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All posts tagged "canada"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Canadian Copyright Group Wants Tax on Memory Cards

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 10:00 AM

"As even non-Canadians may recall, there was a big issue in the country a few years back over a so-called "iPod tax" (something that cropped up again in the recent election) and, while it still hasn't come to pass, the Canadian Private Copying Collective is now pushing for a music tax of another sort. While there's no iPods in danger of being taxed this time, the CPCC is asking for a new levy to be placed on memory cards (presumably all types, although that hasn't been specified)."

This makes even less sense than the CD/DVD tax does; the number of MP3 players that use memory cards is relatively tiny, though they're probably targeting phones more than anything else. Thankfully I don't go through that many blank CDs or DVDs any more, but the concept of this tax is inherently unfair. I'd guess that the vast majority of memory cards purchased are used in digital cameras, so how can the CPCC justify their charge of copyright violation? This is bureaucratic corruption, pure and simple.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Telus Now Offering No Cost Phone + Tablet Data Sharing Plans for Android and RIM Tablets

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 08:00 PM

My fellow Canadians, take note: Telus has dropped the gauntlet on the other wireless carriers in Canada by offering a new no-cost data sharing plan between your phone and your tablet. Let me repeat that: no cost to share the data plan. This is a big deal, because traditionally the carriers have added a fee to allow this functionality. There's a catch though: this Telus plan only works with Android and RIM tablets because it apparently relies upon tethering instead of a direct network connection.

This was, previously, a very expensive proposition - has a great post on this topic from two months ago: as of February 2011, Rogers was charging customers an extra $30 per month if they wanted to share their 6 GB data plan with another device. This is a network-level data share, so it applies to iPad 3G's for instance and isn't exactly the same as tethered sharing, but the concept is the same: two devices sharing a pool of data. $30 per month extra on top of the $30 or so that the customer is already paying for the 6 GB plan. Ouch. That's some mighty expensive data sharing!

I hope that Telus' move here places pressure on Rogers and Bell to re-position their sharing plans and pricing. And, I might note, it makes me long for the day when Windows Phone 7 allows for either Bluetooth tethering sharing or, better yet, full-fledged WiFi hotspot functionality. When I'm out with my WiFi iPad 2, I can only stare at my Windows Phone 7 with disdain and think "You know, I could do this sort of thing with Windows Mobile 6.5...".

UPDATE: It looks like the parallels I was trying to draw were inaccurate; Rogers has allowed no-charge tethering on all data plans over 1 GB, and tethering is a different scenario than a directly connected tablet with a SIM card. Apologies for the confusion!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The UBB Deception: Usage Based Billing in Canada Explained

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:30 PM

This is one of more easier to understand videos when it comes to the issue of Usage Based Billing - UBB - and what it really means. I'm putting this on every site in the network because if you're in Canada, you need to understand what's happening (everyone else in the world might find it interesting). Now that one of the ISPs here in Canada has admitted that the pricing of their plans is not linked to actual use, the logic behind UBB start to become even more baffling. We know the motivation is money, but as a "small c capitalist" I believe there's room for plenty of profit while still being fair to your customers. The model of usage-based billing we use in society for buying clothes and food should be applied in the same way for a data connection. Read more...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Are You a Developer in Canada? Microsoft Has a Windows Phone Contest For You!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Developer" @ 02:00 PM


"Windows Phone 7 has hit the market and Microsoft Canada is looking for the best and brightest in the developer community to join The Great Canadian APPortunity competition, a nation-wide search for the most creative and innovative applications and games for Windows Phone 7. In a nation of gifted developers, The Great Canadian APPortunity competition is sure to uncover some amazing apps while providing the community with a platform to showcase their skills and creativity and gain recognition. Entrants have the chance to win a grand prize of $10,000, along with some great prizes including promotion on MSDN Flash Newsletter, Developer Blogs and, Xbox Kinect Consoles, Windows Phone 7 handsets, a Dell Alienware Laptop Bundle worth $3.5K, and a Developer Conference Pack (1 ticket to the Mesh Toronto conference and travel voucher, worth $3K). It's time for the Canadian developer community to demonstrate their innovation and cash in on some great prizes."

If you're a Canadian developer and are thinking about developing for Windows Phone 7 - or maybe you already are - Microsoft has set up a great contest with a lot of tasty prizes. Submissions started on February 1st, and end on April 30th. Check out the official site for more details - and start developing!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Samsung Focus Now Available From Rogers Canada

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Windows Phones" @ 12:39 PM

"Say hello to Windows Phone 7 with the Samsung Focus. Receive live updates from the dynamic Start Screen, enjoy mobile gaming with Xbox LIVE integration and manage your multimedia with Zune. If you need to stay productive, review and edit documents with Office. View all these features of Windows Phone 7 on the crisp 4" Super AMOLED screen."

