Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's been happening with the Palm Pre?

[caption id="attachment_2027" align="alignright" width="200" caption="We're 4 out of 6 months before the end of the 1st half of this year, and we STILL don't know of the price of the product or an actual release date."]We're 4 out of 6 months before the end of the 1st half of this year, and we STILL don't know of the price of the product or an actual release date.[/caption]

Not much news has surfaced since I first mentioned my interest in the Palm Pre back on February 20th.  Here we are 4 months later with 2 months to go, and we STILL don't have a price or a set release date on it.

This fact alone is not only frustrating, but completely ridiculous.  What is the hold up?  When is it coming out?  Do you guys know of an expected price yet?  Both sides (Palm & Sprint) are playing dumb with "We don't have a price or know when it's coming out." This is starting to piss off a lot of people (like me) who have been following this phone since its announcement at CES.  Apple at least had the courtesy of providing a release date when they announced their iPhone.

We expected Palm or Sprint to make an announcement at CTIA with some worthy news about the Pre.  All that was announced at CTIA were the plans you need to use the phone.  Basically an Everything Data phone or a Simply Everything plan.

There have been several rumor dates floating around.  A while back people predicted that the phone would be out my March 1st since Sprint traditionally releases their phones on a Sunday.  Then April 15th (tax day) for whatever reason, then April 30th.  PreCentral.net thinks the release date will be May 17th, but now are having second thoughts about that.  As days wane on towards June 30th, I'm thinking we're going to see it released the last week of June.

I can't help but think at this point that maybe they're laughing or mocking us?  I've been reading some of Palm's posts on their official blog and on their official Twitter profile and some of their responses to the community have been kinda dumb.

Just recently Palm showed the Pre to Molly McAleer, some chick who does her own show called The Molls Show.  I'm guess that Palm showed her the phone to get her to advertise it?  Despite Molly looking kinda cute, ultimately the video she did was pointless... I'll do you a favor and save you 2 minutes of your life: She reveals to the world in an emo sort of way that she "secretly" has a crush on the Pre.

The only thing that's worthy of  news since February 20th is that the Palm Pre will support emulation for the old Palm O/S applications.  If I were to make an educated guess, it's to at least let those that still use the old Palm devices the ability to use them while uring the developers of those old applications to port their software over to Web O/S.

As I'm writing this, PreCentral.net has confirmed with their sources that UPS is shipping back the finalized phones from China to the U.S.  Apparently these phones have the final ROM flash loaded on so they're ready to be sold at launch.  The question is WHEN?  And how much?

It's hard to say if Sprint and Palm are trying to keep the hype with the Pre going.  Sprint launched an ad campaign on the phone, ads have been found on Facebook, the homepage of CNN.com and other popular websites, but the ads don't reveal anything about the price or a release date.  How can you advertise something without including a price?   Just showing pictures of a phone with stupid slogans like "The new Palm Pre Only from Sprint.  And only on the Now Network" doesn't tell any of us anything we'd like to know.

Update: PreCentral.net officially killed of May 17th, they're guessing the release date will be June 7th.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tracking the Swine Flu

With the recent outbreak of this Swine Flu it'd be a good idea to see a visual of where the Swine Flu is spreading. So far at least 20 people in Mexico have died from the H1N1 Swine Flu.  In the U.S. there are confirmed cases of people that are infected with it, but nobody has yet died from it.

Here's a marker legend for the map below:

  • Pink markers are suspect

  • Purple markers are confirmed

  • Those markers with a dot represent the individual(s) are still alive

  • Yellow markers are negative

This map automatically updates to reflect upon any new cases of the Swine Flu.  Keep in mind - the pink markers are suspect, meaning the flu these people have is still being determined.  The purple markers without dots are those that have actually died from the H1N1 Swine Flu... THOSE markers are cause for concern.

Update: It looks like the death toll in Mexico has now surpassed 150 deaths.

Friday, April 24, 2009

You think you hate Time Warner? Lets throw some fuel in that fire...

[caption id="attachment_2005" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Brian Bowman, the Director of Public Affairs for the city of Wilson, N.C., which runs the service, is fighting to keep state government from killing the competition in the area."]Brian Bowman, the Director of Public Affairs for the city of Wilson, N.C., which runs the service, is fighting to keep state government from killing the competition in the area.[/caption]

Lets say you lived in a city where they directly offered you a service where you could purchase 10/10Mbps internet, 81 TV channel and phone service.  Then you'd have a competitor like Time Warner offer a similar package but with fewer channels (not including Cartoon Network, Disney, The Science Channel, ESPNU, ESPN, or ESPN classic) and a lower upload speed for your internet.

The city offers their package (called Greenlight) for $99/month, and Time Warner offers theirs for $137.95/month.

Obviously any rational person is going to flock towards the $99 package the city offers.  Well Time Warner instead of trying to release a more competitive package against the city, has decided to lobby to get the state government to pass legislation to try and destroy its competition.  The sad thing is Time Warner may just get their wish.

North Carolina's State Senate proposed Senate bill 1004 & House Bill 1252 that would prevent local services from getting funding under the broadband portion of the national stimulus bill, but attempt to cripple or ban the local service all together.

In the city of Wilson, Brian Bowman is the Director of Public Affairs.  He recently launched a blog and said:
I have a 10Mbps up/down connection at my house.  Can't get half that from the cable company.  I buy it directly from the city of Wilson.  After less then a year of residential service, almost 3,000 Wilson citizens are subscribing to Wilson's fiber optic network.  Local businesses in town can get speeds up to 1Gbps.

If the cable & phone companies really want a level playing field, they'd open their books like like we do in the spirit of open meetings and open records law.  They don't want a level playing field, they just want to be the only team on the field.

Bottom line - these companies are using your state lawmakers to protect monopolies.  It was wrong in 2007 when a similar bill died in the house and it's wrong today.

According to a local newspaper, the City of Wilson initially approached Time Warner with a request for faster internet service for their residents, and the company refused, as it would cut into their profits.  So the city took it upon themselves to build their own network and sell the service to its citizens at a fraction of the cost.

I have to wonder how lawmakers can legally get away with trying to pass bills like these when they clearly seem anti-competitive.  The only way to prevent this type of thing from happening is to recall these corrupt people as clearly they don't hold any interest for their people.  The two senators sponsoring Senate bill 1004 are David W. Hoyle & Debbie A. Clary.  Their contact information can be found by simply clicking on their names.  For the house version of this bill, there are far too many people sponsoring this bill, just click on the House Bill 1252 link and look at the sponsors.

Seriously this type crap makes me sick...  If you're a resident of North Carolina, contact your House & Senate members and voice your disapproval.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pirate Bay Admins found guilty, but the website remains online

[caption id="attachment_1998" align="alignright" width="325" caption="Looks like The Pirate Bay will remain online. For now..."]Looks like The Pirate Bay will remain online. For now...[/caption]

So as you've probably read everywhere on the internet about The Pirate Bay crew, all four of the defendants were found guilty...  Yet The Pirate Bay remains online.

Why you ask?  Because there was no injunction in that trial specifically said "Shut down the website."  The trial was directed at the TPB (The Pirate Bay) crew finding them guilty of the copyright infringement − not the website.

If the MPAA & IFPI want the website shut down, they'll need to file another trial for exactly that.  John Kennedy, head of the IFPI said that's what they plan to do.

Lets be realistic here: if you manage to successfully shut down The Pirate Bay, what makes you think that's going to stop piracy?  All it's going to cause people to retaliate against them by creating another 100 websites like the Pirate Bay.  Essentially what the MPAA & IFPI are doing is putting their hands into a bees hive, shaking it, and not realizing that they're going to create a swarm.

It's exactly the same issue that the U.S. Government has been dealing with when it comes to the "War on Drugs." Pot may be technically illegal, but you can't stop everybody from using it.  You really can't win this battle.

I'm personally keeping a close eye on this story as new details unfold.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Disneyland 2009

A visit to Disneyland - April 18th, 2009. Went with friends: Pio, John, Jobe, Kristin & Miranda.  Pio's company rented out a bunch of rooms at the Disney Grand Hotel, so we took advantage of that and spent our Saturday at Disneyland and California Disney.

