Status #14657

I spent some time today thinking about strategies that could [...]


Brantford, Ontario
via Ubuntu - Canada - Ontario - Peterborough
I spent some time today thinking about strategies that could be implemented using existing technologies. In order to transition, we want to retain the functionality we are used to while having a base level that operates with "no money". "No money" does not have to be cheap. It can be of high quality or of comparable quality to what can be purchased with money. This may mean that the system we use is more complex than a simple "on-off", black or white system. In many cases, software or online technologies have a free version with a paid upgrade. For example, my WordPress bundle sets are free for non-profit or educational use. People operating under the Ubuntu paradigm would fall under the non-profit clause.

In the world of communications, the internet has also brought prices down. Today I was able to try out fongo (https://www.fongo.com/). This is a Made in Canada solution that provides a variety of options, the first level of which allows the user to obtain a phone number in their area code of choice and calling within country for free to most major centers (https://fongo.com/calling/…). Calling south of the border and internationally has a low per minute fee (starting at 2 cents). Incoming texts are free, and outgoing texts can be purchased for $5.49 for three months. This is a "nearly free" solution. In addition, PayPal can be used, a form of "online money" used in many places, for which no bank is required, although amounts can be withdrawn to a connected bank.

In other words, living for "free" is a *lot* of work. It took me over an hour this morning to sort this all out, decide I wanted give this service a try, choose the right number in a local area code, etc. It isn't for those who want to sit back. In that way, the "money" economy *is* a lot easier for those who may be currently in it. But for those out of work, entrepreneurs, students who haven't started a full time career yet, using existing means to live well is more possible than it was before. The difference is that the solution to living with "no money" may require more work and thought time to figure out what works for you, than merely going to the store or online and paying for a solution.
Donna A
This is excellent - thank you for sharing. I agree with you too and also understand that this is why building a community is so important. What you shared is info that can be provided by the person that is in charge of this area. That would free another person to use that knowledge with little to no time having to be spent so that they can go on and do their own area of expertise thereby saving someone else time in that particular area. And so on and so on and so on. I love it!
Thursday 21 July 2016, 20:38:43
cbos
Thanks Donna A, for those comments. I just wanted to use this thread to respond some more to the mobile plan which is being offered and branded with the Ubuntu name. I think it is wonderful that a plan like this is available. It definitely is the right time, especially as the office in South Africa is in need of funds. From the looks of it they are supporting others as well and this is a wonderful opportunity for them to receive something back for all the hard work they have done over many years. As well, with extra funding, they can do more to put patterns in place that can then be used as is, without the extra layer that a money based economy adds. But so far, all I see is the advertising/marketing side of things. My internet connection is slow here, so I cannot watch videos easily. Even now the site is loading slowly, but Google weather beats the Ubuntu Mobile site. So it is not a given that people can check these things out easily.

Second, we are all free to choose. Those promoting this product are free to market this product in the way they see fit. The potential user is free to evaluate to product and determine whether or not it is right for them. But there appears to be a confusion, part of it may have to do with the branding and choice of words. When I click the "explore more" on the front page, I am taken to another section, with limited information. On this page (http://ubuntumobile.org/traini…) I find this statement, "Space Station mCell 5G is a Micro Cell with the scope of creating residential and indoor coverage and will not substitute the public Wireless coverage." So by the looks of it, they are creating "dandelions", where the "dandelions" stand for "lots of small transmitter devices". Is this right? Where there are transmitter devices, there is a signal, where there are not transmitter devices, no signal. So, for the acid test, if I pick one of these up, drive into the country, out of reach of a signal, then my connection is dropped. That is what I read into it. In heavily populated centers, there is a good chance that, over time, many people will always be within reach of a signal. In the rugged terrain of the Australian Outback, in the Nevada Desert, in Nunavut, no signal, no call. Is this correct?

