Annoying T-mobile iPhone issue with some apps

The issue I'm about to discuss is one that I first discovered a few months ago, and the issue was fixed in iOS 10.3, however the problem has fully returned in 10.3.1, which at the time of this writing is the most current version of iOS for the iPhone.
Basically the problem is that on a T-Mobile iPhone, certain apps absolutely refuse to work when connected to the cellular data network, even though the phone is set to allow all apps to use cellular data. The apps load just fine, but when they try to do anything requiring network access, it's as if it's not even on the network, when the phone clearly is on the cellular data network as evidenced by the fact that other apps work with no issues!
Most notably, one of the apps experiencing this annoying issue is called iTeamtalk, a high quality voice chat app. It refuses to connect to any teamtalk server when on Cell data. However, this is not the only app I use that's experiencing this problem. I've discovered at least 3 apps that will not work via T-Mobile cell data. In all cases, the apps act as though they are totally offline and will not connect to anything. For example, the Magic Jack app, an app that allows one to make calls to telephones, will not connect to the magic jack server, and thus cannot register itself to allow the user to place a phone call.
Transmit is another app that won't work via T-Mobile data connection. Transmit is a file transfer client that supports FTP and SFTP file transfers. When trying to connect to any server, be it an FTP or SFTP server, transmit immediately throws an error stating connection timed out or server hung up. It's as though it's not even trying to connect at all. Even stranger still, another app that can do file transfer via SFTP and FTP among others, is file browser, and that app can connect to anything I tell it to when on T-Mobile cellular data without issue! And as if that wasn't strange enough, it gets even weirder! If I enable personal hotspot on my T-Mobile Device, then connect to my T-Mobile hotspot with my Verizon iPhone 7 plus, which has the exact same apps on it, I can use all the apps such as transmit and iTeamtalk via the T-Mobile hotspot with no issues whatsoever! I can also use these apps when directly connected to Verizon's cell data network without any issues of any kind. I want to know what's causing these 3 apps, and possibly more, to simply not work if being used directly on a T-Mobile iPhone on the T-Mobile data network? It makes no sense at all. Why do these apps not work, but others work without problem? When I use cell data, I expect every app I have to not have an issue using cellular data!
This is quite an annoying issue, and since I cannot diagnose the problem any further, I'm unsure if the blame is with T-Mobile or apple. I do know that I'm not the only user experiencing issues with apps refusing to connect to the internet when on T-Mobile data directly! At least 2 other friends of mine in totally different areas of the country are experiencing the same issues as me, and the only common factor is T-Mobile. I'd be curious to know what other apps may not work via T-Mobile directly. The fact that the issue was briefly fixed, then broke again is rather curious as well. Anyone that has thoughts or comments on this I would welcome them.

loving new computer

For the first time in about a year, I've once again got a computer, after selling my old mac last year around this time to a family member. This new computer I got from Costco, and it's quite a nice laptop. It's a Lenovo Y520 series laptop with an incredible 16GB of ram, and it has 2 drives, a 2TB storage drive, and a 256GB SSD which of course is where the operating system and programs live. With the extra storage of 2TB separate from the main operating system drive, I'm able to if necessary, format and reload the operating system, and not lose data files at all! Pretty sweet. Of course these days, I've got plenty of places to store stuff off site as well. These storage options include, 1TB of storage at both Dropbox and Onedrive, 100GB at Google, and unlimited storage, currently totaling 1.7TB and counting at Amazon. Plus for temp storage, I've got some virtual servers with about 60GB total capacity as well. Yeah I should be good for a while. So yeah this laptop is awesome so far. And oh yes I bought it here in Oregon where I'm visiting friends, so the price I saw would be the price paid, no sales tax to worry about, yay.
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DDOS attacks, why bother?

