Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

ATT and the iPhone

Monday, July 25th, 2011

It is amazing how businesses stay in business these days.
Take AT&T for example. Now I am sure that there are many that will take an opposing position to what I have to say here, but that is to be expected. But since it is my blog, I get to say what is on my mind…
Having just moved from the City of Tracy to the City of Pleasanton, I have run into a number of difficulties. I could write pages on the trials and tribulations of a moving a small family to a new town and a home that is one half the size of the previous home, (one that has no garage or storage)…but I will not.
I will talk about AT&T, in particular AT&T cellular service. You see, in my new (old) home I am lucky to get one bar on my iPhone 3GS. My 2 year contract expires in 6 months, and you can pretty much bet that I am switching providers. I have never really liked the locked down nature of the iPhone and certainly have no use for bloatware that is iTunes. But not being able to take or make calls at my house is just too much. But, ATT has a solution. (I am paying for unlimited data and calling, I have a rather large bill every month –but that is to be expected when you need the phone for work.) The solution is what is called a microcell. This is available to subscribers who have AT&T internet at their home, along with an AT&T phone if the coverage at their home renders their phones unusable. The problem is that AT&T used to provide these microcells free of charge –or so I have read, and now they want me to pay $200 for one. Now, here is where I see the logic…they figure if you are committed enough to buy the unit, you will stay with AT&T when your contract expires. What they have not counted on is how pissed off folks will be when they stop to consider what they are being asked…For the record, I have been with AT&T for better than 10 years –all unlimited data and calling plans. So now that I have moved, in order to actually receive what I am already paying for, I am being asked to buy another piece of equipment. I do not know if this is because they do not believe me when I say that I have a paperweight when I am at my home or not, because according to their map I should be in a “good” reception zone.
Regardless of their reasoning, here is what has turned me off of AT&T.
-Their attitude that I can just piss off…for one…in other words, that they do not really care about “me” as a customer. (Maybe because I have been w them for 10 years, they figure that I will not leave?)
-Their attitude towards their supposedly “unlimited” data plan. You see, to me, unlimited data means just that…unlimited. They no longer offer an unlimited data plan for new subscribers, but since I have been paying for unlimited data since the day I got the iPhone, I supposedly get to keep it. But here is the rub…you cannot use your phone as a tethering device. So unlimited data is limited to the iPhone ONLY. Even if tethering means that your laptop or tablet must go through your iPhone, it is not considered valid under their plan. I realize that other providers offer data plans for their cell phones, and that you must purchase a data plan for this, but they do not call their plans unlimited data plans unless they are truly unlimited. If you jailbreak your iPhone, you can get access to using your phone as a tethering device, and even newer iPhones have tethering in the settings menu, but again, a different plan must be purchased to “legally” tether under their plan.
-Poor signals and dropped calls: Everyone who has AT&T and an iPhone knows exactly what I am talking about. If you have an iPhone through AT&T, it is expected that many calls will simply be terminated for no apparent reason. The poor signal issue discussed here is just me at my home, and is so bad that I went and installed Skype, and I even got a Skype phone number so that I can send and receive calls at my house…I was and am not interested in forking over another $20-$30 month for a dedicated line that will rarely be used. –Or “should” rarely be used since we live on our cell phones.
-Poor support: I have not received a voice message indication on my phone in over a month. Now if I miss a call, I have to dial and hold down the “1” button in order to see if I have messages. To further compound the issue, none of these messages have a time stamp with them, so I have no idea when a message may have been left if I haven’t checked messages in a while…Phone support failed to turn up any help, as the problem persists. I have been told that I should stop by an AT&T store to get a new sim card, but just need to find the time.
-In typical iPhone fashion, I cannot upgrade the phone. I cannot install apps because they say that I need a certain version of firmware on my phone, but like I stated, I cannot upgrade my phone, so therefore I must forgo some frequently used applications. Sort of a quandary.

If only the next 6 months fly by quickly. I can live with this for the time being I suppose. I just need to remember to press and hold the #1 in order to see if I have voicemessages…
The new Droid phones are looking really nice. I like the idea of the Bionic, but it is made by Motorola –who have apparently pissed off many Droid fans by locking down their phones, which means that Motorola is off the table for me…not that I plan to root the phone or anything, but if a company is going to mimic Apple, then I will not consider them.
There is the Samsung galaxy S2 that is rumored to be coming stateside –and is likely the one that I will go with. Of course, I will change carriers, so I am hopeful that Verizon is able to pick up this phone as well. If not, there is always the HTC, which I have liked since the EVO…

Which brings up early cancellation fees. I understand that as of today, I would have to pay a $90 fee, and since the phone that I most want is not yet available, there is no need to break my contract just yet. Just my desire to stick it to AT&T in my own small way by switching carriers. Which I guess will have to wait for now.

