Get Your OwnCloud

There are several free cloud services available out there. Dropbox, Google Drive, Ubuntu One, JustCloud, ZipCloud, to name just  a few. They’re all great. They all have one thing in common, they store and share files and documents on the cloud.

If there’s one thing that bothers people about cloud services, it’s privacy. People worry about placing sensitive data on the cloud. How about running your own cloud? Well, get your own cloud with OwnCloud. OwnCloud is an open-source cloud software solution that you can install yourself.

You can install it on your own desktop, your server at home, your VPS server on the Internet, or anywhere there is a PC or computer. You decide where you want it. The best thing about ownCloud, no one has access to your sensitive data. Just you.

I’ve been running ownCloud for about a month now. It’s great. I am able to upload and share any files that I want, from pictures, videos and documents.  I can access these files from any computer, from any location around the world. There is no need for me to carry a USB stick anymore. All I need to do, is access my browser and access my files online.

In addition, OwnCloud allows me to play music and movies online. It organizes my pictures into galleries. It has a calendar, contacts, and a host of other applications that can be installed with just one click of a button. So, get your own cloud with OwnCloud.

Demand For Mobile Developers

The number of users accessing the Internet will double by 2016. The driving force behind the numbers are the emerging markets. Most of these new users will access the web via mobile phones.

Currently, there are 3 billion Internet users, according to Google. There are 200 million new Internet users every year. About 80% of the new users access the web via mobile phones.

What this means is, there are plenty of opportunities for mobile developers. Remember the good old days when blocks of ice were sold by the thousands by ice manufacturers. They made a handsome profit back then.

But, the arrival of the refrigerator forever changed the landscape. Companies simply folded and moved on to something more profitable. It will be the same story for many technologists today.

The shift is on. Mobile development will be on the rise. There will be a huge demand for mobile developers. It’s time for many of us to change gears.

Obi110 With Google Talk

I ordered the Obi110 from Amazon last week. Today, it finally came. For those not familiar with the Obi110, it’s an analog terminal adapter (ATA), from Obihai Technology. It allows you to use old analog phones to make free phone calls to anyone via the Internet using Google Voice.

With the Obi110, I can use Google Voice or any SIP service or provider such as Callcentric, Sipgate, Vitelity or Voip.ms to make phone calls anywhere. Any old analog telephone will work. There is no need for a computer or a softphone.

The Obi110 is a standalone device that’s connected to your home network. When you make a call, your call will be routed via your network and out to the internet. Pairing the Obi110 with Google Voice is ideal, since Google Voice allows you to make free phone calls to any landline or mobile phone in the United States or Canada.

When I received the device about an hour ago, all I had to do was register the device at Obihai’s website. I added Google Voice in the configuration. The setup was relatively easy. The Obi110 costs about $50.00. It’s one time fee. There are no monthly fees, no taxes, no surcharges.

Google Voice is currently free, until Google changes its mind. If you’re not convinced about Obi110, check out the great reviews of this product at Amazon. In addition, here’s a couple of great Youtube videos for your viewing pleasure.

Obi110 Review

This is a great review of the Obi110 device. It contains all the info you need to familiarize yourself with the device. The reviewer doesn’t really start talking about the Obi110 until about 4:15. You can probably skip the first 4 minutes.

How to Setup the Obi110

The Setup of the Obi110 was super easy. It’s intuitive. I didn’t even read the instructions. Less than 5 minutes later, I was making phone calls.

What’s next?

I will probably cancel my Vonage and MagicJack subscriptions. Vonage is great, but not at $30 a month. I also have the old MagicJack model which I will not renew. The older MagicJack I have still needs a computer, plus it’s about $40 a year.

With Google Voice and the Obi110 ATA, my monthly phone service cost me nothing. The price is right, it’s zero, zilch, nada, as long as Google keeps their end of the bargain.

The real challenge is trying to port my Vonage number to Google Voice. It’s going to be a lengthy process to port my number. I have to port the Vonage number first to a wireless carrier, then port it again to Google Voice. I can’t port directly from Vonage to Google. Google charges $20 to port a wireless number.

I Wish Data Caps Would Melt

I wish data caps would melt faster than polar caps. But this is wishful think on my part. In fact, data caps will soon be imposed by many network providers around the world.

Starting May 2, my Internet provider, AT&T will cap my broadband service to a mere 150GB. Someone pinch me and wake me up from this bad dream.

If I go over the limit for the first time, I will get a disciplinary message. Gestapo spanks. I’m shaking in my boots.

If I go over my cap the second time, I will get an ultimatum. Scary. Get my act together. It’s now or never.

The third time. Bam! I will be charge an extra $10 for the next 50GB. And the charges pile up to ad infinitum.

AT&T is not alone in joining the Internet axis of evil.

Comcast is already imposing 250GB limit.

In Canada, Bell Canada and Rogers Communications have limits.

The same in the UK. British Telecom and Virgin Media are entrenched.

So, what to do. Move to another country?

Somebody save this penguin.

