Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Windows evolution

Microsoft is getting ready with XP SP3 and Vista SP1 and the Vista Service Pack will be critical. For years this has been like second nature to all of us and with founder Bill Gates due to step down from Microsoft's executive in the new year one wonders if there will be and end to the company's OS market dominance. Like it or not, Microsoft has earned the top spot, however it seems that only new application areas are being dominated by the other industry players largely due to first mover advantage. 2008 is upon us and I expect to see much more from the software applications industry. New players?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Google's concern about Rogers' subscriber messaging in webpages

Google Inc made its concern known today in a statement emailed to The Toronto Star regarding a system it says Rogers Communication is testing that would insert a branded message in its web page (and supposedly others) to the Rogers High Speed Internet subscribers when they are approaching their monthly data limit. This was later confirmed by Taanta Gupta, a Rogers spokesperson who according to the Star report, said the company does not have email addresses for all of its subscribers. For some time now there have been questions regarding content providers like Google whose service offering is based on Internet access by subscribers from an infrastructure developed and maintained by the few network providers. Is this an indication that we are moving into a new realm of Internet service delivery? More

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Canadian Wireless Spectrum to be auctioned next May

Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice announced yesterday that there will be a wireless spectrum offer May 2008 with 40% being reserved for a new entrant into the market despite protest from Bell, Rogers and Telus who have all indicated a preference for a free competitive bid. Th resistance by the three current service providers is louder as they feel that the market is fully served and does not need a fourth competitor who is subsidized by the government. The Wireless Competition alliance formed by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) had launched a website months ago to present their case to the Canadian public, however the government has decided to go ahead with the promised policy.
What will be the outcome of this auction? Will Quebecor Media Inc finally move into the wireless market?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Microsoft Vista and Parental Control

I am still getting used to Windows Vista and the new security management and parental control features are driving me nuts! That being said, this could be a winner for Microsoft as this approach has drawn Apple into the foray of responsible computing managed at the OS level. Apple's Leopard is further testament to their creed; make it better with innovation. Sadly, there are those fans who still think Apple creates and innovates and not just follow. More

Thursday, November 8, 2007

WiMAX dealt a blow in the US market

Sprint Nextel and Clearwire Corporation might be abandoning their plans to build a Wireless Broadband network based on WiMAX technology according to a Wall Street Journal report published today. This turn of event would be a serious setback for the WiMAX standard as this could see mainstream equipment manufacturers moving away from wireless devices and networking gear based on the standard. More later.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Microsoft and Facebook

Microsoft late yesterday entered a deal to solidify their alliance with social networking site Facebook. The deal, worth $240 million will give Microsoft Corporation a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. This latest move also leverages Microsoft's drive to increase revenues in Internet advertising as its main rival Google Inc expand its dominance of web-based market. Microsoft's online ad revenue stands at $1.84 billion compared to Google's recent ad revenue of $13.3 billion. More

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

RIM Shares up as Blackberry enters China!

Research in Motion shares jumped 8% today on the news that the Blackberry phones will now be marketed in China. CEO Jim Basillie made the announcement regarding the Alcatel-Lucent joint venture today which drove the company's share price to $120.42 on the TSX. This follows weeks of speculation as the markets were awaiting this long overdue announcement and reacted as expected. More

Monday, October 22, 2007

WiMAX now ITU Standard!

New WiMAX Standard
Last week was historic for the wireless broadband industry as it ended with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approving WiMAX technology as a part of the IMT-2000 set of wireless network standards. Thanks to the relentless efforts by the WiMAX Forum this tremendous milestone was achieved. The next step will be bringing service fees to acceptable levels as service providers and handset manufacturers converge. See full article from WiMAX Forum.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Tax for online music sale in Canada

Canada's Copyright Board has introduced a new tax for online music transactions according to a report from technology news portal EndgadgetMobile. This is somewhat similar to the fees levied against blank video and data media (CD, DVD, etc.) and will impact customizable radio portals like as

Rogers expands HSDPA to 22 Canadian markets

As Rogers Wireless continues the roll-out of its Next Generation wireless network (3G), HSDPA service is now available to subscribers in 25 Canadian markets. There is growing speculation that Rogers may opt to introduce the HTC iPhone to the Canadian market as a more technology capable mobile device, better suited for Rogers' network when compared to the hyped Apple phone. Rogers is currently promoting a suite of mobile video services codenamed "Vision" and this ongoing campaign coincides nicely with the recent HSDPA launch. Lets see how this one is played out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

ICANN moves closer to multilingual TLDs

Internet domain name regulator ICANN is moving closer to allowing the use of domain names that are from languages using non-latin letters and numbers. ICANN has launched a test page that allows users to visit web pages with URLs in 11 languages not using roman letters or numbers. These languages are Arabic, Persian, simplified and traditional Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil. More.

iPhone Canada? Not so fast!

