Absolutely make sure Huawei, ZTE isn’t a national security threat to us or more importantly developing nations with lesser, earlier generation technology, but after that we have bigger problems/barriers to wireless, internet, technology in general both brewing and worsening for decades.
All we have heard at minimum for the last going on 3 years is the potential danger posed by China’s ZTE and Huawei that they are, or at least could be using their cellphones and emerging domination of 5G network building to spy on America, leading western world powers, hiding backdoors into the software of their phones. Key problem, 5G will be much more software driven versus hardware driven despite the concerns about the potential eyesore of added boxes on existing phone towers and poles, new ones going up to accommodate the expanding market, making it much more vulnerable to subversive intrusions by bad actors, rouge nation states and anyone else with the skill to input hidden computing codes into their wide array of phones, computers, routers and technological accessories making these networks function sewing chaos at any moment well beyond the perceived subpar, lackluster programming skills of Americans. Questions honestly going back at least 6 years to 2012/2013 with congressional testimony on Capitol Hill from Chinese telecom companies about exactly what they were or where not doing clearly unsatisfying to lawmakers, already having faced lawsuits from competitors Sysco and Motorola in 2002 and 2010 respectively for what has long been a negative Chinese tradition of intellectual property theft putting in new light our government’s takeover in early 2019 of a lawsuit originally bought by T-Mobile for similar actions and better explaining the ‘show of force’ using top officials and a press conference to announce the charges. Tech analyzers at the Wall Street Journal circa 2012 supporting congress at that time saying if they were doing anything they were erring on the side of caution while CNET tech blog and electronics, tech trend review site cited cultural barriers and the fact China may never be able to convince the U.S. government it isn’t working on behalf of it’s government to spay; by 2015 Huawei’s CEO was using the world economic forum to dissuade participating nations his software was used to spy on China’s global neighbors/competitors, because it isn’t like China doesn’t have a history of intellectual property theft particularly from the United State well beyond just phones, computers and their networks, essentially research and design components; realities we discovered en masse late 2011 when the headquarters of the national chamber of commerce in Washington D.C. was hacked so thoroughly an office thermostat was communicating with the communist country and workers were flabbergasted when a printer began printing in Chinese. Hardly a stretch then to think they would use an emerging network and smartphone technology to do it again when 2 years before the 2011 breach it was discovered an employee at Ford functioning as an operative downloaded design files to China and plans for a U.S. fighter jet found their way thousands of miles to the People’s Republic as the news anchor noted; especially securitizing their more recent behavior while the arrest of executive, daughter of its founder Meng Wanzhou could well have been for show, been on the political whims of a known to be erratic president in Donald Trump, Poland certainly isn’t playing politics arresting a Huawei representative for the company on accusations of spying. Now assuredly this could have been an overzealous sales person who went too far, who isn’t used to the Polish market and the rules governing such sales there, though he was assigned the task, it reeks of being too much of a coincidence to be ignored; closely followed by the company Huawei keeps announcing as late as slightly over 2 months ago they will build a 5G network in Russia, context important that non-U.S. allies do business with each other but accounting for what we know Russia did to us in 2016 as part of their disinformation and interference ongoing it is far from unreasonable for there to be an assumption Russia won’t use this to their advantage, partnership with Huawei locally to harm America, and for the Chinese tech giant to facilitate that while insisting they aren’t spying, protesting their American, parts of the developed world, blackballing calling it ludicrous is a special kind of laughable. In the midst of losing partnerships with retailers, mobile carriers circa 2018 and making industrialized countries nervous about their intentions regarding the new technology, they certainly didn’t help themselves on their quest to convince the globe they are harmless, are honest business actors, possess only the standard Gordo Gecko level greedy capitalist motivations when they were, fitting a decades long pattern, caught cheating on a phone benchmark test for their own product; adding to the Poland mess top of the year, months later Huawei staff were expelled from Denmark post a work permit inspection, spelling at the very least Chinese companies wishing to work at this level need to learn how to function within the rules of the global community internationally, fight to change international rules, individual country rules they believe to be unfair. Back here at home exclusively, government officials issuing memos and directives to workers not to use ZTE phones for work purposes in federal spaces, on military bases because of their potential to be a secret open door to Beijing; president Trump raising eyebrows when he abruptly switched gears from first calling out the regime for espionage alleging it was using the budding technology to spy suddenly vowing to help China get connected ZTE back in business in 2017, waffling on a ban that hasn’t fully taken effect now in summer 2019, temporary dispensations to be granted for some business to be done with the blacklisted company leaving long term forecasts