Unlimited Tablets and Free Data For Life

free data for life 02

Free Data for Life

With a title like that, you’re probably asking about the catch, but there really isn’t one.  T-mobile is quite serious about its offerings and they mean to stay that way.  Now, with Free Data for Life on as many tablets as you want, the deals are only getting better.  It’s as if T-mobile sees a problem with the market and rather than try to spin a solution, they simply fix it.

No Contracts

The first great thing that T-mobile did in this championing for the people, is to eliminated service plan contracts.  They went to a system where the only contract is that you pay for the hardware at cost (over time).  Regardless of which company you go with, everyone pays for the hardware, but for every other mobile provider the final bill is the full 2 years. To leave T-mobile, you only need to pay off the phones.

Which leads me something  pretty cool about T-mobile.  You should not pay for the phone up-front.  All device loans or Equipment Installment Plans (EIP) are “at cost”, no interest. Whether you pay for it immediately or over time, you pay the same amount.

Unlimited Data

The second great thing about T-mobile is the dedication to Unlimited Data.  At no time, even prior to my having become a customer in 2008, have they ever cut off the data stream. Although they market it as X number of Gigabytes of 4G LTE data, the data does not stop once you hit that level. It merely reduces down to 2G or 3G speeds and continues. There’s no harsh fee for overages, because you can’t go over unlimited.

Free Data For Life

And finally, the Free Data For Life.  Every now and then T-mobile will do promotions where they offer a free Tablet and free data for life.  You do at least need to pay the taxes on the “free” tablet, but they’re not joking about the free data.  You will however get only 200 MB per month (It could be as much as 500 MB).  And to boot, there is no cap on the number of tablets.

If you want 10 tablets with 200 MBs of 4G LTE, you can get them all free date for life.  Or if you just happen to need 25 tablets with 200 MB of 4G LTE, but you don’t use them for 12 months, you’ll get 60 GB with all that roll-over data.  Yes, if you don’t remember to use all 200 MB of data, then you will keep it for up to 12 months.

AndroidStuffs

The key factor here is the “Free Data For Life”, but simple fact that T-mobile will willing to offer unlimited tablets with that data and roll over, causes one to wonder.

Caller ID Spoofing: Journey through the Un-phone

 

Caller ID Spoofing is no fun for the Owner or Recipient

Jokes and pranks are all fun and games until you are on the receiving end.  Some people can take a joke, but when it’s a joke that involves their business, livelihood, or their lifeline to the world, then it’s no laughing matter.   Lately, Caller ID Spoofing has become the domain of scams and debt-collectors. And both the owners of the numbers and recipients of these calls are getting shafted.

It’s always someone else’s problem until it’s your problem and recently it became mine. In Mid October of 2015 I noticed that I couldn’t make any calls from my cellphone.  Every number that I dialed returned the Routing Error message of three ascending tones and the response, “The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service, please recheck the number and dial again.”  Every single number that I dialed had the same response and it was getting very annoying. GoogleVoice

I finally narrowed the problem down to the call forwarding service (Google Voice) that I had been using for many years.  Apparently, when I tried to dial out with the forwarding service, the system needed a valid carrier connection.  That connection had been labeled as a spammy number by another phone company and so when I was dialing every call was being blocked.  After a great deal of testing, both with apps, the phone, and another cellphone, I resigned to using a VoIP app (Google Hangouts) to make all my calls.  This was not ideal, but it could work.

The answer to my issue came the following day when I received a call FROM MY CELLPHONE.  My cell number called my Google Voice number — of all the weird things to happen — and I realized what I needed to do. I called my carrier and had them give me a brand new number.  (Recently where I live a new area code had been set because of the population increase.)  This new number had never belonged to anyone and would be free of the issues that prior numbers usually had.

Immediately I could call out again, the problem had been resolved.  I only spent about 4 hours with Google and with my carrier to resolve this issue, and fortunately I have a forwarding number, so that I can change my carrier number without much hassle.   But for all the other people who do not use Google Voice or some forwarding service, when they get a spoofed number they have less immediate recourse.

