Friday, 26 October 2012

In early 2006, after years of progressively worsening chronic pain due to a damaged lower back, I had surgery to remove the lumbar disc at the L5/S1 level of my lower spine. The failed disc was replaced with a new device – a three-piece metal joint called the Kineflex Lumbar Disc – which was under FDA study as an alternative to fusing the two bones together.

The artificial joint, which is made of a strong, durable cobalt chromium alloy (and should last longer than I do, I am told) maintains the natural movement of the back and that joint, where a fusion locks that joint up and grows the two bones together into one. In theory, the result is better overall since a fusion results in transferring the load and movement (and resulting wear and tear) to the adjacent joints.

The stuff that didn’t work…

This all came to pass after repeated attempts at less-invasive therapy and surgical procedures. From medication to physical therapy, then on to anti-inflammatory steroid injections (hot topic these days) and surgical procedure called a microdiscectomy, the pros tried many different approaches (and I suffered through even more pain and troubles) before we eventually settled on serious surgery. And even then it was still a tough decision.

Looking back on it now, I really waited too long before pulling the trigger each step of the way. Too long to go to the doctor in the first place, too long to get the first steps of treatment, and too long to get to a spine orthopedic specialist. I was beyond miserable, barely able to get on my feet (and sometimes unable to get up off the floor). I was quite literally in constant pain, and my mind and body had compensated – as the brain tends to do – by tuning out all but the worst of it from conscious awareness. But pain is still pain, and the lack of sleep and physical consequences of always compensating for it were just too great and went on for too long. By the time I had the ADR surgery, it was well past time to do something.

The surgery…

My doctor – Dr. Reginald Knight, who I hear now practices medicine somewhere on the east coast – Was awesome. I went up to Seattle and met with him. He evaluated me and determined surgery was the best remaining option in my case. He offered up the medical trial device as an option to fusion of the joint. In fact, it was a lottery-style program: I would either get the Kineflex device or another artificial disc, and I would not know which until after the surgery (since they were randomly and blindly assigned).

It was a pretty heavy duty procedure, known as an anterior approach (good description here), which involved cutting me open below my belly button and moving all my guts and stuff out of the way in order to get access to my spine from the front. Then they cut the ligaments along the joint, removed the badly damaged disc (a shock-absorbing-like structure between the vertebrae) and replaced it with the artificial disc. That process consisted of cutting some slots in the bone, spreading the joint out, and sliding the new artificial joint in place. Then they sewed me back up.

As I wrote about at the time, the first few days were pretty rough. But quickly I started to heal and within a few weeks I was getting better and better. Within an month and a half, I was travelling internationally and was well on the way to being “normal” again.

Life after the surgery…

I wrote about my status a year later, and commented on how much better things had become. Since that time, my back has only improved. I regularly ski and do anything I want. In fact, 99% of the time I forget I have the artificial disc at all. For a year or so after the surgery I would get some odd joint clunks and pops, but over time my body has adjusted and anymore it’s just part of me. Everything else seems to have aligned and adjusted.

When doing heavy-impact sports, such as skiing on icy or very hard surfaces, the jarring motion on my back can cause some inflammation. I have to watch out for that. But it’s more of an aggravation than a problem. I just have to remember that there’s no more shock absorber there – It’s all hard metal now. Once a joint is damaged as badly as mine was, you’ll never be 100% better I think, but I am consistently 90-95% like new, and that’s something I’m grateful for.

Common questions…

There are a few things people ask me about regularly, so I’ll list those here with some answers.

Q:  How do you deal with airports? Do you set off metal detectors or get into trouble on those new millimeter-wave scanners?

A:  No problems at all. The metal is non-ferrous, so it doesn’t set off magnetic sensors, and the millimeter-wave scanners look at surface items, not into your body. So I’ve had no issues at all, not even once. And I fly commercially a lot.

Q:  What restrictions did your doctor place on you, and for how long?

