Sounds too good to be true? It is. They fail to say this "flat rate" is limited to 30 MB/month!
That's right, 30 MB. This is what Jean-Pascal Van Overbeke, Vice President Mobile & Convergence for Orange, says:
“Our new pricing structure makes it easy for our customers to understand exactly what they are getting and for how long when they access the mobile internet. Customers can get access to the web on the move, without the fear of being caught out by any hidden charges.”
What's more intreresting is that nowhere in the press release they say anything about the 30 MB limit, instead that's what it was distributed:
From June, five new bundles, starting from just £1, mean both Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go customers can browse safe in the knowledge they will know exactly how much they will pay.
A joke? Customers know how much they pay for sure, but had no idea how much they were getting for their money.
True, nowhere they say "unlimited". But nowhere they place a limit. The way things are worded it sounded as it was unlimited. That's all.
No wonder people are already complaining. T-Mobile UK offers 1 GB/month for £7.50. Yes, 1 gigabyte for less than what Orange charges for 30 megabytes.
Lithuania: ex-URSS satellite republic, obtained its indepedence of a communist state in 1990, population 3.6 million, GPD US$57 billion, per capita US$ 15,100.
Slovenia: independence from Youguslavia in 1991, population 2 million, GDP US$ 44 billion, per capita US$ 25,500.
New Zealand: independent since 1907, population 4.1 million, GDP US$ 102 billion, per capita US$ 25,500.
What do Lithuania and Slovenia have that we don't have in New Zealand? FTTH. According to a post I found on GigaOM, TEO LT is jumping the (non-) existent copper and going directly to fiber:
Countries with little copper legacy are doing their best to bypass the centuries old access methodology and going straight to fiber, stringing it right to their citizens’ doorsteps. This is especially true in the case of smaller nations – like Slovenia and now Lithuania, one of the former Soviet republics.
This is from the TEO LT press release:
“The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Project is one of the most important network modernisation projects of TEO. Over three years, we will invest more than LTL 100 million in the new optical access network. This strategic solution will enable us to meet the fast-growing customer needs for fast Internet access not only today, but also for many years to come“, - says Arūnas Šikšta, General Manager of TEO LT, AB.
The fiber-optic network, which is being installed by TEO, is a novelty both in Lithuania and in the majority of European countries. Usually, optical fibers are installed up to a multi-family apartment house’s inlet box, from which copper cables are installed to residential apartments. Due to their physical characteristics, such copper cables limit the speed of data communication. TEO will install optical fibers up to the user’s apartment (computer) – that will allow increasing the speed of services provided to the customer up to 1 Gbps.
Another advantage of the fiber-optic network is that, by using it, data can be both uploaded and downloaded at the same speed. It also ensures minimum delay, which is particularly important when using Internet chat applications, organizing video conferences or playing online network games.
TEO plans that the residents of the 5 biggest cities of Lithuania will be the first to use the advantages provided by the fiber-optic network, and in Vilnius the provision of fiber-optic Internet services will be launched already in June.
The LTL 100 million is equivalent to US$ 40 million, and they will roll out a network capable of 1 Gbps to home.
In the case of Slovenia, Telekom Slovenije, has launched a fiber to the home project that will get 50,000 Slovenian homes fiber-based broadband access by end of 2007.
I know the New Zealand terrain is very different from those other countries, but FTTH needs to start somewhere, and our population is concentrated in large citiies (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerston North). Why not FTTH in these places first?
I know the Wellington City Council is out seeking comments on a broadband strategy plan. But isn't it late?
While this is happening overseas, New Zealand still fights the monopoly in copper. As I wrote before, I don't believe local loop unbundling is the solution. Why share old technology, instead of providing incentives for network providers to invest in deploying new technologies?
The way it is going to be implemented here, I can see all those providers trying to use the old copper, without investing a cent in new technologies, waiting for the incumbent Telecom New Zealand to come with their own solution, and then try to get the government to force Telecom to share their network.
Where's the incentive to investments?
I've just read about FeedDemon 2.5 being released and downloaded the update. It looks great, and there are a couple of features I want to use, mainly the prefetch for offline reading and the Newsbin sharing, which now synchronises with NGES.
This is the theory. In practice it didn't work at all. I installed FeedDemon 2.5, it recognised my NGES host, and even created the Newsbin on the server. But that's all. None of my feeds (more than 600) synchronise either way, making it a futile exercise.
I tried installing on my Vista 32 bit machine, with the same result. Tried with a clean install, with the same result.
Now comes the thing: I've posted a request for help in the NewsGator Support Forum, but it appears there isn't a NewsGator Support person looking after the forum, so I have no answers for this problem, except for the few comments from the community. And the developer, Nick Bradbury, asks in his blog for all technical questions to be posted in the forums. Catch 22...
The idea I have for the Newsbin sharing is appealing for me: I read lots of stuff, and I would use FeedBurner to create a feed from my Newsbin and some applications to post this in a "link blog".
If this doesn't work then I will probably be moving all my feeds to Google Reader. Google Reader now uses Google Gears, a new framework that allows software to work offline.
UPDATE: As promised here in the comments I was contacted by NewsGator, and yes I need NGES 2.0 to use the new FeedDemon 2.5 features. I have downloaded NGES 2.0, but there was a problem installing the update, so the server is currently down. I've submitted screenshots to support - something related to date - perhaps date format (UK versus US)?
