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Old 10-19-2016, 08:45 PM   #101
OkikuMew
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Sorry for the change of subject on my part guys ^^; I would like to chime in, but unfortunately I am not knowledgeable on that side of mobile shtuff (I test apps with lots of phones, but I don't have control of the apps I test! :P)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
I bought an iPad (mostly for the identification data) and played around with it.

-it's heavy
-it's claustrophobic
-it sucks

The inability to customize it is unbelievably painful. The design is obnoxious, but so is Android 5.0+. It feels like a huge paperweight to me, but whatever. I got what I wanted.

I now have 5 Samsung devices, one Dell and one Apple. I should be able to start my own network with that, no?
Or you could freelance app testing! You need a lot of devices to cover what different users may have! :P



More seriously though, I'm curious, what kind of iPad did you get exactly?


I'm currently thinking about getting one myself. I kinda miss having my laptop (RIP 2012-2014), longing to watch videos and read stuff comfortably on my bed (i.e.: Not sitting at my computer desk or being on my Nexus 5).

I know for a fact that, as much as I like Android phones, I know from experience that I'm not that keen of Android tablets.
I also don't want another laptop, as much as I loved my dead one, I admit I found it cumbersome and expensive for the time it lasted.
I also thought of a Chromecast as an option. I love how it works, but it isn't for me: My cheap tv in my room has just one, already-taken HD port (meaning I would have to unplug/replug everytime I want to use it... ugh), I obviously wouldn't be able to read properly, and I would end up still be using either my desktop or my phone, which I don't want. So wow whoopie do.

So all I have left as an option is an iPad, and oh hey, it fits with what I need and like!


But now I'm debating which kind of iPad. I'm torn between the 3 most recent ones, so the Air 2, Pro 12.9 and Pro 9.7.

The Pro 12.9 was my first choice at first, as I fell in love with the gigantic screen and speakers on each corner (which its use adapts to the direction you're holding it). It looked like the ultimate reading screen/portable tv. But what changed my mind was the size (ironically) and the price. Although I plan on keeping it at home around my room, therefore not move it around much, I'm afraid that one day I'll decide to transport it somewhere and the size/weight would be annoying and raise the chances of breaking it. And obviously, the price is huge: at over 1k minimum (in canadian dollars mind you) that's... way too much of what I would think to spend.

So enters the Pro 9.7: Has the cool speakers the 12.9 has, but it is smaller, less pricey (lowest at 800$) and slightly less powerful (but not enough that I care). It also has that "true tone" thing (colors on the screen adapts to the colors of your surroundings) which sounds totally neato when looking at high-res pictures and videos. So even though I don't get that giant screen, I'll still get some really nice images and sound out of it. Tiny tiny bonus point: It is available in pink. I don't care that much for colors, but having a tasteful choice of them is always cool.

But then there's the Air 2. Compared to the Pro 9.7, is has the same size, weight and screen resolution. On the down side, it doesn't have those 4 speakers (meaning the sound can be awkward while I'm holding it, blocking its 2 speakers on the side), doesn't have that true tone display, isn't as powerful (although that's not that important, but will be on the long run), and other little things I don't care much (like quality of pictures/video, missing smart connector I'll never use, incompatibility with the Apple pen which I'll be scared to lose). The obvious reason why I should care for it is the lower price, which is 300$ less than the Pro 9.7, holy crap.


So now I'm wondering: Is that extra power, speakers and neat display the Pro 9.7 has worth the extra 300$ compared to the Air 2, especially looking in long term? (Because I'm the kind, in terms of stuff that aren't consoles, that when I get something, it lasts for a long time, able to keep up with new tech a bit.)
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Old 10-20-2016, 02:50 AM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OkikuMew View Post
More seriously though, I'm curious, what kind of iPad did you get exactly?
It's a white 4th Generation.

Fun fact: the white and black have exactly the same specs, but the white was $100 cheaper.

lol apple

Quote:
Originally Posted by OkikuMew View Post
I'm currently thinking about getting one myself. I kinda miss having my laptop (RIP 2012-2014), longing to watch videos and read stuff comfortably on my bed (i.e.: Not sitting at my computer desk or being on my Nexus 5).

I know for a fact that, as much as I like Android phones, I know from experience that I'm not that keen of Android tablets.
I also don't want another laptop, as much as I loved my dead one, I admit I found it cumbersome and expensive for the time it lasted.
I also thought of a Chromecast as an option. I love how it works, but it isn't for me: My cheap tv in my room has just one, already-taken HD port (meaning I would have to unplug/replug everytime I want to use it... ugh), I obviously wouldn't be able to read properly, and I would end up still be using either my desktop or my phone, which I don't want. So wow whoopie do.
I have a Samsung tablet to go along with the iPad.