A:  Now every patient will get specific instructions from his/her doc, but mine were clear: My doc told me that I had missed out on enough life, and that I needed to follow some common sense rules post-surgery about not bending over or lifting anything for a couple weeks (mostly aimed I think at making sure my incision healed without tearing), but within a few weeks he told me it was time to get out and do whatever I wanted. If it was uncomfortable, I’d know not to go there. But, he said, no restrictions (literally) and that was it. I took him at his word and went to Germany for work, where I climbed the 400+ stone steps to the Heidelberg castle and walked mikes and miles.

Q:  Have you placed any restrictions on yourself?

A:  Since the trip to Germany in 2006, I’ve done nothing but stay active with skiing, boating, jet skiing and a variety of other crazy, stupid activities. I did give up my motorcycle, however (the street bike, not the dirt bike hah – I still have that one!). I found that when I rode it I was focused on what could happen to my back if I was in a motorcycle accident. If that joint was damaged, fixing it would not be much of an option. I’d rather not take that chance and I found that the mental distraction was not exactly safe, either. So that’s the one thing I gave up. For now, anyhow. :)

Q:  Are there dangers and side effect of the surgery?

A:  All major surgery has risk. Anesthesia, bleeding problems – these are real any time someone goes under the knife. In particular this procedure has some risk related to blood vessel damage, since there are some key vessels to watch out for. In addition, there’s a risk of possible nerve damage that men especially should be aware of, since it can affect fertility and – well – let’s just call it “plumbing operations.” You can look it up if you like. Sometimes the damage is self-correcting over time, other times it’s permanent. Don’t avoid talking about the possible issues there. While it’s rare and occurs in a very small percentage of cases, once a guy is affected he is 100% affected - and probability just isn’t relevant at that point.

Past writings for people who are interested…

For people who are looking for information, or for anyone who cares to read back in time stalker-style (hah), I documented my surgery experience and early recovery, plus my one year results, here on this site:

I also documented the mess of different things the docs tried, but which failed – much of the stuff that led up to the major surgery:

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Kineflex Artificial Disc Surgery | Personal Stories
Friday, 26 October 2012 12:46:34 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 06 June 2012

A topic I always enjoy... I post this with the hope that you’ll be able to take something from it as a message to carry to others.

You may have heard that apparently the LinkedIn password list consisting on 16.5 million passwords was stolen and a table of hashed password values has been posted online. You may have received emails from concerned people you know, intended to let you know about the issue. And while it’s a good idea to change your password now, I wanted to take the opportunity to expand on the topic a bit.

One message I consistently try to send is that it’s *always* a good idea to change your passwords regularly to protect against threats such as this and others.

This specific case (as the info is exposed today) doesn’t represent an immediate broad threat for LinkedIn accounts, beyond the ability to potentially build a library of valid passwords sans usernames. But, there is enough information exposed to suggest a need to take reasonable action. In this case, the leaked info is a hashed (encrypted weakly but non-reversible) password list. The version of the list posted online contains only the hashed password values and not the associated user names or email addresses. However, the bad guys could possess that additional info, and just not be releasing it. Yet. We don’t know.

“Hashed” means you cannot simply unencrypt the list and see the actual passwords. Instead you’d have to create your own list or library of possible passwords, create hashes for all of those, and then compare the resulting hashes to the stolen password hash list to find any matches. At that point, you’d know that you have a valid password for *someone’s* account on LinkedIn, but you would not know whose account the password it is associated with (since the login emails were not posted). But again, that account login/email info might be held by the bad guys who posted the hash list, there’s no way to tell for sure.

If the bad guys also have the account names/email addresses, the real risk is that they would do a dictionary discovery “attack” against the hashed password list, correlate the resulting validated passwords to the respective email addresses (LinkedIn uses your email address as the login name) and then use those credentials to try to access LinkedIn -- as well as to attempt to access other sites/services where people might (and likely do) use the same login credentials.

