Code and Debian and Free software and Knowledge management and RSS and Social networking and Systems and Unix
18 May 2009 at 12:15 by Jean-Marc Liotier
laconica2IRC.pl – Forward your dents to an IRC channel
If you want to skip the making-of story, you can go straight to the laconica2IRC.pl script download. Or in case anyone is interested, here is the why and how…
Some of my best friends are die-hard IRC users that make a point of not touching anything remotely looking like a social networking web site, especially if anyone has ever hinted that it could be tagged as “Web 2.0” (whatever that means). As much as I enjoy hanging out with them in our favorite IRC channel, conversations there are sporadic. Most of the time, that club house increasingly looks like an asynchronous forum for short updates posted infrequently on a synchronous medium… Did I just describe microblogging ? Indeed it is a very similar use case, if not the same. And I don’t want to choose between talking to my close accomplices and opening up to the wider world. So I still want to hang out in IRC for a nice chat from time to time, but while I’m out broadcasting dents I want my paranoid autistic friends to get them too. To satisfy that need, I need to have my IRC voice say my dents on the old boys channel.
The data source could be an OpenMicroblogging endpoint, but being lazy I found a far easier solution : use Laconi.ca‘s Web feeds. Such solution looked easier because there are already heaps of code out there for consuming Web feeds, and it was highly likely that I would find one I could bend into doing my bidding.
To talk on IRC, I had previously had the opportunity to peruse the Net::IRC library with great satisfaction – so it was an obvious choice. In addition, in spite of being quite incompetent with it, I appreciate Perl and I was looking for an excuse to hack something with it.
With knowledge of the input, the output and the technology I wanted to use, I could start implementing. Being lazy and incompetent, I of course turned to Google to provide me with reusable code that would spare me building the script from the ground up. My laziness was of course quick to be rewarded as I found rssbot.pl by Peter Baudis in the public domain. That script fetches a RSS feed and says the new items in an IRC channel. It was very close to what I wanted to do, and it had no exotic dependancies – only Net::IRC library (alias libnet-irc-perl in Debian) and XML::RSS (alias libxml-rss-perl in Debian).
So I set upon hacking this script into the shape I wanted. I added IRC password authentication (courtesy of Net::IRC), I commented out a string sanitation loop which I did not understand and whose presence cause the script to malfunction, I pruned out the Laconi.ca user name and extraneous punctuation to have my IRC user “say” my own Identi.ca entries just as if I was typing them myself, and after a few months of testing I finally added an option for @replies filtering so that my IRC buddies are not annoyed by the noise of remote conversations.
I wanted my own IRC user “say” the output, and that part was very easy because I use the Bip an IRC proxy which supports multiple clients on one IRC server connection. This script was just going to be another client, and that is why I added password authentication. Bip is available in Debian and is very handy : I usually have an IRC client at home, one in the office, occasionally a CGI-IRC, rarely a mobile client and now this script – and to the dwellers of my favorite IRC channel there is no way to tell which one is talking. And whichever client I choose, I never missing anything thanks to logging and replay on login. Screen with a command-line IRC client provides part of this functionality, but the zero maintainance Bip does so much more and is so reliable that one has to wonder if my friends cling to Irssi and Screen out of sheer traditionalism.
All that remained to do was to launch the script in a sane way. To control this sort of simple and permanently executed piece of code and keep it from misbehaving, Daemon is a good way. Available in Debian, Daemon proved its worth when the RSS file went missing during the Identi.ca upgrade and the script crashed everytime it tried to access it for lack of exception catching. Had I simply put it in an infinite loop, it would have hogged significant ressources just by running in circles like a headless chicken. Daemon not only restarted it after each crash, but also killed it after a set number of retries in a set duration – thus preventing any interference with the rest of what runs on our server. Here is the Daemon launch command that I have used :
daemon -a 16 -L 16 -M 3 -D $path -N -n laconica2IRC_JML -r -O $path/laconica2IRC.log -o $path/laconica2IRC.log $path/laconica2IRC.pl
And that’s it… Less cut and paste from Identi.ca to my favorite IRC channel, and my IRC friends who have not yet adopted microblogging don’t feel left out of my updates anymore. And I can still jump into IRC from time to time for a real time chat. I have the best of both worlds – what more could I ask ?
Sounds good to you ? Grab the laconica2IRC.pl script !
