Tuesday, 22 October 2013

RIM / Blackberry Rolls out Messenger to IPhone / iOS, Android and other devices

As a quick follow up to my last post, you can see that one of the main reasons why anyone bought a Blackberry device was the unique messaging services and how they were delivered, such as push email, Blackberry Messenger (BBM).

Blackberry / RIM rolls out Blackberry Messenger (BBM) to other devices

As of basically today you can now run the blackberry messenger BBM application on other devices and other smartphones, including Android and iOS devices. This means that you can now communicate using BBM with people that have Blackberry devices, by using your existing android or iPhone.

What Does This Mean?

Well in short this is the final nail in the coffin for the Blackberry, its sad to say but he once might device has now diluted away its competitive edge, by allowing anyone to use BBM.

Although the exact process as to the roll out and cost will be seen as RIM sees how it is taken by the general public, whether they employ a monthly cost, per message cost is still open for debate.


What this does mean is that RIM in releasing Blackberry Messenger (BBM) to other devices have done 2 things.

  1. They have removed the need for anyone to buy a Blackberry Handset, and given that both Android and iOS devices have a lot more to offer and are cheaper than a Blackberry handset, means that they will lose even more market share in the handset arena.
  2. By launching BBM as a software solution to other devices, RIM are moving away from where they started, they are now moving to be more of a software messenger service than a handset provider.
In Closing - the Future of RIM and Blackberry

Well its a shame to say it but I think the future of RIM is even more bleak than it was, this latest move is the nail in the coffin they did not need, the main reasons are simple.
  1. By allowing anyone to use BBM on their device, removes the need to buy a blackberry handset at all.
  2. Blackberry Messenger / BBM will now be seen as a direct competitor to other messaging formats such as text messaging / SMS / MMS this means that in order to make money from the BBM roll out they need to compete with users already existing tariffs, which as I mentioned in my previous post all usually come with a huge amount of text messages at no extra cost, so why would people pay additionally to send a message to someone when they can send them a text. Not sure they will :(
  3. RIM have forgotten that most phone tariffs are used for data use, and as such people now have access to social networking sites, such as twitter, FaceBook, G+, LinkedIn and not forgetting services such as Skype. My point is by opening up the BBM market and making it some what public, they have created additional competition they never had before.
So I am sad to say it but I think this latest decision by RIM is the end of RIM as we know it, they will, if they stay afloat, move into the messaging market for software. Which may not be such as bad idea as I think its about Skype had some competition. (and RIM if you are reading this, please give me credit for that idea)

Sean J Connolly
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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Blackberry OS 10 and RIM's Future

So if you have not heard the news that the company behind the famous Blackberry is in trouble and has just been acquired by a VC firm for almost a tenth of the value a couple of years back. So why is this happening to a once global player?

The answer is simple. Blackberry has forgotten its roots, the success of RIM came as corporate people, like myself, use the device as a means of communication in terms of emailing, although there is some BBMing as well. The main reason I like so many others use the Blackberry is for email. The unique secure nature of Push email, knowing that my email lives securely on RIM servers no matter who my provider is made the Blackberry a unique device.

So Whats Changed

More phones

Within less than 10 years there are not only a huge range of phones out there that compete with Blackberry, mostly running either Android or iOS. Which in itself is not a bad thing as these phones now not only do everything that made the Blackberry unique, but they are a lot more fun, more applications, more networks, which all means you can use your phone for work as well as play.

More Emails Less Blackberry Email

There are also lots more choices for email now than ever before, as 10 years ago you had to either run your own server or you had limited choices in terms of email, and namely push email. However most providers, even free ones like GMail, Yahoo, Live all do some form of push email now. Although none of the free services are as secure as Blackberry is, but they are free.

However, there is a catch to this Blackberry as of OS10 and with all new accounts as ceasing to run a hosted email service via your mobile phone provider, so if you have a dedicated Blackberry email with your provider, within a couple of years this will no longer work.

