The MVNO that couldn’t just pulled another boner…
Four years ago (WOW! Has it really been THAT long??), I wrote an article on getting free mobile broadband if you lived in the United States. FreedomPop was all the rage back in the day, giving anyone who signed up for their $50 – $100 hotspot hardware access to 500MB per month of free, unrestricted, untrottled bandwidth. Even back in the day, 500MB really didn’t get you anything; but it could be rolled over (for a max of up to 2GB of free data per month) and was, most importantly, free.
As I said then,
All you have to do is put a deposit down on either a 4G web stick ($50 bucks) or a 4G hot spot ($100 bucks). The device arrives via FedEx, and all you have to do is either plug it in or let it charge and turn it on. The device jumps on the network, and away you go.
If you were stuck and you needed to get online to check email or reply to some kind of message, it was a quick way to get things done; and when the service was free… well, it just made sense.
The free deal went the way of the dodo a long time ago. FreedomPop no longer has free coverage or any free deal that I’m able to qualify or sign up for, though they do offer free, additional data that may add to your monthly allotment each month if you complete “special” offers or invite/ refer friends who sign up for the service.
Their technology has turned over too. Freedom pop used to run on WiMAX, which was a 4G service that pre-dated the implementation of LTE. That service is now totally gone and the bandwidth it ran on repurposed and reprovisioned. Everything now runs on an LTE network that is effectively resold service from Sprint, Virgin Mobile or someone else that runs on either Verizon Wireless’ or Sprint’s mobile network.
It’s been six(6) months since its initial release. How is Windows 10 shaping up?
My good buddy Ed Bott recently published an article on the state of Windows 10 from an industry perspective and it got me thinking of my OWN experience with Window s10, now that it’s been out for six or so months.
It’s not all sunshine and daisies. In fact, there’s a lot that needs to be fixed and changed. Here’s where I think the new OS stands at this point.
Minor bug fixes seem to be headed to developers in the second seed in as many weeks…
Apple seems to be moving forward with its plans to squash bugs in OS X 10.11 El Capitan, as it released beta two (2) – build 15E27e – of OS X 10.11.4 to its developer community on 2015-01-25. This build contains enhancements to many of Apple’s core OS apps, line Notes, where they added enhancements to password protection and bug fixes. We also got the standard, “OS X 10.11.4 improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac” language as well.
Secure Notes features in OS 10.11.4 will marry up with Secure Notes in iOS 9.3. We’ll also see marrying of Live Photos in Messages and iMessage on the desktop and on your compatible iDevice, respectively. Live Photos are an iPhone 6s and 6s Plus exclusive. They could be sent from device to device easily, but on the desktop, users who wanted to view Live Photos needed to use the Photos app. Support for Live Photos will now come to Messages on the desktop when OS X 10.11.4 is released in the coming months.
Viewing Live Photos in Messages is easy. All you need to do is double click the image in the Messages timeline. The window that pops up includes both sound and animation as well as options for opening up the Live Photo for editing and review.
OS X 10.11 El Capitan is Apple’s latest version of its desktop operating system. Version 10.11.4, beta 2, is the latest developer preview, and its available from Apple’s Developer Portal or the Mac App Store.
The latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system is out
This past week has been a busy one for Apple. Not only did they release a new version of iOS 9 – iOS 9.2.1 – but they also released a new version of OS X El Capitan. Version 10.11.3 is now readily available for download from the Mac App Store, and can be installed by all El Capitan users as of this writing.
During the beta testing period, no notable defects were identified. The update, which is largely a bug fix and stability release, doesn’t contain anything of note according to Apple’s release notes on the operating system. According to them,
The OS X El Capitan 10.11.3 update improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.
This update contains bug fixes and security updates, including
Fixes an issue that may prevent some Mac computers from waking from sleep when connected to certain 4K displays.
Third-party .pkg file receipts stored in /var/db/receipts are now retained when upgrading from OS X Yosemite.
