Samsung announced Monday that it's bringing its femtocell base station to Verizon Wireless. The Verizon Wireless Extender is similar to the Sprint Airave, which Samsung introduced last year. It acts as a miniature cell phone tower by boosting indoor cell phone coverage where the normal Verizon signal may not reach.
The Extender requires a normal power outlet and a home broadband Internet connection. If you're on the phone and you leave the house, your call will switch automatically between the Extender's coverage area and Verizon's standard network. It costs more than most Verizon handsets ($249), but … Read more
Sirius Satellite Radio has a lot on its plate. Shock jock Howard Stern is already making noises about leaving after his contract expires in a couple of years, the stock price is in the tank, and the company has huge debt.
All of that shouldn't matter to subscribers, of which I am one. But the frequent signal dropouts are really getting out of hand.
I had similar problems in the early days, but after a while, the dropouts became rare. Months would go by without signal interruptions, but about six months ago, the off-and-on signal problems returned.
Sometimes, the dropout lasts just a few seconds but occurs many times an hour. My Sirius home radio hasn't budged since I first got it many years ago, and my antenna is pretty much in the same place it has always been, but lately, the signal regularly disappears for minutes at a time before sputtering back to life. … Read more
AT&T is following in Sprint's footsteps by experimenting with in-home cell phone boosters, otherwise known as femtocells. Sprint has been selling its own under the Airave brand. Femtocells are made to boost the cell phone signal via your high-speed Internet connection; think of it as your very own cell tower.
AT&T is planning to make its own version available in a trial market next year, and hopes to improve 3G performance in addition to enhancing voice signals.
As for other carriers, Verizon has mentioned that it's looking into femtocells, while T-Mobile has gone its … Read more
NEW YORK--After listening to Jason Fried (37 Signals) give his compelling Web 2.0 Expo talk Wednesday about building companies in the modern world--which could be summed up as "simplify, and don't work too hard doing so"--I walked across the hall to hear Fraser Kelton (Adaptive Blue) discuss the negative ramifications of this strategy.
Kelton posed the question this way in his pre-conference writeup: "What happens when early adopters have become spoiled by single-feature technologies that take no more than a moment to grasp? The challenge faced by the next wave of innovative start-ups for … Read more
His verdict? Charge for your product, but be careful whom you charge.
Chris Anderson elaborates on this theme:
37Signal's secret is not to target consumers (who don't like to pay) or big companies (that's a crowded space). Instead, they target the "Fortune 5 Million"--small companies with specific needs that are underserved...
It's interesting how closely some of Heinemeier Hansson's ideas map to the commercial open-source world, in which charging for one'… Read more
I've never met a cell phone user who was completely happy with the quality of the service. It doesn't matter which carrier you have, once in a while, you'll won't be able to make calls, and will have lost connections or dropped calls. The new iPhone 3G has also been suffering from poor 3G signal reception that the latest firmware, 2.0.2, failed to fix.
Who says government can't innovate? As the US Small Business Administration recently demonstrated, government can innovate, and increasingly does so with open source.
The US Small Business Administration just won the prestigious 2008 GCN Technology Leadership Award for its innovative Business.gov website, a site that had formerly been bogged down by proprietary BEA software. No more. The site, which coordinates some 9,000 resources throughout the US federal government for 21 different agencies, has seen a 30 percent increase in traffic since it was resurrected through open-source technologies, including Alfresco.… Read more
Savio Rodrigues of InfoWorld tries to parse what makes open-source buyers tick, and how to generate more of them. In so doing, he suggests that the real battleground is over those enterprises with both money and expertise to go it alone with open-source software (so-called "Category B" customers).
Why should they bother buying support when they can self-support?
For me, this isn't the right question. Using his MySQL-derived customer classification system, the real question is, "Can proprietary software serve Category A (companies with more time than money) at all?" and "Can open source more efficiently serve Categories B and C too?"
Implicit in Rodrigues' reasoning is, I think, a belief that if the software is proprietary, A, B, and C companies will all eventually just say, "Aw, shucks. I've got time/expertise/money, but what does it matter, I just have to pay anyway!" So the vendor cleans up on all three.
In fact, my own experience suggests that B companies buy less and less proprietary software (E*Trade is an example). Ditto goes for B, and C companies are willing to pay, anyway, so where is the conflict with open-source business models?… Read more
I've never understood why a cell phone signal-blocking handset case is needed when all one has to do is simply switch off the darn phone. But if you really must have one, just to show your geek mates you've something they don't (for good reason), check out this $6.38 option. It's available at the irresistible DealExtreme--an online retailer that BoingBoing accurately sums up as a seller of "cheap Chinese crap you were never sure you needed"--with free worldwide shipping thrown in.
However, the "leather" in the casing looks dodgy at … Read more