Do bloggers actually read? (Thoughts on Verizon’s data throttling announcement)

From the actual notice (emphasis mine):

if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand.

By comparison, here’s the gist of most alarmist posts I’ve seen so far today:

Verizon will throttle top 5% of mobile data users

Notice the difference? All VZW’s saying is that they reserve the right to take punitive measures against people who fulfil TWO (not just the 5% everyone seems to be talking about) use conditions. Mobile data congestion is a real problem (thanks to Motorola engineer Paul Odlyzko for explaining this to me in late 2009), but I think the real reason Verizon’s making this statement is to prevent mobile data from cannibalizing their landline ISP business. I know at least a few people whose primary internet connection is via mobile tethering. They might want to move somewhere they can actually get landline broadband.*

Users can easily mitigate this issue by taking advantage of open Wi-Fi networks (and switching to Wi-Fi ASAP after getting home). I do admit that you can easily pull down a LOT of data while despite doing that, though: I blew through 498MB of data last month on my Droid 1.

Ironically, not as many people seem to be up in arms about Verizon’s 3G network “optimization,” which IMO just sounds like a way to herd enthusiast users onto the 4G LTE bus.


*And yes, broadband options should be one of the first things you check for when you’re househunting. If you decide to shack up in the middle of nowhere and then whine that about their (lack of) ISP options … that was your decision and is your problem.




“Process ownership” and other jargon get you nowhere

My comment on a recent Harvard Business Review article bewailing the lack of “process ownership” probably didn’t endear myself to the author very much. However, the facts bear my point out. Nokia – one of the article’s poster children – have effectively announced the failure of yet another one of their initiatives to regain relevancy in the mobile arena. Spotify and iTunes are cited as 2 reasons for the demise.

Understanding ladies’ fashion?

Purely from observation: if you're a girl who goes out a lot, it seems better to have a LOT of different clothing pieces that look good on you lest you repeat too often – trust me, guys DO notice that – than a few good ones. Which would explain tweets like this. Moral: if you're a girl, go cheap & discount as much as you can. That top may be passe by next year anyway.

Is the cable industry handicapping premium channel PC tuner cards?

Story here. I have a sneaky feeling the cable industry is severely handicapping efforts by OEMs such as Ceton and SiliconDust to bring premium-channel-capable PC tuner cards to market so that it can keep its content within the walled garden formed by mobile apps and streaming in the web browser. And all I want to do is to be able to watch any cable channel live on my laptop from anywhere in my home. /sigh

Feature wishlist for my next Android phone

In no particular order, asterisks besides critical items:

  • *Physical keyboard
  • *Latest version of Android OS, preferably stock
  • *Front-facing camera
  • *4G LTE
  • *Bluetooth
  • *Wireless hotspot
  • *Large internal storage
  • *Multicore CPU
  • High res (Retina or greater) display
  • 802.11n connectivity

Comments on the Android text messaging bugs

On Friday, Engadget reported on a couple critical flaws in Android’s messaging system.

I’ve been occasionally been routed to the wrong thread from notifications and the master message list. However, I’m usually misdirected to the next lower thread. I think the bug is due to when Android dynamically re-orders conversation threads. By default, the most recent thread is supposed to be at the top of the master conversation list, but I’ve noticed that in some cases (when the phone is under heavy load?) the reordering is delayed. What I suspect is happening is: when the user interacts with the messaging client an update is forced, but said update occurs after the user has selected a thread, thus resulting in the thread displayed being different from the one originally selected. While that bug is concerning, it isn’t extremely scary because you can always check exactly which thread you’re looking at by checking the recipient at the top of the screen.

I’ve also noticed a similar bug in the Call Log feature in which the user is redirected to the wrong contact when trying to call someone on the log.

The egregious “medium” priority bug, however, makes me really worried for a couple reasons, besides its possible effects:

  1. This is a basic and critical feature, it’s the mobile equivalent of Toyota’s accelerator pedals
  2. It’s relatively awkward to find out whether it’s happened in your case

I have no confirmed episodes on my end, though. At the very least, it may explain why some of my text messages go unanswered. Guess I’ll just have to ensure they were sent to the right person.

Bloggers misinterpet Facebook’s status data as secrets to popularity

Yesterday, Facebook released the results of an internal study about the status updates of its users. In it, the found a high correlation between a user’s popularity and the tone of his updates. Unfortunately, some tech journalists, such as David Murphy at PC World, took this to be the secret to popularity on Facebook.

As anyone who’s taken Psychology 101 in college will tell you: correlation != causation. This is especially true in this particular case since a significant percentage of Facebook user status updates are non-public and are invisible to other users who aren’t friends. This means that the decision to friend request another user is overwhelmingly likely to be independent of the other user’s status updates.