The next version of OS X El Capitan, version 10.11.4 is currently in testing. Also marked as a stability and bug fix release, OS X 10.11.4 won’t introduce any new features or functionality. The release is likely targeted for mid to late Spring 2016 and is rumored to be released along side iOS 9.3.
If you’re running OS X 10.11, you should check the Mac App Store for the update and install it at your earliest convenience. I’ve been running the update for the past few days, and it seems stable.
Apple released the latest version of iOS 9 into the wild the other day…
As of this writing, the fifth version of iOS 9, iOS 9.2.1 has been released into the wild. Previously, Apple released 9.0.1, 9.0.2, iOS 9.1 and iOS 9.2 after the initial release of iOS 9.0 in the third quarter of last year (2015). iOS 9.2.1 has been in testing since mid-December 2015 and has seen three beta releases.
As updates and releases go, iOS 9.2.1 isn’t a big one. It’s got bug fixes and security updates in it, including an MDM fix for enterprise customers. iOS 9.2.1 will be followed in short order by iOS 9.3, which is currently sitting in beta testing with members of Apple’s Developer community. It should be released in about 6-8 weeks, so some time this coming Spring. Its considered to be a much bigger update, with iOS’ new Night Shift feature as a major deliverable. Night Shift is intended to change the overall color of the light used by your iOS screens (changing it from blue to yellow). Cutting down on blue light exposure in the evening hours will help promote better sleep and sleep habits for individuals who use their iDevices moments before trying to close their eyes and go to sleep. IOS 9.3 will also introduce new educational features, too.
If you have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, iOS 9.3 will also include new Quick Actions and it will introduce updates for apps and features like Apple News, Apple Notes, Apple Health, Siri, CarPlay as well as other updates and features.
IOS 9.2.1 is available now and should be a 170-300MB OTA (over the air) update.
Apparently, China has "major issues" it wants Microsoft to explain…
In July of 2014, China raided Microsoft’s local offices and confiscated a lot of data as part of an antitrust investigation. On 2016-01-05, Chinese regulators demanded that Microsoft explain “major issues it discovered with that data”. This was the first time in over a year that China gave any indication that their antitrust investigation would be moving forward.
Microsoft has publicly stated that it is “serious” about complying with Chinese law and to addressing SAIC’s (China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce) concerns.
At the beginning of the investigation, China said it was interested in information on how both Windows and Office were bundled, about compatibility between the two and other unnamed concerns.
China’s most recent demands haven’t been clarified or spelled out, but SAIC has asked Microsoft to submit their “defense in a timely manner.”
God knows what they need to defend, or what Microsoft needs to respond to.
Some are speculating that this is retaliation due to Microsoft retiring Windows XP and discontinuing support for it to any and all customers – including the Chinese government and its citizens. China had asked Microsoft to extend XP’s lifespan. Microsoft refused. China said, “pretty please;” and Microsoft STILL said no. China has banned the use of Windows 8 on any government computers.
Olio recently released firmware updates to help address bugs and issues in their smartwatch, the Model One.
If you recall, I recently published a review of Olio’s Model One smartwatch. Unfortunately, I declared it pretty much one of the worst train wrecks I’ve ever seen in an electronic accessory, and most certainly, the worst product I’ve looked at in 2015. My initial reaction was so poor that I recommended everyone stay away from it for now.
Recently, I’ve received noticed of not one, but two, device firmware updates for the Model One, direct from Olio. Firmware version 1.1.61 was released on 2015-12-25 and addressed a number of different issues. You can see the specifics on those, directly below. Firmware version 1.1.63 was released to resolve a firmware update issue where the watch may get stuck in “update mode, ” and not recover. In this case, as long as the device is connected to power and showing connected in Olio Assist, Olio says version 1.1.63 can be passively downloaded to the watch and the watch updated, resolving the issue. Watches successfully updated to firmware version 1.1.61 without issue would simply update to 1.1.63, and would see no additional issues or new functionality other than what came with version 1.1.61.
Thankfully, I didn’t experience this particular issue. My watch updated to versions 1.1.61 and 1.1.63 without a hitch.