Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Just A Normal Day In Windows Update Land...

So, I noticed that I hadn't visited this page since April of this year. That means I'm almost 2 months overdue for my next, Windows Phone has failed me post. I have to say that with a grain of salt, because it isn't Windows fault that it's not in my pocket right now, it really isn't. What I mean by this is that it's not that the OS is poor, or my HTC One M8 for Windows is an inferior device for some reason - in fact, it's quite the contrary. The sad reality is that no matter how hard I try to make Windows my daily driver, there's just too much out there for other platforms that will never find their way to Windows.

To put the power of Windows in perspective, I had a 16GB Lumia 925 that NEVER ran out of space. It powered through 2 days of use on a single charge. It had all the necessary evils: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc... I had Nokia Mix Radio for downloading a playlist or two (or streaming over Wi-Fi to protect my data and storage) and a camera that out performed most devices on the planet even today. To this day, I still can't tell you why I ever left my 925, it seemed like the perfect phone, and it just may have been.

Since then, the rotating levels of cheap Lumia devices have done NOTHING for me. 500 series were great starter phones, or a good device for Grandpa's first smartphone, but they weren't for the serious user. Then we had the 600 series, which was a bit of a step up, but still fell flat. The 800 series never came back to it's former glory and the 700 series was left only to Verizon's 735, which again, left a rather bland taste in my mouth.

The last saving grace would have been the Lumia 950 series, which was limited to only one US carrier - and not one that I have wanted to use in quite some time. The $650 sticker price also threw that device far from the realm of, sure, I'll give up everything Android for a decent enough device, but with a price tag that is out of the normal range of a Nexus or even something more powerful. No thanks.

Overall, I can honestly say that nothing has happened in the world of Windows Phone/Windows Mobile in the two months I've been wandering around and playing golf. Sure, they've been polishing the OS a bit and squashing a few bugs, but in all honesty, the official device list has been cut, the feature sets have been limited to 2 devices and there looks to be no hope of anything new coming to market soon. The question is, how much longer will Microsoft continue on this mission before they either exit the market or release something that shocks the industry. It can go either way and I for one am still hoping for the latter.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Dear Windows 10…


I love you, but that doesn’t mean I have to like you right now. Yes, frustration levels are at an all new high for me and Microsoft’s new beta operating system. I’m not even talking about the Preview releases when I say beta either, I’m talking about the normal, I updated through Windows 7, boring, this should work version of Windows 10.


Yes, it doesn’t seem to matter what type of Audio program or Video file I click, but they are all met with the same issue, “The remote procedure call failed.” Now here’s the good part… I’ve already “fixed” the error multiple times after updates in the past, but every time, it comes back after a few days. Probably the worst part of the whole thing is that when this issue arises, Cortana stops working completely. So, not only do I have to open media files in Windows Media Player, but I lose my desktop assistant.

Between the loss of Windows 10 Mobile in the shuffle of all things Windows and the fact that Windows 10 is barely hanging on on my desktop machine, I would say that things aren’t looking spectacular for my opinions on the products coming out of Redmond at the moment. If it weren’t for the fact that the Insider builds on my Dell Venue 8 Pro were getting better and better, I would be posting this from a Linux or Windows 7 computer right now.

But here’s some words of advice to the Windows team, get this right, ok? There’s so much riding on this and touting that there are 270 million installs doesn’t mean crap to the average user. If it’s behaving this badly for everyone that installed it, you’re going to sell 265 million Macs in the next few months for Apple. Buckle down and get this ready to go. Ditch the fix it with a patch later syndrome and make the OS run better.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Have You Grabbed Your Free Office 365 Subscription Yet?


If you are suffering under the OneDrive cutbacks that Microsoft announced, your first glimpses of a reprieve are now active under your OneDrive Upgrade page. Your new subscription to Office 365 and a TB of storage is now available if you haven’t taken advantage of it so far. It hasn’t been made clear how long Microsoft will run this deal, but the $69.99 value is a decent attempt at making amends for their storage plan cutting that is currently occurring.