So, to summarize, my understanding of this is that this phone is making use of the internet protocol to transmit a call, thus reducing prices. The phone is said to "aggressively" connect to wireless networks. I take it that means that it will connect to an "open" network without going through user approved authentication. Is this right? People need to know this so they understand how the device works. In other words, if this is making use of the voice-over-internet-protocol (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…), then that for me, would be the starting point. As I said, my connection here is slow, so text based information is the best. Other people in other places may have similar text based needs as well. It looks like a great opportunity. I am all for methods that decentralize and create many small nodes and a more robust system. But it would be great also to see a few more objective reviews on the technical side also. Thanks.
Friday 22 July 2016, 02:22:25
cbos
I am confused. 5G is a set of standards for mobile telecommunucations (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik…). 5 GHz is a frequency range legally allowed for a wireless local area network (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik…). The G in 5G stands for "generation". The "G" in GHz stands for "giga". They are not the same and appear to be used interchangeably. In addition, the use of the word "space", i.e. "Space Phone" and "Space Station" implies the signal is coming from space. If it is, it is not indicated how this is done. Finally, the "packet switching" and "circuit switching" which is done is important. If everything is routed over the internet, then the communication will be as secure as the internet connection, no more, no less. By putting the technology in "the hands of the people", the security is also placed in "the hands of the people". First hand experience in the software world with "people induced security" indicates this is a bad idea. (For, example see the WordPress plugin repository and have a look at some of the code). In other words, rolling out a technology that works and uses a different paradigm is different than rolling out a technology that has been rigourously tested under field conditions. It still would be nice to see a few more thorough objective reviews about what is going on under the hood with this.
Saturday 23 July 2016, 02:20:14
cbos
Next, we have this wrist band (http://ubuntumobile.org/helo/). Real time monitoring of vital signs, 24/7. So, is this device also internet connected? How is this related to mobile technology. It is in a separate category. If it is internet connected (or not), this should be clearly stated. If it is, it is a major security risk and privacy intrusion. Also, as a monitoring device, it can provide no health benefits, but may add to the total EMR field surrounding the person wearing it. This item for me on this site is a red flag for these reasons. It doesn't belong there.
Saturday 23 July 2016, 02:34:12
cbos
Finally, we have this statement: "A Brand New Spacephone every year. SpacePhone Forever program assure your Unlimited Internet forever and a brand new Smartphone every year free of charge" http://ubuntumobile.org/space-…). First is the grammar. This is a "Made in Asia" (Singapore actually) product, and the grammar used here is a tip to this effect. A paradigm shifting site should have impeccable grammar in the language of choice. This one doesn't. These are subtle clues which help to tease out the company behind the product. Second, "a new smartphone every year"? Excuse me. Do yo know how expensive these products are and how much circuitry is built in? What happens to the old phone? Discarded? For this reason alone, I can say this model us definitely not in line with the Ubuntu paradigm that has been presented to date. That is earth friendly, this is not. To replace a high calibre smartphone every year at no extra cost means the cost is covered by the monthly fee, less commisions. So how much is this service actually costing to deliver? A Samsung 5 32GB is $359.99 CDN at BestBuy with a two year agreement (http://bestbuy.ca/en-CA/…) or $738 CDN from amazon.ca (https://amazon.ca/Samsung-Gala…). without an agreement. $50 per month is $600 per year. That is the math.

In summary, this phone, network and plan doesn't quite have the same honest, straightforward appeal that presentations on ancient stone circles have had for me. It appears like this opportunity was taken because of the marketing model and potential return and not because of technical solidity it presents. We can't sleight those from 150,000 to 400,000 years ago for our genetic mistakes if we end up making our own. In 100,000 years these technical details may be forgotten, but the patterns we set in place won't. These are some of the things that I see. The phone may be a great solution for some. It's a free world, but because of the items mentioned above I would be cautious for the time being until some of these issues become worked out. Thanks.
Saturday 23 July 2016, 03:09:53
cbos
Here is the catch. Read the fine print:

Q: Does a Space Station act like a Cellular Tower and what will the transmission power be?"

A: Space Station mCell 5G is a Micro Cell with the scope of creating residential and indoor coverage, and will not substitute the public Wireless coverage. The Space Station will provide LTE-U5G coverage while the users are within reach of the signal when they are at home, in the office, in certain venues, and some public places, or in any area where there are Space Stations installed. The transmission power of mCell 5G is the same allowed for WiFi at 5Ghz and it varies from country to country.

In other words, you could go to your local office supply store, pick up a stronger wireless router for $100-$200, configure your existing phone to use VOIP (such as from fongo.com) and have essentially the same service for free (no additional monthly charges). This is where the healthy commissions and free phones come in. The coverage page is not found (https://worldgn.com/mcell5g/…) and the company page states it has a headquarters in Miami, Florida, but no address is given on that page (again the dropping of the "s" in headquarters an the incorrect use of the article, indicates this is a foreign company, where English is not their native language. The "contact" page is found in the menu, which does contain an address, but they want you to contact them at an Ireland address, but in the EST time zone? (https://worldgn.com/company/…):

Please complete the form on this page or contact us on +1 (844) 2411466 08:00 – 17:00, EST.
PayNovi Ltd, 13 Classon House, Dundrum, Dublin 14, Ireland.

This doesn't make sense. Come on, MT you can and did do better than that on ancient technologies. All of this doesn't add up. I am sorry.
Saturday 23 July 2016, 15:25:52
cbos
doing some more poking... This quote: "The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance feels that 5G should be rolled out by 2020 to meet business and consumer demands" from here (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik…) indicates that 5G is the "proposed next major phase of mobile telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G/IMT-Advanced standards." So it is understandable why this company would want to drop the "Hz" in favour of the "G". But, er, 5G isn't here yet, according to the link given above. Even Google, Samsung and Verizon are reported as "developing" and beginning trials as of this year (2016). Starting to sound a lot like snake oil.
Saturday 23 July 2016, 19:53:42
cbos
So, who are these guys? We don't know. Whois records are private (http://whois.com/whois/…) compared with google (http://whois.com/whois/…) which contains full information. This is called "due diligence", which means that an effort should be made to check something out as thoroughly as possible before committing to it. So far these guys are not checking out.
Sunday 24 July 2016, 03:15:11
Donna A
Thanks for doing the due diligence for all of us. Will hold off for now
Sunday 24 July 2016, 20:18:03
cbos
o.k., one more post: coverage and licencing. Since "you the people" are the ones building the network and no one has reported any "mini towers" (or mCells as they call it) installed yet, you can assume no coverage, right? Excepting for open WiFi areas. This might include libraries, city provided wifi zones, the odd "do gooder" (or person who hasn't secured a channel) and many restaurants. So far I haven't seen any "hand off" protocols mentioned. Which means if you hop in your car and drive away from your mCell, no coverage past 300m, if your the only game in town. That's how it works, that's the logic.