The Samsung tablet has, more or less, superior specs to the iPad and is half the size and weight. Android 5.0 and whatever OSX is on the iPad function exactly the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OkikuMew View Post
So now I'm wondering: Is that extra power, speakers and neat display the Pro 9.7 has worth the extra 300$ compared to the Air 2, especially looking in long term? (Because I'm the kind, in terms of stuff that aren't consoles, that when I get something, it lasts for a long time, able to keep up with new tech a bit.)
I don't have those newer models but I'll compare my stuff this weekend. I intend to do the hardware hacking this weekend too so it'll be good opportunity to kill two birds with one paperweight.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:23 AM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
It's a white 4th Generation.

Fun fact: the white and black have exactly the same specs, but the white was $100 cheaper.

lol apple
Oh yeah I have heard of that. So dumb X)
4th generation is good; it is still considered in terms of specs as good in the market, hence why I work with one almost every day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
I have a Samsung tablet to go along with the iPad.

The Samsung tablet has, more or less, superior specs to the iPad and is half the size and weight. Android 5.0 and whatever OSX is on the iPad function exactly the same.
Hmmm, admitedly I have never used an Android tablet and an iPad side to side before. By using an Android tablet for a day or two then do the same with an iPad later, I always got the feeling that iPads performed slightly better (not just speed, but also in usability and stability in the apps) and generally felt better in my hands (holding a device for at least 2 hours tells you a lot about that). Maybe I just always ended up using tablets of inferior quality in general (or just older) and then I end up with an iPad that doesn't really compare to it? I dunno. I probably should dig deeper into that so I can do an actual good comparison instead of generalising my experience. A trip to a store with tablets in demo would be useful!
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:37 AM   #104
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I can't compare app stability or performance without looking at things on a case-by-case basis.

I can say what Apple excels at is creating the perception of superior quality. My attitude is the iPad is like a metal gun, versus a plastic gun for Samsung (incidentally the tablets are made of these materials).

Most gun enthusiasts tell you polycarbonate is superior. It's lighter with less recoil than a metal gun. But people have the perception that plastic is for toys, and that it's flimsy, so they'd prefer a metal weapon despite the notable disadvantages.

I feel the iPad is the same, except the difference between the iPhone and Galaxy S phones is greater than the iPad and Galaxy Tablet. The tablet is wider, heavier, and more sophisticated looking, but I know under the hood it's an inferior processor.

Also, possibly the most damning part, the iPad is "Designed by Apple of California, Made in China". The Galaxy Tablet is designed in Korea, Made in Vietnam.
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Old 10-20-2016, 10:08 PM   #105
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I do see your point about metal vs. plastic; I know that it doesn't equal efficiently and/or durability. Heck, look at that aluminium iPhone 6 bending meme. And now the metal Galaxy Note 7 exploding.

My point was that both stability/performance and ergonomic design are both different yet important points to look into any kind of device. Taking your gun analogy, even if it's the most powerful, light and recoil-less one in the world, nobody's gonna buy it or even use if the handle is covered in needles :P (I know I'm exaggerating here ^^; ) At my workplace, the most dreaded devices are those that are either slow or uncomfortable to hold, and one that has both definitely have the highest score in the uuuuuugh-let's-make-those-tests-quick-o-meter. I still have nightmares of one particular phone; not only a snail would be faster, but the bottom and its corners of the case was made in such a way that it would dig into the palm of your hand. Bonus points that the Power button was placed in a way that my fingers would press it by accident (note that I'm left-handed.) But even if one of the problems (speed or design) was made perfect, the other point ruins it all that'll end up having the same thing: Not my money!

All in all though it's just finding the balance between the two, which is what I'll look into when I'll be trying out the current high-end Android tablets to give them a chance against my original plan of getting an iPad


(Oh and sidenote: I don't care that much where it was designed and where it is made, because although it can say something of the quality of the end product, all that matters is said quality of the end product XP)
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Old 11-25-2016, 04:25 PM   #106
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Update: After side-by-side comparisons, iPad Pro 9.7" still came out as a winner. So far I have no regrets, doing well with what I want to do with it


But now for something entirely different: I've just bought myself a Dualshock 4 controller to use for my gaming PC. It has Bluetooth already, so I rather get a driver that does the job for free instead of shelling out 30$ for the official adapter.

Thing is, there's a lot of drivers out there, and being in new territory, I don't know which one would be trustworthy (ie. doesn't have adware/malware/viruses) and the best to use. Any recommendations?


EDIT: So after a bit of searching by myself, seems like Steam itself recently support the Dualshock 4, which is pretty sweet. However that makes the use of my controller stuck at Steam games (when I have a few non-steam and probably more in the future) and using the wire (which although it is long enough to reach my bed that's in front of my computer, in this day and age freedom of being wireless is always better.) So I'm still looking over my options for DS4 drivers, which some advice/recommendations from you guys (instead of some completely random people from the internetz) would be appreciated But here's what I found so far:
  • Seems the two drivers that everyone talks about are DS4Windows and DS4Tool. What's the differences between the two? Is one better than the other? I have no idea.
  • I've also read about ScpToolkit, InputMapper and x360ce. Are those any better? Well I've read someone swearing on only ScpToolkit, but he was the only one XP
  • MotionInJoy is another I heard of, but seems everyone is running away from, mostly because there's been a lot of malware crap going around it. Some say it's just a "false positive" and there's a way getting around the malware threats, but eeeeeeeeeeh like those many others I don't think I'll trust that. So definitely not getting that one :P
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:12 PM   #107
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Dash cams.

