Archive for April, 2011

AT&T officially loses over 10 years of my business

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I’ve been an AT&T customer for a very long time; over a decade of mobile phone use with their services, from my age’ing Nokia to my various Treo devices to several RIM BlackBerry phones.

I’m currently on the biggest, baddest Enterprise “Unlimited” data, “Unlimited” texting plan they offer, including International Roaming and texting as well, for when I travel overseas. I also have a second line for data only, which I use in my Novatel MiFi device, a SIM card previously plugged directly into my laptop so I could get online while on the train traveling to/from the office.

I recently picked up a BlackBerry PlayBook to use for work, and have been hacking on it a little bit. One thing that was lacking, was “always-on” Internet service. You have to use WiFi or tethering to get the tablet onto the Internet. In fact, you can’t even use the tablet at all unless it’s connected to a wireless network of some kind.

I just called AT&T to see what the additional cost would be to add “Tethering” to my existing phone features. The cordial operator told me that my current “Unlimited” plan is costing me $30.00/month, and to add the “Unlimited + Tethering” package, it would be $80.00/month (a $50.00/month increase).

I’m floored that I’d have to pay an additional $50/month for something that is no different than using my existing phone to browse the web. In other words, there’s no difference at all in the bits-and-bytes coming across the 3G connection if I browse the web via my phone’s browser, or browse the web via the PlayBook (or my laptop), through my phone’s 3G connection over bluetooth, via tethering.

The operator spoke to her supervisor and came back and told me that if I added tethering to my current “Unlimited” plan, I’d lose the unlimited capability, it would drop to 2GB/month, max, and I could never go back to an unlimited plan ever again, if I changed it now.

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My first two hours with the BlackBerry Playbook

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BlackBerry PlaybookI picked up a BlackBerry Playbook today to test, review and attempt to integrate it into my business workflow. After all the hype, pre-release videos and hundreds of reviews I’ve read prior to its launch this week, I knew this was going to be the right tablet device for me.

Boy was I wrong.

Here’s a list of the issues I’ve seen/found with it so far:

  1. When you first connect the device to power and power it on, you’re prompted with a few questions on the initial screens. You can’t get past Step 1 unless you have an active wireless connection, full-stop. There’s no cancel button, skip, bypass or abort that screen. No wireless, no tablet. Period. You basically have an expensive piece of plastic and glass, but not much more.
  2. Once you do pair it to wireless, it immediately fetches the latest version of the Tablet OS, as expected, installs and reboots it, no issues. It then asks if you own a BlackBerry device, and prompts you to download and install the “BlackBerry Bridge” software onto your phone. It offers the on-screen QCR barcode you can scan and download BlackBerry Bridge to pair it with your Playbook… except… if you’re an AT&T customer.


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SOLVED: General Failure in sending the command to the application

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outlook 2010 logoThis problem results from clicking on a URL, mailto or web link embedded inside an email in Outlook when you have Mozilla Firefox set as your default browser:

Outlook general failure dialog box

If you’ve suffered from this problem using Outlook and Firefox on Windows, I have a fix!

  1. Launch regedit.exe (if you’re on Windows 7, right-click and “Run as Administrator”).
  2. Go down to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\FirefoxURL\shell\open\ddeexec..

    HKCR Firefox URL
    FirefoxURL shell open ddeexec

    On the right, you’ll see the following values:

    FirefoxURL ddeexec commas junk

  3. Double-click the “Default” key, the one with all the commas and numbers, and delete (i.e. remove) the value, leaving it empty.

Now if you go back and click a URL inside Outlook, it will cleanly load Firefox without any errors. Why this key gets corrupted, I don’t know… but this fix cleans it up.

Problem solved!

Bad Behavior has blocked 104 access attempts in the last 7 days.