Welcome to 2016 everyone. Recently, over the past week or so, since at least Christmas 2015, VPS hosting provider Linode has been suffering from long duration distributed denial of service attacks on it's entire network, and I don't mean just 1 datacenter either! These attacks seem to be targeting linode as a whole, with attacks occuring in just about every one of their datacenters. Now in most cases, when a distributed denial of service attack or DDOS attack occurs, it's targeted at a given website or group of related sites. That's bad enough, but now we've got multiple attacks targeting an entire company itself it would seem. This company is a hosting provider, and as such, they host a wide variety of content. Everything from web sites, to VOIP phone systems, to streaming audio and internet radio stations, to databases, and just about anything else you can think of are hosted at Linode's various datacenters. With such a wide variety of stuff hosted, what the hell would cause someone or a group of people to launch a DDOS against an entire provider like that? Clearly it's deliberately targeted at Linode and everything it does, since pretty much all of their geographically diverse locations have been targeted multiple times throughout this ongoing event. I don't currently have anything hosted at Linode, but I know people that do, and I feel bad for them, as they can only wait this out and hope it'll clear up soon. When I did have stuff hosted with Linode, they were a good provider with very good network connectivity and speed, so again I'm mystified as to why whoever or whatever wants to cause this DDOS against an entire provider. What did they do to them? And just how exactly do you prevent attacks like this from effecting other VPS hosting providers or any internet provider for that matter? I hope everything calms down soon, and hopefully we may find out why this attack was initiated to begin with.
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An iCloud mail mystery

This is an issue I've had I think ever since iCloud was released some 4 years ago now, but as I'm no closer than I was then to solving it, I'll put it out here on my blog, and see if others may have ideas. Part of a user's iCloud storage is used for their iCloud email account, should they wish to make use of it. I do use my iCloud email account, though not all that often. Currently, when I check to see how much storage various things in iCloud are taking up, most make sense, except for mail. Let me explain. My iPhone backup currently takes up about 609 megabytes of space, which sounds about right, since I do have several voice memos, and various other audio apps that I keep data backed up in iCloud. Plus, I believe iCloud keeps the most recent 2 backups I think it is, so all that data added up would come out to the figure I mentioned above. The mail portion of my iCloud storage though makes no sense whatsoever. At the moment, my iCloud mail contains a total of 4 messages, 3 of which are normal simple plain text emails, that should only be a few kilobytes each. The 4th message does have 2 .xml files attached to it, as well as a plain text description of what the attachment of the message contains. The attachments in all total around 50KB in size. I'd estimate that all my iCloud mail combined should take up maybe 100-300KB total, when you factor in header information, along with the message overhead for the attachments. There's no way for me to see the exact size of the individual messages themselves to be sure, so I'm just estimating based on the message contents. So, if my total iCloud email size is let's say 300 kilobytes, then why does it say that mail is taking up 10.7 megabytes of my iCloud storage! Yes you read that right, with nothing at all in my junk or trash folders, or my sent folder, the 4 messages I have stored in iCloud which are quite small themselves, are somehow taking up a crazy 10.7MB of my space! A while back, I tried to dig into this issue, back when my iCloud settings showed that my mail portion of storage was using an insane 147MB of space. I primarily use my iCloud account on my phone, but when I cleared out all messages from there with no noticeable change, I brought up mail on my mac, and cleared out stuff from there and that did seem to help, as my mail was then only using a few kilobytes of space. I also discovered that notes that you create with the notes app are actually stored in the mail portion of your iCloud storage. This may be different now with iOS9, though I haven't yet tested to be sure of that. Anyway, with no mail at all in iCloud, and with the only thing taking up the mail portion of my storage being my notes from my notes app, the size of mail storage used looked right, at about 90 kilobytes or so. I then sent myself a simple test plain text email, which even with header information and all should be just a few kilobytes in size, and after receiving the message, I was shocked when I looked at how much iCloud mail was taking up, and it had jumped from 90KB, to over 5 MB! Remember that I had not sent myself any attachments whatsoever. I'd literally sent just 1 message with a subject of testing and body of "this is a test message." There's no way in hell that message alone, even with header information and such, would've been 5 megabytes by itself! That message couldn't've traveled through so many mail servers, so as to make the header info of the message 4 or 5 megabytes! I did then send myself a message with an attachment of around 1.5 megabytes, and the storage used after receiving that message jumped up to over 10MB. The message itself again including all headers should have been less than 5MB. I still have no explanation as to why mail storage space is so way off the mark. And as I said, at this very moment, I have 1 message that contains 2 small attachments, and 3 other plain text emails, and my mail storage should not even be close to 5 megabytes, let alone the 10.7 megabytes that it's showing right now! Does anyone have any idea what on Earth is going on with this? I'm not running out of storage or anything, I'm just curious why mail storage seems to store more data then should be there, and what that data could be. It'd be like me withdrawing $60 at an ATM, only to discover my account showing I withdrew $120, even though I know for a fact I've got 60! Strange stuff, and if anyone has ideas, I'll take them.
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Can blind users upload multiple items to anymore?