Africa and Cycling and Travels
17 May 2009 at 18:01 by Jean-Marc Liotier
Dispatches from Ghana 2/13 – A walk in Accra
Accra, 22 February 2009.
We wake up to the sounds of religious chants from the Christian center next door. In Ghana, there are churches all over the place and they are packed every week… You can’t miss them ! Churches often feature live music, and while passing by I have several times seen people take the microphone to add their testimonies of spiritual enlightenment. Atheists such as me better swerve when religion comes as a discussion topic : every Ghanaian is a true believer and will lecture you given the opportunity.
We wake up lazily and enjoy an English breakfast on the hotel’s roof. The staff is very nice and we are the only guests in the six rooms hotel. By the way, I recommend this hotel heartily even though it exceeds any typical backpacking budget. Its official name is Golden Oyster Executive Hotel – In Ghanaian English, “executive” means anything that is sophisticated and commands premium pricing.
The sky is a gray ceiling with light rain falling, but it is already so hot that you don’t notice the rain drops falling among your own perspiration. I scan the 802.11 frequency bands but no networks are detected. Data roaming does not seem to be functional in Ghana – at least I won’t be tempted to spend my money !
“Papa, please close your eyes and open your mouth” – and next thing I know I’m chewing on fresh garlic… Pauline probably got that from the hotel’s kitchen and somehow decided I would be the guinea pig for that mystery food.
Next up, assembling the bikes minus one seat and stowing away the flight bags. I use one bike bag for each bike, and a big duffel bag to keep three of the panniers together for the flight. I keep the fourth pannier as a carry-on to protect the most fragile stuff. To pack the bikes, I only disassemble the handlebars, the seats, the trailer’s beam and the big bike’s front wheel – so that assembly is a quickly expedited affair. In theory I should have bothered with disassembling the pedals, but their width is actually not a problem. Removing the pannier racks would have hugely reduced the package’s length and facilitated transportation, but then disassembly and assembly would have been much a more involved business and I prefer to have the bike arrive in a configuration whose solidity I trust. As usual, the tandem bike is a sure-fire conversation starter with any passerby.
Before leaving the hotel I noted its address : East Legon, opposite the Christian center, near the A&C shopping mall. Yes, that is an actual address, as good as you’ll get in most African locations. We are then free to descend downtown Accra for some sightseeing. The hotel lies in a quiet leafy suburb near the airport. A very nice neighborhood even, as measured by how the villas are built and decorated, how vegetation is kept and the amount of security that surrounds them – though the street in the neighborhood are still beaten earth strips sided by ditches with partly broken covers. But there is construction going on in many streets so that might change.
A short walk away from the hotel we catch a tro-tro apparently heading in the general direction of the city center, but it drops us at Nkrumah Circle, a stinking muddy African minibus yard cum marketplace where finding our next tro-tro took some searching among the chaos and language difficulties – the quintessential African experience.
Badly covered drainage ditches, stagnant water with decomposing matter, dust and traffic produce the patented smell of Africa, although the Ghanaian version is very tame and only appears in the worse neighborhoods – in other places the public utilities seems to work rather well. Part of the reason for the relative cleanliness might be the omnipresence of public urinals which make rogue excretive exercises less frequent, although the drainage ditch does seem to double as a toilet – one more reason to watch your step for missing covers. But with dirt and filth often around them, many Africans make a point of being spotlessly clean – in Accra I even saw a several occurrences of a guy hand-washing the wheels of his vehicle with a sponge. And those were apparently not vehicles for sale.
Private schools advertise their results on billboards. With unreliable public services, Africans have no choice but to be entrepreneurs, and education is a market like any other. In Ghana there are establishments named “remedial schools” that are focused on supplementary teaching. It is the same as evening classes in Europe, but the advertising is surprising : instead of being focused on success, the unique selling proposition is invariably based on “not failing”.
It is Sunday so most of the shops in what on the map appeared as the historical center are closed. On the way to Jamestown, I start recording our positions so that I can geotag the pictures. the lack of activity, the derelict buildings and the odd abandoned one produce a strangely quiet atmosphere. Accra’s urban landscape is rather low and extensive, like an overgrown small town.
We came across a card playing competition with a big scoreboard and a couple dozen of animated tables – I snatched a couple pictures and nobody paid attention to us. Most people in Accra don’t care about photography anyway, and they sometimes even show off a bit.
