I Just Wanted To Give You My Money, T-Mobile…

T-mobile logoI’ve been in the market for a couple of smartphones. Specifically, one iPhone 6 Plus for myself and one iPhone 6 for my wife (and fellow GNC contributor) Jen. I was all set to purchase the new phones from T-Mobile earlier this week. But the utter failure of T-Mobile’s website lead me to buying from a competitor instead.

When I logged on to the T-Mobile site, I was immediately greeted with this message:

T-Mobile website browser warning

 

I was using the latest version of Safari on an iMac running the latest version of OS X. And yeah, I get it. Safari is often a bit of a thorn in the side of web developers. But, come on. It’s 2015. Macs are everywhere and many Mac users (including me) prefer to use Safari. Upon seeing this message, I knew I was in for trouble. But I carried on, anyway. I closed the browser warning message and clicked the “Shop” link at the top of the T-Mobile site.

From there, I selected a silver iPhone 6 Plus and continued on thru the rate-plan selection process, which went OK. Then, I went to add the second phone and that’s when the process started to fail. When the iPhone 6 screen loaded, it never gave me an option to buy the phone. I was stuck. I went back to my shopping cart to try and resume the process, and after much lag I was eventually given a “Processing Error” page that told me something had gone wrong, to wait a few minutes and try again.

So, I waited a few minutes and tried again with no luck. I waited a few more minutes and made another attempt. Still nothing. I’m not sure how many times I repeated this process before I started getting frustrated. I imagine at this point, most people would’ve given up. I guess I’m stricken with some sort of weird combination of patience and stubbornness. But, the thing is, I really wanted to buy these iPhones from T-Mobile.

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Messy Apple Divorce

I have a older friend that just upgraded from an iPhone 5 to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

The iPhone 5 was his second iPhone and he liked it well enough until the 7.1 update, which made certain interface elements too small. The incoming call screen contact photos were reduced from being large and easily recognizable to a tiny little hard-to-see thumbnail sized bubble. Also the 7.1 update caused a couple of his fitness apps to no longer function properly — opening one of them would make it necessary to reboot the phone every time it was run.

So, after seeing my Note 3, he decided it was time to move up to a bigger screen and the much better battery life offered by the Note 3.

AT&T ported his phone number over to the new device. All seemed well, until his relatives (a son and a couple of grand kids) that still had iPhones using iMessages could not text his new phone. It seems that there is a well-known problem that happens when a phone number is ported away from an iPhone where iMessages has been used for texting with other iPhones.

Doing a Google search for the problem reveals that there are plenty of people experiencing this problem. If you have an iPhone and used iMessages for texting and port the number to a non-iPhone, regardless of whether it’s another smartphone or even a flip phone, iMessages will capture any text messages sent from any other iPhone where iMessages is still in use.

There are a few work-arounds and perhaps a definitive fix. The other people with iPhones with iMessages enabled can go into their settings and disable iMessages and use regular texting, and their texts to the ported number will go through to the non-Apple phone. Another suggestion is for the user that has ported their number to the non-Apple device log in to their Apple account and remove the old device from their list of Apple devices.

The third way, which may be the definitive solution, is to text “help” to 48369. This generates a reply from Apple, to which you reply “stop.” According to someone who spent time on the phone with Apple support this is supposed to take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours to resolve the issue.

As people move away from iPhones that use iMessages to larger-screened smartphones because of diminished ability to read tiny print, this is likely to become a more widespread issue, which is useful to be aware of even if you are a die-hard iPhone fan and have no intention of switching.

HTC First Facebook Phone Flops – AT&T to Discontinue Smartphone

HTC First

HTC First

Not just a few days ago, AT&T dropped the price of the HTC First phone from $99 to 99 cents. Now – one month after its debut – AT&T has decided to discontinue the phone.

An undisclosed source said the HTC First will soon be discontinued and the remaining inventory will be returned. According to BGR, their source said AT&T sold fewer than 15,000 units nationwide. That was even after the phone was slashed in price.

Of course its hard to sell against the iPhone5 and Samsung Galaxy S4, which are the biggest products at AT&T right now.

There is no word whether HTC First will be scrapped altogether or find another market for the phone. ALthough with Facebook Home still struggling to even get downloaded on Android devices (Home just hit 1 million according to CNet), it looks like Facebook’s domination of the smartphone market will have to wait.

