Monday, January 31, 2011

Metered Internet and the Response from the Industry Minister

We finally have a statement from Industry Minister Tony Clement about the CRTC Ruling on metered internet. As it stands right now ISP companies that have implemented Usage Based Billing (UBB) are permitted to operate that way and charge accordingly. In a post from Tony Clement from he says that he his have a look at the usage based billing of customers. Now Tony Clement is the minister for allowing an opening of the mobile market (in some what of a limited fashion) but none the less he did open it some what allowing Wind Mobile to operate in Canada mostly backed by an Egyptian Billionaire. For that I give Mr. Clement Credit. However he has moved very slowly, compared to the cell phone portfolio. The internet is the medium that all communications will occur in 21st century. From Shaw's use of Home VOIP Service to Telus Optik TV, companies are finding new ways of using the internet to their advantage.

I am not in favor of UBB and am a big advocate of net neutrality but I do feel that the ISP companies do have the right to manage the traffic on the network to a point. For instance they can prioritize a Voip call or netflix stream over my torrent of the latest version of Ubuntu. The main reason I think the ISP's think they can get away with this is the outrageous fees and bandwidth limits they put on Cell Phone Plans. Think about it, most people are living with 500MB caps, I myself am pushing around 5GB per month. I know on my home internet account I average around 200 - 300 GB / month. The internet is the only thing we have, we don't have cable, nor do we want it with 99% of the shows on TV, I regard to as less then acceptable quality, and the shows I am interested in I get off itunes, netflix, or watch right on the channel's website.

Companies are looking to offset the costs of running their more costly and dieing business plans like conventional cable tv. Programming, good programming costs money, networks like HBO know this and if people like the show or the channel they will pay for it. The advertising model must also change, having companies pay for product placement like in 30 Rock with snapple. Advertisers have been getting a great deal when it comes to advertising on TV and on the internet and that has to change. If companies will not pay to have their product in a show then you need to go to brand X or have a bidding process for product placement. Imagine Tina Fey Drinking Safeway brand cola because Safeway had the highest bid for the advertising on the episode. I sure safeway would see a big spike in sales.

The world is changing, old business models don't work anymore, and the best way to make sure your company survives is to adapt and adapt fast. If this is the way private companies want to proceed then perhaps we need a publicly paid for internet access line, or perhaps we should allow the power companies to be ISPs, you can get 85 Mbps with power line Ethernet; that would make Bell, Rogers Shaw and Telus happy, NOT. I don't know what the answer is, I know the minister must respond. I hope he responds with a unmetered net neutral response but I'm not the one making the call. We will just have to wait and see.

Read my Open Letter On Metered Internet to the Government

Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

Friday, January 28, 2011

Top 20 Must Have Android Apps

AndroidAndroid is the hottest mobile platform on the market and it is also the most affordable. Being able to purchase handsets for as little as $100 it doesn't take much to get you up and going. However Apps are a huge part of the experience, from syncing your itunes library with your Android phone to playing games and remote accessing your computer from your phone.

Android can do it all. With over 200, 000 apps in the apps store it can get a little confusing and dangerous when choosing apps. So here are my top 20 android apps everyone should have; and my top 20 every tech should have.





  1. my LookOutLookout mobile security suite is a free smart phone protections system that is an anti-virus, backup and device location software all rolled into one. Get LookOut Mobile Security Suite

  2. App 2 SD Free is an Ad-supported app. New "Clear cache" helps you to get more free space! Need more free space for your internal phone storage? "App 2 SD" helps you to move apps to either external or internal storage. Get App 2 SD Free

  3. AppBrainAppBrain - a different take on the Android market. Find your next favorite app, live wallpaper or widget. Includes features like App recommendations, Hot apps of the day, Find apps with a price drop, Share apps and more. Get AppBrain

  4. Android Booster - This free app is designed to optimize Android smartphones while minimizing the power consumption, and keeping users in control of the amount of internet usage. Get Android Booster

  5. Rockplayer Lite - An ad supported video player that can play multiple formats. It plays XVid, DivX, MPEG4, MKV and much more. A suitable substitute until VLC Player is released for android. Get RockPlayer Lite

  6. Android Music PlayerdoubleTwist Player finds all the music on your phone and syncs music & video with the free doubleTwist app. Imports iTunes music playlists, ratings & playcounts; sync music, play music & video podcasts! Get DoubleTwist Player

  7. Shazam. Start your music journey now with Shazam to discover, buy & share music. This free app gives you 5 tags each month to identify music anywhere. Get Shazam