So, yes. Change your passwords, not only on LinkedIn but also on other sites where the same user name and password are used. But do it because it’s always been a good thing to do, not just when credential theft scares happen to come up. And also know that an actual readable list of Linkedin passwords and other login credentials have not been posted in the wild -- at least not yet.

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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 16:18:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 14 November 2011

All I can say is thank goodness, finally… Google has announced phone-based support for its Google Apps for Business customers. Not that I need to ask for help too often (although I’ve wanted to a couple times, and the email assistance was quick enough to be useful one time), but when I do need help – I really *need* help. So, having a place to call, and a person to talk to until an issue is resolved is a good thing to have. If you’re paying for a service, you expect some form of support specific to your problem and your use of the service. So, great to see that Google is offering phone support now for people who pay for Google Apps.

One former colleague of mine pointed out that this is a good thing “only if it’s good support.” To which I responded, “One thing at a time. No option for good support until there's someone to get it from. Baby steps. Although I'm sure it's "in beta" hahah.” I mean hey, this *is* Google!

Information about accessing Google Support can be found on the Enterprise Support page. The new phone support options offered are:

Business and Education editions, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day

  • U.S. Technical Support: 1-877-355-5787
  • International Technical Support: 1-404-978-9282
  • For local international phone numbers, please visit the Support tab in your control panel.
Tip: Help us provide you with faster answers by creating a case before you call, and have your Customer PIN and case number handy.

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Monday, 14 November 2011 11:15:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 24 October 2011

A few weeks ago a friend and I installed a kit full of micro vortex generators (VG’s) on the wings and tail section of my airplane, a 1975 Piper Cherokee Warrior PA28-151, N639MR. As I described in some detail before, the VG’s modify the flow of the air over the surfaces of the wings, making the air “stick” better, resulting in smoother air flow and better air flow where it’s needed – over the control surfaces at the trailing edge of each wing.

Micro Vortex Generators on Piper Cherokee Warrior PA28-151Well, I’ve now flown the plane several times since installing the VG’s and the results are in:  It’s truly amazing the difference they make.

In a nutshell, here are the results of the modification. I’ll start out with takeoff, talk about in-flight changes, and then finish up with benefits at landing time.

