Mini Cell Phone Towers and the Future of Mobile Apps

A strange thing happened on the way to a Technology Review keynote the other day. Four like-minded panelists unveiled their favorite gadgets; and before you jump to any conclusions, it was neither the iPad nor the super-awesome new iPod Touch (which I prefer to call the iPad Mini).

No–as it turns out each one of the panelists exhibited varying portable base stations used to boost wireless signals.

It’s no surprise that we’re aggravating ourselves toward a mentality of instant gratification and southern-style “demanding” of “satisfaction,” however, how many of us would go the extra step to further clutter our already massively cluttered landscape and rooftop scenes with more towers and machinery? All of us? That’s correct.

Wi-Fi and signal strength can be very unforgiving and frustrating for anyone who is used to enjoying rapid-paced internet and phone service in their equally rapid-paced Starbuck’s-fueled lives. One moment we’re enjoying the unprecedented speed of a mobile application for…well…let’s say…the iPod Touch, or any cell phone. The next minute you’re lost in an unrelenting sea of No Service. Sure, you could stand outside of a coffee shop, desperately pacing back and forth trying to pick up their signal, or you could introduce yourself to the Future.

Actually, we’re already there…and we might be able to un-clutter our landscapes and rooftops at the same time. Qualcomm’s senior vice president unveiled a portable femtocell base station that generates a signal over a 10 meter radius–and it’s about the size of a TV remote.

Imagine these bad boys simply planted around the city, or office, hidden in plants or trees, scattered about public parks, and now imagine them to have almost limitless signal strength and reach for miles and miles. OK, now you’re dreaming too big…for now.

The corporate head honchos expect to see a gigantic spike in cell phone use over the next five years. Alice White, a vice president at Bell Labs, expects that 40% of phones will be smart phones simultaneously running any number of apps, and if something is not done to prepare for that kind of usage, consumers will be tearing out their hair–so to speak.

The wheels are in motion to begin planting these portable cell phone towers in key areas. If no power source is nearby, the devices can be rigged to run on solar power. Mmm…green.

If all goes according to plan, we will inevitably see a huge increase in the ability to view, create, and share large multimedia files with ease and peace of mind. According to a CEO at Sprint, “Wireless has been the fastest adopted technology in history. There are more cell phones in use today than TVs, PCs and cars combined.”

Femtocells are designed to fill in “coverage holes” that often occur in homes and small businesses, Jonathan Segel, executive director of Alcatel-Lucent’s CTO Group, noted during his EmTech presentation Wednesday about mobile apps. In addition, he pointed out that cities have begun to turn to “metro cells” (which provide a range of several kilometers…okay now you can start dreaming big again) to offload data traffic in densely populated areas.

The trend over time is for mobile phone cells to continue to shrink while providing better service to wireless users. “Because your phone isn’t having to shout [to reach a cell tower], your battery life is better,” according to Rupert Baines, vice president of marketing for picoChip, a maker of chips used in femtocells. “If the signal doesn’t have to go too far you’ll get better quality, you’re covering less people with each base station and each person is getting more capacity.” PicoChip recently introduced a new processor designed to boost even small portable base station signals so they can be used in a variety of public spaces, including shopping malls and airports.

GQ App Marks the Future for Magazines

GQ Magazine’s new iPhone app seems to offering a glimpse into the future of what we think of as a magazine. Released by Conde Naste, GQ’s Man of the Year issue is now available, in its entirety, as an app that you can purchase (for half the normal magazine price) from the iTunes store to be viewed on your new or refurbished cell phone. For an industry that has seen subscriptions steadily declining as web technology advances, this app should symbolize the leather used to re-tie the wagon to the horses.

The natural question to ask about a magazine app is, “How does it differ from just going to GQ’s website?” If you’ve ever gone to a magazine’s website, you know that the sites don’t give away all of the content from that month’s mag because if they did, there’d be no reason to buy the printed issue. The goal has been to give you a taste of each article to entice you to actually go buy a copy of the real thing. This GQ app marks a total change to the paradigm.

This GQ app actually is the magazine, which you can flip through on your touch screen just like a real magazine. It’s actually more than a magazine because all of it’s content is “live,” meaning that the advertisements now move and talk if you click on them, they’ll take you to their source. The release of this app makes me wonder why anyone would want to actually produce printed magazines anymore. Think about it; they can charge half the price of a printed copy because they’ve saved money on printing, warehousing, and shipping, and readers now get more out of the product because they can actually interact with it. In reality, apps like this save trees and reduce household clutter. It seems like a win-win situation. That being said, I can’t shake this lingering feeling that I will miss the actual pages in my hand. I mean, do I really want my iPhone on the toilet with me?