Now, if they could only start releasing some additional information on the state of Windows 10 Mobile and a time frame for it to hit some additional devices.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Windows 10 Updates: What A Difference A Year Makes


Last April, I brought to you details of how HTC planned on supporting the Windows 10 Update for the HTC One M8 for Windows. When we fast forward to this year, and yes, it’s been a full year, we now see that the upgrading future of the powerful device is now shaky at best. While it hasn’t officially been put on the no fly list, there are no indications that it will be receiving the newest version of Windows either. HTC support is pulling their usual operating silence and Verizon, their launch partner is also not commenting on the topic.

The worst part of this for consumers is that most of us purchased Windows 8 devices after being told that they would receive the Win10 update. The first step was Microsoft letting us know that some features – mainly Continuum – will never work with older devices. Now the list of upgradable devices is shrinking at an alarming rate. Is this feedback from the Insider’s Program, and if so, they really need to share that with the public, or is it just another reboot where they are telling everyone they need to buy a new phone every 2 years?

Either way, the transparency that I so boldly wrote about a year ago has gone by the wayside. It’s now a muck of gloom and doom for almost anyone with a non-2015 Lumia model. Hopefully Microsoft will get their act together and let us know what’s going on. Many of us still love the Windows platform and really want to carry a strong Windows 10 device, but that just doesn’t exist in reality yet. Maybe someday, but not yet.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Insiders On Lumia 550, 950 And 950XLTreated To Mobile Build 14267


This is when reality stinks for Windows 10 Mobile bloggers. When something new comes out and it will be a $600 investment to see it in action. Alas, I must come back to reality and just report that some folks out there in the fast rings have been reporting that their magical Lumia’s have found the first of the Redstone builds, complete with some polish for Edge and Cortana. Overall, Redstone build 14267 appears to be a bunch more polish and a way to include a few new features.

First off, Microsoft Edge moves along nicely in this build. With the ability to use the WordFlow keyboard in the address bar and initiate a private browsing section without 4 taps to get there. There is also the new tabs key next to the address bar for faster switching between tabs. Overall, Edge is coming together quite nicely for the first major release.

Next up, a few changes for Cortana. She now can listen to music and tell you what she is hearing from a simple one button tap on her home screen. This build brings her current to functionality found on the desktop App, which should help ease people back into the Cortana experience after a bumpy launch so far on Windows 10 and Android.

The final feature that received a bit of polishing for this build is the Save to SD feature on the video camera. Some Insiders had reported that they were suffering from stuttering video play back when videos were recorded to the SD card. What this ended up being was a recording issue, not a playback issue. Build 14267 fixes the write buffer which now allows for HD video to be recorded to the SD care without any additional issues.

So, good news overall, but please, someone send me a new Lumia so I can report on these first hand – or maybe even just buy a few items from my links on the right so I can afford to purchase one for myself. I would love to see these new builds in action, but my trust HTC One M8 for Windows just isn’t getting the updates as fast. For now, enjoy the updates if you get them and if not, with everything going ok on them, they should roll out to general release soon.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Most Confusing Windows 10 Device Ever: The Lumia 650


I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what the mission of the Windows 10 for Mobile team is any more. I had some ideas, or maybe even dreams, but the towel is going in on this one because I no longer have any idea what is happening. Apparently the newly announced Lumia 650 is in the same boat also. It’s part Lumia 950 series and part Lumia 640 series and part Lumia 530 series and adding it all together, makes it 100% confusing.

Let’s start with the positives. Microsoft released a new Windows 10 piece of hardware! Yea! It retails for $199! Yea! It has a solid 16GB of internal storage with additional space available via MicroSD card slot. It’s got a pretty nice 5” display to stare at all day long, which makes it a great portable size for a mobile device. The 8MP rear camera and 5MP front cameras aren’t all that bad for an entry level device, in fact their quite decent to say the least. And most of all, it’s just $199 retail.

So far so good, right? Well, not so much… Windows 10 Mobile isn’t exactly what you’re getting with the Lumia 650. The Qualcomm 212 processor will not support Windows Continuum, which for me is a deal breaker right off the bat. I have plenty of devices that will give me a great Windows 10 experience without that amazing feature. I don’t need another. The 1GB of RAM that the 650 ships with is barely adequate for today’s standards. It’s the starting point, not something that should mark your mid-range devices. In fact, the 1GB of RAM is what is shipped with the Lumia 535 at a much lower price tag. The final straw though, is that it is just $199. This price point is just too high for a wanna be second tier device.