  • From the beginning, the plane gets off the ground sooner. A lot sooner, in fact. And it doesn’t need as much airspeed to initially get into the air. That translates into shorter ground roll and a much sorter takeoff. I’ll have to measure it to see exactly what the distances are.
  • The plane climbs faster. In situations where I used to get 500 feet per minute I often now get 600-700. In those situations where I used to get 700-750 feet per minute, it’s not unusual to get 800-1000. And if I want to convert some airspeed to altitude, pulling back and riding it up is fast and fun.
  • The airplane is faster in cruise flight. Truly faster. You’d think that adding nearly 200 metal tabs to the flying surfaces of the wings and tail would create drag and reduce top speed, but nope. Apparently the improved airflow over the wing is a great tradeoff – Add a little bit of drag as a result of adding the VG’s, but reduce overall drag over the wings and tail thanks to improved laminar airflow. Net result is higher airspeeds at the same engine RPM.
  • Related to that, I can now fly at a cruise speed around 120 mph at a lower RPM than before, which translates into burning slightly less fuel going cross-country. It used to be a real chore to get the plane up to 120 mph in cruise and maintain it there at 2500rpm. But now it’s often flying well over 120mph even at 2400 rpm. That 100rpm difference makes a real dent in fuel consumption, believe it or not. And if I want to fly at around 115 miles an hour, the difference in RPM required is even greater. So, I can get there faster on the same fuel as before, or take my time and burn even less.
  • In flight, one of the critical tests you put an airplane through when you are becoming familiar with the way it flies is aerodynamic (wing) stalls. Needless to say, I have been stalling this plane more times in the past few weeks than is typical as I get to know the new flight characteristics. Again, the difference is substantial: It’s almost impossible to get it to drop it’s nose and stall, one wing or two. In power-on stalls, much of anything beyond a buffet is very difficult to make happen. It just keep on flying and buffeting along at 44 miles an hour or even slower -- which is a lot slower than it used to stall before the VG's. In a power-off stall configuration I’ve flown it in a slight headwind down to 40mph indicated airspeed, and all it really wants to do is drop the nose a little then and keep flying. I literally flew it power-off at 45mph in a buffet for half a minute, no stall. Of course, eventually it will drop, but it sure hangs in there, and loses very little altitude. Compared to before the VG’s, stall speed is at least 5 mph lower, probably more like 7-8 mph less.
  • The control surfaces respond quickly, sharply and with authority in flight. I thought the plane rolled left and right pretty quickly before the VG modification, but it’s much cleaner and more responsive now. Similarly, although not as important or pronounced at cruise speeds, pitch changes happen quickly and yaw is solid with good authority thoughout.
  • Steep turns (45-degree bank or more) are so much more fun now. The plane carves and holds it’s altitude in steep turns, and is so easy to control you just have to wonder if you jumped in the wrong plane by mistake… Nope, this is my plane. Okay, cool. :)
  • As a final note regarding in-cruise flight, the plane generally feels much smoother and more solid moving through the air. It's hard to explain, but it's noticeable when you fly.
  • The rest of the major differences are seen when preparing for landing and during the landing itself. This phase of flight is so different than pre-VG’s that some people will tell you that you'll have to learn to land all over again, and they’re right. At lower the speeds flown in preparation for landing, the control surfaces respond much more sharply and with more authority than before the VG’s. Not only that, the plane simply won’t descend as quickly anymore. It just wants to fly. So, careful reduction of speed to under 80 mph is needed to make sure you’re descending soon and fast enough in the landing pattern.
  • Landing pattern turns are clean and sharp. The sluggish, slightly-mushy sort of feeling is associated with rudder at the slower speeds in turns and when slipping on approach is gone.
  • In the landing flare, one simply must pay attention and fly the airplane slower than used to be the case, since the plane just floats along over the runway like nobody’s business if you’re too fast. Cherokees – especially the tapered wing models like the warrior – are kind of famous for floating, but now the effect is VGs - how they work - from Micro Aerodymanicseven more pronounced. In fact, I’m flying almost 10 miles per hour slower over the numbers at the approach end of the runway than before I installed the VG's, and the plane settles to the runway at a substantially lower speed than before - and quite a bit below the lower end of the white arc. Makes for some smooth, short, nose-high landings – which is great.
  • One of the chief complaints some people have about Cherokees at landing time, when the plane is slow, is that the rudder (which controls yaw, or the direction the nose is pointing) and the stabilator (which controls pitch, or how high or low the nose is pointing) lose their effectiveness. With the tail section VG’s installed and the improved flow of the air over these surfaces at landing time, rudder and stabilator authority is much improved in a very noticeable way.

So, is it worth the time and money? I spent almost $1500 on the kit and a couple evenings installing them (under the supervision and with the approval of my IA). And the plane flies great – faster, more responsive to control inputs and more efficient, plus a longer glide and the capability of going to and departing from noticeably shorter fields. The Warrior isn’t intended to be a back-woods airplane, but shorter-field capability is definitely welcome and valuable.

So, yes – It’s definitely worth it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Other items addressed lately by the aircraft shop include a new landing light – a Whelan LED model that will never burn out (which beats the heck out of 30-hour or so per halogen bulb) and a newly-rebuilt attitude indicator (the gyro had seen it’s better days, and was in desperate need of repair before I start my instrument training). Needless to say, I won’t be dumping any more money into the plane for a while (at least not voluntarily), since it’s emptied my wallet this summer, to be sure!

