A number of recent developents in the IT world have encouraged me to finally write this post. In Mauritius, the cost of Internet access for customers has fallen quite a bit in recent years. Connection speeds have doubled a couple of times in the past years, which is very good.
Orange (and Mauritius Telecom), have just announced our Christmas gift for the year 2010: ADSL users can expect a reduction in prices and MyT users will see their current speed doubled. The changes will start taking effect as from 1st December 2010.
Update 0: I put this as Update Zero because it’s most important: MyT Users with NO TV option will get neither speed boost NOR price cut, as confirmed on TheMediaGuru’s comment section. You will have to pay Rs. 999 (Rs. 151 extra!) if you want more speed.
Update 1: According to the user “Sab” on TheMediaGuru’s article (see link below), there won’t be any speed boosts for ADSL users, only the Rs. 100 reduction in prices.
Update 2: The price decrease / speed boosting is not pleasing everybody. There are some complaints coming from Jeyen Chellum and ACIM that Orange has done something weird or how it was ICTA’s role to announce the price cuts. I’ll admit, I didn’t understand what the problem was myself. Moreover, commenters on the L’Express article would prefer a price-cut over a speed boost. I personally prefer a speed boost over a price cut. I am opening a poll for you to answer this question.
Update 3: FUP no longer applies to MyT. Not that it was ever applied…
Update 4: You may be interested in this article too…
Here is a summary of the changes for ADSL (All prices are Vat Inclusive):
- ADSL Home 256 Kbps(3GB Cap Limit): Rs. 499 → Rs. 399
- ADSL Home 512 Kbps: Rs. 848 → Rs. 759
- ADSL 128 Kbps for Rodrigues: Rs. 499 → Rs. 399
- ADSL Business package prices fall by 10%. New prices will probably be:
- ADSL Business 256 Kbps: Rs. 1840 → Rs. 1656
- ADSL Business 512 Kbps: Rs. 2875 → Rs. 2587.50
- ADSL Business 1 Mbps: Rs. 5750 → Rs. 5175
- ADSL Business 2 Mbps: Rs. 10235 → Rs. 9211
- Dedicated Lines fall by 24%
MyT prices remain unchanged, but the speed doubles:
- MyT 512 Kbps → MyT 1 Mbps
- MyT 1 Mbps → MyT 2Mbps
- MyT 2Mbps → MyT 4Mbps (!!)
MyT will also offer 3 new channels – Boing, MCM Top and Motor TV and add more titles to its Video on Demand service.
There is no word yet on whether the speed doubling will be applied to existing ADSL users (like me). I hope the Christmas gift comes to us ADSL users too. I’ll update this article as more details surface.
If you have any more information, please do share!
Hat-tip to TheMediaGuru for sharing the initial news.
I have recently blogged about the possibility of Internet Filtering being introduced in Mauritius.
I guess this is being confirmed now, with the publication of this piece of news in the local newspapers. Le Mauricien, if I’m not mistaken. For now, I think it’ll only be filtering out pr0n. No word on whether it filters everything by default, or whether you need to opt-in, or if there is an opt-out clause, or whether you need to install some client. Nothing.
Let’s wait and see. I fear that, it starts with protecting children, and ends with censoring websites the government or other powerful lobbies don’t like. Even legitimate websites with good-intent.
I still stand by my view that education is still the best way to inform children about the dangers on the Internet. So they may in turn educate their friends, and children afterward. Censoring the content is just denying the truth. Or, implement local censoring. This task is left to parents. ISPs could provide filtering software whenever there is a new customer registration, and inform the parents about how to install the software (or install it as part of customer support).
What are your views, dear readers?
I just saw the stats of Geekscribes and the article about the music recognition software Tunatic is leading in the number of views. Seeing how people are interested in such services, I decided to dedicate a post about other services of the same type that do work from a computer or are online services. Let’s start:
Update (05.08.10): Added Audiggle (#5)
I have already talked at length on this software now. Download and install it, plug in a microphone, record a piece of your unknown track via Tunatic and it’ll probably give you the track name and artist if they are in the database. The problem with Tunatic is that development seems to have stopped, as it can be seen from this line on Tunalyzer’s page: “NB: Tunalyzer should be available for the Windows platform in early 2007.”. Tunalyzer allows you to analyze your own known songs, and have them added to the Tunatic database.
