Archive for the tag 'Technology'

While I have long maintained that I’m not a fan of Sprint, I’m still using them, partially because while their customer service has been horrible, their coverage and network speeds have been fine, meaning that I’m almost never in need of customer service. But in order to use my Epic 4G I had to change my plan from the $30 SERO plan to a $40 SERO Premium plan with a $10 per month “premium data” surcharge, bringing my total to over $50 per month. I killed off my stand alone mobile data cards when this happened, but I’m still thinking of the future for phone and mobile data.

So I’m now considering Virgin Mobile; they have a $25/month no contract 300 minutes, unlimited data, unlimited SMS deal which would work fine for me. Unfortunately, none of their current phones are as nice as my Epic 4G and while they ride on the Sprint network none of their devices uses Sprint’s WiMax (self proclaimed 4G) data.

This bears more watching.

AT&T and T-Mobile announced that a deal has been struck to merge the second and fourth largest mobile phone providers in the nation into what would pass Verizon Wireless as the largest provider.

I believe this is really not the best thing for consumers in America. In fact, I think it’s awful.

In general more competition is a great thing, and while T-Mobile has had issues in the past keeping up with technology, in recent times their data networks have been doing better than much of the competition. In fact, their recent upgrades have made data access as fast or faster than the other providers, and T-Mobile has long had a reputation for low cost and industry leading customer service (when I was with T-Mobile I could vouch for both, and I must say it was worlds better than what I received from Sprint). My belief is that those strengths of T-Mobile will end up going away if the merger is approved.

Speaking of Sprint, on the first trading day after the merger announcement, Sprint’s stock was down 13.61% on the day.

Sadly, the losers in this merger appear to be consumers and Sprint.

As news of the horrific Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami spread, my first thoughts were of protecting my family here, followed immediately by my friends in Japan. Many people I know are either working or studying there and it was frightening to think of what could have happened to them with the tragic pictures and videos coming from the area.

Fortunately, all of my friends and family are safe. How did I find out, especially with so many issues with telephone communication there and here?

Interestingly, through social media.

Through Twitter and Facebook I found out relatively quickly that all of my contacts in Japan were faring well post earthquake (although we were worried for a few hours on one of our friends who had to walk many kilometers home and wasn’t able to let us know she was safe due to mobile phone issues).

On the flip side of the coin, my buddy Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd (world famous Apple II programmer) checked in on me via Twitter, leading me back to the Internet relay chat for the first time in ages (talk about some old school social networking).

I’m grateful that my friends were all safe and I hope that they continue to be. Social media made this into less of an ordeal than I thought it might be.

Recently Nokia, the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones, which has been stumbling in its smartphone efforts, announced that they have entered into an agreement with Microsoft which indicates that Nokia’s coming smartphones will be running, in large part, Windows Phone 7.

It seems to me that the wiser, if more conservative, decision would be to go with Google’s Android.

Windows Phone 7 has promise–although honestly, I believe that Microsoft can mess anything up–but I’m unconvinced this is the best way for Nokia to go. Both Nokia’s phones and Windows Phone 7 will be under scrutiny in this brave new effort. Best of luck to both of them but I fear this could be a disaster.


Giving on the Small Scale

A little while ago I discussed what kinds of causes I give money to–these are often causes my friends champion. But on a small scale, there are other things I give to that aren’t quite the same.

For example, recently one of my friends had a birthday so another friend used Chip In to have people well, chip in to try to get him an iPad. I think the effort ended up a bit short but it was quite interesting.

It does point out the same kind of thing that snowflaking money does: little amounts of money (this time from many different people) can create a large difference when taken together.

Much ado–including a certain amount on this blog–has been made of the iPhone on Verizon (which is due out any day). So it caught my eye–and I questioned quite a bit–when I saw the statement in the headline.

This was in a story.

As someone who uses an Android phone as well as an iOS iPad, I can believe that many if not most consider iOS more elegant. But 44% switching seems way out of line.

Of course, I could be wrong. We’ll see.


Virtualizing All Your Media

It’s possible not to own all of your media in physical form. In fact, it’s possible to own close to none of it, and to make what is owned virtual, as in electronic.

Ripping DVDs and CDs for movies and music is one way; using a subscription service such as Rdio is another. Reading everything online or in eBook format (such as on a Kindle) is a way to keep that media electronic. Using Netflix, Redbox, or a similar service to rent or stream video is another way to avoid owning physical media–and let’s not forget my old favorite the public library.

While I’m far from virtualizing all of my media, with books, music, and video, I’m very sold. I’m trying to keep the clutter–and the costs–down as much as possible.


Kindle Books Amaze

While I’ve messed a bit with the Kindle application on my various iOS and Mac devices–downloading some freebies and samples–I bought my first Kindle book this past week: a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual quick reference.

It downloaded almost instantly to my iPad. And my Android phone.

I’m sold on electronic books at this point–in fact, I don’t think I’ll be buying physical books anymore period. And right now, despite the beauty of iBooks, the Kindle seems to be the leader in this field. I am just amazed by it.


Is Apple All About Steve?

Apple, Inc. not only announced breathtaking, record breaking results this week–they also announced that co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs would be taking his third medical leave from the company since 2004.

Just how ill Jobs is is unknown, although he has not relinquished the title of CEO.

In the meantime, the stock slipped a bit–all of 2.25%–and then rebounded a bit–1.25%–before Wednesday morning.

While the health of Steve Jobs concerns me as both a stockholder and a fan of the company, I think the company’s recent track record when Jobs was out of action previously shows that Apple is not just about Steve.

I believe it’s important to give back to the community, not only do I donate money to my temple and the Aloha United Way as well as support some other causes my friends raise money for, I have a personal community service project. My personal project is to fix up people’s home computer networks.

Sometimes this involves a new router, other times it involves actually going to someone’s house to troubleshoot, but it’s what I do–without charge–to try to give back.

What do you do to give back to your community?

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