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Friday, July 08, 2005

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

PalmOS Is Dead
Posted by Ed Hansberry @ 06:00 AM
PalmOS, as we know it, is dead. We reported last week that PalmSource had halted all non-Linux development, but at the time I didn't fully grasp what that meant. I am still not sure I do, but after thinking about it for a few days and reading additional reports, it is clear to me that the operating system we are all familiar with, the one that is for personal information management, portable computing and wireless connectivity is dead.

Croak!

PalmSource is focusing entirely on a flavor of PalmOS for Linux, but they are also working on feature phones with the help of their China MobileSoft acquisition, those phones that, while they have a lot of smartphone-style features, are essentially locked. Beyond ringtones and backgrounds, you can't just pop over to Handango and download software for it. What you get out of the box is what you live with. I am sure PalmSource will give it as much a look and feel of the classic PalmOS UI, but for most of us, that just won't be the same. They are targeting this OS to be complete in Q3 of 2006, which means it will be early to mid 2007 before the first phones start shipping. I fully expect this will be what LG will do as a new PalmSource licensee. I am not expecting a new Treo competitor from LG.

Once PalmSource gets the feature phone OS out of the door they will wrap up the full blown OS that everyone has assumed will be some powerful 32bit multitasking OS sitting on top of Linux. However, that will be 2007 at the earliest, so you could be looking at 2008 before devices would be ready to ship. 2008! Shocked Will anyone care by then? You have Palm aficionados that could be in serious jeopardy hoping their current device lasts that long!

Meanwhile, you have pa1mOne, soon to be just Palm, creating the latest revision of FrankenGarnet which seems to get more unstable with each release and causes more headaches for developers as pa1mOne is notorious for not cluing people in on what changed. I thought it was an eternity waiting almost two years between the release of Pocket PC 2002 and Pocket PC 2003. I couldn't imagine using an OS in 2007 that was hatched in 2002. Between technologies like wireless USB, 802.11n, EDGE, EVDO, over the air video and stuff I haven't even heard of yet, there will just be too many things that a five year old OS can't handle. A perfect example is Skype. There is still no version of Skype for PalmOS. Garnet just can't handle it. Ten months after Skype for PalmOS was just around the corner you can't hardly find the word "Palm" on the Skype site. I would argue there were mobile technologies in 2002 that Garnet, also known as PalmOS5, couldn't handle, but I digress. Wink

You think pa1mOne will wait until 2007 or 2008 for a new OS? Or do you think there might be a Palm device in your future, running Windows Mobile? I see the latter as far more likely to happen versus seeing FrankenGarnet 5.99999.

Michael Mace, the former PalmSource Chief Competitive Officer, was terminated. Chris Dumphy is no longer there, along with 16% of the workforce. PalmSource itself isn't dead. Far from it. But it is now no more than an embedded operating system maker that will fade from the consumer's memory faster than "New Coke!"

For years, Microsoft has seen its major threat as Nokia - years before even that article. It was pretty clear once the original iPAQ 3600 was released and Palm kept fumbling the ball on great features that Palm simply didn't have the internal resources to move the aging platform that ran on a Kadak provided kernel to a full blown operating system that could hope to do what devices based on Windows CE were capable of. Even Sony couldn't stem the inevitable decline of PalmOS's market share.

When someone has a monopoly people scream that without competition the consumer loses. Well, in general I agree. Don't worry though. Microsoft's toughest opponent in the mobile computing hand-space isn't Palm. It hasn't been since 2001. Microsoft has been shooting over their head at Nokia. Don't look for stagnation anytime soon. Very Happy Oh yeah, don't look for a Palm revival anytime soon either. Laughing

I guess I will have to re-evaluate what I use "The Competition" forum for. I am by far the most prolific poster of new items in here and most of those are about Palm. I probably need to get up to speed on what Nokia is doing with Symbian. Doesn't mean I will never post about Palm again. Come on! There is just too much fun in it. Wink But in all honesty, it just isn't serious competition for the Windows Mobile platform.

The Clicker: Was Grokster really the important Supreme Court decision? - Engadget - www.engadget.com

The Clicker: Was Grokster really the important Supreme Court decision? - Engadget - www.engadget.comThe Clicker: Was Grokster really the important Supreme Court decision?

Posted Jul 7, 2005, 7:26 PM ET by Peter Rojas
Related entries: Displays, Features, HDTV, Home Entertainment

Every Thursday Stephen Speicher contributes The Clicker, a weekly column on television and technology:

The key to all good magic, as it has been explained to me, is misdirection. The magician must engage in some large, eye-catching gesture that, when all is said and done, is rather meaningless. Meanwhile, under the cover of the aforementioned grandeur, the real work is performed.

