iPhone in Canada: Looking into the numbers

Monday, June 30th, 2008

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.

(more…)

Unfounded rumor: iPhone 2 will be unlocked

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

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 ;-)

(more…)

After DRM: Remove borders for content sales

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

2007 has seen a major shift related to digital music sales. Yes, it was possible to purchase DRM-free songs from various sites such as eMusic, but the big majors were noticably away from it. Then, Apple and EMI got to their senses and started offering music in high-quality without any digital rights management associated to them. The good news is: it doesn’t seem to affect sales in a negative way as the other majors are starting to embrace un-protected digital music sales over the Internet.

The two next steps are for other types of contents to be available DRM-free (TV shows, movies, audio-books, eBooks, …) and for the removal of country borders for digital sales and subscriptions… DVDs and Blu-Rays / HD-DVDs are region-encoded, but even more annoyingly, you cannot buy DRM-free music legally from Amazon.com and you cannot watch shows on hulu.com if you are outside the United States of America!

Why not make the digital content sold online available simultaneously world-wide… record companies and movie studios should consider this as another “virtual” country around the world, just like other physical countries / geographies. I would love to see the reaction of the press and blogosphere if there was a killer content available everywhere but in the US.

It’s not that I don’t want to pay for my content, it’s just that I can’t do it legally from where I live… I believe that this is really wrong.

PS: When is the iPhone coming out in Canada? ;)

GTDwRTM anyone?

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Remember The Milk logoIncreasing productivity certainly seems to be one of the biggest challenges of the decade as the available time is set (only 26 hours a day and 7 days in a week) and the things to do increase on a regular basis. One of the most popular methodologies, especially around high-tech geeks around the world, to increase productivity and to deliver on commitments is called “Getting Things Done” and has been defined by David Allen in his book with the same name. Wikipedia and 43 Folders have very detailed entries about GTD, abbreviation under which this is known by its followers.

To help implementing the GTD methodology, many software and online implementations that have been specifically developed. One of the software I used initially is called ThinkingRock, a Java based software that works on Mac OS, Windows and Linux, and applies GTD to the letter. Many more are available and there are even sites that index all the GTD applications available. While the data file saved from ThinkingRock works on all platforms, I ended-up carrying a USB stick with me at all time when going from my home computer to the one I have at work. I also wasn’t able to quickly add something to my inbox when on the go or check my lists while away from my computer(s).

I therefore decided to move to an online solution, and the one I selected is called “Remember The Milk“. While not specifically designed to implement the GTD methodology, its approach at managing lists and its support for off-line, keyboard shortcuts, notifications and mobile access, including an iPhone compatible version, ended up making this my solution of choice that is both fun to use and easy to maintain up-to-date.

(more…)

Thoughts from an unhacked iPhone user in Canada

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Apple iPhoneFor someone who had a whole theory about why he wouldn’t buy one, I am very surprised how long I lasted before getting my iPhone. Yes, I finally have one and it is, all in all, and amazing combination of technology and user experience design.

Living about one hour north of the US border, I drove down to a small town in upstate New York last weekend to get my iPhone and activated it as a pay-as-you-go cell phone from a Starbucks (you know, the other Apple partner when it comes to this device) and updated it to the 1.1.1 firmware. As soon as I crossed the border back, I took the SIM card out so that the battery would not drain to quickly, especially as AT&T dosen’t offer international roaming on their GoPhone plans. Oh yes, Apple, I know I removed the SIM card… no need to remind me about that on a regular basis with a modal dialog box.

(more…)

Apple to announce iPhone apps SDK at WWDC

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Time to get a new completely unfounded rumor out of thin air: Apple is expected to announce the first four third-party applications as well as the SDK for the iPhone at the upcoming World Wide Developer Conference in San Fransisco, California. All these applications will not only be available for iPhone users, but will also be compatible with the iPod touch. And to make it the best user experience, all these applications will be available directly from the iTunes store for as little as $9.99. For the third-party developers: think about the game consoles model.
(more…)

Google Reader and the missing search field…

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

For the last few years, I’ve used Newsfire as my RSS client of choice. Simple, clean and very well designed, it is a great piece of software. I did try a few other alternatives such as Vienna or the RSS reader integrated in the beta version of Yahoo Mail, but none where enabling me to go through all these news feeds as quickly and efficiently as Newsfire. The other software versions of the RSS reader weren’t as elegant and simple as the tool I used, and other online solutions where lacking off-line and keyboard shortcuts to get through the feeds quickly. A few weeks ago, I decided to give Google Reader a try, now that there is an off-line more as well as keyboard shortcuts, I’ve made the switch. The only question to Google: I thought you where a search company… so where is the search field?


