Tag Archives: Options

Dropping Yahoo

As of October 1, 2014 – I will be ceasing operations with Yahoo. For those of the most concern, this will mean that I will no longer be using Yahoo Messenger. There are a number of reasons, but to keep things simple, Yahoo is no longer relevant in my life. The only product or service I have put to some valid use with Yahoo is Yahoo Messenger. And with the fact that I can not seem to get my initials with Yahoo, it is not even a matter of keeping the identity for the sake of unified identification. Continue reading Dropping Yahoo

LG F6: Final Review

Yesterday late morning, I returned the LG F6 from T-Mobile back to the store. The reason of why was in the 10 days I had the phone, it has proven to have a couple of good points, but mostly bad points. The LG F6 was $290 which I paid $50 down, and would have paid $10 for 24 months. I also had paid the taxes on the $290 as well.

When I looked at the phone, it had the LG UI on it, which I wasn’t fond of, but willing to tolerate it (otherwise, I wouldn’t have purchased it). However, in the time I had it, the phone locked up on me a number of times, disabled its own Wifi – therefore in one instance burned through the data within a couple of days as I expected it to be on the home’s wifi network. Programs that didn’t even started will close due to an illegal operation.

Continue reading LG F6: Final Review

Phone Service by Freedom Pop

Yesterday (2013-10-01), Freedom Pop made it known that they will now offer extremely low cost phone service. There are some catches, and some information I didn’t find out as of yet, but here is the idea.

You will first purchase the Wimax enabled phone for $100 (no contract) which the phone itself is about 3 years old, so you won’t get much out of it. You can get 200 minutes/500 SMS for free, 500 minutes/unlimited SMS for $8, or unlimited voice/SMS for $11. For those looking at price only, this beats out Republic Wireless – which they will both use the Sprint Network. As for data, all plans offer 500MB per month.

Continue reading Phone Service by Freedom Pop

How I Would Change T-Mobile?

T-Mobile has come out with a dramatically new way of handling post paid cellular service. No more contracts, and the option to allow consumers to bring their own phone, buy a new one outright, or pay in installments. They provide unlimited voice, and unlimited SMS, and you pay extra for data. However, there are a couple of things that T-Mobile could have done differently.

Google Voice Integration

It’s not impossible. Sprint does it very successfully. Essentially, on the backbone, the carrier connects with Google Voice’s service. The phone number, international service, and voice mail is handled by Google Voice. The actual means of connecting is handled by the carrier.

If this would have been done, it could attract those that uses Google Voice as they can use any phone from an Android, or the new iPhone, or a basic phone and Windows Phone which has no support with Google Voice.

Better Clarification on EIP

EIP is the Easy Installment Plan which reduces the sticker shock of the phone. In the United States, we have been spoiled into seeing top of the line smart phones as $200 rather than $700. Now, I am not saying that the manufacturer is fair in charging $700 for a phone, but I am sure some people will walk into T-Mobile and go away sobbing as they go to the nearest AT&T store.

They should note make it clear on who qualifies for the EIP. Also, what happens when one terminates service before completing the payments. Since I used EIP a few times before, I know that you are responsible for the remaining payment in full along with the last bill, and any ETF, but not everyone will figure that out.

More plan Options

Here’s the thing, not everyone uses voice services, or requires unlimited voice. Those hearing impaired for example may need SMS, or data. Now, mind you there is unlimited SMS, but I feel to attract more customers, T-Mobile should have offered 2 choices of unlimited, and one choice of 500. This means instead of having unlimited voice/SMS, and 500MB of data – you can have unlimited data/SMS and 500 minutes of voice. Or maybe unlimited data/voice, and 500 SMS messages. Of course, there is an issue of overages, but this would have gone a long way to satisfying every potential customer. One would simply spend an extra $20 for the 500 option to be unlimited.

Competitive Services

Some phones support Name ID which is an add on feature that allows a person to have true caller ID. However, in reality, this could be done in the network automatically. Of course it would have cost money to upgrade the network, but then everyone could have this feature. Currently, this is an carrier installed app. So, for people like me that have a Nexus 4, I could never use the service since I can’t even get the app in the Play Store.