No Longer need a Blackberry Bundle

Plus the above as of OS10 you no longer need a dedicated Blackberry data plan to use the Blackberry services, this includes email, BBM, internet, etc

RIM are rolling out BBM for other devices such as Android, iOS

In a short while RIM will be releasing a new version of their popular messenger system BBM, this time it will be available on other devices and not just Blackberry's. This will mean that people without a Blackberry will now be able to message people with BBM by using their existing phone, they no longer need to have a Blackberry.

What Does This All Mean?

As you can see Blackberry is trying to move away from their roots as a corporate provider, they are realising that the growing sector of their market is people that just want to use the messenger service BBM and are not bothered about email.

What They are Forgetting!

By moving away from where they started Blackberry / RIM are hoping to capture more of the market that is not interested in mobile email but more interested in texting, messaging, facebook, twitter, etc. RIM are also trying to make their handsets a bit more fun, with the new OS10 you can get more apps and do more fun stuff, sort of. Also as of OS10 you now don't need a Blackberry data plan to use your Blackberry services, this may sound like a good idea, but in reality by doing away with the need for a Blackberry service plan in an attempt to attract new customers and removing the RIM hosted emails services,  means that in order to use email on your Blackberry you now need to use one of the many free accounts out their or your own personal email account.

One thing RIM are forgetting is that by diluting their offering, in terms of making software available on other operating systems, such as BBM means people are moving away from the need to have a Blackberry device. What they need to remember is that BBM is one of the reasons why people buy their Blackberry in the first place, so by making it available on other devices they are removing the need to even by a Blackberry in the first place.

So what we have learnt is that now as of OS10 all your Blackberry is, is a mobile messaging device, that is still no way as much fun as other handsets out there, plus if your a corporate user (and I don't mean a Blackberry Corporate account holder) but someone would likes have a professional looking mobile email, your out of luck. No more Blackberry hosted email, just a phone you can use to message people also known as texting ;)

The Future

So as we can now see as all you can really do on a Blackberry now is use the BBM service, which in itself is restricted to only sending messages to other BBM users, although this is changing shortly, unlike text /SMS where you can send it to any mobile phone, means that the future is bleak for RIM / Blackberry. After all there are loads of tariffs available now with unlimited text messages and loads of data, what that means is that anyone can now get a more fun handset such as an Android or iOS handset and still have the same features that once made Blackberry unique, this includes email as you no longer get a RIM hosted email with your Blackberry device, and the free email services do PUSH email now, so you would be daft to get a Blackberry.

The Solution

My advice to RIM is simple, GO BACK TO YOUR ROOTS, remember that Blackberry was once the communication device of choice for people that want to communicate, not chat! So give all Blackberry users a dedicated email address, and I love the idea of not needing a separate Blackberry plan. But one should not come at the expense of the other.

In short continue to make your handset more fun, but also aim them at the original market, people that want to communicate and not simple by BBM.

Thanks Sean J Connolly FaceBook Me - Visit AJAX Web Development Store BuzzProperties.co.uk - Online Property Sales and Letting

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Google - Not Paying Enough UK Corporation Tax - So What!!

So you may have heard that recently it has been reported that several large corporations including Google, Starbucks, FaceBook and Amazon have reportedly not been paying the correct amount of UK corporation tax, by working from Ireland and closing sales there, as it has a lower tax bracket and saves them paying UK Corporation tax.

So What Do I Think About This?

I think that whilst paying UK corporation tax is a legality and none of these large corporations are doing anything wrong, I think this whole thing being brought by the UK government is a lame excuse for the UK government to try to get extra revenue in, when they are doing so badly at fixing the broken economy.

