Are You Being Held Hostage by the iPhone and AT&T?

What do you do when your iPhone breaks down with some month to go in the contract? Do you upgrade to the new iPhone 3G s? Or would you rather go with another provider? AT&T has some serious connectivity and network problems, so think before you lock yourself in for another 2 years.

Buying the iPhone, what a joy

A little less than 2 years I gave my wife an iPhone as a present. It was not really her birthday, but she was interested in getting an iPhone. Since I was to, but I have a Blackberry from my work, I bought the iPhone for her so I could play with it as well. With the iPhone came a 2 year contract, with data plan and SMS bundle.

Apple iPhone 3G s

My wife is not the type who is installing all kinds of applications on her phone. She is just using the iPhone to make calls, send SMS and receive, send emails and the camera has been used almost everyday. Never dropped, and always a solid case around the iPhone.

The iPhone has been a joy in our lives. It’s a great piece of technology, with which you can make pictures while you are on the road and send quite easily to everybody in your address book quite easily. Until a couple of days ago…

The iPhone breaks down

A couple of days ago suddenly the phone started to act strange. The real problem seems to be the battery, which won’t charge anymore. This could be a real problem if you use the iPhone everyday.

iPhone breaks down after too many battery charges Just recently, a couple of weeks ago, my wife needed to get a new battery for her Macbook. The same problem as the iPhone, the battery was not loading anymore. When taking the Macbook to the Genius bar, they told me she needed a new battery. Apparently you can only recharge the battery 300 times. This battery was already charged 512 times. We got a new battery and the Macbook is working like before.

Now that the iPhone is showing the same kind of behavior as the Macbook, I suggested we would have to take the phone to the Genius bar, and see if we could have it fixed.  Swapping the battery in the iPhone should not take that long, and it would mean she could use it again. Think again…

In the Apple store, the folks told us it would not even be worth it to make an appointment with the Genius bar. They simply told us the apple folks would not even take the effort fixing the 1.5 year old iPhone.

Now what…? With a little more than 4 months on a 2 year iPhone contract, my wife cannot even make a single phone call. The only advise the Apple store managers could give us, is to buy a new iPhone.

Buy a new iPhone with 2 year contract?

Buying a new iPhone was a short consideration for both my wife and myself. The new iPhone 3G s is supposed to be an even better piece of technology. Faster, slimmer and with more capabilities when it comes to applications. However, buying a new iPhone would also mean we would have to extend the contract for an additional 2 years. Locked up for another 2 years to the poor service of AT&T.

2 year new AT&T contract with the Apple iPhone

The 2 years is not the only thing which would change. The amount we would have to pay in the new contract would rise with $15,- per month. Ten dollars for the data plan, and if you would like to have a SMS bundle, another five dollars. But wait a minute, I used to have a SMS bundle, why would we pay more for another SMS bundle? Right, you already get it, we were getting framed… Because why do I suddenly have to pay $10 more for the data plan? And why are there $18 one time AT&T upgrade fees applied?

We cancelled to buy the new iPhone, and wanted to think about it before we commit to another two years of dropped calls or bad reception by AT&T. However, now two weeks later, we still don’t know what to do. I guess we will go back voluntarily as a hostage to the Apple iPhone and AT&T.

I seriously thought about a law suit to both Apple and AT&T. How can they require you to close a contract for two years, while the hardware does not even last for the contract period of the two years. But then again, what is the likelihood of winning this? I don’t want to spend my time and energy in all this negativity.

Probably we will buy a new iPhone and upgrade to the new contract for another two years. As long as my corporate line is on AT&T, my wife and I actually call each other for free.

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It would even be more scary if I was in the running to buy a new car as well.

Where is the Wireless Switch on a Dell Latitude E4300

After 3 years of struggling with a Dell Latitude E410, I finally got a new laptop assigned. And it’s a speedy one, at least love at first sight. I wonder how long this will stay… My new puppy is a Dell Latitude E4300, as displayed below.

This one has a dual core from intel inside.. joking word game. What did you thought, the processor would be installed at the outside..? In any case I’m going to be double productive from now on!

I wonder how fast I will ruin this computer that it uses all of its memory. So far the graphs look pretty ok!

Yesterday I got a small panic attack, when the wifi of the new puppy didn’t seem to work. The message was saying I needed to check if the Wireless Switch was turned ON . I could feel the my face turning white. As I didn’t have a manual for the Latitude E4300, I wasn’t sure where to find the Wireless Switch. I’ve been looking for the information online, but I couldn’t find any website which could tell me how to turn the Wireless Switch of a Dell Latitude E4300 OFF or ON

Dell Latitude E4300 Wireless Switch

So for everybody with the same problem, here comes the solution, on the Dell Latitude E4300, the wireless switch is located on the right side of the laptop, just under the only USB port of the machine. See picture of the Wireless Switch below:

Dell Latitude E4300 Wireless Switch

Damnit, what am I supposed to do with only ONE USB port…? What are they thinking at Dell these days?