How To Fix a JVM 102 Error for Blackberry

Here at The Blue Dot, we often have customers contact us for assistance because they are getting a “JVM 102 Error” on their Blackberry cell phone. First of all, it is important to note that all cell phones, like all electronics, are prone to malfunctions so if you have important data on your device, you should be sure to frequently back it up on your computer. That being said, the JVM error means that a .code file on your phone is corrupt, so your device will not load the file. You can do a hard reset on the device, which will totally wipe the phone clean so that you can start over but if you do not want to lose everything on your device, you can follow the instructions below (I am pretty sure you can only do this on a PC).

Download the JL Cmder
Connect your device to your PC via USB cable
Run JL_Cmder and select option 2, which is the event log
Go to the bottom of the log and look for “JVM Error 102.” The line before it will tell you exactly what file is causing the error. Here is an example of what it will look like. The text in pink shows the corrupted file. Save the file name because it will be needed later but do not include the numbers in parenthesis.
Go to Start > Run, and type “cmd” then press Enter
Change directory to the JL_Cmder installation folder. EXAMPLE: type: cd “C:\Program Files\JL_Cmder\” and press enter
Type the following command to remove the offending file:
javaloader.exe -u erase -f FILENAME
(FILENAME is the name of the .cod file. NOTE – do not include the numbers in parenthesis after the file name)

Disconnect your phone from your PC and restart it.

Bluetooth Cell Phone Etiquette

Yes, cordless electronics are great. No one wants to get off the couch to change the channel or have to constantly duck and dodge a web of curly cord while they’re on their house phone. And, yes, being able to talk on your cell phone in your car without a cord dangling from your ear is great, but where in the hell did people get the idea that wearing a Bluetooth headset at all times is a cool thing to do?I consider myself a peaceful, logical, and generally accepting individual but when I see someone, obviously not talking to anyone, walking by with a hunk of blinking plastic hanging out of their ear, I am overcome with the urge to just smack the the thing off their face like a golf ball off a tee.

I mean, I understand that Bluetooth technology is great and that it’s very helpful to have use of both hands at all times, but how hard is it to keep the stupid looking thing in your pocket until you’re actually on the phone? It seems that people now feel that wearing a Bluetooth headset in your ear at all times has somehow become fashionable, but what I don’t understand is – according to whom? When asked about why giant fake diamond earring are cool, gelled up bros at the Jersey Shore can reference T.O. or the kids on Growing Up Gotti. And orange teenyboppers with sunglasses covering half of their faces have Lindsey Lohan and Nicole Ritchie to glorify as they regurgitate their cesar salads before fifth period. But who is the celebrity sporting their Bluetooth 24/7 that these people are imitating?

If famous people aren’t wearing Bluetooths, why do I feel like going grocery shopping is like being stuck in some Star Trek
convention? The devices aren’t expensive, so it can’t be a status symbol thing. Are there really that many doctors and drug dealers in my neighborhood who absolutely cannot miss a call?

There are now companies making “designer” Bluetooths for women that are supposed to look like big earrings. Great. Now there will be even more people standing behind me in the bank who I think are talking to me but are, instead, just on their invisible cellphone.
I admit, I have a Bluetooth, but I feel like an ass even using the thing in my car where it belongs. I think we need to come to a common understanding that hanging an electronic from your face is something that should be done as little possible in front of as few people as possible. America, trust me on this one.

Sprint Refurbished and Used Cell Phones

Take a look at our selection of Sprint Cell Phones: A fast data network needs fast cell phones, so make sure to bring your Blackberry or HTC cell phone from Sprint along for a speedy ride. HTC cell phones have a reputation for the most fully featured phones, so pair your HTC smart phone with a good network to make it count!

Anti-Theft Cell Phone Tips

It can be a scary world out there sometimes, and with the growing population of cell phone users, higher price tags and quick turn over it is no wonder cell phone theft is on the rise. Not just theft out of someones purse or when you leave it on a table. Straight grabbing it from your hand and running down the street theft. Blatant theft that is on the rise in places like Philadelphia. Last yea there were over 400 cell phone thefts reported on Philadelphia’s mass transit, up from 182 in 2008. What can you do to avoid being one of those numbers?

