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Friday, October 17, 2014

SIMless

If you know me or ever read what I think about 4G and LTE, you know I just won't ever refer to the latter as being the first. In other words, LTE is not 4G.

The concept of 4G goes beyond networks, providers and carriers. The concept of 4G is that you get speed (hence the generalization of fast network technologies as such) but also universal access to the internet and your subscribed services, no matter where you are in the world, or what provider you are connected to, or which RAT (radio access technology) you are using.

To be a 4G operator the first thing you want to do is to provide services that can be accessed via any IP connection. So voice (over IP - VoIP) and messaging should be the first priority for a service provider, so you can adapt and survive this change. There is no "if", only "when" it will happen. Change must be accepted and embraced as an opportunity to get ahead, to beat your competitors.



The second step is to free the user (subscriber) from the shackles and limitations of a single network. No matter how good your network is, there will always be "black spots" (bad coverage) or areas where is simply to expensive and ridiculous to invest in radio resources (build antennae and transmission) for multiple operators. So to start with, muti-RAT access (via WiFi for instance) with over-the-air service network registration has to happen. Then, local or national "roaming" has to happen as well.

Obviously the motivations to do so (which I shall not discuss here for several reasons) are zero when this is seen as "forfeiting revenue" in the short run. To see this as an opportunity to stop wasting money on more network, and go for the early adoption and the recreation of your costumer base as a service provider and not a network provider anymore, and changing your business model to adapt to future is only for a few people with vision.

Queue Apple. They have made the first approach through it's services with facetime and iMessage on iOS. And continued to expand them to the MAC, eventually they may even have a PC app. For a long time as well, we've been hearing of the "SIMless" device or the "Apple SIM". With the launch of the new iPad Air2 and iPad Mini 3 the SIMless device is here, and apparently they even have agreements in place with US and UK network providers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and EE in the US and UK).

Obviously, considering the way you apparently need to switch between operators, it looks like it's a SIMless but not seamless experience. Yet...



Meanwhile mobile and fixed network providers are... investing heavily in competing and redundant networks, while trying to destroy each other by destroying prices and margins, and dealing with the ever decreasing revenue by "cutting costs". No sign of VoLTE or network independent messaging services. Even in the most advanced markets with integrated service providers, you can not use your (same provider) WiFi to get voice or messaging where mobile coverage fails. Instead they are listening to the "experts" (mostly the tech sellers) and focusing in maximizing LTE coverage (marketed as 4G). Next? LTE-A and then the next generation, the upcoming "5G like" radio technologies... if they survive that long.


(supposed to be self portraying)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Senna. Some people say...

(Read in you best Jeremy Clarkson voice. In you mind. Not out loud... because you'd look like a fool doing that)

- Some people say he was the best racing driver. In the world...

- Some say he was too aggressive...

- Some say he was just passionate and committed...

- Some say records will never show him as a great because numbers, and that's too bad...

- Some say there were better drivers before, during or after his time...

- But all I know is, he's called Senna.


OK, seriously now, if you don't know what that name means, read this (if you do but want to know more about the intense persona he was, read it as well. His last were the most intense and demonstrative days):

The last 96 hours of Ayrton Senna

And if you haven't seen it, see the Documentary here:


Ayrton Senna BBC Documentary - Part 1 of 4 from Greg Murray on Vimeo.


Ayrton Senna BBC Documentary - Part 2 of 4 from Greg Murray on Vimeo.


Ayrton Senna BBC Documentary - Part 3 of 4 from Greg Murray on Vimeo.


Ayrton Senna BBC Documentary - Part 4 of 4 from Greg Murray on Vimeo.


Finally, if you want to compare him to anyone you know, forget other racing car drivers. He was on a league of his own.

He was unique, exceptional and only comparable to other "aliens" from other categories, like Marc Marquez on a bike, or Ronnie O'Sullivan on a snooker table.

Natural talent. You either have it or you don't. No matter how many records you own, or races you win.