  8. Shop Savvy Barcode Scanner is the original barcode scanner on Android. Aim the camera at any product's barcode, wait for the beep and ShopSavvy will provide you with a list of online and local prices. Get Shop Savvy Barcode Scanner

  9. Adobe Reader is a must-have app for high quality PDF viewing on Android. It Opens PDF files as email attachments, on the web or on device and has Text Reflow. You can send PDF files via email and has Multi-touch gestures for Navigation & Zoom. Get Adobe Reader

  10. Color Note is a simple notepad app. It give you a quick and simple notepad editing experience when you write note, email, message, shopping lists and todo lists. Color Note makes taking a note easier than any other notepad apps. Get Color Note

  11. Easy Uninstaller - Easy & fastest uninstall tool.
    Advanced Task Killer is a tool to kill applications running.
    Fast Reboot - closes/restarting all processes and frees up memory

  12. GDocs is a simple notepad that can view, edit and sync documents from your Google Docs account. It allows you create, import/export and send documents. Get GDocs

  13. File Expert is a Powerful & Leading File Manager for Android; it can do all basic file operations - Copy, Paste, Move, Create and Rename your files and folders FTP/HTTP Server - Web Sharing or WIFI File Explorer and can provide both Web & FTP transferring support. SMB Plugin Available. Get File Expert and File Expert SMB Plugin

  14. CamCard. It can capture business card images with phone-based camera, and recognize the card image content, and the recognized result is automatically organized as a contact and saved into phone address book. Get CamCard lite get the unlocked CamCard - BCR (Western) for $6.99

  15. QR Droid is a complete QR code reader, generator and scanner for your Android. Easily scan QR codes from camera, decode them from images saved in your device or from URL of images stored in Internet. Get QR Droid

  16. TweetDeck is your mobile browser for staying in touch with what's happening on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Buzz. TweetDeck makes it easy to stay up to date and organized no matter where you are. Get TweetDeck

  17. Skype offers free Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G or WiFi. Call landlines or mobile phones at great Skype rates; Instant message one or many friends at the same time. Get Skype

  18. TeamViewer TeamViewer connects to any PC or server around the world within a few seconds. You can remote control your partner's Mac, linux or windows PC as if you were sitting right in front of it. Get TeamViewer

  19. Dropbox Sync your files between your computers and your mobile device; browse the files in your Dropbox folder from anywhere! Share links to files, save photos and video from your camera to your computers, and open files using your favorite Android apps. Get Dropbox

  20. Tricorder A multi-sensor environmental monitor -- turn your Android device into a working tricorder! Get Tricorder

Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My open letter to the copyright committee

Honorable Members of the Copyright Committee,

First off, I would like to thank you for opening up the committee to accepting submissions from the public; now with that I would like to get down to business.

Bill C-32 is not overall a horrible bill; it updates many items that should be modernized like the right to post remixing of copyrighted material for creative non-commercial benefit, an updated fair use regime for personal and educational purposes.  However all that is nullified by the inclusion of a single clause; 41.1, making it illegal to circumvent copy protection even if it is for reasons that are covered under "fair use".

I will be frank with you I believe, artist and companies should be paid for their work.  What I do not believe is as technology and distribution gets cheaper that the price stays the same if not gets increased my the production companies.  For example, the recent changes to the itunes pricing scheme. It now cost the same if not more to purchase the same quality movie like "Alice In Wonderland" on iTunes then it does to buy the DVD or even the Blu-Ray in some cases.  That's fine, if the production companies want to overcharge for digital distribution to try save their dieing distribution industry, that's their choice.  It is not the place of the Government to stand in the way of technology and innovation to "bail out" bad and changing business practices.  The best example I can show you would be Leo Laporte's TWIT Network. A low cost technology network that produces high quality shows about technology distributed over the internet.  Now if it were up to what I refer to as "Old Media" would not exist.  Another Successful example of this would be a Show Called the "Guild" which is freely available to watch on NetFlix.  "Old Media" had to be dragged kicking and screaming by Apple to be put on iTunes, which ended up being a huge win for them; if it were up to "Old Media", they would have sued Apple out of existence much like they did to Napster.

Giving consumers choice is always a good thing, this includes the ability to backup content, and change platforms to consume that content as the consumer sees fit.  Under C-32 it would be illegal for me to rip a DVD and put it on an computer, ipad, iphone, android or windows device because of section 41.1.  DVD's have digital copyright protection called CSS, it was cracked about 10 years ago.  Has Copyright protection stopped piracy?  No.  Did Copyright Protection Inconvenience members of the open source community that cracked to the copyright protection because they couldn't watch or listen to items they purchased on their computers?  Yes.  That is why the copyright protection was cracked in the first place.  To watch DVD's on a Linux (Open Source) based computer.