Today is the day that Windows Phone 7 devices are popping up all over the place - in Canada, Rogers has launched the Samsung Focus. $199 on a three year contract, or $599 without a contract. I'm going to try and get my hands on one of these today...are you buying a Windows Phone 7 device today?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zune Marketplace Expands Elsewhere in the World - Sort Of

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 05:44 PM

"REDMOND, Wash. - Sep. 20, 2010 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the further international expansion of Zune, its digital entertainment service. This fall, Zune will expand its music and video footprint and bring the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store, Zune Pass music subscription service and enhanced features on to new markets, providing a comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE. "The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings," said Craig Eisler, corporate vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. "Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it - and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers." "

No surprises here, except perhaps that Microsoft has failed to expand the world-wide reach of the Zune Pass as much as I'd hoped they would. I live in Canada and was hoping - no, expecting - to be able to get a Zune Pass to go along with my upcoming Windows Phone 7 purchase. Here are the highlights:

  • The Zune Pass is coming to the U.K., France, Italy and Spain - consumers in that country will get the full subscription package for £8.99 / €9.99. However - and this is a bit of an issue for some - there are no free 10 tracks per month.
  • Music purchase is available in the U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany - this means MP3s from the Zune Marketplace.
  • Video purchases from the Zune Marketplace for the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Movie rentals from the Zune Marketplace for the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Is that a confusing mess, or what? As a Canadian, I can buy videos from the Zune Marketplace, and rent them, but I can't buy music? Or can't get a Zune Pass for the Windows Phone 7 device I'm pretty sure Rogers is going to be launching here in the next 90 days? Ridiculous. And why can someone in Ireland rent a movie, but not buy one? The Germans will be able to purchase MP3s from the Zune Marketplace, but they can't get a Zune Pass? And my head will explode if I try to figure out who can do what with Xbox Live - I've been able to rent movies from Xbox Live for months, but I can't rent them or purchase them on my PC.

This not the unified vision I was hoping to see from Microsoft. This is a slapdash, fragmented effort that fails to deliver a solid entertainment experience to everyone in the countries Microsoft is supporting. Yeah, yeah, I know that this is complicated legal stuff, but if Apple can get it done, why can't Microsoft? I'm tired of having to use a loophole to purchase music from Amazon. I'm tired of iTunes being the only source for video purchases I have available. I was hoping Microsoft was going to deliver a solid solution here, and they haven't. It's no wonder Apple is kicking ass and taking names when this is the best their competition can do.

The glimmer of good news in all this is that there's finally a new release of the Zune desktop software; I hope they've added useful features and improved performance, both of which are sorely needed.

What's your take on this? Am I being too hard on Microsoft? Should I be patting them on the back for achieving a tiny fraction of the digital entertainment unity that Apple has been able to create?

The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Canada Gets Fourth Wireless Carrier: Globalive's Wind Mobile

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 10:41 AM

"Canadians will soon have a fourth wireless company offering services to them after the federal government has allowed Globalive Wireless Management Corp. to start operating immediately. On Friday morning, Industry Minister Tony Clement said the cabinet has determined that the wireless company meets Canadian ownership requirements under the Industry Canada Act. Globalive was previously unable to set up shop after the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission turned down its prior attempts, citing the fact that it was owned by Egypt's Orascom Telecom Holding."

This is good news for Canadians - it's hard to say whether this is a play that will include data, or if it's just voice, but I'd have to think that any new player could realize the vital importance of wireless data. I was impressed with Rogers Wireless last year when they introduced a 6 GB data plan for $30 as part of their roll-out of the iPhone - and in fact became a Rogers client at that point - but earlier this week I looked at their data plans again and was stunned to see that their top-end smartphone data plan is 5 GB of data for $80/month. Even their iPhone plans top out at 2 GB of data and 400 week-day minutes for $80/month.

Hopefully Globalive can bring some increased competition in this market - with Rogers and Fido being the only GSM carriers in Canada, and with Rogers owning Fido, there's really only one option for GSM in Canada. And before anyone tells me that Telus is now GSM, they're HSPA-only, so your regular run-of-the-mill GSM phone won't work. And, bizarrely, my HTC HD2 wouldn't recognize their network with a Telus SIM in it even though their IMEI checker says it should. Of course, it's not reassuring that the Globalive Web site won't load for me right now. Hopefully it's not a sign of their competence as a company...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bell Palm Treo Pro Unboxing and First Impressions

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 06:00 AM

This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the Bell Palm Treo Pro. This Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional touch-screen phone is a CDMA phone offered by Bell Canada. The 2.5 inch screen is 320 x 320 in resolution, and the device has a full QWERTY keyboard. It has built-in 802.11 WiFi, a 2 megapixel camera, GPS, Bluetooth, and a microSD card slot. No, it's not a new device, but Microsoft Canada contacted me and asked if I'd like to look at one, and I said yes. Read more...

