Earlier this year there was a popular story on tech news sites regarding a man in California that sued AT&T over his throttling of data usage. Yes, I live in California. No, I was not that man. This man was under contract with AT&T with an unlimited data plan, which I also have and have been grandfathered into since purchasing the iPhone 3G. According to the articles, the data throttling occurred somewhere between 1.5 – 2 GB data usage each month. This $30 unlimited plan is the same price new customers can sign up for and receive 3 GB of data. There’s an obvious disconnect when the same price for an “unlimited” plan gets a customer less data than a “limited” plan. Depending on what you read and where, this man was using upwards of 10 GB per month.
Anyway, it got me to thinking what he was doing each month that required so much data and how much data I could reasonable use by pushing the envelope a little bit. The results are puny in comparison. Let’s level set the criteria I used. First, my goal was NOT to do everything in my power to get to 10 GB of data usage. I wanted to get as close as possible to 3 GB though. The test occurred during the months of March and April. During the month of March I left WiFi enabled, but increased my usage of streaming music sites like Pandora and TuneIn Radio, even watched a few YouTube videos. During the Month of April I disabled WiFi, only using it on a couple of occasions when there was a large number of app updates, usually in the 8 – 10 range. If there were less than that I didn’t turn on WiFi.
During March I sent/received 1.04 GB (picture below on right). During April I sent/received approximately 2.08 (picture below on left), double the amount sent/received during March. This is still 1 GB under the fictionary limit set by AT&T for unlimited plans… and yet this man that sued AT&T was using an additional 4 times that amount. I have to venture a guess that this man never connects to a WiFi hotspot, streams music constantly, or watches a lot of videos on the iPhone. Either way, my 2 month test is now over. There are no plans to attempt to go any higher than the 2 GB used last month. When it comes down to it, I like the security of having the unlimited plan in the event I have a bad month or, worse, a hiccup with the phone causes my data usage to skyrocket withouth my knowledge. I also plan to go back to using WiFi. Just because I have access to the AT&T network doesn’t mean I have to use it when a better connection is available, which my home network definitely is.
There you have it. Enjoy.
This will be the final update on the iPhone 4S order as AT&T finally delivered on the order placed over 3 weeks ago. To make sure everyone understands my frustration with this whole process, I want to make a few things clear. I wasn’t frustrated at the simple fact that I was going to have to wait a long time to receive the phone. If I was told the wait would be 21-28 days from the order date, I probably wouldn’t have placed the order. But I did place the order because I was told it would take approximately 7 days. It wasn’t until after accepting the terms and conditions of the order that the delivery date was extended to 21-28 days. Then AT&T refused to let me cancel the order, which was somewhat of a slap in the face. Was I being unreasonably?
On Sunday night, shortly after posting the third status update, I submitted a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This is the second time I used the BBB due to what I felt was improper business practice. To my surprise Tuesday turned into a big day. Tuesday morning the AT&T website noted the order was fulfilled and the phones were being delivered the next day… from Texas of all places. This got me wondering as all previous Apple product orders started in China. Later Tuesday morning I received an email forwarded from my brother. It was an email from the AT&T Office of the President. He apologized for the inconvenience and noted the phones were being delivered. He also left us a voice-mail on the home phone.
At first I was wondering if this was just a coincidence, but then I remembered there’s no such thing as coincidences. Well, at least that’s what Gibbs has taught me on NCIS. My brother and I went back and forth on whether to push things a little bit with AT&T. Specifically because it shouldn’t take a complaint with the BBB to have a company acknowledge a problem in their treatment of a customer, but we decided to just let this one go for now.
So my new iPhone is now patiently waiting for me at home. In the immortal words of Bart Scott… Can’t Wait!
If you left me a voice-mail at some point since July 20th… I didn’t get it until today. Out of nowhere my voice-mail box filled up with 35 messages. Not sure if this is an AT&T or iPhone problem, but it’s quite annoying, especially since a couple of them were related to craigslist.com sales. I even convinced my dad he didn’t leave a message a week or so ago, which he apparently did. Ugh.
iPhone, check. iPad, check. Headphones, oops. This is going to be a long day/flight to Alabama.
And why is it I always get a middle seat with Continental Airlines?
