Archive for August, 2008


August 23, 2008


Check out my comparison of three new touch phones available in Canada at www.edmontonjournal/technology The iPhone 3G from Rogers, the Samsung Instinct from Bell and the HTC Touch Diamond from Telus. Is there a clear winner? Not exactly. And guess which smartphone can’t handle Canadian winters!

I was chatting it up with Greg Milligan from the Microsoft Canada Windows Mobile group for this feature. Although he was all excited about Windows Mobile 6.1 which many  smartphones today are running on, we reminisced on the good old days when Microsoft’s first Pocket PC came out…February 2003. Seems like a long time ago, but I remember when Microsoft employees wouldn’t even think of parting with their tiny BlackBerry devices that first introduced mass wireless instant email. Now they are two competing camps with some co-operative crossovers.

It’s interesting to note that the some 22,000 applications available for Windows Mobile devices, similarly-priced to the Apples App Store for the iPhone, work on a very different business model. While Apple collects a percentage of online sales, Microsoft makes most of its third party mobile softawre sales from the initial licensing sales of it Mobile OS. Milligan said that according to IDC stats, Microsoft, this fiscal year showed double the overall market growth rate (up 32 per cent) selling more than 18 million Mobile licenses in FY08.

But Apple is catching up. In the short time their online App Store opened up, since the launch of the iPhone 3G, there were more than 10 million applications downloaded in three days. Currently there are more than 2,000 iPhone applications online.

Two different business models…Microsoft’s third-party developers who have to go through old school (but still a money maker) investing time and money to become Microsoft developers and Apple’s “just bring your applications in and we take 30 per cent from the sale.” Let’s see where things stand a year from now, OK?


Intel had lot’s of technology to show at their Developers Form in San Francisco last Thursday. The coolest technology was the wireless lighting of a 60 watt lamp using Intel’s “wireless resonant energy link,” similar to glass breaking ability of some singers. Although this was big news, credit is due for the early MIT work, announced in 2006, done on a similar project shown last year, where folks walked, unscathed, between an electrical energy transmitter and a similarly lighted bulb.

Can you imagine the possibilities? Justin Rattner, Intel’s CTO, saw a future where laptops would not need a battery. They would simply receive electrical energy wirelessly. So…think of a world with no electrical cords, just a whole pile of magnetic fields charging everything wirelessly. Hold that thought.

Check the chip maker’s other announcements, including its quest to keep Moore’s chip doubling Law alive, as the industry nears the physical limits on how small chip transistors can get. 

  • Intel’s first-ever mobile-focused quad-core laptop workstation – the Intel Core 2 Extreme processor which contains four cores and uses only 45 watts of power
  • Development of the interactive classrooms and whiteboards using Nintendo Wii technology, the Wii remote, which creates a low-cost interactive whiteboard
  • Identification technology that uses mobile devices with a built-in camera and special software that reads the bar code on health ID cards to prevent identity-related medical errors
  • A partnership between Intel and Yahoo to create a Widget Channel
  • Announcement of Intel’s Media Processor CE 3100 using system on chips (SoCs) technology to fuse the Internet and TV experience
  • Core i7 processor using turbo an energy efficient, high-performance server featuring Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett announced Intel will award four $100,000 prizes to the most innovative ideas for unmet needs in education, health care, economic development, and the environment


Microsoft Live Labs opened up an online site, that stitches hundreds of uploaded related pictures, for free, into a larger photo you can zoom or pan across. This cool technology proved to be overwhelming for the Microsoft photosynth web site which had to temporarily close down from a massive influx of photos. Talk about causing your very own Denial of Service Attack with one smart photo idea!


Back in the Saddle

August 2, 2008
Technology get’s better and cheaper with time, but that’s not the reason Apple’s new iPhone 3G is available at Rogers for $199.99 with a three year contract. You can thank AT&T, south of the boarder and Rogers following suit, for forging ahead with a new business model that will make Internet-capable cellphones more affordable and commonplace.

How does it work? Instead of charging the customer a lot more upfront for the new iPhone, AT&T decided to eat several hundred bucks, make the hot iPhone super-affordable and get its money back on customer contracts and additional service charges.

That’s smart thinking. This could even make other pricey smart phones like the Blackberry more affordable. By the same token, a common place cellphone on the same business model would drop down in price so much that the cellphone providers would actually pay you to own a phone! Sweet, but that isn’t going to happen, is it.

The iPhone will also be available without a plan at three times the cost.


When I first interviewed Bill Gates at the Windows XP launch in New York in 200, I asked him what hot new technologies would change computing. He accurately predicted solid state hard drives that take up less room and energy and run computers faster. He also said that flexible computer displays on magazines and newspapers would revolutionize how and where we read information and see pictures. Bill was seven years ahead of his time. Several laptop makers like Apple, Lenovo and Bell now make 64 GB solid state drives, soon available in 128 GB size. And next month’s Esquire’s cutting-edge battery operated e-paper cover will feature animation and changing information. You can even bend it. My question to Bill now is, how do you recycle e-paper?


Please excuse my absence folks as I was away overseas, attending a private family gathering, deep in Greek analog country, that saw the untimely loss of my mother-in law, a much loved Eva Dascollas, a dynamic woman who in her 80’s still hiked Greek mountains gathering tea and herbs and baked a mean loaf of bread, not to mention other Greek desserts and goodies. She drew her last breath on the evening of July 28 in her family home in the hillside village of Kastri surrounded by loving family in a room filled with the air and sounds of a sadly fading way of life. But I had her set up with her very own hotmail. Although she never touched a mouse, I wish I could set up and redirect her new email. It would be


Me and my mother-in-law Gia Gia Eva showing off my hi-tech dandellion exctarctor. She prefered the anolog version...a small knife and her hands.

Me and Gia Gia Eva showing off my hi-tech dandellion exctractor. She prefered the old fashioned analog get-on-your-knees-hands-in-dirt technique!