Michelle Feynman’s visit to Tuva – BBC broadcast: Bombs, Stamps and Throat Singers

Monday, 21 December, 2009

Michelle Feynman fulfill’s his father Richard Feynman‘s dream to visit Tuva. Check out the lovely photos and radio program.

BBC broadcast: Bombs, Stamps and Throat Singers (Aug 14, 2009) More details here.

[via Feynman.com]


Globalive Chairman Tony Lacavera phone interview (after government overturned CRTC decision)

Sunday, 13 December, 2009

Anthony (Tony) Lacavera, Chairman of Globalive I appreciate very much Globalive chairman Tony Lacavera taking time today (a Sunday) to have an interview with me to talk about Globalive/WIND Mobile‘s plans after the government of Canada overturning the CRTC decision 2009-678 (PDF).

As a current Bell Mobility customer, I am excited to see a new wireless provider coming to the oligopolistic Canadian marketplace. The following are some highlights of my interview with Tony (mp3 download).

WIND Mobile‘s plan to sign up new customers before Christmas and new year

WIND Mobile stores will open this week and Tony confirmed that WIND will roll out its wireless service as soon as possible and most likely before Christmas. I tried but was unable to get Tony to say the launch will be this week. Tony sees WIND has one chance to demonstrate to Canadians that it is a serious 4th national wireless provider competing with the likes of Bell, Telus, and Rogers. So he wants to launch when everything is ready. (Dec 15th update: BlackBerry Bold 9700Dec 14th update: According to WIND’s latest press release, at 10:30am on Dec 16th, Tony and Ken Campbell, CEO of WIND will be unveiling the WIND Mobile store, and “the full line-up of products and services.   The WIND network is currently live and fully operational with beta customers actively using the service and providing feedback.“)

Phones, Apple iPhones, and Google Phones

WIND will have a few different phones available at launch and hope to expand on the choices available to include more offers. At launch, iPhones will not be available but will be available in the near future as WIND network can technically support the phones. As to the Google Phones, Tony also assured me the WIND network can support it when the phones are available. (Dec 14 Update: Some pricing & devices rumours from MobileSyrup, “Are these the Wind Mobile price plans?” and “The week the WIND came rushing in…“. We will know for sure on Dec 16th.)

Last Friday on BNN, Tony said WIND Mobile has a target of 4-6 million subscribers in 5 years. I asked about their expected number of new customers vs customers that switch?

Tony explained that it will be difficult to estimate as different cities have different number of providers and level of competitions. For example, in Toronto, there are 7 brands/sub-brands operating and that is different from other smaller cities.

(Dec 14 update: BMO Nesbitt Burns telecom analyst Peter Rhamey estimates, “three dominant players – BCE (BCE-T), Telus (T-T) and Rogers Communcations (RCI-T) – stand to see a 5 to 10 per cent decline in subscriber additions next year … along with a price war, will erode earnings per share by 2.5 per cent at BCE and 5 per cent at Telus and Rogers“)

* Comment re “foreign control limits”

In a blog post “Government Overturns CRTC Giving Globalive The Go-Ahead” by University of Ottawa’s Professor Michael Geist, he picked two specific paragraphs in the government of Canada’s “Order-in-Council” (PDF) and his reading and analysis is this (emphasis added),

These paragraphs signal the prioritization of enhanced competition in the marketplace.  With support for foreign investment, the removal of foreign control limits may not be far behind.

Tony reiterated the importance of the foreign control limits and Globalive is a Canadian company as he had said to other media outlets. You can listen to his answer in the audio interview.

* Telus’ Twitter comment

I asked for Tony’s comment to the following tweet by Michael Hennessy, Senior VP, Regulatory and Government Affairs, Telus

If Wind is canadian then so was King Tut […]

and my light-hearted reply to Michael,

Merry Christmas Michael. My Christmas comes early today! […]

I will let you hear what Tony said in response to the above tweets in the audio interview. :)

* Few other questions & answers

Tony also indicated that WIND Mobile is a startup company, the network is brand new, and stated that “there is no question that we are going to make mistakes and it is not going to be perfect.” But Tony emphasized their main differences with the incumbents likes of Bell/Telus/Rogers is that WIND Mobile is going to keep listening to customers, “We need feedback on WINDMobile.ca … so we can constantly improve the offering”.

I’ve asked a few other questions which you can listen to the Q&As in my interview with Tony (mp3 download) or streaming audio here.

*******

Only time will tell if WIND Mobile can deliver on their promises. The first things we will see are the pricing and service plans. And then the customers will have a chance to give their feedback on the call qualities and internet surfing experiences, etc. Later, we will see if Canadians will get new phone offerings like the iPhones and Androids “soon” as promised. I hope WIND will keep its promises and truly listen to its customers’ feedback and suggestions.

Read the rest of this entry »


Carol Shields and The Stone Diaries: Insights from New York Public Library

Sunday, 6 December, 2009

An examiner.com article, “Carol Shields and The Stone Diaries: Insights from New York Public Library“.

Carol Shields and The Stone Diaries: Insights from New York Public Library


A Less Open Internet?

Tuesday, 24 November, 2009

Just listened to an insightful podcast segment “A Less Open Internet?” on The Brian Lehrer Show. From the show (emphasis and links added),

Two news stories today may mean that the internet is getting a little less openJulia Angwin wrote in the Wall St. Journal today about how the number of volunteer editors on Wikipedia has dropped precipitously over the past year. Then, Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.com discusses reports that Rupert Murdoch is in negotiations with Microsoft to provide content exclusively to Bing, and not Google.”


Malalai Joya – A Woman Among Warlords (CBC interview)

Thursday, 19 November, 2009

Have a listen to CBC The Current interview with Malalai Joya. I may not agree with each of Malalai’s suggestions but what she saw and experienced in Afghanistan is scary and we need to know.

Here are some info from The Current (emphasis added).

“Malalai Joya

Hamid Karzai was sworn in for another term as Afghanistan’s President this morning. This against the backdrop of explosive news here in Canada that in 2006 and 2007, senior government officials including the prime minister’s office and the defense ministry were told Afghan detainees taken by Canadian troops and handed to Afghan officials were subject to beatings and electric shocks.

This morning as Ottawa reels from news that could affect Canadian politics and it’s place in international law… a lone Afghan woman is making her way across to Canada arguing that our troops and all foreign forces should get out.

Malalai Joya was 27-years-old when she became the youngest person elected to the new Afghan Parliament. She’s now suspended from Parliament for criticizing other MPs and accusing many of being warlords and criminals. She calls Afghanistan’s democracy a farce and says her country’s liberation is a lie. She has written a book called A Woman Among Warlords. Malalai Joya was in Toronto.”


TVO: Uncle Spam Wants You!

Tuesday, 17 November, 2009

Audio show in mp3 repost from TVO Search Engine,

American military recruiters have moved online, using web quizzes, Xbox shooters and sophisticated data mining to woo young recruits. Post your comments on the Search Engine blog: http://www.tvo.org/searchengine


More Alice on Warren Buffett

Wednesday, 11 November, 2009

For the launch of the paperback of “The Snowball”, Alice Schroeder has done this interview (audio, mp3 file) at The Wall Street Shuffle about Warren Buffett and talking about the financial industry. Good interviewer, very insightful stuff. (note: I am looking forward to Alice’s next book about Morgan Stanley and others.)

Here are a few more recent blog entries,

  1. Alice Schroeder @ Motley Fool: Buffett’s Biggest Weakness
  2. Warren Buffett and the Crisis: ‘Brilliant Moves Interspersed with Some Surprising Errors’

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