Hi everyone. Today I'd like to upload a couple of collections of audio recordings to the internet archive. Years ago, I did this somewhat regularly, and those recordings of mine are still archived for all to enjoy. Back in 2011, and before, when I'd upload to, which is the home of the internet archive, the process for uploading was quite simple. You basically would tell the site you wanted to upload some files, you'd then be assigned an FTP server to connect to and upload your files, then you'd return to the site to finish editing and making your items available. This process was easy and perfect for a blind computer user using a screen reader to get the job done, as I obviously would be doing. However sometime in 2011 or 2012, the internet archive did away with their FTP upload option entirely, in favor of their in browser upload option. This in browser upload option uses flash, and near as I can tell, it's totally inaccessible to screen reader users! They have a non-flash alternative as they call it, but that option gives you no progress on your upload, nor does it allow for multiple item uploads, such as what I would be uploading 100 percent of the time. One collection I want to upload are my recordings from the American Council of the blind convention in 2014, which I attended. This collection has 61 items in it. When the FTP option was around, as it was in 2011 when I last uploaded to the archive, it would've been no problem uploading all 61 items at once, as I'd just connect to the FTP server I was assigned, upload all items at once, then finish editing the description and title and such on the site, and all was good. However now, the task of simply uploading my items to seems all but impossible! If I try with the flash method, I get an unlabeled button, which I assume is an upload button, but pressing enter or space on it does nothing, and nothing is ever uploaded. I'm very disappointed in the internet archive for doing away with the FTP method of uploading content, especially when it seems like their are no options to allow a screen reader user to upload content to the site now! The FTP method worked, and worked well, why totally get rid of it! And I'm sure not going to upload 61 separate times to the site, that just seems crazy. So my question is, is their any way at all for a totally blind user using a screen reader such as Jaws or NVDA, to upload multiple files to the internet archive at all? I like the internet archive, since it allows me to preserve recordings I've made over the years, while at the same time making them available for anyone to enjoy. I'd like to be able to upload content to the archive again, but I need a good reliable way to upload multiple items at once, as I did many times in the past with the FTP option. Is this possible at all? I sure hope so. The process of uploading content to any web site, should never be inaccessible! Any ideas or comments on how I can get my content up to, I'd appreciate them!
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T-mobile does have a hard 4 hour single call duration limit

After doing numerous tests with my T-Mobile service since obtaining it back at the beginning of May 2015, and doing a little research, it seems T-Mobile's network as a whole does have a single call duration limit of 240 minutes or 4 hours. In other words, if you are on a call, no matter if it's T-Mobile to T-Mobile or not, the call will always drop around 240 minutes into it, and you or them will need to call back. If using wifi calling, the duration is 4 hours exactly, but I've found if using the cellular network, the maximum call duration is slightly less than 4 hours, usually between 3 hours 51 minutes and 3 hours 55 minutes. Most users I'm sure will never hit this limit on a single call, but for those times where you may want or need to have a long chat by phone, such as when I was trying to troubleshoot a friend's server issue a few night's ago, it's good to know what the limit for a single phone call on a provider is, since it's never documented. I've done tests on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and magicjack, and can report the following results. T-Mobile as stated above has a maximum single call duration of around 4 hours, MagicJack has a maximum call duration of 1.5 hours or 90 minutes, and both Verizon and AT&T are truly unlimited, as I've had phone calls up to 9 hours, 10 minutes on Verizon and over 7 hours on AT&T. I also have google voice, and so far, I've had a 3 hour 5 minute long telephone call via Google voice, but I need to do more tests to see what the limit of GV is, if any for a single call. I do wish providers if they choose to have a limit per call, would document this limit somewhere, rather than making users wonder why their calls drop after a given amount of time. After all, they do advertise unlimited voice minutes, so they should in my view state there are maximum per single call duration limits. One nice thing about the VOIP provider call Centric, is that you have a single call duration limit, but it can be configured on a per user basis. So mine I think is currently set for 1 hour, but I can adjust that whenever I please all the way up to a max of 8 hours. And, there are other providers, such as vitelity, that are unlimited. As I learn more provider call duration limits, I'll update everyone.

