My next phone?

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2.5G mobile phones, i.e., phones that can send picture, text and voice MMS messages, and which still seem new fangled to many people, are going be superceded by an even newer generation of mobile phone technology within the next few (several?) years. Unfortunately there’s two possible ‘newer generations’ to choose from. Lets look at them.

3G

For the last few years, all the major phone companies and service providers have been investing billions in [and hyping up] 3G phone technology. 3G allows one to ‘do much more‘ with their phone than 2.5G allows for, but there are some of problems with 3G. First, 3G rollout is a bit of a chicken-and-egg affair with mobile producers blaming the networks for bad coverage and the networks blaming mobile producers for bad mobiles. From that link; “‘Charles Dunstone, Carphone Warehouse CEO, said “current mobile content is still lacking’, pointing out services such as Active from O2, Live! from Vodafone, OrangeWorld and T-Mobile’s T-Zones, is often not exclusive or just too expensive.”. There is one provider doing 3G in the UK right now; Three, but every Three customer I’ve come across seems to hate the service to some degree. Secondly, and this is the biggy for me; the data transfer rate is a bit shit. “384 Kbps when a device is stationary or moving at pedestrian speed, 128 Kbps in a car, and 2 Mbps in fixed applications“. I mean, please. Not very good compared to…

WiMax

Wi-fi, for those who haven’t heard of it, is a system for wirelessly networking computer equipment together. Originally wi-fi was designed for use on private local area networks, either in workplaces or in homes, but some hackers found that many wireless networks were left unsecured, allowing anyone to access it and make use of that networks own internet connection. Some entrepreneurial companies picked up this concept and modified it slightly, setting up wireless ‘hotspots’ in large city centres, airports, cafes, etc, letting customers access wireless broadband through their wireless enabled mobile computers, for a small fee of course, while they wait for their plane or drink their mocha. Wi-fi had always been a local, short range thing; put a large structure between yourself and the access point you are using, or wander more than 40f away, and you’ll loose your connection.

But ten months ago, along came a new souped up version of the original wi-fi standards, WiMax. As this article summarizes, “WiMAX networks have a service area range of up to 52 kilometers (31 miles) and allow users to get broadband connectivity without needing a direct line of sight to the base station. This wireless broadband technology also provides shared data rates up to 70 Mbps, which is enough bandwidth to simultaneously support more than 60 businesses with E1/T1-type connectivity and hundreds of homes with DSL-type connectivity using a single sector of a base station.”. The article also notes, “It has the potential to be as universal as television, and the power to span the world.”.

To get where I’m going with WiMax, you need to remember that a large amount of telephone voice traffic is already routed through the internet these days, plus the fact one can already get pc based telephone products. WiMax trial services are already springing into being; I feel it’s only a matter of time before the two markets — telecoms and wireless broadband — collide.

4G

“4G?” I hear you ask. 4G is what’s meant to be what’s coming after 3G. The technology is being developed, but don’t hold your breath – I’m not. Forget about it for the moment 😉

3G + WiFi

Because of the billions of investment that has been put into 3G over the last few years, I have a very strong feeling it will not be left to die that easily… Here are a few articles outlining various points of view regarding the future of the whole 3G/WiMax/4G thang, many of which envision a compromise situation;

T-Mobile’s big idea – marrying 3G and Wi-Fi.
“3G alone is not enough. Any [operator] doing it alone is making a mistake and missing opportunities.”.

Integrated 3G and Wi-Fi for T-Mobile
“T-Mobile also revealed plans for a multi-network service that will allow users to roam “seamlessly” across three different wireless networks: GPRS (2.5G), WCDMA (3G), and Wi-Fi.”

Nokia sees powerful mobile future
“With the promise of 3G technology as well as wi-fi – which allows broadband over the airwaves – Nokia is convinced that powerful handheld devices will combine both technologies.”

3G is Safe from Wi-Fi
WLAN is ‘on the pause’ and 3G is ‘on the go’. … WLAN is not an alternative to 3G.

