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Guy Kewney

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The 800lb Googilla in the boardroom

Column Google, like the legendary 800lb gorilla which got elected to the board, has reached the sort of size and influence where it can sit where it likes in the boardroom. Two questions: 1) should we do something to protect ourselves from this 800lb gorilla? and 2) if so, what? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was pretty …
Guy Kewney, 11 Apr 2007
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Tech sympathisers join ex HP boss in head-shaving protest

Column One of the more astonishing non-tech news stories this weekend was the discovery of a hybrid "ling" or heather shrub, which has powerful Viagra-like properties. Equally astonishing, to those who knew her, was the discovery that Carly Fiorina has taken against the media and shaved her head as a sign of feminist solidarity with …
Guy Kewney, 02 Apr 2007
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Forget WiMax, Stockholm's got cable to spare

Column You could not think of a better place to demonstrate the wonders of WiMAX. A district, 84 kilometers across, divided into 24,000 plots of land with open, deep water between each plot. It's the Stockholm archipelago, East of Sweden, and almost every island is inhabited. Intel, Cisco and Stockholm Cable (Stokab) have turned this …
Guy Kewney, 30 Mar 2007
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Ofcom, dividends, and Sky stocks

Column It's now (almost) too late to submit your comment on what should be done with the "digital dividend" - which is to say, if you think Sky should have a monopoly on High Definition TV, then you'll be smiling. On the other hand, if you're a fan of FreeView, you might be alarmed. Ofcom had to have your protest in by March 20. OK, …
Guy Kewney, 17 Mar 2007
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Keep the lights on, the budget needs it

Column Lights don't turn themselves on. I hesitate to offer this bit of technological know-how to such an intelligent audience, but after last week, it has come to my attention that there may be people who don't realise this. And they may work in Accounts. The trigger for the observation was a report on the TV news last week that the …
Guy Kewney, 12 Mar 2007
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Guy Goma, YouTube and the BBC

Column Meejatarts, as my old friend Rupert calls us, will do almost anything for exposure. We're publicity whores. It's how we earn our daily crust. If you understand this simple truth about the meeja it will help you follow an awful lot about digital rights management which otherwise would be utterly baffling. For example, it will …
Guy Kewney, 05 Mar 2007
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Mobile anti-radiation - a telecoms 'inflight life-jacket'?

3GSM column A cynic's first response to the offer of a magic device to protect phone users from radiation is to laugh and go find someone else to talk to. Don't. You may believe that the Exradia chip will never save a single life, or even prevent a single disease, but that doesn't mean they won't sell them. To understand Exradia, think as …
Guy Kewney, 14 Feb 2007
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SIPphone community goes bananas over Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0

3GSM Windows Mobile 6.0 is out! Well, at the least, the secret of WM 6 is out. Microsoft was today frantically trying to deny its heroic efforts to keep the next generation Windows smartphone hidden from NewsWireless - but the cat was out of the bag even before the Tribune newspaper blew the embargo, because of the enthusiasm in VoIP …
Guy Kewney, 09 Feb 2007
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The age of the femtocell?

Column There's nothing quite as hard for a venture capitalist as not gloating. When they "execute" on their exit strategy (sell off a company they launched) it seems they just can't help telling someone how clever they were - and from such a boast, it seems, comes the strong rumour that a new technology has hit centre stage. The new …
Guy Kewney, 09 Feb 2007
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A way around WiMAX?

Column A very large comms corporation is kissing babies, preparatory to launching something new next week. Details are under embargo, but my chat with them this week provoked an enthusiastic discussion about whether 802.16e really is useful in mobile telephony. We ended up agreeing that in the UK, Europe, and America, the problems of …
Guy Kewney, 01 Feb 2007
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'We aren't waiting for Viviane Reding': Awayphone

"The trend of voice call costs is to be free," Awayphone CEO Sherry Madera says - a pioneer of roaming call charge reduction, aiming to beat the European Commissioners to a fair deal for business travellers. Awayphone sells subscribers a SIM card which routes over the internet whenever possible and offers a local phone number …
Guy Kewney, 25 Jan 2007
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Signs that Sky will go mobile?

Why would Sky suddenly get aggressive about letting UK cable viewers take Sky TV programs? Could it be something to do with a plan to go quad-play? The report which causes this alarm comes from Media Week, which reports that although Sky is obliged (by UK regulations) to make its programming available to cable operators, it is …
Guy Kewney, 19 Jan 2007

Can Apple manage without Steve Jobs?