The best thing you can do is pay attention to your surroundings and not just stare at your phone all day long. This is much tougher on people who depend on their phone for business, but here are some tips for you mass transit riders out there.

Location Location Location

When you’re on a bus, train or trolley it’s easy to just take a seat or wrap your hand around a pole and text away. This is a big mistake if you just happen to be near the exit or on the outside aisle sitting down. If you’re in for a long ride, try to snag a seat by the window, even if you don’t like others sitting next to you. Chances are a thief won’t sit next to you, as grabbing your phone and then getting up may be just slow enough for you to catch him or her. Not only that, you now have a human shield between you and the inner aisles.

Standing by the exit with your head down and texting away is just as bad as leaving your purse or backpack open in a crowded room. You’re just inviting theft in your direction.

You’re Holding Your Phone Wrong
This is me grabbing my Razr, smaller phones will be much easier
When I go on mass transit or walk around I tend to grab my phone a specific way. I like to put my thumb on the right side of the phone, my index up top and my last three fingers along the left side. This kind of makes your hand into a claw like shape and makes your phone much more secure and harder to grab. The looser you hold your phone, the easier it is to nab. I know this can be annoying to some because many folks like to use one hand, typically their thumb, when using their phone. But if you’re going to pay attention to your phone for an extended period of time, it may be good to use both hands since you won’t be super mindful of your surroundings.

It’s Break Time

If you’re going for a walk, or just sitting around using your phone for a while, it may be best to stop what you’re doing and look up every few seconds. This will help you avoid running into someone, and keep you mindful of who is around you. You always want to be mindful of your surroundings, and the best advice I can give you in this instance is to just pocket your phone and worry about it later. But if you must, just take short breaks to keep a look out. You never know.

Police are still trying to find the best way to deal with cell phone theft as it is a rising trend that is difficult to stop. Cameras, GPS tracking in your phone, and reporting the ESN of your phone stolen is the best defense against these thieves. By reporting the ESN of your phone, which will be easy to acquire from your cell provider, you effectively make that phone useless, and very difficult to sell as a used cell phone. Carriers like AT&T make ESN blocking more difficult than Verizon, as they use SIM cards. But most carriers will have some system in place for this. GPS location is also not very reliable as not all GPS devices are equal in accuracy, nor will the perp keep the phone on to be tracked so easily. Security cameras on public transit costs money and never garuntees the person will be caught but there have been more installed to at least deter theft.

Just be careful out there! Smart phone use is on the rise, so it’s no surprise that theft of cell phones is also on the rise. I can’t say this enough though, just be mindful of your surroundings and you, and your phone, should be fine.

Mini USB Vs Micro USB Tutorial

One of the most frequent issues that we deal with in the world of refurbished cell phones is confusion about Mini USB chargers verses Micro USB chargers. Most cellular manufacturers are moving towards using a common charging/data port, and Mini USB and Micro USB ports are definitely the two most common choices at this time.
Mini USB – The Mini USB port has been the standard charging/data port for most phones produced over the past five years, especially for Blackberrys, HTC phones, and Motorola phones.
Micro USB – The Micro USB port is newer technology towards which many manufacturers seem to be moving. Micro USB ports can be found on the newest Blackberrys, Motorolas, Nokias, and Samsungs.

Adding to the Micro USB/ Mini USB confusion is HTC. Virtually all HTC phones use a mini-usb charger; however, the chargers that HTC provide are shaped slightly different than a standard mini-usb charger so that you cannot use an HTC charger with a different, say Blackberry, phone. Customers purchasing a replacement charger for an HTC phone should not be alarmed when they receive a Mini USB charger that does not look exactly like their original HTC charger.

Motorola Android Review

Since its recent release, the device that many are hailing as the newest “iPhone killer,” the Motorola Droid, has been getting some great reviews. If you haven’t already been moved to research the device from Motorola’s suspenseful ad-campaign for the Droid, the Droid is the newest smart phone from Motorola (on Verizion), and it is powered by Google’s Android 2.0 software. Apple’s iPhone has surely set the standard of what smart phones should do but if anyone can de-throne them, we’d put our money on Google.

