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.

Why does some home internet have to be crappy?

As I prepare to start what should be my final semester of school tomorrow, I had to do a little discussion about crappy internet, or at least what I consider crappy internet. You see, the place I'm currently staying at, which I was able to secure just in time to prepare for classes, is at a friend's place that's an apartment complex here in Lancaster. This itself isn't a bad thing at all. The person I'm staying with has internet, but it's not through any of the providers which usually serve this town. My original plan was that if I didn't like the internet offering that's already here, I could just bring in my own internet connection, and in my case that would've been via Time Warner Cable (TWC), as I really wanted to try out their 200 megabit down, 20 megabit upload internet package they now offer in this area. I was all set to do that, until I found out that this complex I guess only allows services via DirecTV, and there is no TWC connectivity anywhere in this complex! So we have TV through DirecTV, which is a satellite provider, and internet through something I've never heard of called Consolidated smart solutions LLC. I'm not even sure how I'm getting physical connectivity, whether it's via wireless or DSL, but I'm thinking wireless, since I know it's part of the deal with direcTV in this complex. The speeds on this internet connection are around 6 megabits per second download, and just 1 megabit per second upload, and that's it! With me doing periodic large file uploads and backups, I'd like to have at least 5 megabits up nowadays, and with me soon replacing a failed 2TB hard drive, I'm going to need to download around 300GB of data from a temporary place I'm storing the old data at. At 6mbps, that's going to take well over 4 days, and uploading that data back to my online backup service so it's safely backed up again, is going to take weeks at 1mbps! If I was going to have an exclusive deal with an apartment complex or the like, I'd make sure the internet was good and fast, at least 25 or 50mbps down, and no less than 5 megabits up, and I'd likely have options for folks to get faster packages if they needed or wanted it. But even crazier than all that, is that in this area, my cellular service through Verizon Wireless, is rock solid, with great full signal levels! And, tests done on my Verizon connection show me able to achieve download speeds of between 21 and 30 megabits per second, and upload of between 14 and 15 megabits per second! Now of course mobile internet speeds are quite variable by nature, but I think something's wrong, when I can achieve better internet in this area on my phone than I can on the apartment internet connection! Of course I'd love to use my phone for doing the large data transfers when I need to do them, but of course I can't do this, because of the data cap I have, and no matter what my cap is, if I were to initiate these transfers via my phone's connectivity, I'd go well over my cap, by many many times, resulting in a bill that would require Bill Gates to come pay it for me!
This is not how I ever imagined internet connectivity options would be. I think if a provider serves an area, it should serve all of said area, and no one should be able to say no you can't serve this complex or anything like that. Because of this, I do believe I currently have no options for true high speed internet other than my phone where I'm at. If only there were a database of places one could go to get true high speed upstream and downstream access to the internet, that would be great. This is 2015, not 2004, true high speed of at least 20mbps should be the norm these days, and really we should have symmetrical internet access, but that will never happen at the consumer level on a wide scale. I'm amazed we ever made it out of the dial-up era, considering no provider seems to want to improve network connectivity anymore. Verizon FIOS, which I had hope for when it was first deployed that I'd get to have my own FIOS connectivity one day, is pretty much done, with no further deployments going on, heck I never even see promos for FIOS anymore! I can't believe a company would want to just stop deploying a technology that has awesome potential now, just as it did then! I know several people that are lucky enough to have FIOS, and I'd love to have it myself, as my friends that have it, usually get rock solid symmetrical speeds that blow away what I can get here. But alas, I guess I'm stuck with my always on dial-up connection, lol. At least I'll get periodic access to the campus network which in most places on campus is 100 meg symmetrical, provided I can get Ethernet access to it. The wireless is a little strange, but that's a discussion for another time.

