Friday, November 27, 2009

Pay-as-you-go mobile broadband

Because of some recent internet provider issues (see previous post) I found myself in urgent short-term need of some mobile broadband.  I don't really require it often enough to justify the $60 a month fee that is typical for most plans.  So I picked up a Broadband2Go USB stick, which allows for pay-as-you-go broadband.  You buy a certain amount of data (e.g., 250 MB) and you have a certain amount of time to use it in (e.g., 30 days).  You don't pay again until the next time you need to use it.  Ran into a couple of problems.

A little network restructure

I've got a commercial internet account at home with Charter Business because I host out of my home (not much to look at, but it hosts a number of important utilities that TeamSybase members use).

More on MyPhone

Just a follow up from my last post.  The "Find My Phone" feature is a premium service of My Phone (My Phone itself is free).  But there is also a 7 day trial.  Note that there are more options that I originally mentioned.  You can:

1.  Ring the phone (even if the phone is in vibrate or silent mode)
2.  Locate the phone on a map (last synch location is part of the free service, current location is a premium service)
3.  Lock the phone (and leave a message indicating how to contact you)
4.  Erase the phone (reset to factory defaults)

The 7 day trial allows you to try 3 each of the first two options and 1 each of the last two.  So far, the 2nd option (locate my phone) hasn't worked for me.  It may be because they're relying entirely on GPS, and I don't have the built in GPS activated (I use an external device for Tom Tom on the phone).  Perhaps, unlike Google Latitude, they will not attempt to use cell tower triangulation if GPS is not available.  However, the ring option worked great.  I'm not brave enough to test the other two.

Some interesting stuff from Microsoft for us Windows Mobile users

The first is Windows Marketplace, the Windows Mobile version of the iPhone App Store.  The second is MyPhone.   Besides the link that Microsoft sent me, it also appeared as the most populate download on the Windows Marketplace.  Most of the features aren't really that valuable to me.  The one I find particularly intriguing -- since I misplace my phone so often -- is the Find My Phone option.  The "find currently location" feature seems somewhat useful (usually when I misplace my phone I already know the general vicinity of where I left it, like in my house somewhere).  The one that looks primarily useful is the "ring my phone" feature.  In particular, it's the ability to force the phone into audible mode for the ring even when the phone is sent to silent or vibrate.  Typicallly, when I misplace my phone that's the setting it's on, so calling it from another phone hasn't been entirely helpful.