in limbo. Question worth asking, why we were ever buying/trading such equipment from/with them in the first place familiar with their history and when we had questions about their actions regarding these specific products as opposed to the non-threat of items like clothing, coffeepots, videogame consoles, where people might expect to find backdoor tampering consistently watched for, TV’s, (the smart variety previously warned to be capable of ‘spying on you,’ listening to your conversations; remembering that chamber of commerce thermostat was crafted to be a spy tool not mass sold to individuals/average businesses) consumer goods, merely assembled in China not made lessening the chances for sabotage; on the other side, technology new to us we are unfamiliar with the inner workings of, when there were/are other options. Wherever the exact truth lies the last thing we want on a national scale is more malware like wannacry, increased ransomware attacks on small cities and municipalities, happening too often as this is being written, that can little afford massive security updates any more than they can afford the solicited ransom payments or, god forbid, something that makes what we’ve seen to present look mild in comparison; considering we’ve already had a totally different scare with Russian made anti-virus software Kaspersky investigated by the FBI in 2017 for ties to the Russian government and what it could be doing on behalf of the Russians accounting for their documented influence in our election, known information 2 years ago exponentially added information today. Prompting a ban on Kaspersky software from all government agency devices still leaving vulnerable thousands of U.S. businesses; particularly insidious because it takes over every part of your computer in order to provide the anti-virus protection advertised, further contextualizing such bans as standard operating procedure confronting these types of threats. Retuning to Huawei, yes pressure from the U.S. government did prompt wireless and cellphone giants, think AT&T, tech entities like Facebook and Google to limit if not entirely cut ties with the troubled Chinese communications company stopping preinstalling and licensing to Android respectively; though Google initially called banning them a national security threat because it would force their devices to run on an inferior, poorly secured operating system making them ripe for the very kind of exploitation they are accused of or far worse, they followed through with the move late spring 2019, MIT the first to suspend its work with them as well as ZTE in April, college campuses ditching Huawei equipment at the behest of the Trump administration. Yet Best Buy early on decided Huawei wasn’t for them and their latest deal with AT&T was shelved a full 6 months prior to the government urging them to cut all commercial ties with the Chinese tech giant. America not the only one to jump on the avoid Chinese phone tech bandwagon Japan, Australia and New Zealand, the latter 2 gaining nothing by ‘bowing to the whims of the U.S.’ have issued outright bans on their products, Germany and the EU considered it but declined despite member nation Italy rallying for a ban on the products; difficult to tell if that’s because they distrust the Chinese or if it is because the Mediterranean country’s political leanings have veered to the right, mindsets among right voters more aligned with Trump. As the block as a whole was possibly playing politics of their own snubbing president Trump due to ongoing tensions between America and its European allies; despite the UK’s refusal to do a wholesale ban of Huawei or related ZTE one major telecom company BT Group said late 2018 it would remove the Chinese hardware from their 4G network by 2021 and won’t be using their 5G core in one way making the decision for the government, while Nordic countries, again with no immediate stakes in contentious U.S. geopolitics, are seen as unlikely to implement bans. Nevertheless NATO and 29 allies are uneasy about Huawei’s history and destructive potential should they decide to use it, head of the alliance vowing an investigation to determine the validity of allegations; that was back in March, fast-forwarding to just last month the embattled tech giant was accused of helping select African nations spy on opponents cracking encryption of WhatsApp in Uganda to help officials view the communications of a musician turned politician there allegedly happening last year. Elsewhere on the continent Zambia is accused of gaining access to the blogs and Facebook posts of citizens critical of the sitting president so the government could track them thanks to the Chinese tech giant, doing nothing to bolster their image as a fair player in the tech market; insisting they only supplied CCTV equipment to both nations also Kenya and Egypt. Accusing nations calling it a ploy to spy on them; accusations not completely out of left field taken beside China’s development aspirations on the continent to engineering a new silk road at best to there latest shot at colonial oppression at worst and probably closer to the truth. Unfortunately speculated super power maneuvering to hobble a competitor by a petulant president who just so happens to also be the leader of the free world aside, said tactics must be weighed against the fact that whoever manages to dominate the 5G market permanently will possess a global advantage over everyone else, that South Korea is also pushing ahead of us on that front is cause for contemplative alarm how much is genuinely up for debate; likewise their edge is predicated on their governments and wireless companies working in tandem to facilitate nationwide rollouts once they reach that development point. America has always reached its goals a little differently, sure the internet was begun as a military project and people are comparing the current wireless expansion to the sputnik space race of the 1960’s, but perhaps a more apt analogy is what