My thoughts on the Samsung T401G so far

Yesterday a package arrived with two Samsung T401G phones in it. Both are Net10 phones. I was able to activate them without any major issues other than they only received 10 minutes each when they said on their website at “Getting Started / Activation/Reactivation” in the FAQs. “Q. Will I receive any free minutes for Activating a Net10 phone? A. Yes, when Activating your Net10 phone you will receive 300 free minutes and 60 days of active service.”

Because of that in the FAQs I called them up to talk to support, which I’m afraid was sent to Mexico or they hire people who speak English as a second language with Spanish as their first language. At first they said that the 10 minutes is the way things were, but I pointed them to the FAQ that I just mentioned. After pointing that out they talked to a supervisor, after which they decided that they should see that I get the minutes that I was promised. They had me enter several codes into my phone, but none of them did anything that I could tell. So for both phones she had to add the minutes from their end.

While I was annoyed that I had to talk to them I was glad that they were willing to correct their mistake. So I did give her a nice review when we finished as she fixed the issue that caused me to call up.

On to the phone itself. Sorry but I thought I needed to included the earlier stuff as it does relate to this phone.

  • The phones had the SIM card already installed in the phone. (This was easier than my first Net10 phone as I had to find & install it myself.)
  • The battery was not installed in the phone. (I expected this as there are laws causing this to happen.)
  • They had a paper with the number from the SIM card on it in a font size that you could read.
  • I had to activate the phone online or over the phone. (I activated the first phone online & the second one on the phone. Trust me do it online if you can, unless you speak fluent Spanish that is than you might be just fine on the phone.)
  • Proprietary charging port instead of the common USB connector on most other brands of phones. (I expected this issue as Samsung is known to do this.)
  • The port for headphones & hands free uses the port I just mentioned so you need an adapter if you want to use the port or a device that supports it.
  • It does have Bluetooth. This allows you to use a Bluetooth hands free device as well as send various other items over Bluetooth. Just remember that when you have Bluetooth enabled you are using more battery.
  • It supposed to have approximately 15 days of standby & approximately 5 hours of talk time. (I just got it so I can’t say on that one yet.)
  • It has a mirror just above the lens so that you can have an idea of what your self-portrait will look like. (My wife thought it might be a flash when she pointed it out to me.)
  • It is thicker than my last phone which was the LG Glance. (This is because it has a “QWERTY” keyboard that slides out.)
  • It has a port for a Micro SD card on the side of it, which means you don’t have to remove the battery to access the card. (Since it doesn’t support SDHC you are limited to 2 GB SD cards, which unfortunately the only cards we had were either to large or only 512 MB. So we may have to get new cards at some point.)
  • It is supposed to have a speaker phone, but I haven’t found that yet. (I saw one comment on a blog mention that you had to be in a call to use the speaker phone.)
  • The camera is 1.3 Megapixel with no flash. (If you need a flash get a camera if you are going to use this phone.)
  • Also because it has such a low resolution for the camera I don’t expect it to have decent video output. (I’ve seen complaints about this, but I haven’t tried as I’ve never worried about taking video with a phone.)
  • You only have about 40 MB of internal memory. (So you can’t have all the apps, pictures, & ringtones you want on it without a SD card.)
  • As should be expected if your ringtone is larger than 300 KB you can not use the MP3 as a ringtone. (For me this has been close to 20 seconds, but at higher bit rates it has been shorter.)
  • In the calendar you can set up “Anniversaries”. (I was able to enter my birthday, my wife’s birthday, & the day we were married. What I liked about this is I was able to enter the years for out birthdays, while on my last phone I could only get a recurring event on those days as I couldn’t send the phone back to when I was born.)

That’s all that I can think of so far. If I find anything else out or make a discovery about these phones I’ll make another post.

Posted in Cell Phones, Glance VX7100, LG, Net10, Samsung, T401G | 3 Comments

How much do you really pay per minute?

Since I just recently got my phone for Net10 I thought I’d see how they compare as far as price per minute used. Net10 charges 10¢ per minute unless you buy the minutes online then you might get them for less than 10¢ per minute. Net10 also only charges you 5¢ per text message on most phones with the Samsung T401G having a rate of 3¢ per text.

For Verizon Wireless I was paying about 12¢ per minute if you count the 700 minutes I get a month, but because I normally use less than 200 minutes per month the cost per minute actually used is close to 45¢ per minute. Then because I don’t have an unlimited text plan with them they charge me 20¢ per text message, & claim that is competitive. I don’t see how charging 4 times what Net10 would charge me is competitive. I’d think that charging 5¢ per text message or less would be competitive.

