Mar 27, 2013

Mar - 13 2013 | By

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at:
– They're tagged with #Zentech.
– When what's said is unclear to me (or I'm unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (" ") verbatim.
– Editor's comments are delimited by < >

Glenn and Mikail Graham were in the studio.


There will NOT be a Zentech show on Apr 10 due to the membership drive.


For his cell phone service, Glenn switched from T-Mobile to Pure TalkUSA, which uses the AT&T network. He pays $45/mo and is happy with it. The plan he's on offers 600 megabytes/mo of data thru the cellular network. He tends to use the wi-fi option that comes with it so as not to use up his alloted data limit. The plan had unlimited talk and text.

Mikail said T-Mobile will be carrying a special version of the iPhone5 that Verizon & AT&T do not have. Its new technology allows it to work on T-Mobile using a broader range of frequencies. Next versions of the AT&T iPhone5 will also have the newer chip.

Mikail said T-Mobile is "not doing subsidised phones anymore". "You go and buy your 16gig iPhone5 for $579 thru them, as oppossed to $649, which is what you'd pay if you bought it at the Apple store…you put down $100 and you pay $20/mo for 2 years, but it's all up front, so your price of your actual monthly deal comes down. Whereas, with AT&T and Verizon you get a phone for $200…but…if you don't get a new phone in 2 years, they're still making money off the subsidy that you're paying for in your contract because your contract cost you more and you get less"
<I haven't had a chance to read these articles about T-Mobile's new plan. Hopefully, they'll be clearer than what was said on today's show…
T-Mobile to offer unlimited, no-contract plans — and the iPhone
T-Mobile's New Contractless Data Plan Debunked (FAQ)
The Fine Print on T-Mobile’s New No-Contract Cellphone Plans>

Glenn mentioned, again, his contract troubles with T-Mobile — he was put on a 2 year contract without being told. After canceling his contract they still want $277 that he's going to dispute.

Mikail went over some of the cell phone contracts, I think he was talking about the phone only.
– For T-Mobile it's $100 no contract
– For AT&T it's $200, $300 or $400 with a 2 year contract depending on the <memory> size of the iPhone. Verizon & Sprint are similar.

For the data plans:
– T-Mobile 500meg or 2.5gig and unlimited text & voice starts at $50/mo.
– AT&T 300meg/mo for $20/mo and that's on top of your voice plan.
– Verizon $40/mo for 300meg/mo.

Mikial on the overall costs..
– T-Mobile is $1780 (500meg/mo & voice on a 2 year contract).
– AT&T $1640 (300meg/mo & pay-as-you-go texting for 2 years).
– Verizon $2120 (300meg/mo for 2 year contract).
– Sprint $2120 (450 min & unlimited data for 2 years).
– Pure TalkUSA looks like a great deal. Glenn said it's $43.95/mo $1078.80 for 2 years.

Mikail noted that, unlike in Europe, cell phone users here have to pay to both receive and initiate a call and he doesn't understand why people are so accepting.

Glenn said Pure TalkUSA gives you unlimited talk & text (txt), 600meg data and 600 multimedia messages (MMS).
Mikail said they've got affordable plans starting at $10/mo. 130 minutes with rollover, Glenn added.
Additionally, you don't have to unlock you phone if you're already with AT&T.

Lorraine called to say AT&T and Verizon are notoriously horrible politically, especially for women. In Hawaii she used Credo Mobile "1% of everything goes to the progressive cause of my choice" and the customer service is great, she said. She has a minimal plan for $40/mo. Her son's plan "has everything" for $90/mo.

The disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, its board, management, staff or contributors.

Jerome called about a plan he said is cheaper than those mentioned so far but he doesn't know if it supports the iPhone. He has a Verizon pre-paid data plan at $20 or $25/mo that gives him 1gig of data. In addition, he has Line 2, an app that gives him a phone line, voice over ip <VOIP>. Line 2 can use wi-fi to avoid cell phone charges. The Line 2 service cost him $10/mo. Mikial noted that audio quality can sometimes drop with VOIP services. Jerome was surpised to find that Line 2 works while driving down the freeway (in this case it uses the Verizon cellular 1gig data plan). Essentially, he gets unlimited voice & text when he can get a wi-fi connection (he doesn't have to use any of the 1gig of data in this case) and uses Verizon cellular when there's no wi-fi. There is no contract for either Verizon or Line 2 — he pays month-to-month.