 

Frontline Airs Exposé on Cell Tower Deaths

Before you get too excited about the whole cellular radiation debate, which is mostly debunked by the way, this in-depth report was about tower workers falling to their deaths due to poor regulation of safety issues while climbing these monstrous metal towers (climbers are 10 times more likely to die than construction workers).  Frontline aired the show on PBS May 22nd and the entire episode is now available for streaming on their web site.

To nobody’s surprise all of the cell companies refused comment during the show.  In fact, we learned that virtually none of them have even been fined by OSHA for any of the accidents.  They are above responsibility thanks to layers of protection they have put between themselves and the actual contractors who do the dirty work.  Incidentally, many of those workers make around $10 per hour to climb hundreds of feet, mostly unprotected because that allows them to climb faster and get more jobs done.  One of the worst offenders turns out to be AT&T, who pushed hard for fast work to be done during their iPhone expansion.

While one retired AT&T executive did talk with the show, the other interviews are with contract companies and the actual workers.  You can watch chapter 1 of the episode in the embedded video below.  A word of warning – there are a few graphic images of bodies laying at the base of towers.

Watch Cell Tower Deaths on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

AT&T Taking A Shot At Ad-Supported Free Wi-Fi

For the price of watching an ad every 40 minutes, AT&T wants to give you free Wi-Fi (in the Dallas-Fort Worth Int'l Airport...for now)

AT&T is taking a shot at free, ad-supported Wi-Fi for travelers spending time at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Gigaom.com reported earlier this month that AT&T will provide free wireless network access starting in September of this year to the nearly 60 million travelers that pass through DFW each year that are willing to suffer a 30-second video ad for every 40 minutes of Wi-Fi usage.

According to Gigaom.com, the specifics of the deal are still a bit sketchy. The type of devices this service will be made available to will likely depend on whether the actual ad can be served to that device – for example, a laptop, smart phone, or tablet.

The question then becomes, as Gigaom.com proposes as well, if this is a successful venture for AT&T, then how could they leverage the strength of their existing Wi-Fi hotspot infrastructure across the country to build out this ad-supported network.

Personally, I would sit through a short ad every 40 minutes for free Wi-Fi. If the only other alternative is paying exorbitant rates to connect my laptop or device to the Internet, I would suffer a lot more advertising than that.

Also, think about this as an opportunity for advertisers – plenty of services and products would do well to reach thousands of people sitting in airport terminals. If managed right and fully scaled, AT&T could generate some significant ad revenue from this.

Image: Airport Terminal Computer from BigStock Photo

GNC-2012-03-22 #752 The Crud Strikes!

Hey folks have a serious case of the crud but the show must go on.. Probably better to listen to this one versus watch ;). Minor schedule changes on my Indy trip but a log going on here getting ready for the new quarter.

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GNC-2012-03-15 SHOW 750

Congrats to Kurt W, Laura V, Joe C, James A, for winning. (2x) iPad, (2x) Mac Mini, (3x) Apple TV, (2x) Roku, (2x) Google TV, (1x) Sony Bloggie Sport, (1x) iDAPT, (1x) Axis IP Cam! on our show 750 giveaway tonight! Big thank you to my wife and kids, and everyone else that has had to sacrifice for my twice weekly recording of GNC.

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GNC-2012-01-30 #738 The Voice

End of the month show, big Thank You to our sponsors and Thank You for supporting them. Starting to implement some hardware upgrades here in the studio we will see how they work out. If you have not checked it out yet be sure to listen to our live audio stream available 24/7 see sidebar links here on the website.

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GNC-2011-12-22 #731 Happy Holidays

I talk about the GoDaddy SOPA controversy in detail. I have a lot of fun on today’s show, and for those watching the video of the show I try out some new camera angles. We still need to raise about $2500.00 to meet our fund raising goals for our Support Staff. I hope you will help us out see the links at the bottom of the page.

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GNC-2011-12-01 #725 Foot in Mouth

Between the phone ringing, computers rebooting and me sticking my foot in my mouth 2-3 times I have a great show for you.. Back for one show here in Honolulu and off to Austin next week. Then home for Christmas and to prepare for CES 2012!

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