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Jan. 6th, 2011

white house

(no subject)

For several years, rumours of an impending Verizon CDMA iPhone have been circulating. They continue today. Many people expect any day there will be an announcement of a Verizon CDMA iPhone. I have said during this whole time that Apple will not make a CDMA iPhone. I will again explain my logic in this message.

I should start by saying that I do expect an announcement sometime in the next six months from Apple that a Verizon iPhone is coming. But that iPhone will be the next gen iPhone (iPhone 5) which will be an LTE/GSM iPhone. Verizon will be the launch carrier for that phone (at least in the US).

Why no CDMA? As I have said before, CDMA is a dying technology. Verizon is abandoning it. Few carriers around the world use it. And for those that do use CDMA, there is no future path for it. Some people have said that it does not matter that it is a dying technology, if Apple can sell several million CDMA iPhones on Verizon, they will make money anyway. Maybe they would, but they would have made more money if they started selling them after the first exclusivity agreement with AT&T expired. So, why didn't they let that exclusivity agreement end and then start selling a Verizon CDMA phone then? By not doing it then, they lost a lot of sales.

The next reason for not introducing a CDMA iPhone now is that Apple probably needs to be having their engineers build the first LTE iPhone. Carriers are going to LTE. AT&T and Verizon are. Verizon announced their launch plans and schedule today. I do not think Apple would focus on building a CDMA and LTE phone at the same time. Apple has pretty consistently focused on one new mobile phone protocol/technology per new version. Additionally, a CDMA/LTE phone would not work in most countries, so the phone could not be used globally, which I think Apple would not likely want to have happen. A CDMA/GSM/LTE phone would solve the global problem, but would be a pretty complicated phone and could you get a tri band phone small enough? 

So, an LTE iPhone on Verizon. How do we get there. It is clear to me that the launch carrier for an LTE iPhone has to be Verizon. AT&T's LTE plans are way behind Verizon. Verizon announced their rollout today. The question is, how much coverage do they have to have before an LTE iPhone can be rolled out?  The end of 2011 when they have 200M population covered? How could they roll it out earlier?

I think any LTE iPhone will also be GSM. Internationally, it has to be that way. Could that be used with Verizon? Actually, the question to ask is how can that be used with Verizon? Would Verizon roll out GSM to support that? Clearly, no. Would they reach an agreement with AT&T to roam on AT&T's GSM network until LTE has sufficient coverage? No, they would be iPhone competitors and it certainly would not be in AT&T's interest.

But, there is another national GSM carrier. T-mobile. Smaller than the other three. What if Verizon inked a deal with T-mobile that for several billion (I am not sure what the actual numbers would be) Verizon buys a big block of roaming minutes. Verizon only markets the LTE iPhone in areas where they have rolled LTE out, but if those customers travel, they could still use their iPhone. Data would be much slower when out of LTE coverage areas, but would work. Perhaps included in the deal would be a deal allowing T-mobile to sell the iPhone as well. This type of roaming deal is not unprecedented. Sprint (the other major CDMA carrier) and Verizon have had rooming agreements. I believe that AT&T and T-mobile had an agreement at some point as well.

This sounds crazy, but I think that a Verizon/T-mobile deal has the best chance of getting a Verizon iPhone sooner, rather than later.

I am interested in any comments others might have.

I have no insider information. This is all speculation based on my own reasoning.

Dec. 12th, 2009

6820 thumbing2

Review of the Barnes and Nobles Nook

I have had my nook for 5 days now and wanted to post a summary of my experiences. I have not owned another ebook reader, so I am not going to compare the nook to other readers, just explain my experiences.

I wanted an ebook reader because of travel. I travel a lot and carry too much stuff in my backpack. If I could reduce the weight of my backpack by excluding heavy books, my back would be happier.

Overall, it is ok. Many of my comments will seem to be negative, but the nook does fulfil its purpose. I think I will get good use from it. I do not plan to return it like other have but I might replace with with an Apple tablet next year. I think I am most disappointed that this device is not a game changer.

The packaging was ridiculous. It took me way too long to figure out how to get the packaging open. They even included instructions on how to open the package, but those instructions were useless. The think hard plastic could not be brute forced, so I had to figure out the complicated process to open it. I am not Mr Environment, but I found the packaging to be wasteful. Why was all that plastic needed?