* Does anyone here have experience with dash cams in their own or an immediate family member's vehicles?

* Are there any particular brands people recommend? Disrecommend?

* Do most dash cams only come with a forward-facing lens? (That's adequate.) Or do many now come with two separate lenses, one for forward and one for rear? (That'd be great.)

* How "in the way" is a dash cam? For example, how much visibility do you lose as a motorist when one is installed?

* How "plug-n-play"able are most dash cams these days? Do they require intensive under-the-covers installation into the car's wiring? Or are most just plugged in to a car's cigarette lighter (or elsewhere) and you're good to go?

* I see a lot of people complaining in review sections for products that their 5-star-rated camera died within 6 months of operation. Is this even close to normal? Do dash cams not last very long? I'm looking for something that will last 5-10 years at a minimum, not 2 years or under ...
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Old 07-31-2017, 06:18 AM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
* I see a lot of people complaining in review sections for products that their 5-star-rated camera died within 6 months of operation. Is this even close to normal? Do dash cams not last very long? I'm looking for something that will last 5-10 years at a minimum, not 2 years or under ...
Woah, this is probably too late to be of help, but I can weigh in on this, at least.

I don't own a dash cam but I am intimately familiar with the microSD cards used to run in them, and other similar HD-writing cards. The reason being is one of my plans is to do what Ubuntu once did for you to fix your computer, boot Linux (Android) off of the external memory (microSD), then I would go further to repartition the HD of the main phone for RAM.

It's how, for a mere $150, you can turn a 2014 Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (16 GB hard drive, 1.5 GB memory) into a 256 GB HD, 17 GB RAM behemoth.

The problem is writing to a microSD Card is going to be slower than writing to a hard drive - this isn't like the days of running computer programs off the CD-Rom because hard drives were too small or too slow to compare with optical disc read. The theoretical maximum read/write speed of a microSD is 104 MB/s, and Samsung's most premium model now is capable of 100 Mb/s read, 95 Mb/s write. For typical Android, which runs a few system apps all the time but usually doesn't access the hard drive unless an app has been selected, this isn't bad. Typical benchmarks for on-board memory is like 40x that (4000 Mb/s read write).

But here's where the trouble starts. For something like Windows, which is comparably inefficient and is writing the hard drive all the time, you have many more read/write events. Reading events are not so bad but writing events add up. HDDs are cheap and easy to replace. microSD cards are much more expensive per GB storage space compared to flash or HDD physical memory.

...

tl;dr: dash cams have a ridiculous read/write speed, especially if you're recording in 4K. For Windows, it's writing to the HDD all the time in small increments. For Android, it's writing to the HDD only when it has to, and does so less frequently than Windows.

For a dash cam, you're putting a huge amount of data on an HD at whatever the limit of your HDD is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4shooters.net
Shooting in 4K is a whole new thing. A single minute of ProRes UHD file (3840 x 2160) is around 5.3 GB (880 Mbits/s). You would need to expand your storage definitely if you are shooting at such high data rates.

A single hour of 4K footage is a whopping 318 GB. 25 hours of 4K ProRes equals roughly 7.76 TB.

7.76TB (the ProRes UHD files from a single BMPC 4K camera) x 3 ( for the back up)= 23.28 TB of hard disk space in total required.
A lot of folks who buy the Samsung microSD Cards do it because microSD cards are cheaper and more disposable than replacing an expensive camera, and while they can run in 4K the speed is limited by the write/read speed of the microSD card.

Samsung normally has a 10-year guarantee for their microSD cards, but this also corresponds to about 50,000 write events. Sandisk's manual even states:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superuser
SanDisk SD cards have an endurance specification for each sector of 100,000 writes typical (reading a logical sector is unlimited).

Therefore, extremely heavy use of the card in cellular phones, personal communicators, pagers and voice recorders will use only a fraction of the total endurance over the device’s lifetime. For instance—it would take over 10 years to wear out an area on an SD Card based on a file of any size (from 512 bytes to maximum capacity) being rewritten 3 times per hour, 8 hours a day, 365 days per year.
With an HD camera, you're writing to it 60 times per minute per hour, for like 12 hours, you're writing to it 43,200 times in one day. Even if we consider that Samsung's top-of-the-line microSD card has 1,000,000 writes, that corresponds to about 277 hours of continuous run time.

If you run the camera 1 hour per day, the microSD card will last a bit more than a year. Two hours a bit more than half of a year. Three hours a day or more, and you can see why cameras burn out.

No microSD card manufacturer applies their warranties to camera users!
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:58 PM   #109
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Time to get a new phone. Questions.

Q1. New plan or same plan?
I am one of those people with the grandfathered unlimited data AT&T plans. I pay around $80/mo. If I sign up for the new AT&T plan, I could get "unlimited data", talk, and text for around $60/mo. But I severely, severely doubt that the new offer is as good as the 2007 one. Am I right? Am I wrong? Help me out.