The first thing that many hands on reviews of the device have reported is that it instantly feels very quick. Browsing menus and switching between applications is really fast, and it’s clear that the Android 2.0 platform is a big step up from its predecessors. In combination with its snappy processor, the Droid’s gigantic 3.7-inch display, containing over 400,000 pixels, makes web browsing easier than it has ever been. The impressive screen also displays impressive pictures from the Droids 5 mega-pixel camera, which has flash, zoom, and auto-focus. The Droid also records video of incredible quality as is shown in the review at engadget.Droid 2

Because the Droid runs Google’s Android software, it comes with Google Maps and Google’s navigation, built in and for free. The voice guided navigation looks really impressive and should definitely save you from having to buy a stand-alone navigation system. Motorola is offering a suction-cup window cradle for the Droid, which contains magnets allowing the Droid to automatically convert to Navigation Mode.

Another cool accessory for the Droid is the alarm clock cradle. When you insert the Droid into the cradle, the units combine to form a really nice looking alarm clock. If you’re like me, you use your phone as your alarm clock anyway, so this just makes it easier and more stylish.
The Droid also includes a 550MHz Texas Instruments OMAP3430 processor, separate PowerVR GPU, 256MB of RAM, CDMA Rev A., Wi-Fi, GPS, a digital magnetometer, accelerometer, proximity sensors, a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with dual-LED flash, notification LED, four touch-sensitive navigation buttons, a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard, 3.5mm headset jack, and a microUSB port.

The Rise Of Selfies

History has been made
The word selfie is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” If you are active in the social media world, you already knew that, right? Well this word has made history. Selfie has been appointed the word of year by the Oxford Dictionaries. While the concept of taking pictures of you for all to see but the popularity of this activity has grown exponentially in the last couple of years.

Celebrity Selfies
You and your friends are not the only ones that like to take selfies. There are several celebrities that take part in the practice on a regular basis. According to the popular social media website Twitter, the celebrity with the most selfies at a count of 121 to date, is Miley Cyrus. She is at the top of the list of the top 100 celebrities with Tyra Banks in the second spot with almost half as many. She has just 62 self taken shots. Kylie Jenner of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” has an astronomical 451 selfies on Instagram. President Barack Obama has the least amount of selfies. Of his 1,463 messages that contain photos or video, he has zero selfies. Other famous people such as Perez Hilton and rapper 50 Cent have also failed to get in on the selfie movement.

Get In On The Fun
The practice of taking selfies has become so popular that it has also changed the face of the technological industry. Most of the popular cellular devices today come with a front facing camera. It is quite awkward to use a rear facing camera to take pictures of yourself. Many of these photos boasted odd angles and photos that were not quite flattering. To combat this, the mirror pic became very popular. You know the ones in the bathroom that every selfie taker has posted at some point.

A front facing camera has fast become the best option to take flattering photos. Many smart phones now have the capacity to post these pictures directly to several social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These photos can often be posted on these sites simultaneously with the press of a button. Now it is easier than ever to get in on the selfie revolution.

There are even smart phone apps that are designed with the selfie in mind. Apps such as Snapchat are growing in number and popularity. There are also several apps that can enable you to edit the photos to change the colors and add different effects. Almost every cell phone carrier has phones available that are equipped with a front facing camera. These phones range in price with most of them being very reasonable. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to share your current situation photos with the world. Many tablets also boast the front facing camera option.

A Word To The WiseThe Rise Of Selfies
While taking and sharing selfies is great fun, there are a few things to remember. The internet is a vast place with little privacy. When taking your selfies, make sure that you don’t mind having these photos available to the public forever. Sure, you can erase them from your profiles but that does little when other people are tagged in your pics and they may have also shared your photos on their own pages.

Metro PCS Phone Activation Instructions

You are not in the stores best interest, since you did not purchase your phone from the store. Previous customers have told us that the store will make up various reasons why a phone is not working or will not activate then when calling the customer service number below, the phone works perfectly fine. Please also understand your local Sprint store may not be familiar with your phone. Some stores charge will also charge a fee to activate your device if the phone was not purchased from them

Let the customer service representative know you need to activate your new device. They will then prompt you to provide the ESN / MEID code and will walk you through the steps to activate your device. The process should take 15 minutes or less.

We guarantee our phones to be ready for activation with the carrier mentioned in the product description. In the unlikely event you have trouble activating the phone you purchased from us, please do not hesitate to contact us – we will gladly help you. We only receive about 5 out of every 1, 000 phones back to us for activation issues. We check the ESNs upon receiving them, but there are a number of reasons why a phone will not activate upon receiving the phone.