Cable TV – That’s so 20th Century

Cutting the cord - Economist
Cutting the cord – Economist

I am a cord-cutter having permanently severed the cord to cable TV. Oh sure, I tried Internet Protocol television (IPTV) though a local provider called VMedia, but that didn’t work out so well. And I actually went back to cable after my not-so-good experience with VMedia. But now a month into cord-cutting I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

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How To Add a Solid State Drive (SSD) to a Mac Pro Early 2008

I have a Mac Pro 2008 computer which has been very good. I’ve replaced the original hard drives once already and I had to replace the graphics card a couple years ago.

Recently I’ve been having issues with startup disk so I decided to replace it. However this time, I decided that with the price of Solid State Drive’s (SSD) coming down and reasonable, that it was worth spending a little extra compared to getting a regular hard drive. After all, this was for my startup disk with the operating system and applications on it. Running off an SSD would provide a significant speed boost.

I researched what it would take to make this happen and it’s actually quite simple from a hardware perspective. Read more

Neptune Duo – Communication for the 21st Century – The Internet of Things

Siman Tian and his small five person Neptune team in Montreal think that their latest product, the Neptune Duo, not only out-innovates the competition, but will disrupt a market that’s just in its infancy.

That’s a bold assumption.
In the Globe and Mail article Tian says “If you look at wearables, it’s mostly these dummy smartwatches. You’ve gotta have your phone for that smartwatch to work… and everything it does, the smartphone does already, so consumers don’t see any added benefit.”

The Neptune Duo has a Hub, the smartwatch, and a Pocket screen, a small tablet if you will. Both run on Android, meaning you’ll have access to many of your favourite apps.
What sets the Neptune Duo apart from the competition is the functionality of the Neptune Duo. The Pocket is dependent on the Hub, not the other way around, like the upcoming Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is dependent on your iPhone. For the Neptune Duo, the SIM card is in the Hub, not the Pocket. 
So if you leave the Pocket at home or the office, you still get access to messages, data etc. on your Hub. And according to Neptune, if you lose your Pocket your data is secure as it needs the Hub to access your data. In fact, is you don’t have your Pocket handy, but someone else does, you can use theirs as if it was yours.

You can pay a $199 reservation fee now and at shipping time you’ll only pay an additional $399. According to Neptune that’s a savings of $200 which suggest the full price for the Neptune Duo is $798. The Neptune Duo is expected to start shipping by the end of the year.

The company has a slick website and marketing video, but seeing the device in action, especially taking phone calls, is still needed to rate the product. From the app and data perspective, the smartwatch is appealing. This is a company worth watching.

Could Canada’s Future Include Launching Rockets to Orbit?

There’s an effort underway by a new company called Open Space Orbital to raise funds to build Canada’s first small satellite launcher which would be based out of Nova Scotia.

It’s a long shot but does have a credible Board of Directors. Currently they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to raise an initial $100,000.

With the funds they will do the following:

  • Prototype Development Project (PDP): Our first small rocket engine will be designed and assembled internal to Open Space and test key design concepts on a small scale. Outsourcing, particularly regarding the engine’s nozzle, will be deferred to one of the Canada-based aerospace composite manufacturers competing for the contract. 
  • Preliminary Launch Vehicle Design: In partnership with Continuum Aerospace, a preliminary design of our first mission-ready launch vehicle (whose normal configuration will demonstrate a maximum payload capacity of 50 kg) will be completed and considered for our first full scale rocket. 
  • Business Development: Planning is important. In partnership with CFC Consultants (Atlantic), we will be performing strategic refinements to Open Space’s business plan, concentrating primarily on tactical planning, funding requirements and communications strategies. The main objective of completing these refinements is to prepare Open Space for investment of any kind – commercial and governmental. 
  • Market Analysis: To gain an intellectual edge over international competitors, a Canada-specific market analysis will be completed by Rogue Thought Consulting, particularly Norman Deschamps, who received a Master’s in microsatellite design before founding RGC. This report will detail the market’s current status and future trends on a nation-specific basis, expected market and regulatory hurdles, the potential for new satellite manufacturing companies and universities to enter the industry alongside a low cost, domestic launch solution, and a survey of Canadian satellite manufacturers and academic/commercial aerospace programs pertaining to the impact that our solution would have on their goals and operations.
I wrote a story for SpaceRef Canada on their efforts which goes into more detail.