Q2. Brand new or used?
With phones, my preference really is for brand new. But it seems impossible to get a brand-new iPhone, even one as old as the iPhone 6 original @ 32 GB of space minimum, for anything remotely reasonably priced. They sell phones on sites like Swappa for around $250, $300 a pop depending ... but it's a caveat emptor market, that. Thoughts? Go brand new (and spend $400+)? Or go used (and risk that it dies instantly)?

Q3. Apple, Samsung, or other?
If I get a new phone plan, I am strongly thinking about finally ditching Apple and their iPhone line. (I've only been tethered to it because of the AT&T unlimited data plan that I've carried over from 2008.) Should I? If so, is it definitely Samsung that I want to go with? Or is someone else better?
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:59 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Time to get a new phone. Questions.

Q1. New plan or same plan?
I am one of those people with the grandfathered unlimited data AT&T plans. I pay around $80/mo. If I sign up for the new AT&T plan, I could get "unlimited data", talk, and text for around $60/mo. But I severely, severely doubt that the new offer is as good as the 2007 one. Am I right? Am I wrong? Help me out.
I need more details. Presumably, you are on the old iPad unlimited plan, yes? So you don't have minutes/text? Or are you on an unlimited iPhone plan, which has limited minutes/text?

Either way, what do you value most?

-lowest overall cost for unlimited data (speed, data caps irrelevant)
-best dollar/GB utility
-highest speed
-most high speed data

There are far more than Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus. In fact, those are the two worst plans AT&T offers! You would be better served getting Mobile Share Advantage, at 25 GB, with a 20%+ corporate discount, than to deal with Choice/Plus.

Finally, are you fine with AT&T, or are you willing to consider other carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Q2. Brand new or used?
With phones, my preference really is for brand new. But it seems impossible to get a brand-new iPhone, even one as old as the iPhone 6 original @ 32 GB of space minimum, for anything remotely reasonably priced. They sell phones on sites like Swappa for around $250, $300 a pop depending ... but it's a caveat emptor market, that. Thoughts? Go brand new (and spend $400+)? Or go used (and risk that it dies instantly)?
You should almost always go new for Android phones. For iPhones, there is a high resale value and Apple is more likely to discontinue a model than lower the price.

Depending on how often you upgrade, it might be worth your time to look into a leasing agreement. If you upgrade every year, you don't have to pay the full price of the phone before upgrading. If you skip every other gen, it would be better to buy a new phone

Also note that depending on where you buy the phone, you can get discounts. For example, at Wal-Mart I get a 10% discount on all non-dry food items. At Christmas, I get an additional 20% discount which stacks with the regular employee 10%.

So if I bought the iPhone 8 at Wal-Mart, which is rumoured to cost $1000+, I'd get it for $700 out the gate. The iPhone 8 has an artificially inflated price but think of it as $100 off the normal iPhone price. Which isn't terrible. In general, getting the item from Apple or a retailer like Wal-Mart would be superior to getting it from a carrier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Q3. Apple, Samsung, or other?
If I get a new phone plan, I am strongly thinking about finally ditching Apple and their iPhone line. (I've only been tethered to it because of the AT&T unlimited data plan that I've carried over from 2008.) Should I? If so, is it definitely Samsung that I want to go with? Or is someone else better?
There is a lot less variety in alt-phone manufacturers than during the Android heyday, about 5 years ago. Customers have more or less converged around Samsung and LG, and Samsung and LG have basically stolen the designs of Apple, so many of their devices will have similar functionality. You will find that many of the novel differences between Android phones and iPhones have gone away recently.

Ultimately, it depends on what you want. Android offers you close to complete power over your phone, if you choose to invest the time necessary to learn how to control it. You can bittorrent over a tethered connection and not have Apple, Google, AT&T or the NSA know what you're looking at.

But Apple will always offers the best security for those without the power user skills, due to their fully integrated cloud support. If you don't care about what lies down the rabbit hole, and are perfectly content with life in the matrix, Apple is fine. I don't mean that with any condescension either - most people don't need to down a red pill.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:49 PM   #111
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My plan was originally:
  • unlimited data
  • unlimited talk on nights and weekends
  • 450 minutes/month talk all other times
  • zero texting
AT&T can't take anything away, but they are free to gift me new stuff that the original contract didn't list. And they have done so. Over the past nine years, my plan has morphed into:
  • unlimited data (hold-over from a bygone age)
  • unlimited anytime talk
  • unlimited texting
Technically my data is supposed to be "truly unlimited," but as we all know, they bought their way through the courts some years back and now it's something like "if he goes over 20 gigs a month we can throttle him; and/or if he uses more than 1 gig during peak business hours we can throttle him." Something along those lines. But technically, contractually, it's purely unlimited data. Because 2008, when data was as cheap and plentiful as water.