It works for most songs I tested it on, but since development seems to have stopped, I don’t have much hope for the project getting new features.
This one is a new service I’ve just discovered, but which I don’t use as it was meant to. Basically, it’s an online service where you go, and hum/sing some track you don’t know the details of. Maybe it’s a tune stuck in your head somewhere and you’d like the name. There’s a bar near the top part. So you click on it, hum the song in your microphone and it’ll almost certainly give you the track’s details. It worked for all tracks I tested, even some lesser-known tracks which surprised me. It’s also very fast in its identification.
This service takes a different approach from the above two. Instead of recording a tune, you need to upload the track or some part of it to the service. You can use a variety of tools to do cut an MP3 track, for example, Mp3DirectCut which is free. After uploading the piece, which should be around 10-15 seconds minimum, it’ll give you the details you want.
I have not tested the service a lot since I would need to do a lot of cutting tracks. But I tested with two tracks, and both were recognized. One was fairly known, the other less-known with almost no lyrics.
Also, there are those facts mentioned in the footer: “recognized queries: 83453; DB size: 1327721 tracks, 96479 albums; last DB update: 4 days ago; added 23636 tracks, 1833 albums“, so I believe Audiotag is a reliable service.
Audiotag is good for people who do not have microphones, but the compromise is that you must have access to the digital track itself to be able to upload it. It doesn’t work for tunes you’ve heard on the radio or stuck in your mind, but it is good to identify that nice tune you downloaded off some site named “Track-01″.
Picard is not an identifier per-se. It’s a tagger. You give it access to your unknown tracks locally, and it will tag them (if possible) using data from the audio fingerprint database of Musicbrainz.
When tested, Picard was able to identify some tracks which didn’t have their tags. However, its use is slightly more complex than the 3 above services. The strength of Picard is that it can do recognition on its own without needing to record or upload things. It’s also cross-platform, providing Windows, OSX and Linux support.
That one is relatively new to me. The website is clean and simple, so I hope the program is as nice. I immediately went and put it to test. I immediately noticed the .NET requirement. So much for portability. If you need that, Midomi’s for you. But let’s see Audiggle’s worth. Installation was a breeze. First thing, I had to set my Microphone. Problem is I have two Line-Ins for microphone, both listed as “Microphone” so I have no idea about which is which. A note about which microphone belongs to which sound-card would be nice.
Next… What? Registration? What the hell? This is an immediate turnoff for me. Why do I need to register to identify a track. Ok, maybe to track all my identified tracks. Lol. Ok let’s go through this pain. Fortunately, registration is quite fast. Okayyy. First try. Login… “Audiggle is down for maintenance.” Nothing on the website indicates this though. Alright, after 5 mins of retries, it’s still failing.
Guess it’s not ready for the lime-light yet. I’ll come back to it later. If you have more success than me, do leave a comment please!
Do you know a similar service, but which is not mentioned here? Please post it in the comments below!
P.s. There are many other recognition services not mentioned in this roundup. This is because most of them either require a mobile phone or mobile device of some kind (Shazam) or they require you to type notes on virtual keyboards (MusicPedia). These are not really intuitive to use in my opinion, so I shared only the most user-friendly and accessible-to-all services.
I have found an interesting article coming from Le Mauricien newspaper of Friday 21st of May. You can see a shot below.
It deals with some measures ICTA (Information Communication Technology Authority) wishes to introduce or see implemented. While some are laudable, such as promotion of ICT as education tools and enhancing performance of communication systems, the last part of the article ticks off my Paranoia Alarm.
The shot of the scary paragraph, with highlighted portions can be seen below.
Well, what do I see? ICTA wants to implement Internet filtering in Mauritius.
I remember Ex-President, Mr. Cassam Uteem’s wish to see some pages of Facebook blocked due to some offensive content. There have also been past instances of Facebook being blocked in Mauritius, for example, due to the usurpation of our PM’s identity to create a profile. These cases may have warranted a blocking of the incriminating pages, but I doubt censorship was the only possible solution.
Now imagine if our local politicians or authorities have the power to block sites at a whim. Tomorrow, Mr. X doesn’t like a parody video of his speech on Youtube, and the site is blocked? No thanks!
Something strikes me as funny in this article: “the idea is not to implement censorship”. Can somebody enlighten me about the difference between “filtering” and “censorship”? I thought that content that was filtered out was censored. Am I wrong?
