Saturday, October 31, 2009

Between a rock and a hard place: BGR interviews CEO of upstart Canadian carrier WIND Mobile.

We are assessing what our options are. But the network has been being built in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa and our coverage was being deployed. What we are going to continue to focus in on is our operation and assessing what our options are with this unfortunate ruling.

Personally, I don't see anything encouraging in the news that the CRTC ruling is to be reviewed by Tony Clement -- he was, after all, in the room at the farce that was supposed to be a town hall on Canadian copyright reform.

Still, one can always hope... More competition for mobile services in this country could only be a good thing. If it turns out that Mr. Campbell and co. can come to market after all the only thing I'd ask is that they reconsider their unfortunate logo...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Ubuntu 9.10 enables separate audio levels for every running app. I did not know that.

The new audio control is much easier and cleaner then the last one, and you can now change the volume of individual programs as well.

Let's face it, with ALSA, PulseAudio and JACK all available options in a typical Linux installation, open-source audio is a bit of a mess. If this new  interface in Ubuntu Karmic doesn't simplify things it at least makes it easier to get at and use the more advanced features.

This revelation is but one in a list of 10 favourite new things in Ubuntu 9.10 -- others include Ubuntu One, the free cloud-based storage service and the previously mentioned Ubuntu Software Center. Click through and have a look!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nice review of Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala from Linux Outlaws co-host Dan Lynch.

I would recommend Ubuntu Karmic to new users without much hesitation. I still like Linux Mint and Mandriva for the complete novice, but Ubuntu is a good option too.

If you haven't heard the Linux Outlaws podcast you're really missing out -- Dan Lynch and Fab Scherschel make a very entertaining weekly show that's not really tech-heavy, but more about the growing community coalescing around open-source software on computers and mobiles.

Dan does a great job of highlighting the changes in this newest release of Ubuntu, including the Ubuntu Software Centre and improved PPA support. If you're not familiar with either of these terms, they'll at least be easier to wrap your head around than the Synaptic Package Manager that came with prior releases!

There's also a Flickr slide show taking you through the entire installation process -- definitely worth a look if you've never installed an Ubuntu or derivative distro before.

And how was Dan able to grab screens during an OS install? Easy, it's Linux! 8-)

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here's a good review of Jolicloud from Linux Magazine -- in a PDF for some reason...

Download now or preview on posterous
040-042_jolicloud.pdf (2982 KB)

The prevailing logic would have something like this on a web page, but Linux Magazine thinks different, I guess...

You can read my brief on Prism -- the underlying technology behind a lot of the "apps" in Jolicloud -- here. And if you missed it, I did an hour-plus walkthrough of Jolicloud on Qik yesterday afternoon.

I still have some invites available for Jolicloud, which is still in a private alpha release (don't let that scare you -- it's perfectly stable). Just hit me up with an email address where Jolicloud can send a download link to...

Posted via email from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My live (and low-res) demo of Jolicloud Linux -- with celebrity guest appearance by Easy Peasy's Jon Ramvi!

Yeah, it's over an hour long and what's happening on the screen is not easily discernible -- maybe I should use USTREAM next time?

Anyway, it's worth watching (or scrubbing through) to get a sense of what Jolicloud is all about. And as of this writing I still have invites available -- that's the only way you can get it right now...

Thanks to K.T. Neely for giving me the impetus to do this, and also to Jon Ramvi for stopping by -- reading between the lines of his comments I gather he's hard at work on Easy Peasy 2.0!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why use Prism? There's another reason Mozilla didn't think of -- it has to do with netbooks...


Instead of running all your web apps in the browser, Prism lets you run them in their own window just like normal applications. A single faulty app or web page can no longer take down everything you are working on.

Looks like it may soon be time to eat my hat...

After summarily dismissing Jolicloud for "bringing the stupidity of web apps to Linux netbooks", I've come to realize that there is, in fact, value in the technology behind said apps.

But I'm getting ahead of myself... Prism is a means by which browser bookmarks -- er, web applications can be run as separate, distraction-free instances of the Firefox browser, without any extra added nonsense like tabs, plug-ins or even an address bar.

In my first run-in with Prism I came down pretty hard on it -- mostly because without my favourite Firefox ad-blocking plug-in it revealed to me the web as most users see it, in all its tarted-up glory.


Because Prism bookmarks (sorry) apps strip away all the navigational elements required in your typical web browser, you have almost the entire height of your screen available for the content you want to see -- and on a 9-inch netbook screen that makes a big difference.

