Archive for May, 2007

Mobile Internet Data Plans

May 31, 2007

Yesterday, I had an ultimate Frisbee game scheduled for 6:30pm. It was my third pre-season game. Our first two games took place at “Kennet fields.” For some reason, I thought that our third game was scheduled to take place at “Stetson fields.”

So it’s 6:15 and we pull in to the Stetson Middle School. There were several sports fields, but every one of them was already occupied by either softball players or lacrosse players.

We spent at least 20 minutes driving and walking around the school looking for our fellow ultimate Frisbee players. No luck.

It would have been the perfect time for me to make use of my mobile phone’s Internet capabilities. My phone has a 3-inch touch-screen and a slide-out keyboard. Packed in its holster, my mobile phone should have been ready to rumble, bridging me to the Internet so I could get help.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a data plan. Why? They’re just too expensive!

Am I just being too cheap or are these plans still too expensive for casual use? I would love to check my Gmail, read my Google Reader feeds, navigate Google Maps, have access to my Google Calendar, browse Digg, and otherwise just surf the Internet, all on the go.

My phone allows it (I have the T-Mobile MDA).
I definitely could benefit from the use of it (like yesterday).

It’s just too expensive! My phone bill is currently about $80 per month, and adding a data plan would add $30. I just can’t justify paying $30 per month for this. Am I alone here?

Why isn’t the cost of these data plans coming down? The iPhone is rumored to have a $30 data plan. Cingular‘s data plans range from $35-$45. Verizon’s data plans range from $30-$40. Sprint‘s data plans range from $40-$60.

Update. Turns out, Cingular has a pretty nice plan at $20 (Unlimited MEdia Net Data and 200 Text/Video/Picture Messages). Thanks for the heads up, readers!

Maybe it’s just me, but I won’t be adding a data plan to my account until the cost comes way down. I might consider it at $15 per month. At $10 per month, I’d switch carriers to get the mobile access to the web. But for now, I’ll have to do without.

Microsoft Has Done It Again

May 30, 2007

Twenty years ago, when less than 1 in 100 people owned a personal computer, Bill Gates and his cohorts had a vision. “A computer on every desk, in every home, running Microsoft software.”

Today, Microsoft has another vision and it’s arguably as ambitious as the first. Microsoft Surface.

In essence, Surface is a 30-inch digital table that will sit in your living room. It will interact with your digital devices such as your phone, digital camera, PC, or home console. More importantly, it will interact with you and your everyday objects.

This isn’t a new “pc” or even a new “device.” This is a new “product category.” It’s a new platform. A new way for us to interact with the digital world.

From the press release:

Customers in T-Mobile retail stores might place different cell phones on Surface’s interactive surface where product features, prices and phone plans would appear so they could be easily compared.

In the video, two phones are compared. To get a better view of the details, the man in the video simply picks up the phones and puts them back down on the surface, slightly farther apart. The information boxes grow accordingly.

Head on over to the Microsoft Surface website and check out the videos. You won’t be disappointed.

Google + Apple + AT&T

May 23, 2007

The official Google Blog today has a story about a new phone from Cingular, the BlackBerry 8800. This phone has GPS, so when using Google Maps for Mobile, the map automatically centers around your current location, with a blue flashing dot “exactly where you are!”

That’s all really exciting, but does anyone else find it weird that The Official Google Blog is basically running an advertisement for Cingular (AT&T) that screams “Switch to Cingular!”

And what about Apple’s iPhone being available only for Cingular customers? Probably more blatant than Google, Apple is screaming, “Switch to Cingular!”

To me it’s awfully mysterious that these guys are pushing consumers to switch to a specific carrier. Do Google and/or Apple have any kind of partnership with Cingular?

Maybe it’s just that Cingular is the carrier that’s pushing the hardest to make these kinds of partnerships. Whatever the case, other carriers (T-Mobile, I’m looking at you) need to step it up or they’ll start seeing mass exodus.


