Please just stop, stop it now, your smartphone is not a slice of Toast or Pop Tart!

There is nothing more annoying than someone screeching into their phone while holding like a slice of toast or a pop tart or slice of something else.

We’ve all seen it done, it’s annoy when you have someone sitting holding their phone as if they are ready to take a huge bite out of it. They screech their conversation shouting so that they can be heard over other noises while the speaker phone is active and we all get to be party to their private conversation.

Madam, yes you in the checkout line that should be dealing with your transaction holding it up, we don’t want to know about your sex life, we don’t what to know how big Dwayne’s private parts are or that he left you sore after last night.

I prefer the good old days when we all made calls on our phones in the same way, before the paranoia about maybe getting cancer or harmed by the phone and the desire to keep a distance between yourself and that damn cancer giving device (usually while the same people worrying about that glug down alcohol, smoke cigarettes and use products that are, according to the State of California, known to cause cancer (essentially everything from Water to breathing the air).

We all wish we could say we don’t know where holding smartphones and yelping into them came from but we all know!

As soon as smartphones with speakerphone functionality became popular and were used on shows such as “The Apprentice” and other similar reality style shows. Where they want to make everyone hear the conversations.

Shows with the Kardashian family doing it so that the viewers can be party to their personal conversations has everyone believing that it is the proper way to have a conversation.

I’ve actually seen women driving down the road holding their phone that way and carrying out a conversation. Sometimes they are at the head of the line of traffic at a light in a lane and several cars will drive past when the lights change because they are oblivious to the world around them as they focus on screaming at the slice of toast smartphone in their hands.

Look just grow up, the earpiece is designed to match up where your ear is, the mic is strategically located to give optimal performance relative to your mouth. Screaming at your phone and waiting for someone to respond back makes for a long conversation as you ask them to repeat what they said because you couldn’t hear it because the earpiece is 6-12 inches away from your ear and it’s competing with other noises around you.

Learn to use a phone like a real person, if you don’t want to put the phone next to your ear then connect an earpiece and mic, use Bluetooth, earphones or something else and you won’t have to worry, better still you will be able to focus on the world around you and not look like a freaking moron and you won’t accidentally bite a chunk out of your phone when your hungry.

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Facebook, the mobile App that keeps on Growing…

You’d think that they would give us lots of new features with every weekly update?

Yes, the Facebook app seems to just grow larger and larger and larger. Embarrassingly large, although it has shrunk somewhat over the past few weeks, about a month ago it was over 400MB in size. Right now it sits at 298MB!

It makes me wonder, there is rarely any new features but it just grows, In fact it seems to be an extremely obese app in comparison to the actual features. If you compare it to similar featured social media apps like the Minds Social media app that includes video playback, blogging and other features sits at a sleek 18.7MB, Twitter comes in at 105MB while Gab.AI comes in at ZERO MB, ah yes, because none of the app stores will allow their social media app.

I’m sure there are other social media apps but none are so obese as the Facebook app. In fact when it had the messenger built in as opposed to being a separate app for that it was half the size, about the same size that their messenger app is now which is 133MB (Hmm, the minds social media app has this feature built in and includes encrypted at both ends messaging.

So what makes the Facebook apps, I say apps because the messenger app is steadily growing too as are their other products, so much larger and ever growing.

It’s certainly not features, there just aren’t enough features to justify the size of the app and in fact while features have been added the app sizes have not changed but then when no change at all have been made outwardly the apps have grown massively.

What is it they are fixing, bugs? If it’s bugs they are fixing then they are lousy at coding because they add massive amounts of code to fix bugs that very few were aware of.

When they suddenly dropped in size last time it coincided with the ban on apps using people’s devices for Cryptocurrency mining. There was no changes aside from it suddenly shrunk in size after suddenly growing in size.

Is it possible that all of these code changes that Facebook Inc make to all their apps are designed to try and get past sandboxing and other security features put in place by OS makers to protect data between different apps.

