WiMax for $45/month

rogers portable

Rogers’ WiMax offering

Bell’s offering

Rogers and Bell are rolling out WiMax service for
Toronto and a few other cities.
It’s a joint venture between Bell and Rogers, called
Inukshuk Wireless Inc.“.
The price structure looks like this:

Speed down/up Price Company
½ Mbps/125 kbps $45 Bell
1½ Mbps/¼ Mbps $50 Rogers
3 Mbps/384 kbps $60 Bell

Interestingly, despite
WiMax’s symmetrical up/download speeds,
the service is asymmetrical with slower uplaod speeds than download.
This may be an artifact of the head end’s limited internet connectivity.

Alas, the
number of cities with WiMax available
is pretty small at the moment.
I was hoping to get my Mom on it.

Also, the modem is a separate box that needs its own power, not a PC-card for your laptop or something nice like that.

Excellent article all about it over on
Ars Technica

Roger’s Explorer 8300 HD PVR

I upgraded to this unit. The local cable company does not support the HDMI connector, but based on reports that it worked for some people’s TVs, I tried it. It works okay for me using a $100 HDMI to DVI cable to the back of my SONY Grand Wega. The image contrast seems to have improved slightly over component video. The main issues other people have had with HDMI have been unsynchronized audio, I was told. I have also read that even though Roger’s employees are discouraging it, external SATA-300 drives can be plugged into the back. I want to buy a 400Gig SATA-300 tomorrow and try it. This would be about 100 hours of HD programming that could be stored. I have read elsewhere on the net that people have been successful with this. I still expect better technology in this area shortly, so “rental” is the key word here.



Pandora – why did they choose that name?

is the latest internet craze.
All the cool kids are doing it.
You should too.

The story I heard from Jeff last night at Hrach’s place is that these music researchers were building a database of classifications for a ton of music for a few uears, and then decided to try applying the database to help people find music they might like.
The result is Pandora.
You can read
the official description too.

Last night we were all playing board games and each person added one artist to set up the playlist.
Then as the music played, we would vote on how we liked songs.
Not every song, just those that people particularly disliked (and one I think that was liked).

To keep up with the “social” meme that pervades everything these days, you can share your playlist-ish thing (it’s not really a playlist – more like a Music profile) with friends.
They can search for you by your email address.

I, wanting to track spam, entered a spam-orific address of “rae+pandora@tnir.org”.
How the “+” stuff is ignored by email is fodder for another Tech Tok article (or did I already write one? Hmph).
So if you want to hear my (currently only ambient/electronica) music, just enter that in the search tnigee and give a listen.
I find it still sticks in pretty cacaphonic music which I have not managed to train it to realize i don’t like.

Wow, is that a legal sentence?

The one other thing about Pandora is that it works well with Slingboxes.
Jeff has one and is using Pandora on it. The remote can be used to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” each song.
I’m not sure if you can add it to your favorites or not.

IPTV & WiMax

Cisco comments on IPTV: It was another hot day on the markets in generel. The buzz on the news-feeds for the stocks in my imaginary portfolio at Yahoo-finance-portfolios seemed to be in the race to get broadband IPTV equipment to market. Nortel (NT.TO) seems to be promoting its efforts — are they on time? The news article calls the area “hotly contested” amoung Alcatel, Cisco/SFA, etc. Personally I’m not as excited since this technology should be delivered to the PC, right? I suppose there must be something behind the scenes in the routers to cut down on the bandwidth usage?

Roger’s video direct (.ca)

This seems to be zip.ca’s system, but it was advertised to me here on techtok through a google ad a few days ago, so I tried it out. The first 2 DVDs arrived today. I was busy catching up on the Olympics (Hurrah for Shizuka Arakawa! She got the gold for Japan in the lady’s figure skating. When I found out, I went and ran through the PVR recording of today’s stuff. Ack, I was rooting for Miki Ando (JPN), but she totally cracked — it was hard to watch.) so I haven’t watched the DVDs yet. Well so anyway, the first movie I received in the mail was “Blackboard Jungle”, a classic movie of some sort which pops up in a DVD quiz game I like to play, so I thought I’d better watch it. The service is good for things you might want to get caught up on. It has (somewhat erroneous) lists of Film Festival movies, for example, and I also lined up “To have and have not” (Bogart) to be sent to me automatically when I mail back the 2 movies I have right now (also popping up in the movie quiz game we play here).

