All posts by agahtan

About agahtan

Alan Gahtan is a Toronto-based computer, information technology and e-commerce lawyer who loves technology.

Wireless Data Comparison

Since I last surveyed Canadian options for high speed wireless data:

– Rogers has raised the cap on its top EDGE plan (C$100) from 100 MB to 200 MB
– Bell and Telus have imposed caps (250 MB) on their EVDO 1x plans (C$100) which can be expected to provide better performance than currently available EDGE technology

Meanwhile, the US cellular carriers continue to offer uncapped high speed data plans at lower rates than their Canadian counterparts:

– T-mobile EDGE (US$49.99)
– Cingular EDGE (US$60 with voice plan, $80 without)
– Verizon EVDO 1x (US$60 with voice plan)

Personal VPNs offer protection when using Wi-Fi hotspots

A number of personal VPN services are available to protect users of public wi-fi hotspots or even wired hotel networks where data can also be intercepted:

– AnchorFree’s HotspotShield (free)
HotspotVPN ($8.88-$13.88/month) – PPTP or IPSec
– JWire’s SpotLock ($39/year) being replaced with Hotspot Helper ($25/year or 30 minutes free per day)
PublicVPN ($59/year)
– Witopia’s PersonalVPN ($39/year) – IPSec

P2P TV Coming Soon?

According to the Business 2.0 Blog, the people who brought us Napster and Skype now want to bring us a peer-to-peer television service. While there are already a number of TV over-the-internet services already available, a P2P based service would save on the huge bandwidth costs.

SnapStream Rocks!

Some time back, I purchased a copy of BeyondTV (made by Snapstream), software that turns any capable computer with a TV tuner card into a Personal Video Record (PVR).

Recently, I downloaded a demo copy of one of their other products, Beyond Media and am impressed with what it can do. This product turns a normal computer running XP into a very capable media center. When combined with a remote control (such as Snapstream’s Firefly remote) and a video-to-TV converter that allows the monitor output to be displayed on a television screen, Beyond Media lets you do the following on your television set:

– view photos and videos, and listen to music and podcasts, stored on the local PC
– listen to Internet radio stations through Live365 or which can otherwise play through Windows Media Player
– read blogs configured in Newsgator
– watch live or recorded TV through BeyondTV
– display local weather forecasts

I particularly like the ability to read blogs on my television set. However, the content is limited to what is included in the RSS feeds which typically only includes a portion of the total blog entry.