Jul 12

The internet…

is not a series of tubes, nor a dump truck.

Jul 10

Who should pays the cost of cell phone radios?

Based on  this Wired article detailing the loveless marriage of AT&T and Apple, and particularly the challenges of designing phones for the two dominant cell phone systems (Sprint/Verizon and AT&T/T-Mobile) in the United States, and can’t help but wonder if there is a better way.

nokia phone

Indeed, Jobs actively considered splitting with AT&T early in the partnership. Just months after the iPhone launched, and not long after Rinne asked Apple to limit YouTube usage, Jobs was investigating another possible solution: dropping AT&T and striking a deal with Verizon. But because Verizon’s network ran on a different transmission technology, making the move would require an entirely new chipset. So around the end of 2007, when the iPhone was only a few months old, Jobs asked a team of executives and engineers to look into it.


The group ” which included iPhone software boss Scott Forstall ” took the job seriously, even visiting the San Diego headquarters of Qualcomm, the company that supplies the chips for Verizon phones. But in the end, switching to Verizon would have been just too complicated and expensive. The new chips were a different size, which would require Apple basically to rebuild the iPhone from scratch. Meanwhile, changing carriers could mean voiding AT&T’s exclusivity agreement and inviting a nasty lawsuit. And it wasn’t clear that Verizon would be an improvement; at the time, it wasn’t any better equipped than AT&T to deal with the iPhone’s bandwidth demands.

I’m thinking about all those iPod Touch(es) out there who lack a data connection beyond WiFi, and the soon-to-be-released Samsung Android PMP.  I’m also thinking of the various flavors of cell phone networks (via Wikipedia):

There are a number of different digital cellular technologies, including:  Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM),  General Packet Radio Service (GPRS),  Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA),  Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO),  Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution(EDGE),  3GSM,  Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT),  Digital AMPS (IS-136/TDMA), and  Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN).

Why not design phones in a way that makes the appropriate party pay for development and production of the radio (as well as optimizing the design) which adds  freedom and choice for the end-user, and makes it possible to pick-up new subscribers?  What if there was a radio-chip-on-a-card, specific to each carrier, that could be purchased and slid into those devices if the owner wanted to add a data plan?  This would keep down the cost of the non-phone units and provide an opportunity to add services, revenue, and profits.*  This would also let manufacturers focus on phone design, carriers focus on service and quality, and take carriers out of the subsidized handset business.

*Yes, I know non-integrated radios would present challenges regarding signal strength and power consumption and eventually network performance.  It already is less than optimal – how much worse could it be?

Feb 10

Daily Links for February 7th through February 28th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

Jan 10

Daily Links for January 12th through January 15th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

Jan 10

Daily Links for December 28th through January 2nd

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • Op-Ed Contributor – It’s Always the End of the World as We Know It – NYTimes.com – KNOWING our computers is difficult enough. Harder still is to know ourselves, including our inner demons. From today’s perspective, the Y2K fiasco seems to be less about technology than about a morbid fascination with end-of-the-world scenarios. This ought to strike us as strange. The cold war was fading in 1999, we were witnessing a worldwide growth in wealth and standards of living, and Islamic terrorism was not yet seen as a serious global threat. It should have been a year of golden weather, a time for the human race to relax and look toward a brighter, more peaceful future. Instead, with computers as a flimsy pretext, many seemed to take pleasure in frightening themselves to death over a coming calamity.
  • 101 New Uses for Everyday Things | Real Simple
  • Imprisoned, Attacked & Dead Bloggers Increases Worldwide in 2009 – According to a report released today [PDF] by Reporters Sans Frontières, the number of bloggers around the world arrested because of their online work jumped from 59 to 151 between 2008 and 2009, an increase of 155%. Additionally, one blogger died in prison and 61 were physically assaulted. The most infamous cases perhaps occurred during the violent unrest in Iran following Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection. But RSF said the number of overall arrests and attacks can actually be traced to crackdowns in at least 10 countries.
  • How Are We Going To Say “2010″? A Website Comes Just In The Nick Of Time. – TwentyNot2000.com has one purpose: To break your habit of saying “two-thousand-and-SO-AND-SO” before the new decade begins tomorrow at midnight. Why do they care? Because it takes more time to say “two thousand and ten” rather than just “twenty ten.” Also considered wrong by the site are “two thousand ten” (no “and”) and “two oh ten.”
  • Twitter’s List Of 370 Banned Passwords – TechCrunch and a few other people noticed this list of 370 passwords that Twitter bans its members from using when they sign up for new accounts. They range from the obvious — "password," "twitter," etc. — to the obscene and bizarre.