Update on my Verizon Wireless call duration issue

OK, since I last reported on my strange issue on Verizon Wireless, where my calls drop at random intervals between about 2 hours 15 minutes and 2 hours 45 minutes, I've run a couple more tests, with very interesting results. Over the last couple nights, I've placed 2 long duration calls to the allstar ham radio network I mentioned in my last post. Both calls were placed after 10 PM PDT. And, get this, both of those calls were able to go well beyond the 3 hour mark, with the first call lasting 3 hours, 16 minutes, before I myself terminated the call, and the second call making it all the way to 5 hours, 4 minutes, before I again terminated the call myself! After the first successful late night test call that lasted 3 hours 16 minutes, I later that day called the exact same place, but this time during the morning, around 8:05 AM, and the call dropped at 2 hours, 14 minutes if I recall correctly. So in other words it seems in my tests so far, if making a call late at night, like after 10 PM, I have no issues making it to, and even exceeding the 3 hour mark, but if a call is placed anywhere during the day, calls will drop randomly between 2 hours 15 minutes, and 2 hours 45 minutes in duration. As I said previously, this is not a signal issue, as I have full solid signal at all times. I still want to run a test with a fellow Verizon Wireless customer during the day to see if a call to or from them will drop as calls to anywhere else do during the day. More updates as I can provide them.

Odd issues with long calls on Verizon Wireless with iPhone 6

I noticed something very odd and a bit unusual when chatting with my sister this weekend. After chatting with no issues for over 2 and a half hours, the call dropped without warning. I originally thought it was on her end, that maybe her phone provider has a maximum call duration limit. I was further convinced this was likely the case when it happened a second time, but this time after just 2 hours and 23 minutes of talk time. I thought it was odd that my calls to or from my sister were dropping at random times between 2 hours 15 minutes, and 2 hours 45 minutes, no real pattern to it. For those who may not be aware, some phone providers, particularly VOIP providers such as magicJack or vonage, do have set limits on how long any one single telephone call can be. Some are quite reasonable, while others are rather short. But usually, if a provider has a limit, the call will drop every time at the exact limit, once that limit is reached. In the case of my sister and I however, the call was dropping at seemingly random points, all after 2 hours 15 minutes. To find out for sure if it was my sister's end or not, I decided to test it out myself by calling my backup phone, and keeping the call connected either until the 3 hour mark, or until the call dropped by itself, whichever happened first. The call between my Verizon phone and my secondary AT&T phone dropped after 2 hours 43 minutes. This proved that this was not at all on my sister's end. The next test I wanted to do is to find out if calls I make to other places also drop randomly after 2 hours, 15 minutes or so. So I dialed in to a ham radio link network called allstar, which has telephone access, and connected to a busy node with lots of activity on it. I listened to this until the call dropped by itself after just 2 hours 15 minutes. Later, I called the same system, and the call dropped after 2 hours 42 minutes. Another call to my sister, and that call dropped after 2 hours, 34 minutes.
All of the previously mentioned phone calls were done here at my home location. I figured maybe it was something odd with the local Verizon Wireless cell site perhaps. So to test that theory, today, when I was on the campus of my local community college, located about 2.5 miles or so from home, I dialed into the allstar network again, and the call this time lasted just 2 hours, 18 minutes before dropping by itself as all the other calls had done. But it gets a little stranger still. I just minutes ago looked at my most recent call log on the Verizon Wireless web site, and the call I made this morning to the Allstar network, which my phone says lasted 2 hours 18 minutes, or 138 minutes, shows as lasting 164 minutes, or 2 hours, 44 minutes on the Verizon Web site! Even if I take into account that the first 60 seconds of any call will be 1 minute as far as billing is concerned, the call this morning should've lasted no more than 139 minutes, possibly 140 at the absolute most, yet Verizon's log is saying that call lasted 164 minutes! Just how is that possible? That's a 24 minute difference! My phone just dropped the call, as it'd done with all the others, at the 2 hour, 18 minute point, not the 2 hour 43 or 44 minute point! So this is a very strange and odd issue that I'd like to determine what it's cause is. The next test I want to perform, if I can find a volunteer to help me with this experiment, is to call another Verizon Wireless customer and see if I can make the call last beyond the maximum 2 hours, 45 minutes or so that I seem to be able to achieve right now when calling anywhere else. I should point out here that this call drop issue is not at all signal related, as I've got full signal, no less than 4 bars, during all telephone calls. I'm using a brand new Verizon iPhone 6, that isn't even a month old yet. If calls to a fellow Verizon Wireless user also drop and random intervals between 2 hrs, 15 minutes, and 2 hrs, 45 minutes, then I then somehow need to figure out if it's something odd with my phone, though I'm not yet sure how I'll test that. I'll try and update as I do more experimentation on this odd issue. Thoughts and comments most welcome.

AT&T doesn't provide a way for goPhone users to see data usage... Why?