This is the type of post I think about writing almost every day, but never wind up getting it posted because time just doesn’t seem to be aplenty these days. What type of post am I talking about? The type that results from something I heard during the day and just thought it was so off the wall it would be good to write about. Well, here I am in an Indiana hotel just north of Louisville with little to do but work, watch TV, and surf the net. So here goes…
Earlier today a co-worker brought up this ridiculous stat that 20 some odd MLB baseball players have a college degree. At first I thought he was exaggerating, maybe he meant 20% or 20 per team. So, I did as I always seem to do lately, I got on my iPhone and Googled it. Wow! 26! That’s it. But it’s actually worse than that. That total includes managers in MLB. No kidding, check out this Wall Street Journal article here. That’s just sad. There’s a part of me that understands, there are a lot of players that come out of the Dominican Republic at a very young age. But 26! Ugh. What can I say?!
On another note, I was just watching/listening to ESPN E:60 and they had a piece on Chris Cooley. Some may know him as a player on the Redskins, but most of you know him as the starting TE on the Konmen. Well, he apparently has this website that gets 20k hits per day where he does all sorts of goofy stuff. Goofy wins in my book, even if the Redskins can’t. Anyway, I figured I’d check it out sometime and link to it here. Pretty cool for a guy that doesn’t get a lot of press or make a name for himself by yelling “me, me, me” like a lot of the receivers in the NFL.
Over the past few days I’ve come across a few topics in the browser war category. To start, last night I downloaded the new version of Safari (for Mac). At first I was impressed with the new “Top Sites” functionality. It uses a similar concept to Cover Flow in iTunes to show the top sites the user visits. After that, there wasn’t much that it did beyond what I already get from Firefox. One thing I did notice was that it’s a memory hog. With 5 tabs open Safari was using just under 600 MB RAM. I quit Safari and opened Firefox, my usual web browser, opened the same 5 sites and noticed it was using less the 200 MB RAM. That’s a big difference. Safari still doesn’t have extension capability, which is another downfall. Although it’s installed on my Mac, it get’s about as much use from me as IE does when I’m using Windows.
And then, earlier today, I read this and got a good chuckle. Apparently Microsoft is proposing an option to the European Union to sell Windows 7 without Internet Explorer because of antitrust regulations there. This raises the question, how does one surf the net without a browser installed with the OS? Constumers would have to use a second computer, download a browser, transfer it to the new computer using a CD or flash drive, then install. Sounds backwards to me but, then again, it does seem the European Union is taking this a bit far. IE is no longer the lone browser and anyone that uses their computer even the slightest bit knows there are other browsers available that are better than IE. Even with Safari and IE installed during the default installation on my computer, I still use Firefox for both Windows and Mac.
A few side notes, WordPress v 2.8 was released last night and updated on this site today. If you follow me on Twitter or over on the right side of the blog, you probably knew that already. The best part was updating the site from the admin panel using my iPhone. It’s a luxery, I know, but still fun to talk about. Speaking of Twitter, it has recently moved ahead of Facebook on my online priority list, both are still way behing the website.
Today, I saw an elderly man fall in a crosswalk, so I jumped off my bike to help. As I helped him across, the light turned on. At that point I noticed my phone had fallen out of my picket in the street and was run over by several cars. I then watched across a 6 lane street as someone stole my bike.
Ok, this really didn’t happen to me, but it apparently did happen to someone else! I found this new web site that’s been giving me a few laughes all day. Check it out, it’s called FMyLife.com. And if you happen to have an iPhone or iPod Touch there’s an app to give you a laugh during the day when things are getting frustrating.
It has come to my attention that the blog hasn’t been updated by me in two weeks. Apparently the last blog doesn’t count since I wasn’t the one who wrote it. Personally, I think I should take some credit for it as I wrote the opening paragraph and posted the entry, but apparently I’m the only one that thinks that way.
There is some news that comes with this post. A little over a week ago I verbally accepted an offer of employment with a firm in the Los Angeles / Orange County area. I received a formal offer last week and accepted by signing the offer letter and returning it on Friday. My first day of employment will be October 1st. The name of the firm will remain private until I put some time in, but I will note the firm provides public accounting and consulting services as it’s primary business. The only downside to the job itself is its location. It took an hour to get there for my interview, leaving at 8 AM. I’m hoping that’s the extent of it or I might find myself driving my life away, which isn’t what I want. Then again, I could just find a place to live closer to the office, which would put me in the Newport Beach area. I hear there’s good eye candy there.