Jamestown is supposed to be next to the historical center, but it is very derelict with obvious signs of poverty. But even in this sort of environment, there is not a sign of hassle, aside from a timid half hearted demand from time to time. One girl tried a pass at me – which earned me stern looks from the guys, and a boy tried to sell me fish – yeah I obviously need fresh fish. I felt very secure here, apart from the ship construction yard workers who don’t seem to like tourist intrusion. In any case, this is not cadeau country – this makes me feels much more relaxed.
The harbour, which is actually a beach protected by a breakwater, is a very interesting place with fishermen mending nets, boats coming and going, children playing in the water, equipment strewn all over the place, habitat in the middle of it all and as usual in Africa heaps of people milling around with mysterious purposes.
Behind the harbour, people live in narrow alleys where a few goats munch on plantain skins. The presence of goats is a clue that this is a poor neighborhood. Goats eat anything and no vegetation is left.
From what I gather from my feelings and talking with locals, apart from the odd petty thief the place is safe. In crowded neighborhood, the odd opportunistic petty thief is all you have to worry about – but I’m warned that deserted estates at night are a different story.
We pass by the childhood shack of a famous Ghanaian football player with a life-size portrait painted on the front. Not far, a flock of kids dances in front of a wall of loudspeakers – I did not want to intrude with the camera, but the scene looked like a ragga music video. The best pictures are the one you did not take…
The advertising plastered on walls mostly falls in the following categories :
– Mobile telephony
The obituaries are A4 or A3 posters, often in color and containing a picture of the recently departed along with biographical information. I had never noticed them before in other African countries.
A mobile telephony operator advertises free airtime in exchange for receiving inbound calls. I had never seen this marketing scheme anywhere else, but it makes a lot of sense to cash in on termination fees by encouraging prepaid users to ask for calls. The effect could be compounded by having network preferential rates for the postpaid users.
Kwame Nkrumah memorial park is a tidy place, apparently a favorite of wedding photographers with no less than four couples and their suite posing in the park. According to Wisdom <firstname.lastname@example.org>, the only Ghanaian in the park who is not part of a wedding, few Ghanaians come here for any purpose other than the photo opportunity – although Nkrumah remains a big figure with no less than three political parties claiming to be their heir.
I don’t know what earned me all the smiles from the bridesmaids, and chatting chatting one up definitely crossed my mind but I tried to remain focused on purely touristic endeavours. I learned from the small exhibition near the mausoleum that after having been ousted in 1966, Nkrumah had been named co-president of the Republic of Guinea. A picture as early as 1960 shows them together. After all I’m not surprised, but it is the first time I see it mentioned.
A couple of roller skaters glide by, one quad and one inline. I had seen a couple in Dakar too, but roller skaters on the African streets are uncommon enough to be noticed. Accra even has enough properly tarred roads for fun skating rides, although the wild traffic might be too much for most riders to handle.
Short African minibus tutorial – lines exist but all minibuses are alike, with no sign displaying where they are going and the bus stops show no distinctive indication either. So you have to have to listen to the minibus monkey boy calling the destination as the minibus pulls by, and quickly decide if the line ending there passes by where you want to go. The locals have a general idea of what line goes where, but few people can read a map, notions of geography are ofter limited to uni-dimensional concepts and in some places people are not comfortable with reading, so communicating with a map is not going to get you anywhere. Just talk to whoever you find and you will end up finding someone you can communicate with effectively, who knows where you are going and who will point you to the right bus. So “East Legon, opposite the Christian centre, near the A&C shopping mall” might see like a strange address to Europeans, but it is really the best one for finding your way home.
On the way we passed by the brand new presidential palace, a shiny piece of modern architecture whose cost overruns are currently a matter of much debate in Ghanaian politics. Some government buildings such as the national theater are definitely worth a sight – interesting architectural trends express themselves there. The rest is the usual utilitarian lot of post-independence administrative buildings. In Takoradi I learned from Arama’s father that the National Theater was built by the Chinese, as a few other buildings in Accra and other places – such as Takoradi’s stadium for example. The presidential palace on the other hand was built by Indians.
Legon and Legon East are farther than they sound. Following the the Legon line we became temporarily unaware of our whereabouts. While Pauline was drinking and eating a coconut, darkness fell. At this latitudes, darkness falls very fast. We tried another direction and then ended up getting a taxi for the last leg. On the way we drove past a drugstore where I found Malarone for Pauline for 90 Cedis, slightly less expensive than in Paris. Street peddlers use a tin can and a wick as a makeshift oil lamp. I spotted a girl frying coconut – I have to try that !
