Jul. 25th, 2016 01:19 pm
riontel: (safari)
Today on a conference call, while waiting for everybody to join:

(1) Did you hear, Verizon is buying Yahoo?
(2) [Pause] Why!?
(1) Who knows. Maybe they wanted a portal?
(3) You can build a portal from scratch for cheaper.
(1) True. But there are dedicated Yahoo users, maybe Verizon wanted something with built-in community?
(3) I don't think those three people are worth 4.8 billion dollars.

In the news

Sep. 3rd, 2013 09:56 am
riontel: (strike)
According to various news sources, Verizon and Vodafone finally reached a much talked about (for years!) buyout agreement. For measly $130 billion dollars (~$60B of them in cash) Verizon will acquire Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. Now Verizon will have full control of the wireless business unit. Interesting times ahead, I am sure.

In another piece of news, Microsoft is planning to buy Nokia's mobile phone business.

Travel news

Mar. 8th, 2013 08:23 pm
riontel: (Default)
I just discovered that AA and US Air are merging. For somebody who's flown over 30 round trips in the past year (I actually checked my records) this comes as a total surprise. Apparently they've been advertising it all over the place. Now I am anxiously awaiting their announcement on the new combined loyalty program. I have a status and a ton of miles on US Air and some on AA. It would be nice if they get merged together with a status transfer.
riontel: (Default)
Those of you who use Instagram might want to check out their new terms of service which now state that they own the rights to photos posted using the service and can sell them to advertisers without user's consent and with no compensation:

''You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.''
riontel: (Default)
Interesting article titled "The U.N.'s Internet Sneak Attack" in the WSJ about the upcoming ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) which plans to renegotiate International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) for the first time since 1988. Russia, China, Iran and other likely countries (Authoritarian tyrannical dictatorships? Welcome to our club.) are pushing for ITU to take control over governing the Internet, its rules and regulations. It would help local governments to exert finer control over what their citizenry is allowed to access. They've been finding the effort currently required to censor and filter out unwanted content too strenuous and would like to simplify it.

Here is info on the conference itself.

In the news

Nov. 2nd, 2012 11:38 pm
riontel: (Default)
Governor Chris Christie ordered rationing of gasoline sales in 12 New Jersey counties to ease the misery of motorists waiting in miles-long lines for gasoline after Hurricane Sandy.

The so-called odd-even system is based on the last numeral of a vehicle’s license plate, according to a statement from his office late today. Drivers with odd numbered-plates can buy fuel on odd-numbered days, starting tomorrow, Nov. 3.

I wonder what are people with vanity plates with no numerals supposed to do, though?

N. got back to NY from DC today and thankfully discovered that the tank in our car was full (the car has been in LI at his folks' all this time). We had to figure the optimal trajectory for him, to spend the least amount of gas while fulfilling all his familial obligations, in case the situation didn't improve over the next week. Not that either of us will be in NY next week.
riontel: (Default)
Internet is finally back, it's been gone since Monday night, along with TV and the land line. Those two are also back but I missed them a lot less obviously. For a few hours on Tuesday I was able to do with the 4G hotspot, was even able to connect to work, but cell service has been mostly down since midday yesterday. I am glad my folks moved from their old place, it got flooded and has been without power and consequently without heat and hot water since Monday. I faired quite well over all. The only scary moment was yesterday when the power went out and I was worried about the battery on my iPad and possible lack of reading material. All my paper books are still in their sixteen boxes. Power was back on within three hours, however, ConEd was fixing something. They even left a warning message on the phone... that wasn't working.

I divided my time between "The Big Bang Theory" and Rowling's "The Casual Vacancy." Book was a disappointment, btw. It's well written, better written, in fact, than Harry Potter books were, but the topic and how it was presented and treated was banal, preachy, moralizing, formulaic and boring. It certainly takes real skill to create so many unsympathetic characters you can't find one to care for, or hate, even, but I don't think that's usually the goal of a work of fiction. It didn't produce any sudden insight into the state of humanity or human relationships, no answers to any problems or any new questions, no new thoughts, or feelings, or aspirations. Made me want to take an extra shower, but that's about the extent of the impact of "The Casual Vacancy."
riontel: (strike)
The other day Google revealed to the whole network engineering community how they cobbled together conceptually new switch to interconnect their data centers. Networking community acted cool and pretended it wasn't dying of envy.