They could also do this with their TV app, and other services. Just offer it for download to T-Mobile customers through the OS’s store, and offer these as options. Another option will be to offer free Directory Assistance. Companies such as Cricket offers this as well as a number of VOIP providers. One can only assume that a simple tweak on how 411 is handled will make a world of difference.

Kill Retroactive Contracts

They could do this for customer that qualifies as a loyal customer. If the customer has been a good customer, and with them for a long time, there is no need to force them to stay in contracts that were signed before a couple of days ago.

Offer a Referral Code

Allow T-Mobile customers to offer a referral code for getting new customers. Maybe with this code, there could be $50 off a new phone, while the customer gets a free month. This will encourage their customers to help promote T-Mobile to others and therefore lower advertising costs.

Prepaid or Post-Paid, Same Price

Right now, T-Mobile is focusing on the post paid plan. However, rather than having two sets of plans, it might make more sense to have the same level and features of services whether post paid, or prepaid. The only difference is prepaid pays for the service they will use and not require a credit check. Post-paid can require a credit check and pays for the service after it is used.

Provide Lifeline Option

Lifeline provides basic services for people that are low income to get basic cellular services. A number of companies offer this. Cricket gives a $10 discount which isn’t much for the $50 or more plans they have. Assurance is a Virgin Mobile Branch which provides a limited number of minutes, and SMS, while Safelink is a branch of Tracfone.

T-Mobile can offer one unlimited option (no tethering or SIP on data), and 500 for the other two features. Rather than trying to get them to buy a phone they can not afford, work with a company like Blu Products to provide a basic Android phone (that will work on their 3G bands) which could be exclusively for needy customers. The federal government will provide payment for these customers, and the customers can pay for more services – therefore relieving the cost of service. While not much in the way of desired customers, it does raise their population, and may make them number 3 rather than number 4.

Nexus 4–One Month Later

So, I had the Nexus 4 for a month, and it is relatively better than I expected in most instances, but it left me disappointed in a couple of instances. So, for those of you who hadn’t bought a Nexus 4, but will like to – here is my full review on it.

Specs

The Nexus 4 has a 4.7” display. The number 4 is not the screen size, but the generation which succeeded the Nexus One, Nexus S, and Galaxy Nexus. The Nexus has a 320 ppi which is 6 pixel per inch short of the iPhone 5. The phone weighs at 139 grams which but with a good feel.

The phone supports Bluetooth, NFC, Wifi-N, and GSM 2G/3G. It does support all bands, so it is a truly global phone. The phone is unlocked, so those that travel in areas of other carriers will find this phone a benefit as long as the carrier supports a micro-SIM. If not, you could buy a micro-SIM cutter, but be sure to buy a quality one, otherwise you damage your SIM card. The phone also supports HSPA+42 which allows for a potential of 42MBPS download. Your carrier obviously has to support it. Last, it supports Qi enabled wireless charging. Power Mat does not use the Qi standard, so if you have one, you will not benefit from this.

As for components, there is a physical power button on the right top side. This is a change from most phones that have their power on the top. The volume rocker is on the left top side. There is a 1.3MP front camera, and a 8MP rear camera. I am not a big camera person, so I can’t really give the quality of the pictures, and anyone that uses a camera a lot should know that it isn’t just megapixels. Needless to say, there is an ear piece as well and where where one expects it to be. There is a primary microphone, and a secondary microphone for noise cancellation. There is a speaker which is obviously good, and since it is grilled exposed, it has a better sound in comparison to my previous phone. There is a USB port, but it can also handle HDMI through the less common Slim Port protocol.

The phone uses a Snap Dragon S4 1.5Ghz Quad Core CPU. If I had the resources to connect my phone to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, I could even replace my PC (to some degree) with this phone. It has 2GB of memory which is typical for higher end phones. There is also a choice of 8GB or 16GB (just go for the 16GB). The price difference of the two phones is $50, but as with the previous Nexus Phones, this one has no micro-SD card. And since the Nexus does not support mass storage with OTG, don’t expect any help there. This wouldn’t be a problem if there wasn’t an artificial shortage of data capabilities over cellular. In the United States, only Sprint and T-Mobile (+$20) offers unlimited services. Since Sprint uses the CDMA network, you will not be able to use the Nexus 4 on Sprint. This makes sense since even the CDMA carriers are eventually phasing out CDMA for the Global GSM – LTE standard. However, if you have a lot of data you want access to, you need to rely on cloud storage, and therefore you might benefit from the $20 unlimited data. Thankfully, T-Mobile’s prices (in comparison) is very reasonable and competitive.