What I mean by this is that the $100 price point where the 535 should be sitting is filled with crap-tastic Android devices and the Moto E. Most of the phones in this range are under powered and really just lacking features that make them a good choice for most. Then, you have the $200 range, with devices like the Moto G falling into it. As nice as the 650 looks on paper, the Moto G has so much more going for it that it’s scary to think that these two devices are in the same price range. Of course, this won’t matter to most consumers since they go in and finance the phone and leave with a $650 device that they are paying $30 a month for, so forget how much it costs and worry about what it does.

Here’s the real breakdown of how well the 650 will do. It won’t sell, at least not a lick in the US. The carriers won’t stock it and Microsoft doesn’t have enough stores to push them out to end users. It’s another “Smoked By Windows Phone” candidate right there. Of course, if Microsoft cut a deal with say Wal-Mart, Target or even a regional chain like Fred Meyer’s, to put up an endcap of “unlocked carrier phones that work with the carrier you already use” and will cut your bill $20-150 a month, I bet some people would drop in for a look. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about unlocked at this point, nor do they even know what it means. They go to the store, buy a phone and move along until it breaks.

The Lumia 650 is a nice step up from the 535 in may ways, but honestly, the lack of additional RAM and most of all, Continuum makes is a non-starter for me. Unfortunately, the lack of exposure is going to make it a no-go for just about everyone else. Hey Microsoft, if you’re listening, make sure you think about getting than end cap and maybe labeling some devices with a sticker that says “AT&T Ready” or “Save $25 a month on your bill without a device payment!” You’ll be shocked how well these things start to move. Think about how well the 520/521 did when those hit retail shelves! You could do it again, just that easily.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Microsoft Pushes New Update To Mobile Users

Happy Valentine’s Day Win Phans! Microsoft apparently wanted to start off the weekend of love in the right way with a push to bring 10.0.10586.107 to our mobile devices before we run away with our sweets this weekend. Unfortunately, once again, there’s no hint of a change log being published with this update. It appears on the surface to be another bug squashing update along with some additional new configurations for the Insiders program. It appears that we may be getting closer to a release date as there is now an RTM style path available.
I’ll do some additional playing today with the update and see if there is anything uber amazing contained in it, but for now, it looks like another getting closer style update for the fast ring.


Looks like there is some information about the change log being posted online:

  • Fixed an issue where in some cases a device could be missing tiles on the Start screen after going through the device out of box experience.
  • Improved support in Narrator to speak in multiple languages.
  • Improvements to the device reset experience when BitLocker\Device Encryption is enabled by enterprise policy or by the use

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Does Apple’s New Philosophy Clear The Way For Windows To Gain Market Share?


The iPhone… I’ll say it right here, right now, “It’s always been just about perfect.” See, there it is in black and white. For the newbie and the feature phone user, there is nothing that works better than iOS. It’s simple to use, easy to navigate and everyone has one so if you need help, you can ask a friend how to do something. Most importantly, they just work. Steve Jobs always made sure of this. Before anything was released, software or hardware, it went through more testing than nuclear missles before going into operation. Something has changed since Mr. Jobs passed away, and I’m thinking it just might be what Microsoft needed to see before giving up on their mobile hopes.

In the last few months, iPhone’s in particular have been plagued with something that Android, BlackBerry and past generation Windows Mobile users are all too familiar with – bugs. Whether it was the phone bricking, non startable reboot screen or the latest slew of craptastic errors from the fingerprint sensor being ‘modified by a third party’ and having your phone lock up. While that might be enough to sway many to leave their beloved iOS platform, and may infact encourage some just to update to a newer device, there’s more going on behind the curtain than just some buggy software.

Apple has done something that may help ‘core integration’ of certain features, but what it really does is begin to eliminate choice and alienate developers. They have begun pushing their services, perhaps seeing that Microsoft has the right ideas for mobile going foward, by foricing iCloud Mail, iCloud Drive and iOS Notes on to users devices without them even asking for them. Of course, many iOS users are already using the Gmail, Dropbox and Evernote Apps exactly for the purposes that the Apple alternatives go, but how long will it last before those companies cry foul and leave for greenter pastures?

