Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Google Voice now available without an invite

Feed: Boy Genius Report
Posted on: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 1:35 PM
Author: Michael Bettiol
Subject: Google Voice now available without an invite

Screen shot 2010-06-22 at 10.06.12 AM
Wave wasn't the only Google service to be opened up to the public this week, as Google has now lifted its invite only restriction on its popular Google Voice service. It's still only available to residents of the United States, but now the only thing standing between you and: free calls, free SMS messages (to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada), voice mail transcripts, and having one number for all of your phones is logging into with your Google account and picking out a number.Read

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

FW: Dear AT&T, your new data plans suck.

good breakdown by BGR.  forgot to approve this post fwd earlier...oops.

as many of you may have known I have been carrying two devices for some time now, iPhone 3G and my BlackBerry Bold 9700.  However, the iPhone didn't have a SIM card in it so it was essentially an iPod Touch.  since i was highly demanding of them I decided I would probably be interested in purchasing service for the iPhone, but figured mine as well wait and see if the next generation iPhone was released in June as it was highly speculated.  however, what i didn't predict was the announcement of these tiered data plans and that they'd go into effect before the new iPhone was released.  

since i wasn't at all interested in having an iPhone with a limited data plan i went forward with purchasing a 3GS before June 7th.  part of the fine print is that if you're an existing customer with an unlimited data plan you can move forward with that plan being grandfathered even if you upgrade your phone. i.e. 3GS to i4.  when the 3GS was announced and released last year apple/att offered an upgrade from the 3G to type-s to anyone that had purchased it within 45 days (or a discounted price if you preferred).  predicting this would happen again--in similar fashion, i proceeded in order to secure a plan with unlimited data.  i'm not a huge fan of being an immediate adopter of any iPhone because i'll have wait for a jailbreak to be figured out and for all those applications to be updated and/or compatibility verified.  i guess it'll happen eventually.  for now, who knows how soon i'll even be able to exchange for the i4 with the ridiculous amount of pre-orders that have taken place.

Feed: Boy Genius Report

AT&T's new data plans certainly have gotten their fair share of press over the last couple days. There are two articles in particular that got us thinking, and we would like to throw our two cents into the ring. So here are our thoughts: AT&T, your improved data plans suck. Hit the jump for the rest of our rant.
It's not because there is a lower data cap on the new plans… we can get our heads around that. We don't like it, but we understand it — unfortunately, it is the way things are moving. However, the way in which AT&T is going to charge smartphone users for the data they use is just dismal. The fact that using 2 GB of data while signed up for the 200 MB Data Plus plan will result in a bill of $150, while using 2 GB with the Data Pro plan will only total $25 is infuriating…and a mathematical/accounting anomaly. Reuters reporter, Felix Salmon, asked AT&T's executive director of media relations, Mark Siegel:
F.S.: "Is there any point at which AT&T will help a brother out and automatically switch a heavy data user from Data Plus to Data Pro."
M.S.: "No."
So lets review the math…
New AT&T Data Plan
Siegel went onto say, "One of the things we found is that people don't want one plan. They don't want one size that fits all." Which we totally agree with, but when your options are 200 MB (for people who have a smartphone but probably shouldn't) and 2 GB (which will work for most, but certainly not high end users streaming video and/or tethering), you're being disingenuous. How about these for options: 200 MB for $15/month (for most BlackBerry users and people who have a smartphone and don't know what to do with it), $20/month for 1 GB/month (good for most), and $30 for 5/GB (for the high end data hog). There. That wasn't so hard, was it? Also… as Gizmodo pointed out, if you are going to nickle and dime us on data charges (and text messages, don't think we forgot about that), how about some roll over megabytes? So AT&T, we bid you good luck putting a positive PR spin on this one, because to be perfectly honest, there isn't one.
Read [Reuters] Read [Gizmodo]

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FW: Caffeine: Google’s new search index

 impressive, mind boggling if you try to think about it...