Column CEOs have been fired for doing what Steve Jobs is supposed to have been caught doing at Apple: backdating their share options to a time when they were worth less. Suppose it's true; and suppose he has to carry the can - will Apple manage without him? Already some commentators are ready to wield the axe. Froma Harrop in the …
Guy Kewney, 17 Jan 2007

You want a $100 computer? For $300? No sale!

One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organisation with the goal of providing children in developing nations with laptop computers, today announced that "contrary to previously published reports OLPC has no plans to make the XO laptops available for sale to the general public." Sad news for Computerworld's Frank Hayes who …
Guy Kewney, 14 Jan 2007

Print is dead, long live the printer

Comment Hi, Annabel Fancy here. A time-slip mailing - I haven't got time to start this company here in the second decade of the millennium, so I thought you might like to try it. It's an internet printing business. You can use it; just mark me down for one per cent of share equity in exchange for royalty-free use. Here's how it works …
Guy Kewney, 12 Jan 2007

iPhone... but what happened to the iPod scroll wheel?

It's crunch time for the iPod. Can a single device be as easy to use for music as an iPod, and also as easy as a Mac for email, and also work as a phone? Steve Jobs has said yes, and to do this, he's dropped the famous scroll wheel. Enthusiasm for a new Apple launch is taken for granted. Jobs himself has a charisma that the …
Guy Kewney, 10 Jan 2007
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Broadcom, Bluetooth and that patent lawsuit

Analysis What do these companies have in common: Matsushita and its Panasonic unit, Samsung, and Nokia? Two answers: they are all companies named in a patent lawsuit over Bluetooth. And (say wireless engineers) they are also companies where Broadcom would very much like to sell more Bluetooth technology. That leaves us with a few …
Guy Kewney, 06 Jan 2007
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Cellular network used as backhaul for in-car Wi-Fi hotspot

Two 3G (sort of) cellular networks, provided by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel, jointly cover most of continental USA. Now, find a way of using those networks to provide in-car internet. Normally, you'd be forced to get at least two data cards, and plug them into your PC, and switch from one network to the other as coverage …
Guy Kewney, 05 Jan 2007
For Sale sign detail

Wireless not worth hacking?

Opinion For four years, I've been pretty clear about my personal opinions on wireless hackers. I don't worry about them. So when I say: "It's time to worry about wireless hackers," it's not just another security consultant scare story being recycled - it's because I think things have changed. What has changed? Easy: corporate networks …
Guy Kewney, 02 Jan 2007
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Enemies dig in for WiMAX-on-cell phone trench war

Column As the WiMax hype machine moves into high gear ahead of next month's 802.20 working group meeting in London, UK, workers on the various wireless standards are anxious to calm down negative reports about the problems they might have on making this family of wireless work in true mobile fashion. One of the problems facing WiMax …
Guy Kewney, 27 Dec 2006
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How Telewest makes extra work out of a crisis...

I know I'm not the only person who has problems with their cable TV service today, because when I ring the support number, I can't get through. The problem, apparently, started out with an attempt to update the "TV Drive" service. TV Drive is a hard disk. It records TV programmes and plays them back when you want them played …
Guy Kewney, 16 Dec 2006
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China Mobile swoops on "3"

Updated By end of Friday, Hutchison Whampoa will have announced the sale of its European 3G franchises - both in the UK and in Italy - to China Mobile; thus confounding the hopes of European operators like TIM and Vodafone of picking up some cheap spectrum. The deal is being finalised today, as 3 UK sends out sample X Series products …
Guy Kewney, 14 Dec 2006

Training our sights on Vista

Opinion How long would it take to train you to be a Vista trainer? How about: how long would it take you to learn how to train Vista trainers? Does it matter? Surely, it wouldn't take long. And even if it takes a month - surely there are plenty of trainers! It turns out that the figures are hard to glean. After a while spent Googling …
Guy Kewney, 13 Dec 2006

Ofcom helps inflate the WiMAX hype bubble

Ofcom, the UK's the broadcast regulator, has tagged WiMAX mobile wireless as a likely source of revenue for the public purse. It has announced "the UK's largest single release of radio spectrum, which could be used for a range of new services such as mobile broadband and advanced wireless services". The spectrum auction is …
Guy Kewney, 11 Dec 2006
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Muni Wi-Fi - survey may not be as impartial as it seems

Comment A new report "warns that cities considering municipal WiFi shouldn’t fool themselves into believing that the experience will be as routine as running water, gas and electricity systems." The report should come with a Thatcher Warning; it's not ideologically neutral. The report comes from the Reason foundation, and on the face …
Guy Kewney, 10 Dec 2006
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Dreadful Recorded Music?