So with two phones because my wife is moving to the new plan as well we are going to change from paying about $83 per month to $30 or $45 per month. Yes that is about half of what we used to pay for our phones.

Since I want to be clear on how I did the calculations of cost per minute here it is. For the “12¢ per minute” I took “$84.77” & divided it by 700 (Which is my plans “Monthly allowance minutes”) which resulted in $0.12,11. For the “45¢ per minute” I took “$84.77” & divided it by 188 (Which is the number of minutes used in the billing period) which resulted in $0.45,090,425,531,914,893,617,021,276,595,745.

Posted in Cell Phones, Net10, Samsung, T401G, Verizon | Comments Off on How much do you really pay per minute?

Zune 30 and 120 features I’ve recently noticed

Let me start off by specifying Which versions of the Zune hardware & software I’m using. Both devices are running the 3.3 firmware which is the latest version for both models. The Zune 30 is running the 435 boot loader & the Zune 120 is running the 1620 boot loader. I am running version 4.2.202.0. Both devices & the software are all running the current version at the time I wrote this post.

The other day I noticed that if when I sync either my Zune 30 or Zune 120 & if for some reason it stays at the screen saying connected I have to reboot it my pressing up on the pad & the back button for several seconds. I have my podcasts on my  Zune’s as either “Sync all unplayed and partially played episodes” or “Sync only the first unplayed episode”. The problem is that if it just removed one or more podcast episodes they will still be listed on the device as played. The workaround for this issue is to have another episode from any of the podcasts that are in limbo to be removed. That is assuming you don’t have to reboot again after removing the other episode. If you have to reboot the device again you need to remove another episode. Then after it updates after removing it from the computer & goes back to a screen where you can use it again it should have removed those podcasts. I like to mark an episode as unplayed then as played on a podcast that I have set to “Sync all unplayed and partially played episodes” because it causes me the least issues.

I also found a feature that I didn’t notice earlier on the Zune 120. I also don’t know which firmware version this was added to it. If you remove the headphones the device becomes locked & it will not allow you to use it until you plug it back in, just as if you have flipped the lock switch. Because I had a set of headphones I had just thrown away I tested if I just have a jack plugged in that doesn’t connect to headphones & it unlocked the device the same as a pair of headphones. The only issue I have with this feature is that for some reason unknown to me I only have this feature on my Zune 120 as my Zune 30 doesn’t do this. They both do stop playing whatever I’m listening to if my headphones are removed, but I can hit play on the Zune 30 without plugging my headphones back in. I guess they decided that the feature wasn’t worth making for the Zune 30 for some reason.

I also figured out how to deal with syncing two Zune devices to the same computer under the same user profile. It is slightly complicated & I will assume that you have set the Zune’s to sync to the computer already as I don’t want to deal with the issues of doing that again on either of my Zune’s.

First off I strongly recommend that you name the Zune’s with different names so that you can tell which device is which. If you only have one of them connected to the computer at a time then the device that is connected will be the device that anything that you tell to sync or never sync will apply. If you want to select a different device other than the one currently selected & you are not in the settings, you will see an icon of whichever device is selected. If you hover your mouse over the icon you should see the devices that you have available to select from. Then you just need to click on the device that you want to make changes for. If you are in the settings, you will want to go to the device where you will have arrows to change which device is selected, however if you only have one Zune associated with your current install the arrows will be grayed out.

That is all that I can think of for now. If I find anything else out or remember something else I will make another post.

Posted in blog, Microsoft, Podcasts, Zune, Zune hardware, Zune software | Comments Off on Zune 30 and 120 features I’ve recently noticed

Dash Express and saved search

Well since June of 2010 was the last time you could connect a Dash Express GPS device to the Internet I decided to do something about mine. I had removed the Internet connection on mine which removed access to even the historical traffic data & also you can’t search for a saved search anymore. I did find out that you can do a factory reset & because it has no servers to connect to it will restore your ability to see historical traffic data & that is the only way I found to remove the saved searches.

There are some disadvantages to this is that you will erase all of your contacts in your address book as well as your favorites. Since it got rid of the saved searches it made it so I can search for burger king again.

You hit the “menu” button on the top, then select “settings”, scroll down to near the bottom selecting “reset to factory settings”, & finally hit reset. You then just need to wait for it to wipe everything. After wiping the data you will have to enter any addresses into the device again. Obviously you will need to use the touch screen to enter the information as you can’t use the Internet site anymore.