Bank Of America Sucks

I was reading this article in PC World called “Bank of America Buying Naughty Domain Names.” Apparently, the bank has been buying domains to protect its executives and directors from people who register offending domain names.

From PC World:

The bank has been feverishly registering domains that include the names of its directors and executives combined with “sucks” or “blows,” according to Domain Name Wire. Hundreds of domain names were registered by the bank on December 17 alone, Domain Name Wire said.

Among the names registered by the bank to protect its CEO Brian Moynihan, for example, were BrianMoynihanBlows.com, BrianMoynihanSucks.com, BrianTMoynihanBlows.com, and BrianTMoynihanSucks.com. In addition to the .com domains for those names, .net and .org versions were also registered (though .info seems to have escaped the bank’s notice).

But, this just shows you, that money can’t buy everything.

Despite its domain buying spree, there is one domain that it can’t buy, and it’s probably the most important naughty domain of all: bankofamericasucks.com.

That’s classic.

Color Schemer

For web designers, choosing a color scheme for a website can be a daunting task. Choosing the right colors for a website sometimes can be the difference. One of my favorite website to get some color inspiration is Color Schemer Online.

Color Schemer Online provides a palette of colors that will complement your base color. It will lay out a color grid of 16 colors in a 4 x4 grid. The online tool can also lighten or darken your base color, a feature which I find extremely useful.

There is PC and Mac version of this tool and its called ColorSchemer Studio 2, which give you ways to find matching colors from a color wheel, or from thousands of color schemes available online. The software costs about $49, a steal in my opinion.

The software also comes with a Photo Schemer where you can drop an existing photo and create your own color scheme based on that photo image. Finally, there’s a QuickPreview which allows you to test the colors you’ve selected on predetermined layouts.

In this layout, I am using a blog layout with a left-handed sidebar. I’m using a color scheme that was previously generated from the previous color wheel.

I use the online tool primarily, but the software is a great. Definitely worth a try.

Internet Has 2 Billion Users

There are now 2 billion Internet users worldwide. That is one out of three people in the world as reported by Mashable. Interestingly enough, only 21% of the population in developing countries have access to the Internet, compared to 71% in developed countries.

That’s understandable, because broadband access in developing countries is hard to come by. One thing I don’t understand, is why 30 percent of the population in developed countries have no access to the Internet. Unless, they prefer to live under a rock. Anyways, here’s the breakdown of users per region, etc.

By the end of 2010, 71% of the population in developed countries will be online, compared to only 21% of people in developing countries. Regionally, 65% of the population is online in Europe, 55% in the Americas, 21.9% in the Asia/Pacific regions, while a mere 9.6% of the population is online in Africa.

Borders and Verizon Offer Free Wifi

Borders and Verizon have signed an agreement to offer free Wi-Fi in 500 of its stores. This came in the heels of Barnes & Nobles and AT&T’s announcement earlier this summer to provide free Wi-Fi service in its stores. The Borders and Verizon service will be available by mid-October. Access to the Internet is nearly ubiquitous if you add AT&T’s DSL package. AT&T allow their DSL customers have gain access to thousands of AT&T’s hotspots located worldwide at Starbucks, McDonalds, participating hotels, restaurants and airports.

World’s Largest Wireless Network?

It figures to be the largest wireless network in the world covering 1,500 square miles from South San Francisco down to Santa Cruz covering more than 40 cities and covering 2.4 million people. The project is called Joint Venture Wireless Project. The team plans to build one-square-mile test sites in Palo Alto and San Carlos in the next few weeks with about 30 to 40 nodes per square mile.

Not bad. So, who will build and manage the network? It’s a consortium of several Silicon Valley companies from IBM, Cisco Systems, non-profit SeaKay and a smaller wireless provider called Azulstar. The team is called Metro Connect Team.

There’s scanty information about the project, but I found a website called Wireless Silicon Valley. Here’s the update page, but the links are not working. You can learn more about the project by reading the winning Request for Proposal.

Oh, one more thing, the Silicon Valley Metro Connect team will offer a wide range of wireless services for mobile users including a free, advertising supported service and paid services for city employees, mobile workers and visitors. No pricing yet.

San Francisco: Free Wi-fi

The city of San Francisco and Earthlink have reached a tentative deal to make San Francisco the first city to provide free wireless internet access to all its residents. Earthlink in partnership with Google will provide free wireless internet service to all 700,000 residents. Earthlink plans to provide a free 300 kbs service, but will also offer as an alternative 1mb or faster service to residents for a mere $20 a month.

I just wonder how performance will be when a large portion of a neighborhood will use the same wireless antenna at the same time. I can see a few residents holding on to their internet access accounts for a myriad reasons: Security, speed, realibility are chief among them. It will be interesting to see how San Franciscans will embrace the citywide free internet service. How many will actually use it? How about online banking? Will it be secure? Will there be more cyber crime as a result?

If I’m a San Francisco resident, I’ll keep my internet service. Maybe, I’ll get a slower and cheaper connection for secure and online banking transactions only. The last thing I want is someone sniffing on the wireless network looking for my username, password or any valuable data that I may be transmitting in the air. Paranoia? No, just common sense.