Apple was able to do with MP3 technology France created yet did little with prior to Apple’s innovation. Or the glut of phone companies who survived the phone wars by getting into offering phone, internet and later new digital TV options like CenturyLink’s Prism bundles to customers or branched off into wireless exclusively a-la Verizon; their network of overlapping phone cables and later iterations of internet cable forming the backbone of transmission in the modern era, what AOL, Yahoo, Google, Bing were able to do to make the world wide web navigable, to have tools like e-mail. All driven chiefly by business interest and investment of the private sector; paralleling the private companies getting into the 21stcentury space race after the government discontinued the shuttle program and its funding, NASA still thriving, plenty of projects to keep it going, paramount one Mars, discoveries in fossils and pictures, long term plans to put humans on the red planet. Calling 5G critical to autonomous cars and connected smart cities may increase the wow factor, cause people to sit up and take notice simultaneously obscuring the biggest portion of the picture: the autonomous car who ran over and killed a pedestrian despite registering the person on its sensors vastly derailing Uber’s venture into the self-driving market; problems with various car makers’ breaks and drivers frantically calling 9-1-1 reporting an inability to stop or slow down easily foreshadows what happens when you blend driverless cars and smart cities should either find themselves hacked or suffering, not uncommon, system wide malfunctions. Truths not just manifesting in America Vienna halted their autonomous bus testing due to ‘smart zombies,’ AKA a women in headphones who smacked into the side of the bus while walking, though the bus stopped and emergency services was contacted; however it mirrors quieter running cars who in their early days caused problems for blind people who couldn’t hear them, didn’t recognize them as vehicles, a computer problem at British airways stranded 200,000 passengers. Not to mention the fact that many of the computer programs, software and hardware being used in these instances were generated in America, Microsoft’s windows (‘outdated windows systems responsible for the devastation of wannacry); sounds like we need to fix that and proliferate fixes completely before ever worrying about 5G. Remember the man who set off his city’s emergency sirens as a warning of how susceptible they were to hacking, sabotage and manipulation luckily the man was merely trying to send a wakeup call to Dallas officials hey it can happen; yet imagine the chaos if it happened regularly in a smart city. Plenty of people wholeheartedly wishing areas would alternatively get smart about how they build their cities with appropriate zoning laws for affordable housing to built-in planning to mitigate catastrophic natural disasters floods, hurricanes, tornados; unchecked development responsible for a huge share of Harvey’s damage to Huston, wetlands also a stopgap to mitigating hurricane damage likely decimated for talked about development. Lack of zoning laws and city ordinances making fire codes illegal not only put residential areas in dangerous proximity to chemical sites and other health hazards, it had said superfund areas next to water versus off shore oil rigs that have to be. Substantial earthquakes in California recently sparked renewed fears of the big one highlighting old buildings sans modern codes that could collapse and kill people in the event of a record seismic occurrence which is scientifically a matter of when not if; getting smart about where we build, what and should we build at all recalling the Mexico city earthquake was so devastating for a lack of building codes and the fact the city was built on a lakebed. Getting smart wherever we choose to build having an eye toward growth, technological advancement and what that means for your city/town; example I live in a town population 121 and a half thousand people right in the middle of the known cities marking the east and west end of my state, our portion of I-70 running down it’s middle, hosting 3 colleges it already had a Midwestern metropolitan feel absent the larger crime and big city problems of it’s state boarder bookends attracting people well past the college student influx and with the addition of the Barnes& Nobel, White Castle, Popeye’s Chicken, Chick-fil-A retailers like Kohl’s, Macy’s, Big Lots many believe they are getting the best of both worlds. Unless you go downtown plagued with parking issues despite meters and a growing number of parking garages because no one wants the hassle of walking from those structures to the businesses they wish to visit (one of the only areas set up that way even the hospital parking is attached to the hospitals themselves) or the added fees associated with them. The Kilgore’s medical pharmacy on that same end of town’s parking lot is hell for anyone driving in and out at almost any moment, stacking the frustrations as lengthy as the traffic backup they took adjacent space and converted it to a community garden rather than a parking lot for the pharmacy knowing they were going to be accommodating handicap accessible vans, the retirement home busses, the local services for independent living vehicles as well as the disabled chapter of the city bus, para transit, vans, the OATS bus for senior citizens; one such city bus driver when commenting on the structures of the town stated it was designed for horse and buggy, unsurprising where she got such a notion reading the proffered instances. Economically achieving the projected boon 5G is slated to give whichever nation wins the tech race, America could garner much the same GDP numbers, job growth enacting a multi-decade infrastructure plan to fix the nation’s D + crumbling network of roads and bridges, drainage systems and disaster damage prevention taking into account how long it took to restore