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3G iPhone Questions

I have been getting a lot of questions about the new iPhone at work, at home and even in Chris’ chat.  So, I thought I would try and break down what to expect money wise should you decide to get one.  This information can also be found at www.wireless.att.com/iphone.

1.  New Customer or New Line:  $0 – $500 Deposit (Depending on credit score),  $199 for the 8gig iPhone ($299 for the 16gb), $36 activation charge (One time fee), $30 for the iPhone data plan, $39.99 – $99 for a voice plan. If you add messaging it will cost $5 – $20 depending on which package you choose.  2 year contract required.

2.  Existing Customer Eligible for an Upgrade:  $199 for the 8gig iPhone ($299 for the 16gb), $18 upgrade fee (One time fee), $30 for iPhone Data plan, Voice plan may remain the same as current plan.  New 2 year contract required.

3.  Early Upgrade Authorized:  Everything the same as number 2, except the 8gb iPhone will cost $399, the 16gb $499.  New 2 year contract required.

If you have the original iPhone, you are automatically eligible for upgrade, no matter how much time you have left on your contract.  Also, if you purchased your iPhone on or after May 27, 2008 you can trade it for the 3G iPhone, “even steven”.

An “Early Upgrade” is when a manager looks at your account, revenue, tenure and length of time you have remaining on your current contract and authorizes you to upgrade, even though you would not be eligible otherwise.

The iPhone is eligible to be added to a family plan.  In this case the price for the voice would be $9.99 and you can add unlimited messaging for all lines on the account at $30

The iPhone data plan is mandatory.  Without it you cannot access the internet and your visual voicemail will not work.  There is no way to get an iPhone at this time without signing a new contract.  At some point that has not yet been announced, the iPhone will be available without a contract for $599 (8gb version) and $699 (16gb version).

Your old iPhone as an iPod?

After upgrading to your new iPhones 3G, let’s face it – you do not need two iPhones. In order to combat this, Apple has come up with a rather ingenious idea. They are going to allow customers who upgrade to the new iPhone to keep their old one and use it as a wi-fi enabled iPod. The cell phone functions would be disabled.

Although that’s the route AT&T prefers, as it generates high margin service revenues for each addition iPhone on its network, it’s not the only option owners have.

Link: AT&T says orinigal iPhone can be inactivated…

This is a fantastic idea by Apple, because it allows customers to use their old iPhones to store music. However, there might be a problem when it comes to sharing music. Since the music in iTunes can only belong to one library, customers might not be able to put music on both iPhones. Who really wants to carry around two different iPhones?


Symantec Says July Beta Will Address Consumer Concerns

As most of us know, Symantec has been labeled as a resource hog, and many of us have chosen not to use any longer. I wrote an article back in May in which less than flattering remarks were made about Symantec. [See article here.] But one of the comments came from a Symantec representative by the name of Rowan Trollope who stated the following:

I would like to respond to all the folks reading this blog, and to those of you who commented about your poor experiences with our software. Security software which slows down your computer is just plain unacceptable. I have been at Symantec since the days of Peter Norton, and I am intent on restoring our brand and reputation. I know that the way to do this is to deliver *great* software, and this is what we are working on. For Norton Internet Security and NAV 2009, I have set my goals on one single mission: to deliver the fastest security product in the world. This is a major shift for our engineering team and candidly is not easy to achieve. Rather than delivering promises and a marketing pitch, I intend to let the product speak for itself. Our beta will be out in July, and I will let the public be the judge as to whether we have achieved our goals.

OK Rowan. I’ll take you up on your challenge. When the beta hits the street I’ll take it for a spin and see what it is like. Plus I promise to give your product an even break and put my prejudices aside. Just let us know when the beta arrives.

TIA, Ron

Comments welcome.

Will Your Vista PC Be Windows 7 Ready?

This week my wife and I are visiting family in Texas and last night my son-in-law asked a simple question. If you buy a Vista computer today will it run Windows 7 ? Hmm….. Interesting question and my answer was that it should. But than I gave it some thought this morning and my answer should of been I am not sure. Here’s why.

Anytime Microsoft releases a new operating system, they come out with the minimum specifications that the new OS needs to run properly. In my experience these specifications are, shall we say, a tad bit on the wishful thinking side. Most of us are aware that these specifications are so minimum that you are lucky if the computer even starts. We have learned that we usually need a lot more horsepower to have our systems run satisfactorily.

When Vista was first released Microsoft and the OEM’s played another wishful thinking game using stickers proclaiming a system was ‘Vista Capable’ or ‘Vista Ready’. Take a look at this site from Microsoft here. They list a Vista Capable PC with these specifications:

A Windows Vista Capable PC includes at least:

  • A modern processor (at least 800MHz¹).
  • 512 MB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable.