Related links:

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Aviation | Random Stuff
Monday, 24 October 2011 17:44:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 19 October 2011

What if I told you that you could now have Google voice working with an iPhone’s native phone and messaging apps -- much like you can with Android -- and that you don’t have to jailbreak or install the Google Voice iOS app to do it? Yep. Read on!

Last week I ordered an iPhone 4S from Sprint. That’s my carrier since I left AT&T well over a year ago, and I’ve been a Android user on Sprint since I made the move. But before that I was an avid iPhone owner, happy with the phone and reluctant to drop it. But AT&T woes finally forced my move. Now, for the record I like Android. One of the great benefits of an Android phone for me over the past year has been the fact that the Google Voice service can be built right in, native to the phone. For those not familiar, Google Voice (lots of info is available here) is a service that gives you “one phone number for life.” You give that one phone number to people, and that numbers is used to ring all your phones – cell phones, home phones, work phones, whatever – in whatever manner and schedule you choose. If you switch providers and get a new cell number or iphone4s-1home or work number, no worries. Just update your Google Voice account with your new or additional numbers, and you main GV number that you give out to everyone will ring the new ones, presto zappo bango. Google Voice also provides text messaging services and voice mail, accessible on a mobile phone via mobile web or a smartphone apps, as well as through a web browser on your laptop or desktop computer.

For quite some time an iPhone app has been available that one can install on the phone, which allows you to place calls, send text messages and get voicemail from your Google Voice account. But you have to do all of those things in the Google Voice app. So, it’s a little clunky – think of it as an extra, non-default phone dialer and text messaging app that sits alongside and kind of duplicates the purpose of your iPhone’s native dialing and messaging apps. In other words, to use Google Voice on the iPhone with the app, you have to use your iPhone differently.

But – thanks to Sprint and the fact that they now have the iPhone 4/4S in their inventory – we no longer need to use the Google Voice iPhone app and can get practically full functionality, using the apps that are native to the iPhone.

Problem? Solved!

Earlier this year, Sprint and Google announced they were joining forces (loosely) and providing the ability to integrate your Sprint wireless account with Google Voice in a manner that would allow you either to use your existing GV number as your mobile number, or alternatively to use your existing Sprint phone number as your Google Voice number. When you set the service up that way, Google Voice becomes your voice mail system and you get all the messaging and calling benefits of Google Voice, too. And, it works with all Sprint-branded mobile phones, not just Android – which is a real differentiator vs. the other wireless carriers.

The beauty of it all: You can set up Google Voice integrated with your Sprint account to both send and receive phone calls and text messages from the native iPhone app interfaces, without the need to jailbreak your phone to install third party apps/hacks, and without the need to install the Google Voice iOS app. People you call or send a text message to will see your Google Voice number in caller ID or as the message sender. Voice mail access works a little differently, but we’ll cover that in a bit.

google-voice-cartoon-logoFor discussion purposes to try simplify things, I’m going to refer to this integrated-Google-Voice-Sprint-Account customer experience as “Sprint Integration” for the remainder of this post.

It’s also probably worth pointing out that there are a couple of practical limitations (which are in no way related to the iPhone) that some people run into when setting up their Sprint Integration.

  • First of all, if you have a Sprint calling plan that is business-liable (as opposed to a personal phone account), the integration is not supported or enabled. Some individual Sprint customers own their own phones and pay their own bills, but because they got an employer’s corporate discount or similar situation their account is actually flagged as a business account. That should be pretty simple to fix in most cases with a call to Sprint customer service. But just know that actual business accounts are not eligible.
  • In addition, if you’ve set up phone call or SMS blocking or filtering through Sprint, you won’t be able to integrate your line with Google Voice until you disable those features in your Sprint account -- but note that Google Voice can usually enable you to do effectively the same thing.

So, how do I make this work?

It’s actually pretty simple. I won’t go into every single detail here, but I will cover the basics. I’m going to assume you can set up a Google Voice account, and if you need more information use the links above to learn everything you need to know.

