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Leading the Charge? – Verizon??????????

Verizon Leading the Charge - Unlimited Plans

Verizon is known as being the most expensive phone carrier and many would say with good reason. That reason may not always be valid but Verizon has proven itself to many. Recently something non-characteristic of Verizon has occurred and it can pose a real problem to Verizon’s competitors.




The unlimited plan has been shunned by Verizon for years. Unlimited plans were too data-greedy for Verizon’s tastes and yet they have announced straight up from out of nowhere that it would start offering an unlimited plan again. This move marks the first time since in 2011 when Verizon discontinued the unlimited plan in their effort force customers into tiered data plans.

The result, T-mobile, Sprint, and AT&T have day laters followed suit by offering new unlimited plans also. So why would Verizon perform a military about-face in their stance on the unlimited plan? I say this because I remember a commercial where Verizon argued basically that unlimited plans costed a lot and forced consumers to pay for data they would never use. To me the commercial was nonsense (using a better word) and just some attempt to move people from the obviously better choice plans that their competitors offered.

“At the end of the day the majority of people don’t need unlimited plans. But the people who use unlimited plans can be abusive, they can really wreak havoc to your network. And at the end of the day as we launched LTE, I continue to say you cannot make money in an unlimited video world.” Fran Shammo, Verizon CFO, 9/22/16

I needed to understand this new move from Verizon cause they are still the Big Red (Dog) of the cellular industry. People despite the extra cost still flock to them for their service and they know it.

“When the competitive world launches new price plans — and this quarter it was around unlimited and, obviously, we did not respond to that. But as I’ve said, there’s going to be a two- to three-week period of time where there is an impact to our growth. And we saw that. But, as I’ve always said, after that three weeks everything kind of normalizes back out.” – Fran Shammo, Verizon CFO, 10/20/16

I thought well T-Mobile has been improving since all the changes they have made but are they doing that well? I have not really heard much from AT&T and Sprint there are talks of a possible merger with T-Mobile. Fact is  that Verizon still has more customers than say T-Mobile despite their rise and are only nibbling at Verizon’s feet. What I found is alot of data that suggests a continued decline in Verizon with a continued and gradual increase in other companies like T-Mobile. I will literally quote Walter Piecyk from BTIG Research:

Verizon’s Q2 results were marred by weak ARPU, which could have been a result of losing high-end customers to unlimited rate plans of competitors. We noted this while cutting our wireless EBITDA estimate by $2.0 billion less than a month ago. (Link) Since that time, T-Mobile has offered tax-free rate plans and Sprint cut rates on its Unlimited Freedom plan. The downward EBITDA revisions also happened after Verizon eliminated the option for consumers to purchase phones on subsidized rate plans, a move that we think generated a $1.5 billion non-cash benefit to reported EBITDA, the metric that our peers use for valuation. The bottom line is that it appears that Verizon’s perceived network advantage is no longer strong enough to keep its best customers on unattractive rate plans and it was forced to respond. We look forward to getting updated from T-Mobile on how porting ratios fared when they report Q4 tomorrow.

He has also tweeted on T-Mobile’s Porting Ratio verses Verizon’s.

Since T-Mobile has made their changes they have only improved in their numbers.

So T-Mobile has literally forced the industry into their space and now Verizon has finally jumped the bandwagon. See last quarter T-Mobile gained about 1.3 million new customers which is double the amount Verizon had at around 590,000. This along with a continued decline (yeah I said it again) in revenue every quarter last year Verizon I believe had to make that jump to offering unlimited plans. Problem is the competition has also made some changes.

T-Mobile Response

T-Mobile upgraded its own unlimited plan to match Verizon’s, and adds HD video streaming and 10GB of LTE tethering including also a limited-time discount. If you compare the plans, they are the same unlimited with full-speed data on everything (including HD video and 10GB of LTE tethering) backed by unlimited 3G speeds. But, T-Mobile made a slight improvement by de-prioritizing data after 26GB with Verizon’s doing the same at 22GB. T-Mobile having the cheaper plan at $70 for a single line, $100 for two, and $160 for four lines (including all taxes and fees) while Verizon, charges $80 for one line, $140 for two, and $180 for four.

Sprint Response 

Sprint, who copied T-Mobile somewhat in the past by also offering an unlimited plan but with more restrictions now continues the copying but adds similar tethering and HD video features packed into a cheaper deal in an attempt to beat the competition. Sprint’s plan though is more diluted offering unlimited data, but game streaming is capped at 8Mbps speeds while music tops out at 1.5Mbps. When a customer has used up their 10GB of LTE tethering, Sprint knock them down to 2G speeds, not 3G. It is currently the cheapest plan for $50 per month (plus taxes and fees) and a great deal that gets five lines for $95 (plus taxes and fees) per month which will last until March 31st, 2018.

As for AT&T, no point really in mentioning them at this time. They offered a $100 a month unlimited plan to only their DirectTV customers in the past and has only now made that plan available to everyone making it the most expensive plan now with less to offer. So to conclude, competition is good for anyone looking to buy a phone now. Well I would say a face value mainly cause of all the bills that people have to pay now a days. A cellphone bill with data is redundant when one has to also buy internet at home too but competition will hopefully continue to bring those bills lower and lower. Can you feel me on that?



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All Things Galaxy S8

All things Galaxy S8

Here we go as usual with the loads of rumors of the next big thing by Samsung and the talk now is Galaxy S8.  So with everything that has happened with the Note 7 just what is Samsung going to do next with this S8 device? I will start by letting you know that it looks like Samsung will be playing it a little safe in the S8 this time. Now some are going as far as saying Samsung will be making the S8 worse than the Note 7 but I think that is a little over dramatic. So let’s get to it shall we?

What about the battery?

There are numerous reports that claimed the S8 will have bigger batteries but it looks like Samsung is playing it safe due to the Note 7 battery fires. Korean sites have stated that the S8 and the S8 Plus will have 3000mAh and 3500mAh batteries respectively which are almost the same capacities used for the Galaxy S7s. Samsung appears to have been talking to New1 Korea as having said:

“After completing a range of tests, Samsung made a final decision to deploy the battery capacity for the two S8 variants”

“We decided to install 3000mAh for the 5.8-inch model and 3500mAh for the 6.2-inch model through various tests on the Galaxy S8 battery,”

Samsung has made a change just as they said they would by replacing battery manufactures SDI and ATL in China with SDI and Murata in Japan. So Samsung will be sticking with their own company and changing their alternate. I would assume keeping their own is a way to pay closer attention to what goes on during manufacturing while kicking ATL to the curb would be justified since they screwed up in the aftermath of the SDI (Samsung) screw up. So Samsung is going with someone else to have their back this time. There are sites stating this change while also saying what they think as Samsung still using ATL but who knows really for sure other than Samsung and its employees. I will contact Samsung for a response to be sure though.

Samsung has started getting the components in large volumes in preparation for mass production of the Galaxy S8.

So what is this new S8 going to be like?

There is always rumor going around for every device before it  launches and it looks like Samsung had a hard than usual time keeping the cat in the bag this time. (or maybe  after the Note 7 issues they may have wanted rumors to spill out this time as a way to hopefully spark interests and subvert skepticism) Some of the rumors this time are a tad interesting.

Release Date:

With all of the rumor going around I had to really go looking to find a consensus and it looks good to say that Samsung will unveil the S8 in March with the device being made available for sale on April 18th. This is apparently a pushed back date from what Samsung had planned. They wanted to take more time in making sure there are no issues to avoid a repeat Note 7 debacle.

Specs:

Pictures work better. Don’t you think?