Opinion Imagine this: a new world standard in music recording. It works like this. You turn the radio on and it downloads four hours of songs in MP3 format. Free. Yeah, you can probably imagine that. Now: imagine this - nobody in the music recording industry complains, or protests, or sues. It already happened. It happened when DAB …
Guy Kewney, 07 Dec 2006
homeless man with sign

Who framed Jessica Rabbit?

Comment Here's a trick question: would you invent the movie camera if there was no such thing as a movie projector? Or, to make the trick more obvious: would you invent the movie camera, and then prevent anybody from building a projector? Would you create a camera which produced movies that only another camera owner could watch? If it …
Guy Kewney, 01 Dec 2006
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Mast debaters strike again, ban Wi-Fi in UK schools

Two new and baleful reports about "microwave radiation" revived the mast hysteria in the UK this week: one, an attempt by "3" to build a new phone tower and the other, a series of schools claiming ill effects from Wi-Fi. By coincidence, both reports were written by journalists with the same surname. Joanna Bale wrote in The …
Guy Kewney, 25 Nov 2006
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Cambridge incubator spawns spinoffs aplenty

A trip to St John's in Cambridge (England) provides an opportunity to see innovation in action. And one of the pioneers of Cambridge Technology - Dr Herman Hauser of Amadeus - was there this year to explain how it all came about - and to take modest credit for the effect. It was ironic that in the same week as Bill Gates was …
Guy Kewney, 20 Nov 2006

Vista released: PC sales drop? Dealers blamed!

"I'm not buying a new PC, not yet," said the angry NewsWireless reader. "I need a new computer, and I found one online - but it comes with Windows Vista! I don't want that!" Sadly, it seem that in their enthusiasm to be seen to be as far up on Microsoft's beautiful unique marketing as possible, several online PC stores have …
Guy Kewney, 18 Nov 2006
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Orange and BBC World announce global deal

Orange and BBC World have extended their current mobile distribution offering by signing a ground-breaking global deal which will allow Orange mobile phone customers in eight new countries to watch the channel live. BBC World, the BBC's 24-hour international news information service will be the only English language news …
Guy Kewney, 16 Nov 2006
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"I have nothing to hide" - or the Sainsbury's Lesson

Comment How frightened would you be if you were secretly planning to get pregnant, without telling your husband, and discovered that someone had written to him telling him about it? Or, put the other way, how would you feel if you discovered your wife was pregnant only when someone dropped you a letter? And who would that person be? It …
Guy Kewney, 08 Nov 2006
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Wireless USB 'may slow Bluetooth growth'

Growth in Bluetooth has been spectacular, and will continue to expand, says analyst Fiona Thomson at IMS Research - but though its growth is assured, there is a question mark over just how far it can expand. The cloud over its future is Wireless USB. Thomson's report, being sent to Bluetooth Special Interest Group members, …
Guy Kewney, 06 Nov 2006
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Billing provider behind Fon de-cloaks, attacks MVNO enterprises

They say that before you launch a mobile billing company, you should have customers, or nobody will take you seriously. That's presumably why BlueTab has waited a year before revealing that it is a mobile billing company. The customer is a high profile one: Fon, the Spanish "social WiFi" network created with investment by …
Guy Kewney, 27 Oct 2006
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Leaders vs bloggers and other meaningless fights

Opinion A good leader writer - and I never was one of those! - has a vital function on a large newspaper or magazine. They tell the readers what the news stories are about. Well, that's all going to change, says a pundit. You'll have noticed, perhaps, that El Reg is not a newspaper. Nonetheless, the laws of writing leading articles …
Guy Kewney, 24 Oct 2006
homeless man with sign

Organised crime fails to stop skiddies

Comment About a year ago, I attended a top-level roundtable meeting of malware experts, where we discussed organised crime on the internet, and came to the conclusion that, in one sense, it might be a good thing for users. That sense was trivial, of course, compared with the problems of extortion and "protection" rackets. But it looked …
Guy Kewney, 20 Oct 2006
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Hope for Vodafone as staff cuts loom

Analysis The shame of working for what used to be the jewel in the crown of UK mobile companies won't cause too many top execs to resign in the next three months. They'll hang on for their pay-offs, not just because the money would be nice, but because they are right now close to being unemployable. But being seen driving a BMW five …
Guy Kewney, 15 Oct 2006
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Penelope the Thunderbird

Actually, it was never quite clear why Qualcomm bought Eudora, the old market-leading email program, but it would have been quite understandable if it had been because it foresaw the growth in mobile email, and wanted to bundle something with BREW phones. But it seems that it wasn't. Qualcomm has now disposed of Eudora, it …
Guy Kewney, 12 Oct 2006
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Vonage V-phone hits UK streets

