Tag Archives: features

First Impression: Pebble Watch

On the 23rd of November, 2014 – I have received the Pebble Watch (black housing). This watch was acquired after the update on my Nexus 5 to Android 5.0 which would prove valuable, and even more so with the Google Play Services Update (whenever that maybe to come).

There are a few reasons of acquiring the watch. First, and foremost is as a time piece. This watch is more accurate than the basic watch as the watch connects with your Bluetooth enabled smart phone, and acquires the time from that phone. As long as the phone has the accurate time, then the watch does as well. Next, I wanted a minor secondary screen so I am not required to pull out the phone to see if the notification was important. This not only includes SMS/MMS, and email, but also incoming calls. And third – with support having important information show on the watch – again, so I do not have to pull the phone out all of the time. Continue reading First Impression: Pebble Watch

What’s On My Phone – 2014

The year 2014 is just around the corner, and in case anyone is curious, I will go with what is on my phone, and why. First, I don’t do a lot of video viewing, or game playing on my phone. For one, this is a battery drain. In addition – it also demands a lot in resources that I don’t want to expand on my phone. For such things, I will prefer to use a tablet which I do not have.

In case anyone wants to know, I have a Nexus 4 – 16GB with a protective case (especially for the glass back). I am using T-Mobile USA as my service provider, and connect to a home Wifi Network with a 25MBPS connection. I will not be noting applications that are included in the OS individually, but instead will provide them in just one section.

Continue reading What’s On My Phone – 2014

Addressing Cuts with Verizon

I had Verizon’s FiOS bundle package for a while. This included Internet service, Telephone, and Television service. I had tried to find an appropriate value in having all three services. However, it came to the point where I couldn’t get the value at a price I could afford. So, I had to make some decisions as noted further.

First, let’s look at the last pricing. I had 15/5MBPS, “Prime TV” which was missing some basic channels that influenced my decision greatly, and FiOS phone which included unlimited domestic calling, voice mail, Caller ID, and a few other features one should expect from a digital phone service. The Internet, and Phone was both about $30 each as a bundle. The TV was about $55. A set top box would have been $10, but I had been paying $6 more for a DVR. Taxes were about $15. All together once the discounts would have expired, I will be looking at $140 per month – and this is with the lowest TV package.

Continue reading Addressing Cuts with Verizon

Verizon Fiber Optic Services

So, I decided to join 1990, and get premium television service along with my Internet. It also became about the same price to have a landline phone which has already helped. So, what exactly do I have, and what are the good and bad? Well that’s what this post is for. First, let’s find what I have. I have a 25/25MBPS Fiber Optic Line. Going to 15/5MBPS would have only saved $5/month. I also have 190 285 channels, although this isn’t as impressive as it sounds. In addition, I have telephone service with unlimited domestic calling, and incoming calls. So, here is what I think of everything.

Internet

The internet service in my opinion is the best value. Of course, you are speaking to someone who is not really big into television, but I will get to that later. I have a 25MBPS internet connection, and this is wonderful. According to the federal government, broadband starts at 5MBPS, and this will seem as if this is the first time in my life, I have actually hit that mark. Currently, not a lot of devices uses it. My PC uses it a lot of course. My home phone uses it for most calls. My cell phone uses it with wifi calling. However, keep in mind that I do not make nor receive many phone calls. I however probably could eat up about 1GB per day which is a big amount. The Internet service is well worth the cost, and may even be able to reduce my cellular phone plan when Andie moves off of my account.

Telephone

Telephone is the least needed service, however the price difference didn’t justify the removing of it. I have unlimited calling to anywhere in the US. I also have Caller ID, Anonymous Call Rejection, Simul-Ring, and Call forwarding. I can also control a few of the services via an Android app (will discuss later). However, the only thing truly impressive is the bundled price. Once all of the long term promotions end, it may not be worth keeping. There are a few reasons why. First, no matter how much I will beg and plea, I don’t see Verizon changing my CID to show my Google Voice number. This means that I will not likely ever use it as my primary line. At best, it would serve as a fail safe line (when SIP services is down). However, if someone calls my Google Voice number from home, or an N11 number – it will use the Verizon line. 611 for some reason will not work, although I know that the old style POTS supported 611. All telephone services run through the Fiber Optic line, even though it still connects with RJ11 jack.

Television

Television felt as if it was the most misleading. Why. At first, they noted that I can have 190 channels. However, this includes 16 local channels, 7 HD channels that are showing the same content as the 16 channels, 5 channels that are split channels (such as what would be 13.1 in OTA), about 15 local access / public / government channels that seem to almost never have anything on it – therefore useless. It also includes 45 audio music channels which I am sure anyone that has Comcast or Satellite will know these stations. There are 42 channels that have 2 stations (one standard definition, and another high definition). Like the local channels, this is counted as 2 channels. There are about 37 channels that are in standard definition only. So in reality, the 190 channels are actually less than 100. Let’s face it, if two stations have the exact same content on it, this should be counted as the same number of stations.

