In response to Verizon’s recent advertisements highlighting the deficiencies in AT&T’s 3G data network, AT&T this week sued its competitor. The carrier’s suit claims both that the map displayed in Verizon’s ad is misleading and that the commercials are causing the carrier to lose “incalculable market share…” and “invaluable goodwill….” AT&T argues that the substantial white areas shown on Verizon’s map are misleading because many of those areas are covered by its 2G EDGE network. Supporting AT&T’s claim is its online Coverage Viewer, but its suit entirely misses the point of Verizon’s advertisements.
As I discovered this week, keeping software up to date, including that which powers one’s websites, has many benefits. Included in those benefits is reducing spam. Yesterday, I received an email from my web host informing me that one of my sites (not disparate.info, thankfully) had been disabled because it had been hijacked and used to deliver spam. The site in question was running outdated software, which allowed some malicious individual to exploit a known vulnerability in that version, install a spam bot, and crash the rest of my sites in the process. After spending days trying to identify why I was exceeding my allotted server resources, thereby causing all of my sites to cease functioning, I had my answer. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson. Updating online software is as important as keeping desktop software up to date, and the implications can be much farther reaching. Not only did I potentially lose readers (and revenue) because my sites were inaccessible, but I also inadvertently helped some ill-intentioned individual pollute email inboxes with more ads for cheap Viagra. Then, of course, there is the lost sleep and wasted time spent cleaning up the mess.
I woke up yesterday morning to a pleasant surprise from Verizon Wireless: a software update for my first-generation BlackBerry Storm. As has been widely reported, Research In Motion’s (RIM) first attempt at a touchscreen device has not been without its share of problems, so every software update is met with excitement from Storm users. This latest update, which moves the OS from version 4.7 to 5.0 and greatly improves the device’s performance, is no exception.
On Thursday, the FCC approved its net neutrality rules, giving way to 60 days of comments from the public, after which the Commission will release final regulations. Given the intense opposition from companies such as AT&T, the rules will likely face legal challenges before taking effect, and Congress could intervene as well. Progress is progress though.
Following AT&T’s recent decision to allow VoIP applications on the iPhone, I questioned whether or not the carrier’s network could handle the increased traffic. Yesterday, AT&T addressed some of the issues I raised as it announced third-quarter earnings. The carrier reported that dropped calls are down 12%, while instances of calls failing to connect are down 30%. Absent from the announcement, however, were any new plans to expand its data network, though the carrier did concede that it has seen an “explosion” in customers’ data usage.
For The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the announcement, see “AT&T on iPhone Exclusivity, Dropped Calls and Net Neutrality.”
For some time now, the nation’s two largest mobile phone carriers have competed almost exclusively with each other, marginalizing their smaller competitors. Verizon Wireless (VZW) has touted the reliability and extensiveness of its wireless network, while AT&T has focused on its network coverage and the superiority of its wireless technology. Now, as mobile phone operators prepare to deploy the next generation of wireless technology, the competitive pressures these companies face are changing dramatically.
I grew up using Windows (3.1 to be exact) and can still remember when shutting down the operating systemÂ returned the user to a DOS command prompt. Long-gone is the DOS prompt, and with it went my fondness for the much-maligned Microsoft product. Instead, I’ve converted to Apple’s Mac OS X and see no possibility of switching back for three reasons: security, stability, and ease of use.
Verizon Wireless (VZW) recently began an ad campaign aimed squarely at both AT&T and its flagship device, the iPhone. By now, Apple’s “There’s an app for that” commercials are well known for showcasing one of the myriad applications available for the iPhone. VZW’s new ad campaign uses a minor tweak to the familiar wording to wheedle AT&T over its poor 3G coverage. In its “There’s a map for that” commercials, VZW declares, “If you want to know why your 3G coverage works so well on Verizon Wireless, there’s a map for that,” and proceeds to show red- and blue-tinged maps of the United States. As one would expect, the proportion of red covering the continental US far exceeds that of blue, by five times as the advertisements report. The campaign made me chuckle for two reasons when I initially came across it, first because of how easily Verizon Wireless could turn a successful Apple advertisement against the iPhone maker and its wireless partner, and again after I discovered that AT&T doesn’t even produce a map of its 3G coverage area.
Earlier this year, much ado was made over the transition from analog to digital broadcasting. So controversial was the switchover that Congress delayed the transition from February until June to give consumers more time to upgrade their equipment. Among the myriad benefits touted by proponents of the switch was the promise of new services and added content. While few of the promises have been met, the recent approval of a standard for mobile television is a step in the right direction.
I logged into my Google Voice account today to discover I can now invite others to the service. As up until this time Google was controlling the invites as it scaled up its Voice infrastructure, allowing users to send invites is a positive sign that the system is handling growth well.
In the roughly four months I’ve been using the service, Google has made many enhancements to the service, from the user interface to its ability to collect calls to more numbers. AJAX improvements to the user interface support one-click marking of messages as read, a drop-down menu on messages to provide additional options, and a tabbed settings pane. I no longer encounter busy signals when calling numbers in certain regions, nor do text messages fail to reach their destination. At the same time, Google has released a BlackBerry application, added support for the service to phones running its Android platform, and attempted to release an iPhone app as well. Add to that users’ ability to send invites and it would seem the beta is progressing well.