5G is up and running and ready for 2019. Kind of. It isn’t really ready for mass market yet, but we will start seeing it come to our mobile handsets, maybe as early as March 2019 with the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S10, 5G edition(via CNet). What is 5G you ask? Just to K.I.S.S., it is the next evolution in mobile internet access via mobile devices like the smartphones and tablets that we carry with us today; though tablets may be on the way out (via Forbes). 5G will mostly likely, double, triple or even quadruple the speeds that we have with our mobile devices on 4G LTE (via PCMag). It is the next evolution in our mobile internet broadband access for the world to use. The fun part about it, is the race to be the first to have it. Well, as of recently, if you have an At&t device, you may be seeing it pop up on your phone, like this:
Are you able to see the difference? It’s very subtle, but you may be used to seeing it this way. Let’s zoom in a whole lot.
Can you see it now? You may be used to seeing that 4G LTE logo on most At&t phones, or some fashion of it. It may just be the text AT&T LTE in the top left hand corner of your phone, depending on the software. As of this writing, I would say that 99.9% of At&t customers are used to seeing the LTE logo on their phones now, but as of 2019, it looks like At&t is starting to swap some customer’s icons to the ‘new’ 5G as they are touting 12 cities with 5GE capabilities available (via FierceWireless). The overall problem that I have with that is, that the handsets are not yet available that have the 5G modems that can receive the signal and most likely, won’t be available until later this year, if not until 2020.
Now this is a similar tactic that was previously used by At&t back in 2012, when they basically did the same thing and started labeling HSPA+ (a 3G .5, or 3.5G technology) as ‘4G’. I actually wrote about this when it happened back in 2012. T-Mobile actually started the whole snowball by labeling their HSPA+ 3.5G as ‘4G (aka FauxG) with their whole Carly Foulkes marketing campaign and At&t followed suit (via DigitalTrends) after finding out that no one really cared.
So now, here we are again, where companies are allowed to put labels on things that are not truly what they are. The fun part about it is, that companies are now trolling each other for the shenanigans. Check out T-Mobile’s response on Twitter:
As stated above, and linked in the Digitial Trends article, it was At&t who condemned T-Mobile for the sudden change in marketing tactics, even though the technology didn’t match up with the labels. So now, in 2019, the shoe has swapped and T-Mobile is trolling At&t for the same exact behavior. While I don’t like the marketing tactics of either, it can start to be confusing for the consumer, as salesmen at the store can start using this as a selling point, even though the phones have not reached the capabilities for 5G yet. As the Verge points out, the ‘5GE’ that is currently being changed, is really only LTE Advanced or LTE Advanced Pro in the current markets.
All of my issues aside, as this has happened in the past, even dragging Apple (via the Verge) into the mix, I am just tired of companies making things more confusing for the customers at the bottom and just getting more $$$ in their pockets with marketing jargon. I just find it very funny that all of the wireless companies are repeating past mistakes and no one is really on a national level calling them out and most general consumers will never care to be educated about the things they are being sold on past the cover of the book.
I want to be very transparent right up front. I used to be an Apple iPhone guy, an Apple iPod guy and even now so, an Apple iPad guy. I can say without hesitation, Apple STILL makes the best tablet, as of January 2019. I have had a Samsung tablet and even read some of the most recent debacle issues that the current Google Slate is having. I still use my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 as my “daily driver”, though, not in tablet form, but in full on laptop mode, if you will, because I have FULL Windows on there, and tablet mode just seems to ‘maim’ it and I don’t like that version of it. All of that aside, let me get you to where I am with Apple and Apple products.
Way back in 2006, I was carrying the Motorola RAZR V3i. This was the variant of the wildly popular Motorola V3 RAZR phone that had iTunes on it. Apple had recently partnered with Motorola to release the Motorola ROKR(a poorly received, yet rehashed phone from 2003 called the E390) which was the first phone with iTunes that was announced a few months before the V3i, but was a HIDEOUS phone. It was the “dream” phone, because you could carry your iTunes library (albeit only 100 songs max) from your iPod and also have your phone on you at the same time! You have understand, back then, you had to have your iPod as a separate device and carry it separately (and the reason for the modern AUX jack in your radio) from your phone. Smartphones were not yet ubiquitous. Blackberry was the dominant player of the day in the smartphone market, which held the nomenclature of ‘crackberry’.
So back in January 2007, when Steve Jobs got up to announce the iPhone and that we could get this ‘magical’ device in 6 months, the world was EXCITED! (The Motorola ROKR was silently killed off.) I have to admit that the iPhone was the first of it’s kind and definitely changed the smartphone market from then on. I even video’d the event on my RAZR V3i (very poor quality) as I waited for my first iPhone to get shipped to me through Cingular Wireless.
I did several short videos on this, as back then, you could not ‘live-stream’ the way we do now. I had to do this via short clips, as the V3i didn’t have a lot of storage to store videos and I couldn’t use the live-streaming app Qik that I would eventually start using with the iPhone. As you can see, that this phone drew a lot of new people to the smartphone market, including myself.
So I had the original iPhone 2G (named because it only had Edge network capabilities on the Cingular, soon to be At&t network) and was able to sell the phone unlocked and jailbroken a year later to some guy in Italy for more that I originally paid for it! You also have to remember, this was back when the wireless companies subsidized the full cost of the phone because you were agreeing to a 2 year or more contract, so I had only paid $299 for it! You can see the video I used on eBay to sell the phone still online:
So I purchased the iPhone 3G, as it was obvious that many other phones that weren’t smartphones had 3G capabilities and was limiting the first iPhone from ‘high speed’ internet. Apple’s biggest argument was that 3G was a battery hog and could kill the performance that they wanted from their first foray into the smartphone market. As the first iPhone was such a smash hit, they pushed forward with the second iteration, known as the iPhone 3G. Then, in their 2009, 3rd generation iPhone, they released their now known update as the ‘S’ year, the 3GS. This was basically a simple update to all things on the previous version, which usually doubled all the performance over the previous version. Since this was an ‘S’ year, I skipped and held on to my 3G for the full 2 years and waited for the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 4 was an AMAZING upgrade and introduced us to the ‘Retina‘ display and showed to us that Apple still could hold the consumer market in ‘awe’ as they continued to innovate on the original design and capabilities of the iPhone. They had added a front facing camera for the then unknown Facetime chats, but would soon just become the ‘selfie’ camera. Even though it had been leaked ahead of it’s launch, the iPhone 4 was wildly anticipated and hyped before we were ever able to purchase it! Apple is a company known for it’s secrecy and even hunted down the people who were implicated in the ‘loss’ of it’s prototype device. All of that aside, it was an awesome phone for 2010, so I made my purchase and sold my iPhone 3G, though this time, for a little less and didn’t make a profit.
Though, I did have this weird vibrating issue with the phone when I first got it, but that ended up being a REALLY small fluke issue that only affected a small number of people and you can see that video here:
I mentioned it in passing in this video, but it affected quite a lot more people than the vibrating issue that I ran into and that was one of the first MAJOR ‘gate’ issues, known as ‘Antenna Gate’. There have been plenty over the years, but this was the first one that I became majorly aware of. It was such a pivotal moment for Apple to take a hold of the issue, but the way they illustrated it to us, was that it was our faults. Even though they did provide ‘bumpers’ or discounts on cases, with the idea that we were supposed to buy MORE items from them to fix their issue, it was painfully obvious that Apple was blaming the users. I even had a rant about it, when it all went down. You can see the full event here (sans the Q&A afterwards, which you can find in pieces on Youtube):
The funny thing was, that after the press event, it didn’t take long for someone to show that their answer was a bit flawed.
