December 2007 Archives

3G iPhone on the way?

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

For consumers still lamenting the lack of a carrier-serviced iPhone here in Canada, take heart. According to a couple of reports this week, we all may be better off waiting for next year's model anyway.

On Thursday PC World said analysts are predicting a new 3G iPhone as early as mid-next year, and a report in AppleInsider on Friday said Apple Inc. will be incorporating a new breed of Intel Corp. mobile processors into its handheld devices.

Rumours of the upcoming 3G iPhone seem on particularly solid ground because Apple is in talks with NTT DoCoMo to bring the mobile device to Japan. Since DoCoMo does not run on the GSM/EDGE network the iPhone uses in the U.S., but rather the third generation UMTS/HSDPA cell phone standard, meaning Apple would have to pick up its game, as it were, to offer its phone in the tech-savvy Japanese market.

The talk has tech sites like Gizmodo excited about the possibility that the iPhone might actually behave like, well, a smartphone. Though the iPhone was lauded for its touch interface, sleek design and Wi-Fi enabled internet capabilities, it was also something of a disappointment for failing to have features many expected on a smartphone, such as the ability to record video, send photos through text messages or use memory cards for extra storage.

AppleInsider reports that Apple is particularly interested in Intel's 45 nanometer "Silverthrone"chip, one designed for mobile devices "that is expected to be as fast as the second-generation of Pentium M processors, but use only between half a watt and 2 watts of electrical power -- about one tenth as much as a typical notebook chip."

All of this means that, for the second time in a year, early adopters of the iPhone could be regretting their purchase.
None of this helps bring the iPhone to Canada, but there is perhaps some solace in knowing that it might be better to be left in the cold than be twice burned.

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Should we shoot the messenger?

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

On Tuesday social networking site Facebook settled a lawsuit from an Indiana woman over text messages sent to her mobile phone after the initial recipient had given up the phone number.

Lindsey Abrams of Patriot, Ind., had claimed in her suit that she received text messages with explicit comments and other upsetting content - and had to pay 10 cents each time.

Facebook settled the suit, paying her legal fees, without admitting to any wrongdoing. As part of the agreement, Facebook said it would adopt new measures to prevent its members from sending text messages to recycled phone numbers and would work with mobile phone carriers to monitor lists of recycled numbers.

The settlement helps avoid another PR nightmare for Facebook, but it also begs the question: who is actually responsible for Ms. Abrams problem?

Is it the mobile phone carrier that sold her a recycled number? If the messages were part of a pattern of harassment, did the previous mobile phone customer have any obligation to inform either Facebook or the carrier of the problem? Or is this an issue that rightly landed on Facebook's doorstep?

Tell us what you think.

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What was important in 2007?

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

The end of the year is fast approaching, which always means one thing as far as the media is concerned: it's time for year-end lists. Love 'em or hate 'em, year-in-review stories are a good opportunity to reflect on the events of the past 12 months, not to mention a good way to fill space at a time when news starts to cool off.

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A TiVo primer for Canadians

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

With the launch of TiVo in Canada last week, Canadians are now spoiled for choice when it comes to PVRs and so-called "media extenders," which are devices that take all that digital content off your computer and put it onto your TV and home theatre system. Joe Miller, TiVo's senior-vice-president of consumer sales and affiliate marketing, walked me through the device today and fielded some questions. Here is the quick and dirty paraphrased version of our conversation.

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Most. Expensive. Movies. Ever.

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Poor Piotr Staniaszek. The 22-year-old Calgary resident racked himself up an $85,000 cellphone bill by using his handset as a modem. To anyone who has followed the cellphone industry in Canada, horror stories about sky-high bills are nothing new - but this one definitely takes the cake.

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No celebrations as Kyoto Protocol turns 10

By Eve Savory, CBCNews.ca

You can cut the cake, blow out the candles, and sing the song, but all the theatre in the world couldn’t make this birthday a celebratory occasion. The Kyoto Protocol turned 10today, and even the United Nations reports that the birthday bash in Bali was filled more with regret than joy.

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Copyright reform stokes the fires

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

The anger over the government's proposed copyright reform bill is palpable and it is astounding that it's something normally staid Canadians are getting worked up about. Just take a look at the growth of a Facebook protest group (I'd link to it but you need to log in) started just over a week ago - when I checked this morning, it had just under 15,000 members. As of this writing, it's up past 16,000. In fact, 50 people have joined in the 15 minutes it took me to write this post. That's incredible and, if the group keeps growing at this pace, it's going to be very difficult for the government to introduce the bill it had planned.

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Bali: Fuzzy Optics

By Eve Savory, CBCNews.ca

Either John Baird doesn’t worry about optics, or someone didn’t tell him they matter. Today’s Globe and Mail reported that industry is part of the official Canadian delegation in Bali.

Earlier, the Environment Minister had broken a treasured tradition of including Opposition leaders and representatives of industry, environmental, youth and aboriginal groups.

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Virtual Bali: Second Nature

By Eve Savory, CBCNews.ca

There are millions of words coming out of Bali. Blogged words.

But the journal Nature claims it is doing it the environmentally friendly way - in Second Life. You can drop by the site, Second Nature, this Thursday for a lecture by George Monbiot, the author of Heat: How we can stop the planet burning. Second Life avatars are also welcome.

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Bali a big balloon

By Eve Savory, CBCNews.ca

If we really spoke in balloons, like cartoon characters, there would be a mushroom cloud over Bali.

That must be one noisy island right now.

There are national governments, municipal governments, international think tanks, oil companies, nuclear lobbyists, solar lobbyists, carbon traders, journalists, artists, women’s groups, justice groups, and every major environmental group on the planet that could scare up the funds there for a big meeting on climate change. Twenty thousand of them. Talking.

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Picture this: actual Wikipedia news

by Paul Jay, CBC News.ca

On Friday, the BBC said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales now supports the use of the online encyclopedia in classrooms, a seeming reversal from his previous position that students shouldn't rely on Wikipedia, or as he said in 2006: "For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.”

Now, the BBC reports, Wales has changed his tune.

"You can ban kids from listening to rock 'n' roll music, but they're going to anyway," the BBC quoted Wales, who was speaking at the Online Information conference at London's Olympia Exhibition Centre.

"It's the same with information, and it's a bad educator that bans their students from reading Wikipedia."

Which sounds like a story, until you read it and realize that what Wales said this week is basically the same thing he said a year ago.

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Novelists go mobile

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

In November we ran our series of stories on cellphones, and the multitude of tasks people were turning to them for, everything from location-based services to medical applications to mobile payment tools.

And though we've known for a while that some people are more comfortable typing on a Blackberry than they are on a keyboard, this latest piece of news caught us by surprise: Half of Japan's top 10 bestselling novels in the first six months of 2007 were written using the mobile phone.

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