Second, their site mentions "proprietary technology". Proprietary by whom? So far I have not seen a name or image of a person belonging to the WOR(l)D company. Is this proprietary to UBUNTU? I am guessing not. So, if two, three, five, ten years go by, people sign up, get used to the product, and then start talking "no money", how do you think the base company will respond? My guess is, sorry, those are our conditions. So, unless "we" (that is, the Ubuntu movement) have some assurances at the outset that a transition is expected, then, yes, caution should be expressed.
Sunday 24 July 2016, 23:27:02
cbos
And finally (and then I will stop there for this thread), the word "space" in "Space Station" and "Space Phone" is misleading. This product has nothing whatsoever to do with space, which is the region beyond earth's atmosphere. With a range of 300m or ~1,000 feet, this is only 1/30th the distance to cruising altitude of a jetliner, which in turn has a ways to go before reaching space.

Here is a definition of space:

"Outer space, or just space, is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth.[1] It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles, predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, neutrinos, dust and cosmic rays. The baseline temperature, as set by the background radiation from the Big Bang, is 2.7 kelvins (K) (−270.45 °C; −454.81 °F).[2] Plasma with a number density of less than one hydrogen atom per cubic metre and a temperature of millions of kelvins in the space between galaxies accounts for most of the baryonic (ordinary) matter in outer space; local concentrations have condensed into stars and galaxies. In most galaxies, observations provide evidence that 90% of the mass is in an unknown form, called dark matter, which interacts with other matter through gravitational but not electromagnetic forces.[3][4] Data indicates that the majority of the mass-energy in the observable universe is a poorly understood vacuum energy of space which astronomers label dark energy.[5][6] Intergalactic space takes up most of the volume of the Universe, but even galaxies and star systems consist almost entirely of empty space." (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik…)

In case they argue the word "space" is ambiguous, the use of the term "Space Station" helps to remove that ambiguity. They clearly want the user to think of "outer space". In fact, if one wants to look at the history of accurate information about humankind's endeavours in space one only has to look at the veracity of information presented about the moon landing beginning in the 1960s. Then there are the Mars landings, or so we hear. I even did a video about the accuracy about that of what we have from "official" sources (https://vimeo.com/136437302, don't get me started!) In other words, if you start talking about space, you are starting to talk about some serious technology. If the "big boys" can't get it right, how can we expect a company that purchases a domain name from GoDaddy to make use of a real technology from space? Short answer is, I don't think we can.

Thus ends my review of this product. If the U.S. team is serious about introducing this technology to North America for us, I would hope one or two more independent reviews would be in order. I haven't seen either the phone or the transmitter first hand, and don't have the means to do so. Thanks.
Monday 25 July 2016, 00:50:54
Donna A
Can't we go back to CB radios and/or walkie talkies. LOL They were not that complicated. I like having a handle - giddy-go too. I don't think tracking my every move was an easy task back then either!
Tuesday 2 August 2016, 22:59:10
cbos
Donna A, that is a good comment and worth thinking about. How much of what you or I use could be done without or made simpler? It's all fun and games until I need that widget to work. If it doesn't, my place might not stay hot or cool, or I might not get the lawn mowed. Countless bad things could happen! It's tough to know where to draw that line.
Wednesday 3 August 2016, 02:51:59
cbos
After some time off from this topic, here is one more anomaly. At the top of this page (http://ubuntumobile.org/space-…) it says:

"SPACEPHONE 5GS It’s simple – No monthly charges. No hidden fees." (copy/paste)

and down below on the same page:

"Starting at $49,00 / month
FIDELITY MEMBERSHIP"

This is confusing, to say the least. Not to mention that the "$49,00" has a comma in it whereas the US format is with a dot, so "$49.00". That is, is this really in USD? Too many questions and contradictions for my liking.
Monday 8 August 2016, 01:38:29
cbos
o.k., I think that I have figured that one out. This page (https://my.worldgn.com/store/…), lists the SP 5GS at $449. The page is secured at least. It says, "Buy", but there is no checkbox to add it to the cart and there is also a button that says it is out of stock. There it also says that there are no monthly charges, no hidden fees. Well no, except that, if you have a smartphone already with wireless connectivity (which most have by default) and it is connected to a wireless network when you are at home (again, almost a given), you can look for one of the low cost VoIP options, have no need to buy a new phone and have essentially the same service. That is my understanding of this product and why I am labeling it as a scam, until proven otherwise. The company is simply obfuscating existing technology with a minor but important internal change to the phone and charging the user a significant amount for that change.
Monday 8 August 2016, 01:48:09
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