Still Not Happy About Nokia and Microsoft

I admit to being over-emotional about this subject, but the trend is quite clear. Nokia doesn’t stay true to its word. So with tears in my eyes, I have to teach myself to love Android, and spare myself the pain of more disappointment from Nokia in the future.

A very capable and flexible OS is being shutdown, to be replaced by one willfully crippled by it’s designers under the influence of the Telcos, and as a clever ploy to sell apps for every feature not bundled into the device.

This is one step backwards for technology, 3 steps forward for capitalism.

[There, I’ve let off some more steam]

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Dear Confused Nokia

3G Modem, Offline GPS, SMS and IM king, Autofocus Camera, USB Storage Device, etcetera... with an admittedly slow CPU

Please borrow a leaf from Mozilla. Mozilla is an organisation that is and has been facing some serious heat from all sides, and still impressively managing to grow on it’s similarly old, and historically bloated platform. Remember when Internet Explorer had 90%+ market share? The Firefox success story sprang from that.

Recently they have been facing increasing heat from a Google-related rolling stone. The Chrome Browser. In response to that, they have created Firefox 4, again out of their old and historic Gecko platform. In response to Chrome’s accelerated release schedule, Mozilla has adjusted it’s own release timetable, promising four major updates for 2011.

Today Microsoft’s Internet Explorer stands at about 50% market share, a development which has forced the firm to embrace open standards, in its newer browser versions. One may arguably claim that Chrome’s success to date rides on the opportunity and precedent set by Mozilla’s Firefox. Admittedly, this paragraph sounds idealistic and possibly devoid of sound business logic. The point I am trying to make is this: Mozilla has weathered the storm, and risen from the ashes of a dying product, the Netscape Browser.

You need to think carefully about your next big moves, because if you assume that the people who have stuck with you in the presence of the iPhone (3 years+) and Android (2 years+) etc have been a mere accident, you are wrong.

You may have erred by not rising up to the competition sooner than now, but what many of your customers are looking for, is a more refreshing Nokia device, true to it’s present values: Industry Standards, Wide flexibility,  customer choice and down-to-earth practicality.

If I wake up tomorrow and find no such device to buy, the brand “Nokia” will have ceased to be meaningful to me.

Borrow a leaf from Mozilla. Grow and modernize your platform, there are certainly great things that your current mix of parts is uniquely placed to deliver. Do this, and do it fast. Symbian^3 has been a remarkable improvement of the platform, on relatively modest hardware. Spread this, and accelerate the pace. Symbian has been, and still is a capable smartphone OS. The competition has merely heated up. Your fans and customers expect you to suit up and join the fray.

After all, no one has heard Mozilla proclaim that they must “adopt or catalyze” the competiting open source “webkit” platform that seems to be their biggest threat right now. Nor have they said they need to jump off a burning oil rig. They have consistently turned adversity into a product that no one would have thought feasible.

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This post brought to you typed in Firefox 4 Beta, because it is a vast improvement over Firefox 3.6, and which competes squarely on every metric with Chrome. The photo in this post brought to you by the 5mp autofocus camera in my Nokia C6-00.

PS: Nokia Phone’s I’ve owned and remember include: 2100, 1100, 3250, 6600, 7200, 5800, N97, E63, E51 (all time favourite) and presently C6-00. I hope to get me an E7 someday when I can afford it, even if it happens to be next year 🙂

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Understanding the .ng Domain Namespace

I Taste Good, and I Like to Move It!

You may or may not be aware that .ng (Yes, I am a proud Nigerian) domain names have been available to the public for quite a while now, and demand for them is growing slowly but steadily. However, people who have had need to get a .ng domain name may not have had as smooth an experience as is obtainable say for the more popular .com and .org names. Part of the problem comes from a lack of information about the quite strict policies surrounding the namespace.

I shall attempt to cast some light on the situation, so you at least know what to expect before you leap. I cannot claim to know much about the policy concerning other top-level domain names, but I do know a fair bit about .ng, since I have been working to bring the infrastructure of one accredited registrar up to speed. The policy documents are also available at the NIRA website (linked below), but admittedly, they are a bit of a drag to read, like most such documents.

Anyway, the first thing you should note is that the .ng space is not as liberal as you might imagine. Among other things, you are not allowed to register an “offensive” domain name. Offensive is defined as any name present on a list drawn up and revised from time to time by the NIRA Board. I am currently not aware of any such list, and this leaves quite a loop hole in the policy, but as far as my experiene goes, your good judgement is probably right, and this may not be a strictly enforced policy.

Next, .com.ng, .org.ng, .name.ng and .mobi.ng are the most liberal TLDs. Pretty much anyone is allowed to register a domain name in this space, but unlike the global “.net”, you cannot register a .net.ng domain name unless you are a registered and licensed network (telecom) service provider in Nigeria. All the other top-level domains have their own restrictions.

The .sch.ng domain names deserve special mention.

.sch.ng

This top-level domain space has been partitioned into about 37 sub-domains. One for each state of the Federation of Nigeria. What this means for you as a school trying to register a .ng domain name is this: You cannot get “yourschool.sch.ng”. You must get a domain like “yourschool.yourstate.sch.ng”. Thankfully, the state names are mostly two letters. I shall append a list of all the States and their abbreviations at the end of this post. If your school is in Benue State for instance, this means your domain name will be “school.be.sch.ng”.

The reason for this hierarchy is to avoid conflict between schools with similar or identical names, but with different proprietors and in different states clashing needlessly about ownership of their domain names.

States and Their Codes

Tell you what, grab this PDF. I am in no mood to mark-up a table in HTML 🙂

http://nucco.org/files/nira_third_level_state_codes.pdf

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