We got an honorable mention even though we didn't have to solder our own switches.

I am overfed, overworked and oversocialized. And tomorrow I am heading from one gathering of geeks to another.
riontel: (Default)
Those who took me up on the Suarez's Daemon/Freedom recommendation will get a kick out of this article. I think it's a development of the case that originally sparked Suarez's imagination. In a nutshell, should a farmer who bought some soybean seeds on the open market pay royalties to the company which genetically engineered and licensed the original generation of the seeds if he intends to plant them?
riontel: (Default)
I saw two references to a recent article in The New York Times and subject struck me as interesting enough to actually go and read it. "How Companies Learn Your Secrets" uses Target's effort to identify its pregnant customers, Target coyly refers to them as 'guests', to talk about habit forming. It's fascinating to read about "the loop of cue, routine, reward" and how one can form or break a habit by identifying each stage and consciously acting to reinforce or change it. Large companies had learned about these behavioral patterns some years ago and have been using them to affect our shopping routines ever since. What I found most interesting, though, was that it's assumed that customers would react negatively if they found out about this practice. Basically, it's taken as a given that people would take offense at the spying and lash out, i.e. not buy the product or stop frequenting a store caught in this behavior.

I must be a complete freak but I like the idea of being profiled as long as it's to our mutual benefit. For instance, if a store after studying my buying habits starts offering me coupons for the exact products I always buy or, better yet, figures out the frequency with which I run out of certain products, packs them up, delivers them to my door and (hell, why not, since we are in a full dream mode at this point) comes and unpacks them, I will remain loyal to the day they go out of business. And I am very easy to profile, I always buy exact same things. If a particular store doesn't have my preferred items, I would go out of my way to another store instead of buying a substitute. If General Mills ever stops making my favorite cereal, I will probably have a nervous breakdown. The problem I have is with the stores that go the other route instead. Take for instance Stop&Shop. They do figure out what you buy and then give you coupons for those things but of different brands in - vain, in my case, - hopes that you might give them a try. It might even be more pernicious than that and they pretend to give you discounts knowing full well they are useless and will not be used. Completely annoying either way.

So, yeah, as long as it makes my life easier, I am all for behavioral profiling, they don't even have to put lawn mowers in my ad booklets. Of course, there is no conveniently situated Target around here.
riontel: (Default)
FCC today published the results of the study they sponsored measuring actual vs advertised speeds of broadband offerings in the US. Unsurprisingly FiOS won by consistently offering speeds of up to 120% of advertised, as it's engineered to do. Comcast is also looking pretty good. AT&T, on the other hand, is not so hot and Cablevision just blows in a major way. If you don't want to read the full report, check out Ars Technica's nice summary complete with pretty graphs. If even that's too much, here is the gist:

This study indicates Comcast, Cox, and Verizon FiOS largely perform well, but other companies like Cablevision, AT&T, MediaCom, and Frontier all fail to deliver their customers the quality of service promised.

But one ISP stood out, and not in a good way: Cablevision had absolutely atrocious download speeds, dropping to nearly 50 percent of advertised speeds during peak hours.

Not surprisingly, fiber to the home was the best-performing technology, while DSL brought up the rear, but the differences were modest, especially for upload speeds.

The report also shows that, apart from Cablevision, Internet speeds no longer fall into the toilet when everyone comes home from work in the evening. And if you are lucky enough to have Verizon's FiOS—you won't notice any difference in speeds, ever.
riontel: (Default)
Siftables, small computer blocks that can sense proximity to each other and react accordingly, originally developed by MIT Media Lab, are now available as a product from a start-up company Sifteo. They demoed it at CES where their early access offering was sold out even before the show opened up. Seems like a cool little toy.
riontel: (Default)
June 8, 2011 is going to be a World IPv6 Day. Some of the major network and content providers around the world will test their IPv6 readiness for a 24-hour test period. If all goes well the change will probably become permanent in the near future and all the IPv4 address exhaustion predictions will become irrelevant.
riontel: (Default)
Analysts are expecting Apple to follow in Google's footsteps and have the next generation iPhones and iPads include near-field communication (NFC) technology. That will allow them to be used as swipe-to-pay devices, eliminating the need to carry around credit cards, coupons, etc. Provided you want to trust that kind of information to your phone, of course. It all might line up pretty nicely with the joint venture by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless that was announced last year called Isis. Isis is going to be a "nationwide mobile commerce network" that will utilize NFC to facilitate various transactions. It should go operational sometime next year.