Now we are coming to a crossroads and it's important to pick the right way to proceed.  It is important we keep the internet in Canada a free and neutral place for innovation, communication and the free flow of idea's that will make Canada a world leader in the 21st century.  Having fragmented systems where you can watch and listen to content on one device over another makes no sense.  We must allow consumers the ability and choice to watch and listen to what they want where ever they want on any device they want to use. 

I implore the committee to change provision 41.1 to allow for the circumvention of DRM for personal and educational uses. The economy of the 21st century is going to be a knowledge based economy, let's make Canada, a leader in this brave new world.

My submission for an amendment is as follows.

42. Fair Use and Moral Rights - media shall not be restricted to or prohibit the user from not being able consume purchased media from a non-subscription based service on media consumption devices. The user shall be allowed to change the format of media for devices that the user owns at the time of purchase and in the future.  Subscription based services shall not be prohibited or locked down to a single platform or content device.

For more information you can read my blog post about this topic

I would like to thank the committee for the time it took to read this email.

Trevor Tye

Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A creator and consumer's view of copyright reform in Canada

A creator and consumer's view of copyright reform in Canada.

Bill C-32Bill Freeman wrote an interesting commentary on, and from the article what I can gather is either Mr. Freeman, doesn't consume any media himself so the copyright changes don't apply to him or he missed the issues with it all together.

As a content creator and a content consumer I can tell you that unless the digital locks provision is changed to allow backups, change formats and break copyright protection so you can use the content on other devices the bill is useless to everyone except copyright lawyers, and the people hiring copyright lawyers; here's why.

In case you haven't noticed the price on music and videos have been steadily increasing on iTunes. A user I know was telling me that a show they subscribe to on iTunes went from $30 for the season to $45 for the season. They called it a rip off and are now canceling their subscription to the show. In my humble opinion Mr. Freeman thinks the way Mr. James Moore thinks about content and copyright - you pay a licensing fee for every format you want the content on regardless if you can convert it yourself. Should digital copies cost as much as their printed counter parts in the store? Why would you pay $45 for say a digital copy of season 9 of CSI when you can go to the store and buy the same season on DVD for $20 and you get the nice packaging and pressed DVD's. <sarcasm>Makes complete sense!</sarcasm>

The copyright holders don't have their heads on straight. Lets see what's going through their heads. The consumer pays more if we put a digitally locked file on iTunes, they pay as much for it as they would pay for the DVD, but they don't get packaging, artwork or an original copy, they we tell them what devices they have to buy to play our content, and we can take away the right for them to play back their digital content.

This changes everything. Please allow me to clarify; this is right out of the proposed law. So I need to put things into perspective here. This is the proposed law's definition of "Circumvent"

“circumvent” means,

(a) in respect of a technological protection measure within the meaning of paragraph (a) of the definition “technological protection measure”, to descramble a scrambled work or decrypt an encrypted work or to otherwise avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate or impair the technological protection measure, unless it is done with the authority of the copyright owner; and

(b) in respect of a technological protection measure within the meaning of paragraph (b) of the definition “technological protection measure”, to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate or impair the technological protection measure.

“technological protection measure”

« mesure technique de protection »

“technological protection measure” means any effective technology, device or component that, in the ordinary course of its operation,


Now here is what a person is NOT allowed to do.



41.1 (1) No person shall

(a) circumvent a technological protection measure within the meaning of paragraph (a) of the definition “technological protection measure” in section 41;

(b) offer services to the public or provide services if

(i) the services are offered or provided primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure,

(ii) the uses or purposes of those services are not commercially significant other than when they are offered or provided for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure, or

(iii) the person markets those services as being for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure or acts in concert with another person in order to market those services as being for those purposes; or

(c) manufacture, import, distribute, offer for sale or rental or provide — including by selling or renting — any technology, device or component if

(i) the technology, device or component is designed or produced primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure,

(ii) the uses or purposes of the technology, device or component are not commercially significant other than when it is used for the purposes of circumventing a technolog- ical protection measure, or

(iii) the person markets the technology, device or component as being for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure or acts in concert with another person in order to market the technology, device or component as being for those purposes.


You can read the full bill here or an excellent summary on Michael Geist Website.

Big Brother and Your Music, Books and MoviesThe point is that you can do anything you want to the content so long as it's not copyright protected. Guess what... Everything is copyright protected! If you ever played card games like bridge, spades and hearts you should know what trump is and that is what this bill has. This bill gives consumers much updated rights to the content they buy except the copyright holders have a great big trump card that nullifies all the consumers rights.

