counter on godaddy
post

The Tethering / Hotspot Debate: No, You’re Not a Thief. But Somebody Else is a Highway Robber.

 

Interesting debate at ZDNet over wireless data plans:  James Kendrick claims that unpaid tethering makes you a thief.   Thankfully his fellow ZDNet-er Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has the common sense to dispute  this tethering thief nonsense.

Yes, technically if your wireless contract includes an anti-hotspot clause and you turn this feature on, you are in violation. Of the contract, that is.  Your provider has the right to levy additional charges, or terminate your contract. But does that make you a thief?  I’d much rather conclude your provider commits highway robbery.

Remember this device?

Yes, phones used to look like that.  And there was a time when phone companies (actually, “the” phone company, Ma Bell) charged extra when you had more then one outlet in your home….

Remember the early days of cable TV?   You had to ( well, were supposed to) pay extra for each additional cable outlet.

How about the early days of the Internet, before wireless became pervasive?  Yes, ISPs expected you to pay extra for each outlet…

post

NTP is the New SCO

patent trollNTP, the shell company whose only business is to extract ransom from real businesses does not sit on the $600 they extorted from RIM.  They are now suing just about all the smartphone industry: Apple, Google, HTC, Microsoft, LG and Motorola.

Is NTP the new SCO?

Related posts:

post

Your Own (Almost) Ad-Hoc HotSpot

If you’re a frequent traveler, you’re likely better off buying a MiFi or using your late-model cell-phone’s HotSpot capability than paying those outrageous hotel surcharges.  If you’re a frequent conference-goer, you’ve already learned they all fail to provide reliable connection(Web 2.0, LeWeb, Gnomedex, Microsoft PDC, Google I/O, just to name a few recent examples), so the only solution is BYOW – Bring Your Own WiFi (and the chaos it creates.)

But what if you rarely venture to un-connected areas, say a few times a year?  Paying $30-$60 a month does not look like a great value..  Now you can (almost) have your own ad-hoc service, without the monthly subscription plan – after you plunk down $149 for Virgin Mobile’s new MiFi device.  You can pay anywhere between $10 for 100MB to $60 for 5G of usage.

There’s only one problem with the plan – spot it yourself:

virgin plans

Yes, all these plans expire in an unreasonably short time.  Given the these limitations, if I were an infrequent user (less then once a month), I would probably buy the $10 plan just a few days in preparation for specific events. But let’s be real, this s*cks.  The proper solution for the ad-hoc user would be consumption-based plans with no expiry, with fill-up option.

post

Ungrateful iBozos, Stop the Whining. Get a (i)Life.

<sarcasm>

iPhone-4-steve-jobs I’m sick of all this whining within the iFamily.  These iBozos just don’t appreciate all the goodness they have.

iPhone preorder systems failed.  So what?  You’ve just saved a boatload of money, be happy, get a life!

Yet another At&T security breach. What’s the big deal?  All your data is public anyway, has been for a while, will always be so, so STFU.

Orders Charged and Sent to the Wrong People – and Gizmodo has the balls to call it a disaster.  They don’t understand the Grand Scheme. Have you ever been to a potluck party?  You bring some, get some (or not).  Random credit cards get charged and iPhones get delivered to random people – so what?  On the average it all works out, everyone receives an iPhone (or not).  We’re all part of iFamily.

MG Siegler Wants a Micro-Cell Rip-Off Box – WTF?  To actually waste time making calls?  Voice calls are so 90’s anyway. He should pay extra to AT&T for providing such a valuable time-saver plan.

I’m fed up with these unfaithful, ungrateful iWhiners.  They should be happy to be admitted to the iChurch and shut up. At least while on AT&T

</sarcasm>

post

The Chaos of BYOW (Bring Your Own Wi-Fi)

It all started as an innocent joke:

scoble zoli wifi

Robert Scoble was sitting in the front row @ Apple’s WWDC conference while I was following the tweetstream from home.  Little did we know out joke would soon turn serious, as Steve Job’s keynote demo crashed when his shiny new iPhone 4 could not get a network connection.  Ars Technica offers detailed technical analysis of what may have happened, citing wi-fi experts who think the iPhone 4 may have a software glitch – but beyond that, they go deeply into analyzing the roots of network congestion at major gatherings.

It’s a great read, I have nothing to add on the technical side, just a little speculation on what brought this potential chaos about, and how to avoid it.

In short, we’re in a vicious circle.   The best “should-know-better” conferences have famously failed to provide sufficient wifi, including  Web 2.0, LeWeb, Gnomedex, Microsoft PDC, Google I/O… you name it.   We’re not talking about Birdwatchers’ Annual Convention or Road Builders Conferences – no, these are hi-tech events heavily attended by geeks, analysts, media, bloggers – the wifi_proliferationalways on, ever connected types, who will not tolerate being offline and will come up with their solution, as soon as the technology exist.

Thus, Bring Your Own Wifi was born – first the dedicated USB sticks with their $60 a month fees, then Mi-Fi, and now a flood of smartphones all providing their own hotspots.  Now all these BYOW devices wreak havoc and cause congestion.

Now, there are some cosmetic improvements we could all do, for example stop broadcasting our hotspot’s SSID. Not that it would reduce the behind-the-scenes congestion, but at least it would not clog the list of Wi-Fi for anyone else.  (Even this is easier said than done: some hotspots do not offer the option to shut broadcasting off, and even more sadly several devices refuse to connect to a Wi-Fi unless the SSID is listed).

We’re heading into a period of wireless chaos – it probably won’t be so bad on the road, in remote places, not even while using public transportation – but it will definitely get worse at places of expected high Mi-Fi / hotspot concentration.

We’ve come full circle. It all started by the lack of “centralized” connectivity, we all came up with our own ad-hoc solution and now we’re spoiling the game for each other.  I know I’d stop fiddling with my  EVO (or the gadget of the day) if there was rock-solid wi-fi at all conferences.  It’s time conference organizers step up to the plate.  If they don’t know how, I suggest they talk to Eric.

P.S. On a ligther note, some people already discovered the option of using the SSID for messaging. Is this the next marketing opportunity?

rwang wifi ads

Related posts: