I hate having a land line

I must be one of the last people in America that still sports a land line and I hate it.  Land lines used to be a necessity in the age before cell phones were prevalent and affordable.  These days its almost silly to have one but I still do because its necessary for some of the services that I use from my community.  In this crazy world, my community can’t afford to make a call to my cell phone for the gate guard to let people in and if I want to take advantage of the free alarm monitoring it requires a physical land line.  So if I don’t care about visitors or people breaking into my home, I have to keep the land line.

The biggest downside to having a land line is all the robo calling during election year, the calls from people asking me for money, and telemarketers trying to sell me shit.  I guess it doesn’t matter really that I’m on the “Do Not Call” list, they keep on calling anyway and its a little annoying.  I don’t even answer the phone 90% of the time unless I am expecting someone to come to the house and even then its timed so I have a general idea on when to answer the phone.

Right now my phone is ringing and I have no intention of answering it.  If its really that important, they can leave a message and I’ll call them back.  Oh, there goes the answering machine but no one is leaving a message!  I guess it really wasn’t all that important and they’ll just bother me again with another annoying call.  I crave the ability to get rid of my land line, but I have to wait a little longer until technology catches up with some of the services I consume.  Seriously, I even have a land line phone at work and I’m never at the office.  My company could probably save a ton of money giving up land lines and just switching everyone to cell phones.  There is also this weird thing called the Internet that allows voice calls over IP services like Skype and what not.  Plenty of my clients use them but also insist on providing a real phone number.  I mean come on, its time to move away from the silliness of old tech and embrace the new.

My cousin is a good example.  He uses a Google Voice number and just buys a data plan for his phone.  He uses nothing but VoIP for everything.  Sure its semi inconvenient when you’re in a place with shitty data service but most of the time you can piggy back on a corporate wifi network and be just fine.  I have decent internet here at home and I’m actually using T-Mobile over Wifi which makes the calls seem a bit better since T-Mobile is a bit spotty depending on where I’m sitting at the time.  I guess I’ll keep on suffering with my land line, I even hate paying for it because its so useless to me except for 2 important things that I refuse to pay extra money for since its already included in my HOA fee.

Should I Pick T-Mobile?

The new iPhones have been announced and I probably won’t pick up one for myself personally but I am thinking of switching services from AT&T to T-Mobile.  I’m on one of those grandfathered unlimited data plans but the amount of money I spend for 3 lines is pretty expensive even with my corporate discount.  T-Mobile has some good plans including ones with unlimited data out now and the plans are cheaper full price than my current plan.

My current worry is that I need to give over 3 smart phones so I can get T-Mobile to pay for my contract cancellation fees.  I do have that many old smart phones but I don’t want to give them up since I do have some uses for them.  Also I’m a little worried about the speed I’ll get when I travel on their LTE network.  I’m ok with what I get with AT&T for coverage and speed but the pricing is starting to kill me the more I think about it.  I’ll do more research into this before I make any big decisions.  Once I leave AT&T I won’t have my unlimited data plan nor could I go back if I don’t like T-Mobile.  I’ll ask my father how he likes it since he just did the switch.

In the mean time I have to get ready to pre-order my iPhone for work.  That should be fun considering how early in the morning I’ll have to be up (3am).  The things I do for the latest tech.

No Internet is Semi Liberating

I just got back from an awesome resort in Vermont called The Tyler Place thats about 3 miles from the Canadian border.  I discovered this resort when I was looking for a place to spend a week away with my family that included everything like food and activities.  I knew going into it that internet might be spotty but I almost had a total lack of connectivity since I was so close to Canada and kept on picking up signals from Rogers, Telus, and Bell instead of my normal AT&T.  I saw that there was wifi but I didn’t know that it would be fairly limited to their main building (there are numerous cotteges at the resort and I don’t know if they have wifi).  I also took a side trip to Montreal and I didn’t have any internet there because the hotel I was staying in had really bad wifi conectivity.