The night is quiet as there are barely any mosquitoes in Accra, a nice break from the usual tropical fare. But in the bush out of the city I have been told to expect having to use lots of repellent. After fooling around in the hotel’s pool, we showered and washed our clothes while showering – the most efficient way to do it, trust my experience. We then headed out to grab dinner. As we chatted with Sharon, the nice lady who built and owns the hotel, I showed her the pictures we took today. She recognized Jamestown and told us that although she spent a few years in Europe, she is the queen of Jamestown. Named Sharon, she goes by the name of Queen Sha. She showed me pictures of events where she is carried on a ceremonial chair. She is the heir of a centuries old title previously held by her mother. We are hosted by royalty – nice !
Jabber and Social networking
13 May 2009 at 11:06 by Jean-Marc Liotier
Happy birthday Facebook Jabber/XMPP chat vaporware
A year ago this day, Facebook announced “Right now we’re building a Jabber/XMPP interface for Facebook Chat. In the near future, users will be able to use Jabber/XMPP-based chat applications to connect to Facebook Chat“. The news has been greeted positively in various places everywhere.
A year later, strictly nothing happened, and that silence has not gone unnoticed. Facebook has not even issued the slightest announcement, except a wishlist bug report comment by Charlie Cheever mentioning that “some people are working on this. It will probably be done in a few months. Sorry the timeline isn’t more clear“.
Is that all that a major player such as Facebook can do to interoperate with the rest of the instant messaging world ? Words with no deeds to back them up are very disappointing, especially from a player with ample means. Annoucements followed by complete silence are an even bigger blow to anyone’s credibility. Will Facebook step up to the plate ?
By federating with the rest of the XMPP world and especially with Google Talk, Facebook has an opportunity to make a huge splash in instant messaging in a rare case where their interests are aligned with their user’s. Why the silence ?
Maybe I should not be using Facebook at all. But it has been so successful at attracting the family, the non-geeks and the girls that I have settled for the compromise of using it while serving some constructive criticism. But I feel better at Identi.ca and Friendfeed…
Meta and Social networking and The Web
12 May 2009 at 12:21 by Jean-Marc Liotier
The numbers are in : Facebook has an application spam problem
One of the benefits of running blogs is the ability to gather traffic statistics and spot emerging trends. The popularity of an article is an interesting information, but my favorite is the key phrases in search engine referrer URL. The key phrases tell us what people were looking for when they ended up on the site.
This month, “Facebook application spam and how to block it” is the most viewed page on this blog, surpassing the apparently very useful mod_proxy tip, the always popular Openoffice outline mode and even the American craze for that French soldier in Afghanistan.
This month also, “block facebook quizzes” and all variations thereof account for an overwhelming majority of search engine referer key phrases on this blog.
I had personal and anecdotal data about the flood of obnoxious simplistic Facebook personality tests, but now I have numbers to back it up.
I predict a bright future for the One-Click Quiz Blocker Facebook application : it is the easiest way to make the newsfeed clean and useful again. It does what it says – it just works and it takes just one click : a real pleasure compared to my former obsessive-compulsive habit of systematic manual blocking (about five hundreds in three years…).
Africa and Cycling and Travels
11 May 2009 at 23:20 by Jean-Marc Liotier
Dispatches from Ghana 1/13 – Landfall in Accra
Accra, 21 February 2009.
As usual, packing was deferred to the last minute. Some attempts at anticipation are notable, but biking and outdoors are now so deeply embedded in my lifestyle that a sizable chunk of what I bring on tour is a part of my daily life that I cannot pack aside in advance. But I have the drill down pat – I made everything modular and activity based, so that I am confident that even in a hurry I am not forgetting anything I may want to have at hand underway. Apart from a couple of UK electricity mains adapters, I fetched what I needed from my cupboards and I did not have to buy anything – an amazing first. A few seasons of relentless acquisition quenched my requirements for hot and moderate weather touring equipment requirements, so I can nowadays be ready for an exotic deployment in less than an evening.
On top of disassembling the bikes, sorting and packing everything, I left the configuration of the sub-notebook for the last moment and took time on top to configure an USB flash memory as a backup – so I had just one hour of sleep, but the excitement kept me going nicely.
