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Technology

Broadly defined "technology" e.g. software, water pumps

FON - Crowdsourcing as a business model

The bane of the telecommunications industry is always infrastructure. Well, maybe sometimes it's the regulation board or the PUC, but mostly it's infrastructure. Capital investments in infrastructure are like fingernails on a chalkboard to the telecom CFO. If you want to create a WIFI hotspot network you have to spend money on a ridiculous number of things like:

  1. The actual physical WIFI antennas/routers/etc - and you have to make them reliable
  2. Salespeople to go out and make people install your stuff, which is why major retail space owners (Starbucks? McDonalds?) are likely targets for big deals
  3. Field technicians to go to those retail locations and actually install the stuff
  4. Field technicians to go back out when someone kicks the device and it breaks
  5. Fleet managers to track the truck rolls and do oil changes and...
  6. ...you get the point

What if you could have a wifi network without buying or hiring any of those people? What if you just had a couple engineers who retrofit really cheap WIFI routers with your hardware/software package and then you sell them to people who already have a broadband connection? All of a sudden everybody with a DSL/Cable connection in their house becomes your Salesperson and Field Technician.

FON vs. TMobile

At least for the USA, T-Mobile hotspots go for $10/day. And there is no such thing as being able to use them for free. In contrast, "Aliens" on the FON system currently pay $3/day. Undercutting Tmobile by two thirds. Well, that's not bad.

Crowdsourcing a Telecom Company

This is what Wired was talking about in their recent "Crowdsourcing" article. It's the idea that as communication and search costs lower you can suddenly contract with everyone in the world to be a tiny little service provider in a giant company that has very little infrastructure or employees, but that does millions in transactions a day. eBay has been doing this for a few years now, but we finally have a fun title for the practice.

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Fiber or Wimax

Fiber? or wireless?

At the end of the article they say

"People talk about the risks of doing this," says Michael Render, who tracks fiber buildouts for RVA, the research firm. What they should be talking about, he says, is the risk of not building out fiber. "The world is changing very rapidly."

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I'm a usability expert because I can say discoverability

I'm convinced that 75% of being an expert is the field's vocabulary.

I may say "enable paging is broken" but a usability expert would say "paging enablement discoverability is low". The concept is the same, but the exact problem is much more clear using the right vocabulary.

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MacBook Pro vs. Dell E1705

I recently purchased a new Dell Inspiron E1705 machine. It's got a nice intel dual core processor, 1GB of fast RAM, a 60GBSATA hard drive, and most importantly a bright 17" screen. Fancy smancy.

At the time I was debating about getting a MacBook pro - basically the same set of specifications, but about $1000 more money.

One concern I had about the Dell was I heard that their support had gotten worse recently, so I purchased the extra 2 year support contract.

I really wanted a Mac - the OS features are great now that they've got BSD underneath it all and with Intel processors it seemed like it would be speedy yet battery friendly. Turns out that MacBook owners are not the happiest bunch of folks.

First, I read about how crappy apple support can be which is really sad. If it were the Dell he would have known that he was purchasing a specific level of support. My level of support - for something like $70 - got me 2 years of next day on site service. I have a problem, I call, I run through troubleshooting over the phone, if it's still busted (like his) someone is in my house the next day to fix it. None of this "sorry, genius bar is busy goofing off".

I've also read about heat problems on the MacBooks - those are pretty standard complaints about it at this point including this guys point that if you don't have a lap tray it will burn your nuts. Sweet.

Finally, today I got sent a link to this video of a MacBook Pro that refuses to come out of sleep. The best thing about that video - it's hosted on a mac.com homepage. Priceless.

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