To make matters worse, channels you would expect to be included in the base package with 190 channels aren’t included. One example was the National Geographic channel. I would get Syfy (formally known as SciFi), however I didn’t find many other channels that would be worth the extra cost. This essentially forced me to upgrade which will give me almost “100” extra channels, but we see how Verizon counts these channels.

Hardware

There are two pieces of hardware that is required. The first is the router. It is a wifi-N router which is good. It has a non-functioning USB port which I wished Verizon would have activated it so I could use an external hard drive on it. It does support 4 LAN ports which is good. This means I can plug in computers, NAS, and of course my phone. This router is the center point of the FiOS, and seems to be used even for television service to some degree. If I want to use the TV remote app, it needs to use the FiOS router.

The other device is the cable box. This is the cheapest and most basic box set top box I have ever seen in my life. It has a power button on the front, but no display. At least old boxes would have 2 LED numbers with channels in the mid 80’s. Most will have the time and channel, but not this one. On the back is coaxial for older TVs, Analog, Composite, and HDMI. Since the HDMI port on my PC is out only, I had to pull the old 20” CRT television out. It seem to need to do a channel set, and Line, 2, and 3 were set. Channel 2 (what would be CBS) has no picture. 3 is the box, and Line is for the RCA for the DVD Player which is no good.

I was also given an RG6 cable, and HDMI which was good. The RG6 is for the current television while the HDMI should support new TVs. The installer was also kind enough to install a phone jack close the RG6 cable that comes into the apartment. This meant that I could keep the phone access point close to the router and the phone jack which was important to use it to full potential.

Software

Available on Android, and iOS platforms – Verizon offers a means to control the TV, and some of the phone settings from the cellular device, or PDA. Technically, I don’t even need to use the set top box remote nowadays, although it is still active. I could actually change a channel while in the back yard and have it affect the TV in the front room. The app seems half baked though – although serves as a good remote control. I just expected more such as show searching, or reading show info on the device rather than the relying on the TV.

The phone app is helpful if I forgot to turn call forwarding on or off, or if I wanted to turn on/off Do Not Disturb. It will also show a call log, and use the cellular phone’s contacts to give names. However, for the most part, this app has proven nearly useless to me. Again, I would have expected better. They offer Speed Dial, yet – I can’t seem to program that through this app. On a good note, I am able to see CID display show on the television. This is only good with Verizon phone services.

Price

Price is a big disappointment. The price is fair on paper, but as you may have noticed, I feel robbed on how they counted the channel line up. In addition, you are smacked with additional fees that should be included. Here is the cost for the service I currently have (with 285 channels).

  • $105 for the base service price with some price guarantee
  • $10 for wire maintenance (will fix basic jack issues)
  • $10 for the set top box (which should be included)
  • $15 for taxes and fees.

All of this will be an estimate of about $140 so the representative told me. Keep in mind that after you exclude the music channels, and double channels – you are looking about 125 channels rather than 285 channels. Internet only service is about $75 (including taxes). So in reality, it is a nominal fee extra for the extra services. However, I will be finding little justification for it if it rises dramatically. Because of the higher price, I will not be able to get a DVR any time soon (an extra $10), and I can forget the premium movie packages which will cost an extra $60 for the movies.

Justification of the price will include the removal of Clear Wireless ($30) which was the reason of setting Verizon FiOS to begin with. I am now able to use SIP which cost $60 per year, but will allow me to go to the cheapest voice plan with T-Mobile when Andie leaves my plan (which should happen soon). I also have 911 support, and since I now have television service, I can keep up with news, current events, and have no need to increase my Netflix service. In a matter of fact, if the time comes when my queue is reduced, I could actually go to the streaming only plan, and have something worthwhile. I will be reducing my eMusic subscription which will mean less songs per month, but will provide funds to the Verizon service.

Verdict

I am disappointed in the way they count channels. And with this severe factor where I am getting only half of what I would expect otherwise makes this a less of a value. This is especially true with the current 4:3 television, but in reality it’s not Verizon’s responsibility for giving me a 16:9 television. If there is no reasonable way to get a better TV (which I need any how for Television), I will get one when I can reduce the Fingerhut bill. So, for the price, it is still better than Verizon’s competitor here (Comcast). I seen Comcast’s services, and while Chris and Andie has more TV services, 1MBPS internet, and no POTS for $150 per month (or close to it) means I am getting more value for the money. It would be nice if Verizon did a little more ethical way of counting channels. At least you as the reader will know this ahead of time. It is better than Comcast, so therefore – the best choice if you can get FiOS service.

