If the Titanic sank today…

by Joey deVilla on August 7, 2015

…the scene might look something like this:

if the titanic sank today

Click the graphic to see it at full size.

The illustration was created by Pierre Brignaud. It won third place out of 200 submissions to the visual arts contest for the Montreal-based Just for Laughs comedy festival.

Does anyone know what won second and first place?


Big internet numbers

by Joey deVilla on August 2, 2015

Still the biggest slice of the IT budget pie


Click the infographic to see it at full size.

Communications services will remain the largest part of the global IT budget, according to Gartner’s 2Q 2015 Worldwide IT spending forecast. They predict that it will account for $1.5 trillion, or 43% of the total $3.5 trillion expected to be spent on IT this year. Compared to the other segments, communications services’ share is:

  • 40% larger than the next-largest segment, IT services
  • More than twice the amount spent on devices, including mobile devices
  • Over four times the share taken by enterprise software
  • More than ten times the spend for data centers

Gartner reports that global IT spending in 2015 will be 5.5% lower than in 2014. Their analysts say it’s due to the rising U.S. dollar, and if you look at the figures in “constant currency” terms — that is, if you account for the fluctuations in exchange rates — the market is expected to grow by 2.5%. Changes in the value of the US dollar relative to other currencies affect all manner of spending worldwide, and IT is no exception. Vendors who place a high priority on protecting their margins adjust their pricing in in response to currency fluctuations, which in turn affects IT purchase decisions worldwide.

Gartner’s report also points out that of the five IT spending segments, communications is experiencing the strongest decline. They attribute this to price erosion and an increasingly competitive market.

Wired broadband: Speeding up steadily


Click the infographic to see it at full size.

If you’re reading this article, the odds are pretty good that you’re doing so with the aid of wireline broadband. Even if you’re reading this with your mobile device, you may be doing so through one of the 50 million publicly-accessible wifi hotspots worldwide, or through your office or home wifi access point (of which there are hundreds of millions —161 million wifi base stations were shipped in 2013).

According to Akamai’s Q1 2015 State of the Internet report, wireline broadband speeds in the U.S. have tripled since 2009. In 2009, the average speed was 4.2 Mbps (megabits per second), and as of the first quarter of 2015, if Speedtest.net reports that your connection is faster than 11.9 Mbps, you’re doing better than the present average.

On average, wireline broadband is three times faster than cellular broadband, whose average speed in the U.S. is 4.0 Mbps. In other words, average cellular broadband speed today is the same as 2009’s average wired broadband speed. That makes for yet another dimension where 2015’s mobile devices have specs similar to 2009’s middle-of-the-road laptops.

In case you were wondering what these speeds mean in practical terms, the table below should help put things into perspective:

(in Mbps)
Email a picture
(1.5 MB, or
12 million bits)
Download a song or long PowerPoint presentation
(8 MB, or 64 million bits)
Download an ebook or short video
(20 MB, or 160 million bits)
Download a 720p TV 30-minute TV episode
(500 MB, or 4 billion bits)
20 less than 1 second <4 seconds 8 seconds 3.5 minutes
10 2 seconds 7 seconds 16 seconds 7 minutes
5 3 seconds 14 seconds 32 seconds 13 minutes
1 12 seconds 64 seconds 160 seconds 1 hour

On the edge of the zettabyte era


Click the infographic to see it at full size.

The faster the internet becomes, whether in wireline or wireless form, the more data we’ll send and receive. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology 2014 – 2019 report, global internet traffic has grown by over five times in the past five years. The next five years should continued growth at a slightly slower pace — about three times.

This growth has led us to the point that the total amount of data sent over the net this year can be measured in hundreds of exabytes, where an exabyte is 1 quintillion (1018) bytes. Next year, that amount will cross over into the next “illion”: in 2016, it’s expected that 1.3 zettabytes (where a zettabyte is a thousand quintillion, or 1021 bytes) will be transmitted over the net. We’ve included the infographic above to help you get a better grasp of the size of these numbers.