It is interesting that minutes after making a voice call to a family member using the Facebook messenger we both started receiving Cat repellant after I mentioned that I was planning to get some. I had never mentioned it to anyone in person, never made a facebook post about it and never had done a search for it online. I know where it’s sold and don’t need to do a search to find that information out. So why would Facebook suddenly advertise something mentioned in a voice call through their messenger? Essentially they have to be using Voice to Text translation and then watching for keywords that they can use in voice conversations (and I presume audio from video calls).

Facebook listening in would certainly explain why Apple’s AirPods batteries only lasting about an hour from full charge during a voice or video call on Facebook’s messenger.

They’re obviously holding the mic open and it sounds like you’re using a 1970’s era phone line with those old mechanical exchanges that had clicks clanks and whirs in the audio background of calls.

I’m sure that there are other things going on with all Facebook Inc.’s apps that they aren’t being open or honest about and it is maybe about time that Apple and Google started looking a lot closer at these apps and ask what the blazes is going on.

Meanwhile, I’m going to do an experiment, I’m going to do a voice call tomorrow using a Google product and will mention products that I have never done searches for and see if I start seeing Google Adsense ads for these products. If so then both companies are being devious but we expect it of Google while Facebook spend their time abjectly denying that they are doing anything until they are caught doing it.

Unlimited Data Plans , not always Unlimited…

There’s much been said about the Unlimited Plans that US mobile carriers and none are truly unlimited.

I shopped around for an unlimited mobile plan when I started experiment on using Mobile data only and dumping my home broadband service. I thought long and hard about it and recently the focus of Tech Press has spotlighted that none are truly unlimited.

So I took the time to look at the different plans available that were unlimited from the four big carriers (maybe three within a few months)…

SPRINT

Sprint was a non-starter for me, I had to look up the plan because I never stopped to even consider it because locally it’s the one operator that nobody wants.

They have two separate plans, one is $60 and the other is $70 though as you add lines to your account the price drops!

The base plan gives 480p video and even music data is limited to 500Kbps. They limit data access to 2 MBps and the amount of LTE hotspot is paltry at just 0.5 GB of data.

The Premium version for $10 more give 1080p video, 1.5Mbps for music and Gaming data speeds is upped to 8Mbps. Hotspot data is extended to a far more respectively and useful 15GB of data.

Now for the even bigger downside, if your data usage is more than 50GB of data in a month they throttle your speed, on the positive side they’re throttling your data on both plans anyway.

AT&T

AT&T also have two unlimited plans. They base plan costs $70 and the premium plan is an extra $10 at $80. Similar to all the other carriers the more lines you have the better deal you get with a discount in total pricing based on the number of lines (up to 4).

Data is capped on both plans at 22GB and they say they “may slow down data speeds after this”.

The base plan offers 720p video speeds. I can’t tell, from their website and never could tell, if they have hotspot available on the base plan.

The Premium plan includes 15GB of hotspot data which slows to 128Kbps after you exceed the cap which is barely usable. It does increase the video streaming quality to 1080p.

I don’t get good service for this carrier at my home and AT&T, according to those that have their unlimited plans, tend to throttle down to barely usable as soon as you hit 22GB of data.

When I heard this from actual users I chose to avoid even looking further into it.

T-Mobile

When T-Mobile first launched their “T-Mobile One” plan they touted it as you only needing a single plan and there was nothing confusing. The plan cost $70 a month. Adding more lines (up to 4) give a discount based on the number of lines.

T-Mobile are the only carrier that includes all state and federal fee’s in their quoted pricing so you don’t pay hidden fee’s that shock you on your first bill.

Very quickly T-Mobile added a second plan called “T-Mobile One Plus” which cost $80.

The base plan includes 50GB of LTE Data, T-Mobile merely say that they “can drop” the data speeds, though it’s hidden in the small print. When I used them before with an unlimited plan they held strong to their hidden cap and would drop your speed down to 2G service. I don’t know if they drop it all the way to 2G or now use 3G speeds (still appallingly slow).

Video is capped at 480p and while they don’t have a cap on Hotspot it is limited to 3G speed all the time.

The “premium” service on the other hand gives 10GB of LTE speed data for hotspot after which it plummets down to 3G which makes it barely useable.

