Technology


Samsung Galaxy S III from Virgin Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S III from Virgin MobileI own a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. I love it, but folks are now enjoying the Samsung Galaxy S III running on 4G LTE speeds and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. I'm naturally curious how that experience compares with my daily mobile experience.

The cool cats at Virgin Mobile sent me such a Samsung Galaxy S III last week and I've been playing with it. They've given me a subscription to their Mobile TV app that lets me stream a variety of CTV networks and videos and it's definitely faster.

Here's a shot of me watching Conan via Mobile TV on the Samsung Galaxy S III.

2012-10-05 18.47.54.jpg

It's fun playing with new toys... Is anyone else using the Samsung Galaxy S III?

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Getting Screwed by Rogers: A Sports Fan's Dillema

televisionI watched a lot of Summer Olympics, including the closing ceremony. That closing ceremony was pretty much the last bit of television I watched via my Rogers digital receiver until the baseball playoffs started on Friday. Both the Olympics and MLB playoffs looked fantastic in HD on my LG television, though.

Reading the above, you're likely thinking I don't watch much television. In actuality, I do enjoy a number of television series, and many movies, I just don't watch them on conventional television. I play them on my laptop and use an HDMI cable to see it on my LG TV. Rogers doesn't get involved.

Each month, Rogers gets approximately $100 from me. I absolutely hate spending this $100, but I haven't figured out a way around it without sacrificing live sports. About 18 months ago, I got an amplifier for receiving digital OTA signals, and tried living without paying Rogers a dime for cable. I got a few stations, in HD no less, but then the NHL playoffs started and I wanted to watch. I couldn't pull in the stations OTA, nor could I find decent, clear streams on the web, so I bought the smallest package that would get me CBC, Rogers Sportsnet and TSN / TSN 2 in HD. That's how I got to $100 a month.

There's always something coming up around the corner that stops me from cancelling the service altogether. The NHL Playoffs, the Euro Cup, the Olympics, MLB playoffs, and soon NBA and WJHC. So long as I want to sit in my living room and watch these sporting events live in HD, I'll have to pay the piper. And that doesn't seem fair to me.

Since I'm only watching one of five stations to get my live sports fix, why can't I buy these HD stations a'la carte? I figure I pretty much live on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. $100 / month sounds crazy for a handful of stations.

Help me stop getting screwed by Rogers. Other than going to a bar to watch live sports, do I have any other option? I've looked at Bell, I've tried OTA with an antenna, and finding streams over the Internet didn't cut the mustard.

What's a sports fan to do?

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The Rolling Hills of Pearson

The Rolling Hills of PearsonI don't own an iPad, nor an iPhone, so I'm not as interested nor up-to-date with the Apple iOS 6 news. But I am an observer of technology trends and it's been impossible to surf the web without hearing about the Apple iOS 6 Maps controversy.

Apparently, Apple has replaced the Google Maps with their own, and the results have been unfortunate. Here's a nice collection of the mistakes found. In a nutshell, Google Maps is better and those who upgraded to iOS 6 want their Google Maps back.

Here's my personal favourite image from Apple iOS 6 Maps. These are the rolling hills of Toronto Pearson International Airport.

pearson

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Twilight of the Gods: When Buying Music Seems Laughable

Twilight of the GodsI recently wrote about my new Neil Young CD, the first "purchased" CD to cross my path in almost a decade. Then, I listened to Twilight of the Gods, a five-part radio documentary series that aired on CBC's Inside the Music. You can listen to it here.

In part five of Twilight of the Gods, there's a chat with a group of teens who are obsessed with pop music. They love what they hear on MuchMusic, but when the interviewer asks them if they buy music, they literally laugh out loud. The very notion of paying for music is so outlandish they find it funny. There are now adults who have never bought music, and never will so long as it's available somewhere for free.

Record companies have a major problem on their hands, and fixing it might be akin to closing Pandora's box. That was a lot of money they were making on CD sales, and they haven't been able to replace it, but they have managed to make a series of bad moves in the post-Napster era that have made them villainous. This isn't only opportunity lost, but it removed much of the guilt associated with illegal downloading.

It's a fascinating documentary and I highly recommend it. It almost makes it understandable why concert tickets are so expensive these days. It's one of the only ways an artist can make real money today.

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Why Do You Use IE?