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Top Chumby Widget I Would Use

I love my chumby, but there are not that many widgets available yet. If I browse through the widgets on, I sometimes get disappointed. Where are all those smart widget developers? Right, developing applications for the iPhone, Facebook or Android.

It won't be until Chumby is going mainstream, more widgets will become available.

My Top widgets I would like to see developed are:

  1. Techmeme Chumby Widget. All day, tech stories break on Techmeme. Keeping track of the most popular Techmeme sources would be great through my Chumby. Currently big names as Techcrunch and GigaOm already have a Chumby widget. No Techmeme widget exist yet.
  2. Sphinn Chumby Widget. The SEO community's own DIGG style news site. Breaking stories in the SEO world can be followed through Sphinn. If somebody would develop a Sphinn widget, we can all follow the Sphinn stories on our Chumby.
  3. Twistori Chumby widget. is an interesting project. It follows Tweets made on Twitter on 6 different words: Love; Hate; Think; Believe; Feel and Wish. On Twistori the collective feelings of the Twitter world are displayed in an interactive way. You can watch for hours to see what people are writting. A Chumby widget would make this available for all on our Chumby.

As I'm not an application developer, I call on all who can do this to develop these highly needed Chumby widgets :)

15 webservice I’m paying for, and you might consider

After reading a piece from Ryan Spoon, a former colleague of mine, on Techmeme, about 15 websites/ services he would actually pay for, I was thinking about his list of free webservices he would consider paying for. There are a couple I'd consider paying for as well, especially the Google Analytics in real time!

However, there is a list of webservices I already am paying for, which you might consider;

  1. MyBlogLog; Only $3 per month, or $25 a year per website. MyBlogLog gives me real time information about the referrals to my website, what readers are interested in, and what they click on. The premium subscription allows you to pull reports into CSV, where you can filter pretty easy. MyBlogLog also allows me to connect with my readers in a more community kind of way, and follow the communities I belong to. I think the service is highly underutilized in the Internet world.
  2. Amazon Prime; Unfortunately I had to pay for my subscription to Amazon Prime, not like Ryan who got it for free. $75 per year!
  3. premium; The premium content you get access too at is worth checking out. Tools for Internet marketing, discussion boards, Job boards focused on SEO and Youmoz; where you can publish your own articles. The best articles are republished on the open blog, which can bring you a lot of extra exposure. At $49.95/month; $250 for 6 months or 399 for a full year, it is quite expensive.
  4. Compete credits; At around $2 per credit, it's quite expensive. But Compete also has 2 for 1 days, where they double the credits you get for the money you pay. As a Dutchman, I like this! With these credits you can run all kinds of general search analytics reports or take a deep dive on your own or somebody else's site.
  5. StumblUpon; I paid for a sponsored account on StumbleUpon. I love StumbleUpon, and I'm using the site on a daily basis. With a sponsored account you can start your own Interest groups and turn off sponsored stumbles. The fee is just $20 per year, so it is worth it to consider sponsoring this great discovery tool.
  6. Flickr Pro account; I use Flickr for all my photo's online. Flickr Pro gives you so much more flexibility in your account, especially the much bigger upload storage per month. Other advantages of a Flickr Pro account: Unlimited sets and collections, Access to  your original files; Stats on your account; Ad-free browsing & sharing and Video uploads. With $24.95 per year, I think it is a steal.
  7. Skype Out; I'm a heavy user of Skype. With my family and friends living in The Netherlands, we skype almost everyday. Usually we do a lot of Skype to Skype calls, but they are not always behind the computer when we would like to call. We are saving a ton of long-distance phone call minutes this way, as we pay just local rates with Skype-Out!
  8. SnagIt; take snapshots of websites
  9. Camtasia Studio; Make movies from your photo collection, or your power points. It allows you to become a publisher of rich & unique content.
  10. Link Assistant;
  11. Ecto for Windows; really good software if you are blogging on a regular basis
  12. Getclicky; Real time analytics will give you new insights into who is coming to your websites
  13. Macro Express; Making your own Short key's can drive up productivity so much.
  14. SEOBook; The comprehensive guide to SEO by Aaron Wall, with free updates!
  15. Webmasterworld subscription; A year subscription of the private forum of Webmasterworld will cost $149.

All in all, quite an amount now that I added these all up.

Am I missing some great services that I should consider start using? Please let me know in the comments!