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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Seinfeld And Gates No More

Microsoft has ended the bizarre Jerry and Bill ads that had most of us asking what the...? “We wanted to be sure that when we do come out with our (new) major message, ‘Life Without Walls,’ more people would be paying attention than they would otherwise,” contends Mich Mathews, a senior vice-president in Microsoft's central marketing group. “My goodness, did we do that.” TV Guide has more.

Finland Has Big Plans For Broadband

The government of Finland has outlined a broadband strategy that will see all homes in the country serviced by at least one megabit per second by 2010, with a ramp-up to 100 megabits by 2016. "We are strongly committed to developing an information society, and we want to promote productivity and efficiency," Communications Minister Suvi Linden told Agence France Presse. The Finnish government has pledged one third of the cost of building the infrastructure, an estimated $102 million U.S. of a total $303 million to complete the work. Meanwhile in North America little is being done by government to move the bar. The CBC has more details here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Twitter Gets A Face Lift

Twitter announced and deployed a new user interface on Thursday that has some subtle differences and promises a "Lighter, Prettier, Simplified" look and the addition of Ajax to speed things up. The most notable change is the moving of the tabbed menu from the top of the page to the right hand side, the official Twitter Blog explains "We did this for a couple reasons. For one thing, it makes them larger targets and easier to access. But more importantly, it was an investment in the future. We plan to have more tabs, and we'd run out of room putting them along the top. This was the driving factor for this redesign, but you won't see all the benefits until a future release (hopefully, very soon!)." As for me, I like the larger, more prominent display offered for the following/followers/updates stats. These are all small cosmetic changes but in my mind they are a positive improvement that, unlike the Facebook changes, will probably be well received by users. Can't wait to see what's coming next!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

McDonalds Not Serving Up Wi-Fi In Canada

With the exception of a few "hot spots" McDonalds customers in Canada are being shut out by the fast food giant when it comes to Wi-Fi access. While the company has been rolling out service in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan and Australia on a large scale. In some markets McDonalds charges a small fee, $2.99 for 2 hours in the U.S., while in others like the United Kingdom the service is free. In Canada however only a handfull of the company's 1,400 restaurants are designated as "hotspots." Depending on who you listen to the reasons vary "If you look at who owns the wireless networks, it's all telcos, and they have no interest in promoting Wi-Fi because it competes with their network," said Eamon Hoey, senior partner of market strategy consulting firm Hoey Associates. "We're just behind on the technology. We're lacking terribly in competition and innovation." While Lawrence Surtees, principal telecommunications analyst for IDC Canada. says "There are a number of chains and retailers that have Wi-Fi so technically it's not a problem," and "That kind of rules out some nefarious carrier factors." So what's up in Canada McDonalds?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First Google Android Phone September 23rd In US

American cellphone provider T-Mobile will unveil the first Google Android phone on September 23rd with the first devices being available some time in October. The offering will put Google head to head with Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry line. The device is manufactured by Taiwan's HTC and operates on Google's Android cellphone platform. This first offering is likely to be followed by devices for others in Google's Open Handset Alliance, including Motorola and Samsung. CBC Story here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Student Faces Charges After Revealing Security Hole

A 20-year-old Carleton University student, Mansour Moufid, has been charged under the Criminal Code with mischief to data and unauthorized use of a computer after a letter was sent to the university with a list of the students' accounts and their passwords. The letters author claimed he easily broke into student accounts using a keystroke logging program. According to the "The breach allowed access to the Campus Cards that students use as debit cards for campus purchases, including photocopiers, food kiosks and the bookstore." It seems the student was trying to make a point about the IT departments security procedures, looks like they didn't take kindly to his constructive criticism!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Text Messages Being Sought By Train Wreck Investigators

Federal investigators say they are seeking the cell phone records of two teenagers and the deceased engineer of a commuter train involved in a collision with a freight train on Friday. The accident has left 25 dead and more than 130 passengers injured. The teens, who are train enthusiasts, came forward to say that they had been texting the engineer prior to the collision. "We have been in contact with them and their families. They have been fully cooperative," Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board told reporters. "We are going to be obtaining records from their cell phones and of the deceased ... to begin to determine what might have happened and what if any role [cell phones] might have played in this accident." No cell phone was found on or near the dead engineer. CNN Story here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Seinfeld And Gates Commercial - The Simple Life?

Here is another Jerry and Bill commercial that at least attempts to give us a hint at what they are up to, I'm a little less confused by this one. It seems both Seinfeld and Gates are attempting to connect with the real world, as Jerry says to Bill "You and I are a little out of it. You’re living in some kinda moon house hovering over Seattle like the mother ship. I’ve got so many cars I get stuck in my own traffic. We need to connect with real people."