So to Jolicloud and Prism, my apologies... I get you now. There's still the matter of the Jolicloud Installer vs. the possibly redundant Synaptic Package Manager -- but I too often forget that this distro is an alpha release -- it's that slick...!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Feeling cold? Get your blood boiling by listening to Canada's Internet regulator evade all kinds of questions from Jesse Brown.

Commissioner von Finckenstein arrogantly dismisses Canadians who are threatened by this ruling as "Internet hogs" and pretends that he hasn't heard any of the research that shows Canada is badly lagging the rest of the developed world in Internet access, paying far more to get far less than others, despite the enormous public subsidy Canada's ISPs have received in the form of exclusive rights-of-way and access to taxpayer-built infrastructure. He also purports to know nothing of the existing abusive policies used by Canada's big ISPs.

The comments above come from Cory Doctorow, who I'm a bit more inclined to take at their word than someone who sounds like a James Bond supervillain. I thought Doctorow's comments were worthy of being cited -- that's why I've link to Boing Boing's coverage of the latest Search Engine Podcast rather than Search Engine itself.

You can listen to the interview in its entirety here.

And if, after a listen, you get the sense that von Finckenstein and the commission he heads are perhaps not fulfilling their obligations to Canadians you might want to have a look at this...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Monday, October 26, 2009

$50 CAD gets you: (1) a 10-course Chinese banquet, (2) an exclusive performance by Asiansploitation, (3) me in a suit -- tonight only!

If you want your Asiansploitation fix this month and don't have plans Monday night (yep, Monday October 26, that's in less than 24 hours!!), come join us at fu-GEN's fire gala at Bright Pearl Restaurant -- 348 Spadina north of Dundas (the place with the stone lions out front).

Hope to see you there!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Check out yours truly talking up mobiles on episode #54 of the DyscultureD podcast.

My segment -- Mobile Mashup -- starts at 45 minutes and 30 seconds and runs until about a minute and a half past the one hour mark. But really, you should listen to the whole thing.

Apologies to Stefan Constantinescu for:
  1. Butchering his name;
  2. Incorrectly calling him Finnish, when in fact he's Romanian (I think?).
Some extra links that aren't in the official show notes:
Feedback on my segment is most welcome, as Anthony & Mike have asked me to be a regular guest on their show...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In case you've ever wondered, this is why Canadian television sucks so bad.


Almost without exception, in applying to the CRTC for a TV license or its renewal, they promised the moon in terms of expansive Canadian broadcasting and ended up delivering wall-to-wall U.S. programming. Which is what they intended from the word go. For a very long time in Canada, a TV license was a license to print money.

The quote above comes from Gerald Caplan, who co-chaired a major study of Canadian broadcasting during the Mulroney era of the 1980s. It's taken from a Globe & Mail piece focused on the current spat between broadcasters and cable/satellite companies, but it speaks volumes about the state of television in this country -- specifically the dramatic, fictional-type stuff.

My thoughts on the subject can be summed up thusly: Without a level playing field, we can't win.

Without the barrier to entry of -- oh, I dunno -- another language, English-speaking Canada has neither the resources nor viewers to produce anything comparable to the onslaught of flashy programming from our neighbours to the south.

Our government should be mandating more domestic dramatic programming, but somehow along the way broadcasters were able to bend the rules enough so they could slap the "Canadian content" sticker on things like the six o'clock news, for example. Even worse, because Canadian TV commercials are allowed to air over US shows, there's a whole other industry that cries foul everytime the idea of stricter controls on our airwaves is put forth.

And so today, you have en entire generation of young actors that I've taught at The Second City who's best hope for a career on television in this country is a run of Tim Horton's commercials -- or if they really strike it big, a season or two of a low-budget series on The Comedy Network that nobody will watch, just like I had back in the day.

And that's why I'm packing up my cable box and sending it back to Rogers tomorrow...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Us Now - a nice little doc about self-governing online communities, with my kind of distribution model.

Can we all govern? Us Now looks at how 'user' participation could transform the way that countries are governed. It tells the stories of the online networks whose radical self-organising structures threaten to change the fabric of government forever.

I suppose if you wanted to you could watch the entire film in all its 90-minute glory embedded above, but I'd recommend downloading the BitTorrent file instead, which the filmmaker and the good folks at have thoughtfully included on the film's feature page. You can also make a donation via PayPal if you like -- I certainly thought it worthy of a couple of bucks.

