Monday, 30 September 2013

Vectoring Trials Begin as BT Look to Boost UK FTTC Broadband ISP Speeds

BTOpenreach, which helps to maintain and upgrade BT’s national telecoms network, has confirmed that the first customer trials of VDSL2 Vectoring technology (ITU-T G.993.5) are live. The new technology could deliver a significant speed boost to users of the operators existing up to 80Mbps hybrid-fibre (FTTC) superfast broadband network.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

A cheap data sim that gives you free data in exchange for watching adds.

So the idea is you buy the sim. login to the portal and watch ads (via wifi) and earn data credit which is instantly usable. You can also buy credit. It run off the 3 network in the UK. a bit like Tesco run off O2 and Utility Warehouse use T-Mobile (part of EE).

Sims are around £5 (£2.50 if your refered buy a refer so give me a shout if you want a referal). 

They are shooting themselves in the foot a bit with not having a nano sim out yet but I just cut my micro sim down to size.

A story of why you should keep your security software updated.

It's all too easy to fall prey to this sort of attack with a cheapo webcam and a lack of security software.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch doesn't impress in full review

I think they nail it in this review really. Its still a concept but it's a decent effort. Battery is also rather shocking apparently.

ISPreview: Headache for Broadband ISPs as Netflix UK Add Super HD Movie Streams

The interesting bit is:

"Naturally the extra quality might give a headache to some providers and that’s one reason why Netflix are attempting to encourage ISPs to adopt Netflix Open Connect, which is their “highly optimized video content delivery network” that’s available at no cost to broadband providers."

I doubt any ISP's would struggle in their core of distribution layers of their network with this upgrade. The only problems will arise if there are access network capacity issues that beat forecasts in certain areas, otherwise this is a bit of a non-story really. 

I hope Now TV move to match this quality. Their standalone NowTV box (for people who don't want Sky or prefer a pay as you go model) is awesome for the price but let down by being only 720p.

Steam is coming to a new operating system

So Valve are going with their own OS. I think it's a interesting move but i'm not sure its the right one.

Still if they push it hard enough it might work. I'm guessing it's going to be a skinned Linux (probably based off Ubuntu).

It'll be interesting to see what they do about graphics driver support. Thats usually a bug bear of many linux gamers although the quality of them have come a lone way in recent years.

Also they have released an image of their new controller design:

It looks weird to say the least! Again it's a bit of risk as PC gaming is designed around a keyboard mouse combo.

Fibre on Demand footprint starts to grow

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

BT List 19 Final UK Exchanges for their GBP2.5bn Fibre Broadband Rollout

The Absolutely Final 19 Commercial Fibre Exchange Upgrades
ANFIELD – Merseyside
ASHFIELD – West Midlands
BEACON – West Midlands
BRADFORD – West Yorkshire
CANARY WHARF – Greater London
FARNWORTH – Greater Manchester
GOSCOTE – Leicestershire
HALESOWEN – West Midlands
HOLMEWOOD – Derbyshire
LEEDS – West Yorkshire
NETHERLEY – Merseyside
NEWCASTLE EAST – Tyne and Wear
NORTH SHIELDS – Tyne and Wear
ORRELL – Greater Manchester
RIPPONDEN – West Yorkshire
RUBERY – West Midlands
STONE CROSS – West Midlands
WAKEFIELD – West Yorkshire

New iMacs are out!

Apple have refreshed the line up with new processors, better wireless & graphics. The Nvidia graphics are a particular nice boost. Hopefully these will come with a discount or free offer for OS X's next iteration coming out in a few months (Mavericks). 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Surface 2 release date, news and features

See link for details on the product launch.

USB3 is a nice addition. Better performance and a better design. With a full Office suite on Windows RT (the version for mobile chips inside tablets) it might now be more appealing for businesses instead of only considering the more expensive Pro version with full fat Windows.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

When wireless charging standards collide...

So Qualcomm has decided to Join the management board of it's rival standard Qi. interesting move.
I've only used Qi charging in the Nokia Lumia 920 and for what it's worth I liked it. It was a bit slow but it worked. It just needed cheaper chargers and integration in more convenient places!

BBM for iOS rollout underway, Android versions still taking it's sweet time.

Not really news worthy to me with the prominence of message apps like Whatsapp.

I'm not really sure what they are trying to achieve with diversifying their messaging system.

Blackberry (formally RIM) really needed a bigger marketing push and awareness with the news OS and phone refreshes. Maybe some new business focused ideas to push at the corporate market.