[nggallery id=10]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Swedish Courts - The Pirate Bay: "Guilty"

[caption id="attachment_1986" align="alignright" width="223" caption="With the four defendents of The Pirate Bay found guilty? Does this mean the end of it? ...Probably not."]With the four defendents of The Pirate Bay found guilty?  Does this mean the end of it?  ...Probably not.[/caption]

Honestly this verdict didn't come as a surprise to me.  The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) as well as every association across the globe that has their copyrighted materials illegally distributed went up against the Pirate Bay crew.

The verdict announced April 17th claims that four defendants:

  • Peter Sunde (alias: brokep)

  • Fredrik Neij (alias: TiAMO)

  • Gottfrid Svartholm (alias Anakata)

  • Carl Lundström

All guilty, and each of them must pay must pay $905,000 in damages.  ($3,620,000 total) What's interesting is the Swedish court did not believe the music and motion industry suffered that much in damages, yet they ordering the four defendants to pay it regardless.

The judge claimed that the four defendants were aware of the copyrighted material being shared on their websites, and worked as a team to help distribute it.   This logic is what the court chose to take and based their verdict on that.

Peter Sunde said that he did not expect any jail time, and claimed that the verdict was 'unreal.'  When he was asked about the fines he said: "We can't pay and we wouldn't pay if we could.  If I would have money I would rather burn everything I owned."

Does this verdict mean the end of the line for them?  Nope...  There will be appeals which will stagnate the final outcome.  Both sides have until May 9th 2009 to file their appeal to Sweden's higher court.

Peter Sunde went on saying that this verdict does not mean the end of The Pirate Bay.  The defendants were on trial − not the site.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Palm Pre have a confirmed release date, but we're still in the dark

[caption id="attachment_1972" align="alignright" width="279" caption="Natali De Conte, part of CBS & CNET's Buzz Out Loud knows when the Palm Pre's launch date is"]Natali De Conte, part of CBS & CNET's Buzz Out Loud knows when the Palm Pre's launch date is[/caption]

Ever since Palm showed off their prototype Pre phone at CES, I've been anxiously waiting for this phone to come out.  While Palm did say expect to it be out before the "first half of this year" apparently Sprint & Palm have a confirmed date to launch the phone.

What pisses me off is if this launch date has already set in stone, then why all the secrecy?

On CNET's podcast: Buzz Out Loud, (episode 951) Natali De Conte confirmed she knew when the release date was, but had to sign a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) with Palm.  Natali aside from being one of the hosts of Buzz Out Loud is a frequent correspondent for the CBS Early Show.  Palm wanted to feature the Pre on the Early Show, but like with any major network, daily shows require planning in advance...

So if a date for the Palm Pre has been set, then why are we still in the dark about it?  From all the online video demos I've seen, the device looked pretty polished (complete).  The Pre phone has an emulator for Palm old O/S, it already has 3rd party software available, (Sprint TV, Pandora, Google Maps, etc...) and have started inviting developers to create new applications for the device.

Just tell us the release date already... And the F***ing price while you're at it!


Update: Palm responded to Natali claiming the release date she was given is no longer valid.  So now she doesn't know either... Wonderful.

Time Warner customers: REJOICE! The company is backing down on metered-billing

[caption id="attachment_1980" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Finally! Time Warner is backing out of putting internet caps on their customers."]Finally! Time Warner is backing out of putting internet caps on their customers.[/caption]

You know, since I started this website, there have been at least 3 stories in the last year that I've posted on my site which became pointless the day I posted them.  Why you ask?  Because apparently I have the worst timing in the world when it comes to these things...

I just posted an article earlier today about the backlash Time Warner has been getting over their attempt to put a cap on their customers.  Their attempts to meter their customers in Texas were postponed becuase they couldn't get any volunteers to test it out.

Any news story you'd read online about it ridiculed Time Warner.  Hell even a senator was pretty disgusted about this.  Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The opposition has been astounding.  There were several websites like DropTimeWarnerCable.com, Facebook groups (requires a Facebook account to view), and several different forums where people were voicing their opinions.

