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A WiFi Question

If you could connect to a good mobile WiFi signal in the area you live 75% of the time and the other 25% of the time it would revert to 3G/4G how much would that be worth to you?

This is just what a subsidiary of Bandwidth.com; Republic Wireless asked a group of beta testers a few months ago.  Yes, I be one of them.   This is not a plug for Republic Wireless but just some ramblings and observations of an Geezer Geek.

One of my first observations is that there has been a few companies following in RW footsteps, not copies of their business plan but alternatives to the more traditional plans that you can get with the big cellular companies (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint).  Its worth to note that most of these start-ups are purchasing their bandwidth from Sprint.  So kudos to Sprint for this.

These new start-ups are called: A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). MVNO is a mobile operator that does not own its own spectrum and usually does not have its own network infrastructure. Instead, MVNO’s have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators to buy minutes of use (MOU) for sale to their own customers.

Republic Wireless: 

Headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, republic wireless is an innovative new carrier spearheading a wireless freedom movement to return value and control of the smartphone experience to our members. Leveraging the power of the Internet and an engaged community of users, republic wireless offers unlimited voice, text, and data service for only $19 per month, with no contract.

republic wireless is a division of Bandwidth.com, whose network and solutions also power other innovative communication services such as Google, Pinger, Skype, Groupme, RingCentral, Phonebooth, and many others.
http://republicwireless.com

Ting.Com:

Ting’s premise is that it offers customers more choice with their plans, an even reimburses them for unused minutes – something no other wireless provider can claim.

Ting’s services run on Sprint’s 3G CDMA and 4G WiMAX networks, though Ting is not owned by Sprint. Customers can choose from plans that start at a mere $3 per month for 100 voice minutes, and can add text and data packages that also start at $3 per month. If you go over your allotted minutes, Ting will just bump you up into the next tier instead of charging overages.

http://ting.com

 Voyager Mobile

Newcomer (and MVNO on Sprint’s network) Voyager Mobile is teasing a “frequent talker program” that will give all kinds of perks for the more talkative among us: call your Aunt Ruth a lot and you’ll get phone upgrades, free months of service and smaller nice-to-haves like air mileage and gift cards. That’s helped by Voyager starting off at $19 a month for unlimited voice, although picking a smartphone in the early catalog will hike that to a still rather thrifty $39 for all-unlimited voice, text and WiMAX data.
http://voyagermobile.com 

FON

Fon is the world’s first global WiFi network built by people like you. We think of it as crowdsourced WiFi. As a member of the Fon community, you agree to share a little bit of your WiFi at home, and get free roaming at Fon Spots worldwide in return. Sharing WiFi with Fon is safe and secure, and you won’t even notice when others are connected because Fon only uses a tiny portion of your bandwidth.

Fon has over six million Fon Spots across the globe. Imagine enjoying videos, movies and games at WiFi speeds while you’re away from home – for free!
http://fon.com 

If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional mobile carrier, you may want to keep your eye on the above ventures as well as new ones as they come along as I’m sure they will.  For one I hope that the days of being held hostage by the Big-4 are coming to a close.

Posted by Rob Truman - May 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Categories: All, Android, Mobile, WiFi   Tags:

Wireless User Bill of Rights

This is an article written by David Pouge, the full article is at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=down-with-double-data-fees

This addresses just about every issue that most of us have a problem with when it comes to the big wireless companies.  Its for this reason I have switched to Republic Wireless.

Please share this with everyone.

Down with Double Data Fees!

And other proclamations that should be in a cell phone user’s Bill of Rights

By David Pogue  | Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | 8

 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Lifestyle, establish Fairness, ensure blood pressure Tranquility, provide for the common Text Messager, promote less Outrage and secure Cell phone Service that’s anywhere near as good as it is in Other Countries, do ordain and establish this Cellular Bill of Rights.

Article 1. The Subsidy Repayment must end Sometime.
The carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint) provide to us very inexpensive phones. We love getting a $650 iPhone 4S for $200!

But we get that handsome price only when we agree to a two-year contract. In other words, we’re paying off the real price over two years of payments. The carriers are subsidizing the phones.

Which is a good system. Yet what happens once the subsidy has been repaid? After the two-year period, we’re paying only for the service. Our monthly payment should therefore drop automatically.

Article 2. We need not Voicemail Instructions.
When we leave a voicemail, we hear a greeting—then instructions. “To page this person, press 4. To leave a callback number, press 5. When you have finished recording, you may hang up.”

The carriers say these instructions exist for the benefit of those who have never used voicemail (assuming they exist). The real reason for the instructions is, of course, to eat up our airtime and charge us more money. Verizon alone has 108 million customers. If they reach those infuriating messages twice a business day, they wind up paying Verizon about
$1 billion a year.

Those pointless instructions should be optional.

Article 3. Text Messages being only Data, the Carriers should make them less Expensive.
We can send all the e-mail we want, with no per-message charge—­but we’re still paying 20 cents for each text message. At that rate (20 cents per 160 characters), that’s nearly $1,500 a megabyte.

Even if we sign up for unlimited texting, we’re still paying way too much. Text messages should be included with our data plans.

Article 4. The People should decide how to Use the Data they’ve Bought.
We can pay extra for tethering so that a laptop can get online wirelessly using our phone’s data connection. It’s great for anyone not in a Wi-Fi hotspot.

But we’re already paying for a data plan. Why can’t we use the data any way we want? Verizon’s iPad plan has the right idea: you buy the data you need, and you can then tether several devices (via Wi-Fi) to get them online, too. It should work the same way with phone plans.

Article 5. We shall not be Double-Billed.
When a person calls a friend, the carriers charge both of them. A 10-minute call costs 20 minutes. Isn’t that called double billing?

Same thing with text messages. When I send you a text message, we’re each charged for one message. How is that fair? In Europe, only the sender or the recipient pays. That’s fair.

Article 6. International Calls should cost much Less.
The carriers still charge us $2 or $5 a minute to make cell phone calls when we’re out of the country. Hear me now, carrier people, we live in the age of Skype, iChat and Google Talk. We can make free calls from anywhere to anywhere on the Internet. How can you justify $5 a minute?

Listen: last year AT&T and Verizon alone made $14 billion in profits. How about sending us fewer bills for service—and more Bills of Rights?

This article was published in print as “Down with Double Data Fees!”

Posted by Rob Truman - May 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Categories: All, Mobile   Tags:

Best Of

Following are some very useful links if your looking for some software.

       
       

Join the Forum discussion on this post

Posted by Rob Truman - May 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Categories: All, Android, Articles, Mobile, Software, Windows, WordPress, WWW   Tags:

What If You Had WiFi Everywhere!

For us SmartPhone Junkies, that is the perfect world, especially if the WiFi is FREE.  I have noticed that there has been some rumbling in the Wireless World of late.  Starting to see some business models that are contrary to AT&T and Verizon’s stance.

Here are some of the more popular ones that are hitting the airwaves:

 


 

Republic Wireless-  Geek Rating:    

http://republicwireless.com

Headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, republic wireless is an innovative new carrier spearheading a wireless freedom movement to return value and control of the smartphone experience to our members. Leveraging the power of the Internet and an engaged community of users, republic wireless offers unlimited voice, text, and data service for only $19 per month, with no contract.

republic wireless is a division of Bandwidth.com, whose network and solutions also power other innovative communication services such as Google, Pinger, Skype, Groupme, RingCentral, Phonebooth, and many others.

Ting- Geek Rating:   

http://ting.com

Ting has a pretty different approach to pricing than the major providers. Minutes, messages, and megabytes are each billed separately. If customers use less of any than they have paid for, they are credited at the end of the month. If they use more, they are billed the appropriate additional amount, without penalties or premiums.

 

Fon- Geek Rating:   

http://fon.com

Global community Wi-Fi provider Fon has surpassed 6 million Wi-Fi hotspots. Fon added 2 million hotspots in 2011 and predicts over 50 percent growth this year. Partners use Fon to differentiate their services by allowing customers to share in Fon’s global Wi-Fi network, where users can share a small portion of their unused bandwidth in exchange for free Wi-Fi at any Fon hotspot in the world.

Posted by Rob Truman - May 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Categories: All, Articles, Featured, Mobile   Tags:

Cutting The Cord – Part 1

I canceled my Cox Cable TV around a month ago, and I don’t really miss it.  I just received my first bill from Cox, and I was happy to see that my bill decreased by almost 50% ($70).  I must admit that there are some channels I do miss being able to receive, but for the most part I have found that I have more content selection now that I had before.

This and the following installments will outline and discuss what I did, how it was set up and lessons learned.

Why…

This is the first question you must ask yourself.  You will give up some convenience of having just one source of content.  For most the savings in money is enough to make many consider this option, it was for me.

I realized that I was spending a lot of money each month and I was only watching a fraction of the channels that I was paying for.  If my cable of satellite company offered ala carte programing I would probably still be with them.  But then they wouldn’t have the justification to charge me the exorbitant fees for providing me hundreds of channels.

If you decide to go down this road, its important to have your family buy-in, especially the SAF (Spouse Agreement Factor).

Other than money, the big factor for me was being able to watch what I wanted when I wanted or more commonly refered to as On-Demand programing.  The Internet is full of content and most of it is free depending on your viewing habits.

Is This Right For Me?

This is the biggest decision you will need to make.  It is based on your viewing habits and will you be able to get the same content or suitable alternatives to what you are viewing currently.  Sports is the area that may cause you some concern, as there is not an abundant of sports programming on the Internet.

For me, as Im not a die hard sports enthusiast, the sports I get via Over-The-Air or local channels suits my viewing requirements.

Watching The Internet On Your TV

In my opinion this is going to be the hot topic of 2011.  There are already tons of ways to accomplish this; Network Ready TV’s, Set-Top Boxes, and Game Consoles.  Your choice may depend again on your viewing habits.  I would recommend you look at the various services available and then make your selection on the device that provides you the best content.  Below are some content providers that I have looked at and found fairly robust.

These are just a few of the ones I personally like.  You may want to check out Clicker.com.  This site is not a provider of content but a directory of what sites are hosting what content.


Part 1 |  Part 2 |  Part 3

Posted by Rob Truman - April 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

Categories: All, Featured, IPTV, Tutorial   Tags:

Evernote vs. OneNote

Now that Microsoft has gotten around to seeing the value of supporting Android, I thought I would re-evaluate my decision of using Evernote.

The bottom line for me is that Microsoft has lost too much ground in this space by not utilizing SkyDrive and OneNote itself.  One of the real aspects of Evernote I find myself using more than I ever thought I would is the ability to send voice recordings from my phone straight to EverNote.  This is still one feature that has not been addressed by Microsoft as yet.  Yes, still playing catch-up.  Android AppStorm has a good article on the OneNote Android app which we have a link to in our Google+ Feed.

UPDATE:  EverNote has updated their Android app to include Speech 2 TxT.  I had been doing this by calling my Google Voice number and having it forward to my EverNote email.  EverNote has now included this using Google Speech2Text technology (Surprised ?).  Now in EverNote you can do a voice recording and it will automatically convert your recording to text and post to EverNote.

Not much of a decision for me, but everyone needs to make their own call.  I would recommend you take a look at the EverNote Trunk.  This is the area on their website that lists all of the 3rd party addons.  Some pretty neat stuff.

Posted by Rob Truman - April 7, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Categories: All, Featured, Software, Web   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Think It – Print It

3D Printing?

