2014-09-20

Endomondo se rekeningstawing skakel my af

Aangesien ek altyd my selfoon by my het, is ek 'n terloopse gebruiker van die Android-toepassing Endomondo, waarmee 'n mens jou drafsarsie kan ontleed en die besonderhede daarvan deel. Ek het dit minstens twee jaar gelede al gebruik en op meer as een selfoon. Vandag maak ek dit oop toe ek reeds by die hekkie uit is (Endomondo is moontlik outomaties geïnstalleer nadat ek 'n nuwe selfoon gekry het) en daar begin die ding vir my vra vir gebruikersname en -wagwoorde. Gaaf, die opsie om deur Facebook aan te teken werk nie want ek het nie Facebook op die foon nie, maar dan probeer ek per Google-rekening. Dít skyn te werk tot die punt waar Endomondo rapporteer dat daar geen Endomondo-rekening gekoppel is aan my Google-rekening nie en dat ek dit nou eers moet soek. Jammer, dis te veel! Moet ek nou vóór ek draf probeer 'n Endomondo-wagwoord herwin of iets?! Ek glo lankal WhatsApp se sukses is in 'n groot mate daaraan te danke daaraan dat hulle rekeningstawing eenmalig en eenvoudig (SMS na die foonnommer toe) is. Endomondo, kyk en leer!

2014-09-07

ICASA's new call termination rates (finally!)

ICASA has published revised call termination rates to take effect on 1 October 2014. As of 2017 the cost of connecting a call to a number on the network of a large operator (MTN or Vodacom) will R0,08 which is a far cry from the near criminal R1,25 which pertained for more than a decade after the introduction of mobile telephony in 1994. Two aspects of the proposed rates struck me as interesting.

  1. From 1 March 2015 there will no longer be any difference between the mobile and fixed-line termination rates, except for the “asymmetric” rate for small operators. The means that there is no reason to delay the introduction of full mobile-fixed number portability. If it gets that far, businesses and consumers will be able to take geographic numbers starting with 012/011/021 and so on to a mobile operator for cellular service. In my view, cellular operators should be allowed to provide service on geographic numbers (as Neotel is doing already) without delay.
  2. Many people still have a Telkom line because of the fixed monopoly operator's unlimited calling plans to geographic numbers. When mobile and fixed-line termination rates are equal, how will consumers react when we see more and cheaper mobile packages with unlimited minutes? Can one expect a further erosion of the Telkom subscriber base and would this be a favourable outcome for a Telkom that might be interested in dumping its consumer copper network?

The “asymmetric” rate is also a strange beast. Telkom Mobile will be able to charge more for terminating calls from other networks because it is a smaller mobile operator and the mobile and fixed-line network markets are considered separately for this purpose, which is really just silly. ICASA could have solved the so-called problem of asymmetry by setting the termination rate to zero but at least a positive rate creates an incentive for the operators to report reasonably correct data...

2014-08-20

Goeie gratis Internet en niemand is daar nie

Vroeër hierdie maand het ek oor middagete op 'n weeksdag vinnig gaan kyk hoe lyk die stadsraad van Pretoria se gratis Internet (saam met Alan Knott-Craig jnr se Project Isizwe), op die hoek van Lynnwoodweg en Roperstraat by die Universiteit van Pretoria se hoofingang. Dit is heeltemal gratis en toeganklik soder wagwoord en redelik vinnig maar ek kon niemand anders sien wat besig was om dit te gebruik nie. Wat is eintlik die aanvrag vir gratis Internet?

 

AirBNB offering rooms in Spain for $4 per night

I can imagine exactly how this happened (I had recently moved my computer from South Africa to Europe) but should AirBNB not have worked out a way to actually display a euro sign when giving the prices in euro? At R42 (around $4) per night, it does look like a bargain... This is rather sloppy programming but I have seen the same kind of thing at banks, of all places. Is it not time for a basic price data type (perhaps "monetary") which always has an assigned currency symbol, rules for rounding and so on?




2014-07-22

Fonts in e-mail – please don't!

Friends of mine have remarked on my "boring" plain text e-mails but dear Reader(s) the horror that I try to avoid is the one on the left, as displayed in GMail on Chrome. Through naïveté or bad luck and an ill-advised copying-and-pasting event sequence, this newsletter has turned into a real canine petit déjeuner of text and formatting. I suspect the delusion that formatted e-mail is nice to be fuelled by the mistaken presumption that this is a way of transferring a pretty image from the writer's screen to that of the reader. But the appropriate tool for that is an image or PDF type format! The security and privacy risks around formatted (HTML) e-mail are another topic...