Busy making things: github, links, photos, @mc.

Cingular Crippled the 6682 to Boost ARPU

Posted: September 29th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 38 Comments »

I’ve been exploring and playing with my new Nokia 6682 for the past few days but just today got around to setting it up to talk to my IMAP mail server. After setting up the mailbox I went to do something that has become second nature to me: snap a photo and send it via email. I was shocked to find that email is missing as an option under the save menu:

Crippled 6682

Say what now? Where did it go? I checked with Jim and his 6680 can send via multimedia, email, and Bluetooth. My only options are multimedia, Postcard, and Bluetooth.

The only conclusion that I can come to is that Cingular has crippled the 6682 in order to increase its ARPU (average revenue per user) by forcing users to use the ever lucrative MMS. I should qualify this with the fact that yes indeed, I am able to send pictures via email, but it is about the opposite of easy:

  1. Snap picture.
  2. Hit application button.
  3. Navigate to Messaging.
  4. Click on Messaging.
  5. Click on New Message.
  6. Scroll down, select E-mail.
  7. Select Option softkey.
  8. Scroll down, select Insert -> Image.
  9. Find image.
  10. Select image.
  11. Continue as if you had just snapped a picture and selected via e-mail.

Russ doesn’t think that I should call the above scenario crippled. I think I’m fully justified. While yes, the phone retains the ability to send an image via e-mail. However Cingular have made it unneccesarily hard to do so. They’ve made MMS the only convenient method to send pictures, and MMSes bring in much more money than standard data.

This crippling of picture to e-mail reminds me a lot of Verizon’s castration of Bluetooth on the V710. Cingular had to go out of their way to remove the e-mail option and I can’t think of any reason for them to do so except to increase revenue.

If I wasn’t so mad at this point I’d be pretty exceited about the Postcard option on that mail. I’m not sure how much it costs (I’ll investigate once I’ve calmed down a bit) but it appears that this option allows you to send a snail mail postcard of your picture with a personalized message. That’s really really cool, but it doesn’t make me any less angry at Cingular.


Blown Away by the 6682

Posted: September 27th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 15 Comments »

My Nokia 6682 came in tonight, and I’m completely blown away by it. Compared to the 3650 and N-Gage the fit and finish on the 6682 is absolutely stunning. I was suprised to find full Opera (7.60) installed on the rs-mmc (yes, I’ve already downloaded the free 8.0 update). I quickly got rid of the nast Cingular branded theme and also switched on the active background, which I think I like (but I haven’t had enough time to be sure). There are a bunch of other trial apps included on the MMC including MobiTV that require exploring.

I’m definitely digging the camera “mode” that the phone puts itself in when you slide open the camera lens cover. I don’t think that picture quality is quite as good as my Sony DSC-U20 but it’s a definite improvement over my 3650.

The phone is also a lot smaller than any other Series 60 I’ve had. It’s probably not actually a whole lot smaller, but it’s a little smaller and feels even smaller than it is.

I’m really excited to have a modern Series 60 device so I can play with all of those apps that just don’t work on my 3650 or taco. I’m also excited about taking advantage of the newer Python for Series 60 features that were off limits to me on the 6.0 devices.

Expect more observations over the next few days but my initial impression is “wow.”


Nokia 3250

Posted: September 26th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 18 Comments »

There’s been a bit of buzz about the Nokia 3250, the little brother to the Nokia N91 music phone. The 3250 is quite obviously derived from the 3230, an inexpensive Series 60 device that probaby hasn’t sold too many units (though I can’t confirm this) because of it’s bad timing to market and the huge “cheap” factor. The 3230 is an inexpensive Series 60 phone but it really comes off just looking cheap.

I’ve noticed that Nokia seems to be betting pretty hard on phones with “modes.” For example with the Nokia N90 there is a standard flip-phone “mode” but if you turn the screen and camera properly you’re using it in camera “mode.” I’m not sure if I buy complex mode changes such as those employed by the N90 transformer or the swivel keypad that changes the 3250 from phone mode to music player mode. At the same time I think that simple mode changes are extremely compelling. For example if you open the camera lens protector on a Nokia 6680 (or other phones from other manufacturers with this feature) it instantly stops being a cel phone and brings up the camera interface. That’s simple and beautiful. I’m not sure that the same can be said for the N90 or 3250.

Part of me wants to argue that any well done phone/music player has to integrate both functions as “core” functions and not compartmentalize them the way they are on the 3250. Without playing with it though I think it’s too early to judge whether it’s a flop or a hit.


My Nokia 6682 is On The Way!