UPDATE: The date problem was related to the license file - US and NZ (UK) date formats. I also need to upgrade the Microsoft SQL database, so I will do this soon. Looking good now...
UPDATE: All sorted now. Installed Microsoft SQL Server 2005 SP1, got a new license file with correct date, and everything installed fine. FeedDemon 2.5 works fine with NGES 2.0 now. Installation took less than 10 minutes overall (not counting the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 update).
UPDATE: Not so fast... FeedDemon 2.5 is playing up and won't synchronise with NGES 2.0. I've submited this to NGES support again, and in the meantime I am back to FeedDemon 2.0...
For example, this is the kind of self-explanatory message I received before:
This is not as bad as what Ed Hansberry has experienced though...
Fear nothing for a NEW version is coming out soon, according to the official Windows Vista Blog. Which is not early enough...
You see, this first version of WMDC causes so much problems that I plug my Palm Treo to my laptop once a month, or less, depending if I need to install a new program. I am glad all of my PIM data (Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, E-mail) is synchronised to an Exchange Server, so I don't really need to plug the device. There was a time only one in four attempts would actually see the device communicating with my laptop.
Sharing this view are James Kendrick (a Microsoft MVP Tablet) and Darius Wei (like myself a Microsoft MVP Windows Mobile). I am sure Ed Hansberry will be happy, as others who also have problems and are crying for an update...
How is that? Until now PDAs and smartphones (from now on mobile devices) were PC companions, that is, users would synchronise their information (PIM, files, programs) to a PC. At the end of the day everything on a mobile device would just be a replica of the same kind of information present on a user's PC.
The Palm Foleo changes this by actually being the companion to a mobile device. Its main features are actually the large screen, full size keyboard and the ability to synchronise with a mobile device. Note that in this case the main repository is the mobile device, not a PC - although you could have a mobile device synchronising to a PC, and the Foleo synchronising to your mobile device.
Below is a short two minutes video I created from the press material distributed by Palm, with some more information, directly from Jeff Hawkins, founder, Palm Inc:
Why would anyone want this? For many users the most important things are really e-mail, attachment handling (office documents) and a bit of browsing. Not every user needs a PC for heavy 3D gaming for example. And not everyone wants to carry a heavy laptop when going out of the office, just to "keep in touch" with e-mail.
I believe some business users would really like the ability to have a device with a bit more "room" to work than a mobile device - a larger 10" screen, decent size keyboard and longer battery life (the Palm Foleo seems to be able to work for up to five hours with its standard battery) are very appealing.
The Palm Foleo comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Want to browse the Internet? You can do so with its built-in Opera Browser (including Flash support), via Wi-Fi. If no Wi-Fi is available you can use Bluetooth wireless to connect to the Internet through a Palm Treo.
It also uses Bluetooth to synchronise information with your mobile device. Note that what you see on a Palm Foleo is what you have on your mobile device. It is like an extension, a keyboard/monitor combination that is not constantly connected to its main storage.
Initially you must have a Palm Treo smartphone, but Palm says it will work with other Windows Mobile devices with little or no changes and possibly other smartphone platforms (Symbian?) with small modifications.
The entire system is open, based on a Linux platform, and Palm is making all the APIs available.
Palm Foleo is being launched with a street price of US$ 499 (after a US$ 100 rebate). Wasn't this what UMPCs should have been? Forgive me, but the way I see it the US$ 500, long battery life UMPC ended up being a US$ 1500, short battery life sub notebook. And the Palm Foleo might as well take its place.
Another important point to consider is Palm's history of creating and supporting developer communities. This will be a major factor in having a wider acceptance for this product. The Palm Foleo comes with Opera Browser, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Datavix Documents-to-go, and we can expect a lot more by the time it reaches the market.
While still early to give my final impression on this (let's wait until I can play with one), I think this new class of devices promises to be ground breaking. I certainly would use one, but I would like to see its price come down, to about US$ 250.
Back to MindManager 7: I have just installed it and the first (nice) surprise was the user interface: Mindjet is the first company I see that fully implemented a Microsoft Office Ribbon-like user interface (officially named Microsoft Office Fluent User Interface). Check the screenshots below:
What else is in store with MindManager 7? MindManager Pro 7 includes integration capabilities with Microsoft Office products, new map styles and galleries for faster formatting, and enhanced ScreenTips. MindManager 7 Mac offers a new way to select topics with rules, which can be saved and applied as filters; printing enhancements that allow users to print large maps across multiple pages and add headers and footers and borders to printed maps; enhanced import and export capabilities including OPML, HTML, Text Outline and more.
I've used MindManager in its previous versions in many projects and personal tasks - great tool to organise things, clear ideas, brainstorm, etc.
UPDATE: Below is a screen shot with the ribbon clollapsed. You can do this by double-clicking on any menu option in the menu bar:
Ilium Software are the developers of some fine software for Windows Mobile and Palm - eWallet is the only program I've used since my early Palm days, migrated across to Pocket PC OS and Windows Mobile. I have it on my desktop and can't live without it.
Watch their blog too...
In 2006 we saw Internet Explorer 7. Silverlight (and a lot more) was announced at Mix 07. What will we see in Mix 2008?
Better subscribe to their RSS feeds to keep an eye on registration information.