For instance: in the early nineties, David Copperfield would, with pomp and glory, make large jets, the Grand Canyon, even the Statue of Liberty disappear into thin air. These, of course, were just the WOW-type distractions he needed to accomplish his real goal, attracting supermodel Claudia Schiffer.

As it turns out – Justice Rehnquist and the rest of his Supreme Court posse are also fans of the ancient art of illusion. When the Supreme Court delivered the recent raft of decisions it deftly used the attention-grabbing, yet rather meaningless, Grokster case to grab the attention of the public. Meanwhile, a second, arguably more important, ruling has quietly solidified Comcast et. al.’s legal classification as an “information service” and not as a “telecommunication” service. In doing so, the Supreme Court has set the stage for cable giants such as Comcast to, with impunity, disallow such competitive services as Vonage, Skype, and even perhaps Akimbo, MovieLink, and a host of IPTV services.

A small, Santa Monica-based Internet company, Brand X Internet LLC, brought suit against the cable industry claiming that, under common carrier regulations, Brand X had a right to deliver its Internet services over the cable giants’ broadband networks. Brand X argued that, just like DSL, cable lines were telecommunication instruments. As such, just like the Bells are forced to open DSL lines to third-party providers, so too should third-party companies be afforded access to the cable infrastructure.

Brand X’s argument was not without basis: In 2000, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in AT&T v. the City of Portland that cable modem services were a mixture of both information services and telecommunication services and should be subject to the regulations of both bodies. However, in response to that ruling, the FCC later (2002) issued an opposing statement that cable modem services were information services and that they were not subject to telecommunications regulations. The Brand X case became the Supreme Court’s chance to set the record straight.

In the 6-3 decision delivered by Clarence Thomas, the court re-affirmed the FCC’s classification of cable modem services as information services.

The ruling has caused a lot of speculation about whether the cable industry will use its newly-reaffirmed status to make life difficult for its competitors in the VoIP industry. Under telecommunication regulations, providers must open their networks on non-discriminatory terms. Information services are not bound by the same regulations. Cable companies could engage in port-blocking and other countermeasures used to stop VoIP services from traversing their networks.

What’s even less clear is how the decision muddies the waters with respect to IPTV services. While not yet as developed as VoIP, the emerging IPTV market has just as much to lose. IPTV is also closer to the cable companies bread and butter services. It’s unclear that, without non-discriminatory terms, cable companies would have the proper incentive to allow third-party video services to traverse their networks. Value-add services such as VOD have been at the backbone of nearly all cable battles, and cable companies have fought hard to maintain their monopoly there. It’s unlikely that they wouldn’t at least consider cutting their competition off at the knees.

The matter is further complicated by the dearth of information-service regulations. The FCC has been in a holding pattern with regards to broadband regulations.

The Supreme Court’s decision, according to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, allows for that to change. Martin said in a statement: “This decision provides much-needed regulatory clarity and a framework for broadband that can be applied to all providers… We can now move forward quickly to finalize regulations that will spur the development of broadband services for all Americans.”

But, until regulations do change, the Brand X decision leaves the Internet in an unusually precarious position. With a) many regions of the country operating under a broadband-access monopoly and b) with access to broadband services becoming more and more important in both communication and entertainment services, the courts just bestowed upon the cable companies a disturbing amount of power.

It’s time for FCC to take some of that power back from the cable companies. It’s time for Martin to enact neutrality regulations. It’s one thing to allow cable companies sole use of their own networks. It’s an entirely different thing to allow them the power to block the competitive services that travel over those networks, and while we’re in limbo that’s what they’ve done.

PDAgold.com :: Article :: Memory in Pocket PC explained

PDAgold.com :: Article :: Memory in Pocket PC explained: Memory in Pocket PC explained
Author - Pavel Koza :: User rating - 4/5 gems (24 votes) :: Views - 563 July 07, 2005 :: A vast majority of PDA owners have some experience with personal computers and know at least something about the basic elements, such as the memory. However, if such a user tries to apply the knowledge on pocket computers, he may be rather confused. This article explains the basic terms, describes different types of memory used in pocket computers and main differences between them.

Memory is one of the basic components of a device called a pocket computer. It makes little difference how fast the processor, how large and colourful the display and how many wireless radio modules a device carries - without memory, it would be dead box of hardware. Nevertheless, even the less technically savvy users should read this article. A PDA's memory is a place where you keep the most valuable thing - you data. If you do not want to loose them, you should know at least the elementary issues.

As in real life, the computer memory, too, has to handle three main tasks - otherwise it would be useless. These include the possibility to write information, retain it and recall. All the information is stored in the binary form - as a combination of ones and zeros. There are many different types of memory but all of them are based on the electromagnetic principle (I have never seen a punch-card reader for Pocket PC:) Here, we shall discuss only the types of memory used in Pocket PCs. If you would like to learn more on memory technology in general, I recommend your local technical library or Google.