It's been a while, but time to rant about apple a bit

Well I didn't realize I hadn't written on my blog in over 2 years, until tonight. As I think I've said before I'm still very much around, mostly on social media, twitter as well as facebook and audioboom, and every now and then youtube. But I come here to do rants mainly, and tonight I have another one, this time having to due with apple and the long standing bugs relating to its voiceover screen reader on the iPhone that just don't seem to ever get fixed.
One specific bug that really annoys me is when trying to manage storage within iCloud using my iPhone 5. Whenever you go to manage storage, and click on the device who's storage you want to manage, (in my case I only have my iPhone 5), after clicking on the device, voiceover will cause the settings app to totally crash for some unknown reason, preventing me from actually fully seeing the apps and their storage amounts within my iCloud account. I've verified that it is voiceover causing the crash to occur. I've done this by turning off voiceover when going into the area where the list of apps for my device is listed, and the settings app never crashes, yet the moment I activate voiceover, the settings app crashes pretty much every time! Surely I'm not the only blind user experiencing this issue? This has been an issue for I don't even know how long, at least since iOS 8 has been around, and I think before that possibly. My question is what the hell would make the fact that voiceover is active cause the settings app to totally crash? Another random bug which annoys me is when I'm composing a message say using the messages app, and voiceover just out of nowhere crashes and restarts! Thank god it restarts after a crash, but what the hell would make it randomly crash in the first place? I mean all I'm doing is typing! And finally, here's a bug that I believe effects each and every blind person using voiceover on the iOS device. Try going to settings, iCloud, storage, change storage plan. Notice that the prices for each plan read with no issues with voiceover, however the actual storage amounts you get with each plan do not read at aall! This issue started back when iOS 8 was initially released, when apple introduced newer storage options with the introduction of iCloud drive. All a totally blind person can see is prices, but they have no clue what the storage amounts they would be paying for would be! So I happen to know that for $0.99, I get 20GB, but someone sighted had to tell me this, I mean for all I knew I could pay $9.99 and only get 20 megabytes! Of course this wouldn't be the case, but you get the point. This is a very serious bug, and how could it be around for 5 months, and still not be resolved? And what if apple changes their storage options? As of now, blind users, who have to use voiceover, won't be able to even know of the changes! I realize that blind people make up a very small percentage of apple's total user base, but there's more than just 5 or 10 of us, and these bugs should be looked into! I still love my apple products for the most part, but it seems accessibility might be starting to become an afterthought. Very sad, and I really hope I'm wrong. I use to enjoy apple products quite alot, even testing iOS betas such as iOS6 and 7, but now main production releases such as the current iOS 8.1.3 have bugs that should by now be resolved I'd think. Maybe stuff is just getting too complex, I don't know, but I can't understand why voiceover will not read the actual iCloud storage amounts in the list of storage plans, when it reads prices on that screen just fine. So crazy, and I hope accessibility bugs will in fact still get looked at.

Technet subscription update

It seems with technet orders, it may be best to place them by phone now. After trying several times to get the order to go through online and not succeeding, I tried placing the order by phone. It takes 2 to 3 business days for the order to process still, but at least I finally have access to the subscription for which I paid. I'm not sure why orders are not processed instantly after you place the order with Microsoft, especially since my expiration date for my subscription is February 12, 2014, which corresponds to one year after the date I first tried to place my technet order. However the order wasn't active until today February 15, so I am actually getting slightly less than a 1 year subscription. And there's no telling when my subscription will actually expire, because when I last had technet back in 2010, the subscription for that actually expired a whole week earlier then the date shown on my technet subscription info page. All I can say is my subscription should expire sometime in February 2014. After the experience I had this time when trying to obtain a technet subscription, I'm having second thoughts about whether or not I want to compliment my technet subscription with an MSDN operating systems subscription. We shall see in the near future what I decide to do.

Does microsoft not want me to order a technet subscription?