Okay. First of all, there are a few things you need to make this work:

  1. An iPhone 4 or 4S provided by Sprint (no, this process can’t and won’t work with an AT&T or Verizon iPhone).
  2. A Sprint plan that is not a corporate/business plan. Family plans are fine, as long as they are not a business-liable plan.
  3. No call or text blocking/filtering configured in your Sprint account.
  4. A Google Voice account (they’re free) that has a phone number already assigned (in other words, not just the GMail-based “Google Voice Lite” thing – upgrade if necessary).
  5. About 15 to 30 minutes of free time.

To start, once you have logged into your Google Voice account, you’ll need to go to the Settings menu (by clicking the gear icon on the GV screen, over in the upper right area). Then navigate to the “Phones” section of the Google Voice settings. Here you’ll see any forwarding phones you’ve already set up in Google Voice.

A side note: If you already have another Sprint phone line set up in Google Voice with Sprint integration enabled, you cannot set up a second Sprint-integrated line on the same GV account. That’s not really documented anywhere, so I found this out the hard way since my Android phone was already fully integrated before I got my iPhone. So, when I added the iPhone to my Google Voice account I wasn’t even given the option to enable the Sprint integration. What this means is that if you already have one Sprint phone integrated, you’ll either need to disable the Sprint integration on that line or use a different Google Voice account to set up your new Sprint number on. I had troubles deactivating the Sprint integration on my Android phone, so had to search down help from both Sprint and Google so it could be manually deprovisioned. Hopefully you won’t run into that problem - but let me know if you do and I will try to point you in the right direction…

If the Sprint number you want to integrate has not already been added to your configured phones in Google Voice, you’ll need to do that now: At the bottom of the list of configured calling devices (phones, GMail chat, etc.) is a link you can click to “Add another phone.” Follow the simple instructions, enter the codes it promts you to use, and in a minute or three you’ll have your Sprint mobile SprintIntegrationGoogleVoicephone number set up and working in Google Voice is basic mode. You’re not completely done yet, but you’re close. For now, make a call from another phone to your Google Voice number and validate that your newly-added phone rings, just to verify everything is working properly. Remember: Test often, and at each step. It’s a good habit to get into when it comes to “mashing up” multiple computer/technology systems.

Next, take a look at the entry for your iPhone in the GV Phones list (in Settings). You should find a Sprint logo on the screen, next to the nickname you gave your iPhone phone, as well as a link that says “Check eligibility for Sprint integration.” Click on that link.

You’ll need to choose between the two available options: Do you 1) want your Sprint mobile number to become your new Google Voice number, or do you 2) want to replace your Sprint mobile number with your GV number? If everyone has and knows your Sprint phone number, then you can choose option one, so you don’t have to distribute a new phone number to everyone. But, if you’ve already given your Google Voice number out to people who need to reach you, you’ll choose option two like I did. The net effect of that choice in the end will be that when you place calls and send messages from your Sprint phone, the recipient of the call or text message will see your Google Voice number in Caller ID and on the text message. And that’s really the point.

So -- Make the choice appropriate for your situation, then wait patiently for several seconds while the Google Voice communicates in the background with Sprint. Before you know it both companies’ systems will be provisioned to handle your calls all mash-up-cyborg-app style. If successful, you will see a message that tells you:

Your Sprint number, (000) 000-0000 is now integrated with Google Voice.
Calls and text sent from this phone will display your Google Voice number.
Your Sprint voicemail has been replaced with Google voicemail.
International calls from this phone will be placed through Google Voice.

Now you’ll probably want to set up a voice mail greeting in Google Voice if you don’t already have one (or just use the generic default if you prefer (yuck)).

Testing, testing…

Your next step should be to place a phone call to a number that’s not attached to a Google Voice account (like a friend’s cell phone) and verify that the caller ID shows the correct number.