Even though, this was one of the first ‘cracks’ in the armor that I saw in the ever growing popularity of the iPhone and Apple as a whole, it was a little disheartening to see they were blaming the users. Obviously, this was a real attenuation issue with how the antenna received signals and the human hand could kill it, but to say that it was the user’s fault and not really admit that his was a design flaw was a little disingenuous in my opinion, but I held on and continued with the iPhone 4 throughout it’s life cycle.
The same continued for the ‘S’ year cycle again for the 4S and I again, skipped; now seeing that Apple would continue this format of new design, update old phone with new specs and then redesign again. So I figured that by the time the iPhone 5 would come around for the 2012 release, I would be more than happy to upgrade and be WOW’d again. Unfortunately, this did not happen. The iPhone 5, was a rehashed version of the iPhone 4, but this time and for the first time, had the screen size increased to an almost 16×9 ratio with still carrying the ‘Retina’ display moniker. Yes the phone was thinner and faster than the 4S and even had LTE for first time, but this wasn’t as enticing as the change was from the 3GS to the 4.
Also at this time, the Android market had begun flourishing and many companies had already had their freshman and sophomore tries at smartphones and were releasing phones with better specs and features than what the iPhone 5 was carrying. So I began looking around and found a nice alternative with Samsung and the Galaxy S3. This phone had a 1280×720 display, whereas the iPhone 5 only had 1136×640. The overall screen size was larger at 4.8″ over the iPhone 4″ screen, which was one of the major reasons why I left. Apple was getting stuck in their idea that 4″ was the magic number and that no one wanted anything bigger. This wasn’t the only reason, but was a major factor in my decision to switch from iOS to Android.
Which also brings me to the idea that iOS was getting stale. No matter what Apple did to the iPhone, no matter how many times I jailbroke the iPhone, I could see more options on the fledgling Android side of things. I was getting tired of the software on iOS and at this point, the iPhone was starting to be owned by anyone and everyone. I didn’t want to be a part of the crowd and I wanted to stand out. I had researched phones like the Motorola Atrix or the HTC EVO 4G for quite some time, but due to network availability, I had to end up choosing the Samsung in the end and I was happy that I did. The funny thing was, that the S3 ended up being a very popular phone for Samsung as well and I was loving their bigger screens and ended up the next year, upgrading to my first ‘phablet’ phone the Galaxy Note 3. This began my obsession with larger screens.
I stuck with Samsung as they kept making things more awesome every time I upgraded and I felt like they were the company that was making me have that WOW affect every time. I followed my 2 year cycle, as I was still on At&t contract scheme and skipped the Note 4 and went to the Note 5. Even though, the Note 4 Edge was a REALLY cool design, and I seen the prototype at CES a few years prior, they only put the curved edges of the glass on the back of the Note 5. It was really cool to see the curved edges finally make it to the front of the phones with the S6 Edge, earlier that year, but I still wanted the larger screen phones. They eventually made the S6 Edge+, which was basically the size of the Note 5, but had less features than the Note series.
I won’t go much further in my history with Samsung and why I continued to stick with them, but you get the basic idea that it Apple continued to be ‘stale’ to me, even with the change to the design of the iPhone 6, which wasn’t really, all that much different. Then they continued on with that design through all versions of the ‘S’ years through to the iPhone 8 and still some of that design is in the iPhone X and XS. All the while, Apple kept cultivating a ‘fanboy’ status among their fans and was becoming of a cult status.
Over the years as issues went on and on, it was all in how Apple handled their ‘faults’. I think this is one of the biggest reasons why I continue to obstain from Apple and have disdain for their products, even though, some of their products are great. I can attest that iMessage is an awesome idea that Android still really hasn’t mirrored. AppleTV and iPad are in my opinion, one of the best products in their particular markets. I will even admit that MacOS from time to time can be quite helpful, but it isn’t enough to sell me over into the ‘walled garden’ aspect of their entire ecosystem. Especially when there are great alternatives out there, that are cross platform and don’t really care what system you are on. Web services, platform agnostic, to be honest are the best and should have always been the way, as Steve Jobs really wanted from the beginning. (Remember web apps, before we had the iTunes App Store???)