You can be certain that network carriers are planning for this growth, and you should be doing the same.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

this article also appears on the enterprise mobile blog


how to talk to the it department

Photo by Tamera Kremer. Click the photo to see it at full size.

A few weeks ago, I did a phone interview with David Fielding, an editor at Canadian Business magazine, who was working on a quick piece that would be titled How to Talk to the IT Department. The end result is the one-pager pictured above, which appears in the July 2015 issue.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the article isn’t posted online in Canadian Business’ How-To section. Here’s the text of the article:

How to talk to the IT department

Joey deVilla, current platform evangelist at GSG Telco and former platform evangelist at Shopify, on how to keep your tech support team from phoning it in

Tell your tech team what you do. Give them a high-level view of what your organization actually does. The tech department is in charge of keeping the systems up and running, but what sometimes gets forgotten in why the system is there and what it’s being used for. If you tell them the line of business you’re in and what you’re tying to do, oftentimes the techies will come back and say, “Ah, that’s what you’re doing? Well, here’s a better way of reaching your goal using technology.”

Give challenges, not orders. I feel no shame in telling you this idea comes from Star Trek. There’s one point where Scotty says “Starship captains are like children: They want everything right now and they want it their way.” We are people who derive joy from tackling a challenge by building a system. It’s best to say “I have a problem, and I don’t know how to solve it.”

Take time to acknowledge your IT team. The gap between the C-suite and IT isn’t just philosophical; it’s physical as well. The IT department often works in the back of the house — or sometimes in a different building or city altogether. It doesn’t take much to show them you appreciate what they do.

Don’t sweat what you don’t know. Pop quiz: Do you know the four strokes of a combustion engine? If not, does that affect your ability to drive a car in any way No. If you follow the first three steps, starting with explaining what problem they’re trying to solve, your IT teams will save you from needing to know how the machines work.

In case you were wondering about the four strokes in a four-stroke engine, they are: intake, compression, ignition, exhaust, or as any biker will tell you:

suck squeeze bang blow


JetBlue’s best deal sells for just five bucks

by Joey deVilla on July 21, 2015

jetblue earbuds case 2015 02

If you fly often, you probably make it a point to bring along headphones or earbuds. You may even do what I do and designate a set specifically for flying (in my case, it’s a pair of Sony noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones).

And sooner or later, you’ll forget them, just like I did on my JetBlue flight on Sunday.

I was getting settled into my second-last row seat when one of the flight attendants spoke to the only person in the row behind me.

“There are going to five unaccompanied minors sitting in your row,” the attendant told her. “Would you like to be moved to an exit row seat?”

Her eyes went wide when as soon as the words unaccompanied minors finished sounding, and her seatbelt was unbuckled before he finished making the offer. I was already fishing through my laptop bag for my headphones, and that’s when I realized that I’d forgotten to pack them. They were in my other laptop bag.

As much as I didn’t want to pay for another pair of headphones — in addition to my designated flying pair, I have dozens of earbuds of varying quality at home, most of which I got from working at Microsoft or as tech conference swag — I wanted to hear rambunctious rugrats even less.

It turned out that the kids in the row behind me were pleasant and well-behaved, thanks to mobile electronics and what I’m presuming is good parenting. Still, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have discovered the best deal that JetBlue offers.

jetblue earbuds 2015 01

JetBlue’s earbuds are pretty nice. They’re comfortable and unlike many other earbuds, they stay secure in my ears. Better still, they sound better than not only the free ones I’ve picked up at conferences, but even earbuds priced in the $10 – $20 range, and I’m not the only one who thinks soAt $5, they’re a pretty good deal, but they’re not the real deal.