Thursday, April 24, 2014

A nova Avenida Antunes Guimarães no Porto (update)

O projecto rodiviario da Av Dr Antunes Guimarães no Porto deve estar lindo no papel... as faxas simétricas, as zebras com diagonais suaves, deve ser o orgulho de algum(a?) arquitecta, quiça recém formado(a?) talvez o seu primeiro grande projecto. Só pode. Porque na prática não funciona.

O que funcionava era um design funcional, adaptado à relevância, importancia e tráfego das ruas com que se cruza, e tentar de alguma forma melhorar o trafego face ao que era antes das obras. Mas não... Vamos por partes:

Vindo da Av da Boavista já não há estas "duas" faixas (não marcadas) em frente à "Concha d'Ouro". Não, o separador deixou de ser o contínuo para passarmos a ter uma "zebra". Não percebo o que se ganha, mas até aqui... isto não é nada comparado com o resto.


A dita "zebra" alarga na diagonal e espreme a faxa de rodagem na zona da paragem do autocarro.



E isto acontece pelo menos 3 vezes na súbida. Fica assim bloqueada a circulação sempre um autocarro pare à nossa frente. E não se pode ultrapassar (nem aí, nem na Avenida toda). Tudo isto para quem desce e eventualmente queira virar aqui possa ter uma faixa...


Cruzamento com a Rua Cidade do Mindelo e depois com Vasco Valente:


Duas faixas quem sobe? Disparate! Agora a faixa aperta como referido para a direita, deixando a entrada para quem vem da esquerda livre:



Depois, novamente só uma faixa, para virar e seguir em frente, e uma quem desce:



Porque isto (4 faixas em vez de 2) não fazia sentido nenhum:


Muito melhor zebras esquerda e só uma faixa para cada lado...

Os disparates continuam avenida acima, grassa a faixa estrangulada com paragens de autocarro e impossibilidade de ultrapassar (imagino que vão mudar as paragens, mas não vi para onde).



Junto ao supermercado, cruzamento com Rua Dr Joaquim Costa e Lidador, porquê ter o que havia? Abaixo:


Não, vamos começar por estrangular o transito para só uma faixa à direita...
(mais uma vez em cima  paragem de autocarro)



...e dividir a da esquerda (usada com grande afluência para virar para a Rua do Lidador, na direcção da Circunvalação e rotunda AEP) com quem vem de frente...



...e deixá-la com espaço para apenas um carro quem sobe (um e meio, vá) e outro quem desce e vira para Dr Joaquim Costa.



Mas no papel as duas faixas novas simétricas devem ficar lindas...
(perdoem a crueza da imagem, foi feita no paint em 20s)

Na maior parte destes cruzamentos faziam-se com facilidade e "naturalmente" 3 ou 4 faixas de trânsito mesmo que só houvesse 2 (ou 3) pintadas, era aproveitada a largura da avenida para passar a par de quem vira, dos autocarros etc.

Um bom projecto partiria da observação do tráfego diário e tentaria fazer a adaptação do espaço existente ao mesmo, por forma a facilitá-lo. Não estrangulá-lo.

Este projecto não tem minimamente em conta as necessidades de circulação e o fluxo de trânsito de, para e dentro da via.

Mas no papel deve estar lindo!





Monday, April 7, 2014

#WRC Vodafone Rally Portugal 2014



WRC Rally Portugal in the South has now matured to a very hard and technical race, with new classic stages. Here's some footage from this year's event:




And of course, the crashes:

Evans:


Kubica#1


Meeke:


Latvala:


Kubica #2


Tom Cave:



But make no mistake, I still want these (and more) stages back in the WRC:







Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shit I can't explain and it bugs me...


When my daughter was very little she'd wake up silent and peacefully (like every 4 hours) as usual, and most times I'd just know it. Even being in a different room far away, I'd go to her and she'd be just awakening and starting to fumble about in bed, silent.

I never missed and was never not too early to find her still asleep, or as to wake her up.

Always thought of it as some sub-conscious latent or passive hearing, and not any kind of 6th sense of sorts.




But for the past few days I've been having the eerie feeling I was gonna be in a car crash. Yes, yes, yes... queue the "the way you drive" jokes.

Seriously, I'd be watching, reading or playing something and the distinct sound of a car crash would haunt me, especially at night, like an alarm bell in the back of my mind.

