Tag Archives: AT&T

Is it possible to love a phone? Yes (if it’s an iPhone 5)

The author and his betrothed.

The author and his betrothed.

I’m totally useless.

Why?

Because I’m in love with my iPhone 5.

Sure, I’m an Apple Fan.

And Apple fans are freaks.

But I have true, deep, heartfelt affection for an inanimate object.

I’ll admit I’ve always checked for Apple products.

I beheld my first iPhone with wonder.

I held it up in the sky, Simba-like, examining it from all sides as the screen glint in the sunlight.

I recall the glee I first felt starting my iPhone for the first time.

I could barely contain my excitement as the apple logo illuminated the screen, and then cede to the landing page with all those wonderful icons.

The thought of it still makes my heart flutter.

But that was a time long ago.

Subsequent iPhone releases have failed to generate any similar reaction in me.

In fact, I’ve been downright hostile towards them.

I’ve resisted the old bait-and-switch Apple is famous for, and passed upgrades to the 3G and 3GS.

When the 4 dropped, I felt that enough had changed over the course of the three years I’d owned my phone.

To be honest, I felt a little embarrassed to still be rocking a first gen.

And while the 4 was a serious device, it didn’t move me the way my first iPhone had.

So it was with much consternation that I copped the 5.

I was still jaded by the Apple bait-and-switch.

I mean really, six phones in less than five years?

But it was love at first sight.

iPhone 5

It She was tall, slim and elegant.

I felt my heart palpitate as the AT&T associate handed it her to me.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t resist it her.

I just knew these feelings were fleeting.

It’s just a phone.

Sure, Apple came up with another sleek design and raised the bat.

But it’s just a phone.

Three months later, I can’t believe that I still have the same amorous feelings for my phone.

When I first got it her, I stuck it her in an Otter.

There was no way I was going to let anything happen to it her.

Not on my watch.

My Secret Santa got me an i-Blason Power Glider external battery case (because of course, the iPhone battery life is for shit).

iBlason_PowerGlider_External_Battery_CaseAnd for the first time since I’ve owned the phone, I gazed upon it her naked, unsheathed…

I slipped it her into it’s her new case…

It’s Her shiny white face exposed…

I’m verklempt…

Talk among yourselves…

I can’t believe I’ve kept this thing of beauty hidden for so long.

Nobody put’s Baby in a corner!

I love my iPhone 5.

Is my love so wrong?

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Filed under iPhone, Smack talking

iPhone 5 + AT&T + Nigeria = FAIL.

Never the twain shall meet.

I just got back from burying my father in Nigeria and I’m thoroughly disgusted with both my iPhone 5 and AT&T.

You see, I was originally going to buy a burner for the trip.

A throwaway phone that I’d cop at the airport in Nigeria, load up with minutes and give to one of my relatives on my way out of the country.

Simple.

But noooo…I had to get all fancy.

I remembered that the iPhone was a GSM, which meant I could use it abroad.

I had used my iPhone 4 in Cannes, France with great success.

I simply had to switch up my international plan, set up a global data plan and I’d be set.

I didn’t even have to call AT&T to make the switch because I could do it all within the AT&T app.

So as I taxied on the runway at Newark airport, I set up my joint and felt secure that I had made the right choice.

When I got to Frankfurt, where I had a brief layover, I was rocking.

I was making calls, receiving emails and texting like a champ.

I was imbued, however, with a false sense of security.

Because when I arrived in Nigeria, nothing worked.

I couldn’t make calls.

I couldn’t send or receive texts.

I couldn’t surf the internet.

Nothing.

Effing.

Worked.

Cellular data on – nuthin.

Cellular data off – nada.

Wifi on – bupkis.

Wifi off – nyet.

Every once in a while, I would get an errant text message.

Frequently, my ‘No Service” would become “AIRTEL” or “Glo Ng”.

But my hopes of cellular connectivity were quickly dashed as calls routinely failed.

And then (somehow) I got a text message that almost caused me to lop off my own head.

Due to high international data usage your data service was suspended, including in USA.

WTF!?

Enraged, I immediately called the toll free number listed in the text.

Remarkably, the call went through.

Me (icily): “Yeah…I just got a text message saying that my data service was suspended because I was over my limit. But I haven’t been able to use my phone since I landed in Nigeria.”