Posted: September 25th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 4 Comments »

We ordered up our phones yesterday, a Nokia 6682 for me and a Motorola v551 for her. I kept leaning towards the Nokia 6102 for my wife but kept coming back to the fact that it lacked Bluetooth. As a bonus the v551 is also quad-band so if we find outselves in the UK I’ll have to go back to my 3650 or taco while she can keep using her normal phone.

The phones should be in Wednesday evening; I can’t wait!


Rocks Cluster 4.1 Released

Posted: September 24th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Open Source | 6 Comments »

DistroWatch notes that Rocks Cluster 4.1 (beta) is out the door. Rocks was one of several cluster computing Linux distributions that caught my eye while I was working on my research paper on open source clusters. According to the release announcement they have rolled BitTorrent in to the installer which should make for some amazingly fast compute node installations.

I always love to see progress being made in Linux-based clustering technology. Congrats to the Rocks team for getting this (beta) release out the door.


Is It Hot in Here?

Posted: September 23rd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Open Source | 4 Comments »

No CPU Frequency Scaling

Breezy Badger has been treating me quite well for the past few weeks. We’ve had our moments, like the other day a software update left me X-less (that was fixed by apt-get dist-upgrade --fix-missing), but all in all I’ve been quite happy.

Today I was greeted with a note letting me know that my laptop would be running a little warmer and faster than usual after a kernel update. I’m guessing that later today or tomorrow another fix will come out calming things down again. If not, I’ll file a ticket. Things have been amazingly stable considering the sheer quantity of updates that I’ve been applying almost daily.

The Badger Rules!

Update: Just as I thought, the kernel update I applied this evening fixed the issue and I’m speed steppin’ again.


Nokia 6102 Drops on LetsTalk

Posted: September 19th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 3 Comments »

Real Soon Now we’re going to switch over to Cingular so I can buy a 6682 on contract. So far the front runner for a phone for my wife has been the Motorola v551. It’s cheap (free), quad band (nice!), has bluetooth and just generally is the best bang for the buck in the cheap clamshells. She currently has a C650 which is a cute little phone but is a bit too tiny to actually use and has been having reception issues lately.

With the droppage of the 6102, also free after rebates at Let’s Talk, we’ve got something else to look at. The phone looks like a 6230 in a clamshell package with an up to date S40 UI, VGA camera and a decent external display. I’m really quite bummed that it doesn’t have Bluetooth (a feature that probably makes the v551 the front runner) but the 6102 is definitely worth considering. I’m not going to officially recommend it until I play with it, but it sounds like a capable little device that just lacks a few high end features.


The 6682 Drops (Really This Time)

Posted: September 13th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 37 Comments »

Darla is on the ball as usual, and had the launch scoop this morning:

09:31 < DarlaM> matt, the 6682 was launched?

Yes. Yes it was. The phone is available now at Cingular.com or available for $99 after rebates and 2 year activation at Let’s Talk. It looks like Amazon’s superfantastic deal expired before the 6682 was actually released and it still doesn’t look like they have any.

I’ll be snagging mine as soon as I can so leave one on the virtual shelves for me!


PyCon 2006 Call for Proposals

Posted: September 11th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Python, Web Services | 2 Comments »

The PyCon 2006 Call for Proposals is out. In addition to the regular sessions and less formal lightning talks, PyCon 2006 will feature longer tutorial sessions on February 23. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to make it this year, but PyCon is a total blast. Last year it was great to map faces to names and to learn about so many new developments and projects. It’s time to get writing so that there is an excellent and diverse selection of talks again this year!


Tablet PCs Still Too Expensive?

Posted: September 10th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Mobile | 5 Comments »

For as long as Tablet PCs have been on the market, I’ve been lamentinting that they’re a very cool idea. They just cost too much. At first they were in the stratosphere. Eventually you were only paying a $1000 premium over a standard laptop. Now the differential seems to be down even more, but it’s still in the range of a couple of hundred bucks.

I was flipping through the latest HP catalog and opened it up to the page showing their range of business laptops. It starts at $663 for their low end model up to $1663 for (you guessed it) their Tablet PC. To be fair, it looks like the price difference is lower than I’ve ever seen it. The next model down is a nc8230 with a Pentium M 740 and a 15.4 inch widescreen at $1463. The Tablet PC (tc4200) has the same processor, memory, and hard drive, but comes in a smaller lighter package (12.1 inch screen).

So really, there is no apple to apple comparison of Tablet PCs and laptops. A laptop isn’t a Tablet PC and a Tablet PC isn’t a straight laptop.