This morning as I left the kids in school, a mom reversed into our car and "scrunch" there it was. How do you explain that shit...?

I think I need help... But I mean help to turn this into some future predicting gift I could use to make some money!

Anyone?


PS: It was nothing serious, just tyre on bumper action, no harm done.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

F1 2014 - The new rules

Finally the wait is over.

This weekend will mark the beginning of a new season, one that brings so much change that the outcome of the championship is just as unknown as the one of the first race.

Not going to rant on how good or bad this or that change is in particular, but on the fact that change is good to start with, and that people are missing the big picture of why it's not only good but inevitable.

Let's focus on the essential. The engine + ERS = power unit.


2014 Renault Sport F1 "Power Unit"

People may be a bit confused because in the past things like turbos and electric(onic) aids have been banned in the name of purity, technologies that could (and eventually did) come to the road car in the form of active suspensions, traction control, launch control etc, so why is it that now all this can be used, more, it has to be?

Well, the ICE in this "power unit" is small. The turbos are there to minimize that size (or should I say maximize?) and also help manufactures develop technology for the final push of the commercial ICE (*). Many will no longer sell cars without any turbocharged engines from 2014 on. And in the other hand the ERS is way more powerful than KERS was. Soon the turbos may even get banned as the ERS improves over and over again.

Also Formula E Racing is going to evolve and help develop the electric motoring components, it'll be the test bed for the F1 of the future in my opinion. It will not evolve and take over the spotlight, it's F1 that will become fully electric in the future. That or it would lose the spotlight and become some fringe racing series.

So the coming years are going to be filled with new technology and a progressive shift to electric motoring. And that may be the biggest change and challenge F1 has ever faced. This is just the beginning.

Many DNFs will occur, yes. Drama, uncertainty. But that, is racing!


Final word on qualifying. Having a set of tyres reserved exclusively for the final Q3 and the time to make 2 attempts is very good.



(*) I do not think F1 is a "lab for the road", but an advanced laboratory where the most outrageous ideas come to life and get tested as to their viability. None of what goes into an F1 car's mechanics finds it's way into production in the short term. But the new F1 turbos will surely bring a lot of knowledge to manufacturers in a very short time.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sites do #BotaLikeSeQueresVer


Oh meus amigos...

Só há 3 coisas que faço "like" cegamente antes sequer de ver:
- videos com Chris Harris,
- Porta dos Fundos
- qualquer coisa feita pelos meus filhos.



Ora, eu subscrevo os canais onde os primeiros publicam conteúdos. E se têm alguma coisa feita pelos meus filhos é bom que a não ponham numa rede social sem mostrar e falar comigo ou com a mãe.

Logo, toda e qualquer porra que "postem" corre o sério risco de não merecer um "gosto" ao site que a copia descarada e bombásticamente publica. Certamente não logo à cabeça e sem ver o conteúdo!

Acresce que normalmente a montanha pare um rato. Anão. Senil, e muitas vezes paraplégico. Ou seja, uma perda de tempo total e completa para ver uma m**** que não é nada o que título dá a entender!

Mais ainda, muitos têm o desplante de nos presentear com "se fizeste like, espera xx segundos". Mas estão a reinar ou quê???

O simples facto de me levarem a abrir um desses links, neste momento desperta em mim uma mudança de temperatura corporal, acompanhada de movimento gestual agressivo e verborreia (vulgo: mau- feitio), que segundo o médico me faz mal às tensões.

Por isso, de uma vez por todas e pela minha saúde (e pela vossa se estiverem fisicamente por perto), pensem antes de postar. Parem de lá de postar links do #BotaLikeSeQueresVer ok?

Grato.

Bjs e Abraços



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I Expect From 2014 Tech.


Wearable tech.

2014 is the year manufacturers will try to shove wearables down you throat and their hand in your pocket.

I'm not a fan of wearable tech. I don't like to use anything on my body, that goes for rings, watches, etc. I don't even like clothes that much...



I do love sports wrist watches. The last one I had was very light (titanium built) and I stopped using it when it ran out of battery.