This made-in-the-UK film makes its case for self-governing communities through three major examples:

  1. CouchSurfing - hooking up travellers with a free place to lay their weary heads;
  2. MyFootballClub - crowdsourcing a professional sports team (previously featured on CBC's Search Engine Podcast);
  3. Zopa - community-driven loans.
If you have any kind of faith in humanity then this film should leave you hopeful for the future. The only issue I had with Us Now is that the downloaded .torrent file isn't exactly broadcast quality -- still very much worth watching, though!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Friday, October 23, 2009

Symbian Foundation's Lee Williams: The real enemy is Android, not Apple.

Check out Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation, all but summarily dismissing Apple's iPhone to instead voice grave issues with Google's Android Mobile OS.

To sum up, Lee calls into question the compulsory and relentless data mining that every Android customer must endure, and reminds us that Google's core business is targeted advertising -- perhaps a passive-aggressive way of suggesting that the remote "ad" switch might one day be enabled for Android handsets?

Now as I understand it, the Symbian Foundation's day-to-day business is with carriers and handset makers more than end users, but his comments are certainly relevant.
What do you think -- are these legitimate concerns for or just scaremongering tactics?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Posterous = Blogspam? I need your opinion on this, please...

reddit comment

So there's a bit of a storm brewing over on, where I submitted my kneejerk reaction to the CRTC net neutrality ruling yesterday.

Basically, I'm being called out as a blog spammer, despite the following:

  1. There are (as of yet) no ads on my Posterous site;
  2. I don't think I'm guilty of simply regurgitating content.

But as someone who'll be attempting to launch a commercial site early next year, the label of spammer is not something I want associated with my good name.

If you've any thoughts on this matter, or on the direction my blogging has taken in general, I'm all ears...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rockstar Member of Parliament weighs in on Canada's #netneutrality ruling: "The CRTC has left the wolves in charge of the henhouse.”

Today’s CRTC decision on internet traffic management practices is a blow to the future of digital innovation in Canada, New Democrat Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus says. The decision allows Bell and other giant Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to throttle the internet traffic of competitors or end users if they see fit to do so. This interference will be bad news for smaller competitors and leaves consumers open to digital snooping and interference from cable giants.
Angus says the CRTC has once again failed to stand up for the public interest.
I call Charlie Angus a rockstar because he used to be a rockstar. And he still is, as one of the few politicians in this country to speak out in favour of copyright reform.
As for the CRTC, well, you know what to do...

Nokia's Maemo team has heart; they're also humble and are already looking towards the future.

Maemo employees know what they’re up against. They know the iPhone offers a fantastic consumer experience, but deep down they really do care that it is a locked down platform where developers play by Apple’s rules. They know Android is on the tip of everyone’s tongues, but they oppose the fact that Google worked to build something that is open on paper, but in reality is just Google saying “we know there is stuff out there in the open source community that does what we want to do, but we’re just going to write, from scratch, the bits and pieces we want to make so they can be exactly how we like them”. They know that the N900 will be what the technology media people will be talking about when it hits stores next month, but they’re humble and admit that internally their judgement day, when all Maemo employees receive self vindication, will be when the device after the N900 running Maemo 6 will be on store shelves.

If anyone has the right to deliver a verdict on a particular group of Nokia employees it's Stefan Constantinescu -- he used to work for Nokia, after all...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Old media is relevent for a split-second... Don't blink or you'll miss it!

This piece was apparently written for me by Al Howell, my man on the inside at This Hour...

Nice job!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

CRTC releases net neutrality rules a day ahead of the USA -- and big surprise, ISPs win, Canadians lose.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre, a consumer watchdog group, said the CRTC's framework is a big loss for internet users. The framework is not binding and leaves decisions as to whether economic or technical measures are required up to ISPs.

"It approves all of the throttling practices that ISPs currently engage in. It requires consumers to prove something funny is going on and consumers don't have the means to figure out what ISPs are doing and they don't have the resources to bring that to the commission's attention," said PIAC counsel John Lawford.


Is it time to dissolve the CRTC? Yes, yes it is...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

The Ubuntu anniversary love continues, with a desktop wallpaper immortalizing each successive release as a cutesy plush doll.

See? Linux isn't just for freedom beards and server room shut-ins!