I'm not happy with Microsoft at this point. Yesterday, February 12, 2013, I decided to order a technet professional subscription. I placed the order yesterday afternoon, and got the confirmation email. However at this point my card was not charged. It took over 20 hours before I heard from microsoft, and when I did it was them calling me to tell me they flagged my order for random review, as part of a screening process to help reduce fraud. OK fine. I had two options. One was, that they charge my card right away, but it'd take 5-7 days before I'd have access to what I ordered. Since I wanted instant access, as I should get instant access when ordering something electronically, I opted for the second option, which was that they cancel the order, and then I re-place the order with the same info. That should work well I thought. So the order was cancelled, and I tried to place the order again. As soon as I placed the order, I got the following error.
1072 - We apologize for the inconvenience, but your credit card cannot be authorized for this purchase. Credit card issuers will sometimes decline legitimate transactions if they look suspicious or are outside of your normal spending pattern. This helps protect you from fraudulent use of your card. You should contact your card issuer to assure them that the charges are legitimate and then retry the order again.
I did just as the error suggested, and contacted my card issuer, and they told me that the charge did go through, and I verified this fact. Even still, I tried two more times to place my order with Microsoft, and each time, I kept getting that 1072 error. Yet the charges were processed and currently show as pending. Since I made a few attempts, there are currently over $1,100 in pending charges on my card from Microsoft, yet Microsoft isn't letting my order go through! What is going on here! The card is being charged, and other purchases from other companies are working fine, but microsoft will not process this order now! What can I do here? I don't ever recall it being this hard to order anything, ever! I've tried posting to the technet forums, and hope somehow I can contact Microsoft and get my order processed. I sure as hell am not trying a 4th time to get it to go through, because clearly it won't, and I want to know why, because funds are there, and this should not be happening!

When will movie and TV studios finally adapt to new technology?

Hi everyone, and welcome to 2013. Isn't it nice that the world didn't end last month, lol. Well today I'd like to discuss something that a friend of mine and I were chatting about via facebook last night. Why is it that the movie and TV studios don't offer each and every movie and TV show produced in the last 50 years via on demand streaming? For that matter, why don't they even allow said content to even be purchased in digital download form?
Many titles are still not even available on DVD, let alone streaming! During the era of the VCR, the movie industry tried to kill it off, yet it ended up becoming a huge money maker for them, and there was a time when you could find through various catalogs and the like, just about anything from your favorite movie, to that awesome documentary you saw last month on TV on VHS video.
However now, it's very hit and miss what you can find for purchase when it comes to digital download or on demand streaming through services like netflix or hulu.
If these companies truly want to make money, as they always claim they lose money when folks get content via less authorized means, why are they so unwilling to offer their entire catalog in digital form? Nowadays, in my view, much of the movies and TV shows that are put out there, aren't at all very good, with only a few exceptions. But movies and shows of the 1980's and 1990's, were made to actually entertain. Such classics as speed, home alone, short circuit, Honey I shrunk the kids, apollo 13, Independence day, and other movies of that era were actually good and very much worth watching more than just once.
And don't forget the TV shows of the era, everything from Full house, to Bay watch, to Knight Rider, to name only a few examples. I want to see options to purchase as a digital download, as well as a way to stream on demand if that's your prefered way to get content, every single movie and TV show in recent memory, from today's shows, all the way back to stuff from the 1950's, so noone is left out.
Though it took forever for the music companies to realize that they can still make money offering music via digital download, they eventually did it. You can download music you like from sources like iTunes, and you can stream music on demand through services like Rhapsody, Spotify, and others.
Yet the movie and TV content providers seem to be hell bent on not adapting methods of obtaining their content to cheaper, easier methods like digital download or on demand streaming via services like netflix.
Oh sure some content is available yes, but the vast majority is not, and that doesn't seem right to me. With today's technology and services, I should be able to search for a title, and download it or stream it as I wish, no questions asked. I'm not even talking about obtaining it via currently illegal methods, I'm talking about getting the providers to put their catalog of shows, both current and past, on all streaming services and download stores like iTunes and Amazon.
What exactly is the point of being so controlling that you keep content customers want to have from them when it comes to new technology? Is the act of not giving the customer what they want somehow making you money? I and many others would gladly pay for a subscription to something like netflix or purchase content via iTunes for example, which would give the content company more money, but they first need to actually make the stuff available to us in the first place.
Here's an opinion my friend and I both share on this issue, and he says it way better than I can.
For the most part Hollywood has been producing nothing but crap the past 12-15 years, and they are so stuck on remakes and reboots and making sure every movie has 3 or 4 or 6 sequels. Then they don't want to share their crap via streaming.
It's because the movie industry--like the rest of corporate america--is all about making as much money as they can. You'd think they would sell the streaming rights to older stuff at a lower rate than newer, but that's obviously not the case. You and I know what it used to be like back in the 90s, how good tv and movies were back then. How good music was back then. Then we hit the turn of the century and it all goes downhill, fast. Sure there are some great movies made since then and great TV shows, and great music. But not like the good ol' days of 15-20 years ago. It's all about the dumbing-down of our society. Get us to watch stupid TV shows and stupid movies and listen to stupid music, cut our education, and what do you get? Stupid people. Stupid people don't realize they're stupid, and are much easier to control, which keeps them from realizing what's really going on and who really runs our country--the corporations, which we collectively call Wall Street. Wall Street is behind all of this. They are the true puppet masters of our government. Just look at who keeps screwing us around, and who has the most to gain. The corporations. The rich. They're making us stupid by feeding us mindless entertainment--the internet included--which makes us too stupid to know what's going on and therefore too stupid to revolt and remove them from power. Look at the Occupy Wall Street movement in the news last year. Hundreds of people tried, and they were blocked every way possible. 3 corporations own 90% of all the news media in this country, so they can control what they report on and tell us what they want us to hear. When the Nazis told their citizens what they wanted them to hear, we called it Propaganda. In the US we call it news.

