PC World’s Techlog has a posting about problems experienced by some users with recent Microsoft security patches. To me, this highlights the need to run software on PCs that can allow users to easily roll-back recent changes. While the security fixes cannot be put off indefinitely, this approach at least allows the user to bring the computer back to a functional state while they figure out the cause of the conflict. It is also very useful when any new software is installed that messes up the existing configuration. Examples of products that provide roll-back capabilities include: Farstone’s RestoreIT 7 and Horizon Datasys’ RollBack RX. However, note that most of these types of products alter the boot track of the hard disk and will conflict with any other software that tries to do the same (for example, certain whole disk encryption software or even certain backup programs like Norton’s Ghost (at least the older versions)).
Emblaze is offering its Emoze push email service at no charge, hoping to generate revenues by selling optional services at a future date. The service works with Outlook, Notes and certain Web-based services such as Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo Mail. A wide variety of cell phones and other PDA-type devices are supported. The client device needs some sort of data connectivity which can include: broadband IP, wireless 3G (WCDMA/UMTS and CDMA2000), Wi-Fi 802.xx, Wi-Max, GPRS (2.5G), EDGE, CDMA 1xRTT or CDMA 1xEVDO.
Xplorenet offers Internet service to Canadian locations through satellite technology. However, its “unlimited” pricing plans do in fact have limits. According to its Xplornet Internet Services Fair Access Policy:
To ensure fair access for all Xplornet subscribers, Xplornet maintains a running average fair access policy. Fair access establishes an equitable balance in Internet access across all broadband services by service plan for all Xplornet customers regardless of their frequency of use or volume of traffic. To ensure this equity, customers may experience some temporary throughput limitations. Xplornet Internet access is not guaranteed. This policy applies to all service plans including “Unlimited” plans where customers’ use of the Service is not limited to a specific number of hours per month. Xplornet indicates that approximately 5% of subscribers are responsible for a disproportionate share – often as much as half – of the total Xplornet service traffic. Unfortunately, many of those subscribers are not using Xplornet for its intended purpose. To ensure that all Xplornet subscribers have fair and equitable access to the benefits of the Service, Xplornet has enacted a Fair Access Policy (FAP) to prevent abusive consumption of bandwidth by a handful of users.
The Fair Access Policy (FAP) is straightforward. Based on an analysis of usage data, Xplornet has established a download data usage threshold well above the maximum typical usage rates. When a customer exhibits patterns of system usage, which exceed that threshold for an extended period of time, the FAP may temporarily limit that subscriber’s throughput to ensure the integrity of the system for all subscribers.
I noticed that 7-Eleven stores are offering their own wireless prepaid cellular handsets and service. Rates are good (CDN$0.20 for local calls, CDN$0.30 US/Canada long distance) for Canadian users. The expiration lasts for 365 days (which beats out Virgin Mobility Canada’s 120 day period). And the phone comes activated. However, there are some down sides: The service area appears to be much more limited than what other carriers offer for their tri-mode handsets (great if you’re staying near Toronto, Ottawa or Windsor, but not the thing to carry if you plan on a trip to Wasaga beach). The coverage map provided in their brochure only shows Ontario, so its not clear whether they provide coverage elsewhere (but I suspect they likely do in other large Canadian urban centers). They don’t tell you what the roaming surcharges will be or what they charge for non-North American long distance. Also, some of the disclaimers in their fine print may give pause – for example – “map may include areas served by unaffiliated carriers, and may depict their licensed area rather than an approximation of the coverage there” – this appears to say that you can’t even rely on the coverage area pictured in the brochure. Also, “coverage area may be subject to additional charges”, “many government entities impose reoccurring taxes and other fees that will be debited from your account as the law provides”. Speak Out also charges subscribers a $1.50 “911 emergency tax and regulatory cost recovery fee” which may change from time to time. Finally, while the service advertises a 365 day expiration period, the small print states that they may cancel your number if your account has no activity for 120 consecutive days. “A service activation fee and new wireless phone number may be required to reactivate service” – so while your $10 in calling credit is protected for 365 days, you may need to go buy a new phone for $65 in order to use it.
Rogers is now offering “portable Internet” service based on pre-WiMax technology in 20 cities across Canada. The 2.5 Gigahertz solution offers 1.5Mbps downstream speeds and 256kbps up, with a 30Gig monthly cap, for $49.95 / month (modem costs $100). “Portable” means the modem still needs to be plugged in, so its not the same as mobile.
Apparently, Rogers Communications and Bell Canada (the cable guys and the phone company) have pooled their licensed wireless broadband spectrum into a new company – Inukshuk Internet – which will build and operate the network. Expectation is that within three years, they will be able to offer service to two-thirds of Canadians (40 cities and approximately 50 rural and remote communities). Although Rogers and Bell will share bandwidth, each will compete for its own subscribers.
Australia has become the first jurisdiction to force ISPs operating in that country to provide anti-spam options to users. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), through its Internet Industry Spam Code Of Practice, also requires ISPs to inform end-users on ways to combat spam and to have a process for handling complaints from subscribers.
Police detectives used profiles posted on the MySpace social networking website to identify six suspects in a rape and robbery. Great use of modern technology!
From AP via Wired News and other sources.