Not having a good connection was both frustrating but also a good thing.  It was frustrating since I was trying to upload my pictures to Google and iCloud.  I took a lot of pictures with my iPhone and I wanted to make sure everything was backed up.  I also needed to download some additional books that I kept on Box so that I would have something to read when I wasn’t out and about doing activities.  I also wanted to get some of my email but that wasn’t happening on a consistent basis unless I was at the Inn but judging by the pictures I took it was actually worth being outdoors all the time and enjoying nature.

The liberating aspect of not having good internet is that I wasn’t able to be on my phone as much as I wanted so I pretty much ignored my phone except to take pictures of things.  I think thats what actually made my vacation aweome, the fact that I was uable to be connected through the internet all the time and answering all the different dings and alarms that come with owning a smart phone and tablet.  There’s defnitely something to be said of just going out doors and enjoying whats around you and the fact that I was with my family to do all these things made it all the better.

I might do something like that again at another resort or if I travel outside of the country.  The only time I really missed having internet access is when I need my GPS or Google to look up things like where can I get some snacks or how can I get to the nearest subway station to get back to my hotel.  In those instances thats where being connected online would be useful.

The absolute best part though about not always being connected?  I can’t receive any work related emails or messages during my vacation. 🙂

NY Metro Internet BOOO

I’ve been traveling to the NY Metro area for quite some time now this year and I can say that universally my Internet connection has been pretty disappointing. I have two iPhones on AT&T and a Verizon 4G Mifi and both services have been pretty bad. I will admit that Verizon has better service but it’s not that much better. I characterize better service at this point with an ability to just connect to the Internet at any speed. In my little cave at work my AT&T connection just doesn’t work at all and my Verizon mifi can only be on 3G or else it drops like crazy.

Lately the large networks have been becoming even more stingy with their data plans by offering data share plans (I’m looking at you AT&T and Verizon) which has perceived saving but only if you don’t use a lot of data. I’m a data hog and use around 3gb a month on average. Spring and T-Mobile are still offering unlimited data which I think is pretty awesome. If they have huge LTE networks in the next year or so I might have to consider switching. It won’t matter much to my wife since she’s always at home and all the networks are decent here. It will matter more to me because I travel so much.

I personally think it doesn’t matter what network you’re on when you’re in NY. There are just way too many people in a really small area trying to get online. I can actually see a difference between trying to use my iPhone at 6am and at 12pm. One way that NY is trying to deal with this is to use old phone booths that don’t have phones anymore and making them into wireless hotspots. Now if these hotspots are free that would be awesome but I don’t think they will be. I guess I’ll just have to suffer for the next year with crappy Internet. Maybe the Doubletree will finally get wifi so I can enjoy my Netflix on my iPad while I travel.

iOS or Android for Work hmmmm…..

It’s been almost a year since I’ve been back at work at my old company and surprisingly I’m eligible for a phone upgrade. I currently use a myTouch 4G for work and it’s running android and for my personal phone I’m running an iPhone 4S. Now that my upgrade is almost due, I have some hard decisions to make. Do I continue with tmobile and get an upgrade every year or do I go with AT&T or Verizon and wait two years for my upgrade. So far I’m a little torn since I’m not exactly all that thrilled with tmobile service but on the other hand do I really care about the service since its my work phone?

I’m also wondering if I should get another iPhone (this time in white so I can tell the difference between the phones) or if I should try and get another android phone that’s using ice cream sandwich (I know, the names of the OS releases are kind of silly). Currently tmobile doesn’t have a phone that runs ice cream sandwich at the moment, I think it might come out soon but I don’t know though. I’m pretty careful about what I do on my work phone, I don’t put any apps and stuff on it really and keep it pretty plain because I have my iPhone to use for all my fun stuff or I whip out the iPad instead. The biggest reason people state to get android is to root the thing but I can’t do that because then I can’t get my work email. I don’t know if I particularly want a huge phone either, the myTouch seems to be just about right, these other phones with the huge screen seem like overkill. Whatever happened to making smaller and smaller phones that were easy to carry around? I remember buying a Motorola StarTac because it was smaller than my original cell phone.

