Tuesday, April 07, 2009

National Broadband Network

Wow, it’s been months.. no, years since this process started. Finally today we got the announcement we were all waiting for. Who is going to build the NBN?? Who won, who can provide the best service??

Well, it turns out that nobody was a winner. The government has cancelled the request for tender process and has decided to go it alone.

So, the plan?? A new Government owned business, who will implement a new network, implemented over the next 8 years. $4.7 billion of initial capital, but the plan is for a total of $43 billion for the full 8 years..

Personally, I think this is a very interesting result. The NBN along with Voice over IP, the Social Internet and Mobile communications will effectively make Telstra’s existing infrastructure obsolete… I guess we will see soon what Telstra plans to do. Will they build a competing network?? Lower prices so they can actually compete?? I do hope this move brings competition to the market, and that the Governments moves will produce a workable/usable network.

Monday, April 06, 2009

A growing shrinking problem

A growing trend around the net lately, has been shrinking URLs. This isn’t a new thing, it’s been around for several years thanks to tinyurl and a few other sites.

The purpose of shrinking URLs is to make re-typing addresses easier, to make the links neater and to cut down on space.

Twitter has benefitted massively from shrinking urls. With such a small limit on message length, it’s means users can have a URL AND a little bit of info in their message. It’s a win-win.

Unfortunately, it seems that more places are also adopting the process of URL shrinking, in some cases, with very little benefit and some big downsides for me.

So, what’s the problem?? I regularly use a little feature that exists in nearly every browser, I like to look at where a link points to before deciding if I’ll click on it. See, it’s very easy to have a URL A Nice Site with Puppy Dogs that really points to www.somebadurl.com. Personally, I’d not click on the link despite the promise of puppy dogs.

Shrinking urls, unfortunately hides the true destination of a hyperlink, and as such, means that I am running blind. This means, I have to use my best judgement based on trust. Do I trust the person/site that posted the link. In general, this isn’t to bad.

But this is where it’s getting more difficult. Several social media sites are now actively shrinking all URLs posted on their site. These links can be posted by anybody, people I don’t know, people I don’t trust. The result, the sites no longer have my patronage. Sure, I’m only one person, but I’d rather be safe than run the risk of something far nastier.