WiMAX and 3G are Poised to Deliver
…Infrastructure spending on [3G and WiMax] technologies will reach $16 billion by 2007. However, the vast majority of this will be spent on traditional cellular technologies, rather than WiMAX/802.16 or 802.20 equipment.

The New WiFi Gels With 4G
Last mile access will be the first application for 802.16a but mobility will follow via 802.16e. WiMAX is considered a migration path to 4G.

Some tech links

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“Strolling down Madison Ave yesterday, I was passed by a taxi bearing an LED ad-board. The ad displayed what has to be the most trivial instantiation of location-aware advertising possible, the kind of Phildickian gimmick we’ve been predicting for years. Drawing, no doubt, on the cab’s current GPS coordinates, cross-referenced against the advertiser’s database, the message was ‘Stop by the nearest BankBrand ATM @ 35th and Madison!'”

Mitsubishi Electric unveiled a prototype cell phone with an LCD display that can be viewed from both sides. … this could possibly affect the current trend in clamshell-type cell phones having two separate displays. Cell phones would also be thinner and cheaper

The ATI HDTV Wonder … supports Analog, Digital and High Definition Television signals, making it an extremely versatile TV Tuner Card.

And especially for ; “… researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are showing lightweight and man-portable cooling technology, leading to truly wearable air conditioners“.

A quick windows question

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I am in a bit of a predicament. The Dundee Central Library computers have restricted user profiles which means that whenever I follow a link online to an mp3 file it automatically opens and plays it in Windows Media Player. Does anyone have any idea as to how I can get around this behaviour so that I can download mp3s to a CD-R? Left and right mouse button dragging only allows one to create a shortcut to the mp3’s url. It’s Windows 2000.

P.S. As you would expect from a restricted user profile, there is no right button menu available in IE ;p

ArghArghArgh!

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Argh, I hate my bloody teeth. Apart from the fact that I haven’t been able to chew sweet foods in the left side of my mouth for several months now, and that I’m not too keen on the look of my sticky-out-verging-on-buck front left tooth, the big tooth right at the bottom back right of my mouth has developed a rather large and jagged hole. I really must get all of this seen to quite quickly. Damn those extra crunchy hash browns in the canteen.

My flat-warming party is this evening, but I have absolutely no idea how many people are going to turn up. Stu, Andy, Jo & Richard are definites. Scott, Daz, Drew & Thomas the Goth are hopefuls. Several work colleagues are possibles. I have two hours after work in which to pick up some snacks, get home, clean up my room then have a shower. And I’m working tomorrow from 9am. Sodding weekend shifts.

I have so many links I’d like to mention, but so little internet accces. Do bear with me, and I’ll post some of them soon.

The Scottish Pairlament an You

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“The Scottish Pairlament is here tae mak a difference tae yer life, whitiver ye dae an whauriver ye bide in Scotland. Makkin yer voice heard in the Scottish Pairlament”

“The Scottish Pairlament an the Scottish Executive is sindry organisations an has different roles in governin Scotland. The Scottish Pairlament is a law makkin bodie made up o aw 129 MSPs. It gies the MSPs fae aw pairties an independent MSPs scowth tae mak new laws, tak tent o the wark of the Scottish Executive, tae debate issues o importance tae Scotland an tae heeze or lat doon taxes. The Pairlament is accoontable til the fowk o Scotland.

The Scottish Executive maks policy on devolvit maitters an introduces new laws til the Scottish Pairlament. Forby, it rins ither public bodies an decides on public spendin on devolvit maitters in Scotland. The Executive is accoontable til the Pairlament an til the fowk o Scotland. The First Meenister is the heid o the Scottish Executive an is walit by the Scottish Pairlament. Syne the First Meenister wales the Scottish Meenisters”

“Issues sic as defence, employment law, genetics, immigration, international affairs, pensions an social security is kent as reservit maitters an is dealt wi by the Unitit Kingdom Pairlament in London. The Scottish Pairlament can debate reservit maitters but canna mak laws on them.”