Keep in mind though that  most of the images are leaks and renders that people have created as their predictions of what the phones will looks like. Some based on eyewitness accounts.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Display: 5.8in Super AMOLED, 1440 x 2650 (2K) Gorilla Glass
• Operating System: Android 7.1 Nougat
• Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 / Samsung Exynos 10-nm
• RAM: 4GB RAM
• Back Camera: 16MP, f/1.7 optics, 4K video, dual-LED flash
• Front-facing camera: 8MP wide-angle lens with f/1.7 optics
• Battery: 3,000mAh
• Internal Storage: 64GB, w/256GB microSD card slot
• Other Features: Fingerprint scanner, Metal frame, Wireless charging, USB-C

Samsung Galaxy S8 (Plus)

Display: 6.2in Super AMOLED, 1440 x 2650 (2K) Gorilla Glass• Operating System: Android 7.1 Nougat
• Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 / Samsung Exynos 10-nm
• RAM: 4GB RAM
• Camera: 16MP, f/1.7 optics, 4K video, dual-LED flash
• Front-facing camera: 8MP wide-angle lens with f/1.7 optics
• Battery: 3,500mAh
• Internal Storage: 64GB, w/256GB microSD card slot
• Other Features: Fingerprint scanner, Metal frame, Wireless charging, USB-C




The specifications have been gathered over the past several weeks from a lot of leaks and insider tips of different varieties so take it with a  few grains of salt. Until Samsung releases their official specs for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, we won’t really know for sure but the leaks over the years for phones have been pretty good as far as accuracy is concerned. Well, as long as you know what leaks to call bull crap cause there are usually a few that are more conceptual in idea.


eGlobal Central link

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge @ eGlobal Central

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Warning for Kodi Users

All-New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player


Price: $39.99

Hello do you have an Amazon Firestick? Did you have it ‘jailbroken’? For anyone that does not know what I am referring to (where you been?) I will start by informing you. Kodi (used to be XMBC) is a free, open-source media player application developed by the XMBC Foundation which is a non-profit technology consortium. Kodi is available for many systems and hardware. The Kodi software has a user interface which is to be used with TVs and remotes allows users to play and view streaming media (music, videos, podcasts) from the internet and from local storage and network sources. In essence, it is a home theater PC application. The history behind Kodi back when it was XMBC it was not easily setup as you see in Kodi now a days. Due to simplicity the application has gained in popularity.

Jailbreaking is the removal of software restrictions imposed by Apple’s iOS. You are basically making yourself an administrator on a jailbroken device. Jailbreaking is a term that refers to Apple devices but it is being used to refer to other types of devices also. Jailbreaking  when referring to an Android device is not called Jailbreaking, it is called Rooting. The term Rooting comes from the Linux/Unix Operating System where the Administrator account is called root. For clarity, in Microsoft Windows the administrator account is called aptly named Administrator. Now a days you do not see as Microsoft has hidden the account by default. So in Linux this same account is instead called ‘root’. (In Linux Caps letters make a difference.) I believe you get the idea now in making ‘root’ a verb.

Now that all that is out of the way. Kodi is legal software but some cool people (some may call them criminal) have created addons for Kodi to allow the viewing of otherwise pay for content. Kodi’s misuse or anyone who misuses Kodi could be targeted by anti-piracy proponents. There is a new battle online against piracy and these ‘anti-pirates’ are gaining ground slowly. Kodi gaining in popularity and being used illegally has attracted the attentions of rights-holders. Anyone that has one knows the benefits. You could literally eliminate your TV service if need be and just spend your money on good internet. You can watch PPV events, movies, TV shows, and sports.

Although there is a court case to follow that can possibly change things. We all know how things work in the judicial system when it comes to precedence setting. The case is that of Brian Thompson, a Teesside trader. The case relates to the sale of Android or Kodi boxes. Sites all over the web say that he will fight the case but if he is found guilty it will open the Streaming Media Kits pandora’s box and possibly have them outlawed.