Why Do You Use IE?I just took a snapshot of the browsers used by the last 100 visitors to this site. Microsoft's Internet Explorer won easily, with most using an older version like 8, 7 or (gasp!) even 6. Here's a pretty chart for you.

browsers

For those of you using IE by choice, I'm curious why. I'm not trying to be a tech snob here, I'm sincerely curious. Is it because you've never tried an alternative browser like Chrome or is IE just your preference?

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Samsung Kies Won't Recognize My Galaxy S

phoneI own a Samsung Galaxy S II running Android and up to now I've been as happy with it as a pig in shit. Following years of using a Blackberry, it's been a wonderful experience to use a smart phone that's indeed smart.

Wanting to get away from Blackberry, I always knew I'd pick Android over the iPhone. I don't like the closed Apple way, and I hate iTunes. I went with the Galaxy S II because friends I trust recommended it and until now I haven't had a single complaint.

But this complaint is a biggie. It's making me appreciate iTunes in a way I never thought possible, and it's got me thinking my next phone shouldn't be a Samsung. You see, as far as I can tell, the only way for me to update my phone's firmware, and do a proper backup, is via USB using a piece of software called Samsung Kies.

I don't like the idea Samsung forces me to use their software, software that doesn't run in my preferred O/S (Linux), but that's not what has me frustrated as all hell. I'm pissed off at Samsung and their bloody Kies because it simply won't recognize my Samsung Galaxy S II phone.

Yes, I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the software. Did it in Windows and on my Mac, too. Used different USB cables, turned off the USB debugging, removed my external SD and SIM card, and finally, when I was at my wit's end, returned the phone to factory settings. Nothing worked.

My kingdom for an alternative to Kies and the true freedom from proprietary applications the spirit of Android promises. And if anyone has any idea how I can update my firmware from 2.3.3 without using Kies, I'd appreciate it.

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Heaven's Gate Site Lives Forever

Heaven's Gate Site Lives ForeverRemember back in March 1997 when Marshall Applewhite and his Heaven's Gate cult committed mass suicide in order to leave Earth for a space craft that was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp? Well, they had a website at http://www.heavensgate.com/ to explain to the rest of us why they had to off themselves.

hbhgtd

Someone's been keeping that site online, because it remains in tact as it was that day in 1997. Here's their press release issued March 22, 1997. I like the catchy title: "HEAVEN'S GATE® "Away Team" Returns to Level Above Human in Distant Space".

I'm a web guy, meaning I do digital marketing and create and maintain quite a bit of web infrastructure. In fact, I started doing this shortly after the Heaven's Gate site was last updated, so it's easy to spot the difference between sites then and now.

No Google Analytics or Other Tracking Scripts
Viewing the source, it's strange to see HTML without some sort of analytics scripting for measuring visitors. Sure, the site's server will still have log files that can be parsed, but what site in 2012 doesn't have a Google Analytics script embedded, or StatCounter, or whatever. Tracking codes are everywhere.

<meta name="keywords" content="EVERYTHING">
Back in 1997, this is how site gamed the popular search engines of the time. We're talking Yahoo!, Excite, AltaVista, Lycos and the like. Heaven's Gate loaded up on keywords, including the terms "Jesus" and "God" six times each.

No CSS
Today, the majority of a site's mark-up happens in the CSS. CSS is how colours are changed, font sizes and styles manipulated and basically all decoration is handled. In 1997, everything was done in the HTML. The body tag, for example, looks like this: <body bgcolor="#000000" background="img/tile.jpg" text="#33ffcc" link="#cc99ff" vlink="#66cccc" alink="#ff0066">

.htm Files
Blame Microsoft for this one. Today you don't see many .htm files, but in 1997 that's what Microsoft created instead of .html. Perhaps Heaven's Gate used FrontPage or another Microsoft editor.

Hidden On-Page Keywords
In 1997, search engines weren't as sophisticated, so you could game them but putting keywords on your site that were the same colour as your background. To the visitor they were invisible, but to the search engines of the time, they were indexed as normal HTML text. Heaven's Gate has a bunch of these keywords in the footer of their home page, but you'll have to select the text to see them.

Check this out!