Well it appears that Time Warner is going to back down... For now, though they don't seem very happy about it.


Time Warner stalls capped internet caps in Texas over public rejection

[caption id="attachment_1961" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Time Warner's plans for metered bandwidth in Texas have been shattered... For now."]Time Warner's plans for metered bandwidth have been shattered... For now.[/caption]

It looks like Time Warner has been forced to stall their internet cap usage testing in the Texas cities Austin and San Antonio for the time being.  Surprisingly they have had trouble finding customers. </sarcasm>  The company had plans to start these tests on the 13th of April, but due to the underwhelming response they have postponed the metered-testing until October.

This was the pricing structure Time Warner would've made available for those volunteering for the metered-bandwidth testing:

  • $15/month for 1GB ($2 extra for any overage)

  • $75/month for 100GB ($1 extra for any overage)

As I reiterated in my prior posting, Time Warner wants to start tiered pricing to prevent their customers from using the net to stream video because it poses a threat to their cable TV business.  Yet their excuse (which they're still sticking to) is that they need help in raising money to fix their infrastructure, because the internet demand is rising at a rate that would supposedly outpace it.  So putting cap their users fixes their infrastructure?

While the metered-testing may have been delayed in Texas, apparently it has started in Rochester, NY and Greensboro, NC.  Frontier Communications, a competitor to Time Warner had plans to do the same thing with capping their customers; but due to public outrage they abandoned the idea.  Because of that decision, former Time Warner customers have started jumping ship to Frontier.  Ann Burr, a PR representative for Frontier in Rochester, NY told the Associated Press they have received hundreds of calls from Time Warner customers wanting to switch over. "I guess it has been a public relations crisis for Time Warner."


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Even more interesting news regarding Sprint, Blackberries and MMS

A user on the Crackberry Forums recently posted about how his Blackberry Curve phone was getting embedded pictures when receiving MMS.  For awhile a lot of people thought this user was trolling as other users were claiming this without providing us any evidence.

Well user asdf002 wasn't lying.  In fact he/she posted pictures as well as a YouTube video showing the embedded picture in the message.

Comes out user asdf002 has the Blackberry Curve 8330m.  You might be asking yourself what's new or different with this model vs the regular 8330 model?  Not much really.  The main differentiation is that the 8330m models use MEID (Mobile Equipment Identifier) instead of ESN (Electronic Serial Number).

With this 8330m, it enabled Sprint to easily identify the newer model blackberries and push out the service books that enabled incoming MMS.  Now granted this isn't "true MMS" as the pictures are still running through Sprint's picture mail servers.  User jverity on the BuzzAboutWireless forums said:
It is not True MMS.  It just gets delivered to the phone directly.  It is still going through a Pic Mail server.  This is provable by the fact that even those people who are getting direct delivery can still go to the pic mail site and see the message they just received.  The complaints I have gathered from all these threads are as follows, in what I think is the order of importance:

  1. Delivery method - Having to go to the website to pick up the MMS.

  2. Outages - When the pic mail servers are down (which happens way more often than other carrier's MMS outages) you still do not get your message.

  3. Delivery delay - Going through the pic mail servers delays reception between 30 seconds to 5 minutes when compared to any other carrier.

  4. Certain message types do not come through properly because of the way the pic mail server handles them.

  5. Certain images have their quality downgraded by the pic mail server, supposedly because it is trying to save storage space.

  6. Your media is stored indefinitely on a server that has been hacked before and there are still instructions out there on the internet on how to break in to other peoples accounts.

Regardless of the fact that it's not true MMS, it might as well be the same thing.  For me the important thing was actually receiving the pictures directly to your phone − without having to jump through hoops.

I posted on the BuzzAboutWireless forums asking if it were possible for us early adopters to have our phones SKU manually reactivated or refreshed on their network so that the network would see our phones the same way the 8330m phones but it doesn't seem possible .  Sprint employee halcyoncmdr replied to my question bascially saying "No that won't work" and gave his reason why:
No, the SKU itself on the new devices is different. The 8330m is entered into the system separately than the regular 8330. If you have an original 8330 then you will have what all the other 8330 users have. If you happen to have an 8330m then you get the newer experience receiving the picture directly because that is how the network sees it, separately from the original 8330s.