a stretch of California freeway after a quake years before, many of the existing structures date back to the depression era, FDR and the new deal with few upgrades. If we focused on making sure we had 100% national coverage of 4G cellular service and high speed broadband internet available to every citizen how many additional small and in home businesses would pop up, expanded medical practices, young entrepreneurs currently regularly garnering headlines for their business venture in developing apps to connect young persons like themselves with jobs, connect specific groups with a singular industry of job, connect their community with their area’s gig economy, apps to do everything from combat bullying to help people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia would not stop at helping society but turn a profit too? Then there’s what 5G won’t accomplish, abolishing older tech despite the need for the new infrastructure, attaching it told older poles and exc. could slow it down, new kits will still be needed by consumers to make items like their computers, Wi-Fi router work with the new tech, key necessary bandwidths are currently occupied with existing tech and would need to be cleared before 5G can function as designed, permitting for the boxes to be added to local poles can be arduous and time consuming adhering to local regulations varying state to state rather than being federally controlled, causing us to fall further behind when we are abysmally lagging behind countries like Turkey in terms of speed as it is, telecom slowness is largely due to their being able to charge whatever they want for whatever they want to give as opposed to having standards and price regulations imposed on them on top of spotty coverage dependent on carrier saturation of an area, and we see how that works now with phone service distributers. Next come the health concerns people worried about the health impacts of added cell towers, fears the higher frequencies and closer proximity to residential areas will cause cancer, parents nervous the lasting effects have not been tested on children as these spread across neighborhood upon neighborhood nationwide, people globally showing a marked sensitivity to electromagnetic fields and the mild radiation given off by such devices; chatter around 5G and health harkening us back to the days when the echoing shout was that cellphones themselves caused cancer only true in the few rare cases where people treated the devices as permanent fixtures of their face, living with them in their pockets unless they were asleep, oblivious your phone shouldn’t be lying in bed with you or stored under your pillow at night. Things the devices were never tested against and effecting mere infinitesimal fraction of the population; dare this blog say it, negative lifestyle choices and eating habit’s link to cancer is drastically higher, directly data correlated. Assertions on the potential cancer risk better encapsulated in one mother’s fight to find the source of elevated childhood cancer occurrences in her community, first she got the city to remove the cellphone tower from the elementary school grounds claiming it had no business there for the cancer diagnoses to continue, next investigating contaminates in the water, Americans slowly awakening to the vast problem of lead concentration in water thought safe, tests not done because the default assumption is safety; finally getting to the likely culprit if evidence found in another state, Louisiana’s termed ‘cancer alley’ filled with oil and gas plants is anything to go by, followed by Newsy reports that if you live within 500ft. of said plants you’re 8 times more likely to develop some form of the disease. Sure enough CBS’ reporting reveals the small town houses a dilapidated plant that used to use a now disbanded chemical to decaffeinate coffee until the 1970’s now understood as a known carcinogen when coming into contact with people but still used in degreaser; water samples tested showing nearly maximum quantities of it deemed safe by the EPA despite the companies stated cleanup and water protection efforts. Updates to testing showing no level is safe (pregnant women and children especially vulnerable) being decades upon decades out of date while science has marched on; phenomenon repeated in various areas across the country where the chemical was present leaking into homes from an old manufacturing site in one case, another city’s officials finally admitting it had been leeching into the air for years at 7 times the maximum limit allowed after cancer stricken residents and their families investigated finding a finishing sinker company the devastating source. To recap, activist parents, all due respect to their children’s plight, sympathetic to their quest for answers removed a cellphone tower sans a large enough reason that will only need to be put back in coming years so children can access quality education tools, that school can have comparative internet speeds with it’s foreshadowed 5G equipped counterparts, compete in a global job market; health doubts they and others have sewn into the technological conversation slowing to a crawl needed advancement to people historically always paranoid about it’s effects anyway. No one looking into presence of chemicals found in the environment also known to cause cancer, the prop 65 warnings on products in the state, on products sold out of the state on websites for national retailers selling all over the country including California where these parents live; immediately there go to was, the new thing, the cellphone tower on elementary school grounds, specters of the anti-vaxxer movement anyone? Legitimate health concerns potentially cause by 5G might not be visited on humans but poised to harm already struggling bees that have enough human interference generated threats, butterflies too at risk alarmingly dangerous because they represent nature’s pollinators without which our food supply doesn’t survive. Others