NFC has been around for a while and it's already being used, in Japan, for instance, to pay for purchases using a phone. I think previously the idea was, when you pay with the phone you see the charge on your phone bill, but now the paradigm seems to be changing. There is no guarantee Apple will also partner with Isis, they might just not surprise anybody and build their own competing service.

In another bit of related news, Verizon Wireless is going to offer a $30 unlimited data plan with their new iPhone due in stores Feb 10.
riontel: (Default)
Verizon Wireless is discontinuing its "New every two" program for upgrading devices. The program offered great discounts on top of already subsidized price for the handsets and allowed people to upgrade their phones for a reasonable price as early as thirteen months into their two-year contracts. No more. Too bad.

There are four new LTE Android smart phones due out before the middle of the year, one each from LG, Moto, HTC and Samsung. Since I am reasonably sure there won't be any native voice over LTE support until sometime next year, these will have to have dual mode antennas: CDMA and LTE. Which in turn might mean that your data connection won't get dropped if you receive or make a phone call. Revolutionary. It's also handy for fall back in the areas where there is no LTE coverage. I wonder how good an iPhone competition these will make.

Cabby who drove me home from the airport today was listening to Howard Stern on the radio. In between lively discussions of some dude getting caught in a compromising situation with a transvestite and Stern's decision to spend the last few minutes of his 57th birthday masturbating, Stern enthusiastically endorsed Verizon. I dearly hope Verizon didn't actually pay him for that endorsement.


Jan. 11th, 2011 11:54 am
riontel: (Default)
Yep, it's official. CDMA iPhone will be available on Verizon, you can pre-order starting Feb 3 and buy in stores on Feb 10. One major difference from the currently existing iPhones, besides the CDMA antenna, of course, is the 5 device WiFi hotspot capability.

Keep in mind, that on CDMA network, if you use the phone, you lose your data connection, unless you stick to an over-the-top VoIP client.


Jan. 8th, 2011 07:10 pm
riontel: (Default)
Don't get your hopes up, folks, but Verizon is planning some special announcement on January 11th and invitations to the event are being sent out. And the word iPhone is flying in the air...

I personally didn't think Apple would bother with the CDMA version after all these years, now that LTE is getting deployed, which means they can create one device that will work across the world and be done with it, but Steve Jobs moves in mysterious ways.


Dec. 5th, 2010 09:11 pm
riontel: (Default)
Verizon is finally launching its 4G network. To be more accurate, they are branding it 4G, even though it does not meet ITU's definition of the standard (that would require a minimum of 100Mbps down speeds, for starters), nor do any of the other commercially available "4G" networks, as far as I know. Anyhow, starting today you can buy an LTE USB modem for use on the Verizon network. There are two devices available at the moment, discounted to $49.99 with a 2 year contract and after a $50 rebate. They come with two data plan options: 5GB for $50 and 10GB for $80. Each additional gig will cost you $10. Network itself will be available in a number of major cities on both coasts and in between and in at least 38 major airports. Promised data rates are 5Mbps-12Mbps down and 2Mbps-5Mbps up under load conditions. Both devices are also backward compatible with the existing 3G EV-DO network.

Smart phones that can make use of VZ LTE should start popping up mid next year. No word on iPhone yet, but I am now suspecting we won't see one at VZ until an LTE one comes out (mmm.. 2012?) but don't quote me on it :) I am more partial to Android anyway, so don't much care. I do care for the MiFi and will wait to upgrade to LTE until an equivalent device becomes available.
riontel: (Default)
Bloomberg just reported, citing sources that chose to remain anonymous, that Verizon will start selling iPhones in January of 2011.


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