A group largely behind the movement, F.A.C.T. (Federation Against Copyright Theft), mentions that a good portion of their investigations are centered on streaming media devices. And this is all despite losing funding from Hollywood. FACT is saying that boxes configured in such a way are illegal and are continuing to fight with such statements using supporting data from the crime reports of the IPO (Intellectual Property Office). A report can be downloaded here. Bouncing around the internet I find a quote from FACT stating the streaming devices that are configured to receive premium content for free are “an emerging threat to the audiovisual industry”.

Comcast back in 20015 had already started with this through the sending of copyright infringement letter to its customers which left some confusion as some customers knew that they were not downloading anything but just using Kodi to watch content. The real deal was not so much Comcast but content owners monitoring things and recording your IP address to them brokering an agreement with Comcast to have them send out the notifications. Other providers are joining the fight like Sky and BT. The investigations have spawned action where cooperation with governments and law enforcement are taking place in efforts to underpin illegal streaming.

Sources:

Cord Cutters

Liverpool Echo

Torrentfreak

And various other sites

Other Steaming Media Devices to Consider…


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Warning: Windows 10 Update

You are on a project. Doesn’t matter what it is from typing a resume, typing your school report, writing your book, or  creating that life changing presentation. Windows 10 knows but really could care less. Windows 10 will take over, force updates down your throat, and reset on that a$%. Crazy thing though is that once the process has begun, there isn’t much you can do about it except wait. You may have to wait a good while too depending on the circumstances like the speed of your device and the size of the update.

So if you have not saved what you were doing you are pretty much:



It doesn’t look like Microsoft plans to fix this anytime soon and really quite frankly it isn’t really a bug or issue. It’s Windows Update probably making sure your computer is secure. The events that happen due to forced updating though are real unfortunate though. As for these events. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

As you can see, this has become a real problem for people. But you can avoid this from happening to you. The last tweet may make you skeptical but unless you want this to happen to you maybe you should read on.

Take Control of Windows 10 Updates

To start off in order:

1. Click the Start Button
2. Then Click Settings
3. Click on Update & Security
4. Make sure to select Windows Update
Once selected you will see a window like this  ⇒
In the window, you will see the options related to Windows Update. You can do a manual update by clicking Check for updates. You can check your update history. You can also change when Windows will be allowed to perform updates. You do this by clicking Change active hours under the Update setting heading.

5. Once you click Change active hours you will see a pop-up of sorts with a description of the option. Basically you just tell Windows the hours you use your computer the most or when you do not want it to restart on you and perform updates. It looks like this  ⇒

Responses from Microsoft


I was curious if Microsoft ever responded to the myriad of complaints and found a a good number but most just seemed like programmed responses to me. So I will just show you one response that pretty much sums it all up.

Once a machine is upgraded to Windows 10, it will remain current through Windows Update for the supported lifetime of the device, with safety and security, productivity, and entertainment value over time. This is what we mean when we talk about delivering Windows as a service, and it is one of our core inspirations for Windows 10. We’ll keep listening to our customers, improving the experience month after month. Windows 10 is an operating system that will run on a range of devices — from Xbox to PCs, phones to tablets and tiny gadgets — all of which are connected and kept up-to-date by Windows Update. Both enterprises and consumers benefit. The optimum way to ensure our customers are running the best Windows is to get them the latest updates for Windows 10. Delivering Windows 10 as a service means we can offer ongoing security updates, new features and capabilities – we’d like to make sure people can get access to the latest Windows 10 updates as soon as they are available.

So like I mentioned earlier it is not a bug at all but just a feature I guess. Windows Update has always been around so it is just something everyone should be familiar with. The forced updating though is a bit more aggressive than it has been in the past. I have seen people consider switching to Mac over this but it really is a none issue. I am not trying to minimize the scenarios of people losing sensitive data over the updates. What I am saying is that once it happens you should then take action to avoid it from happening again. Google now a days is the tool to use when you have a question you need answers for. There are numerous rantings and complaints about this which get into taking people’s choice away and performing updates while people are asleep but truth is someone will always find an issue with it no matter what approach is taken. Do nothing and Windows is continually labeled as the less secure system giving Apple OS the praises. Now that Windows is moving into a more secure place now people want to complain.

