What If ISP’s Operated Like Cellphone Carriers?

The following video and the transcript below, is a direct result of conversation I had with Sara about the fact that there are currently no Android phones available on the Sprint network.

Transcript of the video:

What would the world be like, or what would your communications be like, if ISP’s operated the same way cellphone carriers do?

Imagine a situation where, with ISP’s operating the same as cellphone carriers, every time you wanted to change from one ISP to another you had to buy a new laptop, and the laptop that you bought had to be one approved by the ISP for use on their network!

Imagine every time, if you wanted to go out and buy an Alienware PC or but the latest Mac notebook, laptop or whatever and you couldn’t do it because they weren’t available to your ISP. Further to that imagine if you the got hold of your new laptop after moving to your new ISp and found that you can’t run the software you want on it because the software has to be approved buy the hardware manufacturer in conjunction with the ISP.

This may sound like a really, really stupid situation considering the cost of laptops and the cost of an ISP for a year but it is a situation that we go through and deal with everyday, especially in the US. Not so much here in Europe, but especially in the US in terms of our cellphones.

Now, many cellphone handsets are just as expensive as an entry level laptop or low end laptop. You can pay 300, 400 dollars or more, 500 – 600 dollars for a handset sometimes and yet you can only use it with certain networks.

Here in Europe things are very, very different on that front. I can buy any handset I want (except an iPhone) and as long as I take a contract and get a SIM card, with the network that I want to be on, then I can put it on any network that I want to put it on. And I can move it from network to network just by changing the SIM card.

Now, you can buy a phone here discounted, because of your contract with the cellphone carrier which locks your phone to that cellphone carrier. However, when you finish your contract you are allowed unlock your phone and move it to any other network.

But, you know, that’s besides the point.

The point that I’m trying to make here is that cellphone handsets are expensive. We buy them they are our hardware, once we purchase them.

They have also become very, very central to our communications and they’ve become central to our productivity. They are  just as essential to our productivity in some cases as our laptops are. They allow us to do many of the same functions while we’re on the move and stay in contact. But why is it that while we wouldn’t put up with this behaviour from ISP’s we put up with it from cellphone manufacturers/carriers?

Cellphones cost approximately the same as an entry level laptop yet if somebody was to tell you that you can’t use your laptop with us because we only allow Apple or we only allow say, Dell PC’s on our ISP, you’d be in uproar. The whole place would be in war over it.

So again, why do we allow this to happen with our cellphone handsets?

Download Maelstrom (Game) for Windows, Linux, Mac for Free


Classic games are awesome and while some fade into the vast dark reaches of lost memory, there are some that stand the test of time.

Maelstrom stands the test of time and then some. Still highly addictive and highly entertaining, this space shooter of the asteroids ilk is still kicking ass since it’s original shareware release in 1993.

Since it’s Mac (Power PC) release it’s gone on to be ported to Linux and Windows as well as being (as far as I know) GPL’d.

I love this game and so did all my friends back in 1993 when we were playing it in the computer lab in school. In fact, we loved this game so much, that a bunch of us made our own version of it called “Spacers 2.3”, which has since been lost to a 3.5 inch disk in the bottom of somebody’s old sock drawer!

So, today I’m bringing some of those memories back and invite you to play along with me.

If you want to join in the fun, here are the download links for the platform of your choice.

UPDATE: These download links no longer work. I’ll update when I find a working copy.

UPDATE 19/09/2011: All links are working again.

Maelstrom 3.0.6 Binaries Download

Windows 95/98/ME/NT/XP/Vista/7:
MacOS X:
MacOS Classic:

You pilot your ship through the dreaded “Maelstrom” asteroid belt — suddenly your best friend thrusts towards you and fires, directly at your cockpit. You raise your shields just in time, and the battle is joined.
The deadliest stretch of space known to mankind has just gotten deadlier. Everywhere massive asteroids jostle for a chance to crush your ship, and deadly shinobi fighter patrols pursue you across the asteroid belt. But the deadliest of them all is your sister ship, assigned to you on patrol. The pilot, trained by your own Navy, battle hardened by months in the Maelstrom, is equipped with a twin of your own ship and intimate knowledge of your tactics.
The lovely Stratocaster R&R facility never sounded so good, but as you fire full thrusters to dodge the latest barrage you begin to think you’ll never get home…

As a bonus, check out this page where you can download additional sound packs for Maelstrom and check out the “ReadMe” in the .zip file to see how to enable networked multiplayer Maelstrom!


Breaking – Study Shows That People Are Snobs!

I never would have thought it to be true, but Sara sent me a link tonight, where a study has concluded that slapping on a higher price makes wine taste better (PDF).

A $90 wine was provided marked with its real price and again marked $10, while another was presented at its real price of $5 and also marked $45.

The testers’ brains showed more pleasure at the higher price than the lower one, even for the same wine, Rangel reports in this week’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

I am a wine drinker and I would like to think that I’m a rather selective one and that I  never let the price worry me. I’m more about the wine itself. It’s body, flavor and aroma.

If a cheap bottle tastes good, I like it. If it’s crap and expensive, I like to think I’d call it as it is.

Slapping a high price tag on a crap cheap wine should not make me think it’s nice. Right?

The funny thing about this is that it’s not just wine that sees this “price to pleasure” response.

I see it every day in the technology world.

It’s full of pompous idiots who only purchase the most expensive items because they believe that expense equates to  quality. Windows Vista Ultimate anybody?

Or how about Mac users? I’m not bashing Mac, but I am certain that among the legion vast of Mac users there are very many presumptuous gits who bought Mac because it was the most expensive.

I have friends who when choosing upgrades for their system cannot be convinced that a higher price tag does not mean a better product and end up forking out extortionate amounts of money for poor, or at least not best of breed equipment.

You’ll find examples of this in every situation where you have multiple choice for multiple price.

It’s unfortunate but some of us are just snobs!

Thankfully, those of us that aren’t will have more money to spend on the better things in life. 🙂