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Category Archives: Internet

Mobile and Home Internet plans/bundles in France and in the US

As I have been travelling quite a bit between the US and France over the past few months, I have been dealing with different mobile plans in each country.

Each provider offering similar services, I decided to compare the best mobile plan I would select in each country. After being done with that, I went to do the same exercise for Internet Service Providers for home – comparison between the best triple-play home bundles.

The bottom comparison is on total pricing. The difference is significant given a multiple factor of 3.5x to 4.0x in favor to France. For similar services, a gap so wide is significant. Media and Internet are becoming a strong influence on our 21st century society; we even start having a dependency to it. A good service definitely has a bigger budget impact on US families than on French ones.

TMO_Free

TWC_Free

These 2 comparisons are not intended to criticize T-Mobile or TimeWarner Cable to be in favor of french company Free (Iliad); I am simply laying down the details of the offers and comparing them.

Music Streaming

For a while, I have been using Deezer while in France, Spotify while in the UK, and Pandora while in the US. Each time, I used each related free version with ads every {x} songs.

I did not mind the ads unless I was studying or working.

For a few months now, I have been looking into subscribing to a music streaming service. I am into music but I do not need to own albums or songs, I am more a “mood” listener. Depending on my mood, on the time of the day, or on the context of the day (working, chilling, ready to party…), I will just start a playlist or a radio channel. Therefore streaming services are perfect for me.

I have been looking at subscribing at either Spotify or Google Play Music All Access (oh my, that’s a longggg name!), given that they are priced at the same level and work in many countries, therefore ideal while travelling. As I have many Nexus devices and use almost all Google services, I thought GPMAA would make more sense.

While GPMAA has a standard 30 days free offer, I saw on my Google Play Store an ad for 60 days free. After contacting Google, this seems like a bug, therefore I would not be able to get 60 days free. Disappointing. However, this week Google started offering 90 days free of GPMAA to Google Chromecast owners. Guess what, I have a Google Chromecast, of course. The product is about $35/£30 while the offer is for 90 days free or a $29.97 / £29.97 saving; pretty sweet deal!

I have started my 90 days free GPMAA 2 days ago. It works great. No complain so far. I am using it as I did Deezer, Spotify or Pandora.

 

Now, the thing is, I recalled a 6 months old article about artists and how they get paid now that music streaming services are so big and powerful. See below:

What Musicians Actually Get Paid By iTunes, Pandora And Spotify Is Truly Pathetic” by Business Insider

What Musicians Actually Get Paid By iTunes, Pandora And Spotify Is Truly Pathetic

 

The Battle for a Free Internet has started !

US Cable Cord Cutting!

Coming from Europe, something struck me when I used to work in TMT M&A in the US: Cable Cord Cutting phenomenon in the country.
In Europe we do have Cable providers, but they are not as strong as in the US as people can get 20+ channels for free with just a roof aerial.
With the development of broadband internet, Cable Cord Cutting has been a rising in the US (as well as Netflix share price!).

Here are two interesting recent articles on the subject:
http://buzz.money.cnn.com/2013/10/29/cable-satellite-cord-cutting/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/amadoudiallo/2013/10/16/how-to-cut-the-cord-cable-tv/

When my American friends tell me about their TV experience or when I stay in the US, I hear the same thing, which South Park summarized quite well in this video:

9 Months Later

Wow, it has been almost 9 months since publishing a blog post here!

Most of the time I drop some internet picks and other short content on my Tumblr: bdrrr.tumblr.com

I also created a new Tumblr a few weeks back:
BDRD2DS: BDR Day To Day Solutions
bdrd2ds.tumblr.com
Which I describe the following way:
My Day To Day Solutions.
When we look for a solution to a problem, internet is always a good starting point. Most of the time, I find what I need to know thanks to Google, Youtube, Quora, forums, etc…
I figured I would save each of my searches to share them through the right tags.
Enjoy.

A few new Tech posts coming up after the break!

Switch from iOs to Android, big commitment issue?

It has been 25 months since I switched from an HTC Kaiser on Windows Mobile 6.5 to an iPhone 3GS. At the time I was not sure about the ‘all touch screen’ keyboard and the fact that iOS is close not allowing to install what ever I would find useful.
1 week after I never looked back. 

I started to like my new iPhone 3GS pretty quickly. It is a great phone, lighter than the Kaiser, thin and easy to hold, wide touch screen, smooth UI, etc…
I did not jump on the iPhone 4 last year as I had a 24 months contract and as I thought about taking the Android path as I am a big user of all Google services: gmail for personal emails, gmail for the email account linked to this blog, shared calendars with friends, Docs, gMaps, Translate, Google Voice while I was in the US (hopefully coming soon to Europe), Local. I am looking forward to having Navigation as well (why paying for TomTom when Google does it for free?). 

Last year, neither the Nexus S or Galaxy S made me switch. I always saw the iPhone 4 better than those 2. 

Now there is a whole new game: iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S II / Google Nexus Prime. 

In my view the S II is above the 4S (it would need an entire post to explain why), while the Nexus Prime will be a beast putting the bar even higher (if GSM Arena leaks are true). I am just waiting for the 19th of October to be convinced. Google I know you can do it. 