I think that speaking from experience I have paid into the UK tax pot hundreds of thousands of pounds and what have I got back in return from the UK government. NOTHING. The government continue to screw over honest UK tax payers and waste billions of pounds every year on helping countries that dont need help, such as the £1bn every year sent to India. Now I am all for helping out countries and people that need it, but the UK government need to start helping more people at home and stop wasting money overseas, not to mention the millions spent every year on asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, such as Abu Qatada and his family (£1500 per month spent on rent for his council owned home)

Workers Coming Into the UK

OK and here is the main reason, well apart from the fact that I have paid in lots of money to the UK for very little return, that I think the UK government should leave Google alone and that is the continued fascination with countries such as India & Pakistan by the UK government. They continue to insist that people from India should come and work in the UK, this is leading to the UK population being out-bred by Indias. Not only do they come to the UK, but they always insist on pushing their religion on the UK population, if you dont like the Christian UK, dont come here. Not to mention that many people from India may work for less than their UK counterparts, but they are far less skilled. In many cases Indias / Pakistanis who live in the UK have dual citizenship which means they dont pay UK tax as they are non-domicile for tax purposes yet continue to use UK services such as the NHS, schools, etc. To prove my point if you take a walk down a UK high street you will see many Indians and Pakistanis with children, and you will also notice they always wear designer clothes and drive luxury cars, this is not because they are in high paid jobs, but because they are playing the system.

Ask youself this, how many Indias do you know that can afford to travel back to India several times per year, yet if you put the shoe on the other foot, the people who have moved to Spain for example, cant afford to travel back to the UK several times per year.

Allowing Work to Go Overseas

The other reason I think the UK government should leave Google alone is that I have personally been on the receiving end of not having a contract renewed because they outsourced the work to India, this along with hundreds of call centre staff. This continues to happen all being allowed by the UK government.

So after all this is said I think the UK government are just trying to fiund a quick fix to the economy they continue to wreck, and targeting the large corporations not only looks like a good way to get quick cash, but it also looks good in the media, as put it into context Google may have made something like £11bn or so in the last decade from the UK, yet only paid about £100k in corporation tax, even if Google pay full UK corporation tax it would only amount to around £2bn, now this may sound like a lot, but it is small in comparison to the £10bn+ that the UK government has spent funding India, not to mention the loss of hundreds of thousands of UK tax payers by continuing to allow outsourcing by UK companies.

Google Gives Alot to the UK and the World So Leave Them Alone

One other thing that the UK government need to look at is what Google gives to the UK not to mention the rest of the world, all for people to use for nothing. These are things such as
  1. Google Search - which everyone online uses at least once a day
  2. Yahoo - you can watch, store and share videos for no charge, not to mention TV programs, films, etc
  3. Google Drive - You can share your files or store them on Google servers, again for free.
  4. Google Maps - Now who hasnt looked at their house on Google Maps, plus it gives us directions not to mention the thousands of UK jobs created by third party companies specialising in Google mapping technology.
  5. Google Mail aka GMail - You can check your email for free, again this is used in the UK by millions of people daily and in some cases as the main and only email account.
As you can see this is only the start of the Google list, and if we take into account the costs of running something as simple as an email account, which is around £20 per year per account, given that most of the UK population will have a Gmail account, that would be a cost of around £420,000,000 that people in the UK are not having to pay, just think of direct boost to the UK from this amount alone. Other areas such as companies working with Google technologies and the costs just go up and up.

So in short I think that before the UK government starts pointing the finger at Google and its tax affairs, it needs to start sorting the UK out first, such as the multi millionaire farmers, builders, plumbers, after all Google did not break the UK economy, nor did the banks, people did!!

Sean J Connolly
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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

BurstNet - Useless Unreliable Service and Rude!!!

Well if you read my last post you will notice that I was in the process of looking for a new host for my websites, and after my experience with Webhosting.uk.com I moved to a called BurstNet.

If you have not heard of Burstnet they are a US based firm operating out of Scranton, yes the same place the Office is based on "maybe that should have given me some warning".

This time I signed up for a VPS to give me greater control over my websites.

They Lied to Me - Not in the UK, No UK call centre EVER

I decided to use Burstnet as although they are in the US they told me that they have servers hosted in the UK in Manchester and are opening a call centre for UK clients shortly they also said they are available for support using AOL AIM, they also told me they use Hyper-V for the virtualisation and as I knew this to be a good setup I thought that they are working giving a go.