If you find yourself in Toronto this weekend maybe you'd like to learn more about it...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

How Nokia lost its way in the US, and what it's doing to get back on track.

CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo has two major missions: rediscover Nokia by starting Internet service business with Ovi and regaining Nokia's market share in the US. He can't fail. Not with Ovi, not with the US market. Otherwise, he has to find something else to do.

So it was apparently Nokia's decision in the early 2000s to stop customizing phones for operators that paved the way for their woes in the North American market. I was using a Treo at the time, so I can't confirm or deny this.

AvecMobile's post is apparently one in a series of excerpts from their forthcoming book called Behind the Screen. Looks interesting...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Ubuntu is 5 years old today -- let's raise a glass and celebrate 5 ways it's made Linux better.

5 years later, 5 ways that Ubuntu has made Linux more human

  1. The Ubuntu Code of Conduct;
  2. Short, time-based release cycles;
  3. Easy installation from a single CD image;
  4. Convenient access to useful proprietary components;
  5. Strong focus on improving desktop usability.

The innovation of the Live CD was critical in my own adoption of Linux. I wonder how many computer users out there are still unaware of how easy it is to test-drive an open-source OS?

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 bloggers get mobile site support, *finally*...

iphone-wptouch wp-mobile

Mobile visitors greeted by WPtouch will get easy access to posts, pages, and archives. They’ll get fancy AJAX commenting and post loading. If you are using a custom header image, it will be scaled to size and displayed at the top of your blog. When viewing your blog on other phones, the focus will be on loading the blog quickly while displaying the important information about your content.

As you'd probably guess, loading up in Opera Mini yields not the fancy iPhone version on the left but the much nastier old-school one to the right.

Oh well, beggars can't be choosers...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

What I'll be checking out at #oglf09 -- remember, if you want a free pass, hit me up today!

If you're wondering what yours truly will be checking out at this year's Ontario [GNU] Linux Fest, here's the plan:

10am: Linux Without Fear

Join Marcel as he takes you through a rogues gallery of user-friendly Linux distributions distributions. You'll discover what sets one distribution apart from the other while enjoying a casual, stress-free tour of the various desktops. You'll also learn about popular applications and how these can help ease the transition from that other OS. An essential presentation for anyone considering Linux or trying to ease a loved one from the clutches of proprietary operating systems.

Speaker: Marcel Gagné

11am: Ubuntu Netbook and Moblin Remixes

Netbooks are all the rage lately and there are a plethora of choices of what to run on your netbook. In this talk I will demo the newest versions of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix and the Ubuntu Moblin Remix and highlight the features of both environments. This talk is meant for people who might be new to Linux and want a glimpse of what's happening with netbooks.

Speaker: Jorge O. Castro

4pm: Being Present - a Beginners Guide to FLOSS Outreach in Education

While somethings require luck and timing, nothing happens unless we make an effort to be present when people are gathering. In this presentation we'll cover techniques you can use while we discuss actual events. Answering the question... How did one seemingly random meeting result in Rochester Institute of Technology students being some of the first to receive FOSS development course work as part of their formal education?

Speaker: Karlie Robinson

5pm Keynote: Musical Guide to the Future of Linux

How is Linux like the Ramones? And why can't we be more like the Beatles? Linux is a critical success, but it's time to crack the Top 40 and take it all the way to the top of the (desktop) charts.

Speaker: Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier

... And remember, today's the last day to hit me up for one of five available free passes, each worth $60 CAD!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Monday, October 19, 2009

Can somebody please explain Foursquare to me? Because I seriously don't get it.

I first saw Foursquare in action last summer on the N97 24/7 Tour. It seemed like it was already more popular than Brightkite, the location-based service that I use here in Toronto. So I was quite excited to hear that Foursquare was coming to my hometown, and immediately signed up for it.

And I seriously don't get it.

In the series of screen grabs below I'll compare a sample check-in using the two services. The establishment in question is The Village Idiot, a local watering hole.

Screen 1 shows that I've successfully used Foursquare to check in at "Village Idiot" -- which was the exact text I entered. And look, I won a prize!

Screen 2 shows the correct intersection and phone number of the establishment in question, but bewilderingly, the Google Maps co-ordinates are way off. I've read elsewhere that Foursquare is supposed to hook in to Google Maps and Yelp, but there's certainly no evidence of that here. What's the point of broadcasting your location if your friends can't find you?

Screen 3 shows that Brighkite has called up the correct address for the pub, and...

