Virgin Mobile

A year of unlimited cell service for 1$! What’s the catch?

Virgin Mobile wants you to join their “Inner Circle” and jump back on their digital voice/data service bandwagon for a mere $1 for an entire year of unlimited service. But wait, you’re a tech savvy person, you know that this deal seems to good to be true, you’re not falling for this that easy! Well where there is smoke there are usually mirrors. Here is the fine print in easy to understand terms:

1: You have to port an active working cell number to get this deal, no new activations.
2: You will be using the Sprint network so if you are not happy with their cell or customer service as a Sprint customer now, don’t expect this deal to improve anything for you. In fact your customer support issues will be mostly handled by Virgin’s notorious fully automated voice system.
3) If you do have a number to port over, you’d better hope you splurged and bought yourself a device assembled by Apple because those are the only devices Virgin now allows on its networks. Thats right, Android and Blackberry have been shown the door.
4) If you are a data savvy user who actually uses your device for more than making calls, taking pictures and playing the occasional game of Angry Birds, I would suggest you keep walking as this plan is regulated more than the Mexican boarder and here’s how:
a) Video streaming is limited to 480p video resolution (fine if all you watch are powerpoint presentations but don’t expect to ever see the HD symbol light up, EVER)
b) Audio streaming is limited to a mere 500kbps for apps like Spotify, iTunes and Slacker (which is fine if you are already hard of hearing)
c) Game data streaming is limited to 2MB. The website was not clear if this was 2mb limit or a 2MB/s data cap, either way you’re not playing League of Legends or any game of significance on this plan for more than 5 mins without smashing through that cap.

Basically your device will assure you that you are actually connected to a 4G LTE tower but you will never actually be using any of that technology to its true potential, you will be using the same amount of data and experiencing the same speeds of a 3G user unless connected to a WiFi network.At the end of the day, this is still a good deal for those who despise their phones and would rather be without it if they could as it will make calls, it will get you that last moment reservation and it will open that picture of your grandson at his graduation, most importantly it will be very cost effective during that first year of $1 service. Once that year runs up though you will effectively be shelling out $50 per month for service whilst using a device that initially cost you close to $500 to basically do what a $50 device could do on the same network. It all comes down to how much of a “power user” you are?

Jailbreaking your iPhone, you still doing it ?

I remember the first time I “jailbroke” my iPhone and at the same time I unlocked it as well. I felt like such a bad ass because nobody else I knew had any clue what jailbreaking was or how I got my phone to look and act so differently than theirs.That feeling of circumventing restrictions and limitations was so great and the updates and new mods arrived like clockwork almost daily in the Cydia store. The only downside for me was the constant reboots, crashes and just plain bizarre things your phone would do seeing as someone other than an Apple approved codie wrote the app so its stability relied heavily on your trust in their ability to code correctly. With each new release of iOS and each subsequent jailbreak, things seemed to get better and more stable however things on the light side (the stock non jailbroken side) were looking up as well as apps started to loosen their grip and slowly eliminate those nasty restrictions. Apple duly took notice of the jailbreaking community and the apps/features it was buzzing about and gradually began including these in their own future releases of iOS thus slowly making the need to jailbreak less and less appealing and necessary.

I recently jailbroke my iPhone 6+ and the sad thing is I put it right back to stock a mere 7 days later. Why, well lets just say that with where iOS 8 stands now with all its stock features and most importantly to me, stability, the mods are not looking so tempting anymore. I don’t want to pay $5 to fill my lock screen full of widgets that just tell me the same information that’s just one swipe away. I don’t want to pay $2 to change the color of my keyboard to pink or green and I sure don’t want to pay $3 to have my screen swirl or pinch every time I swipe to the next page. The only reason I would consider going back to the dark side (jailbroken) would be for an app called MiWi which allows you to turn your phone into a mobile hotspot even if you don’t pay the man extra for this feature and seeing as I have a grandfathered unlimited data plan, this app is absolute GOLD to me. The rest of the modding scene just seems a bit old, slightly stale and most apps seem refurbished and the iOS jailbreak/mod scene seems like its lacking another truly killer must have app like MyWi or AdBlocker to really give the scene a boost and make it exciting again. Unfortunately I just can’t get past how unstable your device becomes say if you happen to pay for two apps and they don’t like working alongside one another, they will crash and cause your device to reboot as long as they are both installed. You’re then left with the choice of either deleting the app you just paid for or dealing with the constant reboots all throughout the day, no thanks! Yes, some of you may say “Im jailbroken and I hardly ever get reboots” but that’s just because you haven’t downloaded that next app that conflicts with something you already had installed on your device and once that happens, welcome to “reboot town” my friend, population zero as everyone wants the heck out of that place….