As their price was competitive I thought I would sign up. I thought I would give it a month to see what it was like so signed up for monthly billing.

Hyper-V No Way Man!!

When the VPS was setup it was in fact not Hyper-V at all but Solus, this gave me a slight worry but I thought as it was running ok, this was a problem I could live with.

The first month everything seemed to be working fine. Although I was unable to find then using AOL chat at all. But as the server seemed to be working OK I thought I would alter my billing to annual.

Burstnet VPS constantly offline and unable to reboot

Now this is where the problems arose, after a couple of months my VPS was offline and I was unable to reboot it using VNC or the control panel and had to raise a ticket, I actually had to call the technical support number (which is in the US, I am in the UK) and spoke to someone who said he would sort this immediately. Which he did and the server was back up and running.

This became a constant thing, just about every other month the server was offline and needed to be rebooted. Each time I raised a ticket and had to get it rebooted. On one phone call I asked if they are overselling the VPS offering and the guy on the phone said, that basically they put as many VPS's on each node as possible. This explained the poor performance and lack of up time.

How many Times can a VPS be Offline?

This continued for several months, and as the service was paid for I thought I would continue until the end and move away then.

Now not only was I getting poor and unreliable service, but in the time I was hosting with BurstNet they never once setup a UK call centre, and even at the time of writing this they still done have a UK call centre at all. So each time I had to call the US to try to get a solution, then on one occassion I rang up only to be told that with the VPS solution it is unmanaged so I dont get phone support, I said I am not asking for support i am asking them to reboot my server as its urgent.

Can you guess what they said?

Nothing they actually hung the phone up on me. A man called Jeremiah put the phone down on me, so I called back and as soon as I said who I was he hung up again, this happened on times until I was finally put through to someone else, who still did not resolve my problem. The problem this time was a bit more worrying than a simple reboot.

So what was the problem this time - well other than the server being offline?

I could not login to my server using my RDC connection as it was not accepting my password, I could not login using the VNC software either, and all my websites and email were down. So this was urgent, when I called I hoped a simple reboot would be all that was needed, but as I had managed to use the control panel to reboot I worried something else was wrong.

When I spoke to Burstnet they said the server must have been compromised and the only way to restore it was a complete rebuild, I said as my password is secure, this is total rubbish. Well after several days of no server and Burstnet refusing to help restore the server, I bit the bullet and rebuilt the server. On doing this I then ran a test on the physical drive space the VPS was using only to find that part of the drive had been corrupted and part of the windows user files had been deleted by chkdsk. On raising this with Burstnet they again refused to accept any responsibility for this failure.

They said the SLA only cover the network and not the hardware, meaning that even if the server hardware fails they are not liable for anything. Talk about a crap SLA.

So I decided after all this hassle and unrealiable service to move away from Burstnet.

The Truth about Burstnet

Burstnet are not UK based (and never will be)

Burstnet operate in the US as burstnet.com and in the UK and europe as Burstnet.eu, they dont not have any offices in the UK at all. The registered office for domains in the UK is actually a unit just outside Manchester Science Park. When I spoke to the security guy at this address, he said he has never seen anyone from Burstnet.

Burstnet.eu is registrant is NOT DISCLOSED and the registrar is actual Tucows, even though they claim to have a Tag for domains. Strange I think ;)

The VPS is actually hosted in the US not in the UK, the IP is registered in the UK with RIPE but redirects to the US, and when I took the VPS the time zone had to be left as US in order to activated the copy of windows server 2008.

Up until writing this email burstnet do not have any UK based call centres at all only US.

Burstnet Staff are RUDE and hang up on you

The staff are not only very rude, like I said before they hang up on you!!, but they are very inexperienced regarding hosting.

Burstnet services are oversold, over capacity and setup badly

The VPS offerings by Burstnet are not only over capacity, but in my experience are actually a tier 2 virtualisation, that is a virtualisation inside a virtualisation in order to maximise revenue.