citing property values fearing that the on-slot of more towers and eyesore utility looking equipment will drive down the property values of their homes and communities; here there seems to be some evidence of that transpiring perhaps not to the 20% the women in the CBS This Morning video quoted, no forward thinking given to when this becomes commonplace and property values level out or carriers placing the equipment saying and seen using existing utility/phone poles, street lights, whatever viable vertical structure is present. Part of it has to be intelligently putting the house on the market, accentuating the potential for the home due to the ‘eyesore’ included in your front yard, ‘littering your future street,’ a positive for the younger age brackets of millennials and gen Z homeowners/home renters who want easily accessible Wi-Fi, fast home internet. Being first is not always a good thing, implementing things you aren’t prepared for sanely considered a worse thing (think the digital transition of 2009 in America); what exactly is the benefit of bragging rights if your nearest global neighbors/competitors are lagging in testing phases and spectrum space to do those tests, accommodate the size leap 5G represents should they wish to acquire it, selling it suddenly becomes useless. Uselessness multiplied exponentially as more nations catch on to what China is suspected of doing in this specific instance turning away and saying no thank you; 5G reminiscent of foldable phones an unnecessary epic fail, didn’t Huawei try that too, yet one more epic fail they haven’t learned from introducing their own version after Samsung’s total face plant on the exact concept. All relevant nations should be much more concerned with rudimentary logistics of our current overlapping technology than the race for 5G; what is this blog talking about, a fast depleting mineral, cobalt, key in the manufacture of nearly every computing device, routinely used smart phone, tablet, laptop, oddly electric vehicles too via their lithium batteries. Situation exacerbated by the locations of this mineral, counties like the Congo heavily dependent on child labor to meet supply demands abroad, major companies here vowing to only use North American extracted cobalt, unrealistic compared to what’s available on American, Canadian land versus demand; that has wide implications tied to what kind of technology we will be able to continue producing forget innovating in the future. Implications for climate change if we are hamstrung in getting Americans off fossil fuels expediently via replacing combustion engine cars en masse with their electric counterparts, other things meant to run on identical batteries; something it seems paramount involved countries work to fix, learn to build devices without it safely and at the same cost value, the permanent solution over sussing out greater supplies, before crowing whose first at 5G, unless we want the whole tech framework to collapse its unique economy indispensable to how we do everything in today’s world. Determined America jump into 5G now, try to win the race of competing nations insisting on being first to mass proliferate the technology in their country, fare enough; we are then left with 2 choices, taking a page out of China’s book, we have the 5G components China has sold us as the debate has raged about the national security implications of their hardware, only we didn’t steal it as alleged with other countries’ intellectual property and R&D, so why can’t we reverse engineer it as they did other thing possessing our own 5G capacity? Assuming time is as of the essence as forecasters claim, China isn’t the only country well on top of the 5G components, perhaps singularly the largest, Finland is trying to at least keep up with both the U.S. and China in the race for the coveted network and its cellphone brand Nokia just teamed up with T-Mobile in 2018 to achieve part of that goal; obvious question, why can’t we buy and partner with the Finns for the technology as opposed to the Chinese holding none of the negative history exchanging the Finn’s 5G apparatus for the existing Huawei ones with little disruption to coverage rendering the Chinese media story talking about the potential isolation of rural communities without Huawei, below moot?
But from a technology standpoint America has much bigger problems than keeping up with the global Jones,’ must have’s if future tech is to become reality when our current tech is so problematic, the top 2 major insurmountable issues being access and bad design seemingly the hallmark of the last decade at least; we still grapple with broadband blackout spaces, wireless dead zones, rural areas that have neither high speed internet nor reliable cellphone service. While one set of society is sounding the alarms about young children and social media, schools are cropping up that don’t introduce technology (basic computer skills until about middle school) where new movements tell parents they should hold off on letting their teen have a smart phone (the wait until 8th grade initiative) others are struggling to run their business, operate their doctors office on lower broadband speeds around 10 meg, telemedicine isn’t an option for many patients whom it could benefit greatly for want of the local technology infrastructure for entities like hospitals, access to standard hardware think home computer, affordable internet service for those patients. 