Screen 4 shows the correct location on Google Maps.

As with any social networking thingy, the more people using the service the more compelling it gets. Brightkite's biggest failing is that for whatever reason there are some listings it can't pull up. But at least the listings it does find are accurate.

I fully suspect that the Android, BlackBerry and iPhone apps for Foursquare provide a better experience than the old-school mobile site. Can anyone confirm that?

Posted via email from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Zomg, netbook Linux dramas!!1! Eeebuntu devs drop Ubuntu for Debian...

A few days ago one of the members of the Eeebuntu Linux development team threw up his hands in exasperation complaining that every time a new version of Ubuntu Linux came out, it broke compatibility with Eeebuntu. Now another member of the dev team has posted on the Eebuntu forum that the team has decided to move away from Ubuntu in its next release. Instead, Eeebuntu 4.0 will be based on Debian Unstable.

I personally prefer the look and feel of Easy Peasy on my Eee PC (and the WiFi works better), but I understand that Eeebuntu is also quite popular.

Plus, there's certainly nothing wrong with choice!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Sunday, October 18, 2009

O RLY? Linux set to capture 60% of smartphone market, iPhone et al "have peaked"...

While the Linux will become the mainstream platform, the major non-Linux platforms - Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and iPhone - will focus on particular niches, the report said. According to the report, each of these platforms comes with significant strengths, but they have reached their peak in terms of growth.

While this is certainly an interesting notion, I've two problems with this piece:

  1. There's no link to the original report;
  2. The iPhone still hasn't been released in mainland China, one of the world's two biggest markets for mobiles. It's officially a flop in India, but might see one last growth spurt in East Asia, as users there are more used to character input via touchscreens.
I do agree, though, that Android already seems to be picking up steam...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Copyright reformists have a friend at the BBC. And she's going public tomorrow with an essay bashing big media.

We must not let these dying behemoths take away someone’s internet access – and connection to the world – for some accusatory, unprovable ‘piracy’ claim, ever.

Bring it!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Saturday, October 17, 2009

So the Government of Canada has posted my submission on copyright reform to their site. If you haven't read it already, you should.

Currie, Andrew

Canada's Digital Future

Submission to Public Consultation
on Copyright Reform

September, 2009

In a perfect world, you could comment on it, rate it, share it, etc. But baby steps, Government of Canada, baby steps...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Why Hollywood is scared shitless of Twitter -- and why wanting to be a big Hollywood star is a big waste of time.

Since DW Griffith first stepped off the train, Hollywood has devoted itself to one cherished goal that it has always kept close to its heart: making sure actors never, ever speak directly to the public. Since the first days of entertainment, no "talent" has ever opened their mouth without a phalanx of handlers on hand to craft their every word and prepared to lower the muzzle at the first sign of truth telling.

So to my actor friends I ask you, do you still dream of "making it" in Hollywood, when all you have to look forward to is being someone's mouthpiece for their shit film...?

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lawrence Lessig calls bullshit on Obama Administration's transparency. On Canadian TV.

If 20 minutes is too much of your time you can start watching at the 07:48 mark. Basically, Lessig submits that transparency in government is not enough, and the influence of money is the bigger issue.

No argument here, but it should be noted that my government isn't anywhere near transparency yet...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Big media wants the right to legally spy on your computer -- and the Canadian Liberal Party is helping them!

Even more troubling are proposed changes that would allow copyright owners to secretly access information on users' computers. 

You know what to do, Internet... Stop Bill C-27 before it's too late!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

The best photo gallery I've seen yet of Nokia's N900, courtesy of tnkgrl.

The N900 is brilliant. It’s like the mutant offspring of the N810 and N97, but a lot meaner and faster, and with 2100/1700/900 MHz 3G instead of 2100/1900/850 MHz 3G.

Take special note of that 1700 MHz 3G radio -- it basically means this super-powered phone will only run on EDGE data speeds (2.5G) in Canada.

If it weren't for that I'd be all over this thing...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Your phone cannot do this: Nokia N900 screen grab shows more than 20 apps running simultaneously.

In the screenshot below, you can see that I’m running 24 different applications on the N900 simultaniously.

Ok, so you can only see 20 thumbnails for running apps here, but Ricky Cadden says there are 24 and I believe him.

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Wow, you can do that...? New Dell owner rejects Windows license, donates refund to Linux Mint.