Monday, July 13, 2009

HTC Touch Pro2 Coming to Canada from Telus Mobility

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 01:31 PM

"Available later this month, the HTC Touch Pro2 smartphone will help TELUS clients stay in touch easily with a large sliding 3.6" touchscreen and full QWERTY keypad. The enhanced Windows Mobile 6.1 professional platform will enable users to sync their email, contacts and calendar with Microsoft ActiveSync, plus access applications such as YouTube on TELUS' 3G network and almost anywhere they travel around the world with TELUS international roaming."

The above quote is from a Telus press release, which seems to be impossible to find online, but here are some other quotes from it:

  • Network support: 3G EVDO Rev A, HSPA, Quad-band EDGE to stay productive and entertained on-the-go while travelling abroad or across Canada
  • Optional microSD memory expandable to 16 GB to store documents, music, videos and photos
  • 3.6" 65k WVGA (800x 480) touchscreen
  • 3.2 MP camera/video with auto focus to take and share pictures with family and friends
  • Easy access to You Tube, Digital Photo Frame and weather
  • TELUS Navigator, TELUS Visual Voice Mail, TELUS mobile TV and more

The interesting thing here is that this is a CDMA phone with EVDO Rev A but also quad-band GSM - so when you're in North America you can rock the better speed and range of CDMA, and when you travel you'll roam onto the GSM network. That's a big deal for anyone that has a CDMA phone and is used to leaving it behind when they travel internationally. No word on exact pricing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Win $10,000 in Microsoft's Mobile Moments Contest!

Posted by Rocco Augusto in "Smartphone News" @ 09:24 AM

"What's your most memorable Mobile Moment? Let us know! Upload a photo with a short description of your Moment—whatever mobile device you happen to use—so everyone can view and vote for their favourites. If you get the most votes by June 15, 2009, you could win $10,000! Plus, each vote automatically enters the voter into a draw to win 1 of 3 Samsung OMNIA™ devices."

Good news, Bad news time! Good news - Microsoft is currently holding a contest entitled Mobile Moments. As the description above states, you participate in the contest by pointing your browser to Microsoft's website and upload a photo of your favorite “mobile moment” and then give said photo a description. Users vote on your precious moment in time and after Jun 15th, 2009 one lucky person is chosen to win $10,000! Bad news time - This contest is only available to Canadian residents it appears, which is pretty lame... unless you're in Canada that is.

Friday, December 31, 2004

AGB Global and Thoughts Media Join Forces

Posted by Jason Dunn in "THOUGHT" @ 12:05 AM

*FRAUD* UPDATE: AGB Global, and the people involved in it (including their CEO, Jon Goss, their Director of Technical Sales, Stewart True, AGB UK CEO Stella Wong, and Tek n' Toys CEO Todd Werbowski) defrauded me out of $28,500 CAD in 2005/2006. Do not invest your money with any of these individuals or you'll lose it.

I'm pleased to announce that Thoughts Media has joined with a new affiliate partner for hardware sales: AGB Global. Here's a bit about them: "AGB specialise in delivering market leading Microsoft Windows based Smartphones and Integrated PDA's. Expertise, knowledge and the unique positioning of AGB brings volume pricing and support into the reach of small to medium retailers and enterprise solution providers. AGB pride themselves on the highest level of service; working with each and every customer to deliver a complete solution to their communication needs, regardless of project size or order commitment."

If you think that design looks familiar, you're right: AGB Global acquired our previous partner, Tek 'n Toys, and our talented friend Fabrizio Fiandanese updated the site. Long-time readers of this site know of the struggles we've had with Tek 'n Toys, so I won't re-hash them, but suffice it to say that I've spent the past two months in discussions with AGB Global ensuring they are the right partner for us from both a product and customer service level. It's always a challenge finding the right partner: larger retailers such as won't deal closely with us because we're too small (and they lack all but the most mainstream of products), but smaller vendors don't always have the size to deliver customer service to match what the big vendors have to offer. I'd ask that everyone give AGB Global a chance to prove themselves, and I hope it will be a fruitful partnership that brings great products to all of you. In today's newsletter you'll see a great offer from AGB to kick off the partnership: a PDA2K with free shipping and free flat-panel speakers. Watch for it!

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