Even the simplest pocket computer with a Microsoft operating system integrates several types of memory that differ in purpose and speed. There are two basic types - ROM (read-only memory) and RAM (random-access memory). In addition, almost every device can be extended using a memory card or other memory media e.g. over a USB Host interface. However, we will stick to internal memory this time.
ROM / FlashROM

The abbreviation "ROM" stands for Read Only Memory. In pocket computers, this type of memory serves as a storage for all files of the operating system and basic applications supplied by the respective device manufacturer or Microsoft. Its main advantage is that it does not need to be powered permanently to retain the information it contains. The data are safe however long the memory remains without power. The first Pocket PC devices and almost all of their predecessors had the operating system loaded in the ROM. When Microsoft issued an upgrade of the operating system and a manufacturer decided to adopt it for older devices, it was necessary to physically replace the ROM module (which looks like the one in the image above). This was the only possible way of upgrading the system. The only advantage of this solution was that alongside a new ROM chip, the upgrade module often included also some RAM, so you received not only a new system but also a larger operating memory. On the other hand, such modules were quite expensive and required playing with the device's guts or visiting a service centre.
ROM upgrade for HP 620LX
ROM upgrade for HP 620LX

With the arrival of Compaq iPAQ and Pocket PC in general, ROM started to be replaced by its more convenient variant called Flash ROM. This type of memory, too, will retain data without power but it is possible to change its contents under certain conditions. This means that new versions of the operating system or partial patches can be loaded in the Flash ROM directly just using appropriate software; no hardware changes are needed. The latest innovation concerning Flash ROM in Pocket PC devices is a possibility to use its free part as an extra storage of up to several tens of megabytes for sensitive data and applications that the user wants to protect. This space is available as another folder in the memory structure and manufacturers call it different names (iPAQ FileStore, LOOXstore etc.), I called it generally Safe Storage. You can work with it as with any other folder; it only writes data significantly slower than standard RAM.

When speaking about Flash ROM, I should mention the terms NOR and NAND, which are the two dominant technologies used for producing Flash memory chips. The NOR technology was first introduced by Intel in 1988, NAND by Toshiba a year later. There are fundamental differences between them but a detailed description would go beyond the scope of this article (in addition, my technical knowledge does not reach far enough:) - if you are interested in a detailed comparison, click here. For most of us, ordinary mortals, it is sufficient o know that:

* NOR features smaller capacity (1 MB - 32 MB), shorter life (10-100 re-writes) and very slow erasing and writing. On the other hand, it supports a technology called XIP (Execute in Place). That means that binary code stored in the ROM can be executed straight away without the necessity to copy it to the RAM first. High price.
* NAND features larger capacity (16 MB - 512 MB, maybe more), longer life (100-1000 thousand re-writes) and fast erasing and writing. However, code needs to be copied to the RAM before execution (Code Shadowing). Low price.

As a user, you should be interested in what type of Flash ROM your device contains. For example, users of HP iPAQ h1915 could find out from the specifications that their device contains a Flash ROM but the memory being a NAND-type, they were limited in many ways as compared to users of other devices.

There is a lot to write about Flash ROM, this much just for a quick reference:)
RAM / SRAM / DRAM / SDRAM

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. Unlike ROM, the RAM memory needs to be powered to retain its contents. Even the shortest blackout wipes out all data irreversibly. There are many types of RAM but we shall focus only on some of them. Depending on whether a memory is static or dynamic, it is called either SRAM or DRAM. SRAM-type memory (Static RAM) retains data as long as it is powered. It is very fast but more sophisticated and therefore more expensive. It is used primarily as cache memory where speed is a crucial factor. On the other hand, DRAM (Dynamic RAM) retains information using electric charge from a capacitor. However, the charge tends to wither even if the memory is powered. In order to prevent complete discharge and subsequent loss of information, it is necessary to refresh memory cells periodically. It is simpler and therefore significantly cheaper, albeit slower than SRAM.

We shall discuss in detail only SDRAM (Synchronous DRAM) which we can find in virtually all Pocket PCs on the market. As you will guess correctly, it is based on the DRAM technology but is much faster than the original SDRAM due to certain enhancements, such as synchronisation with the frequency of the CPU bus. Favourable price makes it the preferred choice and only rarely can we encounter another type of memory in pocket devices.
How does it work?

You now know what types of memory are used in Pocket PCs, let's see how it all actually works and how a Pocket PC uses the memory. PDA beginners will probably be familiar with a desktop PC, so I will try to compare the two worlds.