The forced updating of Windows may have been a small miss step but a solution has been offered for  it. You just have to research, google it, Yahoo It, and Bing It. Or you can just visit Ninja’s site and ask…   😉

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Exploding Note 7s – Samsung Disclosure of the Causes

Samsung’s Disclosure of Note 7 Explosion Issues


The Galaxy Note 7, a smartphone by Samsung, received huge press and the story we all know by now. Just in case you missed it the phone was recalled Sept 2nd which was only 2 weeks after it release.  By the second week in October, the phone was discontinued following reports of the phone exploding even after replacements were sent out. The issue continued with the replacements… crazy right?

Despite the issues the phone still received good reviews as being the better phone, minus the explosion problem. So millions of phone were sold (about 3 million) and still today there are people holding onto the phone. All this after a large scale recall campaign led by Samsung, mobile carriers, and retailers.

Apparently, Samsung has disclosed the results of an intensive investigation that points to the issue as being a battery defect which led to the heat failure of their Galaxy Note 7s. In the investigation Samsung ruled out numerous causes like Fast Charging, Wireless Charging, tightness of the phone’s design, the Iris Scanner, the USB Type C port, software, and the manufacturing process. Samsung performed their own investigation and enlisted the help of the 3 firms: Exponent, UL, and TUV Rheinland. The final results being the same among all investigation and research performed.

I was curious who the battery suppliers were since Samsung only referred to them as Company A and Company B cause without that detail in my book Samsung is just saying anything. Company A was the initial company used while Company B was used during the recall in an effort to rectify the problem. Now I could get into details of the investigation but that would lose most people who probably would not know what hell was being said (or read).  I am including a gallery of images to help some sort of visualize the problem but the images themselves are still not the easiest to understand without knowledge of how batteries work.



Explaining the Note 7’s battery flaws (with cake)

Like I said earlier I needed to know who these companies are so I went digging and could only find them as being Samsung SDI (Company A) and Amperex Technology. So if this is correct then Samsung technically made the batteries while they went to Amperex after the recall again to fix the problem. After looking over the details it seems everything just went wrong in this whole ordeal or it just feels that way by Samsung. So when Samsung release the Note 7 the batteries they made had defects so they recalled the phone and used Amperex batteries in the recalled models only to still find out that these batteries also had defects. So in Samsung’s haste to fix the issue they only created a reoccurring problem but for different reasons while simply said is the same issue. Question……   Anyone ever cross the negative (Black) and positive (Red) terminals on your car battery while trying to give someone a jump? What happens?

⇐ You can also watch the video by CNET to get an idea of what is being said in this post here.

Well this is what simply happened in both company’s batteries. The design of the batteries did not ensure enough that the positive and negative tabs stayed separated and the flaws found allowed the tabs to touch in both batteries. To make it worse the second company’s batteries, by Amperex, some of the them had no insulator (separator) at all in between the tabs.

Well it seems believable giving how much trouble Samsung went through to find the cause of the Exploding Notes. From all of the stories I have read about the damages to cars, homes, and bodily injury that this has to probably be the most expensive recall made. It took time but we all know how it is when dealing with such or similar matters, or even any matter at all when more than one person or group is involved. Always full of red tape, excuses, and is time consuming. All of this in an effort to save face through the use of transparency.

Samsung also has new policies and procedures being put into place to make sure this never happens again. They talked about improved quality assurance, safety processes, multi-layered safety measures, an 8-point battery safety check, and actually forming a group to oversee all of it. A Battery Advisory Group of sorts. So with all this talk Samsung is showing seriousness in gaining consumer trust and with the Galaxy S8 coming soon, let’s hope it all can be toss to the side along with with myriad of memes out there that this EXPLODING NOTE started.

It should be all over right? Let us know what you think?