unwired

Certain technologies sometimes fail to deliver what they promise.

Let’s talk about the latest wireless Internet technologies that are now available in the Philippine market.

I don’t want to name products. But let’s just say there are two popular (and perhaps the only two services available now) services that boast broadband speeds without the need to connect to a wired network. They use the existing mobile phone networks.

Recently, I’ve heard complaints about one service that promises to deliver high-speed data that goes beyond the 3G (not the gravity) speeds. I read in one mailing list that the service had been out for 2 weeks. That’s pretty bad!

I remember when I was hooked up to fairly new fixed wireless Internet service several months back. I did experience hiccups.

Lately, I still experience “no Internet” service for days. Just recently, I lost my Internet connection after a thunderstorm.

I got a call from the customer service after numerous tries. The customer support agent was patient enough to determine what was wrong. Eventually, he concluded that my wireless antennae might have been damaged during the thunderstorm.

The next morning, my connection was back. Hmmmm…

Another wireless service I dub “I ain’t roaming” is perhaps a dud. It WAS the first of its kind in the country. But it has so far failed my personal reliability test. I’ve been using it for the past weeks to provide me wireless Internet from anywhere where there is mobile phone network coverage. But one day, I found its PCMCIA card not working.

The card was not initializing and so it won’t connect to the mobile network. And for some reason, it reconfigures your Windows wireless Internet settings. So I had to figure how to revert back to the normal settings of detecting any wi-fi network available.

Anyway, this wireless roaming Internet service provides intermittent wireless Internet connection.
Moral of the story: wireless Internet technology in the Philippines is not yet reliable. Most of the wireless Internet services offered today don’t exactly provide the quality of service they promise.

The sad thing is that the local firms might be over-selling this service, amid problems and complaints of poor quality.

On the beat with CJs: Sydney Morning Herald

First off, thanks Dr. Stephen Quinn for citing our experience here in the Philippines.

My prof in convergent journalism, Dr Quinn, wrote a story for the Sydney Morning Herald, titled the On the Beat with Citizen Reporters, where he details how technology has changed the way news is delivered, at least for some organizations.In today’s world of wireless communications, blog, and the Internet, nothing still beats good journalism.

Excerpt:

THE power of the mobile phone to capture history has been enthralling news watchers as never before and is changing the way news is reported.

Most of the eyewitness images of the Virginia Tech shootings came from amateurs using camera phones. So, too, did images from major news stories such as the London Tube and the Mumbai rail bombings.

Reporters go for wireless tech during election coverage

Journalists covering the 2007 mid-term elections are now increasingly using wireless technology to send information back to their organizations.

I remember the first time I was using a Palm-based device that connects to a GPRS phone via Bluetooth, that felt like the future. Now, here we are using it to the fullest.

Today, I wrote a story about the Commission on Elections providing wireless fidelity access to reporters working at the Philiippine International Convention Center where the National Board of Canvassers are counting the senatorial and party list votes.

It was a relief for some reporters that wi-fi was available. No need to fax stories. No need to phone them in. No need to look for a telephone line to dial-up to our offices. It was nothing but wonderful.

Excerpt of the story I wrote for INQUIRER.net’s Infotech section:

Reporters go wireless during election coverage
By Erwin Oliva
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 07:07pm (Mla time) 05/16/2007
MANILA, Philippines — For the first time, the Commission on Elections has provided the media with access to a wireless fidelity (wi-fi) network at the Philippine International Convention Center where the national canvassing of senatorial and party-list elections are being held.

Armed with their laptops, reporters here are relieved that they don’t have to rush to a nearby Internet cafe or suffer from slow dial-up connections.

Roy Pelovello, senate reporter for the Manila Standard Today, said the wireless Internet connection was “slow” but better than nothing.

Charge me


Disclaimer: I’m not endorsing Nokia. I just found this free charging station interesting.

I was on my way out of a movie house when I noticed this free Nokia charging station for mobile phones. Cool! So I plugged my phone for a few minutes. The trouble with this charging station is that the wires are too short. It is also not a good idea to leave your phone unattended. But it’s still a cool idea. I wish other brands would follow suit.

Mobility = telecommuting

Are you mobile? Do you telecommute? If you’re answer is yes to both questions then you’re officially “wired” or should I say “plugged.” Wireless technology is all around you. It is impossible to miss a text message these days, unless you’re battery is dead. And you sometimes throw a tantrum when you find out a coffee shop does not offer wi-fi.

A recent study from Avaya involving about 200 executives says mobility improves employee productivity, enhances customer service, and finds new business opportunities.

I think there’s a lot more to mobility and telecommuting. It extends your office to your home, keeps you awake at night, and ruins your social life (because you would rather face your laptop than your friends in the coffee shop ;-)).

Seriously, there are more things you can do with mobility. You can use wireless cameras to act as traffic cameras (currently being done in Taiwan) to monitor and manage Metro Manila’s traffic and violators. Wireless technology can be used in disaster areas (again a useful technology in the Philippines). Mobility and computing can be used by citizens to report crimes directly to police. Wireless technology can be used to connect more schools to the Internet. Applications are limitless.

The (Avaya) study also shows that most executives allow workers to telecommute or work remotely to improve productivity.

True. But you also have to consider how much office space and power is saved when you allow people to work at home or on the road.

Finally, the more important benefit of mobility is that you can now blog while you’re out on a beach ;-).