AT&T: “It appears that you’ve used 51.6 Mb on your data plan.”

Me (seething): “When? I haven’t been able to use my phone since I got here!”

AT&T: “Well that’s because you’re not set up for international use.”

Me (on the verge of losing my marbles): “But I did…I used the app…”

I had to stop myself.

Ol’ girl was about to have her ass handed to her.

Clearly, whatever I had done (for which I received several email confirmations), hadn’t taken.

And rather than harp on what I had already done (to ensure that I wasn’t where I was right now), I decided to work with miss thing to get my shit straight.

I was on with an operator, and she was helping to ensure that my account was properly configured for international use.

After confirming my requested upgrades, we parted, confident that I could get my dial on.

First call – the wifey. Let her know I’m set.

Dialing.

Dial assist message.

Call failed.

CALL FAILED?!!!!

It took every sinew in my body to suppress the urge to fling my precious iPhone across the room and test the efficacy of my Otter case.

To add insult to injury, my younger brother, who still rocks an iPhone 4 (with AT&T) had no problems whatsoever.

The entire time we were there, he was chilling on his joint.

Texting folks in and out of Nigeria.

Calling.

Posting pictures to Facebook.

Mind you, he reminded me that I could simply have AT&T switch up my stuff so that my phone would work outside of the US.

But clearly something was lost in translation between the 4 and the 5.

Because both my other brother, The Doc, and I have the iPhone 5.

And we were both screwed.

Now, I don’t know how many of we iPhone 5 owners travel internationally.

Or how many have experienced something similar.

But I can’t accept that stepping up to the 5 means stepping down in performance and utility.

And I’m certainly not checking for spending more money to do so either.

So AT&T I’m fully expecting a credit of $5.99 for the so-called ‘world traveler’ international calling, $30 for the global messaging, and $60 for the global data – that I never got to effing use.

And if you do plan on taking a jaunt to the continent – get yourself a burner.

9 Comments

Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, rant

Google Wallet makes mobile payments a reality.

Years ago, when I was working in mobile marketing, mobile payments were all the rage.

Brands were just starting to experiment with SMS, and premium SMS messaging offered content creators an opportunity to monetize their mobile campaigns.

If someone with a text-messaging enabled mobile device saw your call to action, “Text WAYNE to 12345 to get Lil’ Wayne’s newest single!”), they could type in the keyword, send it to a short code and Voila! they were listening to Weezy right from their mobile phone.

Of course, it didn’t always work that smoothly or all the time.

If you had Verizon phone, for example, which restricted hyperlinks, good luck trying to click through to the URL provided on the link you received.

Or if you hit your monthly messaging limit, you wouldn’t be able to send or receive text messages at all.

And at the time, mobile payments were restricted to paying for premium mobile content on your wireless carrier bill.

In order to complete a purchase, there was a double opt-in process, where the user had to validate that they wanted the content and understood the costs and conditions associated with the offer.

Typically, taking advantage of these premium offers involved giving your wireless carrier AND the aggregator AND (in some instances) the content platform provider a portion of the fees associated with that purchase.

Subscription chat lines and information services, like KGBKGB, sprung up to tap into users’ voracious appetite for texting.

You couldn’t buy tangible things with your mobile device.

Outside of wallpapers, ringtones and music downloads, mobile content was the only thing you could really purchase.

Today, that’s no longer the case.

Smartphones, mobile web sites, and mobile apps let you use your mobile phone to purchase virtually anything.

You’re no longer tethered to your wireless carrier if you want buy something.

iTunes and the proliferation of copycat app stores mean that you can cop plenty of compelling content right to your device.

And not have AT&T or Verizon Wireless mucking about in the transaction.

But there’s a different mobile payments space growing and maturing.

We’ve seen early glimpses of that with PayPal.

Apps like Square that have turned your mobile phone into a payment processing center.

In Europe and Asia, paying using your mobile device is commonplace.

But here in the states, the growth of mobile payments has advanced at a snail’s pace.

Until now.

Google Wallet is a mobile payment system that allows its users to store their debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards on their mobile phones.

Using near-field communication (NFC), Google Wallet lets users make secure payments by simply tapping their phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.