Another bonus is that the local Roger’s doesn’t rent Mystery Science Theater 3000, but rogersvideodirect.ca (zip.ca?) does rent them out one disk at a time. This is good because I’m a newbie with MSTK3000 and don’t know if it’s to my tastes. I also lined up several Toronto Film festival movies and since its a new service, I was sure to skew their ratings system for “The Island” 2005 along with a review of it.

From a financial markets perspective, I think the future is there for Amazon or Google or Cisco to grab hold of a bunch of dark fiber and start shipping the old movies at full resolution (as opposed to Yahoo!’s lo-res thing which has been around for about 3 years now(?)). In the mean time zip.ca’s blu-ray or hd-dvd snail-mail will have to do.

Google Pages

Google Pages
was sort of launched today.

“Sort of” in this case means that as of this morning, if you try to access the site, you will get this response:


Google Page Creator is having a little trouble right now.
This is not because of anything you did; it’s just a little hiccup in our system that will hopefully go away soon. We apologize for the inconvenience, and recommend you try reloading this page.


One hopes that it will get better over time.

Frappr sucks less


I haven’t been a big fan of
mostly because it was a very US-centric site, where non-US people could only enter the city they were in, so you would get a group of several hundred people all piled up on one dot on the map.

I don’t know if it’s a recent change, or I just idn’t notice from the start, but once you add yourself,
you can actually edit your entry and change the longitude and latitude to enough significant figures to pinpoint your house.
To find the long/lat numbers, all you do is find your house in Google Maps, and then click on the “link to this page” in the top right,
which will change the URL to include the longitude and latitude of your house.

This all assumes you *want* to publish this kind of info on the web of course.
You can just use a landmark you like instead.
Or maybe a bookstore downtown you like. :-)

About This Particular Mac

About this Particular Mac
(atpm) is an online “zine” about Macs.
From skimming the Feb 2006 issue, it looks like they eschew selling it in favour of advertisers.

An interesting read, with a huge chunk in the middle taken up with an unlikely and somewhat amateurish cartoon about Steve Jobs vs Woz.
The layout of the technical articles is excellent, with nice screenshots and plenty of links with footnotes for printouts (I read the “for print” edition).

Collaborative Word Processing on the Web

(there are some wide pics in this post. If there is a blank space below, make your browser window wider)

is an online word processor.
I briefly mentioned it in
an earlier post about AJAX apps.

Writely editor

Along with just editing, it allows you to collaborate on your documents with anyone else.
You hookup to them using their email address.

Writely editor

Here you can see me sharing a document with David Barker.
Assuming he reads his email, that is.

Btw, Apple’s current version of Safari (2.0.3 417.8) is claimed to be unable to use writely.
I think that’s a load of bunk, since Safari jumped way forward not too long ago, and writely just hasn’t had its page updated.
But oh well, you need to use Firefox or Camino or something to access the page normally.
Personally, I used the Debug menu in Safari to masquerade as Mozilla 1.1 and it worked fine.

Clonus vs. “The Island”

Okay, I’m a glutton for punishment. I went out and bought “Clonus (1979)” — rated 3.5/10 on IMDB and a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 victim, so I could compare it to “The Island (2005)”. It is true that some ideas have been taken from Clonus, however Clonus is barely a high-school film-class project. There is a crucial difference in the treatment of the clones, among many other things. “The Island (2005)” is a satirical movie with cloned pieces from many other movies. Clonus is nothing. I fell asleep during it. I will complete my suffering tonight.