So why on earth would I be interested in using an ugly, bulky, heavy smartwatch I have to charge every night, that drains battery form my smart phone and also makes me look like a dork in the process?

And don't even start me on Google Glass and especially Hang w/ (wtf kind of name is this to start with?).



Still, there's a market there. There will be some sales, and in the future, downsizing, power optimization and proper working features will make them usable and even useful. Not in 2014.

Some will even try to convince you by bridging it with the next topic, the EV connected hipster mobile car.




Connected Car.

- "Mom, why doesn't the (whatever) work?"
- "Dad, why can't I play this game in the car?"
- "What do you mean 'there's no internet in the car' ?"

Ever heard that before?

Have you had your mobile data plan destroyed in an hour of mobile hotspot sharing with your kids tablet/console/etc?

Or maybe you'd just like to use YOUR chosen map/nav solution in car, without having to destroy your smartphone battery, and look away from the dash to a wobbly smartphone hanging from your windshield, or to a GPS unit you have to disassemble and hide every time you stop.

Or you'd like to share with your family the photos you just took (the same ones no one's gonna want to watch if try to do a slide show in your SmartTv later). Or that funny video. Or read the news (or Facebook) as you wait for them outside school.

All that in a proper sized display, again without destroying your phone's battery, and no cables or physical supports.



The solution is (1) to have a SIM card for your car, the same way you have WiFi at home and/or (2) have an integrated "infotainement" system that can talk to your phone (whatever it may be), preferably with it "docked" into the car dashboard, or somewhere in between or a bit of both.

Some manufacturers are now coming out with proper solutions. Some have sided with Apple, others with Google, but many will be smart enough to make their systems compatible with both major players as well as with bluetooth standards.

AT&T and Chevrolet are going with #1 with the 4G connected car,



...and Honda has launched a Siri's eyes free system, while also offering Nokia's Maps as well, and is now in the "open auto alliance" with Google.

Of course all this can only happen on LTE Evolved networks (a step closer to "real" 4G) with new things like LTE Relay and LTE HetNet - Carrier Aggregation and CoMP.

But please just don't let the car's dashboard look like this, there's already too much distraction at the wheel:


#TMI


EVs.

EVs will continue to proliferate. EV awareness and notoriety will grow and we may as well thank Tesla and Elon Musk for that. Instead of building the hipster EV all marketing experts wanted and analysts expected, they did a normal and proper car, that just happens to be electric. If you forget the power train, it's an awesome car to start with. Not a horrid (electric) contraption.

As posted before, Fiat almost accidentally built the proper EV for a current car manufacturer. They got the 500 and made it electric. That's it. No gizmos, bells and whistles, no special colours, shapes or what not. It's a car. A Fiat 500. Wich happens to be an EV. And a good small one too.

2014 will see the coming of a new Tesla (Model X) and the unveiling of a new more affordable mid-sedan for 2015.



Hopefully other manufacturers will start selling proper EVs as well, normal and affordable cars like Fiat did, but mostly expect more over-the-top flashy creations like the BMW i-line.



That does not mean I don't think EVs couldn't or shouldn't be different and better than current cars. I do, and think BMW is doing a good job on that, instead of trying to "trick" consumers into buying "gadgety" tin cans or rent batteries like others. But people need to feel secure. People that have money to buy cars, that work hard for it, are not very keen (the older, traditionally the worst) to invest in "new tech". This is where Tesla is doing it right selling a product with the right image for it's target market, and other current manufactures, especially mass producers can too. Fiat is proof of that.


Connected Home.

Every year the dream of the smart connected home is perpetuated. Manufacturers show us "connected" appliancies, but never actually sell them (either just portotypes or priced ludicrously high), and as for the automated home itself, conflicting "standards" and competing manufacturers will keep this in the expensive dream zone for now (maybe forever).

But the time has come when connected devices will no longer cost an arm and a leg. Home automated systems may remain out of reach for most, but at least you'll be able to communicate (directly) with your fridge, washer or cooker.



I'm confident 2014 will be much more interesting that 2013!

Now if we only had the money to get all this new goodness to come...





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