We had an uneventful flight, with breathtaking Saharan landscapes of dark rock and bright sand. Further south the clouds drowned all but the sunset largely compensated that with stunning colors. Claiming our luggage at Kotaka’s we had the disappointment to find the bike’s bag’s zip ripped apart. The bag was open and the seat which was traveling disassembled in a smaller bag had escaped from it. After inquiring to a few useless luggage claim employees, I concluded that prosecuting the case in Accra was hopeless. Filing a complaint to Air France – KLM on the way back in Paris is far more efficient. The smashed rear light on my bike and the abrasion marks on the trailer’s bike tell a story of gross mishandling, but all we have is another lesson in bike shipment hardening. I’m increasingly thinking about shipping the bike in a crate – I’ll think about that unless I find a bag more sturdy than that weak Go Sports bag that was not even cheap and lasted intact for a grand total of three flights.
So, as usual, the tour is therefore going to start with a wild spare part hunt – always a fun way to discover an African city. With a cycling culture supposedly well implanted in Ghana and plenty of riders, I’m guessing that we should have that problem solved in 24 to 48 hours. And what would a bicycle tour be without some exotic spare part problem ?
After almost 40 hours up with one hour of real sleep without Pauline interrupting, I was beginning to feel a bit winded. The Lonely Planet’s selection of places to sleep in Accra was depressing, and I foresaw that I was going to spend more than usual. For my first night in a country, I always spend more than average though : more than comfort, hotel prices are about service – and being disorientated and wary in an African country is not the time to skimp on service.
After lengthy pleas about my lost and broken pieces of luggage, I had lost so much time that the terminal was almost deserted. I managed to change a hundred Euros at the still open forex office and went on. A guy I chatted with on the plane had tried to wait for me to help me find a taxi – but I lost him because of my luggage issue keeping me behind. A security guard told me he had been waiting for me at the arrivals lounge, and he disappeared to search for him. While I waited and minded his recharging phone I noticed the still open albeit empty hotel reservation booth. With nothing to lose I decided to explore its offerings. Coming back empty handed, the security guy fetched the hotel reservations guy for me. I told him I was ready to spend about 90 Cedis (a slightly above low range rate for Accra), did not care about the location and wanted a friendly quiet place. He sent me to the Golden Oyster hotel, which I don’t regret. He called Ernest, the manager of the hotel, who came pick us up at the airport and helped me load the bikes on his pick-up truck, and we were off. By African standards, this is an incredible airport experience : I perceived no threat, no chaos, not even a hint of hassle, the officials were friendly – even with my problems it was all very relaxed. An airport is often the first experience about a country, and this one tells good things about Ghana.
So, in the span of an hour I had met half a dozen very nice people who helped me find my way around my problems. They were all very warm. It was a great surprised, but it is actually a typical Ghanaian experience : you meet an amazing number of friendly people and they are always up for a chat.
The hotel was hosting a wedding reception – actually a mass wedding with ten couples tying the knot at once. The party was taking place on the rooftop and we mingled among the guests, enjoying a meal and an African-sized beer (750 ml is the standard). Ghanaian hiplife dance music was rocking the place – I definitely have to listen to more of that at home (first keyword for Last.fm surfing : “Praye”).
Pauline was excited to find plenty of fun guys and nice girls to play and dance with – as crazy as it might be, this is exactly what she had told me she expected from Africa. Meanwhile I ended up having a chat with the splendid lady who owns the place – an Anglo-Norwego-Ghanaian with an Austrian ex-husband.
Most unexpectedly, the party drew down around midnight – Ghanaian go to sleep at the time when the Congolese begin to go out. That is quite a surprise, but it fits my holiday rhythm perfectly and after two full days with a sleepless night in the middle I was probably not going to dance until morning anyway. So we shut ourselves in our comfortable room – the Golden Oyster hotel is lavishly furnished and not the sort of place where you normally find backpackers : it even has air conditioning in the rooms. To me, this is luxury and the place might even be fit to receive my parents, the golden standards of people you will never find hanging out in a backpacker’s joint. But for a good night of sleep, it will do very nicely !
Africa and Cycling and Ghana
06 May 2009 at 14:50 by Jean-Marc Liotier
Tandem riding in Ghana with Pauline – the GPS track logs
In the second half of February this year, I rode with Pauline in Ghana : in Accra, in the western coastal region and in the Cape Coast hinterland. As a prelude to the trip reports that shall soon be published here, we’ll start with the GPS track logs collected with my trusty Sony GPS-CS1, sliced and diced by GPSBabel and mashed up on Google Maps by GPSVisualizer.