A Vista Ready PC as:

A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor¹).
  • 1 GB of system memory.
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)², Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel.
  • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
  • DVD-ROM Drive³.
  • Audio output capability.
  • Internet access capability.

I believe the thinking goes that the Capable specifications are meant for Windows Vista Basic only. Also a 1GHz processor with 1G of RAM may work for Vista Home Premium but would anyone want to use such a slow system?

Since we now know that Windows 7 will have touch screen abilities and the assumption could be made that it will need more horsepower than Vista, I don’t think anyone can answer the question if Windows 7 will run on a Vista computer. We really won’t know the answer until the first beta’s are released.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Weight Watchers Vs. Fitness Centers

In the first study of its kind, using sophisticated methods to measure body composition, the nationally known commercial weight loss program, Weight Watchers, was compared to gym membership programs to find out which method wins in the game of good health. A University of Missouri researcher examined the real-life experiences of participants to determine which program helps people lose pounds, reduce body fat and gain health benefits. The answer is that both have pros and cons and that a combination of the two produces the best results.

Participants who attended Weight Watchers for 12 weeks lost an average of 5 percent of their body weight, or about nine pounds. However, Steve Ball, assistant professor of exercise physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, found that a large percentage of the lost weight was lean tissue and not fat.

"Participants’ body fat percentage did not improve at all because they lost a much higher percentage than expected of lean tissue," said Ball, MU Extension state fitness specialist. "It is advantageous to keep lean tissue because it is correlated with higher metabolism. Losing lean tissue often slows metabolism. What your body is made of is more important than what you weigh."

The majority of other Weight Watcher studies had not considered body fat percentage change and only focused on body weight.

"This is one aspect of our study that makes it unique," Ball said. "We used a sophisticated measure of body composition – the Bod Pod – to look at what type of weight was lost: lean or fat."

In addition, Ball said the study was novel because Computer Tomography (CT scans) were used to investigate changes in abdominal fat, which is more predictive of cardiovascular disease. Although the fitness center group lost very little weight, they probably improved their health because they lost a significant amount of intraabdominal fat (fat around vital organs). These results imply that exercise may have positive influence on the metabolic syndrome despite the number on the scale, Ball concluded.

Ball also found that group support is very important. Most of the Weight Watchers participants stuck with the program during the duration of the study, while many of the fitness center participants quit.

"These results imply that overweight, sedentary women joining a fitness center with the intent of weight loss or body fat change will likely fail without support and without altering their diets," Ball said. "Nearly 50 percent of people who start an exercise program will quit within six months."

"This study attempted to discover what takes place in the real world when overweight women attempt to lose weight." Ball said. "I think the outcome of the study speaks volumes about the necessity for a multi-pronged approach in order to lose weight, body fat and gain health benefits. I hope that this will be the first in a series of studies investigating commercial weight-loss programs."

[Jennifer Faddis @ University of Missouri-Columbia]


IE8 β Once Again Plays Catch Up

How strange it must seem for the Internet Explorer team to again be so far behind in the ‘browser wars’. It must be disheartening to see the market share erode so quickly as well. The days of seeing a 9 as the first digit of the percentage are over for good.

Microsoft is working on it, as evidenced by the periodic releases of new buzzwords, which then get explained, like ‘Smart Screen Filter’. This will be comparable to what Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 already have, although Microsoft states that it will count on real-time pings and use of Windows Defender for cues to potentially problematic sites. The source at Microsoft denied that this would slow the browser down, while waiting for the responses from the peer servers that will report the quality of web sites to their browser.

One, dubbed “SmartScreen Filter” by Microsoft, adds malware blocking to the antiphishing protection already embedded in IE7. The new feature, which will resemble the defenses already used by rival browsers Firefox 3.0 and Opera 9.5, will warn users when they’re about to visit a site known or suspected of spreading malicious code and then block any download from that site.

Unlike Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox, which retrieves a blacklist several times daily, then stores it locally to compare against Web site addresses, IE8 will dynamically determine whether a site is potentially dangerous by pinging remote servers each time a user tries to reach a page.

Microsoft will use multiple third-party sources to compose the blacklists for both phishing and malware-hosting sites, said Wilson. It will also draw on data gathered by Windows Defender, the company’s free antispyware tool. Wilson would not disclose the third-party information providers, however.

“We get the data feeds and update our lists multiple times a day,” he said. “And IE8 makes the call to the URL reputation service servers, and if it’s a phishing or malware site, the browser navigates away from the page and displays a warning.”

He denied that the process would have a noticeable effect on IE8’s performance. “Our choice was to make sure that the user has the most recent data possible,” he said. “We do an asynchronous call, so the page rendering takes place while the call is made to the reputation servers.”

above from ComputerWorld

It is unclear from that description if Microsoft will once again try to remove XP users from the upgrade cycle, as was originally tried with IE 7, or if it will require Windows Defender to be installed along with the upcoming browser. The forced inclusion of Windows Defender would mean that a change to Defender would be needed for use with Windows 2000, or else the closure of the upgrade door for Win 2000 to IE8. Since Microsoft wishes to regain market share, it would follow that the position may change, with the most inclusive policies for use winning out.

