Posted by: Eddie | March 19, 2013

Mr. Grant sums up how I’m feeling right now…

Posted by: Eddie | March 11, 2013

Trying out Solavei

Trying out Solavei

In my search for the best mobile deal (for the needs I have) I’m now trying Solavei with my Nexus 4.  My main phone is still my Lumia 920 on AT&T.  I first set up my secondary cell phone, the nexus 4, with the great T-Mobile $30/month (unlimited data (cap at 5g, no hotspot), unlimited text, 100 minutes per month) plan, and the 100 minutes plus no official hotspot was just too restrictive.  I didn’t feel like messing with Google Voice, so the next best candidate seemed Solavei’s $50/month (unlimited data (cap at 4g, includes hotspot), unlimited text, unlimited minutes).  Solavei uses T-Mobile’s network, which works well for me, but there was a big hurdle before I tried it: Is this a scam?!?

Solavei: Great deal, or a pyramid scheme?

My first concern was it had the smell of a pyramid scheme about it: Clearly it was a multilevel marketing set-up. BUT, it isn’t a pyramid scheme because there is an actual service, and that was the key for me.  Even if I totally ignored the whole “rope in your friends” thing, it felt like a good deal, as long as the service lives up to its billing.

If I ever do refer 3 people to get $20 off per month then yay, great, but even if that never happens it feels like a great deal, especially because hotspot is included.  You have to pay $15/month on t-mo to get their hotspot working (at least officially), and that just felt like too much.  Even their new $70 totally unlimited pay-per-month plan, while having no throttling limit, does NOT include hotspot.  So, enter Solavei.

Does the service work?

I just got my sim card today, and there were some good things and some bad things in my set-up process.  The first bad thing: their activation page was “down for maintenance” when I tried to use it.  Uh ohhhhh, not a good start!  But, about an hour later it was up and running, and activation after that was a breeze.

Everything seems to be running fine, and my data speeds are close if not the same as my native t-mobile speeds, so that was a big concern relieved!  The only remaining minus: I couldn’t send pics via MMS!  I could receive, but not send them.

Over on their support site there’s a prominent message acknowledging the issue, and from reading the topics it looks like this issue has been going on for over a week.  Worrisome sign #2!  BUT, after doing my own research I found a solution that worked great for me, so everything is humming along, and I’m ready to go.  (If anyone is reading this and is having MMS issues on Solavei still, let me know and I can go into details on what fixed it for me!)

Morale of the story: Solavei is worth checking out if you want a low cost plan that includes mobile hotspot, BUT be ready for a bit of troubleshooting and/or patience if you do.  I’ll keep updating with my ongoing experiences with them.

If after a couple months things are still going well I might try to get a few friends to check it out, but not until I’m sure it’s stable for me.  But, if anyone wants to dive in, and use me as their reference, feel free to click the bold ‘Trying out Solavei’ section header at the top  to get more info, or click here to actually start the enrollment process with me as your referrer.

Posted by: Eddie | February 22, 2013

Chromebook pixel: Judging what other people value

I’ve been reading several articles about the new Chromebook Pixel, and one common comment I see after most of them is something to the effect that “you must be an idiot if you buy one of these.”  I also used to see that sort of comment about the cheaper chromebooks, although much less so these days now that they’re the #1 selling notebooks on Amazon for weeks and weeks and weeks.

What bothers me about this is the shortsightedness and solipsistic nature of that sort of comment.  The commentator is assuming that everyone has similar needs and values things similarly to them.  For example, with the original Chromebook, people who purchased them valued very quick startup-time, very low maintenance, and easy transfer to new machines (amongst other things) highly enough to purchase one.  They probably also have ubiquitous wifi in their lives, so weren’t bothered by that requirement.

Yet plenty of commentators would say they were “idiots”.  Even if the cheaper Chromebooks weren’t best-sellers now, that sort of comment is still taking the wrong view that just because something doesn’t make sense for me, it doesn’t make sense for anyone.

The same thing is true for the pixel. Some people may value chromebooks for whatever reason, and do NOT need functionality that only comes with a full OS.  Plenty of people use their computing devices for simple tasks that they do every day for HOURS at a time.  Someone who uses lots of social network services, browses, e-mails, and does other common activities has no real need for the adobe photoshops or microsoft offices of the world, and can get by on simpler (and usually free apps).  For them, why shouldn’t they want a premium device to make those HOURS of activities easier and more pleasant?

It’s not so much I personally am planning to get one, but more that it has elicited this sort of narrow-view reaction than most other gadgets in recent history.  Many gadgets that are now ubiquitous (smartphones, tablets, etc.) started out as something many people thought “only idiots” would get.

If there’s one thing the internet’s connectivity to so many other people should finally teach us, it’s that there’s a HUGE variety of wants, needs, and values out there, and what is a ridiculous purchase for ourselves may be just the thing for someone else.  Oh, and this sort of attitude of “it doesn’t work for me so you’re wrong if it works for you” is prevalent elsewhere in life, in more serious and damaging ways, so dropping this sort of solipsism will lead to far more useful benefits elsewhere as well.

Posted by: Eddie | February 8, 2013

Tracking the blizzard

Tracking the blizzard

Friday at 9:30pm

Posted by: Eddie | February 8, 2013

Tracking the blizzard

Here we are at a little after 8pm on Friday and the snow is starting to come down more heavily.  Switched over to my Lumia 920 so I can get good pictures at night!


Snow Friday 8pm

Posted by: Eddie | February 8, 2013

Tracking the blizzard

It’s now 3pm and snowing lightly but steadily. The first snow plow just went by…


Posted by: Eddie | February 8, 2013

Tracking the blizzard

A little after 11am. There’s a very fine, light snow falling, though it’s hard to see in this photo:


Posted by: Eddie | February 8, 2013

Tracking the Blizzard

I’m going to resurrect this blog and start with a series of pictures taken every few hours showing how the blizzard actually affects the area. Kicking things of with a photo I took at 7am before any snow…


Posted by: Eddie | February 21, 2012

The questionably cheaper B&N nook tablet

Barnes & Noble has announced a new nook tablet that matches the $199 Kindle Fire choice. Unfortunately they’ve also modified it to match the lower Kindle Fire storage (down from 16gb to 8gb) and memory (down from 1gb to 512mb).  That’s too bad, because the nook tablet needs to do more than match the Kindle Fire.  Amazon has a stronger app selection, a simpler UI for its not-as-technical audience, and tight integration with its Amazon Prime service that beats the pants off what B&N is offering for its B&N members.

That’s a shame because the nook tablet has a nicer screen, a micro SD slot, and a few other advantages that would make it tempting.  The other misstep B&N has made is tightening things up on the nook tablet to make it harder for rooters/modders and others who may be attracted by its better stats.

I hope I’m wrong, but this seems like the beginning of the end for the nook tablet.  We’ll see how long they hang in there, but I’m worried.

BARNES & NOBLE | NOOK Tablet™ – 8GB.

Posted by: Eddie | November 23, 2011

The times they are a’changing…

While riding home on the T last night (for non-Bostonians, that’s our subway system), and noticed that of the 5 people reading in our half of the train, two had 3rd generation Kindles, myself and one other person had the Kindle Fire, and the 5th person was reading a physical book.

I have a co-worker friend who loves to read too, but had resisted getting an e-reader because she loved the look/smell/feel of books.  However, after a recent business trip that had her lugging a couple ponderous books around she decided she’d had enough, and bought my 3rd gen Kindle that was being replaced by the Fire and a Kindle Touch.

She loves it.

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