Comwave Telecom Inc is taking Apple Computers to task over use of its trademark "iPhone" name here in Canada. Apple seem to have gotten over the Cisco Inc hurdle when it launched in the USA by entering into an agreement to share the name which Cisco Inc now owns through its acquisition of Linksys. Now in Canada, Apple might not be able to launch its celebrated "i-Phone" as Comwave maintains it will no be able to share the trademark being used for sometime now. Apple prides itself in being innovative however the recent launch of the iPod Touch is also following the lead of HTC with their trademark Touch technology. Mac-phone Canada? More.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Canadian Driving Made Easy-ier: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa now Offers GPS Traffic Information

A couple of my colleagues were very boastful recently after we all headed to an off site location and they got there before me after leaving a full 10 minutes later than my group did. The advent of commercial GPS navigation systems marked a most significant advance in driving. In recent weeks the added feature of real time traffic update for drivers has been made available to three major Canadian cities on east coast.

Drivers in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa are now accessing the Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network which began broadcasting RDS-TMC data to Canada in early September. With this service GPS devices can access traffic information by way of a RDS-TMC receiver. The receiver accesses traffic information from FM radio broadcasts and passes this to the Garmin, TomTom or Mio GPS models that supports the system. GPS users are then notified about traffic status in the city due to traffic construction or accidents and could optionally provide alternate routes if required.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The prospect of a Google Phone

Google Inc could be in discussion with handset manufacturers and service providers to provide a "Google" type phone, Businessweek reported earlier this week. The proposed service would see subscribers receiving targeted location-based ads on their handsets as well as free call minutes when they viewed ads.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nortel's ponders future, supports pan-European telecom regulator

Nortel Networks in a statement today dismissed talks of a mega-merger but still left the doors open for further acquisitions. The telecoms equipment manufacturer has been plagued with fraud and financial irregularities but continues to do brisk business in the largest emerging market. Nortel also announced the completion of a 40 Gbps-ready (OC-768) optical network between Stockholm and Helsinki for RASCOM, a Russian international carrier. More

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Canada's cellphone companies face Class-action suit.

Canadian cellphone companies are heading to court in defence of a class-action lawsuit now certified by a Saskatchewan court. The suit, lodged by Montreal-based lawyer Tony Merchant, alleges that the carriers have misled Canadian subscribers into thinking that the access fee was a tax by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), when it was in fact and additional revenue stream for cellphone companies. More

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Hacker Proof" Security - EADS

The European Aeronautical Defense System (EADS) which is largely responsible for intelligence gathering for Western Europeans declared late last week that it had developed a new encryption technology, Ectocrypt, that is "Hacker Proof". I am not sure if this real or is it just to taunt/test the Russians. EADS executives are very confident this new technology will deliver, however PLA hackers worldwide will be working hard to prove otherwise as they have done in recent weeks. More

Monday, September 17, 2007

The risks involved with RFID Credit Cards

RFID Card Authorization
Tim Horton's became the latest retail chain in recent weeks to implement "contactless" Credit Cards by MasterCard. The debate is ongoing regarding the risks involved however the deployment of these RFID cards and terminals over the last couple years continues. The data on these devices should be largely encrypted and there has not been any report of large-scale fraud using these Cards. The RFID frontier is expanding at a rapid rate to include different forms of government ID (drivers licence, passport, etc.) and PacketMaster will continue to monitor this subject for security issues.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Increasing threats in Cyberspace

Different suite of products have been developed over the last 5 years for protection against intrusive software and applets from the Internet. eSoft has been a consistent player in the sector for protection against malware and other threats with the ThreatWall 450 network filter. The reviews on this web appliance are rolling in and this product could be a good start for SMEs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FCC faces media protests over "white space" use

The US FCC's plans to make available unused portions of the wireless spectrum assigned to media broadcast is facing protests. Broadcasters are trying to persuade the FCC not to allow wireless Internet services in the white spaces of TV spectrum. The group, named the White Space Coalition, comprising some of the biggest names in technology, including Microsoft Corporation, Google, Dell and Intel Corporation. The broadcasters are arguing that enabling portable wireless Internet services in the white spaces will interfere with signals and degrade TV service for consumers. The National Association of Broadcasters which includes Walt Disney's ABC division and Univision Communications Inc will start airing ads as a part of a campaign against this latest move by the high-tech coalition. More

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Intel joins WiMax

Intel Corporation is investing heavily in WiMax development and recently released a roadmap for products to support the service. The company has outlined it's plans for deploying WiMax to different classes of users. This planned entry will see Intel joining Sprint Nextel and Clearwire Corporation as they lobby standards powerhouse IEEE to adopt and standardize a new technological pathway for WiMax. More

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The future of Mobile Broadband

HSDPA and Wi-Max are leading the pack however much of the future will depend on the hardware and the alliances formed between service providers and hardware manufacturers.

