. Thanks to the internet, this is now a relatively flexible and cheap process. At the base of the translation hierarchy are free services offered by Google and others. Such services “learn” by analysing collections of documents that have been translated by humans, such as the records of the European Parliament, which are translated into 11 different languages. These collections are so big, and the machines that analyse them so powerful, that automatic translation (known in the jargon as “machine translation”) can usually convey the gist of a text, albeit it in a slightly garbled manner. Google and its rivals focus on widely spoken tongues, but academics are working on machine-translation services for more obscure languages.
An army of volunteer translators occupies the next level up in the hierarchy. Several prominent English-language publications, including this newspaper, are regularly translated into Mandarin by groups of unpaid volunteers for the benefit of other readers (see ecocn.org/bbs). More formal projects also exist. Read the rest of this entry »
CNN has an interesting story, “10 biggest dot.com flops“.
For the 10th anniversary of the Nasdaq’s all-time high, CNNMoney.com took a look at the biggest busts of the dot.com bubble.
Pets.com (1 of 10)
The Pets.com sock puppet has become synonymous with the dot.com bust.
The pet food and supplies company is perhaps the most recognized flop from the dot.com bubble because of its famous marketing campaign. Pets.com ran ads of a dog sock puppet interviewing people on the street. The mascot appeared in a Super Bowl commercial and even got its own balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1999.
Important lessons for our generation to learn to recognize what Dutch people learned from their over-exaggerated love of tulip.
P.S. At the time of the bubble, I bought some put options and made some money. I like to say if I had held the put options till their maturities, I could have used the capital gain to put a nice downpayment on a house or even bought a small house with cash. Of course, if I did, I might have thought that I was “very smart” and might have lost all my money in the years since. :)
Post-postscript – My little story: Before the bubble burst, someone approached me and want to buy the domain name ideasRevolution.com and I knew I could have sold the name for a few thousand dollars. But I had already put in lots of effort and care in creating the brand/Lovemark, so I didn’t sell out. And I am very glad that I still own ideasRevolution.com today and continue to build it as a brand/Lovemark.
P.P.P.S. I think the company that wasn’t able to buy my domain name eventually operated under ideas.com for a few years before it went out of business.
Very insightful piece from Mercury News, “MAGID ON TECH: Cisco’s big announcement with router” (emphasis added),
Linksys, a Cisco subsidiary, offers really good Internet and networking routers starting at under $50 for home or office use.
But companies that are in the business of distributing data within the Internet infrastructure and between Internet service providers across long distances need to spend a tad bit more for their routers.
How much more? How does $90,000 grab you?
That’s the starting price of the CRS-3, the router that Cisco announced with great fanfare on Tuesday. The device, available later this year, can deliver a whopping 322 terabits of data, which is 3 times the speed of the company’s existing CRS-1 router and 12 times faster than what the competition offers, Cisco CEO John Chambers said. [..]
Cisco made a big deal out of this announcement, claiming in advance that it would “forever change the Internet.” [...]
In retrospect, I wish I had stayed in bed. [...]
Still, I can’t help feel a little bit used by the company’s public relations people.
“Forever change the Internet” seems like a bit of hyperbole to me, and, trust me, I’ve heard plenty of hyperbole after three decades covering Silicon Valley companies.
My biggest problem with the Cisco news conference was trying to stay awake. After two cups of coffee and anticipating that I would learn about something incredible, I was inundated with technical terms that even I don’t understand.
As talented as Cisco CEO John Chambers may be, he is no match for the other master of overstatement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
As a proud member of the 225,000+ strong Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament Facebook group, it is nice to see group creator Mr. Christopher White going to Ottawa to speak at a roundtable about our democratic process.
The following is Chris’ publicly posted introduction and a version of his prepared text for the roundtable. While I may not agree with everything Chris is saying, I feel it is important enough to repost it here for further public discussion. If we are to make democracy in Canada working better again, we have to be able and ready to roll up our selves to start finding better ways to do things.
Message from Christopher White (click here for full discussion thread “ADMIN UPDATE: My opening statements for March 2nd Ottawa roundtable” in Facebook group)
As some of you know, I am in Ottawa this evening, ready to present at a Liberal sponsored roundtable tomorrow morning (March 2nd). I’ve consulted with many of you and put together these statements to reflect what I think needs to be done to reenage Canadians with our democratic process. I couldn’t include everything, but the morning session will provide ample opportunity to bring up some of the other issues (such as recall legislation, senate reform, etc).
I’ll be tweaking the text a bit, but it should give you the gist of it. Enjoy!
I want to start by thanking the moderators for the opportunity to speak today. Before you sits three distinguished professors of political science and law, between them over a centennial of service, and me – the guy who started a Facebook group.
While I joke about it, I know that my presence helps to legitimize the role that new media can play in our politics, to say nothing of the countless hours dedicated by thousands of Canadians across the country over the past two months and the results we’ve seen. I cannot speak for all of them but I can speak from my own conscience, which has served me well up to this point.
I want to talk broadly about the relationship between the government and the people. I’ll start by saying that we are not in a democratic crisis. What we have is a structural democratic deficit and, as with any deficit, we need to make some tough choices that aren’t going to be popular with everyone but will hopefully makes things better in the long run.
Ask any Canadian and the vast majority will say it’s their “duty” to vote and yet the reality is that over the past 25 years, voter turnout has been in declined. In my both homes of Alberta and the Northwest Territories – I’ve got duel citizenship – half of eligible voters didn’t bother to cast a ballot in the 2008 election. This cannot simply be chalked up to apathy and indifference, it’s our collective failure to address the growing disconnect between people and our government.
Our elected Members of Parliament are no longer seen as representing their constituents. They are seen as a separate class, Read the rest of this entry »
From Google “Think big with a gig“,
“Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York. Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes. Or collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture. Universal, ultra high-speed Internet access will make all this and more possible. [...]
We’re planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.”
Love this kind of experiment to push the boundary of possibilities and set higher expectations for customers thus forcing the broadband providers to up their services.And pushing city or state governments themselves and via their citizens to act. Neat.
More news about this from CBC.