Archive for March, 2011

The stalker in your pocket

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Sometimes it’s easy to wonder what all the privacy advocates are screaming and yelling about all the time. While I agree with much of what they say, I find it hard to explain why privacy is important to Joe-not-a-geek. Enter the power of visualization:

Tell-All Telephone

This is from an interactive feature at Zeit Online []. Very cool. They took data collected by a mobile operator about a specific person and linked it with data taken from his public internet sites (such as twitter) to create scary — very cool, but scary — timeline of his activities. Now what’s missing is who he called and messaged, that data was not released but you can bet the mobile operator has it.

Now imagine this, in real-time, for every one on every mobile operator running on a big screen in a secret room somewhere. The technology exists. Imagine the CIA tracking ‘suspected terrorists’. Imagine being on that list. Imagine Bin Ali’s, Mubarak’s or Gaddafi’s secret police using this to anticipate protests and sending in the thugs before the protest even begins.

Why cloud backup for your mobile will not be provided by your operator

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

This article [] and several others making the rounds in the past few days point to Microsoft re-branding the cloud backup service it included with its’ short lived Kin line of mobiles. The cloud backup – Kin Studio – was the coolest feature of the Kin phones, maybe not the most sexy but the most useful. Now it looks like Microsoft may add it to Windows Phone 7 handsets – if they combine it with the Windows Live service, providing 25GB of free cloud storage connected to the users Hotmail/Windows Live and Office Live accounts then they may have a compelling offer.

Of course Microsoft is not the only mover, Apple has long had its’ MobileMe service which has significant overlap. To date this product has only attracted hardcore Apple fan-boys, but for over a year now there has been a rumor that Apple will drop the subscription fee and include as a free service for all iOS devices (more recently there has been a rumor that Apple will drop the subscription fee to $20 a year, I think maybe it will be free for 1 year with your iOS device and then $20 a year unless you buy a new iOS device). Link this to the rumored iTunes media cloud service that will run out of the billion dollar datacenter Apple has built in North Carolina. Again this could be a very useful service providing automated backup and streaming of all of your media (movies, photos, music, contacts, messages) from the cloud.

Google wouldn’t have to move very far to offer the same sort of service with Android.

In my time in the telco industry I’ve seen several projects at mobile operators around the world try to provide this type of data backup service. Unfortunately I’m not aware of any that actually succeeded. They died for many reasons —customers not willing to pay for the service, limited features, crippled features, lack of marketing, lack of handset support…

All in all I think the data-backup-as-a-service boat has already set sail and the telcos will be left behind due to their own dithering on how to make money on the offering. The same thing that happened to them with Location Based Services —they could not figure out how to make money on it so they never launched it, the phone makers opened the on-device location services (initially mandated for emergency number calling) to application developers and they figured out how to make money from it. So the telcos are left with LBS systems that cost them money but generate no revenue and don’t provide any value even in generating ‘customer stickiness’.

C’est la vie. Real consumer service innovation in the mobile market continues to move away from the telcos and towards the internet. It’s one more step on the road to mobile dumb pipe networks.

Secular Socialist Islamism

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Could somebody slap Newt with a limp herring?

“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

Jonathan Chait in Gingrich Reductio Ad Absurdum on The New Republic []

Huh? I mean; What. The. Fuck?

Fuck you Sony

Monday, March 28th, 2011
Fuck You Sony

As usual, the cluster fuck that is content licensing [], means all kinds of suck for consumers. Fuck you Sony. It’s called the internet… it’s global, get a fucking clue.

P.S. In case you’ve been reading my rantings wayyyyyy tooooo long; Yes I still hate Sony! []

Do Not Hump

Monday, March 28th, 2011
Do Not Hump

Yea, do not hump the 150 tons of explosives…

“But I just wanted to feel the power between my legs…”

Yes, childish. But funny none the less.

From a video about NASA railroad [].

Bet I can

Friday, March 25th, 2011
Bet I can

RSS summary gives away the punch line.

Asserting their presence

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

“So, you can call anyone you know at any time, and that’s so convenient for you, right? Well, it isn’t. Do the math. How many numbers do you have stored in your phone? Fifty, a hundred, more? Well, they’re the people for whom your phone is a great convenience—they know that they can call you and wherever you are, even if you don’t pick up, they have asserted their presence as a part of your day. You are one person with one person’s communication needs; they are legion, and they want and expect answers now. Want to know real convenience? Leave a message on my machine, or email me, and I’ll get back to you when I damn well feel like it.”

Dana Albarella James, in My Life Without A Cell Phone: An Amazing Tale Of Survival [] published at The Awl []

I do have a phone —I had one back in the mid-90’s and was, on at least one occasion mistaken for a drug dealer due to said cell phone, trench coat and dark glasses but that’s a story, about fish and their exorbitant electricity consumption, for another day— but I can sympathize with the sentiment. I don’t talk on my phone much. I much prefer SMS or email. I’ve never really liked to talk on the phone…. But I’ve said all this before… []

Ravenala madagascariensis

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Baked Earth or Nuked Earth?

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Lots of debate about the Nuclear Power industries future these day —before the fallout has even settled over Japan. A lot of the debate is about “can Nuclear be made safe”… but I don’t hear any discussion about the real question: do you prefer your Earth baked or nuked? Fossil Fuel for base load generation or nuclear for base load generation? The technology is not there yet for any other source to do the heavy lifting of base load generation—at least that’s what I’ve always been told. If the alternative power gurus have a plan now is the time to be discussing it in detail… But it’s all “nuclear can never be safe…” blah blah blah.

The Tribe Mentality

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

“It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his tribal identity depends on his not understanding it.”

Michael Bérubé, quoted by Judith Warner in the New York Times [] article Fact Free Science