jetblue earbuds 2015 02

The real deal is the zippered felt case that comes with them. In fact, I was leaning towards not buying the headphones until I saw the case. It’s made of thick grey felt, and zips shut with a blue zipper with a big handle that reminds that you got it from JetBlue. Here it is, placed beside a dollar bill to help you get an idea of its size:

jetblue earbuds case 2015 01

Don’t think of it as a case that comes free with $5 earbuds. Instead, think of it as a $5 small electronics/cable/USB key/dongle/battery organizer that happens to come with some free earbuds. You’re not going to find a handy little case like this at Best Buy, the Apple Store, or any other electronics shop at that price.

jetblue earbuds case 2015 03

It works quite well for storing USB charging/interface cables…

jetblue earbuds case 2015 usb cable

It’s handy for keeping spare batteries in one place in your bag:

jetblue earbuds case 2015 batteries

It’s a decent business card holder…

jetblue earbuds case 2015 business cards

And if you’ve been looking for something to safely carry your Apple Magic Mouse in your bag o’ stuff, guess what — JetBlue sells one, and for far less than anything you can get at your local Apple Store!

jetblue earbuds case 2015 apple magic mouse

I’m flying back to Tampa on JetBlue on Friday morning, and I just might have to buy a couple more sets of earbuds!


Every time you make a PowerPoint presentation…

by Joey deVilla on July 11, 2015

I found this little gem while searching for images related to the phrase “system of record”:

every time you make a powerpoint

Found at Dataviz. Click to see the source.

For more on what Edward Tufte thinks of PowerPoint, see this page for his book, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within.


we already knew this

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you already know that iOS 9 will finally get a feature that’s been in Android and Windows Phone for ages: keyboards that show uppercase letters when you’re in uppercase mode, and lowercase letters when you’re in lowercase mode. I wrote about it a month ago, in my June 10th article. I even called it “the most important feature in iOS 9″ and posted a video of this new keyboard in action:

Business Insider wrote about it today, and it’s all over Techmeme. That’s a month later, which is slow, even for Business Insider. C’mon, guys, this is your business; this blog is just my hobby.


mobile without borders

T-Mobile’s new “Mobile Without Borders” feature allows its subscribers to treat Canada and Mexico as if they were part of the U.S.. That means that they:

  • Don’t have to pay voice or data roaming fees when using their T-Mobile devices in Canada or Mexico,
  • Get high-speed data service at no extra charge, including LTE where available, when using their devices in Canada or Mexico, and
  • Can call across any of the US/Canada/Mexico borders — even from Canada to Mexico — at no extra charge.

Here’s T-Mobile CEO/Wacky Spokesmodel John Legere announcing what’s happening in 4 minutes and 44 seconds:

“Cross a border, and [AT&T and Verizon]  jack up your rates 120 times for data,” says Legere. “You know why? Just so they can make more money off of you! In fact, they’re projected to make nearly 10 billion dollars in global roaming charges this year at margins north of 90 percent.” He points out that while other carriers offer roaming packages, the onus is on you to guess what your mobile usage abroad will be.

fint printIf you’re thinking “What’s the catch?”, you’re right — there are a few, but in my view, they’re pretty minor:

  • If you’re a T-Mobile customer, you don’t get it automatically; you have to opt in. I’ve already logged into my T-Mobile online account and can’t find any announcements or way to opt in, but this feature was just announced.
  • Customers currently on certain T-Mobile promo plans, such as older unlimited plans or the “bonus 2.5 gig plan”, will have to either switch to a new plan or pay an addition $10/month in order for Mobile Without Borders be available to them.
  • You have to spend more than half your time in the US to qualify. This will disappoint any people who live in Canada or Mexico who were planning on capitalizing on this offering.
  • If you’re on T-Mobile’s Data Stash program, which lets you roll over unused data allotments to the next month, your extra data won’t be available to you while you’re in Canada or Mexico. T-Mobile says it won’t always be this way.

T-Mobile will still have to pay roaming fees to its Canadian and Mexican carrier partners, and it appears that they’ll eat these costs. This tactic is pretty consistent with many of the other ones they’ve used to differentiate themselves from the competition.

As a T-Mobile user based in Tampa (where their service is quite good) and who travels to Canada at least a couple of times a year, this is great news.