As of writing this, I’m comfortably back on a stock version of iOS 8 and loving the fact that my phone is not rebooting every hour or just when I really need to use it. From now on I’ll stick to playing with Apple’s iOS betas from their developer program until the lure of jailbreaking pulls me back to giving it another shot which I do every few releases that are hailed as being secure and stable. I don’t want you to walk away from reading this article thinking that I’m bashing or turning on the jailbreaking scene at all as that is most definitely not the case. What Jay Freeman aka Saurik and others have done with Cydia and some of the quintessential apps are amazing and honestly have helped Apple shape so many features we now see in iOS8, it’s just that the brains behind all this jailbreak goodness may need to slow down and refocus on stability and reliability first before slapping a $1 or $2 price tag on another app and throwing it up on a repo. I really want he jailbreak scene to succeed even more so than it already has as I love nothing more than having total and full control of my device and doing what I want with it! Having full control and ownership of something I paid for, now isn’t THAT a wonderful concept?

Apple and Samsung go at it again…

This time around things are getting physical. All it took was a single user, a pair of tight jeans and an #iPhone 6. The end result was a viral outbreak of concerns regarding questionable build quality and design as users around the world found it easy to bend their iPhone 6’s. Respective tests of other similar devices from other brands such as the #Samsung #Galaxy S4 and S5 found similar results. Here’s a news flash for those still in total shock and disbelief and on the boarder of total anarchy, if you want slimmer and larger devices, well, you’re inevitably opening the door to more bendable materials and designs, that’s just the nature of the beast for now until the next generation lightweight metal (or plastic ) comes along. This has got me pondering who’s going to be the first major company to release a carbon fiber phone for the masses that doesn’t require a bank loan? Get on it T.Cook!

The ultimate reason the Samsung Note and other phones similar to its dimensions don’t bend as easily comes down to exactly that, it’s dimensions. Now the reason I say “ultimate” is that Apples choice of an aluminum body may also have a roll to play in the bend factor here but what it all boils down to is the actual thickness of the device for everyday users like you and me. The Samsung Note 3 comes in at a thickness of 33mm whereas the iPhone comes in at 27mm. That 5mm difference seems to be the major factor here as Apple chose to go where no 5.5″ device had dared to go before (large and thin) and probably for these exact reasons.

The mere fact that one can use his own hands to bend the phone pretty easily it’s quite surprising. It’s not shocking to me personally as I for one do not use my phone like a gadget killing monster, I love and respect all my toys and always have my phone in a case immediately which greatly improves its rigidity. From the day I opened my first iPhone back when in June 2007, I’ve never treated it as a bulletproof device even back then when it was hefty, bulky and sure felt like it could take a bullet. Heck even Hollywood used the iPhone as a life saving device in a few movies so why anyone would think that things have improved in the strength department after shaving the thickness almost in half is #facepalm worthy! Did they not pay attention in physics class?

However, I do agree that one should be able to place ones phone inside ones own pocket and not have to worry about it coming out looking like a piece of elbow macaroni but let’s be realistic here, If your body tells you your jeans are too tight (aka you require assistance to get in and out of them) and you go and slip a phone in there, chances are it’s going to bend. Bottom line here is for something as beautiful and slim as the iPhone 6 is and as not to mention expensive, why not pay a little more attention to it and don’t just shove it in any old hole. Case it up, they make them so slim and in such a variety of colors now that you really have no excuse not to anymore and just like that your #bendgate problems are solved, k?

Can we move the focus on to iOS8 apps so the developers will get to it and update them for our larger screens already! Yes I’m looking at you #YouTube!