Having said all this, this morning I kind of thought about Android: what if it feels too different from my easy to use iOS 4.2, what if even being ‘more open’ it takes me longer to get what I need done, what if I get confused with all these widget panels that are supposed to summarize the data I need from the Apps.
Then I thought about purchase decisions of the various smartphones: iOS vs. Android is like MACs vs. PCs or like… well that’s the point, nothing else. 

For most consumers thinking about switching from PCs to MACs, it has always been a problem of being used to PCs at home and at work. Switching to the Apple side is a drastic change.
Here I am now, facing the dilemma of switching from iOS to Android, fearing to be too used and dependent on iOS.
I thought about other consumption habits which would prevent to switch from one ‘platform’ to another. I don’t see any:

  • Cars: any car in any country is the same, your own habits don’t have to change. Automatic or Manual. You buy a new car or rent one, it is easy to manoeuvre, blinkers on the left, radio in the centre, etc… And it is not a question of brands despite strong oppositions: being used to a Mercedes, you’ll ride a BMW very easily. Same things with bikes, motorcycles, boats (motor or sails), etc…
  • Home Telephones: 12 keys, plus 1 red and 1 green. That’s all you need, in any country.
  • Radio / TV: looking for a radio station or a TV channel is pretty much the same from one equipment to another. Up and Down or 9 keys on the remote.
  • Lift, bus, taxi, subway: your own habits from France are going to be the same in Los Angeles or Berlin.
  • Kitchen: microwaves are the same everywhere, fridges as well, and ovens sort of the same.
  • Laundry: a washing machine, despite some being over sophisticated, are the same, fill in, powder/gel, program, on, 45 minutes, done.

 

I am pushing it strongly on some points on purpose. If you have a Sony Bravia TV and then want to switch to a Pioneer, or a Samsung washing machine to a Whirlpool, it is just a question of new specs, not habits. 

But when it comes to computers or smartphones, all of us are now divided in 2 groups. Switching from one side to the other means thinking about it soundly and changing a lots of things:

  • Interface habits such as shortcuts, layout, etc…
  • Re-buying softwares & apps
  • Change equipment and accessories

 

I might certainly get the Nexus Prime to try Android out as I always wanted. I will make my own judgments and then if I don’t like it, I’ll get an iPhone 5, which should be a major game changer given Apple’s usual product cycles.

Europe I watch you / I listen to you. USA I can’t

As per the previous posts, I am just back from one year in New York. It was a fantastic year; I discovered plenty of new things and developed new habits.

I came back from the US with habits that I am starting to miss badly:

  • Cable TV with more than 1,000 channels… European FTA TV is not quite the same!
  • Hulu
  • Food delivery. Any kind, any time, 20mins tops!
  • Pandora / Rdio
  • Lounges, movie theatre, etc… open late at night. To do something after work
  • And so on…

 

What I am missing quite a lot are online services provided in the US only, completely restricted here in Europe:

  • Latest TV Shows online on FOX, NBC, USA websites
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pandora
  • Rdio
  • Sports videos (ESPN etc)
  • And a few more to be discussed below

 

In other words, US videos or music websites are restricted because of licensing constraints.

When in Shanghai in 2006 and now in the US in 2010/2011, I used to access online European music or videos services quite a lot, and there was almost never a restriction:

  • Deezer
  • Canal+ (the French HBO) “clear” shows’ videos. There were/are pre-roll video ads, they were/are the French ones (not US ads because of my US IP address while in NY for instance)
  • iTélé (French news channel, group Canal+)
  • Sports videos on Marca.com or As.com
  • And a few other…
It always worked and kept me “close” to home when I was homesick.
The other day, I wanted to check Turntable.fm out because of this post from Fred Wilson on his blog AVC. As Pandora and Rdio, Turntable is perfect for me as it allows users to interactively share music.
Since I left France in 2006 for an internship in China, a Master in Spain and an M&A job in London and New York, I stopped getting mp3 that I liked. Lack of time pushed me to start listening to online music. A theme, an artist, a song can start a personalised “radio”.
I use Deezer a lot. I created a few personal radios, from calm music to work, to pop for home, to house/tech music to party or model late at night. That works great for me. I remember using Pandora in 2006 while studying in Barcelona. It was not restricted at the time. I created a few lists on it. Then it got restricted for Europe. On Deezer or the other services, when I like a new song I just need to hit the “+” and put it in a “radio list”.
Same story with Last.fm by the way.
I would not be the best provider of “sounds” to Turntable as my music library is old and I don’t get new mp3, but I am excited to type a theme or type of music, get in a “room” and listen to what other would have to share.
While reading this post from AVC again, I was really intrigued in listening to DJ Woooo’s Dance/Electro Turntable room. I like Electro music and was interested in listening to a new DJ as well as intrigued to listen to what the blogger I read every day uses to listen.
I cannot access DJ Woooo’s remix, I am in Europe now. It is sad.
I wish there will soon be something done to fix that. Ads based on IP, European TV/Radio channels will be more flexible when it comes to protect the rights they acquired from US content providers, etc…
I think Europe is missing out on great services. I know I am.
This continent has more than 700 million people; this is a lot of customers, ad viewers, and so on…