May 21, 2007


I got my Digg account back!

May 3, 2007

I sent an email to Digg support, and received a response about 90 minutes later. The entire response is as follows:

We have unbanned your account.
–Digg Support

w00t! 😀 My account is back!

HD-DVD Fiasco: Let the Truth Come Out

May 2, 2007

Several very popular websites are now linking here, including TechCrunch and Wired, so if my site is intermittently unavailable, I apologize.

To recap: an HD-DVD processing key was submitted to Digg. That post was removed and that user’s Digg account was deleted. I re-submitted the story. My post was removed and my Digg account was deleted. Hundreds of stories were submitted since then, some being removed, some slipping through the cracks.

Now, Kevin Rose (Digg’s founder) announces on the Digg blog that our voices have been heard and that Digg’s editorial crew will no longer be removing stories about this processing key.

This series of events brings up lots of questions. Ryan Block of Engadget asked what I think is the central issue here. “How did such a loyal userbase as Digg’s so quickly divert its all-consuming energy to defying — even damaging — the company to which it was so loyal?”

In other words, why are we doing this?

The answer to that question is simple. People want the truth.

If a single entity is responsible for giving the news to the masses, that entity has the ability to control it. Before the Internet, people heard the news from the television, radio, and newspaper. It was one-way communication. People heard what was broadcast, and accepted it as truth. There was no such thing as “user-generated content”, or even feedback on a story or article.

Enter the digital era.

With the possibilities created by the Internet, every person has a voice. The truth can no longer be controlled by a single entity. The truth is the truth, and I say let the truth be told.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 is a hexadecimal number. You can’t copyright a number. It’s not illegal for people to disseminate this number. It’s not intellectual property. Therefore, Digg was wrong in their attempts to destroy all articles relating to this number.

Digg was one of the websites that most closely fits the ideal: Allowing people to receive un-filtered content. If Digg begins censoring, another site will pop up and users will flock to it en mass.

We’re not addicted to Digg. We’re addicted to the truth.

How I got banned from Digg

May 1, 2007

It all started last night. I’m reading my RSS feeds and I come across an article on Digg.

Spread this number. Now.
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0. It’s the HD-DVD processing key you can use to decrypt and play most HD-DVD movies in Linux. Movie studios are going ballistic over this leak, so Digg the story up and make it reach the front page.

Are you serious? That’s awesome! Somebody found a key that allows Linux users watch HD-DVDs! Naturally, I wanted to find out more, so I clicked the link. Much to my dismay, that story had been deleted from Digg already. Why is this story gone? Who deleted it? How dare they?! They can’t censor that kind of stuff can they? I go back to my Google Reader, copy and paste the entire thing into a new story, and resubmit it.

I went to sleep, and didn’t think much about what I had done.

Until morning.

Upon reading my RSS feeds again, and come across MY story, on the front page of Digg!

I click the link and there’s over 15,000 votes! I felt like a hero reading all the comments that people were writing. Comments like:

  • It’s times like these when all I can say is: I love digg.

Other comments say that Digg itself was down for 10 minutes because of the rate this story was getting dugg. People were getting 404s when trying to reach Digg. Even Duggmirror went down.

So I’m reading the comments, and every once in a while I’d refresh the page a few times to see how high the digg count would climb. And then it happened. First, the comments all disappeared, and then the story itself disappeared. And then, my digg account disappeared. My account is no longer valid.

There you have it folks, if you submit a story that Digg needs to censor, your account too will be deleted.

But wait. There’s more.

My friend Chris Haley was smart enough to save the entire page at almost the height of its fame. At 15,492 Diggs, HERE IS THE FULL ARTICLE IN ALL ITS GLORY. All the comments are there. You can even expand the hidden comments. Thanks Chris!

So who knows what’s gonna happen next? Leave a comment. 😀 Also, please support me by Digging this article!