It should also be noted that they actually have a clause in their Terms that states they can cancel services and request you to remove negative comments about them you may write anywhere online. Why on earth would a good decent company need such a clause if they werent providing a good service.


Thanks for Reading
Sean J Connolly
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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Webhosting.UK.Com - They are really that dishonest!!

It all began when I was hunting the internet for a new hosting provider and in particular a VPS provider.

My first mistake was to move my websites to Webhosting UK, although I was looking for a VPS they said their shared hosting environment outperformed most VPS offering out there. So I took the gamble and signed up for a web hosting account.

Webhosting.uk.com cant get it right from the start

From the very start the service was bad, firstly I wanted to use the shared SSL area for my websites, so after my shared hosting area was provisioned I went about settting up all my files, websites, emails and thought at this point I would be able to access the shared SSL area via the Dot Net Panel control panel. This was not the case and on raising this issue I was told that the shared SSL area was only available if I was using the Plesk control panel and in order to use the Plesk panel I would have to be given a whole new account with the Plesk panel.

So after about a week my new hosting account was setup this time using plesk, and after a lot of chatting online with Web Hosting UK they finally agree to migrate my data over for free, as this was their fault. However I still needed to setup my email accounts again. Which was a pain.

Webhosting.uk.com alter service provision without notice

So there I was with my websites up and running, or so I thought. After about 6 months of hosting with Web Hosting UK I noticed one of my applications that had been running fine was not working, after a lot of error checking I noticed that this was due to the server having the FSO or File System Object disabled. I contacted Web Hosting UK and was told that they had disabled the FSO for security reason on the shared hosting and  in order to use the FSO I would need  to sign up for a VPS, as they have disabled the FSO on the shared hosting.

Webhosting.uk.com service is unreliable and not live most of the time

After all this I thought it would be plain sailing, but no such luck, the speed and reliability of the server meant that it was down more than it was up and my clients were constantly on the phone complaining they cant access any websites or emails. The server was not live most of the time.

Another problem was that not only was my website not live most of the time, but I had a problem with server rights when publishing an SQL DB and on one occassion this was fixed by contacting them via the web chat, however when this problem arose again I was told I would need to email in as it cant be sorted via web chat. This was a pain, as I had to wait a few days for this to be resolved.

Webhosting.uk.com dont honour their own SLA - refuse to give refunds

So after all the poor service and lack of uptime on my server I contacted them to see about getting some kind of credit as per their SLA agreement, As I was on annual billing, they refused to offer any kind of refund at all, as they said I needed to contact them within 40 days of the incident, which I did. I had lengthy conversations via email with a woman posing as a customer service agent, a woman called Jenna Strong, where as she is in fact the company secretary.

Wehosting.uk.com Jenna Strong is not a customer service agent she is the company secretary

So after all this I finally decided to move hosts, and tried to get a pro rata refund for my time left on my account, again this was refused, even though I had a month left on my account at the time of moving away.

So my advice to anyone looking for hosting is not STAY AWAY from Webhosting.uk.com they also operate as bodhosts and eukhost so dont not touch them with a barge pole if you want your website working and a company who is honest and reliable and stand by their own SLA.

The Truth about Webhosting.uk.com

Company Director & Secretary

Firstly the director of the company is John Strong and the company secretary is Jenna Strong (yes they are related) dont be fooled when she calls herself a customer service agent.

Domain Registered Address

Although the company is registered in the UK, the actual domain is registered to an office in Albany House in London which is a virtual office / mailing office address. They do not have an office in London.

Registered  Office

The registered office address is Leeds is also a virtual office and is also the contact address for the other companies including eUKHost and BodHost.

Also on the website it stats they have been in business since 2001 yet the company has only been registered since 2008

So as you can see with all this smoke and mirrors Webhosting.uk.com are a company not to deal with, they are nothing more than a Micky Mouse operation with poor customer service and dishonesty at all times.

Thanks for Reading
Sean J Connolly
 FaceBook Me - Visit AJAX Web Development Store

BuzzProperties.co.uk - Online Property Sales and Letting