Thursday, January 22, 2009

WiMax in Libya

Libya is launching its first commercial WiMax service next week. It will serve 300,000 customers and have a mobile component.

While reasonably priced by British standards, the cost is likely to be rather more than the average Libyan can afford, at least for now.

Apparently, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria already have limited networks.

WiMax does not depend on wired infrastructure, which, frankly, simply does not exist in Africa. All you will need is a USB dongle to plug into your laptop, providing you're within 50km of a WiMax tower. Ultimately, this will be a very cost-effective communications solution.

I was enthusing about WiMax over a year ago. I was looking forward to its arrival in UK, hoping that it would make it a lot easier and cheaper to use VoIP.

I guess vested interests have squashed that one. We're still in the era of mobile 3G - which does not work everywhere. 3, take note. There is no way that I can depend on your mobile broadband,

FON seems to have stymied. BTInternet, which was supposed to have partnered with FON to provide local wireless networks, doesn't seem to advertise it.

I've even become disillusioned with Skype. My Skype telephone number will expire within the month. Why am I not renewing? Voice quality was atrocious when I picked up calls on my laptop, even if reception was very clear when the call was diverted to voicemail.

Whether that's down to Skype, or the sound settings on my computer, I can't be sure. I had intended my Skype phone number to be my business number. When it came down to it, it didn't work. While you may forgive dropped calls and poor sound quality at a personal level and try to dial again, it's not at all acceptable for business purposes.

All the best to Libya in its new telecommunications era. I was in Libya in 1977 and I remember what it was like!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

To Twitter, or not to Twitter? And THAT inauguration

Do you use Twitter? I bet anyone reading this would know that it's THE micro-blogging service. What's more, it forces you to read what other people write rather than putting it off to another day.

I only follow 60 people. 72 poor souls have opted to follow me. Twitter cognoscenti aim for thousands of followers, which rather makes me think they're following the 'stack it high and sell it low' principle. Establishing a global reputation as an expert of sorts.

The online marketers are the worst. Floods of tweets hog the timeline, often with @ responses to people who I don't know and don't know what question they asked and probably wouldn't want to know anyway.

I hate the hashtags and text-type language. If it were about usability and accessibility, some twitterers would fail immediately. The main protagonists are trying to build their own corporate profiles so that they can convince companies that they are the Twitter 'experts.' I wonder how much money I could charge per day to show other people how to use Twitter for marketing?

But then there are many positive benefits to being a Twitterer. I get some very good tips simply by following people who link to new information resources and techniques. I've also been following a friend of my son who is travelling the States and was in D.C. for President Obama's inauguration. I asked him to bring me an inauguration souvenir.

Just this morning, Karen Blakeman twittered about a Wordle analysing the words used in Obama's inauguration speech.

I'd love to reproduce it here, but Blogger won't let me insert the code. Here's the link to Wordle: Obama Inauguration Speech.

What's a Wordle? An online graphical representation of the emphasis given to words on a web page. It's useful for keyword discovery.

And if you'd like to watch the speech all over again and read the transcript, then this BBC page preserves the inauguration for posterity. There's even a glimpse of the Wordle!