Despite people claiming that corporate customers won't be affected, the fact is they will be. If they are used to a specific system, changing that system will adversely affect them, even if you believe the Picture Mail system is inferior. Changing the system when they are used to it will change the way things work.

Lets be realistic here, if a corporation using Microsoft Windows discovers that their systems are vulnerable to some exploit, they wouldn't ignore it, they'd upgrade or patch their systems to avoid it.  The same rule should apply with the MMS changes here.  These changes most certainly would benefit the corporate customers in the long run; but I think what it comes down to is that Sprint doesn't want to devote anymore money or manpower then necessary dealing with the situation, seeing as they're hemorrhaging at this time.

With the backlash and endless threats Sprint has received from their Blackberry community regarding their shitty Picture Mail service, you can only pray they won't make the same mistake again.  The highly anticipated Palm Pre phone which is expected sometime before the 2nd quarter of this year claims it will have MMS capabilities but I have to wonder if that will actually be "true MMS" or not.  Seeing as Sprint has a reputation for leaving their customers high and dry, it doesn't look promising for the Pre community as well.

We shall see.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Acer Aspire One AOD150 Netbook Unboxing

[caption id="attachment_1933" align="alignright" width="270" caption="This is the Acer Aspire One AOD150 Sapphire Blue Netbook"]This is the Acer Aspire One AOD150 Sapphire Blue Netbook[/caption]

Sorry for the lack of updates.. I haven't had much time to post here because I've been busy capturing video and writing scripts for future videos on Mitalis.com.  I'd like to make it up to you with another video.  I recently purchased an Acer Aspire One AOD150 10.1" Netbook from Amazon.com as I wanted something small, portable, and lightweight that I could access the internet on.

Here's some technical information about the Acer Aspire One Netbook that I bought:

  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor 533FSB

  • 160GB SATA Hard Drive 5400RPM

  • 1GB DDR2 533 SDRAM (I upgraded to 2GB)

  • WSVGA 10.1" screen (1024x600) w/ CrystalBrite Technology (LED backlit)

  • Integrated Graphics Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 (256MB ram reserved for video)

  • Windows XP Home Edition

  • Multi-in-One card reader

  • Built in microphone & CrystalEye Webcam

  • 6-cell battery providing up to 6 1/2 hours of battery life

You can find out more information about the Acer Netbooks at www.acer.com (click on Netbooks) or www.amazon.com (keyword AOC150)

In this video, I do an unboxing of my netbook as well as show you how to upgrade its RAM.

[flashvideo file=http://mitalis-videos.s3.amazonaws.com/netbook-unboxing.flv width=423 height=338 /]

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Adblock Plus Filter maintainer dies aged 56

[caption id="attachment_1904" align="alignright" width="230" caption="Richard J. Petnel - maintanied a filter called EasyList designed for the Adblock Plus Firefox plugin"]easylist[/caption]

Richard J. Petnel passed away last Friday, April 3, 2009 at St. Peter's Hospice inn after having a brief illness.  It has not been disclosed as to what illness he died from exactly.

Rick was well known on the internet for his work, he spent a great deal of time maintaining his Ad Block Plus filter webpage: http://easylist.adblockplus.org

So what's going to happen with the Adblock lists?  Well on the Adblock Plus blog, it was announced that user Ares2 will be taking over Easylists.  Ares2 had been maintaining a German complementary subscription for Easylists, but will also be filling the shoes of Petnel.

If you'd like to leave a message to Petnel's family, you can do so here: www.NewcomerAlbany.com


Why Mitalis loves YouTube

The video clip speaks for itself.  Just watch...

[flashvideo file=http://mitalis-videos.s3.amazonaws.com/nerdy-youtube-kid.flv width=432 height=336 /]

Taglines don't make crappy movies better

Came across this on the internet for the upcoming Crank 2: High Voltage movie, I couldn't help but share because at least the graffiti on the picture is probably telling the truth.  But hey, I still have plans watching it... Why?  Because I know what to expect when I walk in to see this.   It's your typical Jason Statham movie...