5G only serving to widen that gap when 1/3 of Americans don’t have access to broadband and 1 in 5 students can’t complete high school level homework for want of either internet access or a PC; rural areas struggling with the infrastructure hardware of access, urban areas coming up against cost for people and families challenged providing the basics of food, shelter, clothing, shoes, school supplies, who are lucky to pay their utility bills and put gas in their car to go to work, assuming they have one and aren’t taking multiple busses to their job, 2 and 3 jobs daily, shelling out twice as much as others pay for their morning latte. A staggering number of people don’t use the internet for various reasons 32% finding it, the whole of the internet not just social media, too difficult to navigate, 34% finding it irrelevant to their lives, another nearly 20% citing inability to afford components like a computer or internet service provider fees. Someone must have dutifully informed Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s Morning Joe that many of the people he advises to double check Trump’s lies using their ‘Google machine’ (his colloquial, conflated term for PC and internet) were exactly the type of people unlikely to have one either due to their age for whom the electric typewriter and the VCR are a stretch, are on fixed incomes like social security and retirement pensions balancing paying for medication and groceries, who wouldn’t know how to use it if it was gifted to them, or their rural, rust belt town’s hollowed out status, lacking jobs therefore lacking dollars for viewed luxuries like internet/computer. Virtually left behind by broadband meaning even if they had all the components they couldn’t look it up efficiently if they wanted to at dial up speeds, Scarborough switching to telling them to borrow their neighbor’s google machine, finally just last week willing to go in depth explaining his point to people without a ‘google machine,’ demonstrating at least the beginning of understanding of a much bigger problem. For those who do have some portion of the day to day tech we need for work, finding a job, shopping, renting a car, Microsoft just sounded the alarm on a security flaw with Windows 10 advising people to update immediately; patently oblivious to the individual persons, businesses, healthcare providers, city public services who try to install the double digit number of monthly updates that take serval minutes and require a restart to install only for at least one or more to fail and fail repeatedly forcing them to hire IT companies to sort out the problem or, more likely for cost reasons, do without. Mine takes 45 minutes to add 5 (never mind the 10-15 that was normal a couple of years ago) and often gets stuck on the familiar welcome screen, there is a recurring update needed that for the life of it would not install in the cluster of monthly updates downloaded (when you allow the routine checking for updates to remain on and operate in the background) and has to fail then be re-downloaded and installed alone to install correctly. New security features on windows 7 operating systems forward includes a window asking if you want things like Java, Flash Player, Webroot anti-virus and other programs to alter your computer (to update versions or replace older versions with new) meaning you need to click yes for the download to continue; issues created when those programs were slow to either be informed or be adjusted to account for that added step forcing people to download new versions directly from the site to get what you need. I was without Adobe’s PDF reader for a year or 2 until I had to have my hard drive replaced and the local computer center was able to reinstall a newer version that would update correctly without constant trips to the site; problematic going forward as I use that to view and print my bank statements shoehorned into online banking to redeem my credit card reward points eliminating receiving paper statements. But when wannacry happened Microsoft blamed people, business and city leaders responsible for IT management/improvement for not either keeping current with their system updates or replacing massively outdated, from a technology standpoint, operating systems, still running XP forget if it was in Mongolia (also hit by wannacry); even if they perhaps don’t know they are discontinuing said support for a specified operating system because they’re not getting an e-mail or some form of notice as owners, buyers of those systems. At the same time, suddenly the explain portion of my MS Word 2010 telling you why the marked sentence or phrase is an error shows nothing but a blank page if you switch it from connected to office.com to offline and back again you get directed to an error page pictured below; this smacks of a discontinuing of whoever was providing those explanations, the end of a contract again without adequately warning schools, businesses, job placement facilities of that cancellation. At best reinstalling it might work assuming you can find the product key and the password to the cloud account where they force you to put it, juicy tidbits I learned during the replacement hard drive mess alluded to above where I finally got calls from the computer center asking about it and my Webroot subscription (bought through the city’s Best Buy) if they set it up or if I did, computer repair having to set up the account since in the 4.5 years since I’d bought the office package they overhauled how they do things; extra steps to reinstall the Webroot anti-virus being bought from a retailer, yet they make updates, updating sound so simple. In 2018 it was Apple and a chip flaw making virtually every Mac, I-phone and i- pad susceptible demanding updates and potentially costing customers money in new chips and severe system slowdowns once updates or chips were installed prompting lawsuits. The above detailed added security measure wasn’t the only annoying, buggy thing about windows 7 remember plugged in not charging on laptops running the OS and the laundry list of steps to attempt to fix it (that one cost me $200 in a likely needless new battery because of my old apartment’s flickering electricity); individual laptop makers also ran into issues around the time Windows 7 came around owners of the HP pavilion dv6 series noted how it sat, how close to any surface, regardless how hard or soft it was, causing heat shutdowns to prevent frying the entire machine, people suggesting everything from a laptop stand to erasers to prop it away from the surface and permit 360 degree air flow/cooling, overheating shutdowns notorious on this particular HP model. Microsoft’s security warning just after announcing security support and updates for Windows 7 will end in October of 2020 setting up the atmosphere for another wannacry situation where computers are again vulnerable to hacking and ransomware takeovers (information I only know from research conducted for this piece); where these computers are running these ‘outdated’ systems a red flag to how we do things, how we’ve allowed tech makers to structure the things that run our world, they are running in hospitals, banks, they’re running city services 9-1-1 dispatch, public records offices, social services, local municipal and government services. And we’ve let tech giants set the pace on structure not just research, design and innovation, the government hasn’t said if we are going to need modern computers to do everything from water and sewer filtration and management, electrical grid, city, county, state electricity management (hint: this is what Russia hacked into able to manipulate when and if they want), public services, public records exc. then either the operating systems need long term sustainability or the upgrades must be sold to them at a drastically reduce price according to what the city, state, municipality can pay or god forbid free based on what it’s framework is holding together, providing reduce price or god forbid free, with their billions of dollars in profits, tech support to transition the systems smoothly for those public spaces and businesses who can’t afford, don’t have an IT department/person to handle it. Adding to the seemingly endless problems bad design rears its ugly head in far more than convenience of technology features, ease of use on your smartphone, tablet, PC it can have real consequences; take those cities voting to tell major carriers they can forgo landline phone service, one wonders if they understand lifeline and life alert type aids for seniors and those with disabilities are tied to landline phones. As does 9-1-1 service function best when routing help to calls received from landline phones; apart from that, which do we think aging baby boomer, gen Xers are going to be most comfortable with? Obviously fix the 9-1-1 problem to where they can find people using cellphones, cellular customers on carrier AT&T that sporadically can’t dial 9-1-1 for whatever reason, the ghost calls jamming 9-1-1 dissipaters via T-Mobile cellphone users preventing the babysitter of a 6 month old from reaching emergency services and getting him help resulting in his death in a large American city; unfortunately too often left out is what happens when major carries for internet, phone and TV have massive outages shutting down things like huge swaths of city function, 9-1-1 and other critical services, recall the CenturyLink abrupt shutdown spanning multiple U.S. regions and how that lead to a metropolitan city resorting to 1850’s fire boxes, maintained over 150 years of dwindling operation to report smoke billowing out of a building and catching the attention of the federal government demanding answers. Computer problems at airports and points of key services state, local and nationally have become as predictable as a full moon and happen about as often, the latest a nationwide malfunction of airport customs computers creating a domino effect of delays and bottlenecks for the second time in roughly 2 years; when tablet updates for pilots can ground planes to a halt that should be the focus not 5G. A particularly odious instance of poor design over abysmal function, take my local low cost health clinic who implemented a patient portal system a few years ago allowing patients to view their test results online, make appointments online and send ,messages to their doctor via computer, on my last trip to my primary care I both remembered and had time to get a new access password to replace the one that expired before I could set it up; set up was easy, however when I went to use it I was greeted with awkward inputs for who and where to send messages, missing categories to address main things people might need to contact their physician for, ill-thought out to the point where I tacked on quite the improvement list to the message. Highlighting things like the ‘to’ category (whom/where you want to direct your correspondence) should consist of a list of doctors (unless it involves billing) not medication, other, problems/issues, referrals under medical questions- under lab test- results request, results question, other and under appointments- make an appointment, cancel an appointment, appointment questions, or at least include a list of doctors in the options already given. End result of my wished for design changes, the doctor it’s directed to can read and respond faster without it having to be routed first through the phone jokey office staff I could never get to relay my desire to speak to my doctor about test results or what have you (why I opted for the message system version at all) and patients can communicate quickly with their primary care doctor, the doctor they saw on a sick visit, the one who proscribed X medication, or like I was, follow up on a conversation sans extra steps, part of why patient portal exists; if you need to send it to more than one doctor say the one you, your child or spouse saw on a sick visit as well as their primary care, like e-mail addresses separate them with a comma. Direct e-mail addresses for doctors and the billing department might be even better in that you can easily attach pictures of rashes, ailments for you, your family to know if you need to come in, need to go to the emergency room, if you have a printer scanner copier, what most printers are these days, you can scan a copy of your bill to a word file attach it to your e-mail permitting them to see the document you were sent, not necessarily the latest version after processing of delayed