Giving censorship powers to a Government is too much in my opinion. The Internet should be a free-flow of information, and not to be controlled by anybody. I agree that there are some content that deserve censorship, but I believe it’s best left to its users to know what should be accessed and what should not. Such situations exist in real-life too. There are some places in cities where it is dangerous to go. However, I do not see any barriers erected to prevent people, especially children from going there. So why should this apply to the Internet?
If parents do not want their kids accessing unauthorized contents, well, they can be educated into how to implement filtration software on their machines locally. Or make the government-filtering opt-in. So people who want to see the Internet filtered can install software locally to do the job, with the use of a Government-managed database. Others can continue using the Internet as they see fit, taking their responsibilities if ever they are caught doing nasty stuff.
On a side note, we see the Internet from the social and crowd aspect nowadays. You have social networking, social bookmarking, social music discovery, social-tea-making, social-what-not. Why not social filtering? I have no idea how this would work, but hey, we do democratic voting to elect out leaders, we could do some democratic voting on what we want off the Internet too right?
I leave you to the views and your comments…
As wonderful as it may seem, the Internet is a fascinating tool to which everyone (well almost) has adopted a keen interest of the benefits it provides. However the more time you spend surfing on it, the more likely you are getting addicted to it. Over the last few news a new phenomenon has increasing at an alarming rate. Scientists call it the Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) and it has been the subject of new research and debate.
The concern is so big that in the U.S, they have a launched an addiction recovery program to help sufferers of IAD to better manage their life in a more ‘harmonious’ way. You might think this only concern to those who ‘Google’ everyday. Wrong guys!! Internet-based video games falls into this category. The program known as reSTART is meticulously planned over 45 days and it has already received it’s first patient, a 19 year old who cannot deprive himself of World of Warcraft.
So how do you know if you are an IAD sufferer? reSTART has outlined 9 symptoms by which are qualified for admittance:
- Have a strong desire to use the Internet
- Decreasing or withdrawal of internet leads to symptoms like malaise, relentlessness, lack of concentration and so on.
- Increasing usage of Internet results into satisfaction
- Difficulty to stop the usage despite you are aware it’s harmful
- Unable to control the duration of time of internet use
- Social, recreational and other personal interests decreases
- Solace is found in using the Internet so as to flee from the outside pressures
- Extent of use is denied to friends, teachers or schoolmates
- Everyday routines and social functions (academic, workability) are impaired
The treatment? Well basically it cuts off the web and online gaming and focuses more on social skills. The patients are constantly followed by a recreation coach, a therapist, exercise and yoga instructors and more. Besides each patient have a schedule to follow which includes physical exercises (sports and fitness), chores, vocational training, a 3 hour back to nature period, a regular life quest and of course he/she is given a personal time everyday from 8.30 PM to 10.00 PM after which the lights are out!
Of course, such program does not come cheap!! You’ll have to pay a hefty $14,500 to get admitted. Considering what it offers it’s worth it’s price but it should be the last resort to cure yourself. In many cases Internet addiction is self corrective. It has been proven that heavy Internet users temporary endures this illness as gradually they decrease their time on the computer. The point it’s up to you guys how you use it!
I hope it’s not too late for you. Feel free to voice out your opinions about it!!
That’s the latest news on submarine cables that come near Africa.
I have read before that there was some buzz about the Seacom cable connecting Mauritius in 2009, and will offer even higher speed internet to our small island.
The BBC reports that the Seacom cable has gone live! What does this mean to Mauritius? Higher internet speed soon? Lower costs?
But first things first. Are we even connected to the cable? From the picture, it connects to the SAFE cable that connects to Mauritius. Does that mean we are connected? I haven’t heard any news about this. I’ve looked in the newspapers I have available, and haven’t found anything recently, unless I missed some small article somewhere.
The last I heard about Seacom cable was that it was having some troubles because of the pirates in the region. Nothing on Mauritius getting connected to it so far.
The most relevant article I found was from L’Express, dated 15 January 2009. It does mention that there are 5 submarine cables being laid in our region, and that we will “benefit” from those cables. There’s another article with nearly same content, again from L’Express, for those who want reading material.
For now, we’ll patiently wait for the next speed boost while keeping the price same.
What are your views on this matter? Do you think we’ll see any boost or benefit anytime soon?