Sure, Apple has about 1/2 of the US smartphone market right now, but that’s where Microsoft was just before the iPhone came out. Android has the other 1/2 of the US market and would gladly welcome those disgruntled iOS people into their ranks. While it won’t happen over night, it’s moves like this that begin to sway the tide from one OS to another. Just like when Windows Mobile began losing to the BlackBerry from RIM. Or when the BlackBerry OS bled out to the iPhone. An even stronger case could be made for when Symbian, an OS that had the backing of almost every major manufactuerer in the world and controlled 80% of the world market died in a matter of months when everyone left the program behind.

So, where is Microsoft’s play in this? There is only one answer and it needs to happen as quickly as they can get it right – the Surface Phone. It’s a rumor device at this point an we’ve heard some doozies about it, but to be honest, the super-premium Surface Phone is the only way that Microsoft will win back any of those Apple users before they switch to Android. My play looks something like this: Take the old Smoked By Windows Phone campaign and bring it back from the dead. Stock up on Lumia 535s and 950s, unlocked and ready to go. Perhaps a 535 variant for Verizon and Sprint could be done up quickly as well. Then bring in the Surface Phone as the top tier.

The new trade in program would feature an App Challenge, where iOS users bring in their devices to stump the Windows crowd into not being able to do something from their Windows devices. The chances of finding basics that you can’t do with Windows 10 is pretty slim, but if they aren’t sold on the OS and do find something that Windows can’t do, a little bonus prize is all theirs. Maybe a 90 day subscription to Office 365, or a 50GB bonus to their New OneDrive account with auto-photo backup? If they do get stumped and decide that Windows is the right choice for them, a bigger prize awaits – a new Windows Phone.

The Windows Phone giveaway would not be like the last one where you get the top tier hardware from your choice of vendors regardless of the hardware you turn in, but rather a system where depending on the phone your trade in, you get a similar level Windows device. For example, if you have an iPhone 5/5s, you get the Lumia 535. For the 6 you get the Lumia 950 and for the 6+ you get the Lumia 950XL. For the 6s or 6s+, you get the coveted Surface Phone. There would also be a bank of PC’s set up to transfer data from your iPhone to your new Windows account to upload to your phone in-store, just to make switching over even easier. If they wanted to extend this to Android, you could do that also, but don’t expect that Surface Phone for anything less than a 128GB Galaxy S6 or S7 at this point.

The Smoked By Windows Phone giveaway was hugely successful and helped millions of dead Windows devices find their way into people’s hands. I say dead, because by the time the program happened, Windows Phone 7 was all but ready to move to 8 in the development cycle and they knew that the older devices would not be upgraded. Same story today. The current run of Windows Phone’s will be out-dated by the end of the year. It’s time to get them out of the warehouses and into the hands of users.

If you’re friends with the Microsoft marketing team or maybe even buddies with Ben Rudolph, pass along that it’s time to start smoking again. Perhaps it should be ‘Stumping’ this time instead. Either way, it’s time to get those phones moving and back into the hands of the people that will use them.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Not Another Windows Phone Post, But This Time, It’s Windows 10…

Screenshot (23)

I hear quite a bit of complaining about Windows 10. Everything from, “Where did they move this to?” to “It’s just different, I don’t get those tile things.” I even get the, “Why did they ever get rid of Windows XP?” pretty often. It’s a whole ton of craziness rolled up into a few masterfully written complaints about the newest version of the OS, but how much of it is founded on real claims, and how much of it is just dealing with people that are never happy? Here’s my 5 minute take on where Windows 10 is at and where it needs to be.

Number one on the list has to be the fact that Windows 10 really does work well, for the msot part. There are very few glitches that made it through the Insiders program before it was released. It’s not like the phone side of things, which before anyone starts complaining – if you don’t have a Lumia 550/950/950XL, you are still running beta software, there’s no full version of Windows 10 for Mobiles avaialble as an upgrade yet, so don’t complain too much if you are testing it via the Insiders App. On my Acer Netbook, Windows 10 works like a charm. I do have to engage the wireless adapter occasionally, and sometimes the touch pad, but other than that, unless I am clean booting the system, I haven’t had any glaring issues at all. My Venue Pro isn’t quite so lucky as it is still plagued by the ‘wireless adapter going missing’ issue that has been there since with Windows 8 update. I’m pretty sure it was there in Windows 7 as well, but I probably forgot about it since it was so long ago. My other two home PC’s work just fine on the new OS as well. Of course, my work PC is probably the biggest problem child of the bunch as I continuously get a wireless adatper error and also the display driver error. Microsoft’s stance on that is that the driver needs to be uninstalled and it will find the correct one to replace it, but when I force that change, I lose the touch feature of my HP desktop. I think I’ll put up with the failing driver a bit longer, rather than lose touch.