Next, make sure “Receive text messages on this phone” is checked in the Google Voice setting for your line, and then send a text message to a non-GV phone to make sure it’s sent using the correct number.

Note: It’s actually important to use non-Google-Voice phones for these test calls and text messages, since GV can recognize when one GV enabled phone is communicating with another GV number, and will sometimes try to be “helpful” and modify the normal process of displaying Caller ID data.


If the proper phone number is displayed on calls and text messages sent from the iPhone native Phone and Messages apps, and if your iPhone rings when someone calls your Google Voice number, you’re all set!

What about voice mail?

The only thing that won’t work natively in the iPhone apps in this configuration is visual voice mail. Since the iPhone’s visual voice mail app doesn’t recognize Google Voice from the voice message perspective, you have a couple choices here:

  1. Configure Google Voice in your browser to email you link to any voice mails (on the Voicemail & Text tab in Settings), and/or
  2. Check the box in the list for your integrated phone (on the Phones tab in Settings) to enable Google Voice send you a text message when a new voice mail is received

Compatibility, continued…

This integration works – as I started to explain earlier – with any “Sprint branded” phone. That doesn’t mean phones that have a Sprint logo painted on them, but rather refers to phones provided under contract by Sprint that operate on the Sprint CDMA network (not Nextel, nor the other carriers that piggyback on Sprint’s network). And, just to be clear one last time, Sprint is the only current service option for native integration of Google voice on an iPhone as described here. So, if you have AT&T or Verizon, sorry pal… No native app integration for you, at least not yet. You’ll just have to use the Google Voice iOS app, which you can download free from the Apple App Store.

And honestly -- If you’re thinking about getting an iPhone 4 or 4S and are leaning toward Verizon or AT&T – stop and consider this:

  • Sprint’s mobile service costs less than both Verizon’s and AT&T’s
  • Sprint’s plan actually allows unlimited data usage, while Verizon’s is capped – as is AT&T’s
  • When Sprint customers roam, it’s free of charge – and it’s on Verizon’s network (!)
  • Dropped calls? Not in my experience, which is a far cry from what I dealt with on AT&T…
  • Did I mention Sprint’s service costs less?

So – lower cost, you get to use the other guy’s network for free when needed, and no data caps. Sure, download speeds *might* be marginally slower here and there (and even that’s a debatable point), but there’s one more benefit you should know about: Sprint lets you sign up, get the phone and service, and try it our for 14 days. If you don’t like it, cancel your service and return the phone in good and complete condition where you bought it, and you’ll walk away with a refund for the price of the device and any early termination fee you paid. You will pay for the service you used and probably for the activation fee as well (unless you cancel service within the first 3 days), but nothing more.

If I sound like a Sprint commercial, trust me - I’m not. I’m just a customer that likes my wireless provider – and for what it’s worth, I’m a pretty darn picky customer.

Got questions about the Sprint iPhone integration with Google Voice? Post them in the comments and where it makes sense, I’ll update this post with details I may have missed. And be sure to share your iPhone integration success stories as well!

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Android | Apple | Google Voice | Mobile | Tech
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 23:40:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 13 October 2011

Siri is coming to the iPhone 4S on Friday, and already people are starting to discover the Apple virtual assistant has a but of a sense of humor.

To chronicle and record for humorous posterity all the unusual, funny, shocking or otherwise interesting crap Siri comes up with, I have created Darn Your Siri - - where anyone can post their funny Siri screenshots there, too - just go to the submission page. That name seemed a little less inappropriate than something like "shit Siri says" but I see that's also a site someone fired up. Of course they did! :)

To take a screen grab of any iPhone screen, hold down the home/round button while at the same time clicking teh power/sleep/wake button on top. The resulting screen grab JPG file is saved in your photo gallery on the iPhone.

I'll be seeing what all Siri has to say soon, when my phone arrives from Sprint on Friday.

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Apple | Humor | Mobile | Tech
Thursday, 13 October 2011 18:19:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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