Most of it is of no particular interest to people other than me, but if you are planning a trip there you might like some parts of our western coastal region track logs : the abandoned road between the Axim and the Axim Beach Hotel on the other side of the bay is nowhere to be found on any map I know, and our forays halfway to Prince’s Town, especially from Busua are bush rides that you probably won’t read much about anywhere else.
So here are our tracks :
- Accra – back and forth between our hotel, the STC station, Madina market and a walk along the waterfront.
- Western region – Takoradi, Busua, Dixcove, Axim, Prince’s Town, Agona Junction and quite a few dirt tracks in between.
- Cape Coast hinterland – Elmina, Hans Cottage, Kakum National Park and Cape Coast itself.
These maps will soon come handy as support material for the trip reports.
The coming mobile data price war
It is coming – but very slowly of course, thanks to the oligopolistic structure of most mobile telecommunications markets. Bombastic new entrants such as Proxad in France may pretend that their vision of future low cost flat fee mobile data offerings will be the second coming, cutting the household bill by half in three years, but once they’ll have joined the spectrum license holder’s club there will be no incentive for them to be more aggressive than what is necessary for them to grab their share of the market. They pretend that their new hotness is a technological advantage that will be the support for their claim of costs reduction, but they forget to mention that the only reason why the old and busted competition has not pushed that technology forward is that they control the market with no need for such bother. The large incumbents have immense resources – financial, technical, human and organizational. They can be terribly powerful when they realize that they are under threat : the steamroller may take a good while to get started but you don’t want to get in the way when it begins to roll at his stately speed.
So is the new entrant the trigger ? Actually, not : the new entrant’s marketing department has just done his homework and read the signs correctly. Early adopters have from the dawn of times been clamoring for simple low cost and preferably flat fee mobile data offerings, but as usual the visionaries don’t hold much weight on a mass market – changing the game takes a large mainstream actor with his own agenda. And as surprising as it may be, that interloper is Apple. As users we may spurn Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field and the technically banal Disneyland world of Apple, but the marketing magic is awe inspiring to say the least. On the basis of it, Apple managed to get the mobile operators to produce deals that were completely unheard of on that market, including the revenue sharing arrangements that lasted until last year and the still strong absolute control of the platform by Apple. As a result of all that hype, the Iphone led the charge in mass usage of mobile data access.
Of course, mobile data access had already been possible for ages and the competitors are catching up fast on Apple’s lead in mobile user experience. But credit goes to Apple for giving the masses the taste for mobile data. Last September, “the Australian Mobile Internet Insight found that during the average iPhone browsing session, users consumed 2.07 MB compared to 0.30 MB for other mobile users“ – that is six times more ! “The report also found that the average page size for iPhone browsing is more than double the mobile average, which the report attributes to iPhone users browsing desktop versions of websites“.Last month, AT&T announced that its expectation of a tenfold usage in data traffic is driven by the Iphone. Net Applications’ February results show the iPhone generating two third of mobile web accesses. Meanwhile, AdMob Mobile Metrics report credits the Iphone with a 52% share of the traffic. Google claims that it had seen 50 times more searches on Apple’s Iphone than on any other system on the market. I have heard a European mobile operator’s executive mention Japanese studies reporting that Iphone users generate ten time the data traffic of other users. Apple’s share of the handset market will certainly remain minor, but as with any catalyzer, a small quantity changes everything.
So we have a mass market hungry for cheap data and new entrants hoping to build their market share on that. They may eventually disrupt the market somewhat, but the incumbents won’t be caught napping : IP RAN, Ethernet backhaul, IP core networks and the IMS architecture are all in the pipeline. The incumbents fully expect the new market pressure on price, and they expect to be ready to take it on. Cost of the megabit transfered can currently comfortably be counted in cents with just the fingers on your two hands, and the operator’s ambition is to cut that at least in three over the course of three years. Can you believe that mobile operators are actually shaping up to be able to compete on the price of bulk data ? You better do, but don’t hold your breath and expect mobile network operators going at each other’s throat with with generous offerings of abundant data transfer capacity while your bill plummets – the price war will play in slow motion if the history of the mobile telecommunications market is anything to learn from.
Meanwhile, SMS still costs from four to 42 times more than fetching data from Hubble space telescope…