Vodafone today joined the Wi-Max Forum citing that HSDPA will have served its needs at the end of the next 5 years. This move was welcomed by the Wi-Max Forum as an important first step however this should be an interesting one to follow.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Download Accelerators anyone?

When I read in April 2007 about Joseph "Yossi" Vardi's involvement in the Speedbit Download Accelerator venture, I was a bit curious given his noted contribution in the Instant Messaging field with Mirabilis' ICQ venture of the 1990s. Do we need a download accelerator with today's proliferation of high speed connectivity? Speedbit however, is now focused on the mobile computing market with the software being used for video downloads. This is definitely one to watch.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Apple's woes

Apple (Personal) Computer today issued a number of software releases and patches citing vulnerabilities and flaws in its product lines. This has been for some time a noticeable trend, with Apple featuring in CERT advisories and other security response agencies' reports. With all the hype and marketing dollars Apple is surely reaping the successes that comes with market share growth. Hope their customers will remain loyal and that growth will continue. Welcome to the PC club Apple! more

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another mega-merger in the works?

Vodafone Group will tomorrow make a decision on the future with Verizon Wireless. Vodafone could be making a $160 billion bid for Verizon Wireless as it currently owns 45% of the USA telecoms giant or opt for a lesser share ownership. How the US market reacts to this will be of interest to major industry players in North America. Should Vodafone opt to sell some of their Verizon shares, they might need to re-invest that money. Could they then head further north to the Canadian market?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The new Blackberry i-Phone

Blackberry 8820
RIM has announced the release of their 8820 Blackberry i-Phone which enable wireless voice and data access as well as WiFi access to customers. This device although equipped with GPS functionality as well as the other customary PDA features, is still missing support for 3G networks (HSDPA). more...

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Wi-Fi Roadmap.

Wi-Fi Questions
With the growing proliferation of Wi-Fi devices the technology is being outpaced by the demand for the spectrum (2.4 GHz) and the different systems (Access Points, Bluetooth, cordless handsets, etc) requiring wireless access. The Orthognal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) air interface technology has to be traded in for a more efficient technology given that the frequency band in not licenced and is woefully congested and wrought with interference. The future of IEEE 802.11 probably lies in CDMA technology for more spectrum efficiency. First question that comes to mind is code management and how this will be handled by the IEEE in the evolution of the 802.11 standard as this path is explored.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Customers we don't serve - Sprint-Nextel

It was certainly different and even hilarious the action taken by Sprint-Nextel regarding customers they felt were abusing the service and calling the call centres up to 50 times per month. The respective customers were sent termination notices and had all contract fees and outstanding invoices waived. more...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Postini and the Google family

Google & Postini

I thought Postini would have been target for Google a year ago when they launched a number of web-based applications. That being noted they have now acquired the SaaS and system management company for over $600 million. Interesting times as the industry and markets react.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The PDA evolution. From the Palm Pilot to the N95 and iPhone.

Nokia N95

The PDA has evolved from a simple mini computer to a mini computer that has cell phone connectivity and Wi-Fi enabled. Yes, we had just upgraded our Palms when the BlackBerry wooed us with its mobile data capability. The Apple iPhone integrates popular touchscreen technology into a PDA with cellphone, GPRS and Wi-Fi capability. The i-Phone that tops my list is the Nokia N95 which is a quadband GSM and HSDPA (WCDMA 2100) phone.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New SIP functionality the latest scam tool?

Reports have surfaced regarding the use of readily available SIP based services to spoof directory numbers (DN) and commit acts of fraud. The use of these services to deliver fake Caller ID introduces an additional layer of administration and much more processing for law enforcement. This is an issue long foreseen however ignored as SIP services were allowed to sold by VoIP providers without the necessary regulations in place.

Networkers will continue to monitor these developments and provide additional updates.

Friday, June 22, 2007

iPhone Vulverability

iPhone security could be a cause for concern. The WiFi feature opens the phone to a new world of activity. HTC released their Touch phone with TouchFLO screen technology earlier this month. Despite all the additional features which the Apple Phone will not have (GSM triband, EDGE, etc.) the Apple Phone should have more video management capability with its touch screen. More later!