I do not agree to the terms of the Dell Software Licensing Agreement or the Microsoft Windows End User License Agreement.

I confirm that I have not used any of the software, have not opened or broken the seal on any software packet and have deleted all preloaded or embedded software from my Dell.

1. How may I promptly return the disks and other software items to you?

2. How will you refund the cost of the software? I note that Windows Vista Home Premium retails at £133.96, Microsoft Works at £39.99 and Cyberlink PowerDVD at £39.99 today, which means a total refund of £213.94 is due.

best regards

I think this dude is my new hero...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bell throws down for Canada's Winter Olympics HSPAvalanche. Clever, eh? I came up with it myself...


  • LG Xenon: $89.95, $289.95
  • Samsung Impact: $79.95, $279.95
  • Samsung Omnia 2: $349.95, $549.95
  • Apple iPhone 3G 8GB: $399.95, $599.95 — probably $149 after in store rebates
  • Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB: $499.95, $699.95 — probably $199 after in store rebates
  • Apple iPhone 3GS 32GB: $599.95, $799.95 — probably $299 after in store rebates
  • BlackBerry Bold 9000: $399.95, $599.95 — probably $149-$199 after in store rebates
  • BlackBerry 9700: $399.95, $599.95 — probably $249 after in store rebates
  • Nokia 2730: $29.95, $119.95
  • Nokia 6350: $49.95, $249.95

I'm starting to wonder if Nokia did something to majorly piss off North American carriers in the '90s. What they're representin' with here is, well... ass.

Anyway, thanks to Simon at IntoMobile for bringing this my way...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

What's taking Android so long to gain market share? I can think of two things...


A recent Gartner report, made available on Computerworld, predicts a 12% market share growth for Android mobiles by 2012.

The impressive growth of the Google O.S. would position Android in second place in the top 7 operating systems globally. Although it is predicted to surpass iPhone in usage, the Android win is Symbian’s loss, which is predicted to fall to 39% in 2012.

Keeping in mind that I'm merely an end user, I can at least tell you what's keeping me from considering an Android handset:

  1. Support for SyncML - Microsoft Exchange has no business on a supposedly "open-source" phone.
  2. Tri-band 3G - Nokia is finally getting around to manufacturing these. And hell, the original TyTN I was using three years ago had tri-band HSPA, even if the battery only lasted fifteen minutes. Certainly HTC can do better these days...?
... So what's keeping you from an Android device?

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Grabbing an expiring web domain -- about as easy and transparent a process as you'd imagine...

So I'm entertaining the idea of starting up a commercial blog -- you know, the kind with ads and such. The domain name for it was something that came to me in a flash of inspiration, and a quick search for it revealed that it was available! That is, almost...

It's actually in the "pending delete" phase of a typical URL's life-cycle, as defined here:

The particular domain I'm after is registered with, and for less than $20 CAD I'm able to backorder it -- which actually means next to nothing, because:

  1. GoDaddy puts all their expired domains up for auction, whether they've been backordered or not;
  2. There's a very good chance that GoDaddy won't even catch the domain when it's released.

As with domain-squatting there's big business in gobbling up domain names as they expire. So just for the privilege of bidding on the URL I want I'm backordering it with three other domain-catching services:

  1. NameJet
  3. SnapNames

And once the name gets grabbed by whomever, the bidding begins.

At least I know in advance what I'm in for, thanks to this helpful forum thread... And if you're in the same boat now you will too!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Upstart Canadian carrier's handset lineup revealed -- or put another way, WIND pushes out a turd just like its logo suggests.

Thanks to a tipster within the company, we might have just found out the handsets it will be launching its 3G network with:

Nothing Earth-shattering here in terms of handsets, but if WIND makes good on its alleged promise of no-contract calling plans and free voicemail & caller ID we may have a contender yet...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Scholarly paper brings bad news for big media: BitTorrents can't be hacked.

For years RIAA and MPAA members have hired companies to attack popular BitTorrent swarms in an attempt to interfere with their downloads. According to a recently published paper by New York University researchers, these attacks are highly ineffective. At best, they slow downloads for a few minutes, something most users don’t even notice.

While big media has arguably had some success in making previous p2p networks less effective by flooding them with junk, BitTorrent is proving to be a tougher nut to crack...

Hollywood could, of course, just buy up the patents to BitTorrent technology and offer a legal alternative. But we all know that'll never happen...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nokia's Linux phone ships with Microsoft PlayReady DRM -- wait, WHAT?!1!