Don’t update iOS to 8.0.1, Do purchase a case…

So you have that precious new iPhone 6 or 6 plus and you have undoubtedly experienced MANY close calls. Im talking near drops, major bumps or god forbid a scratch. I couldn’t wait to “wrap it up” and chose the people over at Spigen.com to protect my precious. Spigen have been in the case game for years now and have made some of the toughest looking cases along with some of the most visually appealing slim cases on the market. Im a slim case kind of guy, Im gentle enough with my phones where I don’t need them to be in bullet proof, drop proof, volcanic explosion withstanding type protection so naturally I opted for their iPhone 6P Thin Fit Case. Immediately after slipping this case on I immediately felt a sense of relief as not only did my grip improve, I could now place the phone down on any surface without hearing that “nails on the chalkboard” sound of grinding grit. Fitment was sublime, I hardly noticed my phones dimensions increasing at all which is the problem with most cases out there. The back of the case has a nice rubber texture to it allowing for maximum grip and I’m yet to find a dock that does not play well with the Spigen case and for $10 you can’t go wrong. Their full selection of cases can be found at www.spigen.com no matter what phone you have, they’ve got you covered. (<—- see what I did there, you like that ? )Screenshot 2014-09-24 16.02.58

iOS 8.0.1 is out but don’t upgrade just yet

Don't hit that upgrade button just yet!!!

Don’t hit that upgrade button just yet!!!

I’m going to cut to the chase on this one seeing as the outcome of upgrading could be disastrous. According to multiple reports on the web and Apple support forums the latest update from Apple 8.0.1 does fix many bugs however Apple managed to negate all of it’s efforts to fix iOS 8’s bugs by unintentionally breaking your 3G/LTE data connection and Touch ID takes an unintentional knockout punch as well for some reason. I can see Tm Cook face palming himself right now at his desk after he updated his phone. Basically you will be sitting pretty with a phone that kindly displays the dreaded “No Service” message and will be unable to register your fingerprints for use with Touch ID but at least you can now try out some health Kit apps right.

Apple has cleared the HealthKit service and allowed the apps that take advantage of it to show up again in the app store but naturally hold off on updating for now, knowing Apple they will have a revised version (8.0.2 or 8.0.1a) within 48 hrs most likely. If you have managed to avoid updating, consider yourself lucky but if you did end up taking the leap of faith, I wouldn’t move too far away from any wifi hotspot for now.

wifi-birds

iOS 8 – should you upgrade?

You have undoubtedly seen that little red dot with the number inside of it indicating that Apple wants you to upgrade to its latest and greatest , iOS 8. You have just perfected and mastered iOS 7, why the hell would you throw that all way with a brand new OS. Well, this time around Apple seems to have not strayed to far from the warmth and comfort of iOS 7. In fact you would be hard pressed to tell the difference by just looking at the home screens of each OS other than the font size giving it away.

Most of the changes are under the hood and not really visual which means mostly power users (geeks and fanboys) will notice most of the changes and how to activate them or bring them out of hiding. Where iOS 8 will really shine is on the new iPhone 6 plus with its humongous screen, super up processor and gorgeous new retina HD screen.

If you happen to recently bought a MacBook you will be able to further enjoy the benefits of iOS 8 with its handoff feature allowing you to take and make calls, send and read sms messages and use your phone as a wifi hotspot with a single slick all from the comfort of your MacBook whilst leaving your phone in your pocket.

I believe iOS 8 has its focus firmly pointed at security and safety. Built in features such as if you were to lose you phone you have the ability to lock it down remotely and even flip a kill switch should you believe your phones retrieval is a completely lost cause.

Safety comes via the new “iOS in the car” feature with Siri using her talents to do her best to read and understand all of your commands and handle them for you hands free so you can arrive safely and in one piece without pissing off any cops along the way.

Don’t be afraid of iOS 8, unless you have an IPhone 4s as rumor has it that users are reporting major slowdown in UI performance after upgrading. If you are on one of the newer devices (iPhone 5 and up) you will undoubtedly be happy with all the tricks and upgrades iOS 8 brings to the table.

Happy upgrading! See you when iOS 9 comes around…IMG_2180.PNG