Thursday, October 30, 2008

AT&T gives free WiFi access to iPhone users

AT&T seems to have finally pushed the button—prematurely clicked a few times earlier this year—and granted iPhone subscribers the same free access to its national WiFi hotspot network that DSL, fiber, laptop 3G, and business subscribers already receive. The company posted a revised WiFi hotspot network page this morning, and reportedly texted some iPhone users with the new info.
I've also heard that Boingo offers free WiFi service for iPhones, something that would be handy at many (most?) airports. Further, I've heard that you can access said Boingo service on your laptop by using Firefox with the useragent set to iPhone. I wonder if this trick would work at Starbucks....


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NashMash Adds Opt-Out Options

Today, the developers of NashMash over at 365 Creative have added a variety of opt-out options for people whose accounts end up on their list of Nashville area Twitter users. Among the options are: not being followed when the bulk follow is processed, not being included in the new randomizer that displays a Nashville Twitter profile at random, not being available to be the featured user of the day, and, lastly, not being included on the public list.

While this is a drastic improvement over the prior situation, I would much prefer to see this as an opt-in list rather than opt-out. This is especially true for accounts that are marked private and I hope that the developers will consider making at least this change. I do like the granularity in the opt-out choices, as they provide reasonable options for finding a comfortable level of participation.

Clearly, the developers are looking to retain as many people as possible on the list, but given the amount of ill will generated yesterday, I'm surprised that they haven't issued a more public statement. A simple post to the website explaining their intentions and apologizing for the inadvertent public launch of the service might go a long way to ensuring that people don't opt-out in droves. It might even gain them some support. Nonetheless, I do appreciate them providing information about the service to me and their willingness to post comments here.

What say you?


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NashMash Releases Frankentwitter on Unsuspecting Nashville Twitterverse

Late yesterday, local Nashville developer 365 Creative released a new Twitter mash-up that quickly generated strong reactions among Nashville users of the Twitter service. Dubbed NashMash, the service allows a Twitter user to follow all the users located in Nashville in one step. That's 1652 new contacts at last count. And countless updates added to the user's Twitter stream.

A few people who enjoy having lots of followers, or who like to follow a lot of people, have reacted positively. A large number of others have reacted with great disdain at the volume of new followers and the notices that come with them. I haven't talked with anyone who submitted their credentials to the service, but I've heard about some negative reactions to the resulting deluge of updates and text messages and frustration at not being better forewarned about what was going to happen to them. [UPDATE: Twitter user andi37206 used NashMash today and certainly had a strong reaction to the results.]

I've been told by one of the developers behind the service that they have stopped processing new requests for now. Once Twitter catches up with the follow requests in queue, we should see an end to the inundation of new followers and notices. I'm also told that the auto-follow feature was developed as a proof-of-concept for a separate commercial application that they envision for Twitter. (I should also note that this person was my source for suggesting the service be called Frankentwitter. Kudos to them for understanding that they released a monster and for having some self-deprecating humor about it.)

Before the service is restored, if it is restored, I would encourage the developers to add at least the following improvements:

  1. Do NOT include protected accounts in the list of accounts that will be followed. (For the most part, these people are not interested in unknown followers, so why provoke them.)

  2. Provide an easy mechanism for people to opt-out of being on the list of accounts to be followed. (Even better, make the list opt-in, as Dave Delaney has done with his Official Nashville Twitter List.)

  3. Explain more clearly that by using the service you will be adding a very large number of accounts to your Twitter feed. (The current instructions aren't very clear on this point.)

  4. Provide a mechanism to undo all the follow requests. (I don't know how this would even be possible, especially without un-following all of the people you were following before you bulk-added the others, but good luck to the person who wants to manually un-follow 1600 people.)

  5. Do NOT initiate the follows with notifications turned on. (Oh, man, I can't imagine how many text messages are generated by 1652 Twitter users.)
Please add your suggestions and feedback in the comments.


Monday, October 27, 2008

CodeWeavers Giving Away CrossOver on Tuesday

If you have an Intel-based Mac and an occasional need to run Windows apps (or you're thinking about switching to the Mac) and you don't want to pony up for Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion (plus a license for Windows), then tomorrow is the day for you.

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008, anyone visiting the CodeWeavers' Web site will be given a deal code that will entitle them to one free copy of CodeWeavers' award-winning CrossOver software. Each copy comes complete with support.
CrossOver is based on the Wine open-source project and allows you to run many Windows applications without having to install or license Windows. That's right -- Windows apps without Windows. And without sending your hard-earned money to Redmond. There is even a version for Linux.

There are, of course, a few caveats. Like compatibility is only guaranteed for a list of certain mainstream apps (including MS Office and many games) and apps that rely on newer Windows components are out of the picture. But if you just need to see your website in Internet Explorer or you occasionally need to access an IE-only website, this is a great solution. And tomorrow, it's free!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reviews of the first Android-powered GPhone Roll Out

HTC G1, image from msnbc.comHTC's G1, the first Android-powered smartphone, hits T-Mobile stores on Oct. 22. A few journalists have spent some time with the phone in advance of the launch and have begun sharing their early reviews. Much as you might expect, they are finding plenty to like and plenty to improve.

AP: Google's first phone smart, but needs work
PhoneScoop: HTC G1

WSJ: Google Answers the iPhone
MSNBC: Android phone is a good iPhone alternative


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

BarCamp Nashville Returns This Weekend

Last year's inaugural BarCamp Nashville was a rousing success, even if the venue was a little cramped and over-heated. I've met a lot of people in the Nashville tech/geek community in the year+ since and everyone agrees that it was a pivotal event in bringing that community together.

Building on last year's success, this year's event moves to a larger, more comfortable venue in the Sommet Center and broadens the opportunities for speaking with four simultaneous stages. If you have an interest in new media, social networking, web applications, online marketing or anything kinda techie in Nashville, then you should be at BarCamp this weekend. Registration is free. Anyone can sign up to speak. And you can check out some of the topics on the website. Also, be sure to follow BarCampNash on Twitter.

See you at BarCamp!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm Fired Up for PDC 2008

Seriously, what kind of programmers are motivated by this video? And do you really want them writing code for your platform?


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

AT&T: LTE 'Significantly Available' In 5 Years

Speaking at a technology conference, Hank Kafka, VP of Architecture for AT&T Mobility, said that AT&T has, "a lot of runway left with HSPA and HSPA-plus." He went on to imply that HSPA will continue to serve as AT&T's high-speed data network for at least another two or three years.

Kafka also mentioned that WiMax will remain a niche technology, and said that no company should be using the term "4G" (which is what Sprint is calling its Xohm network) until the standards bodies ratify the requirements of 4G networks. He expects LTE to be widely deployed within five years.

WiMax will remain a niche technology? Despite Sprint and ClearWire's major deployments happening now? Wow. Either that's a major insight or completely wishful thinking. Either way, I'm not sure it's a smart bet to think HSPA and HSPA-plus will cut it for "another two or three years." That's a helluva lead time they're spotting Sprint/ClearWire on introducing 4G to the market.