-----------------------------------

You asked what I value most. From your list, I'd say it's the toss-up between 1 and 2, "lowest overall cost for unlimited data (speed, data caps irrelevant)" and "best dollar/GB utility". Basically, I like going through life with my phone without having to ever, ever worry about overage fees. In 2008, I had to (not so seriously) worry about phone overage fees and (very seriously) worry about texting overage fees. But for many years now, I've become happily accustomed to having no worries whatsoever. I can send as many or as few photographs as I want to coworkers while at work (and on the cellular network). I can load YouTube at lunch, or stream it from the car while driving. I never have to keep a tally of how many megabytes I've used each month. Usually it's hilariously low compared with most unlimited data users. (I think my typical monthly use is less than 1 GB, while my typical maximum is still only 2 GB or so. Nothing near 20.) So like, you could say, "Talon -- you don't need unlimited data. " But it's hard to give up something you have that you know is valuable, even if it's not personally valuable to you. Furthermore, it's nice never having to worry, because U-N-L-I-M-I-T-E-D means no worries.

So like ... if it was a question of $20/mo for 10 GB or $60/mo for unlimited, I'd have to seriously consider. Because while 10 seems big for me (remember: I just said, typical usage is 1 GB, typical max usage is 2 GB), you never know! And that "you never know" might be worth the worrywort fee (or what some would consider to be an idiot fee) of $40/mo extra. If it were instead $20/mo for 20 GB, well then sure, I'd go to the $20/mo one in a heartbeat.

All of the above stated, I value data consumption a lot less than I value dropped calls and cellular network reliability. Which is why I will happily stick with AT&T.

-----------------------------------

I am with AT&T, and happy to stay. But if you know more about shitty deals of theirs vs. good deals of theirs, please, tell me. It was the Unlimited Choice I was eyeing, and now you've just said it's the worst one I could possibly pick. So please, tell me more.

-----------------------------------

I last upgraded in 2012. So ... to answer that question, I am perfectly content to upgrade only once every two years and to thus be better off purchasing my phone outright rather than leasing it.

I am overdue for a "free upgrade" from AT&T, but they're holding the free upgrade hostage behind the new contract. They argue that "new free phone" = "new contract", and that if I insist on sticking with my current plan then I'm S.O.L. and have to pay out of pocket for a phone. They're willing to give me an iPhone 7 (soon to be 7S) for only $200 provided I sign up for a new plan. That number skyrockets to some $600+ if I insist on going it alone and buying the device from them and attaching it to my current contract.

I don't know Android devices very well. What is the Samsung equivalent of the iPhone? The Galaxy? The Galaxy Note? (Are those the same exact device? I don't know. I am a Luddite when it comes to cell phones, specifically.) I would be interested in getting whatever the Samsung equivalent is to the iPhone 7 @ $200, 6S @ $100, or 6 @ free. If that (or better) is possible, then I will probably make the switch to Samsung and Android provided I am signing up for a new plan. Otherwise, I will probably keep my current plan and try to get a used 6 or 6S.

-----------------------------------

You're listing off employee discounts that you get courtesy of being an employee of Wal-Mart's. Those discounts don't apply to the rest of us. And the rest of us do not, I can assure you, work at places that would normally hand out discounts when you buy yourself a new phone for your private use. You'd have to basically work at a retailer (like Wal-Mart), an electronics store (like Best Buy), or a cell phone store (like an AT&T store) to have any hope for such a deal.

-----------------------------------

You write, "Android offers you close to complete power over your phone." This is really what I most want. And for no other reason than that I despise iTunes. I don't even have it installed on this laptop, which has been my primary computer since November 5, 2016. (I.e. it will have been ten months to the day tomorrow since I started using this computer.) And I don't want it installed on here. But sadly, this means I can't really get any new music onto my phone. It sucks. I am very, very ready to ditch iTunes. I don't have any strong love for or hate for the rest of the iSuite, but man ... fucking iTunes, man ...

You also write, "Apple will always offers the best security [...] due to their fully integrated cloud support." Not sure I get what the cloud has anything to do with security. (Security to me is viruses/hacking/passwords. The cloud is just storage. Data backup repository. Backing up data does not equal "security," other than in the very liberal sense of "securing one's data [against data loss]". ) Anyway, it doesn't matter: I don't use the cloud. I don't want any of my data anywhere than on my privately-held devices. I am currently registering 5 GB unusued of 5 GB available of cloud storage for this account. And that's how it'd stay even if I got a new iPhone.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:32 AM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
My plan was originally:
  • unlimited data
  • unlimited talk on nights and weekends
  • 450 minutes/month talk all other times
  • zero texting
AT&T can't take anything away, but they are free to gift me new stuff that the original contract didn't list. And they have done so. Over the past nine years, my plan has morphed into:
  • unlimited data (hold-over from a bygone age)
  • unlimited anytime talk
  • unlimited texting
Technically my data is supposed to be "truly unlimited," but as we all know, they bought their way through the courts some years back and now it's something like "if he goes over 20 gigs a month we can throttle him; and/or if he uses more than 1 gig during peak business hours we can throttle him." Something along those lines. But technically, contractually, it's purely unlimited data. Because 2008, when data was as cheap and plentiful as water.
If I'm not mistaken, has your bill gone up in the past couple years?