The source also stated that the new browser will not be completely immune to cross site scripting problems (XSS), so in that respect, it will be no more secure than other browsers – important to remember now, before the story might change at release time.

Since this upcoming release will be dubbed beta 2, with no time frame set in stone for the gold revision, it is clear that Microsoft wants to use the extended beta cycle to fully expose any problems with the new browser to scrutiny. It will be hard to assess how well this will work, as most people I speak with only used Internet Explorer when forced, and will not be using a beta of IE8 at any time. For many, unless Microsoft begins a paid beta where users collect something for their troubles, I doubt that any number of people outside the Microsoft enclave will be testing anything. The super standards mode of operation has failed to impress anyone I have spoken with, causing little to no buzz among users. Until the sites using Microsoft extensions change, it will be a non-starter.

Microsoft often benefits from the ravages of time, as many I speak to forget the overall history of web browsers, thinking that Microsoft was the inventor of the breed. They either forget, or possibly never knew, that Microsoft simply used code from the Mosaic project, which was used to build the original Netscape browser, and fashioned a browser with the right appearance for Microsoft to release. In fact, all browsers come from that Mosaic code – it would be interesting to examine the code of each browser, and see what remains of that original source.

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Video Ringtones for Your iPhone

iFonetec released an application for the iPhone, called “VideosTone”, which logically adds support for video ringtones. It can be found in the Installer after the http://app.ifonetec.com source is added. Once installed, you’ll be able to activate it in the settings menu and set the video clip to be used for notifications. The site also gives instruction on how to convert videos for best results as a ringtone.

Unfortunately, the option to add video ringtone to a contact is available in the advanced version only, which comes at a fee. Also, the free one isn’t bug free and if you don’t answer and incoming before the network disconnects the caller, the music will go on (although the video will be hidden). This will either freeze the phone or it will not display the video in following calls (to alleviate this issues, a restart is required).

Support the VistaMeetsNick show

This website does cost money you know. I pay a good $25 a month and pretty soon it is going to $50 because of the upgrades I am going to provide for all of you guys!So with that said if you want to support me on this payment in any way then please click the donate button below. Also all of the money from THIS donate button will not go to Nick himself. It will go towards VistaMeetsNick.com and his giveaways!!


GTalk for iPhone

With the iPhone getting all the news lately, Google decides to launch a new version of their IM client, Google Talk specifically for the iPhone.

We’ve just released in the US a new version of Google Talk designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch browsers. In addition to sending your friends Gmail messages from your iPhone, you can now chat with them while you’re on the move, too! In your iPhone browser, just go to www.google.com/talk, sign in and start chatting. That’s it. Google Talk runs entirely in the browser so there’s no need to download or install anything. 

Link: Official Google Mobile Blog

Great idea Google, but not good enough.  Here is what the people want: a multi-protocol instant messaging client.  We one program what we can use for all of our instant messaging.  I assume that iPhone users have the same issue as Blackberry users – there is no good free software for this.  I can get a great software, but it costs money.

It is a pain to download and install Blackberry AIM, MSN and Google Talk, and then have to switch between them while talking to friends.

For the Blackberry, I am a huge fan of JiveTalk; but not of the fee.  Where is a mobile version of Trillian, Digsby or Pidgin?

Do you have any multi-protocol IM clients for Blackberry or iPhone?  Are they free?

Linspire Bails Out – Sells Assests To Xandros

What some are describing as a secret back door deal, it seems that Linspire may have sold out to Xandros, according to a memo sent to shareholders. It also seems that some people are not to happy in the way the deal was made, which appears to have been behind closed doors. According to an article by Kevin Carmony, he states:

Today, as a Linspire shareholder, I received the below “memorandum” from Linspire. I have confirmed with several other Linspire shareholders that they too received this same notice.

In classic Michael Robertson form, he has once again completely disregarded the 100 some-odd shareholders of Linspire by pulling off this deal without a shareholder meeting. Most states require shareholder approval of any merger or reorganization of a corporation, or the sale or transfer of all or substantially all of the corporation’s assets. Regardless of state laws, common decency would dictate that even if a company only has 1 minority shareholder, there should be a shareholder meeting and the acquisition explained to all shareholders. What do Linspire shareholders get in place of a shareholder meeting? This completely worthless notice in the mail.

It is going to be interesting to see what action, if any, the sharholders decide to take. If they file a law suit the deal could be placed on hold for some time. Or they may just decide to let the deal go through, lick their wounds, and move on with life. Only time will tell what action takes place.

What do you think of the Linspire deal?

Comments welcome.