The thing that really holds me back is the upgrade schedule. I don’t know if I want to wait two years to upgrade my phone. On the other hand it would be pretty cool to have another iPhone that I can use for work and load all the apps that I’ve already purchased. I guess I’ll have to see what’s offered by tmobile in the month of February. I don’t think they’ll offer the iPhone but there might be an android device that’s worth getting to replace the myTouch.

AT&T Data Caps SUCK

I was reading my Google Reader feed on my iPad last night when I came across an article that says that AT&T is going to start putting data caps on people that subscribe to their home DSL.  The suggested cap I think is 250GB which is pretty generous by any means but I still don’t like the idea of a cap.  AT&T has instituted caps on mobile data already and that stinks.  I got around it by signing up early with an unlimited data plan but there won’t be any way for me to avoid the data cap on my home DSL account since it affects everyone.

AT&T uses speed as the way to charge people for DSL and not how much data is consumed.  If this is going to be the approach, they should still allow unlimited data.  Most of what they tout is that if you can’t get decent data speeds on your mobile device, you can always use Wifi at home but wait, we’re going to cap you there just so we can get our two cents if you end up going the limits we’re going to impose on your account.  If there are caps, then by gosh, make us all super fast so we can eat up data at a greater rate so I’m only paying for data and not speed anymore.

Something really needs to be done about this at some point.  Data is really not all that expensive and where are all my taxes going to improve the infrastructure?  I see it on my DSL bill every month that some part of my payment goes to expanding the infrastructure to rural areas, I think most rural areas are pretty well covered by now, the only question now is capacity.  It’s not my fault that telecom and cable companies failed to anticipate the growth of the internet and the onset of online video.  Any fool with half a brain who lives in the tech age knows that most of what we’re going to consume is online.  I’d like to see what businesses are going to start being charged.  There are MASSIVE amounts of data going through corporate pipes and all of them are served by one of the telecom companies or multiple telecom companies to ensure that data is flowing freely.  I think its time to introduce regulation again for the internet because this is just killing me having to pay for data which I need to get things in my life accomplished and not having enough data to get it all done.

If I had another choice besides Verizon or Comcast, I might take it but there isn’t any other choice besides the big 3 down here in South Florida.  I tried my old ISP Earthlink but they only offer 56K dial up and Satellite.  I’ll struggle on until I get pissed enough to switch and then I’ll switch services every few months to get the best rate.  Charging as much as they do for capped internet is GARBAGE!

myTouch 4G Ordered

As part of my new job comes a new phone.  Well I didn’t HAVE to get a new phone, I chose to get a new phone.  Even though I’m still in consulting, I’m trying more and more to separate my work and my life.  Doing so comes with some sacrifices and one of them is carrying a separate phone for work.  My company is very security conscious so I had the choice of either un–jailbreaking my phone or getting one just for work.  I chose the latter since I like jailbreaking my iPhone.  Doing this also gave me 2 rare opportunities that a lot of people don’t get with their jobs

1) I get to buy a new phone that is running Android which I have wanted to try out (using the SDK on my computer just isn’t the same)

2) I get to see how tMobile’s service is in my area and when traveling since AT&T stinks!

I went to a tMobile store a while ago just to give a test drive and I was impressed with how the phone worked compared to my iPhone.  I know that the new Honeycomb OS is going to be released soon and I’m hoping that HTC is good enough to provide an update to the phone firmware.  Since this is a work only phone, I won’t be going crazy with the app downloads if any at all.  I won’t be burning minutes like I used to when I was with my old company because I couldn’t expense a company phone easily, and I won’t have big brother having the ability to see the data on my phone.  The downside is that I have to use groupware to view my calendar and email so the native functions on the phone won’t be of much use.  I’ll still do some personal stuff on the phone just as a test and to see if I want one in the future but I wouldn’t count on me switching from AT&T or getting the iPhone 5.  I just submitted the order yesterday so I’m eagerly awaiting the phone, I’m hoping that they do free overnight shipping or something so I can have it by Friday before I have to head out to a client for work.

I guess I need to read up on how Android is different from my iPhone and learn to manage/carry both devices.  Woohoo new tech gadget for me!