Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Extortion I tell you!

So I'm back from WWDC, Steve Jobs' promise that the iPhone will not cost more than $199 still fresh in my memory and waiting for Vodafone, New Zealand to announce their pricing for iPhone plans, because, well, everyone who isn't an idiot knows that Apple will be getting a cut from the cell phone carrier too.

Well, today Vodafone put their plans up. Guess how much you will have to pay to get the iPhone for $199? $250/month! I'm sorry Steve, I like your iPhone, your AppStore and all its features, but if this is what you really meant at your keynote, I'm staying well away from your device because it's just not worth it. It looks like you just pushed the price up. That leaves me with a problem - what new phone should I buy? (because I do need one)

You know what? Maybe I'll go with a phone where nothing is hidden. I mean nothing. I can get it for US$400 and then decide what plan I want. Yes, it has GPS built-in. Yes, it knows when its being tilted. Yes, it has a touch screen. Yes, I can add however many ring tones I like. Yes, I can make my own applications for it (and I will). No, it doesn't have 3G, but then, Wi-fi is good enough for me...and yes, it has 802.11g. It doesn't look as cool, but it works and by the time I have to buy a new phone again, the playing field will be a lot more even.

I think, Steve, for all practical purposes, you can take New Zealand off the list of countries that you will be selling the iPhone in.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Amazing Browser called Firefox 3

Firefox 3 has been released. Over 26 Million downloads to date. Lots of new stuff under the hood. That new stuff allows for some cool new addons. Here are the 3 addons I cannot live without:
  1. Adblock Plus : Block most of those annoying popups and banners. I find the internet is just so much more enjoyable with this add-on installed. I tell Adblock Plus to allow text based ads, because they don't get in the way, are usually relevant to site content and because I can copy and paste any information I find in an ad to say, an email.
  2. Web of Trust : This one's a beauty - it rates the sites you visit based on universal trafiic light colors - red = dangerous, yellow = caution and green = good/safe. It even rates things like vendor reliability - how else would you have ANY clue as to whether the place you're buying stuff from online has a good reputation or not? Best of all, its community driven, so you know the ratings are coming from other users of the site. Finally, if you want to know why a site has been rated the way it has, there are comments and more details available. In my opinion, this is exactly what is needed.
  3. Foxmarks Bookmarks Synchronizer : An amazingly simple and elegant solution to the problem of keeping your bookmarks the same across the different computers you use everyday. I have several Firefox installations and I move between them several times a day. If I add, update or delete a bookmark on any machine, I know that when I start Firefox on one of my other machines, that change will be reflected in its bookmarks. I don't have to think about it and I like it that way. If I ever need to access my bookmarks outside these 3 computers, well then I can sign into my.foxmarks.com and they are available to me. Yes, I know services like StumbleUpon are available and have been for some time. Have you seen the StumbleUpon add-on? It adds a toolbar and takes up screen real estate. The foxmarks add-on stands out because it does its job in the background. Interesting, isn't it?
Now, there are several other extremely useful add-ons ( I have about 23 installed right now ). Each has its place and makes one little part of using the internet that much more enjoyable. The three in this list are what I consider my "survival pack" - the first two keeping me away from the rubbish on the net and the third serves as my map.