The only way around this is the creators of the content have to come out with software that will either convert your content to different devices because under Bill C-32 it is illegal for you to do so or to seek services or any software, to put your digital copy of Toy Story Three on your New Android Tablet. That's right the digital copies provided only work in iTunes, Windows Media Player, Apple and Microsoft devices. They will not work on your PSP, Android, or other devices. This also makes ripping DVD's illegal because it has a digital lock called CSS, it was just broken a long time ago by DVD Jon.

I'm of the belief that you should only have to pay for content once and if you want to take the time to change the content from platform to platform all the power to you; and if the media companies and copyright holders want to provide that content at what consumers consider a "reasonable" price even better. In my opinion a digital copy should be 1/3 of the price of the "hard" copy since there is no shipping for the digital copy no box, no store, no sales person to sell it to me, the cost just aren't their with the digital copy that their are with disks at the store.

The other part of C-32 I wanted to comment on is the "Educational" use of copyrighted material. In my opinion, the Creator's Copyright Coalition is essentially fear mongering that they are all going to starve if a teacher don't get fair use rights in the classroom. This is ridiculous; teachers loving being able to give students books and if possible I know for a fact most teachers would rather buy 30 copies of a book then photocopy a few pages. The educational exemptions are just going to more or less legalize what is going on in schools now, like watching a movie about World War II with out having to pay a licensing fee, or copying a few pages out of a book to analyze the meaning of a phrase poem etc.

Bill C-32 has some great things in it but the digital locks issue must be addressed and changed to allow for the circumvention of DRM for personal or educational uses. Once that change is made, the bill should be allowed to pass. If a member of the Copyright Committee is reading this please feel free to add the following text to C-32 in the copyright infringement section.

41.15 to allow for the circumvention of media by use of service and software for personal, non commercial and educational uses of owned content.

42. Fair Use and Moral Rights - media shall not be restricted to or prohibit the user from not being able consume purchased media on media consumption devices. The user shall be allowed to change the format of media for devices that the user owns at the time of purchase and in the future.

That seems fair to me. I have a huge library of DVD's and we recently purchased a blu-ray player for our HD TV, this doesn't mean I'm entitled to a new blu-ray movie because I have the DVD but I am entitled to rip my DVD's to my computer for backup or to watch them on my Linux media server. If I want to re-purchase the movies I own to a higher quality format or purchase a digital copy because I don't have to convert the movie myself (because it's more convenient) that's my choice. I should not be dictated to by media companies, manufactures and government that I have to re-buy everything to pay for some executive's diamond studded solid gold TV or ivory back scratcher.

If you think I'm harsh about this don't even ask me what I think about the book publishers and their copyright issues with digital books.


Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

Monday, January 03, 2011

Intel's New SandyBridge Processor and Integrated DRM

Intel's New SandyBridge Processor and Integrated DRM

Intel SandyBridge Processor

Intel has made a deal with the devil; OK I'm sorry I didn't mean to insult the Devil, they made a deal with the MPAA. SandyBridge for all intents and purposes looks like a great processor, high performance low cost and worst of all integrated DRM. It was something Intel slipped into the chip when no one was looking; Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), the bane of consumers every where. It prevents you from using media you have legally purchased on different devices. The best example I can give is purchasing a song or video on iTunes then trying to load that song or video on to a non-apple device such as a Windows Phone 7, or Android tablet/phone. So now Intel is going to make every person that purchases a SandyBridge i3, i5 and i7 subject to this DRM. This isn't the first time Intel tried a boneheaded move like this, it tried it with the Tualatin-Based Pentium III's with a technology called PSN (Processor Serial Number) but privacy advocates managed to get Intel to remove this feature and it was not carried though to future processors.


This new DRM technology built onto the chip could be used to allow or deny you use of your computer depending on how it is implemented. To support this argument further it is also known that SandyBridge processors have a feature called Anti-Theft 3.0. This technology allows the processor to be disabled even if the computer has no internet connection. It was implemented under the premises if someone stole your computer you could shut it down. Now consider what we have here. Technology where that tracks what you have purchased; probably tracks what your using and technology that can shut your computer down. Hmmmmm...... I smell trouble here. I wonder what would happen if you tried to rip a DVD with handbrake or even tried to install handbrake? Would your computer shut off never to be turned on again or perhaps you might get a nice letter from the MPAA informing you of a court date? I don't like the idea of all these different technologies on the Intel processors calling home it feels like a violation of our privacy. If I want to spend the time and RIP my purchased DVD to my Android Phone, iPod Touch, or make a digital copy then I should be able to do that and without looking over my shoulder.




Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

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