Go ahead, see for yourself... Just click through to the 5th frame on the slide-show above.

Nokia, you've got some 'splaining to do...!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Ten things Songbird does that iTunes can't. So there.

  1. Tabbed Browsing
  2. Feathers (Themes or Skins)
  3. Add-ons (Extensions)
  4. Turn a Web Page Into a Playlist
  5. Subscribe to MP3 Blogs as Playlists
  6. Display Media Related to the Currently Playing Artist
  7. Play a Wide Range of Media Codecs
  8. Better Integration
  9. Purchase Concert Tickets
  10. Run It On Linux

A follow-up to yesterday's post about me walking away from the delivery system for iPhone fart apps called iTunes.

Songbird comes from some of the same bright minds behind Mozilla Firefox. Download your free copy right here!

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Rare photo of yours truly from a previous life.

That's me on the left. Can't remember who the young lady is but that's Al Howell next to her, and Asiansploitation's Jeff Santos next to him.

You can read (a little bit) more about the TV series Al and I had for two seasons here.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

iTunes, once the great white hope of the music industry, has become a delivery system for fart apps.


Early in 2005 I was thrilled at the arrival of the iTunes Music Store in Canada. As of this past weekend, I'm hoping to never have to boot up iTunes again.

From its humble beginnings as SoundJam MP iTunes was critical to the success of Apple's iPod, and likewise to the company's transition from computer-maker for artsy types to the evil consumer electronics empire it is today. With each new version iTunes itself became far more (or less) than a music player -- first  with the arrival of video support (for music videos -- makes sense), then movie rentals (bit of a stretch) and finally the iPhone App Store (ok, you lost me).

The growing bloat was but one of the things that spurred my growing hatred of iTunes. Along the way I also realized:

  1. That Apple will probably never release a version of iTunes that supports a proper Linux OS;
  2. That my Nokia and it's built-in music player and podcast-catcher was a perfectly good alternative to an iPod -- even better, in fact;
  3. That there are other, better dedicated music player apps out there.

The tipping point for me came with Apple's announcement of iTunes Plus, and specifically the news that for only $70 CAD I could take the digital locks off the music I thought I already owned. No thanks... There are other, better ways to do that too.


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100 years of fear mongering, in big media's own words.

We are going to bleed and bleed and hemorrhage, unless this Congress at least protects one industry that is able to retrieve a surplus balance of trade and whose total future depends on its protection from the savagery and the ravages of this machine.

That quote above could only come from former MPAA president Jack Valenti, comparing the lowly analog VCR to the Boston Strangler.

Valenti passed away in 2007, likely because he bullshitted himself to death...

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The 10 best Linux distributions of 2009, according to DaniWeb.

1. gNewSense
2. Debian
3. Ubuntu
4. CentOS
5. Fedora
6. Red Hat
7. Gentoo
8. Knoppix
9. Presto
10. Damn Small Linux

You can also view the 100 most popular Linux distros at any given moment at

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Canadian Indie rock band fronted by shirtless fat guy? That's F**ked Up... Seriously, that's their name!

2009 Polaris Prize winners Fucked Up have got all your based covered:

  • Grunge guitars;
  • Thrash metal lyrics;
  • A girl;
  • A bear...?
I've been playing their album all weekend long and can't stop listening to it. Visuals aside, what do you think?



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In case you missed it: Sunday Moanin' Canadian Thanks-for-nothing-giving edition.

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize? The right to bear arms? Bashing the iPhone and iTunes? Yeah, we went there, and then some... Check it out:

Sorry about the video being broken up -- for some reason my Qik app kept quitting on me.

You can tune in to Sunday Moanin' every Sunday at 11:30am Eastern... Maybe we'll see you next week?

Game over for T-Mobile's Sidekick.

Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger’s latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device – such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos – that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger.
Having owned the Fido version of the Sidekick for a couple of years, I remember those data outages all too well -- but two weeks? That's crazy!

And losing your customers' data is inexcusable, especially when the only way to back up the thing yourself is to buy a Windows-only app that syncs with Outlook.

And really, how many club kids Outlook?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Zomg, superstar phone bloggers invade Pacific Mall!!1!

Hey, is that Ani from The S60 Blog, demoing a DoCoMo dummy phone at Blue Wave Digital? And is that Jon from with him?

