T-Mobile 3G: When?

mobility You know, I’m a fairly patient guy.  However, I’m just about at my wit’s end with the constant delays in T-Mobile rolling out 3G data services.  I use mobile data services, and really need to have a faster connection than the ~150kbps that my current T-Mobile EDGE service allows.

Sure, I’ve got the plan that includes all their WiFi Hostspots, which is nice, but trying to use EDGE when in motion gets a bit old.  Quickly.  The only “nice” thing I can say about it right now is that it’s reasonably “cheap” compared to the pricing all-you-can-eat data plans from AT&T and Verizon (sorry – Sprint doesn’t count in my book).

The shitty thing is that I like the phone service and the company.  Customer service has been great.  Coverage for me in my area has been great.  Coverage for me when traveling has been great.  Other customers may have had a different experience, but overall, I’ve been very satisfied with T-Mobile – even with EDGE.

tmobile-logoHowever, now that it’s 2008, and knowing that the spectrum they licensed in 2005 has yet to be opened to their customers in two years, I’m growing tired.  Yet, it’s not all T-Mobile’s fault.  The biggest problem for T-Mobile and their customers is that the spectrum they licensed is still in use by government agencies in many cases.  And there may be up to 4 years in some cases before that spectrum is vacated by these agencies.  They’ve been slow to roll out 3G, sure, mainly because they know that value and service is what’s going to win them customers.  If they could’ve been the first horse out of the gate 3-4 years ago with 3G, they could’ve been the speed/tech leader.  But, instead, they’ve become the value leader.  Yeah, that “you get what you pay for” phrase does come to mind.

So, what should I do?  Wait for the 3G service to launch, or skip on over to AT&T or Verizon and pay at least double for the unlimited data I have today?  The other part is nearly all of my family, and a number of friends, are on T-Mobile making efficient use of my unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes and allows me to have a lower-minute (lower cost) plan.


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Online music choices – where’s the choice?

I talked about this a little over a year ago.  I was pretty gung-ho about URGE, the music service offered by MTV and Microsoft.  It seamlessly integrated into Windows Media Player 11, could be used on up to 3 computers, and sync tunes to both my Windows Mobile smartphone, and my wife’s Nokia 5300 XpressMusic as well as other "Plays for Sure" WMA media devices.

At the time, things transpired that I didn’t "pull the trigger" on the service.  Now I’m glad I didn’t.  Real’s Rhapsody has absorbed URGE and all the reasons I was looking at the service have evaporated.  The devices I would like to use are "possibly" supported, I have to install *another* media player, and I have to manually copy the music to the devices.

Too much bullshit.

I’ll stick with buying the actual, physical CD-ROM of the artist in question and ripping the audio tracks to lossless WMA.  Disk space is cheap – 1TB for $100 – and I have been using Orb for some time to spread my digital media where I want it.  I’ll continue to do so.

This is the kind of crap that online services are going to do to their customer base.  I can’t use the service based on their offerings, I need a service that caters to my wants and needs.  I’ll keep my cash and spend it directly on the artist in question.

Maybe you’ve already figured this out, maybe you’re content with the offerings and wonder why I can’t see the value in it.  I can see the potential value in online music services, but it has to be on my terms – not theirs.

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Has the tech corner been turned?

Technology is stuff that doesn't work yet I’ve always found it a tad weird when I have these flashes of intuition. I’d be the first to admit that it comes from being influenced by what I read and such, but lately I’ve been shying away from a lot of my traditional tech sources. Not sure why, but I really have been getting a feeling like there is a change looming. Not big, not significant, but a subtle one.

I’d spent the better part of this year exploring social media networks, techniques, blogs, people and more. It’s been a great experience and a learning one for sure. However, I’ve been getting a feeling since early September that there is something happening. While I can’t quite put a finger on it, I smell change coming.

Blame it on my bloggers block last month, and subsequent lack of regular posting for the past month and a half. Blame it on reading some of the talk about a new tech bubble. I think Steve Rubel has identified the problem with “Web 2.0” – on the tech side. There is a little too much self-pollination going on out on the left coast in regards to the current web hype.

But there is more to it. There is a definite lack of advancement in taking some social and web technologies into the enterprise. All these “great” Facebook apps have little no usefulness in a business that is trying to keep up with the changing face of their customers. In an environment that is trying to simply sell product and make money, technology barely steps up and answers the hard questions of meeting financial & oversight compliance, privacy requirements, EPA compliance, overseas competition & compliance, marketing costs, rising employee & health costs, increasing tax burdens, and shipping challenges.

How is the current crop of social network toys stepping up to answer the call? It isn’t and it can’t. Yes, these tools need to be part of the next generation of enterprise IT, but the talents that built these cool technologies and tools need to take note of the real challenges that face businesses today.

I’ll give all of you a hint. It has little to do with communication. We already communicate everything to death. That was one of the problems I watched at the old job. As the company grew, the communication increased. The need for everyone to be involved and communicated to so they could give their $.02 on a project/idea slowed the processes to a crawl. It hasn’t changed, and it won’t soon.

I guess what I’m getting at is that there is an over-emphasis on what I’m really starting to think of as “kiddie tech”. Yes I still use Facebook, and am very interested in social media, but the reality is that a lot of these “fun” technologies simply do not solve a business need. That is one problem with technology. As soon as the fun starts to evaporate and you start serious talk about monitization, the trouble starts.

By the way, I’m predicting about a 5-year boom to bubble for technology as an ongoing natural cycle. I think it’s the industry’s way to innovate and then clean out the technologies that didn’t pan out.

What’s your take? Am I out of touch with it all, or close to the target?

Photo credit: Andrea in Amsterdam

UPDATE: Steven Hodson did a *great* writeup over at WinExtra on this topic. I highly recommend stopping by and reading The Great Web 2.0 Con Job.

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Slashdot | Sun May Be Warming Both Earth and Mars

I’m shocked, SHOCKED that “global warming” could actually be a natural phenomenon!  Amazing that the National Geographic actually reported this.  The audacity to suggest that pollution generated by humanity has reached the ability to trump the natural cycles of this planet is astounding.  Its well known that cattle the world over release more CO2 (and methane smile_wink) into the atmosphere than automobiles do. 

Via: Slashdot – Sun May Be Warming Both Earth and Mars

End of the line for Windows Live Writer?

It may be for me. My new theme simply does not like WLW created posts – mainly because it does not create strict XHTML. Why can’t Microsoft adhere to a standard? It really frosts my balls when they have some great (and complex) products, but they can’t follow something as simple as XHTML.


And it was a nice WYSIWYG editor as far as I was concerned. Figures!

Get it right MS!

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