Random observations, teachings and musings of a well trained cubicle superhero.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 25. 2008

UMA, UNO and Home Calling Zone Explained

Tech Mate
techyJay, a.k.a. “The Cubicle Superhero”, is a self-professed tech junkie with a passion for music and culture Email Jay

Internet – The Freshman years

Back when I was in university, dial up was starting to loose its crown as THE way to access the web, High speed cable and DSL services were slowly being rolled out, and Chumbawamba was very excited about something called Tubthumping. It was a strange time.

My classmates and I were locked in the halls of academia debating what was to come of this large interconnected web of computer networks. The idea mainly was that all information, news and media would be delivered through this endless river of data. In this utopian vision, there would be no need for phone lines, separate television screens, books, or getting off your couch to go shopping. We’re not quite there, but as technology evolves and matures, the Internet is enabling consumers to do a few of these things really well.

Early VoIP – Painful and lacked words

I think we’ve all heard the term VoIP in the past few years. The idea of making calls over the Internet and slashing your costs sounded fantastic. Up until now, however, this very often involved an unreliable and technically intricate setup. Unfortunately, bandwidth speeds weren’t quite reliable in those days either. This left you strung to your laptop, trying to decipher what sounded like a bad Kraftwerk remix. Not exactly the best way to enjoy a chat with a friend, especially for someone who enjoys a stroll as they talk. My girlfriend suffered the wrath of my makeshift headset tripwire on more than a few occasions.

Smaller, Clearer, Faster, Stronger

Well, we’ve come a long way. Current Internet subscription levels provide more than enough bandwidth to carry consistently high quality voice calling. Residential WiFi routers have unwired that speed, sending it to every corner of the home, even to areas where cellular signals could never reach. VoIP hardware has advanced, refined and compressed into a form hardware manufacturers can package into cellular handsets. The result? A clever and revolutionary combination of technologies called the Rogers Home Calling Zone (along side Fido’s Uno service).

Under the hood, the service that makes it all work is a service called UMA, or Unlicensed Mobile Access. Data does still flow over your router’s internet connection so you’ll want to confirm you’re subscribed to Rogers Express, Extreme or the equivalent. If you don’t have a router, Rogers has a Home Calling Zone optimized version available, complete with a single “easy-connect” button. This router has all the settings preset for the UMA handset; including a built-in little traffic cop feature that ensures your calls gets priority over anything else.

UMA Canada for $20

So with all the gear in place, what’s the next step? Grab a phone and start gabbing! Rogers and Fido both have a small (but growing) selection of UMA enabled handsets. Rogers is currently offering the Nokia 6086 clamshell, and Fido has the candy bar style Nokia 6301. I expect a few UMA enabled BlackBerry handsets will join that group in the near future. On any of these handsets, adding the $15 plan to your existing cellular service allows unlimited calls within your home calling region on UMA, and the $20 plan gives you the same access to all of Canada. At this point you can’t add just the home calling zone to a phone, without a traditional cellular package.

How does it all work? Depending on which signal is stronger, your phone will seamlessly and automatically switch between your UMA router and the cellular network. It doesn’t matter whether you start your call outside and then head downstairs, out of GSM range, or move from a UMA call out to regular cellular service; your call will continue without disruption. Billing is based on where the call begins too, so you can continue that call you started at home, to the grocery store without long distance fees.

What Network Am I ON?

At home, your handset screen will display “UMA,” a WiFi icon, or list the name of your access point rather than the typical EDGE, GPRS or GSM. The phone will behave exactly as it would on the GSM network, allowing you to make and receive calls, text and MMS messages. Location-based calling services like #-taxi are the exception. Without the ability to pinpoint the location of your call, 911 services will also work a little differently on UMA. When you sign up, you’ll be asked to provide an address where you will most likely be using your phone. So at the beginning of your emergency call, you’ll need to restate your location, or assistance will be sent to this default location.

