Friday, May 30, 2008

Slower cellphone growth in USA could bring good deals

According to USA Today, now that the growth in "Wireless Adds" (new subscribers) is on the wane, consumers should see deals galore.

Why is it always a surprise to companies that markets get saturated? Eventually, everyone got a VCR, microwave oven, DVD player, etc. Perhaps it occurred earlier than EVERYONE in the wireless industry thought.
Slower cellphone growth in USA could bring good deals

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Laptop Bags Soon Welcome in Airports

Gizmodo is reporting that the FAA has issued guidelines as to the way laptop bags may be designed, if you don't want to remove the machine from the bag. The operative word here is "guidelines", nothing has been approved - yet. I think we are all curious to see exactly what kind of a bag is acceptable and whether or not one would want to carry it.
News: Laptop Bags Soon Welcome in Airports

Wii Fit for Keith Fat

It's been almost a weeks so I'm sorry to all my fan (sic) that I haven't posted. I found an interesting subject (to me, anyway) and that's the Wii Fit. Keith from Network World's Twisted Pair Show has decided to try out the Wii Fit over the course of the next ten weeks and report on his progress. I recently purchased one of these so I'm particularly interested in what others like and don't like. BTW, I can report that my family has shown progress over the last week so they're may be something to this. Here's the Video

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rural Carriers Petition FCC Against Exclusive Handset Deals

Wireless Week is reporting that the Rural Cellular Association (RCA) is petitioning the FCC to investigate handset exclusivity arrangements with carriers. Cited as an example: the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T, AT&T only offers roaming service in many rural areas, so the iPhone become unavailable to much of rural America, etc. According to the RCA, this only serves to increace the devide between urban and rural communities.
Rural Carriers Petition FCC Against Exclusive Handset Deals

Monday, May 19, 2008

Alltel Announces 4G strategy

First Verizon, then AT&T (& Singular), then T-Mobile, now Alltel is doing it too. What is it? their 4G roadmap. and again, LTE is the choice. Where does this leave the only other carrier (Sprint/Nextel)? with WiMax, of course!

Those of us who play the market will need to decide what to do with their stock in "S" - bail based on what many consider to be a failing strategy, buy once their stock has plummeted to a low enough level and wait for a buyout, or be contrairian (like Sprint itself) and bet that WiMax is somehow superior to LTE.
Alltel: We will deploy LTE - RCR Wireless News

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Top Flight Barbeque!

I've finally found great Q and as usual, it's off the beaten path. I had the pleasure of visiting Gassville, Arkansas to meet with some telco folks. When we broke for lunch, everyone suggested JT's Smokehouse because it was practically next door. I expected decent food, but as anyone who appreciates good barbecue knows, there is a direct inverse relationship between what the place looks like and what the food tastes like. Needless to say, this place looked too good.

I can say without reservation that this was absolutely 1st rate Q! This was competition quality, fall-off-the-bone delicious. I later learned that JT's had placed highly in the prestigious Memphis in May competition more than once - it shows. If you ever find yourself in Gassville, do stop in.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Johnny Rockets - AVOID

You've been there. One hour layover in a busy airport during wan't something fast, but also tasty. I was in just such a situation this afternoon in Chicago's O'Hare on route to Springfoeld, MO when I spied a Johnny Rockets, known for good quality burgers, et. al.

Now, every seasoned traveler knows to expect far less from the airport counterparts of chain restaurants , but one does expect a reasonable facsimile.

Long story short...waited on line for nearly 15 minutes, dealt with the most surly woman at the counter. Here is an excerpt:
Woman: Yeah?
Me: What is the sauce on the 'Double Rocket'?
Woman: I have no idea
Me: (after a moment of thought) I'll take a 'Single Rocket' then.
Woman: Medium well or well done?
Me: Is it available any other way?
Me: OK, medium well
Woman: what else?
Me: fries and a coke

At this point, I paid and was handed a receipt. Over 10 minutes later, I was handed a bag containing said burger and fries. "Excuse me, I ordered a coke", said I. Apparently, surly woman poured one when I ordered, presumably to give it to me when I ordered. Not surprisingly, they handed me the now watered-down beverage.

I no longer had time to eat my lunch at the resturaunt, so I dashed to the gate. Was the wait worth it? The fries were clearly made prior to my arrival, and were not fresh. The quality of the beef was very good, and the cheese was melted nicely. The bun was stale (?!?) an the one thin slice of tomato was mealy. The 'special sauce' turned out to be Russian dressing, just like at McDonalds (where I could have gone for a faster, fresher, less expensive meal).

You might be thinking, "It's an airport! What did you expect?" To you I say, NO! Of course I had lower expectations...didn't you read the beginning of this post? I still expected 'normal' if not real speed. I expect polite, at least not rude service, and a decent meal for my $11.02.

At this point you should be saying, "You paid what! for a burger and fries? I will never go to this place, now that I've been warned"

Oh, give me a (Mountain) Home...

Today I head for Springfield, MO and ultimately on to Mountain Home, Arkansas. I'll be visiting a telephone coop to teach them some things they'll need to know to run their IPTV business. Could be an interesting usual, details will (Hopefully) be forthcoming.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sprint, Clearwire to build national Wi-Max network

Very interesting. On the heals of the (up 'till now) unsuccessful "Xhom" project, and following the announcements from both AT&T and Verizon to do 4G on LTE rather than WiMax, Sprint is going full throttle into WiMax. According to USA Today and other sources, Sprint is forming a new company with Clearwire to roll out nationwide WiMax beginning next year. The new publicly traded company will be called Clearwire (how clever!) and has many important investors such as Google, Intel, Comcast and Time Warner. If nothing else, this deal signifies that WiMax is far from dead as many analysts had speculated. If anything, the opposite.

Sprint and Clearwire will be contributing the WiMax spectrum, while the other partners are putting up the cash.

For Sprint, this deal makes a lot of sense - They already have plenty of spectrum when they initially invested in MMDS (turns out, an unworkable technology). This spectrum, as it turns out, is perfect for WiMax. With their stock languishing in the $8 range, they need partners for the cash to buildout any network. As a result, despite other carriers going in a different direction for 4G, Sprint really needs to stick with WiMax and having Google and Intel (both big WiMax supporters) on board, they've also created a market for the product as well.
Sprint, Clearwire to build national Wi-Max network -

Thursday, May 1, 2008

ZeeVee: The Beginning of the End for TV?

Gizmodo is discussing a product on it's site called "ZeeVee". Devices like this may really be the future of television - the ability to move video content from the PC to the TV.

Simply marrying the two devices was clearly not the answer; we've seen attempts at that before (Web TV for example). The PC (or a PC-like device) is more likely to be the center of the home with video and other data moving to other appliances, including the TV.

Eventually, the TV goes away and the "computer's" monitor is the Video content delivery device. I will expand on this topic later but in the meantime, please read the Gizmodo article:

ZeeVee: One Box to Broadcast PC's HD Video All Over the House: