T-Mobile, Sprint, and ATT don’t care about Humboldt county. VZW only shop in town for 3G/4G

25 05 2011

Soon after moving to southern Humboldt county a few months ago, I began my search for a new wireless carrier. T-Mobile was great back in Charleston, SC, and I was really hoping to enjoy those blazing fast HSPA+ speeds that they are currently rolling out around the country. Unfortunately they don’t even have 3G anywhere north of Santa Rosa, so there is no real sense in holding my breath on that one. Shouldn’t be a big deal though. After all, there are 6 or more carriers that sell locally, and they are all pushing Android devices.

Fifteen to thirty minutes, and a few coverage maps later I had the information I needed to choose a new provider for my mobile devices. Well in all actuality I can’t really say it’s much of a choice. The one and only carrier that has 3G coverage up here is Verizon Wireless. Go figure, the only company providing quality data service to the marijuana capitol of the US, happens to be the one who has exercised the least resistance when it comes to it’s subscriber’s privacy & law enforcement.  Weren’t they the ones who remotely and covertly installed software to activate microphones and cameras…even when the device was “off”? Not that I do or intend to partake in illicit or illegal activities….I’m just saying’. I don’t really feel comfortable with a company that has such an open F yo’ privacy attitude towards it’s customers.

So yeah. It would appear that T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and all the companies that lease from them don’t care about the money to be made here. Even if they do choose to neglect us Humboldt County residents (like a lot of folks do) they could at least provide their customers who travel Hwy 101 with decent service. It is kinda one the main routes through northern Cali.  The lack of 3G or better coverage is not limited to a small area either. I mention Humboldt county because I live there, but Mendocino, Trinity, and other surrounding areas in No.Cal are also neglected. For those not familiar with the area, we’re talking about nearly 1/3 of the state.

In the end, I will most likely go with Verizon anyway. Even if their “3G” is 1/3 the bandwidth of T-Mobile’s, and the Setup wizard actually DOES take five minutes like it claims. Still I will surely toss $10 on my T-Mobile flex account every three months or so, in hopes they will one day see the light. With AT&T ignoring my region as well, I can see the future of my GSM devices limited to use during trips down south. It’s times like these one can’t help but envy the abundance of mobile and internet providers elsewhere in the world, while questioning exactly how much “freedom” us Americans have anymore.


WTF does Lady Gaga have to do with Android devices, or rather How bad must that new album suck?

24 05 2011

I was rather surprised yesterday when I noticed an odd promotion Amazon was doing. They were offering a free item with the purchase of a new HTC handset, but it wasn’t your usual freebie that gets tossed in with a new phone. Nope, they didn’t offer a free bluetooth, charger, case, or anything practical. They were throwing in a free copy of the new Lady Gaga CD (oh and a digital download of it too). Huh? WTF does that have to do with…ah nevermind

So anyhow, a day passes, and I get an email from Amazon. Here’s what it said

Dear Amazon.com Customer,As a valued Amazon Student member, you might like to know we have Lady Gaga’s brand-new album “Born This Way” for just $0.99 today only at Amazon MP3. With the purchase of this or any other album customers also get an automatic upgrade to 20 GB of storage on Amazon Cloud Drive.

“Born This Way” is the Amazon MP3 Daily Deal. The Daily Deal price is just $0.99. This price is valid May 23, 2011 only.

So basically they are now trying to bribe me into taking this album by making it dirt cheap, and reminding me about the 15GB upgrade to the cloud music service they have. How bad can this publicity whore’s music really be that they would have to throw the thing at people like this just to boost the sales. Her music hasn’t sparked my interest enough to really have an opinion about it one way or the other, but the marketing tactic was so nicely executed, that I might take them up on the offer.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the situation. Anyone with the slightest bit of musical taste can agree that over half of what the industry churns out is complete, and utter bullshit. Talentless puppets who could care less about freedom of expression, or lack the ability to muster the thoughts required to understand or create true art. Yet they keep feeding them to the public (who have been trained to eat up whatever scraps are thrown to them) and they keep getting paid off these foolish “artists”.  No wonder the big labels are scared shitless of the digital media era,  file sharing, and the likes.

So sales are down, and people are more informed about the products they purchase. What’s the best way to counter this? Include the (below projected sales) album with MUCH more appealing products. That way the numbers go through the roof. Now they don’t have to worry so much about the quality because the sales and chart position will be so hyped it will inspire others to buy. Great idea, but ya kinda gotta feel bad for all the people who are going to have to grin and say “ooh just what I wanted!” when sub-par shit like this is gifted to them.

BTW a similar method is being used to boost Amazon appstore download numbers.

Hey Ip-Tel! Showmee how this app got on my phone.

3 04 2011

Over the past few days there have been a number of updates to the sipdroid application. Normally this wouldn’t be something to report about, unless the updates included major new features that is…which they did. New features don’t always mean happy users though . As someone who has recommended Sipdroid for years, I must say I had some serious doubts about the future of our beloved original sip app.

While scrolling through the apps on my HD2 the other day, I noticed one that I had never heard of, and sure as hell don’t remember downloading.
So where did this “SHOWMEE” app come from?
What does it do?
I’m not one to just open strange programs, so I looked it up…
WTF? There is no market link or description….
The name just sounds shady to begin with. I damn sure ain’t about to open it so the developer can showmee how they exploit my system…drag, drop, uninstall.
Huh? No don’t uninstall sipdroid…wait sipdroid icon was nowhere near showmee’s..so that means Showmee is Sipdroid (or rather part of sipdroid). Guess that means its safe to open.

What I found when I opened it was a non functional force close generating application with an ip-tel logo. It adds what they call “VideoSMS” functionality to sipdroid. What it actually does (or is supposed to do) is attach a video to an email. Not a bad idea I guess. Email apps can already do that, but hey, it saves a couple steps. Might even be useful for those with front facing camera once the kinks are worked our. For instance the error authenticating message displayed when requesting pin lead to 26 emails with different pins.

So what’s the big deal? What has all those people posting negative reviews and dropping the app down to 1 star? Other than showmee being total crap at this point that is. The main issue appears to be the fact that they snuck this app in under the sipdroid package name thereby keeping their years of good ratings on the market. Rather than make a new package that is a plugin/addon ( which devs have been doing since day 1. Inter-app functionality is a major + in android ) they repackaged the original or “PURE” Sipdroid as a new app. On top of that, the account backup/restore feature that has been in the app for a long time, wasn’t working. So people had to re-enter their info in the “new” (old) app. Alot of those users had to go look up that info because of the auto-register feature sipdroid had for pbxes org

After many complaints the developers decided to “make showmee optional” by not displaying the icon or executing the showmee code unless a register videosms button is pressed. This seems to be a reasonable solution, though it limits the company from getting showmee specific reviews, ratings, or complaints. So now the sipdroid issue tracker will be flooded with new showmee related things. Meanwhile, sipdroid could still be much improved. Features like additional codecs, codec priority, and things of that nature.

There are a number of alternatives to sipdroid out there now. Over the next couple of distros native sip should be pretty reliable and robust. The folks over at ip-tel should stay focused on remaining top dog in the android sip game, and making pbxes the best provider for mobile sip.

Instead they are focused on video. At&t was trying to push video calling almost 20 years ago. They even got it working pretty well over pstn which is not known for great bandwidth. Problem was, nobody gave a damn. The demand just wasn’t there. What demand there is now is fulfilled by video chat clients such as yahoo and Skype. So how about just making us users happy by finding better ways to have clear calls over our shitty cellular data networks 🙂

How to get free Everything (calls, text, and data) from T-Mobile US

13 01 2011

About 2 years ago I got a new T-Mobile account to go with the G1 I scooped off craigslist. Not long after I got this account I noticed a major loophole that I took full advantage of ever since. In fact it is what inspired me to get a good SIP setup to begin with, as well as an Android device for my wife.

See when  you get a contract plan from t-mo they will cut your outgoing calls,  outgoing sms, and all data.

If you happen to be a FlexPay (or month-to-month) customer they cut ALL Calls & SMS but leave data active. They will leave it active for as long as you keep your SIM card active. To keep your SIM active, all you need to do is add a $10 prepaid card to your FlexAccount every 89 days (day 90 = cancel account).  Yes this even works with the new EvenMore type FlexPay plans.