Although Google Wallet launched in 2011, it was only this August, that they set up expanded support to all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

What does it all mean?

Well for one, you’re no longer reduced to making mobile payments solely with PayPal.

More importantly, the tedious process of entering your payment information, name, address, credit card number, expiration date, security code, etc., is as simple as providing your username and password.

This is a real boon for online retailers, who see the majority of their drop offs occurring at checkout.

The best thing about Google Wallet, unlike PayPal (the carriers) and virtually any other merchant processing system, is that they don’t charge processing fees.

No fees?

That’s awesome!

Mind you, I’m not a Google person myself.

Google Wallet doesn’t work on iOS devices.

So unless there’s an app in the works, hundreds of millions of Apple users will be in the dark.

But big up to all you Android users, who have the ability to truly experience what the mobile revolution is shaping up to be…

At least as it relates to mobile payments.

1 Comment

Filed under apps, digital advocacy, mobile, technology

Mobile phones everywhere and no (free) public wi-fi!

No public wi-fi? For shame! For shame!

Last week, I wrote a post about how annoying it is to attend a ‘digital’ function, where there is no public wi-fi to jump on.

Equally frustrating is when you attend a function, where the conveners publish their Twitter handles or event hashtags, but leave attendees to their own devices to wade their way through spotty and/or inaccessible cellular signals to post updates to their social media accounts.

I’ve been feeling this frustration for some time now, as evidenced by this unpublished rant from Social Media Week 2010:

“Sitting at the Bands and Fans panel hosted by CMJ at Social Media Week and I’m pissed!

Why? You ask. Because there’s no wifi!

WTF!? How can we be sitting talking about the value of Tweeting and staying connected, when there is no f*#king internet connection?!

AARRGH!

I’m just saying. AT&T’s network is crap and I can’t flex on my iPad the way I had intended!

Hootsuite is unresponsive.

Twitter feels like swimming through molasses.

Facebook is kaput!

I am ashamed to be a part of this right now. Ashamed.

Red Bull Space – you should have shame too!

All this great info from J Sider, Marni Wandner, Robbie Mackey and Ariel Hyatt and no wifi!

Booo!”

Needless to say, almost two years later and not much has changed.

Businesses have not adopted offering free wi-fi as a standard.

Even if (as my good friend Rob Underwood noted in my rant last week about the NYC DMC event) the reason for a private wi-fi or an unpublished password is security, when you host one of these functions, setting up a temporary wi-fi network and/or password is a sensible thing to do.

With municipalities across the country looking at implementing free public wi-fi, shouldn’t businesses, retail establishments, cafes, bars and restaurants also look to do the same thing?

How many of we entrepreneurs select meeting spots bases on the availability of wi-fi?

Starbucks has undoubtedly made a butt-load of cash off of folks using their wi-fi (because we know their coffee is…how do you say…crap!)

Anyway, perhaps I’m all sour grapes because I’m on AT&T and their 3G network isn’t worth the technology it’s built on (damn you FCC for interfering with the acquisition of TMobile!!)

Or perhaps, rather, wi-fi is a really important element towards achieving a broader network of connected users and devices.

Whatever the case for adopting a free wi-fi solution may be, know that if I’m coming to an event, and it’s not popping, I’m putting you on full blast!

I feel better.

1 Comment

Filed under digital advocacy, opinion, rant, Smack talking, technology

The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE a “Game-Changer”? NOT!!!

Is this really a game-changer? Really?

Yesterday, I had a conversation with Daron Jenkins, a fellow technologist, and one of the founders of SCENEPR, an agency devoted to helping other agencies understand and leverage new media and technology.

Daron and I were talking about their upcoming SoLoMo starters+start ups event, and as we talked about the various potential topics for future sessions, somehow our discussion turned to the soon-to-be-released Samsung Galaxy Note LTE phone, which Daron described as a potential “game-changer.”

You must know that Daron and I are both Apple disciples.

So, needless to say, I was immediately incredulous upon hearing Daron’s statement.

A game-changer, to me, is something that makes all other competitors cringe with fear.

It’s something so totally left-of-center, that most are taken unaware, and left speechless.

A game-changer makes others in the space think, “why didn’t we think of that?”

It leaves them at a loss precisely because it creates or carves out a space for that new product, service, application, or what-have-you, that everyone/thing else seems obsolete in comparison.