Anyway, that is all for now. No actual resolution just yet, just venting.

newbe with the iPhone

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Just a quick blurb to get this off my chest. I recently changed jobs and had to get a new phone…Dropped a Blackberry pearl for an iPhone 3GS. Love the iPhone, but simply hate the way some of it’s features are implemented. I mean, what is it with iTunes? Is it even possible to come up with a more UN-intuitive system for putting music/files/applications on your phone? I purchased bejeweled-2 the same day that I picked up the phone, and before I had even setup iTunes on a computer was enjoying the game. I get home, setup iTunes, and select music to put on my phone, and only a few days later head off to Japan for training with the new company, and a new laptop. Install iTunes on the new laptop so that I can get more apps and d/l some podcasts, and find that I risk erasing all my music if I sync my music. Ok, I unselect sync for my music. BUT I do have some language lessons on my laptop that I would like to get on my iPhone, but there is basically NO way to do this that I can find. I will have to wait to get back to the US and to my home PC so that I do not lose the music that I presently have installed. How lame. Of course, there might be a way to get around this, but just describing it took me this long, so I cannot imagine how I would search for this. What little searching I did do, turned up having to d/l a text editor and finding certain lines to make changes, but that was to address a similar though from what I could tell, not exactly the same issue that I am faced with. Not sure why I cannot just drag and drop my music wherever I want.
Then there is the issue with APPS. I lost bejeweled when I downloaded several apps off the net while here in Japan, but I lost Bejeweled!!! the only APP that I have actually purchased -and not through iTunes! I went back to purchase Bejeweled with the hope that the store would recognize my phone and user ID, but no, they wanted to charge me again for this APP. Now the new apps that I downloaded while in Japan will be gone when I sync back at home -how lame -again!!! I purchased this game directly from the phone over wi-fi, so fail to see why it would be wiped from my phone during a sync.
Then the issue of getting images onto the iPhone that were not taken with the iPhone. Again, why no drag and drop?
Enough of the rant. I hope that over time I can figure out this complicated POS that has so many strengths at the same time. The APPS rock, but the portability w/r/t to traveling with a laptop or separate laptops is poorly implemented.

SEO rambling

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

I believe that I have mentioned in previous posts that I have retained the services of a company that specializes in SEO –search engine optimization. The company name is Visible.net, and the nice thing about this outfit is that they are there whenever I need them. Meaning, when I call them during work hours, I have had at least a 95% hit rate when it comes to getting a person to actually speak with. Unfortunately, having a day job means that not only do I not have the time to call during normal work hours, but I find that I have trouble thinking of intelligent questions to ask of them when I do. I mean, I do have one question…when are sales going to increase? –in case you are wondering, yes, I have asked them this very question –earlier today in fact.

Having recently installed Google Analytics, I am now able to track hits to my site in a far more comprehensive manner than using the Yahoo! based site tools that come with hosting through Yahoo!. I can even view the location of visitors to my site. Things are so slow right now; I have the time to look at every single hit. Visible.net is supposed to help me with getting my web page to show up on web searches for any number of things…from men’s boxer briefs, to men’s cotton underwear. One thing is painfully clear to me. Traffic is not getting to my site. I would venture to say that I have a fairly encouraging “sale to unique visitor” ratio of maybe between 1% and 5%. But with some days only having a single site hit (unique visitor), or worse, none…it is hard to generate sales. I have taken to selling on ebay with seriously discounted pricing levels from now until Christmas. Profitability is extremely low, but I am really hoping that folks buy and if they like what they see, they return. There is where my confidence is high. –as mentioned in a previous entry, the sizing is the only area where I have some reservations, and that is easily overcome…just order a size larger…

I have also gone and joined MySpace, as well as Facebook. MySpace seems better suited to promoting XOvergear.com than Facebook, But that might have more to do with my complete lack of familiarity with both. Visit me at Facebook…under the name of Xover Gear. I am not sure how to search…but if you are familiar and reading this, it may be a simple thing. Suggestions are always welcome.

Just to be clear, my efforts mentioned above are targeted at SEO. As much as I like the folks at Visible.net, after 4 months I have not seen any improvement in site visits. Anytime that I see a spike in visits, I can pretty much trace it back to a particular event that I did on my own. eBay is a perfect example. I have posted some product for sale on eBay in which I have posted a link to my xovergear.com site for additional sizing information, -this realized a rather quick increase in site activity.
I know that I also need to work on my social bookmarking. Some sites that come to mind include the following that I have or am in the process of joining…technorati.com, delicious.com, flickr.com, partnerup.com…as well as some that I am hoping I get started with soon, including, twitter.com, dmoz.com, etc… I am sure that there are more, but I am guessing that using what I’ve already signed up for might help me the most. I have started searching for forums on entrepreneurship, and starting a business, but have had limited success. I did find a discussion forum on MySpace forums, but I have not had time to read through much of it.

Tell you what, I sure wish that I knew how to work with sites like Facebook and MySpace, and even wordpress –which is what I use for my blog. I want to improve the appearance of all three, but find you need to know code, not to mention the complete lack of an intuitive building structure. I have attempted some things on MySpace with very (extremely limited) success. Same goes for wordpress. You are reading my blog now.

I wonder if using MSN homepage and their blog page would be helpful? I am guessing that it may not be worth my time, especially considering the issues I have with what I am currently engaged.

Anyway, getting late and I gotta run…
“keep the rubber side down: