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Posts tagged wifi

Republic Wireless offers affordable hybrid VOIP/cell smartphone service
April 18, 2014 | 3:06 am

20140418_003539_HDRI’d previously mentioned switching to an Android smartphone with Virgin Mobile, and enjoying it as far as it went. However, lately my Virgin Mobile phone went belly-up. I’d already promised myself that when I got my new full-time job I would be switching to Republic Wireless, so this was a good opportunity. I’ve only had my new Motorola Moto X for a day or so, but I’m already pretty pleased with the phone and the service so far. If you’ve never heard of Republic Wireless, it’s a small no-contract smartphone startup based on a clever idea. If you’re like...

Pre-paid WiFi roundup: TruConnect, Wal-Mart, Karma
March 21, 2014 | 11:49 am

A while back I talked about the TruConnect Mi-Fi portable WiFi hotspot I had purchased. It’s time for an update, and discussion of a couple of reasonable prepaid Wi-Fi alternatives. First of all, I still use the TruConnect MiFi. In fact, I’m on my second one now. The first one stopped working after I dropped it; I bought a replacement and kept the battery from the old one, which means I now have access to twice the battery life, even before plugging in the three different battery backups I now have—bonus! I don’t use it as...

In the future, concealed embedded computers might spy on you
December 12, 2013 | 5:30 pm

On his blog, Charlie Stross ponders how small the electronics necessary to power computing and wi-fi have become, and wonders if the next great malware frontier might be physical spy devices concealed inside Bluetooth keyboards or other innocuous accessories. If it’s a keyboard, all someone needs to do is swap keyboards with you while you’re a way and no one else will be the wiser…while the microchip inside that keyboard is snooping your passwords and secretly phoning home. And it's not just keyboards. It's ebook readers. Flashlights. Not your smartphone, but the removable battery in your...

CNet offers TruConnect MiFi hotspot for $74
July 3, 2012 | 8:15 am

CNet’s “The Cheapskate” blog has a special offer on the TruConnect MiFi hotspot, offering a $25 discount to knock the device down from $99 to $74 when you use the discount code CNET2012 through TruConnect’s checkout. As I’ve said before, this is a great way to get inexpensive (albeit slow) prepaid 3G wifi (using Sprint’s network) for those who only plan to use it occasionally or with very low-bandwidth applications (such as, say, downloading e-books). The plan costs $4.99 per month in which it is actually used (you pay nothing if you don’t use it at all during...

Wal-Mart offers prepaid MiFi plan just right for email and e-book downloaders
June 20, 2012 | 9:15 am

Want to add on-the-go connectivity to your Wi-Fi-only tablet or e-reader? Wal-Mart could have just the thing for you. Our sister blog Gadgetell reports on a new prepaid MiFi plan coming out through a deal between Wal-Mart and TruConnect (whose $5/mo + 3.9 cents per megabyte plan I currently use). The plan will use the same MiFi 2200 model as TruConnect’s, but instead of a monthly fee, there will be a one-time charge for megabytes that never expire (as long as you use the device at least once a year so your account stays active). The press...

Sub-$100 smartphones could offer wifi, e-reading potential
January 18, 2012 | 8:15 am

compal-vibo-smarterphone-os-sA lot of attention has been given to sub-$100 e-readers such as the new crop of Kindles. But a report from PaidContent suggests another generation of sub-$100 devices might be on the horizon: the sub-$100 smartphone. PaidContent reports that consultants at Deloitte see an impending wave of cheap smartphones hitting the market—as many as 500 million of them by the end of the year. By and large, these will not be Android, iOS, RIM, Symbian, or Windows Phone based phones, but rather they will run on closed, proprietary platforms. Most consumers care more about touchscreens or keyboards than...

Review: TruConnect prepaid 3G MiFi 3300
January 15, 2012 | 1:15 am

GEDC0518A while ago, I wrote about the idea of using a MiFi to retrofit 3G mobile web access to wifi-capable devices (such as e-readers), and I also mentioned the TruConnect MiFi pay-as-you-go service that allows bite-sized prepaid-3G-wifi usage with no contract required. It has been a couple of weeks since I received my TruConnect MiFi for Christmas, and I’ve used it enough to get a decent idea of how well it works. I use the MiFi mostly with my iPod Touch and iPad, though I have had the chance to try it with my laptop as well. Fundamentally,...

Proliferation of iPads strains hotel wi-fi bandwidth
October 25, 2011 | 2:15 pm

Is the iPad the “final nail in the coffin” for free wi-fi? According to the New York Times, it just might be, at least for hotels. iPads consume four times more wi-fi data per month than the average smartphone. And with more than 1 in 10 Americans owning tablets, and most of those tablets being iPads, and the tablet-owning class by and large overlapping with the class of people who stay at hotels, hotels are suddenly finding that the wifi bandwidth that had served them well in the last few years is no longer good enough. For business travelers,...

