Contract Cutters

With all the talk of cord cutters over the past several years I have got to thinking about things we shell hundreds of dollars out for without really thining about if there is an alternative.  And I realized of all of my household bills, (internet, cable, electric, gas, insurance, cell phone, etc “excluding student loans”) my cell phone bill was the highest.  AT&T was getting $150/month of my money ($1,800/yr).

When i first assessed this, there wasn’t really all that much I could do, other than switch to a lesser carrier.  Then came the family plans.  I started to run the numbers on switching and realized that it would raise my bill by about $15/mo.  So I didn’t bother.

AT&T Next and Family Plans

A bit later yet, I decided to look into not doing the full 2 year contracts.  This is great, I can have even newer and newer models all the time.  Up to this point I have unlimited data on my device and my wife has 3GB/mo.  The family plan that looked like it would suite us would be the 10GB/mo shared (and a bonus, we get internet sharing, a feature I wanted but did not want to pay for).  At the end of the day I would be losing my unlimited, my wife would have more data, we would get internet sharing, but we would be paying ~$15/mo ($165/mo | $1,980/yr).

At the time I wasn’t really interested in any of the new models of phones.  My wife’s 920 was starting to age a bit but still in good shape, but overall we had no need to change devices.  And I started to look at my pricing options.

  1. Same old contract $40/phone – $100-20% = $80/mo + 2 phones($40ea) = $160/mo
  2. NEXT $15/phone (plus $5~$50 extra per phone) – $80/mo + 2 phones($15) = $110/mo + ($10-$100) $120-$220/mo
  3. Off Contract $15/phone – $80/mo + 2 phones($15) = $110/mo

Let’s Look at the Numbers by Life of Device/Contract

My current plan is to try to make devices last 3years (or more) and spend no more than $300 on the device.  So lets look at the number.  I’ll base my NEXT off of the most comparable option the 24mo (30 installments) with cheapest iphone6

  1. Off Contract – $110/mo x 36mos + $600($300/device) = $4,560 ($760/yr per line)
  2. Same Old – $160/mo x 36mos + $2($1/device avg) = $5,762 ($960/yr per line)
  3. NEXT – $140/mo x 30mos + ($110 6 remaining) = $4,860 ($810/yr per line)

Now the next can vary a bunch because you can, instead of paying the last 6 installments, give your phone back to AT&T (if it is in perfect condition).  Also that is an iphone 5c so prices can go way up from there.  The normal contract is more expensive than NEXT here because that 3rd year you are still paying $40/device even tho you are out of contract.  Even at it’s worst this saves me $100/year.  And realistically, our devices will last more than 3 years, we don’t spend $300 on them and I can repair many things myself or we have cheap backup devices.  Since we buy used/mid range deviced I priced the 2 yr contract + NEXT with last year models/cheaper devices.  If you bump up to current models that price goes up fast.  This does assume you do not upgrade at 24 or even 30 on the NEXT plan, if you do then obviously the price will go up.

Conclusion

Of course this isn’t for everyone.  Some people are perfectly happy paying a hefty price to make sure they have the latest and greatest.  That’s not me.  Also, I am not afraid to get on ebay/cl to pick up some used devices to use for parts when need be.  In fact, when my phone breaks I usually get it fixed for free or even make money selling the spare parts.  The whole point of the article is just that, now we have much more control in how much we pay for our cell phone bill.  You can drastically lower your bill without lessening your experience by much.  I simply buy used phones or just mid tier models rather than the premium devices.  I never have been one to need the most expensive of anything and luckily my wife likes saving money more than she likes showing off what her phone can do.

Google Wants Data Not Users

In this day in age, I do not understand how people can support Google. They are easily the worst company when it comes to reasoning for it’s products. They will, and do, axe any product that does not mine enough of your personal data as it can. The will not keep a product alive because it makes them money and makes users happy if it isn’t harvesting the sufficient amount of data. Continue reading “Google Wants Data Not Users”

Windows Phone 8.1 AT&T and Verizon Issues

Not sure if anyone else is having this issue but I thought I should throw it up here to maybe find out. The rooms in Windows Phone 8 are a great feature which my family, friends and I use quite often. We use them for easily shared calendars and pictures mostly but then also some group messaging. One of the family members in our room is on Verizon, where the rest of the room is all on AT&T. Continue reading “Windows Phone 8.1 AT&T and Verizon Issues”

AT&T Has The Worst Upgrade Page iPhone is Their Only Phone

While I have always had good luck with AT&T as a phone service and with customer service, I haven’t been able to stand their upgrade page since 2007. Ever since the iPhone has been on AT&T they make it look like it is the only phone they have. You have to hunt around the page to figure out how to find the other phones that they offer.iPhone5 Is The Only Phone on AT&T

This is what you get when you click to upgrade a device

Come on. I can’t believe how hard AT&T pushes the iPhone. They make it look to not tech savvy people that it is the only phone that you can upgrade too. Sorry for the little rant but this page annoys the crap out of me every time I see it. And I thought that after 5 years they might finally stop forcing it as the default device, but they have not. I think they made it even harder to try to find any other device actually. The iPhone 5 is great. One of the best phones but please just give people a chance.