The phone comes with 4.1, so expect the phone to upgrade itself to 4.2.2 once you connect to a network, and set up your credentials. 4.2.2 is the most up to date version of Android, and well worth the upgrade – not so much right now, but you can expect your phone to keep receiving OS updates years from now until the hardware can no longer support it.

Operating System

The OS at time of writing is Android 4.2.2. I will expect that during Google I/O, there should be a new version of the Android OS, and I (having a Nexus Phone) will receive that update relatively quickly. Because the phone checks directly with Google for updates, the updates are not under the control of the manufacturer nor the carrier. This is one reason why I chosen the Nexus over the Galaxy S3, or Note 2.

Folders is a good thing to have. It has been available in iOS, and one of the things that I preferred with iOS over Android. However, the folders on Android 4 and higher beats that out. You only get 5 screens, and Home defaults to the center screen. The back, Home, and Task Management screen are virtual keys rather than physical or capacitive. This allows for the screen real estate to be optimized in comparison to the dimensions of the phone.

Google Now is similar to Siri, but does much more. However, most likely because of my life, I hadn’t benefited much from the personal assistant features of Google Now. I will hope as time goes, it will recognize my lifestyle, and use my calendar to tell me when I need to go (on time) to take buses to appointments. However, until this (if at all) happens, I will be my own personal assistant.

The phone app is functional for what you would expect. However, the expanded feature of SIP dialing is completely useless in my opinion. First, if you are like me, and use Google Voice for calls, then this is the default system. This means trying to use the phone’s dialer to make a SIP call is not possible unless you are making a SIP to SIP address call. I could never seem to get a QWERTY keyboard to come up when trying to dial a SIP address, so I will have to assume this will only be beneficial if I am contacting a contact’s SIP address. In addition, when a POTS based call came to my SIP service and therefore the integrated SIP client, it used the number @ the IP address of the server. This made returning missed calls impossible without manually dialing the number.

Application management is easier. First, there is a task manager button. Selecting this will bring up a visual list of all of the apps in memory. Swiping right will shut the app down. Also, holding an installed app from the app drawer will allow you to drag it to a Delete option which will remove the app from the device. If you purchased the app, you can still have access to it from the Play Store. You can’t uninstall included apps such as the email or Gmail app. You can disable them, by using the App Info. This should also work with S**tware apps from carriers or manufacturers. Since the Nexus is void of these apps, the only ones are those part of the OS. An exception is the default web browser found on most devices has been replaced with the Chrome Browser. This is going to probably be the standard browser in future versions which makes sense on Google’s part.

Media

I am a big music person. When I leave my apartment, I like to have my headphones, and listen to music. Media management on Android is still as incompetent as it always has been. Yes, one could plug their phone in their computer, and drag and drop. However, iOS puts the media capabilities to shame. Mind you, to use an iOS device officially requires the media player that is larger than some office suites, but Google can do so much more. They can either provide proper integration with media players like Windows Media Player, and try to work with Apple for some integration with iTunes (maybe limiting the support with Macs). However, as Play Music and the online capabilities stand, there is no smart play lists. If you like listening to same thing over and over again, or don’t mind wasting your time trying to find different play lists – this is not an issue. However, for a more discerning person like me where I want to be able to have the PC shuffle music based on the parameters is my preference. I been doing it with an iPod Touch for a few years to say the least. It works, and it is ass backwards to not cater to that means of music management. To help compensate for this, I have to use iSyncr, and there is no such media manager that will work with Windows Media Player.

The Good

First, it is a Nexus phone. This means that it will have a reliable update path. The last two Android phones I had both had stock Android, and the manufacturer or T-Mobile chose to not update the OS after purchase beyond a minor package upgrade. The only Nexus phone that didn’t receive Android 4.0 or better was the Nexus One due to hardware issues. I can feel confident that I will have this phone for more than the 2 year expectancy that most phones these days see.