Yes and yes. You can see more videos from our big meet-up on my Qik page, on Ani's Qik page, and -- coming soon -- some edited videos on Jon's YouTube site.

'Twas a pleasure meeting you both!

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Fido hits a new low, launches Nokia handset from 2005 -- WTF?!1!

Yes, resurrected from the dead, Fido has launched the Nokia 6682 primarily for the visually impaired.

$100 - 2 YR
$200 - MTM / Prepaid

Ok, so it's actually the Nokia 6682RVI and it's got special software on it for visually-impaired users.

But I'm sure that software would run on something a little more, oh I dunno... current.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009 delivers on its promise -- wish I had thought of this...

This cat does not even know what city he lives in. Cats don’t care what city they live in.

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Evolution of the Nokia Communicator, from someone who knows a thing or two about Nokia Communicators.

I've owned and liked all of them in different eras, but I think I'd have to pass on the E90 and 9300 - I've become too used to modern conveniences like:

  • over-the-air firmware updates
  • microUSB charging
  • decent cameras
  • 3.5mm audio jacks
  • high speed USB
  • the extra codecs and usability tweaks that came with S60 3rd Edition FP2 and beyond (e.g. WMV/H.264 support for video)
  • quad band GSM and triband 3G
  • smaller and lighter hardware give them up! 

I'm starting to think that the N97 Mini will be my next phone, and first "Communicator".

I just wish Nokia would make a white one...

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A quick refresher on Nokia's open-source Maemo platform, from people who know.

People new to Maemo are impressed by Maemo 5 because it appears to come out of nowhere. But the truth is that Nokia's managed to make it work well precisely because it DIDN'T come out of nowhere, it came out of many years of device releases, OS releases and user feedback.

I actually own a 770 (the first one on the left in the graphic above); unfortunately the on-board memory is so meagre that you have to quit and restart the web browser every couple of pages.

Somehow I don't think the N900 will have that problem...

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The Pirate Bay takes refuge from Hollywood in a bunker built to withstand a nuclear attack. Srsly.

The bunker is equipped with Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) shielding and Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (NBC) air filtration to guarantee that the servers they host stay up no matter what happens. As of this week it is also the new home of The Pirate Bay.

You know, if we all stood up to big media bullying the way these guys did the world could be a very different place...

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iPhone lust taken to new highs (or lows) with iLickit -- yes, it's as disgusting as it sounds...

Chances are if you use iLickit in public, you’ll never get laid. Which is a good thing, because if you download this application, maybe you should be prevented from reproducing.

"Hey, can I borrow your phone? Ooh, never mind..."

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Further proof that Android isn't as open as you might think.

Without significant hacking around you cannot sync a Linux-based phone with a GNU/Linux-based PC
I still can't figure out why Google would choose to support Microsoft Exchange over SyncML in their supposedly "open" OS -- sure the former is near-ubiquitous but the latter is an open standard.


Linux Mint, the perfect starter OS for Mac and Windows refugees.

Linux Mint 7

For the past week or so I've been basking in the glorious eye candy that is Linux Mint.

Getting it up and running on my stock Eee PC 901 took but three steps:

  1. Install Linux Mint from a USB stick using UNetBootin;
  2. Install the kernel for WPA-encrypted WiFi support;
  3. Tweak Firefox for my SSD as per Roy Tanck's instructions.

Plugged into the wall Linux Mint performs acceptably well on my lowly netbook, stalling for a moment or two when I open a lot of tabs in Firefox simultaneously but otherwise fine. But switching over to the battery slows down everything noticeably -- not bad enough to be unusable, just noticeably slower.

But what I get in return for the sluggish performance is a fantastic user experience. The window effects are exactly what a Mac user would expect, and pressing the big green button at the bottom-left reveals a Windows-like Start Menu -- but better. Much better.

There's a leaner version of Mint which uses XFCE as a desktop environment, but the default distribution is so drop-dead gorgeous I can't give it up. And if it runs acceptably fast on a bargain-basement netbook, I'm sure it will scream on a properly-spec'd desktop or notebook computer.

I just wish I had put Linux Mint on my old MacBook before I gave it to my sister in law. She'd had never known the difference...

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OHAI Big Brother... G20 protestor arrested -- *for using SMS*.

The Pennsylvania State Police said he was found in a hotel room with computers and police scanners while using the social-networking site Twitter to spread information about police movements, The New York Times reported Monday.

It's not Tehran, folks... It's Pittsburgh.


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