One thing that makes it especially funny is that when they launched the first Lumia devices they said that it was going to be the biggest launch ever. Bigger than iPhone and promoted heavier. Yet we still have this page. 75% of the page is taken up by some form of iPhone and you have a couple of crappy other devices in the corner with one tiny link to get to more devices.

IPhone 5 Screen Resolution Not HD

Obviously the iPhone 5 announcements are going on right now. And while a lot of the things I have seen are very welcome updates; mostly better maps and a bigger screen. However, why the funky screen resolution? 1136 x 640. Sure it has the high pixel density that we are coming to be used to in phones and even laptops (eventually televisions and monitors), but it is just under 16:9 aspect ratio and is a bit away from 720P.

Apple Markets to Non-tech

One of the reasons I see that Apple doesn’t bother with relating anything to standards is that they advertise to people that do not understand the specs anyway and like buzz words more. But still, I mean why not make a 720P screen when many of the competitors are up to that and some even more.

Apple doesn’t need to compete in specs or performance as much as any other company does. Apple is this generations starlet of a company and as long as they use the words ‘Most Amazing Yet’ in any product they push it will sell well. Not saying they don’t make great products, because they do. They always have solid hardware and flashy design. But, they do deserve much of the ridicule that they receive because marketing is their strongest point and to the people that understand standards, specs, etc. see exactly how they manipulate people into wanting what they offer instead of offering what a user wants. Many people that have never used another smartphone are not willing to even try because they just think that the iPhone is the best.

Oh ranting. Fun sometimes, yet futile. Either way, enjoy your iPhone 5, but open your mind to other things once in a while. Brand loyalty can really make you miss out on great products. Just think of the people that were brand loyal to MS and got Vista, or just that were not educated enough to know that there were other options.

Custom Website Tiles For Windows Phone

Want to customize the web tiles on your Windows Phone?

I have been working on a small application to allow users to add some customization to tiles of websites that they choose to pin to their home screen. With this small web app you will be able to set some main text, sub text, font size, and color to the website tile that is on your homescreen. With this you will be able to easily make a pinned website tile match your theme or make it a color that stands out.

Future Features

I would eventually like to add more features to this web app like; font selectors, image upload, and more colors to choose from. For now you can use this tool at Custom Tiles. This has mostly just been tested on my HTC Titan and recently the CSS file was erased somehow so I had to redo it without as much testing. Please submit any bugs or requests in the comments below.

Should I Buy Microsoft Surface RT or Surface 8 Pro

Microsoft has just announced it’s own line of Windows 8 tablet/ultrabooks, the Surface RT and Surface 8 Pro. The Surface RT is geared towards competing for tablet money while the Surface 8 Pro is a full fledged, high powered, Windows PC that has a form factor more like a tablet.

Tablets Are Redundant Pieces of Hardware

As I have posted before, I personally have little to no use for a tablet (in their current form) other than as a toy. I currently have a 7″ Android tablet that I play around with once in a while. Continue reading “Should I Buy Microsoft Surface RT or Surface 8 Pro”

Microsoft Smart Glass, Airplay, and DLNA

I like the presented features of Smart Glass. Although, I can’t help but feel that most of these features should have developed nicely through DLNA. DLNA as a group set out to make home media experience a nice seamless cross-platform experience, but so far has not been fruitful. Airplay on the other hand is a successful product but, it completely locks you into the Apple ecosystem so you have to buy a Mac, an AppleTV, and a iPhone/iPad/iPod to really get much out of it.

Microsoft Smart Glass Has The Extra Features

One difference is that Smart Glass is bringing more than simple media sharing across screens. Continue reading “Microsoft Smart Glass, Airplay, and DLNA”

Want To Know The Best Smartphone Ever

Just ask Siri on your iPhone 4s and she will certainly tell you what the best smartphone ever is.

For those of you who do not know, the responses that you get when you ask Siri what the best phone is usually is just a programmed response meant to be funny and will never actually tell you anything helpful. However, the programmers seemed to have let a few queries slip through the cracks. More or less just adding the word “ever” to the end of your query seems to give you a real response instead of some forced programmed response.

Nokia Lumia 900 – Best Smartphone EVER

The numbers don’t lie. For the average user the Nokia Lumia 900 is the best smartphone ever. Obviously for some people there are reasons to choose a different device but many are doing themselves and injustice by not considering a WP7 in their smartphone choices. Not just the Lumia line have awesome customer reviews. Almost every single WP7 sold has been in the top customer reviews on many different sites. Because it is simply awesome. The Windows Phone 7 operating system is beautiful, fast, intuitive, and just a joy to use.

So go get your hands on one and see for yourself. If you don’t like it all the carriers have easy return policies.