It was reported that for the grandfathered unlimited plans, the data price went up fro $24.99 to $29.99, and then to $34.99.

Since you cited $80 as your final cost, I'm guessing the breakdown is something like:

$35 data
$20 device access fee
$20 unlimited talk/text
$5 taxes/teleco fees

Which comes out to ~$80 for one line.

AT&T has gimped the grandfathered unlimited plans in the past two years. First, you lost the "truly unlimited" data when they instituted the 22 GB high-speed soft cap. Second, came those price increases that were intended to drive customers off unlimited and to mobile share.

That said, I have heard that AT&T still pressures customers to switch plans if they want to upgrade. I'm not sure why that is, considering other plans available are cheaper overall while also providing more bang for the buck. Did you sign a contract with AT&T that you can procure that has the terms of their agreement in writing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
You asked what I value most. From your list, I'd say it's the toss-up between 1 and 2, "lowest overall cost for unlimited data (speed, data caps irrelevant)" and "best dollar/GB utility". Basically, I like going through life with my phone without having to ever, ever worry about overage fees. In 2008, I had to (not so seriously) worry about phone overage fees and (very seriously) worry about texting overage fees. But for many years now, I've become happily accustomed to having no worries whatsoever. I can send as many or as few photographs as I want to coworkers while at work (and on the cellular network). I can load YouTube at lunch, or stream it from the car while driving. I never have to keep a tally of how many megabytes I've used each month. Usually it's hilariously low compared with most unlimited data users. (I think my typical monthly use is less than 1 GB, while my typical maximum is still only 2 GB or so. Nothing near 20.) So like, you could say, "Talon -- you don't need unlimited data. " But it's hard to give up something you have that you know is valuable, even if it's not personally valuable to you. Furthermore, it's nice never having to worry, because U-N-L-I-M-I-T-E-D means no worries.

So like ... if it was a question of $20/mo for 10 GB or $60/mo for unlimited, I'd have to seriously consider. Because while 10 seems big for me (remember: I just said, typical usage is 1 GB, typical max usage is 2 GB), you never know! And that "you never know" might be worth the worrywort fee (or what some would consider to be an idiot fee) of $40/mo extra. If it were instead $20/mo for 20 GB, well then sure, I'd go to the $20/mo one in a heartbeat.

All of the above stated, I value data consumption a lot less than I value dropped calls and cellular network reliability. Which is why I will happily stick with AT&T.

-----------------------------------

I am with AT&T, and happy to stay. But if you know more about shitty deals of theirs vs. good deals of theirs, please, tell me. It was the Unlimited Choice I was eyeing, and now you've just said it's the worst one I could possibly pick. So please, tell me more.
AT&T has five unlimited plans available for new users. There are grandfathered plans, but you cannot switch to them now.

Unlimited iPad (no auto renew) - $35
Unlimited iPad (auto renew) - $29
Connected Car - $19.99
Unlimited Choice - $60
Unlimited Plus - $90

I have bolded the plans considered postpaid. Some details:

1. The iPad plans, and Connected Car, have no voice, only unlimited text and data. But most users get around these problems by having a number with Google Voice, which is tied to the phone number your device plan uses. Google then uses your (unlimited) data connection for free nationwide VoIP. Newer iPads that support VoIP (like Skype) can be enabled to use voice by installing both Google Voice and Talkatone.
2. The Connected Car doesn't require a car. It requires a device called the ZTE Mobley, which is an adapter usable in cars. Once the SIM card has been provisioned for the mobley, you can insert it into any GSM-capable device (although you need the mobley's IMEI to sign up for the plan). It is unlimited text/data, so you need to use Google Voice for your free telephony services once again.
3. Unlimited Choice is the cheaper of the two "main" unlimited plans, but data is throttled to 3 Mbps, although the data cap is the same. This is actually the better plan than Unlimited Plus because your data speed is limited by your device as much as it is the speed and congestion of the towers you are receiving from.
4. Choice and Plus offer a $25 bill credit if you are a DirecTV NOW subscriber, which lowers the cost of NOW to a mere $10.
5. All postpaid plans (Connected Car, Unlimited Choice/Plus, Mobile Share) zero-rate DirecTV NOW data, provided you view things through the DirecTV NOW app.

Some notes about Mobile Share Advantage:

Spoiler: show

It's very similar in effect and price to Unlimited Plus. The breakdown is:

$110 - data
$20 - device access
$5 - taxes and fees

With at least a 20% discount, which only applies to data, your price goes down to:

$88 - data
$20 - device access
$5 - taxes and fees

Or $113 for 25 GB, versus $95 for 22 GB. The differences between the plans:

-MSA gives rollover data, while Unlimited Plus refreshes every month.
-MSA does not throttle streams to 480p like Plus does with Stream Saver
-MSA is guaranteed to slow you to 2G speeds after you use your data bucket; you *may* be slowed under Plus
-MSA has a wide number of possible corporate discounts, from 15%-28%. Plus only allows military discount (15%) and a few select corporate ones.


Disclosure: I am a T-Mobile and AT&T customer. I have the ZTE Mobley unlimited plan.