Feed: Boy Genius Report
Posted on: Wednesday, June 09, 2010 10:11 AM
Author: Andrew Munchbach
Subject: Caffeine: Google's new search index

Today, Google announced the completion of its new web indexing system title Caffeine. Google boasts that Caffeine, "provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and it's the largest collection of web content we've offered." Google goes onto explain just how their old index and Caffeine differ:
Our old index had several layers, some of which were refreshed at a faster rate than others; the main layer would update every couple of weeks. To refresh a layer of the old index, we would analyze the entire web, which meant there was a significant delay between when we found a page and made it available to you.
With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published.
It all sounds good to us, after all…we like to keep it fresh from time to time. Google also indulges us with some fairly mind-numbing statistics about just how fast Caffeine actually crawls the web:
Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale. In fact, every second Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel. If this were a pile of paper it would grow three miles taller every second. Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day. You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end-to-end they would go for more than 40 miles.

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RE: iPad Article

This is part of an email response to my team at work--after we were talking about the iPad in the workplace during our weekly call.  

"Good article, I read a lot about the iPad after it was announced and many points similar or in addition to the 10 referenced in that article were cited as weaknesses.  However, I then realized that the iPad really shouldn’t be compared to netbooks because it is so far from those capabilities.  I decided that it’s an additional companion electronic device that’s being offered to society.  It can’t take the place of your computer or phone, though it could make a good compliment in-between the two.  To that note, the new iPhone announced is essentially an iPad mini.

The closest thing to an iPad is the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, which was designed specifically for reading with an e-ink screen to reduce eye strain if you were going to sit down with a 500 page novel.  While a much more sophisticated device I personally think it’s probably most useful for reading or web browsing/viewing and obviously entertainment like movies and tv shows.  Alternatively, in a custom application or installation I could see them being an amazing point of sale or electronic clipboard type device. 

So, long story short, as much as apple wants you to think you can do everything (and maybe more) that you could do on a computer it’s so far from that it’s hardly worth comparing.  Unless it can fill a niche need I think the most practical use would be on the coffee table or kitchen counter—similar to the place where you used to put the newspaper.  Since this kind of feels like a blog or forum post I’ll add IMHO (in my humble opinion)."

Subject: iPad Article Relevant to the Discussion Today

Funny that they don’t point out that you can’t print from the iPad

so, that's why it's here :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

AT&T kills off unlimited smartphone data, announces cheaper rates?

FML.  I really hope the other carriers don't follow suite, even though history says otherwise... c'mon public, everyone cry and make them reverse!

Feed: Boy Genius Report
Posted on: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 5:58 AM
Author: Michael Bettiol
Subject: AT&T kills off unlimited smartphone data, announces cheaper rates

Ladies and Gentleman, unlimited smartphone data from AT&T is a thing of the past. Or at least it will be as of June 7th. Starting that day, AT&T will introduce two new data plans to replace its current $30 unlimited smartphone plan. Without a bunch of preamble and crying over the changes, here's the skinny on the plans that AT&T says will make it possible for "more affordable for more people to enjoy the benefits of the mobile Internet."
  • 200MB of data for $15 per month. AT&T says this will be enough data to meet the needs of 65% of its smartphone users. If you go over the 200MB cap, AT&T will charge you $15 per 200MB of overages.
  • 2GB of data for $25 per month. According to AT&T, only 2% of its smartphone customers manage to blow through more than 2GB of data per month. Go over the limit and you'll be charged $10 per GB.
  • Smartphone users that want tethering and have a DataPro plan can add the feature for $20 per month. This means you'll be sharing 2GB between your phone and your laptop for $45 per month. Not great at all, but remember this: A 5GB data card plan costs $60 per month. This means — with overages — you'll be able to have 5GB of smartphone and tethering data for $75 and not have to worry about two contracts. Oh, and "Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases iPhone OS 4 this summer." About bloody time.
  • The $29.99 unlimited data plan for the iPad has not escaped the chop. Starting June 7th, new iPad customers will have two options: $15 for 250MB and $25 for 2GB of data. Any iPad customers who wish to stick to the $30 unlimited plan are free to do so, but AT&T is hoping most people will opt to save $5 and change plans.
As much as it hurts to see unlimited plans die off (and don't pretend we didn't know it was coming), the new rates will make data more accessible to those who don't have a lot of coins in their coffer. And again, to be perfectly clear, you are welcome to stay on the current $30 unlimited smartphone data plan, but if you think you can squeak by on the new plans and save $5 to $15, AT&T will move you over to the DataPlus or DataPro plan without renewing your data commitment. Awww, so sweet.

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