The phone is a nice size. I can see even women being able to use this phone without feeling overwhelmed by the size. My 16 year old niece loves the phone, so that has to say something about the “cool” factor.

The Bad

Yes, I know that many phones are moving to integrated batteries to stuff more battery in a smaller package. However, this can be a disadvantage if you rely on your phone, and you use it to do something crazy like make phone calls. If your work requires you to be out of the office, and being able to make and receive phone calls, then you may not like the fact you can’t swap the battery. Yes, you can always use an auto charger (if you have a car), but this takes resources that could possibly be needed for something else, and as of 2013-03-26, the only car I know that has Qi charging built in is the Toyota Avalon.

I personally feel that 16GB should have been the smallest capacity. In hindsight, Google is probably thinking the same. The 16GB model has regularly been sold out with the 8GB only going as the 16 will be gone. The Nexus 7 used to have an 8GB option. Now, it is just 16, and 32.

The glass background is begging to be cracked and shattered. While it may look pretty, it has its issues. First, expect to put the phone only completely flat or slight angles but the surface is rough. I have occasionally placed my phone on top of my iPod Touch (gen 3), and in a few moments, I hear something hit the floor. Can you guess what it was? Be prepared to buy a case to go with your phone. The bumper that Google marketed might help, but a $10 case from Ringke will work better and cheaper.

Google Wallet is not supported if you are using T-Mobile’s network. Why the wallet is disabled because of this is beyond me. Google Wallet should be encrypted from app to server and work no matter the pipeline it is transmitted on. I don’t have AT&T’s service, so I don’t know their support on this, but if you had dreams of using your phone as a virtual wallet to buy your food, and other items you want day to day and this single device consolidating all of your cards (2 in my case) into one secured system – keep dreaming. T-Mobile will eventually allow you to use Isis when that becomes available anytime between now and not in your lifetime. Even when Isis comes out, if the merchants don’t support it, you are still SOL. Google Wallet is supported with any merchant that supports Google Checkout (obviously), and Mastercard PayPass. The cards in Google Wallet doesn’t even have to be Mastercard.

If You Want One?

First, if you noticed, I didn’t mention anything about LTE. There is no official LTE support, and I think with good reason why. Consider reading my post on Why LTE Sucks for my reasoning. I seen very different prices, but I am going to give you the best options here.

Go to Google’s Nexus Page. You will pay $350 for the 16GB version. Expect $15 for shipping (in the United States), and you may have to pay for sales tax. You will not be able to get insurance through your carrier, so you would want to find a company that will insure phones. Expect $100 for 2 years which is cheaper than the carrier any how. The phone must be less than 30 days old. Buy a Ringke case (about $15) from Amazon, and an Energizer Qi charging pad. You could use the USB charging, but you might prefer to just set the phone down to charge, and lift it up when you need to take it.

If you can not afford such a large investment, and you are a T-Mobile customer, you might qualify for an EIP plan. $50 down, and $18 per month for 24 months will get you the Nexus 4. You will still have to get a case, but this should make the payments while more expensive a more obtainable option. If you don’t qualify for EIP – The Google Nexus site is you only realistic option.

Your carrier needs to be a GSM 2G/3G carrier. This means that it will not work with Verizon, nor Sprint. Your carrier will also need to provide you with a micro-SIM card. This card is about half the size of a mini SIM (what are normally found in phones).

And yes, there are faster, and better phones. However, until a manufacturer and carrier shows that they will update the OS on their phones, I don’t see why you would want to spend $500 – $800 on something that will be a regret 2 years from now because you can’t get the updates that your $800 phone can obviously support.

Comparison of New T-Mobile Plans

T-Mobile this past weekend rolled out new Un-Carrier Value Plans. So, are these new plans right for you. First, let’s address a few things. This is in regards to T-Mobile USA, so the other countries will not have these plans as an option. Second, out of all of the Big 4 carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon), T-Mobile was always the cheapest. This still applies.

So, what is the new plans and how does it work? First, there is no contract. You however will have to pay full price for your phone. In example, a Samsung Galaxy S3 is not $200. This is a subsidy price, and this involves a contract. Instead –you are looking closer to $600 – $700 for that. To offset this price, T-Mobile (qualifying customers) can make a down payment and split the charges over 25 months. However, those used to using prepaid VMNOs such as Cricket, Boost Mobile, and Virgin will not have as much of sticker shock as these carriers always been doing full price for the phones. So, how do they compare with the competition? Keep in mind that quality of service varies. This will not take that into effect, and will assume that quality of service is equal.

