A Life Untold

Ranting while I’m Raving; Technology News and Views

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Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

Facebook Ignorance

Posted by titusferguson on February 27, 2008

As many of you may have noticed. I’m slowly transitioning this blog from the hosted wordpress.com to my own domain over at http://www.titusferguson.com

There is a new post over there from earlier today on Facebook Ignorance. I’d urge everyone to head over there to read it!

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Posted in facebook, internet, technology | Leave a Comment »

Confusing Canadian Copyright Law

Posted by titusferguson on February 25, 2008

New post over at titusferguson.com on the copyright law in Canada.

Posted in internet, technology | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Easy Text to Voice Memos With Jott

Posted by titusferguson on February 15, 2008

I’ve recently discovered a new service that I’m totally amazed by. Jott. It allows you to dial into a number on your phone, tell it who you want to send a message to and the dictate for thirty seconds. Within a few minutes it has sent a text and audio version of your message to wherever you told it to.

ServicesNot only can you send Jotts to email addresses, you can also Jott a whole slew of web 2.0 sites. Twitter, WordPress, Google Calenda etc..
I was curious to how this service works so I checked out their FAQs. I found that they use a combination of machine and human transcription. They do promise though that their transcribers work in a “clean” environment, similar to medical transcriptionists and that our information is protected.

Until recently their Canadian number was based in Toronto which required a long distance call for much of the country. Earlier this week they released a whole lot of local numbers for clear across Canada.

I’ve been in contact with the CEO, John Pollard, and hopefully I’ll have an interview with him soon!

Posted in internet, Jott, technology | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Unlimited Data Plan in Canada

Posted by titusferguson on February 12, 2008

This is a bit of a summary of the current state of data plans in Canada. Occaisionally I see people getting excited about unlimited data plans. I hope this post will put to rest some of the confusion.

Many sites like Apple Insider is reporting , IntoMobile and TalkiPhone are reporting that Rogers Canada has announced an unlimited data plan in Canada; the $20 a month Communication pack, they seem to think that this removed a barrier to releasing the iPhone in Canada. But lets take a closer look at what this plan offers and if that is even the case.

Rogers in fact has two “unlimited data” plans; the $20 Communicate Value Pack, and the $7 Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan They are basically the same plan, for $13 dollars more though you get text and video messages, voicemail and call display.

What does Rogers mean by unlimited mobile browsing though.? If you read the fine print you’ll see this: “Important: This plan includes unlimited on-device mobile browsing only. Plan is available on select phones only (PDAs such as Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices, PC cards and non-Rogers certified devices are not eligible). Data usage incurred on ineligible devices, incurred while tethering (using device as wireless modem for laptop) or incurred using non-Rogers (3rd party) applications downloaded to your device will be subject to pay-per-use charges of 5 cents/KB.”

What does that mean? It means that if you use a non-rogers browser (like safari) you pay the per-use rate. It also means that all you have is unlimited WAP data. Translation: crappy web browsing, not what the iPhone was intended for.

It’s interesting that Rogers goes out of their way to put this disclaimer in: “3rd party applications are applications like Yahoo! Go or Google Maps. These are non-Rogers applications which can be downloaded to the device and incur data charges at a rate of 5¢/KB.”

So what does this mean for the iPhone. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You do not get any added features on your hacked iPhone in Canada if you add this plan. In case you didn’t get that. This announcement does not mean that we will be getting the iPhone anytime soon. We Are No Closer to Getting the iPhone in Canada.

Shame on Rogers for continuing to screw their customers over. I hope that people read all the fine print closely before getting excited and adding this feature. I’m worried that when next months bill comes some people are going to be in for a shock.

Finally, I wish that American sites, like Apple Insider, who have no understanding of the issues would stop reporting on “developments” like this. Its getting annoying, please stop. Sites like ArsTechnica have understood that “unlimted” doesn’t mean unlimited, and I thank them for that.

Posted in apple, internet, iPhone, news, wireless | 3 Comments »

Working from Anywhere: The U.W.O. Addition

Posted by titusferguson on February 11, 2008

So the benefit of the new media, internet based applications, and doing business online, is the ability to work from anywhere you have a wi-fi connection. This is also true regarding students at universities. With last minute papers always been finished off and assignments due within minutes, its imperative that we be able to work anywhere on campus.

Unfortunately around this time of year that becomes increasingly difficult.

The University of Western Ontario (U.W.O) has done a great job providing wireless internet access to its students in pretty much all the major areas on campus, as this map shows. What the school is missing is adequate seating and desks.

Unless you arrive on campus early enough, say before 9 am, (early for students), you will proabably spend between 10 to 20 minutes looking for a seat anywhere. The library is always full, the cafeteria is packed from 1o am to 4 pm. The University Community Centre (UCC) has almost no good seating arrangements and other buildings on campus have almost no extra seating outside of class rooms.

Thankfull the university seems to realise this and the new athletic center will free up space in the UCC. I just hope they can maximize the space and not waste it will ill-designed kiosks. (third – fifth floors of the library for example)

I would have liked to included pictures in this posts, but I forgot my camera and walking around taking pictures with an iSight did not seem to be a good idea.

Posted in internet, school | 4 Comments »

Yahoo to Reject Microsofts Buyout Bid

Posted by titusferguson on February 9, 2008

The page you are looking for is not here. Try:


www.titusferguson.com

If you are not redirected automatically within a few
seconds then please click on the link above.

I don’t usually blog on the weekend. I like to have a few days off appreciate the internet without having to think of a blog worthy opinion on the news. But this recent article is bringing me out of that.

