Tuesday, December 16, 2008

BCS championship to be available live in 3-D - Yahoo! News

BCS championship to be available live in 3-D - Yahoo! News: "LOS ANGELES – College football live in 3-D is coming soon — possibly to a theater near you.

Thanks to an impressive — though not glitch-free — test broadcast of an NFL game two weeks ago, Burbank, Calif.-based 3ality Digital said Tuesday it had won the contract to shoot the Jan. 8 BCS National Championship game in 3-D."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008

Best Of 2008: Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008: "In the past year we've highlighted hundreds of Windows apps aimed at making your life easier, boosting your computer productivity, and powering up your PC.

For those of you who weren't able to keep up, here's a look back at the most popular Windows downloads of 2008."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Startup banks on making money from free broadband (AP) by AP: Yahoo! Tech

Startup banks on making money from free broadband (AP) by AP: Yahoo! Tech: "WASHINGTON - For the past three years, a startup called M2Z Networks has been figuring out a way to blanket the nation with a free wireless broadband network to ensure all Americans have access to basic high-speed Internet connections."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Prediction for 2009

I predict that within 2009, Sprint will come out with an Android (Google) based phone that will be powered by their newly formed WiMax company called Clear (a company formed by Sprint and Clearwire). Keep your fingers crossed!


All Systems Go for Nationwide WiMax With Sprint, Clearwire Merger

All Systems Go for Nationwide WiMax With Sprint, Clearwire Merger: "The US$14.5 billion merger between Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) Latest News about Sprint Nextel and wireless broadband provider Clearwire closed Monday with $3.2 billion in equity funding from a variety of heavy hitters in the technology and telecommunications industries.

The two companies have joined forces to build a nationwide high-speed wireless Internet network using worldwide interoperability for microwave access, or WiMax Take the FREE Motorola AirDefense WLAN Security Assessment. Click here., technology. The combined entity will be called 'Clearwire' and will be based in Kirkland, Wash."

Sprint Considers Google-Powered Device to Lure Users

Sprint Considers Google-Powered Device to Lure Users: "“We believe in the vision for Android, so we want to see it get bigger and get healthy,” Kevin Packingham, Sprint’s vice president of products and devices, said yesterday in an interview. “We can, when the timing’s right, pull the trigger.”"

Google’s Rich Miner to Give Sprint Keynote - Android Handset to Follow? | AndroidGuys

Google’s Rich Miner to Give Sprint Keynote - Android Handset to Follow? | AndroidGuys: "December 10th marks the start of this year’s Application Developer Conference for Sprint, which has been held annually since 2001. One of this year’s keynote addresses will be given by CEO Dan Hesse. Another keynote will be given by Google’s Rich Miner."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Comcast vs. FiOS vs. OTA

Starting tomorrow, I'm getting Verizon FiOS internet service (20 mbps down/5 mbps up) for $60.99 a month, that's $8 less than Comcast's lowest internet service (6 mbps down/1 mbps up).
I won't be under a contract either.

Today, I called Verizon FiOS to cancel my 'Triple Play' service after 3 months of constant haggling with them over my monthly bill. Movie packages were being put on my account that I didn't approve and when I was told they would be taken off, they weren't. This month's bill that was supposed to be $168 was $219 and this was the last month I was going to deal with this! I was resigned to the fact that I was only going to get internet access from comcast and go OTA with my tv's. OTA stands for 'Over the Air' and I was going to get local channels in HD and use Hulu or other online services to get programming that local tv doesn't provide. I did it a year ago and was happy with the results.

So I called Verizon and they naturally put me on hold for approximately 30 minutes. Nothing new so far. The time on hold gave me time to think about what life was going to be like going back to Comcast. When someone picked up, I politely told them that I wanted to cancel my account because I wasn't happy with their service. She asked me what could they do to keep me as a customer. I said that one of the things that really bothered me was the contract. I didn't want to be restricted to a contract. The other thing was the quality of the customer service. She said that they're working on customer service, but that she would be able to offer me 'internet only service' without a contract for a flat $60.99 a month. I asked if this was a promotion and she said no. I asked if there was any reason she knew of that would raise my monthly payment and she said no.

This kind of shifted my thinking. I was all ready to have Comcast come in an get rid of Verizon but suddenly, Verizon seemed more attractive simply due to the price difference of their internet connections. Not to mention the speed differences.

So against my better judgement, I'm sticking with Verizon for now. But I did get rid of the TV and phone part of the package and because I did that, I'm breaking the contract and I have to pay $175 which is total BS! In the long run, it is more cost prohibitive for me to pay the early termination fee and only pay $60 a month rather then keeping the service and pay at least $168 a month for the next two years.

