Why I’m (Rationalizing) Enduring AT&T

I’ve been complaining a lot lately about AT&T. I’m sorry. I tend to talk to my wife in the evenings while I’m sitting on my laptop and it’s easy to open Twitter and complain while I’m trying to reconnect the call. I guess I should stop. I’ve always had a problem when I get frustrated and have easy access to Twitter. You have no idea how hard it was not to rant on Twitter while I was working as a Realtor. I had other people’s businesses at stake, so I forced myself to keep my digital mouth shut.

I have no love for AT&T. I’ve endured them for a long time. I’ve been with “The New AT&T” since 2005, but before that I kept bouncing between Cingular and AT&T Wireless for 5 years prior to that as I’d leave one for the other only to be bought back by the one I left.

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My Comment On A Blog Post About Windows Phone 7

A colleague at work pointed out a blog post about Windows Phone 7. The writer of the post bought a new phone with Windows Phone 7 installed on it. He took it back within 4 hours and had to pay a restocking fee.

I would have simply left a comment on the blog post itself, but it’s hosted on InfoWorld, and I would have to register for an account. In a day and age when a 10 year old could easily code a site to allow me to log in with an existing account (like FaceBook, Twitter, or WordPress), InfoWorld, a site that apparently markets itself to IT professionals, requires me to create yet another account on their site. I’m tired of having to keep track of logins and passwords. I can’t tell you have many sites and blogs and forums I’ve had to create an account on just to leave a comment or view information and NEVER GO BACK AGAIN. I’m tired of it.

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Should FM Radios Be Required In Cell Phones? (Hint: No)

It’s amazing when I come across a “survey” that shows people having come to a conclusion that I did years ago.

Apparently, most people don’t care about having an FM tuner in their cell phones. Duh. I don’t even care about having in on my home or car. Really. With the beauty of MP3s and Internet radio like Pandora, why would I want to take a step backwards into the realm of inane DJ chatter and commercials? I do not miss spending 80% of my commute listening to pointless chatter and commercials for things that don’t apply to me, like feminine products.

AM talk radio is far worse. I can remember my brief foray into listening to AM talk radio. They’d play the same commercial for “Sea Silver” 3 times in a row while I was driving home.

Don’t get me started on NPR. They can take a story that should be about a headline long and stretch it into an hour. That’s almost as bad as Dragon Ball Z, which needs 7 seasons to move the story ahead 5 minutes. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider yourself blessed.

I do not miss listening to the radio. For me the radio is like Fox News: good in an emergency when I need information quick, bad for the other moments in life.

By the way, speaking of radio, I am a licensed Ham operator. My call sign is KC2KYF. Although it’s been years since I’ve bothered with Ham radio.

Great Question: Where’s Our Rollover Data, AT&T?

When I write posts like “Rumors of the iPhone on Verizon annoy me”, I’m not saying that I don’t want to see the iPhone on other networks. I have little love for AT&T. For some reason, I think GSM is a better technology than CDMA, but I’m hard pressed to provide any objective evidence to support that opinion. I just like being able to switch phones by moving a little chip.

The only problem I have with those rumors is stated in my last post on the subject. Apple would be breaking a contract, and Verizon has left no evidence that they would allow the iPhone’s capabilities on it’s network. They turned it down in the first place.

I have no idea if Verizon has a better network than AT&T. At one point, I had Verizon phones issued by a company I worked for. I had a RAZR and 2 models of BlackBerries during the time I worked there. It didn’t seem like I had better reception. If anything, there were times I had to use my personal AT&T phone because I couldn’t get a decent connection on Verizon’s network.

I’ve always liked the concept of rollover minutes. I never use all the minutes I pay for, but I did pay for them, so why can’t I keep them? The Unofficial Apple Weblog now asks: where’s our rollover data?

Most people don’t use the full amount of data allowed. Why can’t we roll over a few gigs? I’ve always wondered why we can’t tether our phones up to our full allotment of data, except that the few telcos in existence have us over a barrel and can dictate whatever terms they want, since we have few options. I can’t take my iPhone to Cricket.

