Their darkest hour

Black clouds were thick on the horizon this week, as a certain manager looked on in horror, watching helplessly as the universe conspired against him and his team. Yep, it was Ericsson’s annual investors’ conference in New York and while England was mourning its darkest hour since losing the World Cup qualifier to Holland in ’93, the Swedish kit vendor was mourning its darkest hour since announcing its Q3 financials last month.

Next time he does it, just punch him on the nose

There’s a popular topic among the anti-tech handwringers at the moment: Cyber-bullying. Parents, teachers, politicians – they’re all wailing about the insidious nature of mobile phones and email accounts when they’re in the hands of The Bullies. It never used to be like this, they say.

There have been one or two high profile tragedies involving student suicides after sustained cyber-bullying but, at root, this has nothing to do with technology. Kids will always find new ways to make other kids’ lives miserable, because – by and large – a small but vocal minority of people just aren’t very nice.

My dad’s bigger than your dad…

That was a familiar playground shout when the Informer was a scab-kneed schoolboy, and one that appears to have replicated itself in the world of corporate telecoms.

In August last year, you’ll remember, China Mobile’s subscriber base became the biggest of any cellular carrier across the globe. This robbed Vodafone of a key piece of press release bombast, given that it could no longer describe itself as the world’s largest mobile operator.

Thank you for the music

“Mother said I was a dancer before I could walk,” sang one of the ladies from Abba, although the Informer doesn’t know if it was the demure blonde, or the slightly intimidating brunette. Even as an infant, the Informer found this statement a little hard to take in. You can’t dance before you can walk, just like you can’t run before you can walk, although this industry’s certainly tried that a few times – not least with music services.

Four Candles

Lovers of word play the world over will rejoice at the news that users of social networking tool Facebook can now update their profiles using the speech to text application Spinvox. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Spinvox converts voicemails into text messages and the technology has now been adapted to let users post [...]

Some you win, some you lose

It’s not really the kind of week in which the Informer feels like mentioning football. But, when he wasn’t watching England crash out of the Euro 2008 qualifiers, he was sifting his way through the world of contactless payments, and he came across the news that UK operator Orange and UK football club Manchester City are trialling a new mobile-based ticketing system for matches.

Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200

Way back when the Informer was a lad, during the summer holidays he would invariably spend part of each day playing the board game Monopoly with his siblings. It’s not so much that electronic entertainment didn’t exist – it did – it’s just that it existed in the form of the Commodore 64; the worst computer ever sold. You never got to play the games, you just watched the cassette tapes turn round in the machine until, after about ten minutes – when the tape was about to run out and the game was supposed to load – a message appeared on the screen saying “Syntax error: Line 20″. Then it all went dead.

A Week in Wireless – The vote of confidence

In the world of Association Football, you can pretty much tell when a manager is about to get the boot, so to speak. What happens is that the chairman or the board of the football club respond to well-informed speculation that the manager’s up for the old heave-ho by issuing a public declaration that he has their full and loyal support. Then, a week or two later, they sack him.

@telecoms