Posts Tagged att

The Best Cell For Your Money

Speaking of CricKet, sometimes people ask me what the best cell phone company is. To which I answer, “it depends.” If you want the latest high-end smartphones (I do) you’ll need to pony up for a contract with Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T (in order of my carrier preference at this point). If you’re okay with a lower-end phone that still works perfectly well, you have more options. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

T-Mobile Rocket 3.0

So today, after dropping by the Colorado Mills Which Wich, I picked up a T-Mobile webConnect Rocket 3.0 (or ZTE MF683, if you’re going by device manufacturer and model number) , currently the only 42Mbps HSPA+ device available in the US. I’ll be writing a full review of the device, along with a head-to-head comparison versus T-Mobile’s original webConnect Rocket, here. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Looking back on today’s communications outage

UPDATE 4: Added a Kerrville Daily Times link for a new article on how 911 is handled. Lots of good information there.

UPDATE 3: Added another news source. Swamped by homework so tweets will have to wait, but other than those I think I’ve got all the online info on the outage linked from here.

UPDATE 2: Added another couple of news sources, corrected one of my usual typos…some how I forgot to add a “not” into the paragraph about Wal-Mart taking credit card transactions. Sorry for the confusion. Also modified information based on an article from the Fredericksburg Standard Radio-Post. The link below takes you to the subscriber-only version of the article; the non-subscriber snippet just makes the paper look bad (very little info).

UPDATE: Added some more news articles, (still) working on collecting all tweets about the incident, revised some information for accuracy (originally wasn’t sure about CricKet and Pocket, but they too were taken down by the outage…DSL was also apparently iffy in Kerrville).

Granted, I wasn’t in the area when it happened, but since I have plenty of family and friends down there I’m certainly going to talk about it! Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If the iPad can do this stuff, I’ll buy it

So the 3G version of the iPad (announced Wednesday) is still three months away, but I already have some expectations that, if met, would cause me to fork over $630 for the sucker…these expectations are realistic technology-wise, though I’m pretty sure they would require a jailbreak to get working…

1. SIP VoIP, over 3G and WiFi, with Bluetooth and in the background
I’ve successfully run phone calls over AT&T’s HSPA network, so assuming the processor on the iPad is “all that” this shouldn’t be difficult. If I can get a SIP client that connects to a Bluetooth headset and allows other applications “up front” without killing voice quality then I’ve got a very versatile system for nformation gathering while “on the phone.” This is particularly useful when you see my other requests below:

2. Full-fledged RDP, SSH and VNC clients…and either GoToMyPC or LogMeIn if at all possible
The iPad can be an excellent remote access tool; its screen has enough resolution to run any modern OS without having to scroll around. Add in the keyboard accessory and you’ve got a lovely little remote terminal that works anywhere AT&T has service (I’m talking about the 3G version here). Or any other non-AWS GSM or 3G carrier for that matter; the device is unlocked. SSH would be a godsend for doing command line heavy lifting, though you’d need a host to SSH to in this case (not a big deal for me). Even nicer, all of the above will likely be available for the iPad as App Store apps; no jailbreaking required.

3. A high-quality PDF viewer
I want a PDF viewer that can search and copy text, preferably at least as good as Preview. Yes, Preview can be outdone with PDFs…it’s not the most compatible piece of PDF reader in the world unfortunately. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

My experience with GVTC

So I’m headed down to South Padre Island for some downtime with the family before Christmas. We made a pit stop at the Flagstop CafĂ© and my mom noticed that there was a big sign in the window advertising the availability of WiFi.

So naturally I pulled out my HTC Touch Pro, which has WiFi, to see what network they were running on. After registering for an account on the hotspot provider (Less Networks, never heard of them) I checked to see who I was on. Sure enough, the connection there was GVTC, registered as “Guadalupe Valley Telephone”. Right before we pulled out of the place I opened up my laptop, logged into the WiFi network that way and did some tests. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Force 3G on a Sierra Wireless aircard on a Mac…here’s how

So I bought an AT&T data plan earlier today. SIM-only, no contract. Pretty cool, since their less-than-a-month-old 3G network around here is still pretty speedy. I didn’t need an aircard as I purchased a Sierra Wireless USBConnect 881 back during the days of “unlimited” GoPhone data for $20. The card lay dormant after “unlimited” became 100MB (big difference) but today it meant the difference between signing a contract (aka not getting service) and not signing one.

One problem arose when I got home: my aircard kept switching to EDGE during the middle of a data session. Not a good thing for a $60 + taxes and fees data plan. So I needed to force 3G on the card. The problem there was that only the Windows Sierra and AT&T clients allow forced 3G. So (not knowing that settings are stored on the modem and thus once I set 3G-only on my Windows computer it would be 3G-only on my Mac) I scrounged around and found this page. I followed those instructions and was able to make sure my aircard was 3G-only.

If you don’t want to read through a (relatively short) page on how to kick your aircard into high gear, you’re in luck. Here’s what you’d do on a Mac to force-3G a Sierra aircard. Note that this procedure was performed on OS X 10.6.1 and with the Apple “native” driver installed (a tiny download from here). This is also with the latest modem firmware, which I had to use the Sierra driver (vs. the native one) to upgrade to.

  1. Go to Terminal (Applications > Utilities)
  2. Type in screen /dev/tty.wwanCMD 115200 and hit enter.
  3. Type in AT!band? and hit enter.
  4. If you see the number 02, you’re already locked into 3G-only mode. Otherwise, type in AT!band=02 and hit enter to set the mode. If you wanted to go 2G-only, the code would be 04 instead of 02. AUtoselect is 00.

Hope this helps! Now I’m cooking along with 2-3 bars of signal (-87 dBm right now) and pulling down these speeds:

Though connection quality is quite a bit more variable than Sprint’s (slower, particularly on uploads) connection at my place…

In comparison, SPrint usually pulls down 1.3 Mbps down, 300-500 kbps up and gets a B on connection quality.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Re: The Case Against Apple

So Jason Calacanis wrote a newsletter/blog post yesterday about how Apple is becoming big, bad, evil, etc. He had some questions at the end. I emailed him my thoughts, but they probably won’t get published that way. So here they are, in reworked form.

Preliminary Notes

Verizon doesn’t use SIM cards. Neither does Sprint. While I think it’d be awesome to see a dual-radio network-agnostic iPhone (like the Blackberry Storm and some new HTC units) I don’t foresee that happening. As for a dual CDMA radio setup that would “bond” two networks together for fast downloads, not gonna happen. The engineering and billing logistics just don’t work out. The best that’ll realistically happen is either an LTE iPhone (I doubt it’ll come out for WiMAX unfortunately) or *possibly* an iPhone “world phone” with CDMA and GSM/HSPA a la the Blackberry Storm if Verizon gets the new exclusive.

Now that that’s off my, and Mike Rundle’s, chest…

Q: Do you think Apple would be more, or less, successful if they adopted a more open strategy (i.e. allowing other MP3 players in iTunes)?

A: At worst, they’d be just as successful. They might be forced to compete a little more on features, especially on the Mac side (where there’s no Windows Media Player and thus no simple way to sync music with a non-iTunes-supported player). However the influx of people using third-party devices on iTunes would make up for any people who might pick a $30 other-brand MP3 player over Apple’s own. Not like those people would buy an iPod in the first place…

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,