All Pocket PCs I have ever seen have both RAM and ROM. Apart from some rare exceptions, there are no pocket computers with an integrated hard drive. The task of permanent storage of data even without power is assigned to the ROM. It contains the operating system, without which the device just would not work, as well as basic applications from Microsoft and other software vendors (it is the manufacturer of the device who decides what software you obtain with the device). In some devices, a part of their Flash ROM is accessible o the user as Safe Storage. When you switch the device on for the first time, a series of initial operations and settings will be performed. Besides other things, data that crate a user profile will be copied to the RAM (system registry, document templates, and bonus applications, if available). After you have calibrated the display and tried Tap&Hold, the device is ready to use.

Most Pocket PC first-timers will suffer a shock upon inspecting available memory. They usually believe that when they buy a device with 64 MB of RAM, they will have that amount of memory at their disposal for storing data and applications. In reality, the amount of free memory is significantly smaller for three reasons:

1. As I mentioned above, the system may occupy part of the RAM for its own purposes (such as code shadowing etc.), which reduces the original amount (down to the 55 MB).
2. Even a completely new device has some data in it (modules for the Today screen, document templates etc.), which eat up several more megs (that's the blue line)
3. The rest will be divided (and dynamically allocated) between storage memory and program memory where applications actually run (that's the slider)

As you can see in the image, a device boasting of 64 MB of RAM will eventually offer some 20 MB of memory space for your data and applications. You can adjust the storage/program memory allocation using the slider but if you run several applications simultaneously, the system will re-allocate the memory according to its needs. Having mentioned Safe Storage, the situation in Acer n35, for instance, is as follows:
Memory size (slightly) misleading In this case, the Safe Storage is less than 2 MB
Why is that?

There is a reason for this solution, naturally. It is assumed that a pocket device, which is dependent on batteries, will be left without power from time to time and all data in the RAM will be erased. Whereas a desktop computer would require a several-hour re-installation and recovery in such an event, a Pocket PC is ready for work within seconds after power has been restored. There are more advantages to it than that but I'll leave it up to curious users to find out:)

Note:: The latest system, Windows Mobile 5, will revolutionise the way a Pocket PCs use memory - the RAM will be used only for running applications, everything else, including the system, installed applications, user data and settings will be stored in the FlashROM, which will eliminate problems with flat batteries. More on that as soon as devices with the new system hit the market.
What is the difference between Soft a Hard reset?

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding pocket computer is the one I chose for the title of this paragraph. The difference is fundamental:

* A Soft Reset is an operation that forcibly closes all running applications. All UNSAVED data are lost but the contents of the RAM are available after the system recovers. A Soft Reset is usually performed by a press of a more or less hidden button.
* A Hard Reset will COMPLETELY ERASE the RAM. Data stored in the Safe Storage or on memory cards will remain intact. The device then runs the initial sequence as if just taken out of the box and is ready to use after a little while. The way of performing a Hard Reset differs from device to device: it may require a simultaneous press of several buttons, deactivation or removal of the main battery. Check your user manual for details.

Conclusion

That's about all a beginner should know about memory in pocket computers. As your experience grows, you will find that there are many exceptions from the general trend and the development is quite rapid. Nevertheless, the above should be enough to get a basic idea of memory types and usage in Pocket PCs. If you have any questions, send them to discussion forums. I'll try to answer and maybe eventually extend this article.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Sprint Begins Launch of EV-DO Wireless High-Speed Data Service

Sprint Begins Launch of EV-DO Wireless High-Speed Data Service High-Speed Data Service

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Sprint has begun launch of a new wireless high-speed data network that will provide mobile Internet access to about 150 million people in at least 60 metropolitan areas across the nation by early 2006. Sprint's new wireless high-speed data (EV-DO, Evolution Data Optimized) service, devices and applications will change how and where business is done and offer consumers an enhanced mobile multi-media experience.


(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20001013/SPRINTLOGO )
Sprint is rolling out its EV-DO service initially in business corridors with high wireless-data traffic demands, such as airports and central business districts, followed by broader metropolitan areas. Service will begin during July in major airports and business districts in 34 markets. As the roll-out continues, access will be available to approximately 92 million people in 14 broadly deployed metropolitan areas in the third quarter. By the fourth quarter, another 36 metro areas will be launched, so that service will be available to approximately 143 million people. By early 2006, the high-speed wireless data service will be available on a variety of devices throughout at least 200 urban and suburban markets in approximately 60 metropolitan areas.
Information on Sprint's EV-DO service availability, devices and coverage plans can be found at http://www.sprint.com/wirelesshighspeeddata .
Sprint also revealed a flexible pricing plan for two EV-DO-ready Sprint PCS Connection Cards(TM) -- the AirCard(R) 580 by Sierra Wireless and the Merlin S620(TM) by Novatel Wireless(TM) -- that are available through business sales and retail channels. For business customers, pricing starts at $40 per month for 40MB with a price cap at $90 for those months when customers use the service more. Sprint also will offer an unlimited access plan through business sales channels for $80 per month. All prices exclude taxes and certain Sprint surcharges. For complete information regarding consumer pricing plans starting at $40 per month, please visit your nearest Sprint Store or log on to http://www.sprintpcs.com/ for details. These cards, which operate on the 1xRTT Sprint nationwide PCS network when outside of EV-DO service areas, have a suggested retail price of $249.99 less contract credits and instant savings.
Sprint plans to introduce EV-DO handsets and applications for consumers and business customers in the fourth quarter.
"Satisfying and meeting customer needs for mobile data service is all about having the broadest range of connectivity choices and providing the best overall mobile data experience," said Len Lauer, president and chief operating officer - Sprint. "The EV-DO service launch increases the ways Sprint customers can connect when mobile and augments a unique remote access service portfolio consisting of the nationwide PCS 1xRTT network and more than 19,000 Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) access points in prime locations. Through network convergence, customers can get all the access solutions they need by harnessing the benefits of Sprint's diverse wireless networks."
The Sprint EV-DO service provides a broadband-like wireless data experience that is up to 10 times faster than 1xRTT service, with average download speeds of 400-700 kbps and a peak rate of up to 2.0 Mbps. Users can experience faster downloading when accessing the Internet and retrieving e-mails, including large attachments and other bandwidth-intensive applications. The EV-DO service enables improved audio and video capabilities for entertainment services, like streaming TV and music; gaming; video conferencing; and enhanced messaging.
The new EV-DO service is expected to fuel additional growth in Sprint's growing lineup of wireless data services, an area in which Sprint is an industry leader. Wireless data revenue grew 14 percent for Sprint in the first quarter 2005 and represented approximately 10 percent of customer service revenue.
"Mobile users are demanding more than just network speed, but want a combined offering that includes a fast, reliable and cost-efficient service with business services and applications that drive value into their businesses," said Phillip Redman, vice president of Research - Gartner, Inc. "Most companies want a partner that is interested in helping them with the new technology and provide value-added services beyond just being a technology provider."
The high-speed wireless service launch is an outgrowth of ongoing network improvements. Last December, Sprint announced a multi-year commitment of $3 billion dollars for network enhancements, which included the EV-DO service as well as its next generation Release A upgrade.
About Sprint
Sprint offers an extensive range of innovative communication products and solutions, including global IP, wireless, local and multiproduct bundles. A Fortune 100 company with more than $27 billion in annual revenues in 2004, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state- of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network; an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone; and one of the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide wireless networks in the United States. For more information, visit http://www.sprint.com/mr .

Be Your Own Hotspot - Popular Science

Be Your Own Hotspot - Popular Science

Be Your Own Hotspot
Turn a backpack into a portable, solar-powered Wi-Fi hotspot, and share a high-speed connection anywhere

By Mike Outmesguine

I love the fact that more and more devices are sporting built-in Wi-Fi—the Sony PSP, smartphones, even Kodak’s EasyShare-One digital camera. The lone hitch: Wi-Fi is useless without a hotspot. Sure, thousands of spots are available, but few are free, and coverage is far from ubiquitous. What if you could marry the short-range power of Wi-Fi with the huge coverage areas of high-speed cellular services such as EV-DO to create a portable hotspot? You could use any Wi-Fi-enabled gadget anywhere you’ve got a cell signal. Play multiplayer games with friends in the park, or blog an event in real-time. Since EV-DO works at freeway speeds, you could even give Internet access to an entire road-trip caravan.

Those are exactly the kinds of things you can do with the backpack below. Its secret ingredient: the Junxion Box. Plug a cellular-network card into the book-size open-source-based device, and voilĂ —instant Wi-Fi hotspot, with speeds averaging around 700 kilobits per second. To power the box, I wired it to a 1.2-amp-hour battery and dropped both into the Voltaic Systems backpack, which has a built-in solar charger. Now I can surf for as long as three hours without being tethered to anything but a cell signal. The project isn’t cheap, but prices for the components and service are sure to come down in the next year or so. In the meantime, you can find me in the hills around Southern California. I’ll be the one surrounded by PSP-packing hikers.

Parts List
• Junxion Box wireless gateway $700; junxionbox.com
• Verizon Wireless EV-DO PCMCIA card $100; verizonwireless.com
• Voltaic Systems solar-charging backpack $230; voltaicsystems.com

These parts are available at any electronics store:
• 12-volt battery with spade terminals, 1.2 or higher amp-hour $15
• Male DC power plug, size M $5
• 18-gauge wire, black and red $5
• Female insulated quick-disconnect connectors, crimp-type, sized for battery spade terminals $3
• In-line fuse holder $7
• 20-amp fuse 50 cents

Instructions
1) Plug in your EV-DO card and set up the Junxion Box to automatically assign TCP/IP addresses using DHCP, and disable the authentication splash page.

2) To build the power-adapter cable, cut a length of red wire and a length of black. Strip one end of each wire and crimp a spade terminal connector onto each.

Strip the other end of the red wire, and solder it to one end of the fuse holder. Wrap the connection in electrical tape. Take apart the male DC power plug. Solder the end of the black wire to the negative terminal of the plug and the red wire to the positive. Wrap the exposed positive connection in electrical tape, and reassemble the power plug. Install a 20-amp fuse.

3) Connect the Junxion Box cigarette-lighter adapter to the backpack “power out” plug.

4) Connect the battery cable to the “battery” plug on the backpack’s charge controller.

5) Take a hike!

Ipaq HQ Forums - Watch Who's WiFi You Use -- It Could Be A Felony

Ipaq HQ Forums - Watch Who's WiFi You Use -- It Could Be A FelonyWatch Who's WiFi You Use -- It Could Be A Felony
Richard Dinon of St Petersburg, Florida noticed a guy sitting in an SUV outside his home using a laptop computer. Dinon figured-out that the guy in the SUV, Benjamin Smith, III, was using Dinon's his home's open and unprotected WiFi network -- an unauthorized use no less.

Rather than work it out between them -- like walking up to the door and asking permission or knocking on the SUV window and asking the guy to quit using the network, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was involved and Smith was arrested. He is facing third-degree felony charges of unauthorized access to a computer network.

Locating and using an open network is a fairly common practice. Sure, some people do so to do bad things, but the vast majority people who access someone else's WiFi network do so to get access to the Internet for relatively harmless reasons such as sending and receiving email, checking movie times or getting updated on the day's news.

It's unclear as to what Mr. Smith was doing with his unauthorized connection -- Florida Prosecutors have declined to comment and Smith hasn't said publicly. What is clear is that whether innocent or nefarious in nature, unauthorized use is against the law in many places.

Staying Out Of Jail With WiFi Access:

1. Ask permission -- getting it in writing is best.
2. No means no -- like in many other areas of life.
3. Yes today doesn't necessarily mean yes tomorrow -- always ask.
4. Look for posted signs advertising FREE WiFi access -- A sign is always a good sign.
5. Pave the way for others -- suggest a sign authorizing FREE open WiFi access to businesses and homes that open their access points to the public.
6. Stay away from Richard Dinon house in St Petersburg, Florida -- he's apparently not open to sharing his open and unprotected WiFi access point with others.
7. When in doubt, don't! -- Asking forgiveness isn't as good as asking permission when someone with handcuffs and a badge is reading you your rights.
8. Pay to play -- just pay for a hotspot subscription and get it over with.
9. Look before you go -- research FREE & legal access points before you hit the road (or with Google Mobile while on the road.) An ounce of prevention, yada, yada, yada...

If you frequently piggy-back on other people's open WiFi access points -- go and sin no more -- or risk fines, fees and felony charges that will FAR outweigh a good T-Mobile Hotspot subscription fee.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Deutsche Telekom not interested in selling T-Mobile USA - report - Forbes.com

Deutsche Telekom not interested in selling T-Mobile USA - report - Forbes.com
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AFX News Limited
Deutsche Telekom not interested in selling T-Mobile USA - report
07.05.2005, 04:25 AM

FRANKFURT (AFX) - Deutsche Telekom AG has no intention of selling its US mobile phone unit T-Mobile USA, German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing unnamed sources close to the management and supervisory boards.

The reports were 'purely fictitious' and were invented by financial investors in the US, the sources told the newspaper.

Deutsche Telekom's supervisory board did not recently discuss the sale of the US unit, the sources added.

The Wall Street Journal Europe reported earlier, citing unnamed sources, that the telecoms giant's management board has been discussing the divestment of T-Mobile USA and that a sale could value the mobile phone business at an estimated 25-30 bln usd.

jfb/cml

Samsung SCH-i730 Intro - Samsung SCH-i730 review - Smartphones - CNET Reviews

Samsung SCH-i730 Intro - Samsung SCH-i730 review - Smartphones - CNET ReviewsCNET editor's take

View video & photos

Reviewed by Denny Atkin
Edited by William O'Neal
Reviewed June 30, 2005

Editors' rating:
Excellent
8.3
out of 10
How we rate

The Samsung SCH-i730 manages a pretty impressive feat: It shrinks a Windows Mobile-based smart phone into a form factor that actually fits comfortably in your pants pocket and includes broadband wireless, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a built-in keyboard, and a speedy processor. Despite some irritating quirks in its wireless support, the Samsung i730 stays in the running for the "Treo killer" title.