Continue reading Comparison of New T-Mobile Plans

Chrome OS, Why?

Recently, Samsung which seem to have jumped gracefully on the Chrome OS bandwagon has finally came out with an 11.6” 16GB notebook running an ARM CPU (what’s on your smartphone) to run a wifi-N only notebook. This notebook runs Chrome OS which is Google’s Desktop Operating System. Their previous models were nearly $600, while the new model has a couple of more perks, and at $250. However, as the title suggests, why?

Chrome OS is basically a very low run version of a Linux distribution, and use the Chrome web browser as the front end for the OS. You would use a Google ID to log in, and everything that is associated with Google will come in. Every 6 weeks, an update will fix any issues that may have arisen. You would use GMail for email, Google Contacts, and Talk for IM. Calendar for hosting, and there is expected to be a 200GB Google Drive upgrade from the 5GB standard option for 2 years. However, I still do not see how this will be of value. For those that don’t see it the way I do, let me explain. Continue reading Chrome OS, Why?

PAT is going to isolate me in September

Self-centered, yes – but it affects many others. Paranoid, maybe but it’s true. According to a Port Authority Document, PAT is planning to reduce or eliminate all of their routes and raise fares. In my case, they are intending on eliminating the Route 4. While this might be acceptable (even though undesired) if there was reasonable access to other routes, but this is not the case. Troy Hill is an isolated community with only two ways in or out. Only one bus runs through this neighborhood, and to go to where there are bus routes will require a 1 mile or greater walk and no matter where the person walks, there is a massive and steep hill that must be be traversed.

Currently, the route 4 runs hourly with weekday peak times every 30 minutes. However, this is the only bus route that serves its predominant market. And with the only way to traverse to or from comparable routes can take 20 minutes from Lowrie if going down, or almost 45 minutes when returning – and this is the nearest bus routes. This however is on a good day. Inclement weather, disabled or elderly – this will make the traveling to the nearest bus route either very hard or impossible. This will further isolate the community. And many in this community may not be able to afford a car.

Continue reading PAT is going to isolate me in September

Why I Dropped Netflix

A few days ago, I dropped Netflix. There were a few reasons, and while finance is a small part, it was not the big reason. Ever since Netflix forced their customers to pay almost $10 more per month to have streaming, as well as DVDs. Now, I am sure that some people might say quit complaining, it is only $8 more. However, that is not the point – as I said, finance is not the big reason.

I dropped Netflix down to 1 DVD at a time, and no streaming. However, since I went to 1 DVD, it seems as if DVDs take longer to process either receiving or sending. This has at a couple of times took almost a week for them to send a new DVD after I sent it. This means that my value has decreased. If I went to 2 DVDs, they magically get processed in a reasonable time frame. So why wouldn’t I add streaming, or just go streaming?

Continue reading Why I Dropped Netflix

Almost 2 years. Time for an Upgrade?

It has been almost two years, and in about 4 months – it would have been 20 months since I had the first revision of the My Touch as my cellular phone. When I bought it, I wanted it for GPS, and 3G capabilities. At the time, it was the only smart phone that was such an option for me. Now a days, in comparison – it will seem as if my phone is more like a toy rather than a phone. And there are times I am frustrated with the CPU lag it gives to me. Of course with a 528Mhz CPU on an OS that should be using twice the CPU, I guess I can’t blame it. So, I already know I wish to upgrade, but exactly what, and would I settle for less? Well, first I don’t see a reason to settle for less, and if there is no phone I am comfortable with on my carrier, I simply would either consider another carrier, or not get a new phone.

I will go into each and every detail that I will consider as important to me, and would offer my thoughts to such. With that in mind, I would focus on what I would want, and expect for my needs. While I am sure that there are other features some may find as important, that would be on their interests, and not so much of mine. However, I would of course need a smart phone that would support Google Voice, and offer the ability to tether without paying extra.

Continue reading Almost 2 years. Time for an Upgrade?