As technology improves and we see more that a tool can be used both by regular citizens as well as criminals, we will need to become more vigilant in our design as well as use.  Telecommunications have drastically changed our society and we need to respect that change as we move into the future.  Legislation is only one way to resolve these issues, right thinking and acting will help curb the misuse of such tools.

 

Smartwatch or Not-so-Smart watch

 

LG Watch Urbane Smartwatch

There are currently two types of Smartwatches available in the world, those that must connect to a phone and those that are independent. The latter is not nearly as common, which would include it’s own data and calling plan, but it is still a possibility.  Maybe most people do not want this stand-alone functionality, but should we want it at all?

The screen on the Smartwatch is quite small, even the Apple Watch isn’t much of a screen. And with the move toward larger screen in Smartphones, it’s a wonder how the world is interested in the tiny face of a Smartwatch.

Calculator WatchI wore a watch as a kid, and I certainly yearned for the possibility of a Maxwell Smart or Dick Tracy wrist-communicator.  I had a calculator watch in middle school and it was pretty chic in the geek circles that I ran in.  But it was a far dream to have the functionality available today in a Smartwatch. Still, I would not conceive of the Smartphone ideal for another decade.

It is my impression that the Smartwatch market is yet just another intrigue of the Tech Industry.  Many of us gave up our watches (myself included) when we purchased our first Apple Smartwatch mobile (cell) phone.  Only those who sought the elegance of jewelry or retained the business formality of the US East Coast, seem seek a clock on the wrist.

This is what I believe has happened in the presentation of the Smartwatch today, that we’re only barely scratching the surface of what can be or rather should be expected from a wrist-worn computer.  Where the Smartphone has become a pocket computer that happens to be able to offer the time and phone calls, it is in fact a pocketable computer. The Smartwatch that is tethered to your Smartphone is little more than a trinket or extension of that pocket computer.  Could it yet be the primary device or are we fooling ourselves into believing that it is anything other than a fancy time-piece?

Samsung Gear S SmartwatchThe Samsung Gear S and the LG Watch Urbane both have WiFi, although the Gear S goes a bit further offering 4G connectivity.  Both can operate at a distance that is greater than the limit of Bluetooth. However, the Gear S can operate at any distance from your phone as it is effectively a phone unto itself. But in being capable of separation from a Smartphone, or run alone, it is itself weak.

As the Smartphone is to it’s functional predecessor the laptop computer, so the Smartwatch is lacking not only in power, but battery-life and ease-of-interface. One automatically reaches the conclusion that the Smartwatch should not and in fact likely is not designed to be a stand-alone device.

Agent Smith SmartwatchIt might appear that someone has replaced the author of Get Outta My Head, with an impostor, by the assertions made in the prior paragraph.  But I assure you nothing could be further from the truth.  I want the Smartwatch to be capable of all that a desktop or laptop, but even the greatest of current technology does not appear to be able to prove such a fantasy.    To quote a famous  character from a science-fiction movie, “Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world.” (Agent Smith, The Matrix)  I agree with Agent Smith in saying that we lack the technical capacity to create a Smartwatch that rivals a laptop or desktop.  And that, for now, we should not try to act like we have one.

The Smartwatch is cool, no doubt, but until an interface comes along that does not require a tiny touch screen, I think that it should remain a watch (with benefits).

 

19 Strangers Sent Me The Same Text Message Simultaneously

On the morning of Sunday, January 4th 2015, 19 strangers sent me the same text message simultaneously.   It read “Congratulations, you are one lucky customer getting a credit applicable to your next month bill, for more details visit [Shortened URL]”

Logically this is impossible, it is of course a bot that is spoofing ( or that has pilfered) these phone numbers.  But I found it interesting because I use Google Hangouts as my SMS app.  Previously, the SMS app on my smartphone would have looked at this message and left 19 separate messages with the same text.  Google looks at groups messages a bit differently.

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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?

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