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13 January, 2012

T-Mobile spams me with an HTC Radar offer. That gets me writing a bit.

I just got an email from T-Mobile asking if I'd like to "upgrade" to an HTC Radar 4GTM for FREE. All I have to do is trade in my old working iPhone 4 and sign up for a 2yr contract.

Hmm.. let's see. My iPhone is not the most current model but it is in great shape. It isn't 2 years old yet. I still love it. Ebay has the same phone for just under $400. So, for giving T-Mobile the chance to resell my iPhone for let's say $350 they'll give me an HTC Radar for free.  This is what I told Mr. T.

Dear Mr. T (not his real name),

Trade in my perfectly good iPhone4 (which I'll probably just upgrade to a 4S or 5 when it strikes me) for an HTC Radar? Let's see if that works for me.

iPhone Size:
I like the size of the iPhone. Fits in my hand easily, those 2 Gorilla Glass slabs wrapped in Aluminum have a great feel in the hand. The balance, thickness, weight are all nice. 
115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm at 140 grams.

Radar Size:
The Radar does weigh less. It is thicker, longer, and wider making me wonder how well it fits my shirt pocket? I only have one shirt with a pocket.
120.5 x 61.5 x 10.9 at 137 grams.  

 iOS rocks. There, I said it. Plus, I dabble in iOS development. Can I do that on the Radar?

The Radar runs Windows. O.K. I like Mr. Softy. I think Excel is great. Yet, Windows doesn't quite resonate with me.  Never has, most likely never will. Don't ask why. Maybe it was all those years running a group that had to manage 5000+ Windows beige boxes. That experience made me realize that Windows is simply not an OS for business, home or hobby life. For phones? Yea, right.

Can I get Photoshop, Dragon Go (Siri), iTunes, iPhoto, Pages, …. ? Where's the viable App store? Should I worry that Windows phone software has a history of not succeeding in the market?  How likely is Windows Phone to go the way of the Zune, CE, Home Edition and other Microsoft attempts at porting the bloated OS. 

iOS allows me to carry around all my media, documents, metadata and more. Plus, I can share that with my family's Apple devices. Can I do that with Radar? Nope. It would be the only Windows device in my life. That won't work. 

I love Airplay. The ability to instantly sling video and music from my phone to my TV or any Airport connected audio system is simply amazing.  Radar has none of that. Let's say I find some great TED Talk while browsing the web on my phone. How can I share it with everyone on the big screen if I'm using Radar? Can't at least not easily. Perhaps if I cobble together a variety of 3rd party software and some beige media box.

Tech Specs:
iPhone 960 x 640
Radar 800 x 400…   yawn.. this is too easy. 

iPhone 16 - 64GB
Radar: 8 GB.. That's cute. It is so, 2007!

iPhone: Annie Leibovitz recommends iPhone.   
Radar: ..…. must be too new… yea, that's it. 

iPhone: 3 axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity, light 
Radar: accelerometer, proximity and light. 
iPhone wins again.  Can Radar take my pulse? The iPhone can. 

iPhone Talk Time: 8 Hr on 3G, 14 Hr on GSM. 
Radar: 8H on WDCMA, 10H on GSM 
 I'll throw the Radar a bone and call it even. I suspect iPhone's specs are low and Radar's are high but I'm sure it depends on how each device is used. 

International use or GSM vs CDMA:
GSM> 1 billion users
CDMA 0.27 billion.   
I like to travel. CDMA is for people that don't travel.

Bottom line: HTC Radar is another phone that works for some but isn't close to what works for me or my company. I'm convinced now (as if I wasn't before) that the iPhone is the phone for me, my family, business partners, the pub down the street, my neighbors and The Queen of England.  Now, could you do me a favor and remove my name from your email list. I simply don't have time to do this next month when HTC comes out with another iPhone wannabe. 


13 December, 2011

Airport Extreme Frimware 7.6 Upgrade Issues

Back in November (2011 for those from a different year), Apple released Airport Base Station and Time Capsule Firmware Update 7.6. The update was for 802.11n capable Airport Express, Extreme and Time Capsule devices. Since then, a number of folks on the Apple Discussion boards have reported issues in getting the upgrade to work. The chief complaint is network speed but as with many medicines, the symptoms are as numerous as breweries in San Diego.

In my case, my Time Capsule failed to reappear after the upgrade. At least it didn't appear until I went out for a coffee and came back about an hour later. Since then I haven't seen any issues. My network has 3 Airport devices; a Time Capsule, a 802.11n Airport Express and an old fashioned 802.11g Express.  Of course, only the 802.11n devices were upgraded.

Apple appears to be aware of the issue as their web page describing all the features of the update has been taken down. You can find a cached version via Google here. There are a couple of interesting bits about the issues people are running into.

1) Apple reccomended you make sure you are using Airport Utility 5.5.3 or later for the install. This implies that updating your Airport with an older version of the utility may result in issues.

2) People with multiple Airport devices on their network might be having more issues. That or they complain more on the discussion boards.

3) One poster claimed that Apple suggested making sure the Domain Name field (found under Internet - TCP/IP of Airport Utility) contain the same domain on all of your Airport devices.

4) Others claimed that reverting to an older Firmware version and then upgrading to 7.6 fixed the problem. Others of a different Mother claimed that had no effect except to waste precious time.

5) It appears that if you do get into an issue with 7.6, that resetting the device and then reverting to an earlier version of the Firmware puts things right.

My reccomendation -- If you like to tinker, go for the update but make sure you can revert to an earlier version of the firmware. Also, make a backup of your Airport's configuration.  For the rest of you, I'd hold off on the upgrade for now. I am sure Apple will issue a fix at some point.

As an aside, I picked up an Airport Extreme for a friend over Thanksgiving. It worked right out of the box. What did surprise me was that though it did not have the  7.6 Firmware the device did not come back and say "Update me!". Seems even the current stock of Airports know 7.6 has issues.