Bottom Line facts about your high definition television/broadband internet choices.

Comcast pros:
  1. No contract - On any service, tv or internet. Never thought I'd have to say this but this is a biggy. Read on.
  2. Stable - Once the service is in place, it's sturdy (at least in the Baltimore area).
Comcast cons:
  1. Dealing with their customer service is horrible. It can take up to a week or more for them to come out and respond even if you're completely down. Sometimes, they'll give you an eight hour window of when they will arrive.
  2. Comcast compresses their video signal 3:1. They do this because their 'data pipes' only allow so much data to be transfered at one time. So the thing that get's sacrificed is the quality of video and audio because those are the biggest bandwidth hogs. That great hi def signal that you're getting from Comcast could look three times better. And you can see the difference!
Verizon pros:
  1. Quality Signal - Their video and audion signals are not compressed. What you see coming out of your TV from Verizon FiOS is the best HD signal your going to see. The quality of your TV or your cables will be the bottleneck here. There is a noticeable difference between Verizon's signal and Comcast's compressed signal.
Verizon cons:
  1. Flakey Onscreen menu - Their onscreen menu needs work. While they do have some intuitive controls, they're missing some basic functionality. For example. If I want to just view HD channels, I need to select View HD channels every time I go into the menu. It defaults to viewing all channels and doesn't remember what your last preference was. This is annoying.
  2. Compitency of Techs- I was scheduled to have a tech come out August 1st to do my install of TV, internet and phone. When 4pm rolled around and there was still no sign of Verizon, I called and was told that someone would definitely be out by 6pm that evening. I was moving that day so I had my 75 year old father come over and babysit until they came over. Well they never made it. At 7:3opm, I finally got a hold of a rep and they said they were sorry that they didn't make it out. The next available date they had was August 15th. (15 days of no service, nothing). That should have been my que right then and there to get out while I still had some sanity left. By the way, I was credited $20 for being inconvenienced. WTF is that?! Anyway when they finally came out, the tech didn't have any network cable in his truck to run my connection to my office. Dazed at the lack of remorse from the guy, I let him use my personal stash of cable. Oh yeah, he needed my crimper too.... He told me that during 'the strike', some 'scabs' stole equipment from the work trucks and that's why he didn't have any material. I later found out that there wasn't even a strike, much less 'scabs' swiping stuff from the trucks. It took this technician a day and a half and a visit from his supervisor to come out to get me hooked up. The kicker to that was the previous owners already had FiOS installed in the house. Amazing.
  3. Costomer Service - Their customer service makes Comcast customer service look like a bunch of nuns. This is by far the worst customer service support I have ever dealt with, ever. Seriously, I need to set aside at least 45 minutes when I need to talk to these people because I'm literally on hold for at least a half hour. Then when I finally get a human, I suddenly get transferred and there I sit in another que for 15 minutes. It is incomprehensible that a company can operate like this. I'm learning that it's the growing mentality that these big companies don't need us, rather we need them.
  4. Verizon's Required Router - If you have Verizon Internet and TV, you're required to use their wireless router which is 802.11g. This sucks when I just went out and upgraded my network to gigabit ethernet and 802.11n. You're required to use their router because the STB's (set top boxes) they use have two way communication to Verizon. So the router needs to be able to see them on your network to be able to talk to them. There is a way around it and that's by making your 802.11n router a wireless access point and letting the Verizon router do the DHCP work. It's not bulletproof either because I always get messages saying that another device decided to take the DHCP address that I was using. Not fun.
  5. Verizon's Contract - If you join Verizon and select their "Triple Play" thing deal they have (phone, internet, tv) then you're locked into that contract for two years. If for some reason you decide that you don't need say the phone part of the package and you want to cancel it, you're required to pay a $179 early termination fee. No excuses buddy.
OTA pros:
  1. Freedom! - You don't have to deal with Comcast or Verizon! You are your own man/woman who doesn't have to dread when you see your broadband bill and wonder how bad it's going to be this month.
  2. Savings - By me dropping my tv and phone service, I'm going to be saving $100 a month on my bill by going this route. All I need from Comcast or Verizon is an internet connection and that will run me $60-$70
  3. Uncompressed Signal - Like Verizon, you're getting a pure, unadulterated HD signal. This is actually the purest signal you can get because there are absolutely no 'filters' on the signal before it gets to your tv.
  4. Room to explore - If you're going this route, chances are you have a computer hooked up to it. This allows you to have access to internet based content such as Miro and Hulu to name a few. There is a growing number of services out there to enhance your experience.
OTA cons:
  1. Lack of selection - Because you don't have cable tv, you don't have cable channels. But like I was saying in the pros section, there are more and more services every day to improve your experience if you have a computer hooked up to your tv.