Now, if you’re like me, the term “game-changer” evokes thoughts of the killer devices that permanently changed the landscape of the spaces they occupied.

In my humble opinion, there have been a few undeniable game-changers in the mobile space.

The first was the Palm Treo.

The first game-changer. The Palm Treo 270.

It was the first phone that effectively combined a phone with a PDA, offering the ability to make phone calls and keep your calendar, contacts and notes organized in one handy, handheld device.

The iPhone was the next.

The iPhone broke the mold and it's forever been broken.

Although other handset manufacturers offered their own version of the smartphone, Apple created a device that was simultaneously powerful, functional and elegant.

The last was the iPad.

IMO, the iPad ushered the end of all tablet competitors.

Again, while there are other tablets in the market, none have achieved the recognition or stature of Apple’s offering.

Which brings me back to Daron’s statement.

It was with much consternation that I even continued the conversation, in light of what I felt was an obvious flaw in his statement.

We all know that NOTHING competes with Apple.

Sure, Apple’s mobile devices don’t support Flash natively.

And marketers have responded by advising clients that sites be built without Flash.

Sure, Apple releases a new product every other day.

And people routinely line up outside of Apple stores days in advance of every new product release.

Sure, Apple’s products are tres cher.

And people regularly shell out the king’s ransom required to own it’s devices.

So whatever Samsung is coming with, has to be so spectacular, so innovative, so feature rich, so ‘that ish’, that one’s initial visceral response is “I must have it!”

To their credit, their latest commercial, poking fun a Apple-ophiles, does point out Apple’s many shortcomings.

But that doesn’t necessarily equate to changing the game.

At the end of our call, we agreed that deploying the Galaxy Note LTE with AT&T was a major faux pas, with AT&T’s spotty service and network bandwidth.

We also agreed that “game-changer” was an extremely generous characterization for Samsung’s latest entry into the mobile/tablet space.

But we’ll just have to wait and see.

I, for one, am not holding my breath.

4 Comments

Filed under mobile, opinion, technology

Taxi Magic App Works Like Magic!

Taxi Magic

Since I recently lampooned an app, I felt the need to be balanced.

So today, I give props to an app I recently downloaded and used, that I found to work exceptionally well.

That app was Taxi Magic from RideCharge Inc.

I was in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago, and needed to get to a meeting with a client. I had originally intended to take the bus across town, but the scheduled bus was delayed, and I didn’t want to risk being late from my appointment.

Not too long ago, I had attended a NYTech Meetup, where a Taxi Magic demo was featured, but at the time, I hadn’t downloaded the app.

I immediately recalled the simple and effortless way the app was purported to work during the demo, so I pulled out my iPhone and downloaded it.

Taxi Magic uses your location to locate taxis in proximity to you.

Upon launching Texi Magic, I was asked if the app could use my location, and was then presented with a list of cabs near the intersection near where I was standing, which I could either book directly or call.

Taxi Magic tells you when your taxi has been dispatched.

I booked a Red Top taxi, and received a notification telling me the taxi had been dispatched and was less than half a mile away.

Taxi Magic's map let's me see where the driver is while I wait on him.

There was an interactive map, which showed where the taxi was relative to where I was, and let me monitor the driver’s progress.

When I saw the taxi pull up a few minutes later, and jumped in, the driver asked if I was Stephen, and if I was going to Capital City Brewing (to which I replied in the affirmative).

Taxi Magic let me pay for my ride using the app itself.

When we arrived at my destination, I had the option of paying with my Taxi Magic account (I had set up a Taxi Magic account and input my credit card) with my credit card or with cash.

I opted for my Taxi Magic account, added a small tip and Viola! all done.

I really like the Taxi Magic app because it does what it promises to do – make getting a taxi like magic.

The interface is clean and spare, and even on AT&T’s 3G network, pages loaded quickly.

I didn’t have to work to figure out how to use it. It didn’t crash on me and I didn’t have to jump through elaborate hoops to get a taxi.

There are a few other taxi apps out there, I’m sure, but Taxi Magic is the one for me!

Note: The screen shots provided above were not of my experience, but images I grabbed from iTunes. 

2 Comments

Filed under mobile, opinion, Smack talking, technology