I believe, but couldn’t find on their website, that Video quality is upped to either 720p or 1080p.

T-Mobile also include free in-flight WiFi and 2G data overseas in many countries for free with the option to pay extra to get access to LTE speed data overseas for an extra fee.

Like AT&T though I struggled with the service quality at my home. When I was away from home I could get wonderful data speeds but when I was at home even with a signal amplifier/relay I couldn’t get a decent quality of service. I ended up dumping the service.

Verizon

Verizon on the other hand offers a plethora of plans. They are priced starting at $75 and the next two tiers go up by $10 a month.

Go Unlimited is the base plan, at $75 a month plus taxes and fees you are not guaranteed any data service and if the tower you are connected to is busy then you are first targeted for throttling. Mobile Hotspot is barely usable if you want to watch Video on a phone while doing something on a PC you are screwed. Similarly if the service is busy then you may not get data at all.

Beyond Unlimited is $85 plus taxes and fees, it gives a guaranteed 22GB of data at full LTE speed, 15GB of hotspot at full speed and up to 1080p video, though it will change quality based on the speed of the connection. Their website says 720p but I get 1080p all the time. The hotspot will slow to 600KBps after it hits 15GB and they will send you a text message and email to alert you that it is going to happen. No sudden drop off in performance without warning (when there is just 10% of the data allocation left).

While Verizon say they may slow your speeds when the network tower is congested I’ve never really experienced much of a performance drop and mostly when it happens it is because of signal quality.

While my Hotspot does slow after the cap is reached I never have an issue with the data speeds after I exceed the 22GB of data. I use this plan and last month I used 230GB of data without my service slowing.

The Above Unlimited is $95 a month, the only change between the two tiers is that the Above Unlimited plan has 75GB of LTE data and 25GB of Hotspot data.

While it includes basic data when in Mexico or Canada you can pay a daily fee of $10 for unlimited full speed LTE data for that day. Much cheaper than their previous fee’s which gave small barely useful blocks of data for a relatively high fee.

Also Verizon don’t treat WiFi calling as international roaming so if you connect to WiFi overseas to make calls it becomes even cheaper.

What Is My Recommendation?

It all depends on quality of service in your area. For me the middle Tier service from Verizon is perfect. I have not compulsion to upgrade to the higher tier, I do perfectly well with the middle tiers and there is so little data congestion in my area that I am rarely impacted.

If that changes then I would most definitely consider going to the premium tier or the next premium tier, of course if they offered a truly unlimited plan for $100 a month then I would switch because then I would not have to worry at all about hotspot data which is the only impactor since I hit the limit usually in the 2nd or 3rd week of the month and I think that I would use more data and be less conservative with the data in the Above Unlimited and still be at a crawl part way through the month.

Will 5G impact the plans?

While currently all plans are not truly unlimited but faux-unlimited once the roll out of 5G takes place or gets to a point where service is reaching saturation we will see a change where carriers will not feel the need to have hidden limitations or data caps.

Sure there is going to be data signals everywhere and the doomsayers are already screeching but 5G essentially operates at the same frequencies as home WiFi networking and everyone has home WiFi (well except for people like me) and if you take a search on your phone for networks a myriad of access points shows up so if we were to get cancer from 5G we would already be all cancer ridden numpties from the WiFi we happily install into our homes.

Expect truly unlimited data in the next couple of years, maybe not openly touted but with suddenly none of the restrictions being enforced by the carriers on their existing top and middle tier plans.

Apple’s purchase of “Texture” has been beneficial for their subscribers

It’s been long enough for me to forget when the purchase was made, must be 6 months or more, of Texture the Magazine subscription service that allows you to pay a single monthly subscription for access to as many of the titles they have on their platform as you wish.

Finally we see activity arising from the Apple purchase of Texture. While the likes of iMore’s Rene Ritchie surmised that it would be rolled into Apple’s News App to offer subscription to magazines on there it turns out that instead Apple has chosen to make the subscription cheaper at just $9.99 per month down from $14.99 a month.

That’s a huge deal for those subscribing saving them $60 a year and making the subscription a little more appealing.