Easier Said than Done

With the news that AT&T is going to buy out T-Mobile, unless the US Regulatory stops it (like that would happen), it would seem as if I would end up paying more than I would like for phone service. If I was to go with AT&T choosing either a locked up iPhone, or just as locked up Android phone, it would seem as if no matter what, I would have to consider trying to reduce my demands. So far, the best option is to use an IAX server, along with a dedicated Google Voice account.

However, the problem is to find a budget friendly, and resource friendly system. In goals to try to keep things to less than $150, it would mean I would have to rely on used systems that are either lacking in capability, and/or power hungry. One example is a 160 watt Dell Optiplex which only has 256MB of memory for about $90. Now, mind you – the system won’t be running at 160 watts all of the time, but as with all servers, it should be running 24/7. Even at 100 watts, this would mean that every day, the server will cost 2.4kw. In a month, that would be 72kw per month. On someone that has to pay for electricity, and on a tight budget, that is discouraging. This is one reason I am not considering commissioning my desktop to the task. I’m assuming 3¢ per kilowatt as I hadn’t received my first electric bill yet, this could mean an extra $30 per year just to make phone calls While this may not sound like much, keep in mind that I am on a tight budget, and there is a refrigerator that runs 24/7 as well as an iPod dock that runs nearly 24/7. Either dock is only 10 watts per hour which means that the iPod dock would require 10 days of 24/7 usage for it to rack up the same power demands the server will require in 1 day. Thankfully, servers don’t require monitors beyond the initial setup. A better option will be an HP that is used in a  smaller package, but with a slightly faster CPU, and more memory.

Continue reading Easier Said than Done

The Contact Card of Today

In today’s ever changing world, it is easy to have an outdated Contact (Business) card. And until cards come with the ability to instantly change and be price and consumer reasonable, we will be stuck with the old fashion paper cards. And while it is possible to still make a card with outdated information (even if all of the solutions are taken), this will greatly reduce the chances.

  • Use a PO Box, or Private Mail Box Service.
  • Use a Smart Forwarding Number
  • Have a .TEL address
  • Provide a Public Email Address
  • Have a QR Code

Continue reading The Contact Card of Today

Keep in Touch the Cool Way

If you have family, friends, or loved ones in other countries, than you know how expensive a call can be. In addition, even if you have a calling plan that would reach to that country, you are more likely paying more for that plan. Here is a way that would help.

First, keep in mind, that while there is very functional, it is not completely flawless. For example, calling from the US may not always show the proper CID information. This could be a problem if you want to make sure that you know who’s calling. Also, the expense might simply be diverted elsewhere. You would need a broadband connection for this to work. You would also need good quality phones for this to work.

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I’m just one of 7.7 Million

Original Article ( http://b.fsp.im/1155a )

Last year, I bought the HTC My Touch (aka Magic) for my T-Mobile line to upgrade from an old Blackberry 8320. I needed a phone that had 3G, and GPS. The fact that it would have been a touch screen was just a bonus.

Now, this is in respect to all Android based devices. This includes G1, Droid, Eris, Hero, and many others from every of the major 4 carriers except AT&T which is still licking Apple’s butt hole to want something that in my opinion is better.This means that a 1074% increase from 2008 (almost 11 times as many), and is expected to be second only to Symbian which seems to have a near complete dominance in Asia. Just so you know, Apple does not use Symbian.

Continue reading I’m just one of 7.7 Million

Pandora – My Thoughts

The online streaming music service available to many different platforms provides streaming music service based on your personal tastes from the names of musical artists, and songs you added. From there, it would also include many songs and artists that it thinks you would like. You could of course buy individual songs, and some interfaces have a means of getting information about the artist, or song.

You can also “thumbs up” add it as a song you like, or “thumbs down” note a song you don’t like, and never want to be bothered from hearing again. You can also skip songs, or pause songs. Sounds pretty great, right? Well, I love the concept, and the service is very good, but it does need a lot of room for improvement.

Continue reading Pandora – My Thoughts

Yep, I’m a fanboy

Definitely not an Apple fanboy, but with almost two weeks of using the Android Operating System, I have come to love the potential. My main gripes in comparison with the Blackberry such as a lack of a good call manager is on the development end. And while I have noticed there are a few problems such as IM not staying connected, these could be fixed with updates which by the way show as possible right on the phone.

On my Android based phone, I have a night bedside clock, WordPress editor, Internet Radio app (Pandora), a SIP client for those that need to use Gizmo, and even a few games. And there is so much more that can be done once the developer community comes on board.

Continue reading Yep, I’m a fanboy