When is a cellphone considered obsolete?

Recently I started to wonder why Sweden has come such a long way with computers and internet access but still ignore internet on cellphones - it is as if it doesn't exist. What I would like to know is, if the situation is the same in other parts of the Nordic region and what about Europe? 

Reports have shown that the operator Three has the highest score for the category "income per subscriber" in Sweden, which should come as a wake-up bell you would think for other cell operators. But I'm not too certain that they care about how much their neighbour makes on mobile services since it doesn't affect their own customer base or price setting strategy. Leading the list on "income per subscriber" only says for a telecom competitor, that they have a higher attraction on the stock market for those wanting to invest in the possibly lucrative future of mobile telecom services.

Will GPRS get shut off anytime soon despite the GSM market continuing to prosper? Doesn't seem like it will. I look at my friends cellphone usage habits and see a pattern in the way they look at their mobiles. Very easy: it's a phone to them, it's a phone just like their first cellphone they bought in the late 1990s. However, about two years ago they saw low-budget cameras get built-in and so now they know their device under the name "camera mobile" even though I know it's called "camera phone" in other places of the world. It's interesting, actually. I do find it very interesting. Is the GSM industry aware of their customers' perception of the devices they promote and are they feeling satisfaction over the situation? If they are very satisfied it means that they have reached their goals and know their prosperity is deeply rooted in how customer habits work.

So, seeing as the telecom industry keeps spitting out new GSM phone models on the market in Northern Europe I continue to wonder: will profit, technology - or both - drive the decision to evolve the European mainstream cellular market? Today the 3G handsets keep maturing every year and more customers turn to these mobile devices. But ... when will it break in with 51 % market share? 

Sony Ericsson probably aren't going to stop producing GSM phones anytime soon, as their CEO Svanberg have witnessed growth take place in new markets. I believe that means they are going to continue manufacture and sell those very phones not only in new markets but also established ones to profit further. Will Apple speed up the cellular service market with their 3G iPhone or will instead Nokia single-handedly take care of the evolution? We'll see in a not so distant future!


Tsarkon is from Sword of Vermilion

In 1990 there was a role-playing game that came out with the name Sword of Vermilion, which is where I got my callsign tsarkon from. It was released for SEGA Genesis and SEGA Mega Drive in 1990. You play a role as the son of Erik and your mission throughout the game is to help defend the world of Vermilion from evil doings done by the mighty wizard Tsarkon, sometimes portrayed as a dragon and sometimes in the shape of a wizard. The sword of Vermilion is the mightiest sword there is in the game. Finding and retrieving this sword is not an easy task but still possible and also one of the achievable goals of the game apart from killing enemies and foes as you explore a world of woods, caves and dungeons. 

The guide book is important
You won't get far however without the bundled guide book, containing everything you need to know about the caves, dungeons, magic spells, potions, enemies and boss creatures as well as maps, hints and tricks. Without the complete guide book you can still make it to the end of the game but it will be a lot harder if you never played the game in the past. 

You need to know a lot of English
Something else that everyone attempting to play the game should know about is that you need to know a lot of English beforehand if it's not your native tongue. As you play the game, you pick up new words all the time but if your English is bad you probably won't get very far. It's one of the few games where you need to actually know the menus in and out and what to use in a certain situation. That said, once you know the game it's easily something you get addicted to playing for hours. Time flies! 


Telecom Killer app for 2008? National WiFi coverage

When the telecom market's customers have signed their loyalty contracts to the respective telecom companies, those same companies need to find new ways and innovate to dig up a new path for customer growth to happen. At the same time, not only the telecom business realizes the potential of WiFi. There is a trend towards wireless internet as a whole and that most likely will benefit the consumer in terms of prices and availability. But which kind of people do they target? That's the question. I'm thinking that only bigger cities will see competition in this area while other places on the map will have to trust only the telecom operators to serve them.

Here I present to you, some information on where we were yesterday and where we are today:

Early 1990s to mid-1990s
Analog voice
NMT 450
NMT 900

Mid-1990s to 2003
Digital voice
GSM 900
GSM 1800 (only avail. in big cities)

2003 until today
Digital data
WCDMA (very high speeds, shorter range - requires denser tower placement)
NMT CDMA450 (long range coverage - handles good speeds)

Here in Sweden, the national coverage of GSM met the goals several years ago. For as 3G goes, the telecom companies met their goals as late as June earlier this year. Because of the fact that the population saw a growth in-between the coverage agreement papers and the population numbers, they only have the requirement of covering 98 % of the people since that number translates to nearly 100 % of the older population numbers. That might sound weird to you, but a signed agreement is a signed agreement after all. That said, the operators can volunteerly expand the coverage all they want, IF they want to. They just don't need to in terms of regulations set with the government.

I wish to see an expansion and upgrade take place as soon as possible to make sure innovations will keep coming.


Evaluation of FreeBSD 6.2

Last week, I tried out Parallels Desktop for Mac OS X to give FreeBSD 6 a try in the virtual hardware world which sounded like a challenge suitable for someone who have had nothing but headache experiences with FreeBSD installations in the past. Being a former Linux software enthusiast I was used to doing things the GNU/Linux Way™ as opposed to doing it the traditional UNIX way. The main shell is configured with /bin/sh in mind instead of Bash. As a result the common Linux user gets ticked off who normally think pressing the TAB button for command completion is something to take for granted. Naturally it's always one of the very first priorities to take on. So I tried to fix that annoyance, but it wasn't easy to know where to start. I noticed the possibility to set things up during the initial setup process - however, I had forgot to install Bash before creating the user account and that was certainly a big mistake. If someone else reading this does the same mistake as I did, I think the easiest way to fix things is to launch vi and edit /etc/passwd as superuser or when logged in as root. Look for the /bin/sh section on the line that says your user account. For instance, it can look something like this:

jdoe:*:1002:3:John Doe:/usr/home/jdoe:/bin/sh

Changing that last piece to say /bin/bash, when you know for sure bash is in fact installed, will do the trick. Remember to try this piece of advice with some care: first be sure what you write in there actually is verified as correct, since it's a highly sensitive system file that might just as well lock you out completely from the system if you put in even the smallest typo in there. Also, don't forget to logout and re-login to confirm your system changes.

Moving on to the actual operating system itself, I must say the installation actually went on much smoother than I had expected, even with the virtual hardware that FreeBSD had to accept. The only thing that went crazy was the X server which is forgiving when you account for the poor graphics driver that VESA is in a window inside another OS (in this case as you hopefully recall, Mac OS X). There were a lot of packages to post-install, but once I had run xorgconfig and grasped which resolution and depth to use for the mysterious virtualized Cirrus graphics card, everything was up and running without any terrible issues. It did work, after all, and the colors looked alright. It was however acting slow which I blame the lack of Parallels Tools for.

Easier than you can imagine to install if you go for the Standard Install option (found on sysinstall's ncurses menu). With the auto-configuration alternative things went well for me. I must recommend that you never run FreeBSD with an X server if you virtualize that OS, because it won't exactly be the best experience you've had in your life. If that's what you're after, why not install Linux instead? For command-line server usage, though, FreeBSD is one of the smoothest and quickest operating systems I've tried virtualize. Go FreeBSD 6.2!