My iPhone 5, which I've had since March 2013 continues to work well, and in the near future, I do plan to sell it, as I've now upgraded my primary Verizon phone to an iPhone 6, and it's working great. Since my 5 is no longer my primary device, I decided that I'd throw an AT&T goPhone sim into it and play around with having a secondary carrier that's prepaid for a bit. The nerd in me loves to compare carriers coverage when I'm able to. The plan that I chose at least for this month, is the $45/month goPhone plan, which gives you unlimited talk, text, and even data believe it or not. But here's the catch. With the data, you get up to 1.5 gigabytes of data bandwidth at speeds up to 4G or possibly LTE speeds. I say possibly LTE, because my iPhone 5 is old enough, it does not support AT&T LTE bands that newer devices will support. I've proven this in a previous experiment a while back. So you get up to 1.5GB of data at 4G/LTE speeds, and anything beyond the 1.5 gigabytes, your speed is reduced to 128kbps until your next renewal, or until you purchase an add-on data package. However you may wish to do it. This is all fine and good, but there is absolutely no way that I can see to see how much data AT&T think's you've used at all! Sure I can reset data usage on the iPhone, but I like to check the actual carrier data usage info, and all other carriers, provide users with this information, but AT&T at least with it's current goPhone plans does not appear to provide data usage information to it's users! If you want to know how much data you've consumed on AT&T's end, you have to actually call customer service! How boring. If they can see it, why can't the user? Just so very odd, and it makes no sense at all to withhold this information from it's users.

Thoughts on Microsoft's oneDrive cloud storage option

There are many choices when it comes to having access to your data almost anywhere you are. From drop box and google drive, to Microsoft's oneDrive, it seems storing stuff in the cloud is quite the thing to do these days, with plenty of storage options to choose from, and some cloud storage providers offering, or will soon offer, unlimited storage.
Today though I want to discuss Microsoft's oneDrive cloud storage option. I recently began playing with oneDrive after I got word that my local college campus now had access to office 365, which gives you access to a very nice 1TB of online oneDrive storage! After signing up with my college account, I decided to also get myself a personal account as well, for when I'm no longer able to access the college account due to no longer being a student there. The interfaces for the 2 accounts are somewhat different, as the college account is a oneDrive for business account, and my personal account, well it's a regular personal account. With both accounts, my goal, as it would be with any storage provider, would be to upload my various files and data from anywhere. So I've been focusing strictly on uploading files via a web browser. This way if I need to upload a file to my oneDrive that's not on my computer, I can do so from whichever computer I may be using at the time.
The first thing I noticed, is that uploading files to oneDrive with a web browser seems to take longer than I'd expect when using a good uplink to the internet such as my campus network. Uploading files of a few megabytes in size seem to upload OK, but when uploading larger files, such as a file that's 590MB in size, it took quite a while, even though I was on a connection that I know can achieve 40 to 60 megabits upload. Though an actual speed progress bar isn't provided, it felt as though I was only uploading a just a couple megabits per second or so. Sometimes, when trying to upload files, the upload would seem to start OK, but then it would appear to stop with an error, even though the upload wasn't even done yet! I have a collection of larger operating system .iso images that I wanted to upload into my oneDrive account. These files are between 2 and 3.5GB or so in size. I have yet to get one of these files up to either of my oneDrive accounts. Every time I start the upload, it goes for a while, and then just stops for no apparent reason! I've tried uploading from my campus network, as well as from my much much slower home internet connection. I don't know if there's a limit to the size of file I can upload with a web browser, but I'm sure not having luck getting a 3 gigabyte file up to my oneDrive account! I no doubt have the storage. With the personal account, you get 15GB to start out with, but I was able to double that by grabbing the oneDrive app for my iPhone, and having it back up my camera roll to oneDrive. So with 30GB of total space, and over 26GB of that still remaining, there's no reason that I can think of why I can't get my larger 3GB files up to my account. The largest file I've successfully gotten up to my oneDrive account so far is 590MB. I'm also noticing some accessibility issues with the oneDrive iPhone app, mainly often when I try and select a file to open in another app using the built in voiceover screen reader, the app seems to want to select a file other than the one I'm sure I'm selecting! Just yesterday, I tried using my google drive file to upload a 2.8GB zip file, and it uploaded there with no problem. So far, it seems my favorite cloud storage options are dropbox, then googleDrive. But I'd like to see oneDrive work better than it seems to currently, especially since I think you can use it with windows 8.1, and surely you'll be able to make use of it with Windows 10, coming later this year. If anyone has had luck uploading larger file to oneDrive, I'd love to know how you did it. I've tried with multiple web browsers, with no luck thus far.