Unlimited Everything Plan

T-mobile Unlimited (sort-of) Everything Plan

 

Unlimited Everything Plan (sort-of)

T-mobile has some pretty impressive lines of service.  I’ve been a customer since Android hit the market and I can testify to that quality of service.  At one time it did offer a whopping 10 Terabytes of streaming data per month, but nothing is perfect (even for T-mo).  But is it truly unlimited data?

The data, T-mobile claims, is Unlimited (sort-of).  I really dislike putting that condition in but it’s worth noting that offering unlimited tethering has not been on the plate of any carrier in a very long time (if ever).   You do get Unlimited Talk, Text messaging, and Data on 2 lines. Each additional line is $40 and you get the same deal.  You get Unlimited Texting from the US, Unlimited Data in over 120 countries, and Unlimited Data on flights via GoGo.   What more could you ask for?

Unlimited Everything Plan Exception

What about Unlimited Tethering?

There are probably multiple good reasons that T-mobile has for not allowing unlimited Tethering.  The one I can think of first is abuse, but what about those who only ever use tethering for home purposes and never exceed more than 10 GB?  Sorry, the Unlimited Everything Plan has one limit, and that is Tethering at 5 GB LTE speeds per month.

A Good Deal

Yes, it is a a good deal.  I currently pay $70 per month for the unlimited everything plan.   I have 2 additional phones one at $30 and another at $10.  Each of these phones gets 1 GB of LTE speed data.  When I take this new plan I will get the first two phones for the same price, but the 2nd one will get unlimited data.    The 3rd phone doesn’t use much more than 250 MB per month, so it won’t need more data.

Conclusion

T-mobile is still breaking records and picking up customers left and right from its competitors.  And the only way to get ahead is to do something that the competition is unwilling to do.  But until data is either more accessible or deregulated, we may never see a “truly” unlimited data plan.  Until then, T-mobile has a pretty good deal and is certainly setting a new standard.

 

Amazon Fire TV Price Drop

Amazon Fire TV Price Drop

Amazon Fire TV Price Drop Coincidence?

On the same day that the Google Nexus Player arrives the Amazon Fire TV price drops.  Coincidence?

No, the Nexus Player won’t even get to you house until 3-4 weeks from now. In that time you could be enjoying a months-worth of content on Amazon.  But what does the Fire TV not do?

Play Google Movies.  And what does the Nexus Player not do?

Play Amazon movies.

So which do you choose?

Both of course.  Seeing that you already have a Roku 3 and an Apple TV.  Why not just add the full gambit and get each video source at each device.

Get Outta My Head: Stack Smart Light Bulb

stack-smart-light-bulb

The Stack Smart Light bulb is what the Nest is for home heating and cooling.  It is the first iteration in what might be the closest thing to the future of lighting.  It’s not just mood lighting, it’s algorithmic interactivity lighting, or a light that knows your habits.

So, it’s really here, the smart light bulb.  No other light bulb seems to compare or in reality should ever bear the name “Smart”.  I have to admit that I am curious to see it in action as I know how smart the Nest is.  So few tech items I’ve purchased have had an ROI of less than 12 months.  If the Stack bulbs is like the Nest, then it will be a good buy.

At present my home is completely populated by LED bulbs, I made the early decision to go that way when the last CFL exploded in the kitchen.  I promptly dropped the 2nd LED bulb that I purchased and rather than breaking, it just bounced on the floor.   I later tested this again on the concrete floor of the garage and got the same result.  All the pluses, none of the minuses and they last so much longer.

The Stack Smart bulb appears to promise much and such things always make me wary.  What I really want is fine control, not just automated.    And the Stack bulb needs to be controllable from outside source software, not proprietary crap like the Phillip’s Hue.  I need my Nest Thermostat, Dropcam, and Stack lights to work together, rather than on their own.  I need statistical information sent out to a server that I can see too (not merely through a website or app).  I doubt that this will be available in the earliest models (if ever).

As we move closer to the automated home there needs to be a way to unify all the devices, that does not require me to pay a subscription (except for support).   The Internet of Things is coming fast and needs a central control point that is free of the clutches of the manufacturer.

Otherwise, it’s a brilliant idea.

