Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Synergy between cable and wireless; why a need for a cable modem upgrade?

The Business Day section of the New York Times on Monday Sept. 24, 2012 led off with a story by Amy Chozmick. “Mobile services and cable TV are unexpected allies”, link here

The detailed news story covered the business results of Verizon’s purchase of Spectrum from Birght House, Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner – the idea that pseudo-cable services can be provided wirelessky that the cable and wireless industries can cross-sell (just as in financial services). Any possible possibility of trust or monopoly?

To the contrary, it could be good for consumers.  Right now, it’s difficult to find arrangements where you can watch much video on 4G networks without data overage.  Cross-selling will provide backups for consumers when lines are down because of storms, and will probably encourage wireless companies to allow more video watching without excess data problems.

I got a package from Comcast yesterday with a new Arris modem.  I don’t recall the letter from them (I do recall a letter on the Xfinity security system , which would compete with ADT).  I don’t know why the upgrade is necessary, and one risks having a problem with doing a switch.  I’ll report what this is for when I find out and install it. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The "I broke my smart phone" problem

Take a look at Michelle Singletary’s “Color of Money” column Sunday Sept. 23 in the Business Section of the Washington Post, “Billions spent on busted iPhones”, link here

People do drop cell phones into toilets, it seems, and not just in the movies.  
Modern smart phones, including Droids, may be more vulnerable than smaller phones were to damage, and sometimes have batteries that are harder to replace.  I once dropped my Motorola Droid on a Metro escalator trying to put it in my pocket, and I’ve had trouble with overfilled cokes at movie theaters. But so far, no damage.  Once in a while, the Droid seems to lose charge quickly, for no reason.

The best “insurance” she says, is to keep the older phone, which could be reactivated if you break the new one (if you didn’t change companies) until the contract time runs out. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Psychology professors say that FAA cell phone turn-off rules not justified by any evidence

A recent survey shows that about 42% of Americans admit to not turning off their cell phones and other electronics during aircraft takeoff and landing, as required by FAA rules, and about 7% do nothing.

Daniel Simons (University of Illinois) and Christopher F. Chabris (Union College) have an article in the Wall Street Journal Saturday, “Do our gadgets really threaten planes? The ban on electronic devices rests on anecdotes, not hard evidence – because there isn’t any”, link (website url) here.

The authors are discussing the result of their own study.  Correlation does not imply causality, they say,
I did comply literally with the cell phone rules on my May trip to California (from DC), but an earlier trips to Minneapolis and then Dallas, I was part of the 42%.  Back in 2004, I got a substitute teaching assignment phoned in while on the tarmac in Tampa, FL. 

Picture: over Wisconsin.  (I know: when Matt Damon and Ben Affleck played angels in "Dogma", they lived there, on the ground.  They didn't obey FAA rules when they filed.)