Come to think of it, I probaby wouldn’t buy a Tablet PC unless I could install Ubuntu on it. It’s been well over a year since I had Windows as my primary boot partition on my aging HP ze4430us. I keep Windows around on a small partition for those times that you need to work with software that only runs on Windows or those freaking websites that you really need to use that only support (and only work in) Internet Explorer. Aside from a monthly or bi-monthly boot in to Windows, my primary laptop has been run by warthogs, hedgehogs, and badgers for the past year and was run by red hats, green lizards and a cast of others before them.


Breezy, Baby!

Posted: September 7th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Open Source | 1 Comment »

Breezy Update

I’ve finally completed backups and have successfully installed Breezy Badger, (the October Ubuntu Linux release) on my laptop.

I ran Hoary (the current release) for serveral months before it was out and overall it was rock stable for me. I had some issues with early preview releases of Breezy, but so far everything looks great. I’m installing a tonne of updates and after that I’m going to take a look around and see what there is to see. Here are some things I am going to be looking at/getting up and running:

  • NDISWrapper (done and completely painless with ndisgtk)
  • ACPI support and in particular suspend/resume
  • RestrictedFormats for Breezy. I need my mplayer and codec support.
  • Finding and installing development tools
  • Reconfiguring Evolution (done)
  • Reconfiguring Gaim (done, I’m up to 8 accounts and haven’t bothered to look up my ICQ#)
  • Poking and prodding

Christian Lindholm Joins Yahoo!

Posted: September 6th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 4 Comments »

It’s official. Christian Lindholm has joined Yahoo!

After 10 fantastic years at Nokia I have decided to quit. As of September 12th I will join Yahoo! as VP of Global Mobile Product first based in London and then moving to California late in 2006.

Congrats are in order to both Christian and to Yahoo! I have no doubt that he will keep things headed in the right direction while exploring new sides of the mobile internet that we haven’t even thought to look for yet.


Ajax for the Sake of Ajax?

Posted: September 4th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Web Services | 7 Comments »

Kiko Usability

Kiko is very ajaxy. It’s getting tons of buzz. Is it just me, or is kiko completely unusable? It’s definitely cutting edge 2.0 ajaxy stuff, but could you actually plan your day or life with it?

I don’t mean to pick on kiko. It’s obvious that they’ve put a lot of time in to the project. I just think that we’re falling in to some kind of dot-com trap where we’re using Ajax for anything and everything, weather it’s appropriate or not. Projects and products are being judged on how well they make stuff appear and dissapear on screen rather than their actual usefulness.

At the same time there’s a huge list of apps that are better apps because of their use of Ajax. I love Backpack, Google Maps, and many other Ajax-enhanced apps that I use throughout the day. I’m constantly amazed at what is being done by keeping an eye on The Ajaxian Weblog, Signal vs. Noise, the Ruby on Rails weblog and the myriad of other sites that I see Ajax mentioned and taken to the next level throughout the day.

I really like it when existing apps with solid backends get an Ajax boost. I flipped out when I saw the screencast for an Ajaxified Hula. The great thing is that Hula kicked butt even before Ajax was applied but rocks even more after.

I’m fascinated with the idea of single-url-as-webapp. Ajax gives me goosebumps (in a good way). But please, please, let’s not think of presentation first, usefulness later.


Busses

Posted: September 3rd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Weblogs | 1 Comment »

Busses in NOLA

I’ve been keeping up with the efforts and citizen reporting of a team of datacenter employees on the 10th floor of a building in New Orleans for the past few days. While I was catching up today, I had the pleasure of watching some 23 busses on their way to the Superdome and convention center. I thought I’d share this high moment with you, though there’s a lot of dispair to go around.


iPhone: One More Thing?

Posted: September 1st, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Apple, Mobile | 23 Comments »

If Apple really does have a line of Apple-branded phones ready to rock, they might just have something. If all they’ve got is the Motorola E790, we’ve got trouble right here in River City.

In all seriousness I hope there’s something else — there must be. The E790 should be one of those phones that just never makes it to market. The itunes-style interface part of it looks halfway decent but the rest of the phone is dogged by Moto’s standard (ugly) UI.

If UIQ 3 weren’t running so far behind I would think that UIQ3 + Apple customization would be a perfect combination. From what I’ve seen, UIQ 3′s one-handed configuration should rock and be very intuitive. Apple’s UI engineers could surely tweak and customize an iTunes interface on top of that for the music stuff.

If Apple were really smart they’d team up with HTC or another company that will churn out devices to spec for a device with that “in-house” polish.

I’ll be watching my aggregator closely on September 7th. Unless Apple has something really big up their sleeves, the Walkman phones are probably going to remain your best bet for some time to come. I’m really excited about the Nokia N91 too, but I worry that whatever PC interface it ships with is going to be too painful for most to use.

To be honest, an N91-like device with the iTunes store hookup would probably slaughter the music/cellphone crossover market.