Yahoo board set to rebuff Microsoft bid: report

The most interesting of their reasons? “Yahoo Inc’s board believes Microsoft Corp’s unsolicited bid of $44.6 billion to acquire Yahoo “massively undervalues” the company” Yahoo is unlikely to take any offer under $40 per share. That would place their perceived value at over $143 billion dollars.

I think what Yahoo wants is to set the price so high so as to scare any prospective buyers away. The huge outcry on the internet when Microsoft made their offer proved that people don’t want this deal to happen. Yahoo wants to keep potential customers happy, obviously. If they do they can continue to make money without Microsoft’s help.

Interestingly, Yahoo doesn’t rule out a partnership with Google. “Yahoo has considered an alternate tie-up with Web search leader Google Inc to maintain its independence

Posted in ideas, internet, microsoft, news, technology, yahoo | Leave a Comment »

London Podcast and Blogger Meetup

Posted by titusferguson on February 6, 2008

Tonight is the monthly London podcast and blogger meetup at Molly Blooms. Its held on the first Wednesday of every month and gives Londoners the chance to talk about all aspects of new media. The attendees come from a variety of backgrounds; programming, podcasting, blogging etc. Molly Blooms has free wi-fi and they don’t seem to mind us hanging around for several hours. I’d encourage anyone in the area to make a stop by tonight, I’m sure you’ll have a good time!

Time: 7:30 pm
Place: Molly Blooms (map)
More info : BlogLdn, Facebook

Posted in ideas, internet, technology, wi-fi | Leave a Comment »

Apple Announcements

Posted by titusferguson on February 5, 2008

So today two new items appeared on the online Apple store, the typical way Apple announces things.  A 32 GB iPod touch and a 16 GB iPhone. The iPod touch is now $519 CAD which compared to the USD price of $499 is not really all the bad. The iPhone is $499 USD.

This is a pretty cool announcement. When I bought my latest iPod I decided not to get a touch because of it smaller size I decided against it. I’m sure Apple will see an increase in sales as a result.

I’ve delayed getting an iPhone here in Canada because of the costs and lack of full features due to the high data costs. But if the cost of the phone would drop even further, I might considered getting a hacked phone.

Posted in apple, internet, iPhone, iPod, technology | Leave a Comment »

I Was Screwed Over by iTunes

Posted by titusferguson on February 4, 2008

I am a big fan of the iTunes music store. I purchase a lot of my music there, individual songs and full albums. I’m willing to live with the lesser quality and high DRM for the convenience of desktop music purchasing. Up until now I have had no problems, that all changed last week.

Over a year ago I purchased a song, it never ended up on my computer and I totally forgot about it for quite some time. Last week I was browsing through my purchase history and saw this song. Since I did not have a copy of it on my system I emailed the service desk to ask the song be added to my download queue so I could download it again.

This is what I got back:

Thank you for purchasing music from the iTunes Store. I apologize, but I am unable to place this item back in your download queue.

We encourage you to back up your hard disk regularly. If a song needs to be replaced, you can restore your music and other data from the backup and avoid the need to purchase replacement copies of your collection of songs.

Well that didn’t really solve the problem. So I email them back telling them that this was unacceptable. Since I had purchased the song I wanted a copy of it. I thought I had purchased the rights to the song not just one copy and therefore saw no problem with a new copy. And because of their DRM, it would be almost impossible for me to violate the copyright law.

Another reply:

“I’m afraid that there may be some confusion. When you purchase a file from the iTunes Store, you are purchasing a specific copy. This is like purchasing a CD. When you do so, you own that particular CD rather than all copies of the album.

While I can appreciate your frustration, a new copy will not be provided. I understand that you have seen a new or modified version of the file on the iTunes Store. You are welcome to purchase this item but the payment for a previous copy of the item cannot be applied toward the purchase.”

I was shocked to say the least, I was not aware at all that I only had rights to one copy. Their ridiculous false analogy about CD sales aside, there seemed to be nothing I could do. Checking the user agreement though reveals this gem “Once a Product is purchased or rented (as applicable) and you receive the Product, it is your responsibility not to lose, destroy, or damage the Product, and Apple shall be without liability to you in the event of any loss, destruction, or damage”

I knew that there was strict DRM on all Apple media purchases I didn’t know that it went this far though. But what do I do now? Amazon’s music store is not available in Canada yet and eMusic only has a limited stock, most of it independent labels. It looks like I’m either back to brick and mortar or I resign my self to poor service and high DRM.

Another issue though. As far as I was aware when I purchase a CD, at least in Canada, I own any copies of that album. I can rip it to my computer and I own the mp3s. I can burn another audio copy and I own that. I know this is not what the RIAA in the U.S. wants but as long as Digital Millennium Copyright Act style laws stay out of Canada I can still do that here.

More then ever now I’ll be supporting Michael Giest on his crusade to protect Canadian consumers from unfair copyright laws. I’d urge everyone else to do the same.

Posted in apple, copyright, internet, technology | 2 Comments »

Audible, Apple, and Amazon

Posted by titusferguson on February 1, 2008

It was announced yesterday that Amazon is going to acquire Audible.com for $300 million.

I wonder how this will effect the relationship between Audible and iTunes. They have always had a strong relationship,  and Audible purchases are synced seamlessly into iTunes and onto iPods.

Since Apple and Amazon are competitors in the music market, I don’t see how they will want to cooperate the spoken book market. TUAW thinks that there must have been provisions made for Apple in the deal. I’m not so sure Amazon would want to do that. I think that Amazon wants to move into the web based  music store market. Now they have DRM free, cheaper-than-iTunes, music, as well as audiobooks, they could really threaten Apple’s dominance. Their plan might be to cut off Apple’s access to all their audiobook subscribers and force them into their service.

Posted in apple, internet, iPod, iTunes, news, software, technology | 1 Comment »