iPhone apps: my most used list

I’ve been downloading quite a few iPhone applications since the launch of the app store… but I really don’t use most of them. Here is a short list of those I use on a regular basis and that I would highly recommend purchasing (if not available for free), in addition to the following built-in apps: SMS, Calendar, Photos, Camera, Maps, Clock, Stock, Weather, Calculator, Phone, Mail, Safari and iPod.

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Online communities panel in Ottawa tomorrow

OK, I know, this is some sort of self promotion, but anyway… I will be taking part in a panel about Online Communities during the Social Media Breakfast tomorrow morning here in Ottawa, ON, Canada. In preparation for it, I had a discussion with Simon Chen from Ramius Communications and he recorded this little video… so I had to post it on my blog as well 😉

For those who are attending, I will see you there tomorrow morning… and for those to also subscribe to my Graphics blog on CorelDRAW.com, sorry for the cross-posting 😉

“The Pirate’s Dilemma” by Matt Mason

One of the subjects for an upcoming blog post (when I can take the time to get it written) is piracy, with a focus on the one related to software and intellectual property in general. To help with the preparation of it, I’ve been documenting myself on the subject, and part of this research, I got myself a copy of “The Pirate’s Dilemma” book by Matt Mason, subtitled “how youth culture is reinventing capitalism”.

While this book does not cover specifically software piracy, it contains a lot of insightful information about the challenges traditional companies face and how they should embrace piracy vs. fighting it, including great insights in different ways of thinking.

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MobileMe: Not as bad as people say…

Since its launch on July 11, 2008, the “new” online service from Apple had a bumpy start and reviews have been negative overall… even Walt Mossberg says that “Apple’s MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable”. The problems that have plagued the service have not helped… and Apple also changed the tone of their messaging from “Exchange for the rest of us” to “The simple way to keep everything in sync”. But overall, the re-branding of .Mac and new web interface to the online service that Apple Inc charges $99 per year in the US (pricing does vary around the world, and I don’t think it will be lower) has all the base components that make it already worth for me, and that could become great with a few little “tweaks”.

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iPhone in Canada: The numbers take 2

As a follow-up to my previous post where I looked at the costing for data plans on Rogers in Canada for iPhone users, I needed to update the information based on the latest changes and limited time offers. For those who follow me on Twitter already know, I got myself the iPhone last Friday (that was fun). Just before the launch, Rogers announced a special time limited data plan at CA$ 30 for 6Gb of data per month, that could be added to any voice plan you wanted.

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iPhone in Canada: Looking into the numbers

There has been a lot of commenting, discussions and complains about the price plans that Rogers / Fido are offering for the 3G iPhone in Canada. The Ruined iPhone web site is an online petition for Rogers to revise their monthly pricing.

The one huge thing that is a potential show-stopper for me is the 3-year contract that you have to sign to be able to have an iPhone in Canada. I don’t know what will happen in 3 years time, but I am 100% certain that I won’t have the same phone (iPhone 4.0 should be out by then). I would not mind paying more more for the phone now so that I don’t need to get locked in for such a long period of time.

Digging further into the offering, I wanted to do the math behind cost for data usage, to get a better picture of what we are actually talking about… and the findings are quite interesting. All pricing below are in Canadian Dollars.

In a nutshell, if you expect to transfer more than 2.1Gb per month and don’t use the iPhone as a phone a lot (under 150 minutes per month), go with the $60 plan, it’s cheaper! If you transfer 5Gb per month, it will cost you $229.80, $234.30, $251.08 and $235.36 on the $60, $75, $100 and $115 plans respectively.

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Unfounded rumor: iPhone 2 will be unlocked

OK, we are about 3 weeks (my guesstimate) of knowing what will really happen with the iPhone 2, which is widely expected to be announced at the WWDC conference. Over the last few weeks, more and more mobile operators around the world have announced the upcoming availability of the cell phone from Apple on their network in many different countries (the iPhone blog has a good summary post). Looking as this list getting longer and longer almost every day, this can only mean one thing in my mind: the iPhone 2.0 will be unlocked.

Update (June 10, 2008): OK, my unfounded rumor was completely wrong… that must be why it was unfounded 😉

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Ashtrays on planes…

Anyone who has taken a plane in the last 10 years around the world had a nice little message telling you that you are not allowed to smoke on board. And for those traveling on a US airline will have had the extra little bonus about the federal offense and that you will get sentenced to death in case you tamper with the detection device.

On a recent plane from Asia back to Canada, on board of a very recent 777 that had a completely updated interior, I got this message again. So can someone tell me why there is actually an ashtray in the lavatory, especially if it is placed just below the big “No Smoking in Lavatory” sign:

I can understand an ashtray in very old planes (those that are over 10 years old and that didn’t go through a complete overhaul since). But on a very modern one, I have to say that this evades me completely! Perhaps they are expecting the regulation to change, just as this is becoming the case with cell phones and wireless devices for Internet access.

Update 10 March 2011: I finally got an answer from the team at the AirplaneGeeks Podcast – here is the link to the episode with the answer: http://www.airplanegeeks.com/2011/03/08/episode-138-the-radial-rocket/

Swiss Francs are not accepted as a currency at my Canadian Bank!

I had some Swiss Francs that I wanted to get exchanged and put on my Canadian bank account today. So I happily go to my branch here in Ottawa with my foreign money, wait kindly in line and when comes my turn, ask if they could put this on my bank account, expecting to get charged a ridiculous amount for transaction fees, and potentially even requiring them to send it to a central place to process the currency exchange. Well, it’s even more fun than that: They simply won’t take it!

It really sounded like the currency from Switzerland was the equal of the one from a third-world country where the exchange rate changes by the minute due to civil war… so when I asked what currencies are actually accepted by my bank, the answer was simply US Dollars and British Pounds (at least one European currency, thanks to the Queen). Yes, you’ve read correctly, my bank in Canada isn’t even willing to exchange Euros.

And for those who ask, I am banking with one of the biggest ones in Canada who charge a fortune for a normal account per month, not a small unknown internet bank. I was already convinced that the banking system in this country is completely outdated, but this was just the little extra that confirmed everything. The only solution for me is to go to a currency exchange place downtown (yes, where the tourists go) and then take the Canadian Dollars to bring them to my branch! Not impressed…

Having fun with air… and being really happy with it

MacBook AirIve been thinking about a sub-notebook for quite a while. The one I was looking at last summer was the Toshiba Portégé R500, a great little device (at least according to the specs) with a long battery life and an option to get an SSD hard drive for snappy reaction times and no moving parts. The reason for my interest for a sub-notebook is that when I travel, I always carry around my work laptop, which is a Lenovo T61, a 15.4” wide-screen device with a battery life of about 3 hours (I do have the extended battery), and that I also carry my private computer for my photos, my music and my own stuff.

When Apple announced the MacBook Air, I looked at it with an intrigued eye, but didn’t place the order immediately (I know, really amazing) as I was still quite happy with my original 15” MacBook Pro (the Core Duo version). But then, walking into an Apple Store in Montréal, I saw the Air and by the time I left the mall, I had one of the SSD based model in a small bag specifically designed for it, looking forward to experience it fully during a three weeks trip to Australia and Taiwan. In Summary: I love it!

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