This could end fighting over a single TV!*

You know that time old tradition of fighting over the living room TV? The Xbox one might seen an end to that, buy a massive TV and do picture in picture with the PS4 via the HDMI input on the XBOX One!

The Original Google Hardware Device Makes a Comeback

"A decade ago, when it was known for little more than web search, Google introduced a bright yellow box that let businesses use the company’s search technology to find stuff stored on their own internal networks. The Google Search Appliance was the company’s first venture into the business world,leading the way for a long list of other enterprise tools, including Gmail and Google Docs and Google Chromebooks.
The GSA — as Google calls it — is now overshadowed by so many other Google hardware and software tools. But the company still believes in its mission. On Tuesday, Google unveiled a new version of the tool — GSA 7.0 — boasting of a new interface, several new search tools, and the ability to handle much larger amounts of data. According to the company, a single rack of these appliances can now juggle the equivalent of the search index as it stood in the year 2000 — i.e. an index spanning one billion webpages."

Friday, 20 September 2013

UK ISP EE Launch New BrightBox 2 Router Alongside its Fibre Broadband

Interesting that the article mentions a lack of info on IPv6 support. You would think that a mobile operator would be all over that in terms of implementation and marketing given that mobile operators tend to be more familiar with IPv6 in their cellular networks (I'm generalising here).

802.11ac and a gigabit Ethernet port are nice additions for a bundled router though!

Eurostar connectivity to get a lot better.

"Commuters travelling on the Channel Tunnel route could soon benefit from even faster wireless Internet access, alongside a seamless switchover at international borders, after Nomad Digital announced that its connectivity solutions would also be installed on 10 of their latest e320 trains.

The 320 series, which first surfaced at the end of 2010, can travel at speeds of up to 200mph (Miles per Hour) on parts of the track that support such performance and are also able to negotiate different signalling equipment and power supplies between countries (i.e. fewer changeover stops required)."

Thursday, 12 September 2013

New Jurassic Park film gets name and 2015 release date

I loved this film so much as a kid. Its about time it had a proper follow up. I hope its as scary as it was back then when I was a kid... Those Velociraptors.... The water rippers as T-Rex drew closer! The Sound! I can't wait!

Suggestion / ramble for Nokia & Microsoft

So Microsoft and Nokia have jumped into bed together. Its been a while coming but with Mr Elop being an ex-MS employee it was set in the stars. 

There is hope but it's still a fledgling platform in comparison to Android and iOS. The market share is growing but slowly.

Nokia have really carried the Windows Phone platform forward but I go get the feeling that HTC, Samsung and maybe even Dell seemed like they were left for dead a bit which is a shame. (I really liked how thin the HTX 8X was and the Ativ S really did no bad in my eyes either). i hope they continue with the OS and models. 

The platform has hardware restrictions... Thats a good thing in many respects. I means less variation which means more targeted software which in theory should mean less development time and better quality. 

Nokia have a  few headline features in their 41 megapixel camera and design. The iPhone 5c has clearly given a nod to the Lumia range. I think the ecosystem needs to keep current with hardware changes though against the competition. quad-cores, resolutions, AV format support are major features lacking here. 

Now here comes the kicker(s), they've struggled for developer support in a lot of areas. Namely Instagram being one of the biggies. At the moment the platform has some great alternatives but the average customer doesn't want or go exploring for alternative services that use the service they want via another app. 

So what can be done? Well MS and Nokia seem to like developing and maintaining apps for others (The Facebook app was an example of this). Thats good as it gives some assurance but surely getting a bigger market share will temp devs over when there is more to gain. 

Nokia are somewhat going in the right direction with their decently specced lower end devices targeting the younger, growing population. They have product placement in programs like HollyOaks and various others. I think this has been their main area of growth for the platform. Especially with the recent financial climate.

Then comes the release date: 25th September (UK)... The iPhone 5c and 5s come out on the 20th September. Thats going to gut Nokia's straight away... Next up... Specifications... generally more is better in peoples eyes... Stick a bloody quad-core chip in your phone, make it 64-bit... If not, make it a damn sight cheaper! 

Next, your competitors sell ecosystems..They combine into an experience but they all fair pretty well as stand alone separates. Now you may have seen on this blog that i'm a recent fan of the Xbox music service. In does well as a stand alone product on various platform and I like it because its like Spotify without the clutter. Push the ecosystem! Here maps is actually quite nice to use but I always think of google maps first when i go to type on my keyboard. 