USB Type C

usb-3-type-c-final-render-640x353

USB Type C offers new Power

Ever since it’s inception, I’ve personally tracked the progress of the Universal Serial Bus (USB).  In the mid-1990’s I postulated about the idea of a SmartMedia Card being attached to a USB plug that could be connected to a computer for external storage (now called the USB thumb or flash drive). It has fascinated me how it could be possible to have a cable that could be so “universal”.  I appreciated the ideal and so the USB consortium has announced the latest in the line of products, USB Type C.

It’s pertinent to cover the history of USB to offer a level of perspective on what has been available and what USB has done to further connectivity.  In it’s earliest rendition USB 1.0 began in 1996 with a decent throughput rate of between 1.5 and 12 Mbps.  In 2000, USB was upgraded to 2.0 ranging throughput between 280 and 480 Mbps.  And more recently with USB 3.0 the throughput was upgraded yet again to 4 Gbps.  As recently as January 2013, that throughput is capable of 10 Gbps.

Many people are aware of the power capacity of USB.  Most mobile phones use USB as a power source as it serves both to charge portable electronics and offers a data connection.  That connection is much smaller than the original standard A-Type USB plug , but they both still part of the standard. Which brings me to the latest USB type C

USB Type C resembles  Type B, which most mobile phones use, but C has some new quirks and features.  Currently Type B is non-reversible, whereas Type C is.  Also, Type C will support the massive data throughput and power capacity that all prior types do not.

What does this mean for you?

The current maximum power available on USB 2.0 (common) is 2.5 W, on USB 3.0 (less common) 4.5 W.  On the latest revision USB 3.1 (not yet released) it will be 100 W.  This means that you can charge much larger devices or hopefully gain access to more power, more quickly.  No longer will it take hours to charge your phone or tablet, but possibly minutes.

But another advantage of the new standard is that larger devices like laptops will be able to use USB to run or charge.  USB will act as a standard power cable type.  Some laptops have a power brick that offers 65 W, but others go as high as 90 W.  USB 3.1 will offer data and power simultaneously potentially cutting down on the wide assortment of power bricks and incompatibility.

 Conclusion

After having monitored the USB market over the years I am grateful to see these advancements.  It shows that the ideal is practical and applicable.  People really do use USB and each iteration is progressively better allowing for more use.  There are several other cable types that have been tried and are still used, but none so universal as the one which uses that word in its name.

Rather than generate a whole new standard, USB remains mostly the same and untied to any one corporation.   I’ve yet to see a Firewire or Thunderbolt power adapter for an electrical socket, but I’ve seen many versions that offer USB.   I look forward to the next iteration and the mass of potential uses it affords.

Dropcam Tabs: Get Outta My Head

dropcam tabs

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a GOMH, but this one is a biggie.  Dropcam Tabs are pretty cool.  They literally allow you to keep track of everything you own.

About the size of a stick of gum, the Tabs have several sensors built-in along with a long-lasting coin-cell battery (expected life 2 years).  These sensors include an accelerometer for sensing when things begin to move or when they stop.  There is a vibration sensor for when things shake or break.

The uses for such a device would seem to be limitless and via the video below, Dropcam gets us started.  Suggestions like the entry doors of your home, and possibly your yard.  Windows are another possibility too, but what I find to be a good use goes further.  I’d use mine to tell me when the washer and dryer have stopped, not merely for when it’s time to change the clothes, but how long each cycle lasts.  I’d like to know how many times in a day that the refrigerator door gets opened or what’s going on in the house when our pet bird flips out.  I want to know when the mailbox gets a mouthful,  and when any of our vehicles arrive or leave.

In the second flagship model that Dropcam announced, the Dropcam Pro, there is installed a Bluetooth antenna.  This antenna can connect via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to the Dropcam Tabs.   The range of BLE is roughly 100 feet neglecting walls and other obstacles.

Currently the limit for Tabs per Dropcam Pro is eight, but that’s only per Dropcam Pro.  I can imagine a world where the sensors are smaller, last longer or are powered by heat / vibration.  Where nearly everything has a sensor and my home becomes a data producing unit.  Now, I just have to wait for Dropcam or someone else to develop a heat sensor and I can plot the temperature delta across the whole house.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The price of each of these beauties is only $29, so eight of them would set you back about the same price as another Dropcam Pro.  The age of the in-home sensor is upon us and Dropcam Tabs are leading the way.

Source:  Dropcam