 Shiloh called, She's been using Verizon for a very long time and she was grandfathered-in at $14.95/mo. She gets 3500 night/weekend minutes and 10 daytime minutes. From what I can decipher, she got another phone, which she thinks is crappy, and signed a service contract. She doesn't do texting but would like to have voice mail. She tried a TracFone but reception was poor. She'd like to get something with a wide screen and a decent camera
– Mikail said you can get a free iPhone 4 with a contract from Verizon or AT&T. (But she's already signed a contract)
– Glenn suggested she buy a separate camera. You can get a really nice one for about $100. If you don't have a data plan, you can't do anything with a phone camera except transfer the pictures to your computer <there's no advantage over a regular camera>. From there, of course, you can upload them to the web.
– For voice mail try Google Voice. That's what Glenn uses, He enters a special code he got from Google Voice into his phone, which deactivates the Pure TalkUSA voice mail and allows Google Voice to receive the message. Mikail uses YouMail (as well as Google Voice), it has greetings that are personalized to the particular caller. Both Google Voice and YouMail have free versions.
– With either of these services, you can access your messages from your computer, store them or have them converted to text.
– You can get an iPod Touch. It has a camera and all of the smartphone features. You won't have a cell phone but will be able to use VOIP over wi-fi — the way Jerome just got thru telling us. Of course you'll need wi-fi in your house if you want to use it at home.

John of Spiral Internet called to update us on the fiber cable being laid in the Nevada County area. It's meant to connect 3 schools and a library — won't go to houses. Spiral Internet intends to "extend from that" and bring "fiber to the home" and possibly provide better backhaul to the local wireless providers (Smarter Broadband & Digital Path). John said it will take a while — 2 years for phase 1 and 7 years for further deployment. Those who are interested can contribute to a survey at

Doug called. Like Shiloh, he seldom uses the cell phone. He used to have a Verizon plan, then went to TracPhone but had problems. He was initially told it can use the Verizon network but later found out it can only use the AT&T network. He gets poor reception with AT&T. He heard that Walmart has a service called StraightTalk that works thru Verizon and asked if that's correct. He also wondered about the Net10 service.
– Net10 is another Walmart product.
– Glenn didn't know anything about StraightTalk but said to give them a call.

Doug also wondered if some cell phones are better at receiving weak signals.
– They're all pretty good these days
– Check with Consumer Reports for comparisons. If you don't subscribe to them, a local library may have access.

James called. He read a news item about T-Mobile offering a new plan. <Apparently he didn't listen to the first part of this broadcast>
– Mikail reiterated: "You're not locked into a contract when you do that. When the phone's done <paid for> you own it and you're not paying any extra premium a month for that subsidy, which is what's happening with AT&T or Verizon". You get an iPhone or Galaxy 4 for $200 and think that's cool, much better than $600 at full price, but you pay for it in your contract and "that doesn't go away at the end of those 2 years".
– Again, check out Pure TalkUSA.

Ken called. He likes Apple and would like to get an iPhone. He wanted to know what carriers he could use that take a SIM card.
– Your options (not exclusively) Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Pure TalkUSA. You can use these without having to jailbreak or unlock the phone.
– Glenn thought some iPhones don't take a SIM card. Mikail said they all do. <They 'take' SIM cards but still have limitations>
– Glenn said he previously bought an iPhone 4S that had been used with the Sprint system and found it was impossible to make it work on other systems.
– Mikial: You can use a Verizon iPhone with GSM on the AT&T network. You have to get it off the Verizon contract. This is true for the iPhone 5, not the iPhone 4S.
– Glenn added that those who travel abroad should look for a GSM phone. It's what's used in most of the world. Mikail thinks CDMA is being supplanted by GSM. He said the new Qualcom multi-band chips can accommodate almost anything and you should start seeing them on more new phones.

Mikail played with Siri, asking it "what's the best cell phone on the market". Siri replied "Wait, there are other phones", He then went on to demonstrate other voices that Siri can use — British, Australian and French (others are available). He said when you first start to use Siri the voice sounds odd, but it gets better as it learns about your environment and adapts to it. To change the voice go to settings -> general -> siri and choose your language.

Glenn thanked the KVMR members. To become a member, go to KVMR.

James called to complain about cell phone quality. He gets annoyed when people call in to radio talk shows and their cell phones betray them.
HD Voice is on the horizon. More cell phones are starting use it. The newer Samsung & iPhones are starting to support it, but it may be another year before it becomes ubiquitous. It's currently available only thru the T-Mobile carrier network, others should follow.

Megan called asking about any good places to donate cell phones.
– Check places that sell phones for a donation bin.
– Check with DVSAC. <I think that's what was said. It's a domestic violence organization>

In closing, Mikail spoke about Mailplane, an email app. <Looks like it's only for the Mac>
– It works with IMAP. <a mail protocol> It's "like having a browser separate from your browser"
– It's primarily for Gmail. All of it's features are there, like "undo send" to call back unintended emails.
– It supports other Google services like calendar.
– Mikail thinks it's fabulous.
– It's $24:95

Last updated 11:04 PM 3/27/2013

Leave a Reply