All of that aside, I think this guy kind of puts all of my feelings toward Apple in a nice 22 minute video. Thanks for reading my ramblings and rants. Feel free to comment below. I’ll leave you with the video below:
So, a while back, in 2011, I wrote a piece about the similarities across the Batman franchises in the Tim Burton 1989 versions and the early 2000’s Chris Nolan’s versions. It was more of screenshots from each movie comparing the similarities and how similar they are.
It was funny to see this back in 2011 and I assume that many people have seen these as well, if you are any kind of Batman fan. So it was cool to see an even more updated video comparing the two on YouTube today. This was created back in July of 2018, so there is a bit of time difference as of me writing this and the previous article, but it was still cool to see.
Check out the video below showing the similarities and their differences:
After you are done, you can go back and check out my writing on this here.
As you see above, this is the former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry who recently resigned this last Tuesday. She is coming down the stairs of the booking release location in downtown Nashville. I am going to severely irritate a lot of people with this post, but I don’t really care. So we found out that she has now admitted to and has now been charged with felony charges of theft in the amount of $11,000 along with her former security guy, who is being charged with theft of $60,000 in the form of overtime pay. The overall end case is that she is ONLY BEING GIVEN PROBATION for 3 years and she pays the city back in restitution. SERIOUSLY?!?!?! If this were you or I, this would be a whole different ball of wax. Understandable that you or I are not the former Mayor, but still, this is a SLAP on the wrist at most. After she completes the probation, she then can have the record expunged off of her record as if it had never happened. REALLY?!?!
This fine she has to pay in restitution is nothing to her. $10k for her is like us buying a really nice thing for ourselves. Maybe a $1,000 thing that we can pay for over time very easily, but still. The woman had an affair with her head of security and pays the man overtime? Are you kidding me? This is where I will lose the ‘progressive’ people. I have a SERIOUS ISSUE with the fact that this lady had an affair as a PUBLIC official and then continued on in her position for like 3 or 4 weeks and acted as of nothing had happened. As if she didn’t ruin her husband’s life or as if the fact she knew that she had paid overtime to her head of security while having the affair.
The worst part about it, is the fact that she laughed at the press conference. She laughed, as if she knew that she had gotten away with it and was getting off with just a slap on the wrist. I listened to a friend of mine’s podcast (Blame Your Brother, Episode 82) and I have to agree with David B… The lady is showing no remorse in this situation. It’s as if she knows that tricked all of the city of Nashville with her ‘good work’ that she has been doing over the last few years and doesn’t even care that she is wrong on two levels. Check out her mugshot from below and again, I agree with Dave on this one… That smile. I just want to smack that smug smile off of her face.
I just have a hard time with it, because she knew it was going to become a public piece of information and she knew good and well that she wasn’t going to have to stick around in booking very long. This is not the face of a lady who is remorseful or someone who has learned her lesson in any shape form or fashion.
I have read so many defenders of this lady because of ‘all the good’ she did for this town. I’m not debating that and I honestly don’t even really care. I have heard a few times over, that people like me are ‘prudes’ because we feel that a public figure should be better than us, that they should live to a higher standard. This is why we vote you in. You are supposed to be an example to the people of your city of what should be done, not what everyone else does. That alone in itself is what I have heard over and over. “We all do it. She shouldn’t be crucified for having an affair.”
NO. JUST NO. NO WE ALL DONT DO IT. Just because you have been married two or more times or you see that a general number of people around you are the same way, doesn’t mean we all do it. You only say that because that is what you chose to expose yourself to with the friends you chose to be around you. You chose NOT to be better and chose only to have friends who are like you or worse, so you don’t have to feel bad about what you are doing. People who don’t want to have their wrongs shown or brought to light, don’t hang around people who aren’t doing what they are doing, because they don’t want to feel bad about what they are doing. Yes, I basically repeated myselfy there, but it bears repeating.