The form and weight of the device are ok. The page turning buttons are located in the right places. I am not as thrilled with the rubberised backing. I would have preferred a plastic back.

Some people have complained about the time it takes to turn pages. I did not find it to be bad for me. I know when to press the button based on where on the page I am reading and that works fine.

The biggest annoyance is remembering where I was last reading in a book. Sometimes, it seems to forget what page I was reading on and goes to page one. I have not been able to figure out what actions seem to cause that behaviour. The problem is compounded by a deficiency in the "go to the furthest page read" feature. I like to read footnotes/endnotes. In fact, I find it very annoying that footnotes are no longer at the bottom of the page and do not like having to flip back to the end of the book all the time (this makes reading old books more enjoyable for me). On the nook, you can select the superscripted footnote number in the text and the nook will go to the page in the endnotes where that footnote is. Unfortunately, this also has the side effect of setting that page in the endnotes to be the "furthest page read" making that feature useless for that book forever.

The nook allows you to select from three fonts for text. I prefer Helvetica. Unfortunately, it does not consistently use your chosen font. The book The Queen Mother: The Official Biography displays in a serif font regardless of your personal font setting.

After having used an iPhone keyboard, the nook keyboard has several annoyances. There is no autocorrect (at least that I could find), and unlike on the iPhone, you cannot use your finger to position the cursor at a typo because the text you are tying is displayed on the upper screen. You have to use arrows to move the cursor.

On the first night I had the nook, I had problems getting free books to download. It was not downloading them automatically and manual downloads timed out. Later that night, I got a few to download but then it started timing out. I sent email to customer service about the problem and never got a reply, but they are all now downloaded.

Some of the navigation options are goofy. Maybe I just do not understand then. For example, when I am reading a newspaper, I cannot figure out how to go from the article I was reading back to the overview page I had just been on. I can only figure out how to go to the next article or got to a specific section and the page through that section's list of articles to where I was before.

As I get more experience with the nook, I will post an update.

Aug. 12th, 2009



I still vividly remember the phone call five years ago. I was on vacation, staying home, relaxing at Starbucks. Suddenly, in one moment, relaxation turns to shear panic. I never had and maybe never will get a phone call that shocked me to my core like that. I drove home; not sure how. Or what I thought I would do when I got there.

The next week is a blur, but then I settled back into the normal routine. Except, it wasn't normal anymore. And five years later, it still isn't. I still miss you so much, my friend.

Whenever I fly, which is a lot, I still remember the quote that was in the program for the service:

When once you have tasted flight,
you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,
for there you have been,
and there you will always long to return.

I still look up to the sky to see you, Quinn. And I still cry.

Jul. 11th, 2009

white house


I am in San Framcisco at Ghirardelli Square. I am wearing a t-shirt from a local Pittsburgh university and a guy walks up to me as asks if I am from Pittsburgh. I said yes, and he tells me that he also lives in Pittsburgh. Of course, walking up to a total stranger and chatting them up is a typical thing for a Pittsburgher to do, but this guy has been in Pittsburgh only 2 months. I only talked to the guy for 5 minutes (his mother was hungry) but he was really interesting. He lived in a monastery for a while, lived in the desert for a month, walked the Appalacian Trail and broke his leg, and travelled to Pittsburgh on a whim and said if he can find a job and roommate in 7 days, he would stay and he did.

A real interesting guy.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.


Jun. 30th, 2009

white house

Twitter Admin Note

I have been hesitant to do any real live bogging on my twitter account because I have it linked to Facebook for status updates and did not want to clog up facebook with live blog messages. So, I created a separate twitter account for live blogging.

Status updates: droopydog500

Live blogging: droopy_liveblog

Jun. 18th, 2009


AT&T Love...

I have been a customer of AT&T and its predecessors for more than 21 years. Through many of those years I had painful customer service calls over something broken in their network. Roaming problems, text message problems, email/SMS gateway problems. I remember the frustration trying to find someone who had any clue about what they were talking about AND recognised that *I* had a clue what I was talking about.

I realised this morning, that I think I have actually gone through a multi-year period where I have not had to call AT&T for a network technical problem. I realised this because I was rudely brought back to reality when AT&T's data network failed in Pittsburgh this morning.

