Thursday, June 11, 2009

Digital TV Signal Strength Improves- NBC Miami

It appears to me that NBC in Miami has significantly increased their digital TV signal strength in the past 24 hours. I can now receive TV reception from a room that faces West or at Biscayne Bay. Before today, I was not able to get any NBC digital TV signal (stations 6-1, 6-2, 6-3). It's coming in nearly crystal clear on an analog TV with a digital TV converter box and only a standard VHF antenna. I returned the special digital TV UHF antenna a few months ago because it didn't help much. I also tested it earlier this week and I didn't notice any change. I am also receiving DTV 4-1 (CBS) and DTV 29-1 (Fox) DTV 29-2 without any significant transmission issues.

I guess the "beta" program is now over for Digital TV. I might eventually look at buying a HD Digital TV antenna for the living room. I'm not a big fan of my Satellite TV provider, but I'll certainly wait because in my opinion, their beta program really started this morning.

For other info on my experiences installing a converter box.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Upgrading to the New Apple iPhone 3G S Online

I usually upgrade my iPhones at the Apple Store but for the new iPhone 3G S this year I decided to upgrade online at the AT&T site. I wanted to avoid the chaos of the Apple Store on Friday, June 19th.

1. At I logged in to my AT&T wireless account. I have a family plan and I imagine like most famlies, each family member's current iPhone has Upgrade Plan. In my case, some of the phones are eligible for the new pricing since their two year contract has lapsed and of course my iPhone 3G falls under the iPhone 3G S Early Upgrade path. On the AT&T Manage Account interface, there are tabs for each family member or phone. Under Phone/Device, I clicked on Check Upgrade Options.

2. Upgrade Phone - A screen with each of the family member phones appears with a checkbox to upgrade their phone. You can upgrade multiple phones at this time. In my case, the screen also showed the following.
  • No Commitment Pricing - You can take advantage of our no commitment pricing. Additional discounts may be available on 05/24/2010. (This message appeared on my iPhone 3G which I have to pay the Early Upgrade fee. I imagine it means that I don't have to extend my contract at this time and next June 2010 when a new iPhone comes out, I can extend it at that time.)
  • Discount - We can offfer you an additional disount of up to $50.00 off regular 2-year commitment and a waived upgrade fee on most devices. (This message appeared under the main family member's account only but is not available on iPhones).
  • iPhone Upgrade Fee $18 - As a valued AT&T customer, we can offer you an iPhone upgrade with a new 2-year commitment and an $18 upgrade fee.

3. Phones & Devices - The next screen lists the six different iPhone 3G / 3G S options. The main selection here is the color choice, the default is black and you need to click on the square white box to change the color, then click on the link (not a great user inteface).

4. Accessories -- The next screen gives you the option to purchase a long list of iPhone 3G / 3G S accssories. The iPhone 3G S and new iPhone 3G is the same size as my old iPhone 3G so I did not need a new case, but I ordered some other cases because the iPhone Edge is a different size than the iPhone 3G / 3G S. I also did not buy Apple Care because the phone is covered for a one year period.

5. Rate Plans - The iPhone 3G / iPhone 3G S has a more expensive data plan so when upgrading some the phones from the iPhone Edge, I needed to select new data/text messsaging plans. Here are some other rate issues that came up which I needed to research.

What are Nights & Weekends?
Question:What are Nights & Weekends?Answer:Nights and Weekends are generally defined as "Nights" from 9 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and "Weekends" as 9 p.m. Friday night until 5:59 a.m. Monday morning, in the time zone from which the call was placed. Extended Nights and Weekends feature can be added at an additional charge on qualified plans.
Some calling plans may have a different definition of "Nights and Weekends" as detailed in your contract or Customer Service Summary.

6. Shopping Cart - You need to provide AT&T with a credit card to check out. It will not be added to your monthly invoice.

7. Ship Date - Our iPhones should arrive on Friday, June 19th via Federal Express.

8. Other Notes; If you want your iPhones or a family member's iPhone shipped to a different address, you must call 1-866-499-8008 to order over the phone.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Reasons to Upgrade to the iPhone 3G S - iPhone 3GS

  • Battery Life - The new iPhone 3G S and iPhone 3G should have an improved battery life. Apple claims that the battery life should improve when using wi-fi.
  • 7.2Mbps HSDPA - The iPhone 3G S contains a chip that supports faster 3G download speeds.
  • Camera - The iPhone 3G S comes with a 3 megapixels camera including a new Autofocus feature and support video. The iPhone 3G has a 2 megapixel camera.
  • Speed - The new iPhone 3G S and iPhone 3G should be much faster than the old iPhone 3G or the original iPhone Edge. Apple claims that it should load Web pages and launch Apps twice as fast.
  • Disk Space - The iPhone 3G S will be available in 32 GB, 16GB.
  • Voice Control - The iPhone 3G S will have a voice control feature for auto dialing.
  • Other Features - The iPhone 3G S has several other features that might be useful to some users. This includes a Digital Compass and Stereo Bluetooth.
  • iPhone 3G S Dimensions - According to the specification sheet, the iPhone 3G S is the same size as the current iPhone 3G. Unlike the upgrade for the iPhone Edge, you shouldn't need to buy a new case.
Here is the pricing for the iPhone 3G S for new and existing customers. Current customers can go to for their upgrade pricing from AT&T.
  • New Customers - $299 for the 32 GB iPhone 3G S; $199 for the 16 GB iPhone 3G S; $149 for the iPhone 3G 16 GB; $99 for the iPhone 3G 8 GB; $129 for the iPhone 3G 16 GB (Refurb) and $79 for the iPhone 3G 8 GB (Refurb).
  • iPhone Edge Customers - If the two year agreement has expired, iPhone Edge customers will be able to receive the discounted pricing (above) as if a new customer.
  • iPhone 3G Early Upgrade - Customers Less than 2 years remaining on contract - $499 32 GB iPhone 3G S; $399 for the 16 GB iPhone 3G S; $349 for the iPhone 3G 16 GB; $299 for the 8 GB iPhone 3G; $329 for the iPhone 3G 16 GB (Refurb); $279 for the iPhone 3G 8 GB (Refurb).
Unfortunately, AT&T and Apple's pricing appears to punish the loyal Apple customer who buys each new Apple product when it comes out. That said, you can sell your old iPhone 3G or gift it to a family member to lower the cost of the Early Upgrade fee.