The blog explodes
All news is local news. My Google adsense meter indicates an orgy of interest (500 + hits compared to 50 on a normal good day) after I wrote about that increasingly popular Latvian pastime, www.draugiem.lv. For my non-Latvian readers, this is a Friendster-style networking website that exploded from zilch in April 2004 to more that 250 000 registered users a year later. It was started by Lauris Liberts, an enthusiast-entrepreneur and reputedly some kind of child film star back in the waning days of the USSR, when almost everyone using draugiem.lv these days was also a child or unborn or whatever.
I'm glad that the Latvian net users are reading the blog, making comments. I have also discovered that a number of them are blogging themselves, in Latvian, and that there is a considerable Latvian blogosphere. Some pretty awesome people. One guy, while not a rocket scientist is studying the mathematics of rocket science. I must have drawn the short stick in the gene pool, because my dad was, well, studying the same stuff when he was almost this blog comment writer's age (21 back in 1938 vs 22). I have no idea what this man, Pēteris, does, but it has to do with quantum math and other arcane stuff. I have to ask my dad, now 88, what this is all about the next time I call the States. I'm sure he got around to studying some of it before WWII derailed a lot of his plans. But he retired as a systems test engineer from Honeywell in the US, while his son (and one of his grandsons, who now is of student age) are, as Latvians put it, "drillers of the thin table surface" ( plānā galdiņa urbēji).
Who's got your number?
Well, back on topic -- the only news in telecoms is that Lattelekom has proposed rezoning Latvia's 26 area codes into 11, freeing up 2.5 million phone numbers and solving the problem of whether to switch to eight digit numbers (which Lattelekom says would cost the Latvian economy as a whole some LVL 17 million). The seven digit numbers are all parceled out in 100 000 number lots, which means that in some of the 26 area code zones, only Staņislavs the farmer and his cow Malvīne have fixed line numbers, the other 99998 are unused but reserved for the immediate area around Mossville (Sūnuciems) in darkest Čangladesh (Eastern Latvia, known in politically correct terminology as Latgale).
The two existing mobile operators have been burning through numbers and it seemed for a while that none would be left (except for 40 000 set aside for the new operator, now to be Danish-owned Bite GSM). Now the Communication Department of the Ministry of Transport has asked that 300 000 numbers be freed up immediately for the mobile sector, in essence upsetting its own plans for a transition to eight digits (these were to be used as transitional numbers, let Pēteris do the math on that :) ). Officially, the Department says it will propose both options, Lattelekom's save-the-seven digits plan, and a new, as yet to be drafted scheme for transition to eight digits (and abolishing the domestic area codes?). We shall see, but I think that Lattelekom's scheme or some variation on it will fly. By the time any faults in keeping seven digits and different zones turn up, I suspect most urban telecoms users in Latvia will be more worried about their IP addresses than their so-called phone numbers. And hey, who needs number portability if you have a (several?) Skype names?
Music on the earphones while writing this post:
Eddie Grant, Electric Avenue, Bob Dylan, Forever Young, Subterrenean Homesick Blues, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Mustang Sally, Donovan, Season of the Witch, The Doors, Five to One, Peter Tosh, Legalize It !, Boston, More Than a Feeling.