Tag Archives: att

New Internet Provider

Although it took more a lot longer to actually get around to making the change than I had planned on … I have finally switched Internet providers.

Previously I was using Covad for the midrange.com Internet service and AT&T for personal Internet service.

The Covad service was 1mb SDSL (1mb down / 1mb up with 5 static IP addresses) and the AT&T service was 6mb down & 768k up (ADSL).

The new service, provided by Comcast, is 22mb down / 5mb up and includes 13 static IP addresses.  It’s replacing both the Covad and AT&T service.

In addition to the improved speed, I’ll be saving about $50 / month in cost.

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Verizon iPhone

Lots of people are clamoring about the fact that Verizon is going to offer the iPhone.

There are a lot of good reasons to get an iPhone from Verizon … better network, better packages, tethering, etc.

One significant reason NOT to get the Verizon iPhone is: It doesn’t work in the UK and Europe.

The UK and Europe use the GSM system for cell phones … and the Verizon iPhone doesn’t support that.   It uses CDMA.

I know from personal experience that the AT&T iPhone does work fine in the UK (although it’s pricey).

I’ve also seen comments mentioning that the CDMA can’t handle data connections at the same time as voice connections.

So if you travel to the UK or Europe much, think twice about getting the Verizon iPhone.

I did see a rumor that Apple is going to offer a “World phone” that will, theoretically, have CDMA and GSM capabilities.

We still have a number of months left on our AT&T contract … so I’m going to hold off on jumping over to Verizon.   Ginny & I travel a fair amount and really like the UK & Europe.

AT&T Microcell

We’ve never had good cell phone coverage at home … even when we had Verizon service.

The coverage with AT&T is even worse … but, we do like the iPhones.

I was pretty interested when AT&T announced they were rolling out 3G Microcell devices.

Basically, a Microcell is a tiny 3G cell site.  It provides 3G service to up to 10 authorized cell phones.  The 3G service is provided using VoIP like service (if not exactly VoIP).  The range is about 40 feet in all directions.

The Microcell has a built in GPS unit so that it can verify it’s in the correct location … for E911 service and, I assume, so the AT&T systems can tell which cell towers to hand the call off to when you leave the devices range.

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Splitting the NID

For the past few weeks we’ve had a lot of static & interference on our home phone line … it doesn’t effect the Vonage line, so I figured it was coming from outside the house.

Well, it turns out the ‘NID Splitter’ we have in the phone box is giving out.     A NID Splitter is a device that plugs into the Network Interface Device that acts as a DSL filter for all the inside phone wiring.   A NID is the box where the telephone companies wiring interfaces with the house wiring.   Everything on the ‘Customer’ side of the NID is is your responsibility, anything on the other side of the NID is the telephone companies responsiblity.

It’s called a NID Splitter because it lets you split the phone line signal into two parts … one part that goes directly to the DSL modem, and the other half that goes to the house phone wiring.   The NID Splitter filters out the voice data on the phone line so it doesn’t interfere with the DSL signal.

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iPhone

We bit the bullet … we got iPhones.   Our Verizon cell phone contract has been up for quite a while and they’ve been bugging us to re-up for a new two year contract … but I haven’t been super happy with the service and phones, so we started thinking about what other provider and phone’s would be a suitable substitute.

My co-worker Jerome has the iPhone and is very happy to show it off.   Even on the first release I have to admit, it was pretty cool.   The interface was nice, the features were nice, and the sound quality wasn’t bad at all.

The only things I really didn’t like at the get go was the fact that you were tied to AT&T and the battery wasn’t replaceable.

After mulling our alternatives, we decided to go for it.   Both Ginny and I got the 8gb   model.   We were originally thinking about the 16gb model, but the Apple store didn’t have any in stock and we figured, since we only used a fraction of our 4gb iPods, it wasn’t that big a deal.

A few observations …

  1. It doesn’t like the fact that I use self signed certs on my mail server.   I’ll probably have to bite the bullet and get a proper cert.
  2. I haven’t found any ability to select which folders I show in my IMAP mail account.   Wish I could, as I really only care about a handful on an ongoing basis.
  3. One feature that’s missing, and was almost a deal breaker, was the lack of voice command dialing.   On my old moto phone I could just tell it “Call James Rich Mobile” and it would call James Rich’s cell phone (in my address book).   Nice for talking while driving.
  4. As one would expect from an Apple product, the user interface is slick.   The screen is a bit over sensitive though.   I suspect it’s just something to get used to.
  5. The pseudo GPS functionality is very cool … I really want to figure out how they do it, because it was able to figure out where was I better than my GPS can.
  6. Porting of both the phone numbers on my Verizon account was smooth and fast.   It only took 30 minutes to complete.   I’m going to verify that Verizon cancels my account just in case.

One annoyance, unrelated to the iPhone itself, was the fact that it seems kind of hard to find accessories at stores that don’t actually sell the iPhone.   Woodfield mall, and the Apple store, were both very crowded … and both Ginny and I were in a hurry to escape (yeah, so we could play with the new toys) … so we skipped getting protective skins for the new phones.   We stopped at Best Buy on the way home, but they only had 2 or 3 skins & cases for the iPhone.   I’ll probably stop at Frys on my way home tomorrow to pick something up.

I’m kind of interested to see what the SDK is all about … I’ve got some ideas for apps that could be   fun.