Kindle 4 uses free AT&T wifi
September 29, 2011 | 10:52 am

KT td V166744020 I just ordered a low end Kindle 4, for delivery tomorrow, because I wanted to see how these "special offers" work. I also wanted a spare, small unit to carry around on those times where electronics are subject to the chance of breakage. It's interesting that Amazon's new pricing turns this into a purely impulse purchase. In checking out the features on the new unit I came across this: Free Access at AT&T Hotspots Enjoy free Wi-Fi access at AT&T hotspots across the U.S. for shopping and downloading Kindle content — no AT&T registration, sign-in, or password required. Amazon is looking...

Open Mesh Project seeks to use mesh networking to promote freedom
February 27, 2011 | 2:47 pm

openmeshIt’s long been a truism of the net that free information flow and freedom have a lot to do with each other. You see it in cases like the recent revolution in Egypt where the Egyptian government tried to stifle dissent by shutting off the Internet, and again in the current situation in Libya. E-books and other long-form digital reading matter are one point on that information spectrum, but so are forms as small as tweets or as large as digital video broadcasts. TechCrunch has an interesting post by guest author Shervin Pishevar, founder of the OpenMesh Project, in...

Tech support reps know where the problems are
February 24, 2011 | 1:55 am

tech_20supportIt’s a cliché (or at least a TVTrope) that if you want to know what’s really going on in an organization, you talk to the janitors—or other people who have the same habit of being around all the time, observing people and things, without being noticed. In my current “day job” working for a tech support corporation, I’ve noticed a similar truism: If you want to know what’s really going on in the way people relate to technology, you talk to the tech support. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a number of interesting patters...

Virgin Mobile throttles unlimited-bandwidth 3G plan
January 13, 2011 | 8:15 am

Our sister blog Gadgetell notes that Virgin Mobile has decided to scale back the $40/mo unlimited-bandwidth 3G plan that I have waxed enthusiastic about in the past (and that “saved the day” for Paul earlier this month). As of February 15, the plan will throttle download speed after the first 5 gigabytes of data in a month. That may work all right for people who just check their email and do ordinary web browsing, but it’s going to leave people who do more bandwidth-intensive stuff such as stream Netflix movies high and dry. Of course, it won’t really...

iPhones to get wi-fi hotspots (maybe); iPad screen lock switch to return
January 13, 2011 | 5:48 am

iphone4Our sister blog Appletell reports that the Verizon CDMA iPhone, and indeed the regular iPhone as well, is going to feature mobile wi-fi hotspot capability. Theoretically. It’s up to the carriers whether this capability is allowed to be used, of course, and it’s unclear how desirable it will be given that 1) bandwidth will probably be limited, and 2) carriers will probably charge through the nose for it. (After all, they charge for Bluetooth tethering already.) On a related note, remember the uproar over Apple changing the iPad’s screen-lock switch to a mute switch in OS 4.2 and...

Newer isn’t always better: The iPad and Wi-Fi geolocation
January 8, 2011 | 2:49 pm

When I first got my original iPod Touch, I was amazed to discover when I checked Google Maps that the iPad had a pretty good idea of where I was. It turned out that this was due to the Skyhook wi-fi geolocation service, which had been busily sending cars out to wardrive urban areas in the US before Google ever had the streetview idea that ended up landing it in so much invasion-of-privacy trouble. Skyhook recorded in what locations it could find any given MAC address (the serial number that uniquely identifies every network adapter such as a wi-fi card...

Projected end of unlimited data plans may have implications for e-book readers
November 28, 2010 | 5:05 pm

3gAre the days of unlimited wireless data plans numbered? ReadWriteWeb reports on a speech by a wireless researcher who believes that they are. Dr. Reinaldo Valenzuela, director of wirelss research at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, notes that the more people use smartphones, the more data usage is going to go up. Only 10% of all smartphone users are using the majority of data, and as that usage grows, soon the cost of providing “unlimited” bandwidth data plans will surpass the revenue it brings in. Valenzuela believes that metered pricing is one possible answer, but there are also...

Starbucks offers free Greg Bear e-book until December 7th
November 26, 2010 | 8:15 am

We’ve mentioned Starbucks’s web portal, and its plan to offer free e-books through LibreDigital’s SkyShelf reader. GalleyCat is noting that US Starbucks customers can now access a free e-book of Greg Bear’s new SF novel, Hull Zero Three, from the Starbucks wifi network while within the store. Of course, this will only be offered for online reading on “laptops, tablets, and many smart phones.” Much as with Barnes & Noble’s in-store reading program for the Nook, you can’t download and take it with you—though I don’t doubt there will be options available to purchase it if you decide you...

Kobo announces WiFi ereader – faster processor, new screen
September 29, 2010 | 8:02 am

Screen shot 2010-09-29 at 8.00.58 AM.pngKobo has just announced a WiFi ereader for $139. This makes the current crop of Sony readers look more and more "fringe". Clearly, Amazon is setting the pace in the hardware/price game and the rest of the world, like Kobo, is going to follow. From the press release: Kobo, a global eReading service, today announced the new Kobo Wireless eReader, the newest addition to the Kobo family. The new Kobo Wireless eReader adds WiFi connectivity, upgraded hardware with faster performance, longer battery life, and a sharper eInk screen. ... The Kobo Wireless eReader will be available for $139.99 USD...

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