<font size="0" color="#000000">Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming angels angels angels angels angels angels angels angels angels angels end end times times end times end times end times end times end times end times end times end times end times </font size>

<font size="0" color="#000000">Key Words: (for search engines) 144,000, Abductees, Agnostic, Alien, Allah, Alternative, Angels, Antichrist, Apocalypse, Armageddon, Ascension, Atheist, Awakening, Away Team, Beyond Human, Blasphemy, Boddhisattva, Book of Revelation, Buddha, Channeling, Children of God, Christ, Christ's Teachings, Consciousness, Contactees, Corruption, Creation, Death, Discarnate, Discarnates, Disciple, Disciples, Disinformation, Dying, Ecumenical, End of the Age, End of the World, Eternal Life, Eunuch, Evolution, Evolutionary, Extraterrestrial, Freedom, Fulfilling Prophecy, Genderless, Glorified Body, God, God's Children, God's Chosen, God's Heaven, God's Laws, God's Son, Guru, Harvest Time, He's Back, Heaven, Heaven's Gate, Heavenly Kingdom, Higher Consciousness, His Church, Human Metamorphosis, Human Spirit, Implant, Incarnation, Interfaith, Jesus, Jesus' Return, Jesus' Teaching, Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Krishna Consciousness, Lamb of God, Last Days, Level Above Human, Life After Death, Luciferian, Luciferians, Meditation, Members of the Next Level, Messiah, Metamorphosis, Metaphysical, Millennium, Misinformation, Mothership, Mystic, Next Level, Non Perishable, Non Temporal, Older Member, Our Lords Return, Out of Body Experience, Overcomers, Overcoming, Past Lives, Prophecy, Prophecy Fulfillment, Rapture, Reactive Mind, Recycling the Planet, Reincarnation, Religion, Resurrection, Revelations, Saved, Second Coming, Soul, Space Alien, Spacecraft, Spirit, Spirit Filled, Spirit Guide, Spiritual, Spiritual Awakening, Star People, Super Natural, Telepathy, The Remnant, The Two, Theosophy, Ti and Do, Truth, Two Witnesses, UFO, Virginity, Walk-ins, Yahweh, Yeshua, Yoda, Yoga,</font size>

No Favicon in that Tiny Head
The <head> part of Heaven's Gate's HTML is quite small compared to today's sites. There's no DOCTYPE declaration or encoding. And throw in the fact there's no Favicon or CSS or JavaScripts and you have a very tiny head.

But my favourite part of the preserved Heaven's Gate website is their page about suicide. It seems they were against it.

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How Far We've Come: CBC Digital Then and Now

CBC Digital Then and NowMy buddy Retrontario shared an old ad for http://www.cbc.ca that aired in 1995. It's actually pretty progressive for 1995, the first year I opened a web browser.

It's amazing how far we've come since then. CBC News has a great app I use daily on my Android device. It enables me to listen to the most recent World at Six newscast (28:30) and then the most recent World Report news update (10:00) during my walk or bike ride. I love this app.

Think back to that wide-eyed amazement you felt when you first cracked open Netscape and hit up a web site. Now, think about how the ubiquitous the web is on your smart phone and how you use it 17 years later.

We've come a long way.

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The Microsoft Surface Tablet is Coming

The Microsoft Surface TabletI've tried a few different tablets over the past few years. In fact, there's one next to my bed right now. I rarely touch it.

It seems I like using a laptop. I've got a laptop next to the bed and I just grab it and do my surfing or writing or viewing or whatever. I never reach for the tablet, always preferring the laptop.

When I just want to read something quick, I'll grab my Samsung Galaxy S II phone. That's my "tablet" of choice.

Microsoft is ready to enter the tablet game, having unveiled their Surface tablet. It's a nice looking piece of hardware with a couple of nifty features the iPad doesn't have. I think the Touch and Type covers are pretty cool.

Hopefully Microsoft has learned a lot from their disastrous Zune experience. I doubt the folks at Apple are shaking in their boots, but the Surface is interesting enough that you can't immediately dismiss it. I mean, it even has a built-in kickstand!

I'll stick with my laptop and Android phone, but if you're looking for an iPad that runs Windows, you'll definitely want to check out the Surface.

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My Phone Notification Settings - What Are Yours?

phonePeople definitely have personal preferences when it comes to mobile phone notification settings. We'll start with my preferences, then we'll get to you.

These settings are currently applied to my Samsung GALAXY S II, but it was pretty much the same when I had a BlackBerry. I'm going to ignore settings for Twitter, Facebook and other apps and stick with the big 3.

Phone Calls: Frequent callers have a custom ringtone. Non-frequent callers get the default ringtone (currently grabbed from a Beastie Boys tune), and everybody vibrates.

Text Messages: Both sound and vibration.

Email: Nothing. I get far too many emails to be bothered with an audio or vibration alert, although I'm not yet at 1000 emails a day.

Ok, your turn. How are you notified of phone calls, text messages and emails?

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