Raise awareness of the product links as well as how well they work separately. I.e. I'll stick with your music service if I can still use it and change my phone! 

Next the bundles! Below is one you really need to get operators to subsidise and make. It'd be awesome. Hell, shove this on Vodafone in the UK with their 4G and Spotify deal and make a big deal of the headphones and that'd win a few customers. The camera is great but the specs sheet is lacking, you have a fight on your hands this time a round Nokia. Not sure your good looking but fat top ender will handle it without a helping hand. 

Also whats with the bloody red version being missing! That was the best one!   

I should point out I had a Lumia 920, I wanted to love it. It didn't love me. Dust kept getting in the earpiece and breaking the sensor so I couldn't get the screen back on during a call as the phone thought my ear was still pressed to the phone...I gave up after the 4th handset replacement and sold it. Also the OS need a bloody rotation lock! I now use a Samsung S4, it's not great and doesn't look as nice but it's big, thin and has swift key which I absolutely love! I do miss the Xbox live achievement games though! 

ISP's await iOS launch on Sep 18th.

One of those lovely occasions when ISPs get a good test of their networks capacity when hundreds / thousands / millions of customers test their network with a rather large update being released causing large volumes of traffic.

With CDN the traffic tends to be more distributed and localised but it still is rather interesting to watch.

Phone camera wars. Nokia, Sony, iPhone

Apple claims to have made the iPhone 5S better but Nokia and Sony are offering much high mega pixel products. They are fully aware its not just down to the mega pixel count too. With image processing, lens and various features adding benefits to their offerings. Check out the video below.

I'm having to fight the urge as I'm on contract will April 2014 and need to stop spendig so much on gadgets!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Xbox music trying to rival Spotify, goes multi platform

It's coming to Android and iOS so it looks like Microsoft are actually pushing this platform properly!

Pricing is slightly cheaper than Spotify's premium service in the UK which nice. The web player needs a few more social features for people who like that sort of thing.

Xbox Music is Microsoft's music streaming service. Until now, it's been limited to Microsoft's own hardware—Windows PCs, Xbox 360s and Windows Phones. Starting today, that's finally changing: Xbox Music is coming to iOS, Android and web browsers. P
Xbox Music is similar to Spotify and Rdio in a lot of ways: If you pay a monthly subscription, you can stream unlimited ad-free music, stream on your phone on the go, and download songs for offline play on your devices. You can also stream music without paying a subscription fee, though you'll have to listen to ads, and after six months the service will put a cap put on how many free songs you can stream per month. 

Update: Popped on some decent headphones and gave the service. Sounds good. Clean interface. I actually really like it if I have a specific desire in mind. The explorer section is a bit basic. This is only the web version though so the apps might be a different story. All in all I like what I see so far and the initial unlimited free usage will go down well with a lot of people I don't doubt.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

ISPreview Sky news.

Two articles:

Sky will be trailing what most ISP's will want: Self install FTTC services. There are various pitfalls and advantages to this. The main advantage being cost and the main disadvantage being the customers home environment. One of the main advantages of having a OR engineer comes to site is that they should in theory fix any in home issues.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Xbox One gets a CPU speed boost to go with its faster GPU

"We'll announce a launch date shortly," said Mehdi. "We recently just went into full production, so we're now producing en masse Xbox One consoles. We've had real good progress on the system. In fact, we just updated the CPU performance to 1.75 GHz on top of the graphics performance improvement, so the system is really going to shine [and] the games look pretty incredible."

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I passed my Cisco CCNA exam today.

Wayhey, about time!

Sorry Google, no dotless domains

Dotless domains would allow web addresses like “http://search”, but would be tricky to implement without DNS jiggery pokery so serious the IAB thinks we're better off without them. ICANN has now said, in this resolution, that it feels dotless domains raise “security and stability concerns”. Seeing as ICANN's job is to act as “ … coordinator of the Internet naming system for the security, stability and resiliency of the DNS and the Internet's unique identifier system” it's hard for it to sign off on something with the potential to make DNS less secure, stable and resilient.

Nokia services bought by Microsoft for $7.2 billion in cash (€5.44 billion)

Microsoft will pay EUR 3.79 billion for "substantially all" of Nokia's Devices and Services business and a further EUR 1.65 billion to license patents, for a total of EUR 5.44 billion, with the deal completing in Q1 2014.