(more…)

Living in Ontario, Canada – Part 1

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

Or should I be more specific… living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – Part 1. I’ve crossed the Atlantic in November of 2006, just in time for winter, which I survived, and am now enjoying my first Canadian summer. To summarize this blog post, I really like living in the capital of this huge country. People are really nice, and many of them speak a language that reminds me of French, hidden behind an accent and some strange ways of saying things, that is for someone who grew-up on the other side of the Atlantic. As for when living in the UK before coming to this side of the world, there are things that come as a surprise to me, some constructive comments and other random thoughts not really worth mentioning. In no particular order, I’ll be covering the milk distribution, the temperature during winter, batteries recycling, the Canadian-French language, buying geek toys, hockey and weather news on USA channels.


(more…)

A new toy: the Sony Mylo

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007


I’ve been using a WiFi Skype phone for a while. While the form facor was great, the sound quality wasn’t perfect and I was missing the chat capability, which is one of my main usages of Skype. As the industry specialized in toys for geeks cannot stand still for very long, I knew it wouldn’t have to wait for an extended period until a replacement device would come out… I just didn’t expect it to be from Sony.

I got myself a Mylo about two weeks ago. It’s a wired little piece of WiFi electronics that is targeted at the IM generation. The Sony Mylo is a device that is just slightly larger and thicker than an average modern cell phone, with a color screen, an 802.11b network connection and a sliding keyboard made for one thing: communicating through instant messaging and VoIP.

Technorati Tags: , , ,


(more…)

What is it with receipts from taxi drivers in Miami?

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Early this week, I went on a business trip to Miami, Florida and four out of five taxi drivers, when I asked them for a receipt, handed me a paper without writing anything down! I would have been able, at wish, to write down anything I wanted on these receipts and claim the money back… With one little problem: they would all have had my handwriting. Every time I asked the driver to fill the paper out, he looked annoyed, as if these 10 seconds could have been used driving a customer and making money for them.

Then again, after you’ve experienced them driving through the city, it might be just that… The red light is the enemy as it doesn’t make the $ counter go up. Two choices: accelerate and go through even if it is a dark orange or accelerate as fast as possible as soon as it’s about to get green to catch-up the lost time. The biggest problem with these two options is when you have more than one taxi at an intersection… :-)

number of emails per hour = the new productivity measure?

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

In a modern business environment, email is everywhere. When using Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange / Outlook solutions, it is even the underlying technology for collaborative scheduling, tasks management and notes taking! And with emails being the “killer-app” for the mobile communication, from Blackberry to Palm Treo devices… it sometimes feel like your number one “productivity application” is your email client, with the word processor becoming the underlying technology for writing electronic documents sent over the Internet. Could this mean that the number of emails per hours (eMpH) one is able to process is the new way to measure productivity?

Technorati Tags: ,


(more…)

Why is Blu-Ray going to fail?

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

The reason is simple: I got a Blu-Ray and not an HD-DVD player, and I always have the impression that the technology I go for will be the one that won’t be the standard a few years later… but right now, all indications are going into the other way. While HD-DVD had an initial “first-to-market” advantage, Sony’s decision to include a Blu-Ray player in the Playstation 3 has dramatically shifted the game and enabled this format to overtake the former within a few weeks.

As for any new technology introduced, being the choice of the early adopters and the market leader while adoption hasn’t reached the mainstream users is in no way a guarantee for success. Offering the best or most advanced feature set is also a no indication of becoming the long term leader. We’ve seen this over and over again, from Apple Macintosh to the Palm. Being backed by Microsoft can help in the long term, but the iPod / iTunes offering is (so far) a proof of the opposite.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


(more…)