Thursday, August 30, 2007

T-Mobile Hotspot@Home

<rant>Reviews have been critical of T-Mobile for launching its Hotspot@Home service with only two phones to choose from; and, even worse, critics say, both phones are lacking sex-appeal.

Now, if you go to T-Mobile online to shop for a Hotspot@Home phone, you find that the Nokia phone is "Temporarily Out of Stock." Your only option is the Samsung. Is this any way to launch a new service!? Didn't their market research/testing tell them what the demand would be?

Next time, T-Mobile, ask yourselves, "What would Steve (Jobs) do?"</rant>

Good news for current T-Mobile customers like me who want to "upgrade" to the Nokia Hotspot@Home phone. You can do it online, after you login using your T-Mobile phone number and password. Apparently the "Out of Stock" situation applies only to new customers.

I'm hoping they have a stash of these phones that they are rationing to their existing customers. Although, if I ask myself, "What would T-Mobile do?" I have to expect that they are going to charge my credit card and then come back and tell me the phone is back-ordered. "We'll ship it to you just as soon as it comes in." ...

I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Listen To Me

I get paid to speak to organizations and groups from time to time. It is not that I know anything special or that I have accomplished great things. What I speak about is business and/or information technology; conventional wisdom is my stock-in-trade. My talent, if I have one, is that I can make my talks entertaining and informative for my audience.

Over the past several months, I have appeared twice as a guest on Tech Talk. Tech Talk is a show on KFNX radio in Phoenix.
  • "How to give your old PC a new lease on life." Broadcast live on May 20, 2007.
  • "Practical precautions for protecting yourself from identity theft." Recorded July 27th, 2007. Broadcast August 5th, 2007. (This recording will be available online shortly...)
Let me know if you need a speaker for an upcoming event. Click here to contact me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cellphones - No!

I spent the last two weeks on an island in Maine. Miles from the mainland, cellphones don't work on the island (with rare exceptions).

Things change relatively slowly on the island. Social networking is done the old-fashioned way, face-to-face. But, change there is not limited by economic considerations. There's plenty of money. The community can afford cellphone service; people don't want it.
Smart with money doesn't (always) mean smart with IT... VHF radios have been used in Maine's waters for years for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications. Even thought it is easy to eavesdrop on VHF conversations, people use them instead of secure cellphones, even though cellphones work in many near-offshore waters. Once I overheard a vacationing investment banker call his office on ship-to-shore radio to discuss deals that were being worked.

I don't believe you would be guilty of insider trading if you heard about an acquisition on VHF before it was announced and decided to make a quick killing.

Technological changes come to this island slowly, after some form of consensus is reached on the desirability of change. So, it is perhaps informative to know that broadband Internet access has arrived via point-to-point wireless transceivers in many places on the island while cellphone towers are nowhere to be found. In this community, it appears that cellphones are not essential, but high-speed Internet access is.

What's the significance of this finding? It is hard to say, but if this sophisticated society regards cellphones as undesirable, perhaps the day will come when no one sees cellphones as status symbols.

Want to know what other technologies are in vogue and which are louche on the island?

What's Hot?

What's Not?

  • Boston Whalers with big engines.
  • GPS for marine navigation.
  • GPS for determining how far from the hole your golf ball is (e.g., SkyCaddie).
  • Notebook computers for teleworking
  • Netflicks, DirecTV, HDTV for watching TV on rainy days and quiet nights
  • Digital cameras for Christmas Card shots of the family.

  • Drug boats and jet skis are nowhere to be found.
  • GPS for in-car use.
  • Bentleys, Maseratis, Aston Martins, etc.
  • PC workstations.
  • Video cameras.

Conspicuous consumption is limited to some degree by the year-rounders practicing aggressive wage/cost inflation and by passing ordinances and taxes on the summer folk. The summer folk police themselves using gossip and by ostracizing those who do not conform to certain unwritten and flexible standards.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Getting older is a bitch!

Ralph - Sorry. I assumed that my memory had failed me and that I had forgotten to send you the invoice. (I didn't think to see if it was paid already.) Turns out my memory did fail me, and I forgot that I did send you the invoice.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cheating in the Pool

Yesterday, the Washington Post had a story about a new line of swimsuits from Speedo, the FS-Pro, that all the top competitors are wearing because it provides a big performance boost. World records are falling by large margins. In June, swimming's oldest record -- Janet Evans's 1988 mark in 1,500-meter freestyle -- was beaten by Kate Ziegler, wearing the new suit, by almost 10 seconds.

These swimsuits should be banned in competition, in respect for the efforts and accomplishments of past swimmers. If Kate Ziegler swam her record-breaking 1,500-meter freestyle wearing flippers on her feet, she'd have been disqualified. What's the difference between wearing this new suit and wearing a pair of flippers?

Cynics say that elite-level sports are more about entertainment than competition. In the world of sports entertainment, people want to see records broken, or so the thinking goes. But for Major League Baseball, at least, records have a certain sanctity. Kudos to baseball for refusing to allow the aluminum bat and a livelier baseball to increase scoring. And as Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire et al. have found out, taking performance enhancing drugs, even when they haven't been banned, is regarded by fans, if not the game itself, as cheating.

In the past, technology has improved swimmers' performances and times.
  • Pools and lane dividers have been improved to reduce turbulence and improve swimmers' times
  • Technology used in training and coaching has helped athletes improve their conditioning and their technique -- reducing their times.
There is an interesting article in today's Washington Post that explores the black, white and grey areas of cheating and performance enhancement in sports. With advancements in technology, black and white are disappearing. Games are now decided on the playing field, in the testing labs, and in the courts of law and public opinion.

So, swimming fans, get your opinions ready and let the powers that be know that the FS-Pro suit is for cheaters only.