I saw this clip today and wanted to pass it along. There is also a clip on CNN that you can get a home version for around $1300. In short: If you can think it, you can print it.

Just watch the video and be amazed.

[youtube_sc url=http://youtu.be/jQ-aWFYT_SU]

Posted by Rob Truman - March 31, 2012 at 9:01 am

Categories: All, Articles, WWW   Tags:

TPN Show

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Posted by Rob Truman - March 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Categories: All, Articles, Training   Tags:

WordPress Hosting

A short blurb on WordPress and some of your options when it comes to Hosting.

What Is WordPress?

“WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPL. It is the official successor of b2/cafelog. WordPress is fresh software, but its roots and development go back to 2001. It is a mature and stable product. We hope by focusing on web standards and user experience we can create a tool different from anything else out there.”

Click For WordPress News

Why WordPress-

In our opinion, WordPress is one of if not the best open source Content Management Systems (CMS)  available.  You may have noticed that I revered to WP as a CMS, that’s because WP with its hundreds of active developers and plug-in library has evolved into more of a CMS than just a blogging platform.


WordPress.org, WordPress.com, or ?

WordPress.com: This is the free site place.  Though you may feel like you need to read no further, here is the downside.  Yes, the price is right, but you may find that you are very limited on the themes that you have available along with the plug-ins.  If what they provide works  for you then you will have a very low maintenance site.  The upside with the dot com sites is they always have the latest updates and you will have little to do but add content.

WordPress.org: WordPress.Org is the open source side of the project.  This is for people who want to self host on their own servers or a shared hosting environment.  The upside is that you will have full control over your site, can add whatever theme or plug-in you would like.  Where some shy away is that they don’t want to invest the time required to learn the program to successfully have a solid web presence.

This is the option we have choosen due to the flexibility it provides, but then this is our business.

TruPressNet.com: What we are able to offer is the best of both worlds.  We will install and maintain your site to be sure it has the latest updates, plus we can offer you the flexibility you may need when it comes to custom themes and plug-ins.

Posted by Rob Truman - February 12, 2012 at 9:59 am

Categories: All, WordPress   Tags: , , , , , , ,

WIFI Smart Phone – At Last!

It has finally arrived, someone with the cajones to take on the big 3 wireless carriers. A Smartphone (Android) with No Contracts, Unlimited Everything, for $19 a month.
I remember back when Google was bringing out the Nexus.  Many of us were hoping that Google was going to take on the traditional wireless carriers and roll out something innovational.  I not sure what, maybe unlocked phones, VOIP, etc.  Republic Wireless has taken up the banner in the name of Freedom and has rolled out an android phone that does just that.

 Republic Wireless is a subsidiarity of BroadBand.Com and on November 8th they rolled out their new concept of what a smartphone service should be.  Currently they are only offering 1 phone (LG Optimum), which is anything but high end.  But the premises of the plan is headed in the right direction.  So here is how I see that direction.

Republic has developed a technology that when the phone is in an WiFi covered area, it will place all Data/Voice/SMS requests using WiFi.  When you are not in a WiFi covered area it will fall back to cellular – All For $19 A Month

On Nov. 8th, they opened their doors and sold out of inventory within 12 hours, with more promised.  What this proved to me is that they have definitely hit on a niche.  Republic is the first to mention that this type of service is not for everyone, and if you live and work in an area that is covered with WiFi this will work better that if you are in an area without as much WiFi saturation.
Before you discount this idea, take a moment to think about how much of your life is spent within WiFi coverage.  Now with the new Ford’s containing an built in MiFi, the space that you are outside of WiFi is getting smaller and smaller.
If any of this sound interesting then you can read more on the company site, and sign up for their next batch of phones.  I hope that they succeed in their efforts as we can never have enough innovation or competition in this arena.

Posted by Rob Truman - November 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Categories: All, Android, Featured, Mobile   Tags: , , , , , ,

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