Moving forward, the quality of the indvidual pieces of Windows is moving forward nicely as well. The Mail App has moved from something I couldn’t stand – and couldn’t wait NOT to use – to something that I enjoy using again. I still wish they had taken more of a Windows 8 mail look, well honestly, a Windows Phone 8 mail look, but I understand the changes they made and how they work, so I’m good with it. The 800 hundred pound gorilla in the room is still the Edge browser for me. Most of the time, it works fine, but there are quite a few times that it just stops working. Clearing this or that or resetting the App seems to do the trick, but what a pain. Spartan was supposed to kill IE in performance and all I’ve seen is just a mediocre experience at best. When it works correctly though, Edge is pretty snappy, again, that’s when it works correctly though.

Moving on to Groove Music, it’s a decent music player. I still find myself using the 1995 based Windows Media Player for most of my musical enjoyment due to the fact that it seems to cast easier to my Sony speaker system and that I can create playlists that will sync to my Android or Windows Phone devices. If you are all in, Groove will sync to your Windows Phone, but going to another mobile OS stinks with Groove – and no, I do not want ‘another’ music App on my phone. The social media Apps like Twitter and Facebook are also getting on board with Windows 10. Both of the major social media platforms work very well and no longer require me to open them in a browser for simple tasks. I also still love the OneDrive App. The full integration that the App offers is amazing and the fact that you can select which folders to sync – though it’s not as easy as it should be Microsoft! – is brilliant. I also like the ‘save screen shot to OneDrive’ option. That’s a lifesaver for bloggers.

Finally, the last piece of the Windows 10 puzzle, and my favorite, is Cortana. She’s still pretty darn buggy in her Android form, but what do you expect from a beta project? I know she’s not technically still in beta, but they are learning daily from what users are suffering through and fixing it pretty quickly. To me, that means she’s in beta – still. That said, I’ve tried using Google Now, and it’s OK at best. Cortana knows me, knows my computer and works very well. This is one area that makes me miss Windows Phone on a daily basis – how well the synergy worked between my desktop and mobile. Unfortunately, it seems that the Windows 10 App is making huge strides to become more powerful while the Android counterpart continues to roll features out to make it more reliable. News flash here, features sell, stability doesn’t. It’s a backwards way of thinking, but Android has NEVER worked correctly. Don’t destroy the feature set of your App because one stinking beta tester with a 3 year old Droid is saying that something didn’t work right. Get the features back in there and work on the integration between platforms. It will be all good at that point.

From all of this, where does Windows 10 sit with me? Honestly, I moved to Verizon Wireless over the Black Friday weekend and did three things that were completely uncharacteristic for me. First, I purchased a Samsung Note 5 – which violates two of my rules: it’s not an HTC device and I placed the camera as the number one feature I was looking for in my new phone. Now before I get flamed for this one, I got my Note for $176 without a contract – NEW. Yeah, that’s a tough one to beat isn’t it? The second is I went back to a bigger carrier after being on MVNO’s for the last 4 years. We’ve saved $1000’s over that perioud of time, even buying a few phones here and there. Honestly though, Verizon’s price is only a slight bit higher than what we were paying and we just don’t use enough mobile data to worry about overages and such. It was the right deal to get some really great new hardware and better coverage. Now the issue – Verizon currently has the Lumia 735 in their lineup… That’s it.