I find that I like to hang around people who are better than me, so that I can make myself better or strive to be better. I like to be competitive and see who can do better. I want to be a better person. This, again, is where I lose a lot of people. I understand that most people don’t care or don’t want to be better and I can’t change that, but I also can’t change who I am, so I can’t agree with you on the fact that “we all do it”, because “we” don’t.
I just feel that if we elect a public figure, they need to better than us, so that we have someone to look up to. Someone to be the example of what we need to be. In some aspects, I can agree that is what this Mayor was. I just can’t agree to feel bad for her or try to overlook her “sins” for all the good she did. She deserves way more than that she is getting, because of ot were you or me and we removed the title of Mayor and we stole $11,000 and helped someone else steal $60,000, we would never see the light of day again.
That’s my rant and if you made it this far..I appreciate it.
Shout out to the Blame Your Brother podcast. Check them out at Bybpod.com for other cool topics and things to talk about. They have a YouTube channel and stream live every Thursday night.
My last post was the beginning of mining at home with Ethereum and also with my cloud mining efforts with Genesis Mining. I wanted to do an update since then, just so I could see for myself what my efforts have brought me and just to report to the world, how it is going in the world of mining. So the first thing I want to cover, is the fact that the mining at home, in it’s current state, has gotten quite expensive, if you have not already gotten into it and bought the hardware needed to mine. Typically, people want to buy a GPU with a certain number of Gigabytes for mining, and right now, the cost per GB has gone up severely. When I made my first post, about the card that I purchased, it was running $299.99. I even was able to go back, a few weeks later, when they dropped the price to $269.99 and get my $30 back on the price difference.
Well, things have changed. If you look at the XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB card that I got, it is now over $500 to purchase now. Miners have caused the cost of graphics cards to go up significantly. I actually shared a news article about this whole phenomenon from Tech Radar a few weeks ago. With this push back, it looks like makers like Nvidia have asked retailers to make sure that no one is walking out with more than 2 graphics cards at a time. If you look at the current cost of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition 8GB, it can vary in range from about $380 (IF YOU CAN FIND IT)all the way up into the thousands!
This has changed some people’s mind about purchasing cards right now, due to the fluctuation in the cost of entry for getting just one card. Such is the law of supply and demand, though. I highly recommend against it at this current writing of this article, but it could change in the near future, with all that Nvidia is working on for their machine learning and computer vision projects they are working on for their autonomous car driving aspirations they are trying to reach. Only time will tell though.
At Home Mining
So, let’s get back to my at home rig that I have been running for a few weeks now. Remember, I just got started in November, so there is a little bit of difference in these. Previously, with the cost of Ethereum, I was getting anywhere between $1.25 and a $1.50 a day. Since I last wrote, Ethereum has now broken the $1,000 level and has stayed above that for the most part and now I am getting over $2 a day. Which is GREAT! So let’s start off with what I got from November. The mining pool that I started with, required that you be at a certain minimum before you were able to cash out, which was 0.05 ETH. I say was, because they tweeted out, that starting on December 1st, 2017, they would start cashing out anything above 0.02 and from then on, they would cash you out if you have not cashed out in the last days.
As you can read from my last post, I was able to start cashing out on December 2nd, 2017 and every week after that, since then. I would say it has been pretty much on schedule, every Monday since, except for when I recently changed my request to put my mining efforts into my Exodus wallet instead of my Coinbase wallet. Now it looks like I will get my efforts on Sundays instead. Either way, let’s take a look at what I have been getting. Keep mind, that the USD comparison, is for the exact worth at the point of deposit. Since Ethereum is traded daily, that worth is volatile and changes the instant it was deposited. All of that, aside, here you go:
This means that since I have started, I have mine’d 0.2373437528 of ETH with a cost of $173.31 (calculated, not actual current trade rate). That means that there is a difference of $96.68 in the 9+ weeks that I have had it. Meaning, I should be well on my way of having the card paid off, in less than 7 weeks from this writing, if I use a low average of $15 a week. You can see the price change over, week by week. For instance, you can see that the week of 12/11, I deposited 0.033* and only got $16.12 for it. Where as of this last Sunday, because the cost per ETH has shot up over $1,100, that same $16 is only 0.014* ETH.