Rumors About the iPhone on Verizon Annoy Me

Ever since the day the iPhone came out, tech blogs have been whining about how it should be released on Verizon. Every time a new iPhone or software update comes out, rumors start flying about how the iPhone will be on Verizon soon.

I want to reach through my screen and ask the tech bloggers or reporters if they remember 2 basic facts:

  1. Apple originally approached Verizon with the iPhone. Verizon would not bend it’s will far enough to allow the iPhone to be what it is on AT&T’s network.
  2. Apple has a 5 year contract with AT&T. Let’s see, the first iPhone came out in 2007.

2007+5=2012.

That means the exclusive agreement will be over about in time for the end of the world. Unless you follow Harold Camping, in which case the world will end a few weeks before the iPhone 5 announcement…

None of the “iPhone on Verizon” rumors contain any statements like “AT&T is releasing Apple from it’s agreement” or “Verizon is relaxing it’s dictatorial grip on smartphone capabilities”. The last time I had a Verizon phone, I still couldn’t transfer ringtones to it over Bluetooth.

Most of these rumors operate on the assumption that the day after the iPhone came out, Verizon got on it’s knees in repentance to Steve Jobs and said “We are most sorry. We will allow you to do whatever you want on our network regardless of our existing policy. Have your way with us, oh great Steve.”

So today The Unofficial Apple Weblog ran its 48,031st rumor that a Verizon ready iPhone has been in existence at Apple, and is being developed alongside it’s cousin until the day it can be released.

My prediction? IF the iPhone EVER is released on Verizon, it will be after June of 2012. If it’s EVER released. Show me some evidence that Verizon will actually allow the iPhone to run at it’s AT&T capacity or better on their network, and I’ll believe it.

Operation Cukoo to Oppose Operation Chokehold

I posted yesterday about a Fake Steve Jobs initiative to get iPhone users to consume lots of bandwidth on AT&T at 3 PM EST. AT&T calls it irresponsible. They would. I saw a post on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) today about an opposing operation called "Operation Cukoo."

If I were drinking coffee at the time, the opening paragraph of the post would have made me spit the coffee all over my monitor:

In what sounds like the title of the worst Bruce Willis movie ever, a
group of pro-AT&T Facebook users are up in arms about Operation
Chokehold.

"A group of pro- AT&T Facebook users…" That's almost like saying "A group of Pro-IRS Facebook users formed to oppose an income tax protest.

I don't like AT&T. I also didn't necessarily not like AT&T until they started complaining about iPhone data usage. I checked my iPhone's status, and I've used a grand total of 2 GB worth of data since early April. That's WELL under the 5GB "unlimited" data per month I pay for.

It's hard to imagine being "pro-AT&T". AT&T isn't exactly our enemy, but they are a megalithic oligopoly publicly traded telecommunications company. They aren't exactly our friend.

Do AT&T’s Work For Them With Your iPhone: Mark The Spot (free app)

AT&T released an application for the iPhone called “Mark the Spot“. Apparently, if you drop a call or can’t connect to the data network, you can bring up this application and “mark the spot” so AT&T knows where it’s weaknesses are.

While I appreciate the openness and the apparent attempt to address network issues, I can’t say this does much to address AT&T’s image. I have a Verizon BlackBerry issued from work, and I can’t say it’s performance is much more impressive than my AT&T iPhone. But, Verizon spent all those years and all that money on it’s “Can you hear me now?” campaign, and built an image as a telco that walked it’s territory to identify weak areas. I know, the guy is an actor. His cell phone was a prop; probably a display model. Still, it gave people the perception that Verizon checked it’s network.

Mark the Spot gives me the perception that AT&T is finally willing to entertain the notion that it’s customers are actually having problems with it’s network. Rather than using engineers, they’re just going to make the customers do the work.

AT&T, when you drop my calls or my 3G network, the last thing I feel like doing is bringing up another app and doing your job for you. But nice try.