Crank II Tagline

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Time Warner Cable to start screwing you over with bandwidth caps

[caption id="attachment_1863" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Time Warner is putting forth an anti-competitive strategy that screws everybody over except themselves."]A typical rendition of a rich businessman doing whatever it takes so they don't get screwed over.[/caption]

Early last year, Time Warner announced that it planned to set up bandwidth cap trials. Sixteen months later, they're moving forward with this trial and will be testing these caps in four new cities.  The four new cities where Time Warner will be screwing over their customers over will be:

  • Rochester, NY

  • Austin, TX

  • San Antonio, TX

  • Greensboro, NC

What's interesting is Time Warner doesn't have other ISPs to deal with in these cities that offer competitive speed in broadband service.

CEO of Time Warner Glenn Britt said an in interview:
We need a viable model to be able to support the infrastructure of the broadband business.  We made a mistake early by not defining our business based on the consumption dimension.

Essentially what he's saying is that their existing flat-rate pricing model isn't "viable" enough to fund their infrastructure upgrades, despite the company being very profitable.  The company has other niche ways to make money by doing things like DNS redirection advertising, where if somebody mistakenly types in a wrong domain, they'll see ads come up on that page with similar domain names and suggestions of domain names that closely match what they probably meant to type.

In truth, the real purpose of this bandwidth cap is to allow them to take control of Internet Video.  The idea of charging customers more money for the exact same service, especially now with video sites like YouTube and Hulu that offer HD video clearly poses a huge threat to their TV business.  Time Warner's investors also pressured them to go this route.

The most ridiculous thing about this whole cap is the lack of bandwidth they're making available for their audience.  Time Warner wants to set a cap ranging between 5GB to 40GB.  If you're a subscriber to Netflix's HD streaming package, you could easily exceed 50GB in less then a week.  Their plan is to charge you $1 extra for every gig of bandwidth you go over.  A 40GB cap is extremely low, even Comcrap...err Comcast has a 250GB cap which is 6 times more then the max of what Time Warner offers.

I stumbled across this website: 'DropTimeWarnerCable.com' that lists common internet activities that could easily exceed their monthly 40GB cap:

  • Downloading game demos

  • Download your purchased steam games

  • Download music via iTunes

  • Backing up personal websites

  • Uploading videos to YouTube

  • Watching YouTube videos

  • Keeping our Dropbox synced

  • Stream video from Hulu/Vimeo/Netflix

  • Update operating system with drivers/service packs

  • Office networking between multiple branches

  • Remote Desktop Access, Online Gaming, Downloading Linux Distros, School Lectures

  • Backing up full resolution photos from my 8GB flash card to my online storage account.

  • Streaming music from Pandora

  • Uploading large amounts of pictures (20+ mega pixel pr. image) for sharing with friends on my personal website

  • Stream video with grandma so she can see her grand kids

  • World of Warcraft

  • Skype / VoIP

  • Downloading scientific data for research

  • Web seminars, web meetings

Other ISPs like Verizon FIOS (where available) offers very competitive speeds at a competitive price, and a much better package, also did I mention they don't rip you off by throwing in a bandwidth cap?

The decisions they're making  are outrageous and monopolistic.  Time Warner has no competition to deal with which is exactly why they're doing this crap, leaving the residents of those cities little to no choice when it comes to ISP selection.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all against businesses making money.  However, when you do something where it's obviously anti-competitive against other businesses, that's where I see it as the company being GREEDY.  These online video websites offer a new business model that goes against the archaic business model of Time Warner.  The most logical way to handle this situation is for Time Warner to change their business strategy and offer something better or unique for the customer rather then taking a sledgehammer and screwing everybody over.  Their current strategy really leaves the taste of barf in my mouth.

I hope to god there's a class action lawsuit against Time Warner.  Legislation needs to be passed because these sort of business not only hurts everybody in the long run, but it creates a huge obstacle when it comes to internet evolution.