When I return home at the end of September, I plan on setting up the connected car plan as my family's home internet. They currently pay $170 per month for AT&T U-Verse, which features a capped broadband internet (150 GB) at a slow 11 MBps, cable and telephone.

Connected car costs $26 with taxes. DirecTV NOW costs $39 with taxes, but because connected car is postpaid, it is zero-rated and doesn't count against the data cap. With a Google Voice account, then, I can simulate the same services as U-Verse, with faster DL speeds over wireless, for $100 less.

...

You shouldn't ever really go for Choice or Plus unless you're a DirecTV NOW customer. AT&T charges a pretty penny for those plans for the permission to bundle cable services with them. Pure unlimited voice, text and data plays are much better with T-Mobile. If you don't use a lot of data, a cheaper bucket that allows for voice/text is better (either prepaid or postpaid).

At that, Choice is the better plan because of its lower overall cost - if you know how to use bittorrent and are discrete about disguising its use, Choice is the better plan for data-conscious users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
I last upgraded in 2012. So ... to answer that question, I am perfectly content to upgrade only once every two years and to thus be better off purchasing my phone outright rather than leasing it.

I am overdue for a "free upgrade" from AT&T, but they're holding the free upgrade hostage behind the new contract. They argue that "new free phone" = "new contract", and that if I insist on sticking with my current plan then I'm S.O.L. and have to pay out of pocket for a phone. They're willing to give me an iPhone 7 (soon to be 7S) for only $200 provided I sign up for a new plan. That number skyrockets to some $600+ if I insist on going it alone and buying the device from them and attaching it to my current contract.
I feel I should let you know about the recent technologies with LTE, as that will impact your decision on a phone.

Basically put, there are two LTE enhancements in the phone microchips. One is called LTE-A, which is for carrier aggregation, and the other is LTE-U, for "unlicensed".

LTE-A is where you use multiple cellular frequencies at once to communicate with, rather than one. For normal phones, they latch onto the strongest signal. For carrier aggregation, you latch on to one main signal, then one, two, or three support signals.

An analogy would be let's say you have 4 U-Hauls on the highway delivering your stuff to your new house, one in front of the other in the same lane. With carrier aggregation, all four U-Hauls use their own lane. So the four trucks reach their destination at the same time, instead of truck 1, truck 2, etc. having to arrive in order. This raised the max speed from 150 MBps to 450 MBps, for an LTE versus LTE-A phone.

LTE-U is a synonym for gigabit internet. It uses unlicensed wifi spectrum frequencies to increase the bandwidth for your photo radio. This increases the max download speed from 450 MBps for an LTE-A device, to over 1000+ MBps.

Simply put, unless you want to take advantage of old Android technology that Google doesn't want you to have access to anymore (like wifi tethering), if you get a new device you want one that supports one or both of these new technologies. It will increase the shelf life of your phone so you won't have to upgrade sooner.

The iPhone 7 has LTE-A, but not LTE-U. The very first LTE-U device ever released was the Galaxy S8 this year, followed by the LG G6, the Moto Z, and then the Galaxy Note 8. We're all waiting to see if the iPhone 8 will also support LTE-U.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
I don't know Android devices very well. What is the Samsung equivalent of the iPhone? The Galaxy? The Galaxy Note? (Are those the same exact device? I don't know. I am a Luddite when it comes to cell phones, specifically.) I would be interested in getting whatever the Samsung equivalent is to the iPhone 7 @ $200, 6S @ $100, or 6 @ free. If that (or better) is possible, then I will probably make the switch to Samsung and Android provided I am signing up for a new plan. Otherwise, I will probably keep my current plan and try to get a used 6 or 6S.
Galaxy S series is more or less the equivalent to the iPhone now. Originally, Galaxy S (up through the S5) was more like the "anti-iPhone", made of cheaper materials but easier to repair, but higher specs, a replaceable battery, and better battery life. If the iPhone was style with substance, the Galaxy S was substance with style.

Around 2015, Samsung realized that customers didn't want an anti-iPhone...they wanted a !notiPhone. So the S6 became more like the iPhone, and here we are with the S8 that is similar in concept. The once vaunted performances differences have narrowed. Aside from some stylistic choices, it's essentially, now, a battle between iOS and Android, rather than that plus Apple v. Samsung.

The concept of the cheap, powerful and flexible smartphone still exists in the form of the Galaxy J series. In reality, it's easier to think as the Samsung Galaxy J3 as the "true" S6, since it's closer in design to the S5 than the real Galaxy S6 is.

The Note series are phablets. They're like the love child of a tablet and a smartphone, bigger and heavier than a smartphone with better screens/cameras, but not as good as a tablet and worse battery consumption than either. Before tablets could support voice, the phablet was the largest device possible that would allow for voice calls. Samsung doesn't really do tablets anymore since that market has kind of collapsed - the iPad is the de facto option for a tablet now, while Apple doesn't have any product like a phablet.