This is why Windows Phone is losing that market share. When it was at it’s best, WP had the 920/925/1020 on AT&T, the 925 on T-Mobile and the 928/Icon on Verizon. They also had a bevy of 520 verisons out on just about every GSM network in the world. They had devices available everywhere. Now, AT&T has the 950 and 640. T-Mobile has the lower end models as well. Verizon has a mid-range step child in the 735 and Sprint is still rocking that aged lower end stuff as well. World wide, people are so confused by what is new and old, it’s impossible to sell anything. This is where Windows 10 loses me… As much as I want to love it, I miss how easy and smooth Windows 7 was on my PC’s. Windows 7 was a finished product though, it was sold in a box in the store and it worked. This new, put it out and fix it later thing, isn’t my thing. I want, and expect, my PC to fire up and work – not give me continuous errors. Someone in marketing needs to be shot if they actually proposed the ‘Windows as a service” idea as something that was a good thing. For me, Windows is NOT a service and never should be. Windows is a lifeline to everything else we do. Windows runs PROGRAMS not Apps. Windows is what we use when that other stuff fails us. Windows isn’t a send it out and fix it later deal. While Windows 10 is making huge strides with every patch, correction and fix, it’s my opinion that they shouldn’t have been there to start with. I’m sure by year 3 they will have most of the kinks worked out, but until then, Windows 10 is only a mediocre success in my book.

This post was sent from my Windows 10 powered, Dell Venue 8 Pro using Open Live Writer. Yes, I used about 3/4 of the features I listed above to write this – and no, the drivers didn’t crash once while doing it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Big Sound From A Small Package

2016-01-22 11.40.49

When someone recommends a sound system that costs less than a decent dinner out for two, we get a bit skeptical about it to say the least. Of course, when that speaker setup has a retail of $99.99 and is marked down 73% to hit $26.99, we can’t do much more than laugh. Call us crazy, or stupid, or just plan laugh at us, but we took the bait on this one as we were looking for a nice little speaker for road trips and hotel stays. We wanted big sound in a very small package and we have to say that the Venstar Taco completely fit the bill. Not only was the price on the Venstar Taco dead on, but so was the performance.

2016-01-22 15.26.15

The Venstar Taco features 2, 50mm, 3W acoustic speakers with a unique design that powers them to rival speaker systems costing much more. In fact, it might even be appropriate to say that the Venstar Taco rivals speaker systems as strong as the Beats Pill without stretching too far. The player controls are very simple. On the back of the device, a rubber cover secures the charging port (micro USB) and AUX port. The front features 4 buttons: Reverse/Volume down, Play/Pause/Fast forward/Volume up and Power. To pair the speaker, simply hold the power button for a few seconds until the LED next to it flashes blue and you are all set. Go to the add Bluetooth device on your phone or tablet and scan. It should find your Venstar Taco in seconds.

The performance of the Venstar Taco is, as we said, very good for a $100 device. It’s even better when you figure that the Venstar Taco is under $30 with free Prime shipping. The sound is clean and clear, with even a slight note of a decent low end from the tiny speakers. The lows were noticably better when the speaker was placed on a softer surface that allowed the back side of the Taco to perform a bit better. Hard surfaces led to a bit more tin sound from the speakers, but it was still much better than the sub $70 speakers you find at most retail locations. Overall, the Venstar Taco shined during our play with it.

2016-01-22 15.25.51

The battery is advertised as a full 12 hour playback, but we found that it was much closer to 10 hours, which is still more than enough time to run for most uses. If you need longer, the micro USB port is compatible with popular portable battery chargers like HTC’s Battery Bar and Samsung’s Universal External Battery packs. Both of these packs were able to keep the speaker powered up and playing far beyond the 12 hour mark and can be used to charge it while it hangs in it’s included carrying case.

At the time of publication, the Venstar Taco is currently $26.99 online and includes a carrying case, micro USB cable, 3.5mm male to male AUX cable and instructions. Note, a wall adapter is NOT included with the package, but a standard phone adapter seems to charge the unit without any issues. Be careful not to use a USB 2.0 Quick Charge enabled adapter as it could overheat the battery and cause permanent damage. If you are in the market for a great portable speaker at an even better price, check out the Venstar Taco before they decide to increase the price. You won’t be sorry.

Link: Venstar Taco

GIVmobile & Ptel Mobile Shuttering After 15 Years


There’s no doubt that the competitive marketplace in cellular is claiming quite a few victims. Just recently, the popular social MVNO, Solavei closed it’s doors in December and now we have one of the longest players in the game, Platinum Tel shutting down at the end of January. It’s been a rough time for MVNO’s since carriers began getting more aggressive with their prepaid offerings in house. To think, T-Mobile offers an amazing $40 prepaid plan, Verizon has the same at $45. AT&T’s GoPhone offerings have been solid as well as Sprint’s lower priced prepaid offerings as well. In a statement via chat message, Ptel Mobile gave us the following information.