I was flying to DC this morning. When I got up at 4am, I saw that my blackberry was no longer receiving email and was in "3g" (three little g mode), which essentially means it cannot talk to the data network but the voice network is fine. When I got in my car, I saw that my iPhone had no EDGE network access (it was on my wifi network at home). When I get to the airport, I decided to call AT&T. By this time, I had pulled out my Nokia N80 and verified that it also had no EDGE network access. Three separate phones from different vendors all not working.

"Please power down your iPhone and pop out the SIM card."
"I am at the airport, I do not have a paperclip."
"Oh, so you know you need a paperclip to pop out the SIM card."
"Yes, and all three phones I have do not have data network access. Popping the SIM card will not help."
Oblivious to what I just said, "ok, just power up the iPhone then. ....... Does it have network access?"
"Ok. Since you cannot pop the SIM on the iPhone, lets look at the Blackberry. Take the back off the blackberry and take out the battery and then pop out the SIM."
GRRRRRRRR. I wonder how many AT&T customer service reps freaked when they were originally told that you cannot remove the battery on an iPhone. I mean, that is their primary fix it all.
"I powered on the blackberry. Still no data access."
"Ok, I am going to have to transfer you to technical support."
What, you mean you do not want me to take the battery off my Nokia N80? I know how to take the battery out of it, too.
"Hi, this is [Nate] in technical support. I hear you are having a problem with your iPhone and Blackberry..."
"Yes, and my Nokia N80. None have 3G or EDGE data access."
"Ok. Power cycle your iPhone."
"Ok, I just did that with the previous rep."
"Yes, but I have accesses that she did not have."
"Ok. It is rebooted."
"Ok. Call the number '##' <two digits> '#'".
"Do you now have network access?"
"No. Has anyone else reported problems in Pittsburgh?"
"No. Now on your blackberry, pop the back off and .................."

Finally then, "Ok, I am going to open a trouble ticket."
"ok, well I am boarding a plane now."
"oh, then I will not open the ticket."
"No, open the ticket, I am just telling you that in 15-20 minutes I will have to hang up."
"ok, I will try to create it quickly."
Apparently a ticket cannot be created unless the customer is on the phone...
"Ok, please do."
"Well, it will not really matter. If the network in Pittsburgh really is down, other people will call in."
And get the same idiot treatment I did.
Shortly after that I was "disconnected". Grrrrrrrr.

Well, apparently people did start calling in. When I landed in DC a friend SMSed me and said that AT&T said they were not taking any more trouble reports and to call back later.

I have soooooooo missed these fun calls....  NOT!

Apr. 28th, 2009


UA to add direct flights between PIT and SFO & LAX!

This will not matter for most people reading this, but it is great news for me! Starting October, United Airlines is adding direct flights between Pittsburgh/Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh/San Francisco:

PIT-SFO UA #237 0845 1113 A319
SFO-PIT UA #480 1300 2049 A319

PIT-LAX UA #265 1800 2016 A319
LAX-PIT UA #458 0940 1717 A319

Hammer another nail in US Airways coffin!

Apr. 25th, 2009

7280 pic snapping

Eye Doctor Madness

I got a postcard from my eye doctor to schedule my next regular check-up. Sounds normal enough. Except that they are now booking appointments for July 2010!!!! Maybe I should book July 2012 at the same time...

Apr. 20th, 2009

white house

Starbucks employee thinks I am dorkey

This is the latest attempt by a Starbucks' employee to write my name on the cup. In this case, I even spelt it out for her. And she writes "DORKEY".

Posted via LiveJournal.app.


Mar. 27th, 2009

white house


I just finished watching the first season of Damages; over the past week. My tivo has been recording it since last year.

I was not sure I was going to like it after watching the first episode, but I quickly became hooked. I like Glenn Close as Patty Hewes, but think she over acted the role at times. While I think that parts of the story were hard to believe, the intensity of the story made up for it and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Usually, I do not like movies or TV shows that constantly jump back and forth in time. And, if that makes you nauseous you will projectile vomit when watching Damages. I generally do not like it because it is hard for me to devote 100% attention to TV shows. I am usually always doing something else. And chronological diarrhoea usually makes it too hard for me to follow. I did not have much trouble keeping up in this case, and I think it definitely made the series more interesting than a straight chronology would have.

As an aside, the TV rating system, which rated this as "TV MA LSV 90210 EIEIO NOCH ILD REN". What parent is going to spend the time to decode what all the letters mean? Ridiculous.

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