UMA passes the Acid Test

Innovations like this are very exciting. As a VoIP and technology nut, I’ve been toiling to cobble together solutions like this for years. The results of which have been costly and disappointing both in quality and practicality. Before investing I use what I call the Crush-a-tron test, where I hand any technology I’m testing to my tech-loathing brother. If it comes back in pieces, or accompanied by a sticky note filled with expletives, it fails. I handed him the new Nokia 6301 this weekend and he ordered a pizza. I think that constitutes a roaring success.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Zune Toronto Party with secret band

Zune party j1.ca

I'll be in Japan but you bitches may want to check this out.
Zune is coming to Canada, and is throwing a bunch of gigs in conjunction with Vice. I would not be surprised if it was someone awesome.
Someone better go and take lots of pics.
..or I'll bring The Death Set to your house and mess up your couch cushions

**UPDATE - QUEST FOR FIRE will be performing.....yey?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Scratchin the ribbon

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saul Williams - List of Demands

Artist: Saul Williams
Track: List Of Demands (Reparations) (3:18)
Album: "Saul Williams"
Released: 21 Sep 2004
Why you care now: In catchy Nike video
Why I posted: Hype Machine is slow.
Download from InSound (legal)

Have a listen, then go for a run!

Nike is among America's most controversial companies. While Nike is easily
the biggest sneaker company in the world, their production practices are
questionable to say the least. Nike's latest marketing campaign is Nike Sparq.
Sparq stands for "speed, power, agility, reaction, and quickness". Now how
does a multi-national corporation who has been accused of using child labor
to produce their product gain license to socially conscious poet-turned-rapper
Saul Williams' "List of Demands"? That's an interesting question. The songs
energy makes it a good choice for a such a commercial but the question is how
did Nike get Saul to agree to this.
When Nike used the Beatles' "Revolution" in a commercial it was because
Michael Jackson had outbid McCartney for the rights to the back catalog. The
Beatles came out and chastised Jackson for the decision to license the song
saying "Revolution" was not about selling shoes. Assumably Saul still has some
say in how his music isused, so how did this happen? Not only did Saul
get a good chunk for use of the song but it is sure to also drudge up album
sales for an album that was released 4 years ago. You can never fault a man
for cashing in, but this seems a little hypocritical to me.
With all that said, it's a pretty damn good song.

FROM: http://survivingthegoldenage.blogspot.com/2008/04/music-in-advertising-saul-williams-list.html

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen - THE HEAVY.

Prepare to burn. Sorry. Don’t wanna put you off or nuffink. But prepare to burn.


The Heavy make the kind of dirty, guitar-scorched hip hop soul which leads you into temptation. And then you’re going to burn. The dark side of four boys from the arse-end of Bath, the beast of Bodmin Moor, half man/half wolf, The Heavy specialise in making everything wrong sound right. So successful are they, so good does it feel, so natural, that voodoo filth will be pouring through you before you know what’s going on.

From the moment you hear first single, “That Kind of Man,” you know only exorcism can save you. Combining the gritty bottom end of classic Wu Tang with wall-of-sound guitar wailing and raw blues-soul, it’s instantly recognisable and utterly addictive, Swaby’s sweet-yet-threatening vocal raising it to another level. “Coleen” is a more stripped-down hip hop groove, with backing singers giving the tune a Stax-on-acid feel. “Set Me Free” throws acoustic guitar in to the mix for a more laid-back (though still rhythmically driving) number. “You Don’t Know” shows heavier rock influences, a building pile-up of riffage. “Girl” gives Swaby a chance to show off his (slightly tongue in cheek) rapping style, over a rhythm which can only be described as Kinks-meets-Marly Marl. “Doing Fine” is the emotional centrepiece of the album, a downhome blues straight outta the West Country. “In The Morning” is frugging and flithy. “Bruk Pocket Lament” sounds like classic blues brought bang up to date and reeling from too much meths. And the raging “Dignity” ain’t going to stand no fucking with it, seen? The album finishes with “Who Needs The Sunshine,” which carries echoes of the Bristol scene of Massive Attack and Tricky, but reconstituted as an epic country blues.

Perhaps their unique sound is in part the result of coming from a town they describe as “the graveyard of all ambition”. Or some West Coutry leyline shiznit. Either that or they’re just sex-crazed lunatics. At the end of the day, who cares as long as it sounds this good?

My Awesome Cereal Bar

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