Depending on what side of the air mattress I wake up on, this is good news or bad news. The good news being I will now have some positive cash flow, which hasn’t been the case since June. The bad news is September 30th will be the last day of a 10-1/2 month vacation. I tried, as much as reasonable possible, to treat this as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Chances are I won’t get the chance to get a 6+ month paid vacation (in the form of a severance) again. I was able to take various vacations during the first 6 months or so, which are outlined in a previous post here. The last few months, with no money coming in, I spent time relaxing, moving to LA and getting to know the area.
As a present to myself for gaining employment, I bought an iPhone on Saturday. The phone has met my expectations so far with no complaints. I like having the phone, iPod, and internet all in one device with me at all times. Although it would have probably been a good idea to wait until actually getting paid, I decided it was worth the risk. I don’t think the same thing will happen this go round as it did after I accepted an offer back in June.
I always sit down with the expectation of writing a short post and it almost never turns out that way. Oh well. Enjoy!
It’s been a rough couple of days for my gadgets. I’d made plans to leave LA Wednesday morning and arrive in Denver late Thursday, with an overnight stop somewhere in between. Things didn’t get started as I’d hoped. My present for waking up in the morning was a dead cell phone. A few tries to reboot and removing the battery didn’t work. After checking in at the Verizon store my only options were to either sign a new contract to get a new phone relatively cheap or buy a phone at the retail price. Since I’ve been looking to switch over to AT&T I didn’t want to sign a new 2 year contract and paying $200+ retail for a phone is just ridiculous at this point, unless it’s an iPhone. So, there I went over to the AT&T store where I signed up for a 2 year contract, but no iPhone yet. The deal comes with a 30 day return policy. Here’s hoping the new version of the iPhone comes out by June 19 so I can exchange the phone I bought.
That’s not the end of it. On Thursday morning as I was getting ready to leave St. George, UT, where I had spent the night, the cigarette lighter no longer worked. Now, this wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t need the power to run my GPS and iPod. Let’s just say the 11 hours it took to get from St. George to Denver wasn’t pretty as I had only 3 CD’s worth of music to listen to… over and over and over again. I was able to turn the GPS on and off every hour or so to get the battery to last until Denver. Not that it’s very hard to get here once you’re out of the LA area.
So, I’ve been up for a few hours now and nothing else seems to be broken. But, as my brother was so nice to remind me, these things come in 3′s. Anyone want to take a guess at what gadget is going to break next?
During the month of December the connection to my wireless router was dropping multiple times per day, which usually means the router is going bad. That’s not surprising considering they usually only last a year or two. Well, early last week, the router died. As a result, I did some research and decided to buy the Apple Airport Extreme ($180), which has a USB port for connecting an external hard drive or printer. The main reason I wanted to hook up the external hard drive to the router is to be able to back up my data wirelessly, but Time Machine doesn’t work so well with a wireless external hard drive. So, I decided to go with the wireless printer option. On top of that, I bought a new 500 GB external hard drive last month for $140 to go with the new Mac OS, specifically to take advantage of Time Machine.
Why am I telling you this? Well, yesterday, Apple introduced a new product called Time Capsule, which is both a wireless router and hard drive. Lets do the math. During the past month I’ve paid $320 for a wireless router and external hard drive. The 500 GB Time Capsule, which is set to be available in February, will cost $300. It would have cost less to by a single product. How often does that happen? That sucks! On top of everything, Time Capsule would allow for Time Machine to backup wirelessly, which as I noted earlier doesn’t work so well when hooked up the external hard drive wirelessly.
There’s a reason I love technology, but sometimes I wish technology would be available when I need it, not just after I need it. Maybe I should sue Apple. I’m sure they knew this was coming out when I purchased the wireless router last week. I mean, if people actually bring lawsuits against Apple for lowering their prices shortly after the iPhone was brought to market, I’m sure there’s a lawyer out there willing to hear me out. Of course, I’m just kidding about that. It’s just my way of complaining about all the idiots out there that sue when things don’t go their way. Me, I just add a post to the blog .