Design
The Samsung SCH-i730 is much smaller than typical Windows Mobile-based handhelds; only the diminutive I-mate Jam is smaller, but the Jam lacks the i730's keyboard and Wi-Fi support. In fact, other than being slightly thicker, the i730 is virtually identical in size to Palm's popular Treo 650. At 2.28 by 0.97 by 4.49 inches and 6.4 ounces, the i730 is close in size to other Windows Mobile-based smart phones, but it has the touch screen and the full Windows Mobile application compatibility that many smart phones lack.


The well-designed i730 is destined to give the Treo 650 a run for its money.

With the slider closed, the i730 is relatively small.

The i730's screen resolution is lower than the Treo 650's (240x320 pixels vs. 320x320 for the Treo), but its 2.8-inch rectangular screen is better for Web browsing and video playback than the Treo's square display, particularly when using the Windows Mobile 2003 SE screen-rotation feature, which lets you easily switch the screen between Landscape and Portrait modes. Though the screen is on the smallish side, it's extremely bright and sharp.


With a cool black and silver design, the i730 sports a large display.

It's hard to avoid Treo comparisons when discussing the i730. Though it hides its full QWERTY keyboard behind the screen using an innovative slider design, this thumb keyboard is the first we've used that matches the Treo's comfort level and potential typing speed. The backlit keys are raised bubbles, rather than the small, flat keys used by the Siemens SX66, which has a similar slider design. The keyboard is very comfortable, but because of its sliding design, the Samsung i730 hasn't been as well optimized for one-handed use as the Treo. Also, gamers take note: The i730 can recognize only one button press at a time, so you won't be able to move and fire simultaneously in games such as Galaga.


The sliding form factor hides a nifty full QWERTY keyboard.

Features
Thanks to the combination of its operating system and specs, the Samsung SCH-i730 is a processing powerhouse. It sports a 520MHz Intel PXA272 processor, 64MB of internal RAM, 128MB of flash memory (more than 80MB of which is available for program storage), and an SDIO/MMC expansion slot. It runs Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, which offers a full set of PIM functions as well as Pocket versions of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Music and movie fans will appreciate the inclusion of Windows Media Player 10.0, which supports PlaysForSure WMA files from online music stores such as Napster and Musicmatch and easy syncing of television programs recorded by Windows Media Center PCs. The Samsung i730 also includes a few bonus applications, including Sprite Backup, an excellent program launcher, and Verizon's Wireless Sync push e-mail client. While Microsoft's Windows Mobile push functionality won't be built into devices until we see units featuring Windows Mobile 5.0, Verizon's push e-mail client does the trick. Though some preproduction i730s were shown with a built-in 1.3-megapixel camera, this feature is missing from the initial i730 released by Verizon. It's possible that the camera could appear in a second model or in a version from another carrier, but no camera version has been announced. Nevertheless, we had hoped that a high-end smart phone such as the Samsung i730 would have at least a VGA-quality camera.


With a 1GB SD card, the i730 stores enough digital music to hold you over during those commutes.

The i730 has the full laundry list of wireless features: It includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and both 1xRTT and EV-DO cellular data. The Bluetooth support worked perfectly with the hardware we tested, including the Think Outside Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard, the Stowaway Travel Mouse, the Logitech Mobile Freedom Bluetooth headset, and the Pharos Bluetooth GPS. However, Verizon has chosen not to include Bluetooth dial-up networking support, so you can't use the i730 as a wireless modem in conjunction with your laptop. Given the blistering speeds we saw in our EV-DO testing--download speeds ranging from 520Kbps to 640Kbps, compared with 60Kbps to 110Kbps for 1xRTT--we can see why Verizon would be concerned that laptop users might use this feature more than the company would like. This omission means you'll have to do your work directly on the i730 if you can't find an access point for your laptop.

Another quirk: The phone feature shuts down when you're using the i730's Wi-Fi radio, so incoming calls will go directly to voicemail. (And you have to manually turn the phone radio back on after shutting down Wi-Fi.) This is less of an issue in areas where EV-DO support is available, since our speed tests showed EV-DO data speeds were comparable to that of a Wi-Fi connection or a DSL modem. EV-DO support is still rolling out in major cities; in the Seattle area, we found some suburbs have EV-DO coverage, while in others, the phone fell back to 1xRTT support.

Performance
The Samsung SCH-i730's phone features worked smoothly in our tests. Voices sounded clear on both ends of the call when speaking directly into the phone, but conversations were a bit quiet when using the Logitech Mobile Freedom Bluetooth headset. Speakerphone quality, though, is excellent. A nice bonus is the inclusion of VoiceSignal software, which lets you dial by pressing the button on your Bluetooth headset and saying "Call name." Voice and data coverage were excellent, though the lack of analog support means you may have trouble finding a signal in some rural areas. (That said, digital CDMA coverage is more widespread in the United States than GSM.)

The i730 includes a pair of batteries: a 1,100mAh standard battery and a thicker 1,700mAh extended battery. Battery life will vary dramatically depending on how you use the phone. Wi-Fi is a real power hog, and the extended battery will come in handy if you plan to use this feature much. The standard battery is rated at 150 minutes of talk time and 130 hours of standby; this seems accurate from our testing. The package also includes a stereo headset, a belt holster, and an extremely portable folding USB sync cradle.


Deutsche Telekom may sell T-Mobile USA

Deutsche Telekom may sell T-Mobile USAwashingtonpost.com
Deutsche Telekom may sell T-Mobile USA

By Boris Groendahl
Reuters
Monday, July 4, 2005; 7:49 AM

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom has been sounding out institutional investors on whether to sell off U.S. mobile operator T-Mobile USA or spend billions of dollars to expand the business, according to fund managers.

Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA officials declined to comment on what they called market rumors.

In a series of one-on-ones meetings with major investment funds, Chief Financial Officer Karl-Gerhard Eick and other executives of Europe's biggest phone carrier told fund managers a decision would be made by the end of the year.

But many investors are skeptical a buyer will emerge and question whether there was a sensible way to spend the $30 billion Deutsche Telekom could raise in a sale, and hope T-Mobile USA might need less investment if it goes on its own.

"There were several meetings with Eick in which they were testing what our reaction would be," said one fund manager at a major German fund who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The meetings happened around March, he said.

A fund manager at another major German fund, who also declined to be named, confirmed that options for the U.S. mobile business were discussed earlier this year.

"They said there would be a period of uncertainty (until the end of the year), and that we would have to trust them to make the right decision," the second investor added.

One option that Eick presented to investors was to sell the fast-growing business, bought for $40 billion during the peak of the telecoms bubble, while it was still on a good run, signing up subscribers fast, and boosting sales and earnings.

The second scenario was to buy permits for third-generation (3G) mobile phone services in auctions next year and build a 3G network for such services as streaming music and video calls. Analysts reckoned costs of up to $10 billion.

Possible buyers would be Britain's Vodafone Group , the world's biggest mobile carrier, or cable operators seeking an entry into the mobile phone market, the investors said.

"Eick was saying half jokingly how he could always call (Vodafone Chief Executive) Arun Sarin if he wanted to sell," one fund manager said.

But Vodafone, whose U.S. mobile arm, Verizon Wireless, is a joint venture with Verizon Communications , has repeatedly dismissed the notion. "We would not be interested in the T-Mobile USA assets," a company spokesman said Sunday.

GROWTH ENGINE

"Potential buyers of T-Mobile USA do not seem to be forming a queue," analysts at CSFB said in a research note last week. Deutsche Telekom would have to perform a strategic about-face if it sold the business.

T-Mobile USA has been among the fastest growing U.S. providers in recent years, with a more than 30 percent rise in customers and core earnings growth of nearly 50 percent in 2004.

T-Mobile USA had $2.85 billion in revenues and more than 18 million customers at the end of the first quarter.

Moreover, it was the sole growth motor of the entire Deutsche Telekom group. With fixed-line revenues in its domestic market and mobile sales in most of Europe slipping, T-Mobile USA is Chief Executive Kai-Uwe Ricke's brightest star.

"Ricke can kiss good-bye to his goal to be the fastest-growing European integrated telecoms operator if he sells T-Mobile USA," said one fund manager. "There is nothing he could buy that would deliver growth on the same scale."

After the latest round of consolidation in the U.S. mobile industry, which had six large players this time last year, the number of national operators is expected to drop later this year to four from five.

Analysts say T-Mobile, the smallest of the four operators, will have to prop up spending if it wants to keep pace.

"(It must) either commit to this, or look to divest itself of the asset at the best price," said Rich Nespola, chief executive at U.S. consultancy Management Network Group.

Spending includes 3G technology, which mobile operators hope will raise revenues as it becomes much more than a portable device for phone calls.

"They need 3G because data services are the only path to continue growing that makes sense," said a fund manager.

After operators spent around 100 billion euros ($121 billion) on 3G licenses in Europe in 2000, investors fret about a similarly inflated series of U.S. spectrum auctions next year. But the consolidation has reduced the number of bidders and might help make the next auction less expensive.

"It's not really clear what it all will cost," said a fund manager. "In the worst case, you could look at $10 billion (for spectrum and network gear). But as things stand now, I'd rather expect $5 billion over three to five years."

"That's manageable. They can do that, even without (their credit rating) being cut. To me it looks as if that's what's going to happen." ($1=.8275 Euro) (Additional reporting by Kenneth Li and Sinead Carew in New York)