One thing has changed sine I last wrote as well. Previously, I did not factor in the cost of electricity. This time, I sort of can. Since I started this in November, I was able to see the bill from October to November, jump up from $90 to $120. Luckily, I did not have to pay any of the first month’s electricity. Then I saw the month of December jump up to $180, so I offered to pay half of the bill, since I did not purchase the kW monitor for this PC. Then for January, it went up to $256, so I offered to pay $125 of the bill. So I have paid $215 out in electricity, but I just can’t give you a really good, ACTUAL per unit cost, due to the fact I am just guesstimating and volunteering to pay 1/2 of the electric bill. Remember though, I can tell you, it is still roughly $0.10-$0.11 USD for electricity here. So right now, I am still “in the hole” on the card, but it should start coming through very soon.
The other thing I have been able to see though, is a slight drop in my mining hashrate. I was typically getting about 20 MH/s on average, but that has recently dropped to 19. Which is odd and because I don’t really research it, I don’t know if it is my card getting worse, or if the traffic on the ETH network is getting more and more and thus making it more difficult to mine, I have no clue. I keep a close eye on my mining from anywhere I am though. I can always watch my efforts on the Ethermine website either at the old site or the new Beta site.
I have been using my mining efforts to do more trading on Binance and HitBTC to get other forms of cryptocurrency like Cordana, Ripple and Ark. So my actual total sum, isn’t the total sum anymore. I have moved some of it over, but for the last 2 weeks, I have kept the balance and just added it to my Exodus wallet. You can check out my balances on both of these trading platforms, as of this writing here:
I continue my cloud mining contract with Genesis Mining (Affiliate code for all Genesis Mining users:K8MO34 ) as well, but it isn’t as lucrative, since I bought in at such a low hash rate. My zCash continues to grow, but I am currently sitting at just under $13 USD since I started it. With my ETH contract, I am currently sitting at just under $10 USD with it. This is a continual thing though, like a slow leaky faucet that I put in $80 USD on, so it is nice to see the outcome each day. The only thing with Genesis is, with ETH, they “claim” there are “fee” issues where the costs are too high to cash out, so you have to actually wait until your ETH meets 0.075. I am currently sitting at 0.0086854. With an average of 0.00016* coming out each day, it will be about 1.5 years before I actually get the payout. Which is completely annoying, because I can send my above mentioned mining efforts of either 0.01 or 0.02 ETH every single week!
The biggest problem, isn’t Genesis Mining. It is me and the fact I got the cheapest mining contract they had, because I just wanted to try it out. If I were so inclined, I could have bought more power, or soon to be, buy more power. They recently announced a pre-order that I can make if I want, but the minimum purchase is just over $1,500 USD! Now, I am currently only at 1 MH/s in the contract I am in with Genesis for my ETH. It was roughly $80 USD. So, to go up to 40 MH/s and not have to pay 40x the cost, I guess is a deal, but I just don’t have that kind of money (extra) to buy in right now.
With zCash, I have been getting, every 3rd day or so, about 0.001 to 0.0011 every time. This is a little bit nicer, since the fees are a lot smaller, I actually get my cash out, every third day. Even though I have been mining at 25 H/s, instead of MH/s, like with ETH, I am able to get “real” payouts without having to wait. The biggest issue I have with Genesis though, is the fact that I can only purchase whatever they have available for contracts. I assume this is because of their own build outs. They physically have to be able to afford to buy more equipment before being able to sell cloud mining contracts. Either way, I just don’t see it being worth the money, unless you don’t have the knowledge or money to get into building your own mining rig.