Will it eventually be renamed to Apple Magazines? I think it is likely as Apple pushes more Services and products that work on multiple platforms.

iOS 12 iPhone X style gestures on an iPad, some are great, some are annoying as f………..

After taking the time to use the iPad running the iOS 12 beta for a few weeks there are a few features that are great but some are annoying. The gesture system adjusted to match the iPhone X style format is mostly good but some are annoying as heck.

Apologies if the typing and spelling is all over the place, I’m in a dark room so I’m typing on the screen rather than an external keyboard so I don’t annoy those around me.

First of all, yes, all new iPhones will use Face-ID and so will new iPads and the OS has been rewritten to reflect this.

The trouble is some features just do not work well on the iPad while others make it way nicer.

The copying of the pulling down from the right corner for the control panel is a mammoth improvement! This is so much nicer and efficient.

Meanwhile the pulling up from the bottom for the app switcher is a nightmare! Yes I mean it!

You hav to be really careful if you want the app bar to show at the bottom rather than the app switcher you not only should but have to be real careful.

The number of times I accidentally went to the app switcher when all I wanted was another app that was in the menu bar across the bottom is so high that I lost count.

It is uncomfortably annoying, it’s absolutely frustrating to be honest. The difference between the distance that you pull up for the app menu bar and the app switcher is so marginal that it is annoying.

Other gestures seem to be work and it makes life easier and less confusing while using the iPad when you are used to the iPhone X.

Maybe Apple will fix this app switcher issue to limit activation by the bottom up swipe if you do it from a specific spot such as an tiny area in the center of the bottom rather than the whole bottom of the screen and might identify it with a visible line at the bottom while anywhere else pulls of the menu bar from the bottom as it used to previously.

Why Canadians don’t use much Mobile Data, it’s shocking!

Friends in Canada have always been horrified by the amount of mobile/cellular data I use. I was always stunned when they would tell me that the paltry amount they used costs them a small fortune but it seems they really are getting screwed…

My Friend Luke and His Family have a relatively large big for mobile data and they are very conservative when it comes to usage, they pay $150 just for their data usage, that doesn’t include the rest of the phone plan.

Now it seems that the reason they have such low data usage on cellular networks is because of the horrendous charges for the data and still with the lowest cellular/mobile data usage in the World Canadian Telecoms companies make the Highest profits in the World on their Cellular Data.

Tefficient a telecom analysis company looked at the data per individual phone through 36 different countries and the result shows that Canadians are being screwed by their Telecoms companies and the Government is happy to let them do it.

There are only a few countries where data usage is used less and they are all in the EU. It seems that the average data usage in Canada is just 1.3GB of cellular data every month. That’s just 6% higher than 2016, the lowest growth rate in the world. Many others are late starters to the mobile networking system or just have horrible networks that make mobile data usage pointless (yeah you Germany, why don’t you improve the networks, heck you still have to get a decent home broadband system in most areas of the Country).

In comparison the USA makes high profits, nowhere near as high as Canada, but the average usage is 3.3GB per phone (I’m sure I can push up that usage, it was 220GB last month, Verizon was a little pithy with their tweets pushing me to up my plan).

When the data usage average is much higher the companies have a high uptake of mobile usage while they have a much lower revenue. India, for example, and many Asian countries where the Phablet Smartphone or mobile connected tablet is the main computing device tend to be that way because building out a mobile network across a country or region is far cheaper and more efficient than upgrading the dilapidated copper system and less prone to someone splicing the network to steal service.

The USA has learned that having very generous data plans results is people paying for the Unlimited plans but tend to rarely use a lot of data. This reflects well with my experience. Even though I use mobile data and use it at my home where the signal is not great it turns out that I rarely get buffering or issues with even 1080p HD video because many people pay for their unlimited plan but don’t relinquish their home service because they like their streamed to media box experiences for Netflix etc.

Will it change in Canada? I double it, the Canadian phone operators work with like a cartel with price setting etc and they make it impossible for rivals offering discounted phone service to get access to the Canadian market. They act in an anti-competitive way.

Luke, you’re right, your mobile phone operators stink!