We regret to inform Ptel Mobile will be discontinuing wireless service as of January 31,2016. We urge subscribers to process their requested Port Outs by January 26, 2016 to ensure successful port outs. Additionally, all wireless accounts will remain active until 1/31/2016 to ensure carrier transfers. At this time we are working to supply details via the site. Currently an SMS has been sent in batches to subscribers to inform of service update. Please note- the next step to take will consist of porting out of Ptel Mobile in order to retain your same number. Here are the following suggested companies for service: Ultra Mobile- 888-777-0446/Simple Mobile-877-878-7908/Metro PCS- 888-863-8768/Ting- 855 846 4389/ LycaMobile- 866-277-3221/T-Mobile- 877-413-5903. To initiate a port request, please contact the new selected service provider. Please supply the new service provider with the phone number as the account number. The 4-digit PIN on the account is 0000. We appreciate your patience and cooperation in this matter. Please visit the link for promotions

The information was also sent out to subscribers via text messaging earlier in the month. No additional information was given on the Ptel Mobile or GIVmobile websites, though the link above does offer users some direct replacement offers that are available locally if needed. If you are a Ptel or GIV subscriber, you only have a few days left to initiate your port before your number becomes lost. Also, it is worth noting that users do forfeit any balances left on their accounts and promo codes that they have available.


Friday, January 8, 2016

OneDrive Users: Prepare For Shrinkage!

Late last year, Microsoft announced that beginning this month, OneDrive users will need to begin to find other storage solutions for their files as their OneDrive’s will become signifcantly smaller over the next few months. The official announcements will be coming out soon, with the actual changes coming later in the year. That said, some users will need to begin acting immediately to get their files offline before the rolling dates end. The timeline for the changes that Microsoft published last year look like this:
January – Notices begin to go out about the changes. Office 365 users will be dropped from unlimited storage to 1TB of storage. Free plan users drop from 15GB to 5GB of space. Paid plans include a 1TB offer for $9.99 a month or 50GB for $1.99 a month.
February to April - Users will have 90 days to access their fires after their notification is sent. After that, your OneDrive files will become archived/read only files that you will have to download within 180 days.
May to October – The last chances to download your OneDrive to a local storage solution, or another cloud service will come during this time frame, unless you upgrade to a fully paid account that will handle your file load.
It’s worth noting as well that Microsoft is discontinuing all of their promotional data allotments during this transition as well. The Photo Upload Credit, the 10 GB Google Drive Match and some additional promotional programs will all lose their data allotments during this change. The Bing Rewards credits will stay active though, as will the ‘Lumia purchase’ credit that some users received. Basically, if you spent money or points on a spiff, you will keep it. If it was a free program that you found your way into, it will go away.
Be prepared for the move as time will fly by on this one. If you are currently using OneDrive as a storage solution for your photos or music, you will need to find other ways to access your data via the cloud or be prepared to pay that $120 a year to keep things as is, as long as you are under that full TB of data total.
You can read more on the change that was announced back in November here.

And This Is Why Windows 10 Mobile Is Struggling…

2015-12-31 17.06.22

It’s New Year’s Eve and you’re surfing Facebook. You scroll through your feed to see a sponsored post from Microsoft about the Lumia 950. It catches your eye, so you begin to read about the new Lumia 950 available from AT&T. It’s a phone that works like my PC? Amazing! It’s the new Lumia 950 with ANDROID 10???

Yes, this is a promotional advertisement for the AT&T Lumia 950 that appeared in my Facebook feed on New Year’s Eve. At first, I found it funny, but then I realized how horrible this makes Windows look. That Windows 10 is so bad, they subliminally put Android in the ad instead of Windows. Wow…

Anyways, Just thought I would share this one with everyone since it was the last Windows 10, I mean Android 10 ad that I saw in 2015. Have you snagged a Lumia 950 for yourself yet? Is it still running Windows or did they pull a fast one on us and switch it all over to an Android version that won’t be out until this summer (and yes that is a dig at how fast they are releasing Android versions at this point…)