The Hunt For A New Smart Phone Takes A Turn!

Just received a note from the PR guys at Optus confirming they too will be officially licensing iPhone in Australia! Wow, could it be that still to come today we will be receiving emails from Telstra and Hutch3 on the subject too?

A smart phone is like a best friend. It knows everything about you, you have complete trust in it. You store passwords, appointments, emails, it knows what websites you have used it to visit, it even knows where you have been and where you are going. So purchasing a smart phone is a big decision, one I am not taking lightly, and in my line of work where everyone asks ‘Charlie, what phone do you have’ I believe it is important to conduct a highly diligent process to ensure I get the right device.

My Blackberry buzzed at lunch time yesterday when Vodafone’s PR agency sent out the good news for iPhone and Vodafone. My Blackberry is a gap filler, lent to me by the good people at Research In Motion until I find this golden halo of a smart phone. I received the loan product (complete with giant sticker on the back ‘Property of Research In Motion’) when my search started, two years ago!

It was time to get really excited that finally the iPhone is coming to Australia! Actually that is nothing new, go to any university where hip Gen Y’s are quenching their thirst for knowledge and you will see hacked iPhone’s working on Aussie phone networks. The exciting news is that Vodafone have announced they are doing a multi-territory deal that includes Australia. So, when the iPhone is launched in Australia, it will be available legitimately to Vodafone customers around the nation.

I must say I am not that excited. I’ve been to the US many times and while being issued the 20 questions by the department of homeland security have considered rewarding my adventure by purchasing myself an iPhone. I know how to unlock them, it is really easy actually. However, I have seen the iPhone working and even had Apple showcasing the best features of it to me at Macworld but I am not adding it to my shopping list. I think it is the coolest thing to come out of 2007, however until the iPhone comes out with a 3G option I will continue the hunt.

We’re lucky in Australia, although most things to do with broadband are behind many, many other countries, we have a really good 3G or Next Generation mobile phone network. Telstra plonked one in (called Next G) and the three other local players including Hutchison, Vodafone and Optus have been rolling out their services, all with high speeds for downloading content, various competitive pricing models and national customer reach penetration.

So with this in mind, it would make no sense at all to drop anywhere from $600 to $1200 on a smart phone unless it had 3G. So, do you iPhone or do you hold off until Apple works out how to make a battery that will power the iPhone and run the 3G phone circuitry?

15 Years Since The WWW Was Officially Created

First Web Server
It is really hard to be excited about 15 years of official World Wide Web existence when your home internet connection has been offline since March 2nd, and your office internet connection has now died too. Laugh at me if you like, I am. It is the only thing that I can do to cure the frustration being felt by my family and now my team at the office, at not having access to the one of the world’s most important services.

This is not a whinge looking to spank a particular provider, but rather to highlight that when the web drops out, you realise what a blessing the internet really is and how dependent you’ve become on its services.

Iprimus is our provider at home, and we have found out that the problem is the phone line has been disconnected to the Node in street. That is a serious problem, and one that was not discovered until I had our telecommunications contractor (the guy who installs our office phone system) make a site visit (at my expense of course). He laughed when he heard our phone company recommended we ‘Plug our modem into the phone socket, then call technical support to work through the problem’. Yeah, that will help won’t it!
We’ve all got broadband horror stories, this is mine and I have been living with it since March 2nd when we returned home and saw a Telstra technician working on the Node at the top of our drive way. We’ve now unleashed the telecommunications ombudsman on them by making a formal complaint, in the meantime we continue to wait for our service to be restored.

Arriving at the office this morning and were told by our provider that Optus (their wholesale partner) is having a state wide network problem and therefore the internet (and email) is down. Our provider has therefore wholesales through Optus and therefore can not help with providing a time when a resolution will be found.

We have a solution, we have plugged in a wireless HSDPA modem and are routing all the internet traffic through that. We now have web, but no email.

Happy 15th birthday to the World Wide Web, it would be nice if it could all start working again so we could celebrate with everyone else!

Share your horror stories with us, it makes you feel better I promise.

Parents, It Is Up To You

 Australia’s pre-historic classification laws do nothing to protect kids from violent video games and place even more onus on parents to protect kids from violent content.

Every time a block buster video game that contains violence hits retail shelves I hear the same outcry: ‘It Should Be Banned!’
I can understand the argument that kids with a predisposition to aggression that play violent video games can become more aggressive and should not be exposed to this kind of content – Agreed! But if you ban a game from sale will the kids stop playing it? No, like any black market item, it will go underground and they will source it another way.

Our current protections against this underground network are the classification laws. With the development of more realism in video games, these laws need some touching up. Morals aside, Australia is not going to have a classification system that adequately protects young gamers without an R-18 classification. The R-18+ is not just a rating, but a ‘Don’t even think about’ sign for kids. No R-rating means publishers instead work really hard to get their games classified into an MA15+ category. They do this so they can sell the game! The game is presented to the Classification board, they follow the laws of the classification process and the game is classified or denied from sale.

I would love to see violent games classified differently, however while our laws remain the way they are, denying a product from sale is seen by many as the best solution.
My best advice to parents, “Watch your kids playing video games – we are depending on you”.