It's a phone on a USB stick, it looks just like any USB memory stick, and it has (at last!) shipped into the UK. It's the Vonage V-phone. Several people have tried to get excited about it, without really managing. They all approve of the low price - £19.99 in the UK, and they all agree it works. Where Vonage raves in its …
Guy Kewney, 09 Oct 2006
server room

3Com tries to reverse fortunes with unified switch

Opinion Is it good news that 3Com is making a serious challenge to Cisco and Airespace in the WLAN part of the networking business? Nobody seems to think so, not even 3Com, because, when asked why the share price shot up at the weekend, a spokesman said: "It would be silly to guess why [3Com] stock goes up or down a few points on any …
Guy Kewney, 09 Oct 2006

You can have any dinghy you like, as long as it's beer

Ionian Blog It's our last day on the water. All today, we were frustrated in our attempts to sail by an absence of wind. Floating around on a glassy sea is not what we signed up for! So the cook and I sustained morale by reciting encouraging stories of the Hobie 15 catamaran we would be able to play with when we got into port. The Hobie is …
Guy Kewney, 09 Oct 2006

Dolphins, dinghies and underground water levels

Ionian Blog Inmarsat now working nicely, thank you. A little longer on deck, and I will be too, but right now I'm a little queasy...and no, it's not the dolphins that are to blame. I only wish the cook was being a little less smug! The good news: I won my argument with my crew, and got enough power to transmit this bulletin; and we're …
Guy Kewney, 05 Oct 2006

BT + HP + PepsiCo = $$$

The alliance between BT and HP, which was fanfared earlier this year with a huge inhouse press seminar in Venice, was supposed (at the time) to be simply a way of selling IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) to desperate mobile telcos - so it's quite a surprise to find a big contract announced with Pepsico. Normally, a contract …
Guy Kewney, 05 Oct 2006

The land that GPRS forgot

Ionian Blog To the bat-cave! You were wondering what happened to the sailing blog? Answer: I found a place in the Ionian islands where no wireless works. None. Well, that's probably not entirely true; I'm sure that if I could have found a mains power socket to charge the BGAN satellite modem up, and another to power the PC, I'd have been …
Guy Kewney, 03 Oct 2006
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WiMAX Club formed to undermine 3G and GSM telcos

Comment "The important thing to understand about WiSOA is its members have all had the WiMAX debate," he says. "We have all decided that WiMAM is the future, and we have all committed to roll WiMax out within our businesses." That's the explanation for the launch of the WiMax Spectrum Owners Alliance, offered by Patrick Cruise O’Brien, …
Guy Kewney, 29 Sep 2006

The day the rat entrails mystery was solved

Ionian blog Today was the day I tried the web-cam over satellite. It was also the day the "rat's entrails" fight came to a head. On balance, I think I came out ahead of the cook. The idea of running a web-cam over a satellite was a misunderstanding. It does work! - but not using the setup we have out here in the South Ionian sea on this …
Guy Kewney, 28 Sep 2006
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Boeing closes Connexion - and I thought they were just being rude!

Comment I recently interviewed Boeing (Farnborough International Air show) and couldn't get a word out of them about Connexion By Boeing - their inflight WiFi/satellite service. Now, I find that Connexion has gone bust. You really hate it as a journalist when you get to a scoop, interview the rignt people, and simply don't realise that …
Guy Kewney, 26 Sep 2006

The haunting issue of latency

Ionian Blog A storm forced us to spend two days here, on the island of Cephalonia. This is the second day. It was the day we discovered the importance of the word "latency" in broadband communications. Also, the drawbacks of non-tidal waters. And, finally, the Ghost was revealed. The Ghost has woken me up several times in the night. It …
Guy Kewney, 26 Sep 2006

Intel hypes WiMAX to the sky in Brazil

Column It is over five years since two LocustWorld staff set up a satellite van in a Yorkshire Dales village, and provided wireless internet to local users who couldn't get ADSL. And half a decade later, Intel took 60 employees, a satellite link, and a 300-foot WiMAX tower to achieve much the same thing. The story of how the WiMAX …
Guy Kewney, 25 Sep 2006
DVD it in many colours

No more kickboxing for the cook

Ionian Blog I honestly thought the cook had lost a toe. I'm pleased to be able to report that he hasn't. Equally, I'm pleased to be able to report that we're steaming along at a cracking pace under engine and, finally, I've cracked the problem of charging the satellite terminal's battery. You'll be wondering why the cook's toe is relevant …
Guy Kewney, 25 Sep 2006