This was useful for me as I now have a feature back that they can’t take away from me without offering Internet for my GPS again. I’m of course referring to the historical traffic data.

Posted in Dash Express, GPS, Internet | 2 Comments

Verizon wireless and text messages

Let me start this off by saying that I have used AT&T, Verizon, & Net10 for my cell phone. I have never worked for any of the aforementioned companies before I wrote this. I can’t say I won’t in the future as I do not know everything that will happen in the future.

Well I’ve been with Verizon wireless for about 18 months now. I have never been so glad to know the my contract with a cell phone company is nearing the end. I will most likely go back to Net10 as they treated me in a nicer manner. I’ll list some of the differences.

  • Net10 only charged me 5¢ to receive a text message if I actually read it, it was free if I never read it. (Verizon charges me 20¢ just for receiving a text message) (They both will send certain messages for free, but those are service related messages, like reminding you that your going to expire.)
  • Net10 allowed me to rollover my minutes while Verizon is still in the dark ages where you only get a certain amount & if you don’t use it up you never get to see it again.
  • I almost never got spam when I was on Net10, but my wife has been hit with spam while on Verizon. (To get refunded for the spam she has to call them after they have billed us for the month, while if I just ignore them on Net10 I don’t get charged.)
  • Verizon told my with that they raised the text message rate from 10¢ to 20¢ to be competitive. When I heard that I thought that was outrageous as Net10 still only charges 5¢ for sending or receiving a text message & again they only charge you if you read it not just receive it, unlike Verizon that charges you just for receiving the message.

Since my family has several member that insist on sending text messages I applied for & eventually received a Google voice account. I did that because I now have a cell phone number where I do not get charged for receiving a text message.

Posted in blog, Cell Phones, Evil, Free, Google, Google Voice, Net10, spam, Verizon | Comments Off on Verizon wireless and text messages

USB Memory Support for the Xbox 360 coming April 6th

I was checking out Major Nelson’s blog When I noticed a post with the same name that I gave this post “USB Memory Support for the Xbox 360 coming April 6th”. I was excited by this as I won’t have to pay for overpriced memory cards anymore on the 360. I was very excited when I saw the following pictures in the group that he posted & linked from the article (first picture & second picture), yep 293 GB free which means either he was on a dev kit or they may have a larger hard drive in the works for us in the future.

After I & most likely many other of his followers asked him about this he replied in his twitter “FYI : The pics I have posted on Flickr of the USB support are from my dev kit. For those asking.”. So unfortunately it was on his dev kit so for the near future we are limited to a 250 GB hard drive which is overpriced, but we won’t need to pay extra for external storage & we won’t be restricted to 512 MB as we have for many years on the Xbox 360. I guess this is good news for anyone that plans to or currently uses an Xbox 360 in a vehicle as the hard drive & optical drive both have moving parts so you could in theory download games to one or more memory cards & have your gamer tag in a memory unit so that you get to miss out on the issues associated with the hard drive. I also wonder if this would be a good thing for those in the military as they could grab their gamer tag along with some other data to take with them in a small & easy to carry method that would be able to deal with more abuse the a hard drive would normally.

Posted in Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox Live | Comments Off on USB Memory Support for the Xbox 360 coming April 6th

Some more podcast issues

On the MAKE Magazine: MAKE Podcast I get the File Too Big (Error Code C00D10E0) error on 4 different episodes that are not PDF files. The PDF files if you mark them as played & your computer should stop downloading them, if it still does you get to delete your ZuneStore.sdf that is in "%users%\%youruser%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Zune". (Where "%users%" is "C:\Documents and Settings" in Windows XP & "C:\Users" In Windows Vista & Windows 7 IIRC, also "%youruser%" is the name of the user name you are using.

The episodes I’m having an issue with are the following. "Weekend Project: The Arc Light", "Weekend Project: The UnaBox", "Weekend Project: Remote-Controlled Camera Mount", & "Weekend Project: Personal Portable Heater".

The sad thing about this is the Zune Insider podcast has a 1.2 GB file that downloaded without any issues.

I’m also getting the following errors for the WordPress.tv » How To podcast C00D1199 & C00D119A.

The episodes I’m having issues with are the following "Upgrading to WordPress 2.9" & "Introducing After the Deadline for Firefox".

I did post about these issues on the zune.net forums, at File Too Big (Error Code C00D10E0) & HD Video Podcast episodes not downloading properly/giving me errors.

Posted in blog, Microsoft, Zune | Comments Off on Some more podcast issues