Remember how the original Napster allowed users to find music they wanted, even out of print stuff, since fellow users were making it all available to others since the record industry wouldn't do it? Is someone gonna have to set up something like that just for video, so that it can grow in popularity, then get shut down by the MPAA because a service is being offered that gives people the content they want, in a way they want it? That's how Napster ended up, and as we all know, after much bickering, the record industry finally now make their music available both via streaming services and via digital download.
My final thought on this, is what about content that is impossible to find anywhere? Why not make made for TV movies available for download and streaming as well, even if they only aired once. I'll give you a good example of this. In 1996, CBS I think it was, aired a movie called "Special report, journey to mars, a made for TV movie about a first ever manned landing on Mars. It was done in the form of live news coverage of the event. All goes well, until crew members start getting sick, and other oddities start happening. I recorded this movie when it aired, but no longer have the tape I recorded it on. However I want to see this movie again, because I've forgotten much of it, but I recall that I liked it. I've been searching for this movie for years, yet to this day, the only thing I can find on this movie anywhere is a very brief IMDB entry on it. I've never found clips of it, and I've certainly have never found the full movie anywhere on the internet. It's as though I was the only person in the country who watched it!
Where is that movie now? Did it just air one time and then it was thrown away? If so that's very sad, because I'd gladly purchase that movie so I can remember what it was all about. I've written all of this to say to the content providers, don't be afraid to offer your content via digital download and streaming. You can and will make money if you make your entire catalog of stuff available. Just give it a chance, you may just be surprised.

Microsoft's Volume activation management tool VAMT being odd!

Welcome to December everyone. Well I'm encountering an issue I've never ever seen before. I normally use the VAMT tool from microsoft to keep track of my windows 7 product keys, and until this evening, I've never had any issues with it. However, earlier, I tried to input a newly retrieved product key for windows 7 professional. This key was freshly retrieved from dreamspark, the program I have access to through my school which allows me to retrieve software for educational use. I actually retrieved 2 separate keys, one for windows 7 32 bit, and 1 for 64 bit windows 7. Neither of these keys will get accepted by any version of the volume activation management tool that I have. I tried with both VAMT 2.0 and the current version VAMT 3.0. I don't want to use the keys I retrieved unless I can verify with VAMT or some other way, that the keys are valid. Since the keys were gotten directly from the dreamspark web store, there's no reason they should not be, but the fact that VAMT refuses to recognize either of them, when I've never had any issues with any other product keys I've had over the years that VAMT supports, is a bit of a concern to me. So I wonder what's going on here?