So wait…How the hell is $10 every 3 months free? Okay cheapskate. Since you want to complain about $3.33 a month (BTW that’s $1.11 for those with 3 lines Heehee) You can still use that $10 to make .10(alright make that .30 now) a min prepaid calls + sms when you are not in good coverage area to use SIP.  BAAAAAAM!  Pimp that carrier.

For those who were not paying attention:

T-Mobile US+FlexPay+Android+My Guide to SIP/GV setup = FREE CALLING, TEXT,  and DATA

If you are still thinking about getting a contract, look at it like this.

New Top of the line Android handset off contract   $200-$600
 The eight $10 refill cards+ 1st month service     +$160
                                               =    $360-760
Contract would have cost you                   - $1920-$3600
                              so you saved     = $1560-$2840

Compare that to the average of 2-4 hundred they offer as incentive to get a contract.

I’m a slacker… and some SIP PBXes stuff fo’ the ’11

13 01 2011

Not really, just got alot going on.

Switched up devices to the HD2, and threw Gingerbread on it. Can’t wait to see how native SIP develops over the next year. I was just a little disappointed by it’s current state. It did not work well with pbxes at all. One must use UDP in order to get (very choppy) calls work. Yeah yeah I know its in early stages still, and I am using an unsupported device. So I can’t be to critical based on my testing. I just really hoped for more. Its all good though. I owned a g1 so I know about being patient. (Still waiting for flash lol)

Anyhow…yeah I been slacking a bit in the guide making field, but I will try to get people’s questions answered as I can. Please understand though that I might not get around to it for very extended periods. So if you need help right away ask around on xda.

I have alot planned for 2011. Just scooped my android developer’s license and got some great ideas in the works. If only I had the skills to match my creativity level I would be good. I’m getting the hang of it though.

Also been busy getting things ready for the trip to Cali. Can’t wait to get out there and Get to cultivating. Haha yeah there e we go I’ll develop apps to monitor your crop remotely. That would be the shiznit.

On the SIPDROID note: I must say “under five bucks a month for pbxes Soho is worth it” I don’t regret upgrading a bit (even if it was a 72hr pain in the ass & I should have been comped a pro acct. Long long ago for sending you guys their way) but um…since they didn’t….j/k  😉

here’s a new tip though

This will help you set up a direct connection from google voice to pbxes.org. Yes I know SIPdroid can do it automatically, but I like my old account with all my other trunks and extensions configured. So I decided to share the method I used in case someone else also likes their old stuff.

Pbxes.org now allows gtalk trunks. If you haven’t noticed Google voice also lets you use Google talk as a forwarding number.

The link on PBXes is not exposed to free users, but the page is, and they allow free users to set up accountsts with gtalk trunks  using SIPDROID so I will assume it is okay to create them manually.

Here’s How:

Simply sign in and  go to the create new sip trunk page.

At the end of the URL it will say =SIP change this to =GTALK and press enter.

Now you are at the gtalk trunk creation page.

Enter your Google credentials, and save the trunk

Add inbound and outbound routing for the new trunk & configure it for your extension. DO NOT try to name a route with the @ symbol included…it won’t work.

….oh yeah, and check the box on the google voice phone settings page to enable chat (Google Talk) as a forwarding # & uncheck your old sip route if you have one

You should have a working direct connection….It works most of the time at least. As long as you stay logged out of Gtalk on other devices w/ voice video chat enabled while using this route

Now have fun configuring multi Google voice  accounts with no callback scripts or multi sip providers or any of that BS.

Old Guides

12 06 2010

I have copied the old guides from XDA. So now we won’t need to worry about the images going down. Time to take a break, and I’ll get back to making the new guides shortly.


12 06 2010

Welcome everyone!

My guides were exceeding bandwidth limits, so I decided to move them to a blog. Aside from the bw issues, this allows me to better format the posts, and all that good stuff.

I apologize for the delay. I know I said things would be updated as soon as I got home. I was kinda on vacation in the mountains with no signal.

Anyhow, without further delay. I shall get the old guides posted & start working on some new stuff to clear up some confusion.