Generally, most people don't need phablets, but if you hate the iPad and still need something big and premium for drawing or something, the Note series is as good as it gets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
You're listing off employee discounts that you get courtesy of being an employee of Wal-Mart's. Those discounts don't apply to the rest of us. And the rest of us do not, I can assure you, work at places that would normally hand out discounts when you buy yourself a new phone for your private use. You'd have to basically work at a retailer (like Wal-Mart), an electronics store (like Best Buy), or a cell phone store (like an AT&T store) to have any hope for such a deal.
Employer discounts are the open secret for AT&T and Verizon. If you aren't aware of them, the companies won't tell you about them, but almost every company applies.

To prove this, you can get the discount added to your current unlimited plan. Check your company using the following address:

http://www.att.com/wireless/[YOUR COMPANY]

It will ask for a corporate email, which you just put in. Answer the email from your corporate inbox and fill in the details, and your discount should be applied. It only applies to the data portion and not the entire cost. You can also use a family member's affiliation instead and apply it to your plan.

AT&T and Verizon both are really cavalier about giving out these discounts and rarely, if ever, audit them. It's one of the most unfair practices in the entire telecom industry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
You write, "Android offers you close to complete power over your phone." This is really what I most want. And for no other reason than that I despise iTunes. I don't even have it installed on this laptop, which has been my primary computer since November 5, 2016. (I.e. it will have been ten months to the day tomorrow since I started using this computer.) And I don't want it installed on here. But sadly, this means I can't really get any new music onto my phone. It sucks. I am very, very ready to ditch iTunes. I don't have any strong love for or hate for the rest of the iSuite, but man ... fucking iTunes, man ...
Getting mp3s isn't what I had in mind as far as "power over your phone" (I was thinking more extreme things), but yes, Android would easily allow you to get mp3s from wherever installed onto the phone. You know that's also something my Dad mentioned as a big beef he has with Apple.

Android is like jumping on to Firefox when everyone else was using Internet Explorer, but then watching as Firefox aged while Chrome rose to prominence. Modern Android versios (Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo) offer security fixes at the price of Google forcing its obnoxious taste in UI and feature restrictions on you. But you have the nuclear option of flashing your own custom firmware and telling Google to fudge off.

An example: my main phone is a Galaxy S5 that I have rooted/hacked. I'm using it to tether to my main laptop as my home and mobile internet. Neither Google nor T-Mobile have much clue as to what I'm doing with my data, because I've removed the apps that give those two the ability to discriminate my activity. I've cut out Samsung's bloat, thus increasing my phone's battery life, and I'm working on enabling a Qualcomm-disabled LTE band, which allows me access to T-Mobile's Extended LTE without having to upgrade to an S6.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
You also write, "Apple will always offers the best security [...] due to their fully integrated cloud support." Not sure I get what the cloud has anything to do with security. (Security to me is viruses/hacking/passwords. The cloud is just storage. Data backup repository. Backing up data does not equal "security," other than in the very liberal sense of "securing one's data [against data loss]". ) Anyway, it doesn't matter: I don't use the cloud. I don't want any of my data anywhere than on my privately-held devices. I am currently registering 5 GB unusued of 5 GB available of cloud storage for this account. And that's how it'd stay even if I got a new iPhone.
Because Android is open source, it's less of a black box for programmers to find exploitable weaknesses in the operating system. Meanwhile, more and more people do private things like banking or bitcoin transactions on their phones now, opting to not carry credit cards or whatever, so the value of hacking a phone has gone up compared to the days when the best hackers could get were nude pics.

Apple devices primarily only contact with Apple servers, and are hardwired to not accept communications from third parties. It's also difficult for hackers to convince Apple devices to transmit data to third party computers, or establish man-in-the-middle interception. Every app available to Apple users has been pre-screened by Apple to ensure customer security, while Google is a lot lazier in this respect.

For businesses with classified data, Apple offers very convenient end-to-end security, at the cost of near total freedom and total reliance on Apple services. For Android, you just need to be smarter about how you use your phone and what you install, just like a normal computer.
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Old 09-08-2017, 08:03 PM   #113
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I need some advice myself.

T-Mobile announced a few days ago that they're offering Netflix free...but to compensate they're removing a special promo pricing of 2 lines for $100.

I have two pricing schemes ahead of me:

5 voice lines for $112
3 voice, 2 mobile internet lines for $100

Mobile internet lines are functionally inferior to voice lines, but you can jerry-rig them into voice lines using Google Voice.

...

I currently don't have much use for the MI lines. I got them because they were on a special 50% off promo. Currently, the planned users for my internet plan would be:

Self
Dad
Sister
Uncle
Aunt

Given the disaster my parents had in Europe with their telephones, I am skeptical of them being able to manage a VoIP app. They totally botched using Line and had to resort to roaming, which was painful.

I could do it, but I'm locked into the "Self" line. It's already got a chronicled internet history I don't want to pass on to my aunt or uncle. With T-Mobile footing the Netflix bill, that lowers the $112 to $102...acceptable?

Except my sister doesn't want any part of this, and she's the one paying for Netflix. My aunt/uncle are also not going to be here for a while. So I can't decide what route I should go and I'm running out of time.

Input?
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