insurance payments. Piling on to both frustration and danger less than 2 months after my personal discovery their computer system was down for nearly 3 weeks preventing them from scheduling appointments, taking new patients or seeing persons for sick visits impacting my friend and her husband who had to wait an extra month for his follow up via primary care after being in the hospital; a similar problem arising for her with her son’s ADHD medication and his doctor at the local neurological/autism center whose phones were down for nearly a week until her sister, who lives on that side of town and can take something to them minus bordering multiple busses and taking hours out of her day, having no kids versus 5, dropped off a note from her; they thought they had fixed their phone issue. When all my friend wanted to do was leave a message to be called regarding her son and the fact he did not have enough meds to last until his next check-in/progress assessing appointment; glitches that could be disastrous if she needs to make an emergency appointment if his meds aren’t working and he becomes unsafe, (running into traffic with no fear, no impulse control, sudden aggression) runs from her and has to be found by police only for them to threaten to take action, her fearing court dates and the state trying to take her children for want of being able to phone his doctor. Relatedly after parkland, after all that was revealed about the security flaws at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, the state mental health systems that failed Nikolas Cruz and the surrounding community with him by not following up with him regularly, not listening to school officials who warned his issues were more serious than state mental health agencies believed, despite his mental health history and pattern of violence demonstrated at school, police calls to his home, he was left off a list of people deemed too mentally ill to buy a gun, a year later Florida’s agriculture commissioner was resigning post it being discovered the person in his department responsible for conducting background checks for people who wish to obtain permits to buy guns, get conceal carry permits for the guns they already have was not performing those checks because they weren’t allowed to login to the checking system; a lingering situation that went on for over a year approving thousands of permits absent said checks where inappropriately given ones had to be rescinded, nothing mentioned about whether the effected person’s guns were confiscated as well. Absolutely blame the people who appeared in no hurry to report the problem, didn’t understand the gravity of what it meant the person responsible for finding out if applicants were federally permitted to have guns abruptly couldn’t do so; but, why do we have a system like that governing something so important with all the problems we know there are pertaining to guns in America? Why was their not an alert on the backend of that system the login repeatedly failed and someone sent to fix it; how many other places particularly small towns, isolated counties, tiny gun shops are having, have had the same category of problems and how many people are out there possessing a gun who are legally not allowed to because of technical failures combined with human error? Reasons behind this blog’s adamant call we fix the background check system, limit the minutia going into where the wrong listed arresting precinct in his paperwork allowed Dylan Roof to buy a gun after violating another portion of the law that would have barred him from fire arm ownership, before we keep screaming about universal background checks. Wholly on the consumer side, who is still having flashbacks about the Samsung battery fiasco melting cellphones, computers, responsible for lighting cars, homes, pockets and purses on fire, prompting the FAA to ban phones/computer batteries on planes, cease shipping them on planes to retailers for fear of their explosive capacity, next it was hover boards the popular kids toy, think Segway without handlebars, made the it thing by celebrities Justin Bieber and Kendal Jenner once more burning down homes just in time for the holidays, chief suspect: those lithium batteries; now Lyft has axed their e-bike service (electronic battery operated bikes similar to scooters only in the familiar bike format) program in San Francisco. Why, more batteries catching fire, probable issues with the battery to blame right behind vandalism; so much for yet another environmentally friendly combustion engine, cheaper than cars or cabs alternative. Same issue with the tesla electric car first failing to stop then ending up in flames following Uber mentioned in paragraph 1shinking fossil fuel alternatives a second time, but we have to win the race for 5G. Confronting the conundrum of necessary internet access many remedies have been proposed over the years as internet and computer access are expediently becoming essentials to 21st century life; advocates pushing to add internet to the list of public utilities water, trash, sewer, gas and electric to be regulated on the supplier side that way providing minimum standards and the infrastructure of capability to every person in America. Senator turned presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren introducing her plan for an internet public option providing government funding to small towns, municipalities regularly ignored by large ISP’s for their relative tiny town/community to build and maintain their own local internet hub or co-op designating one plan, one section for low income persons within the city, town, municipality coupled with restoring net natality making internet a common carrier so ISP’s can’t prioritize the content of example Netflix versus independent media, not to mention charging more for entities like Netflix merely because they can. What causes nervousness among consumers is if they will be asked to pay for their internet in the identical fashion as their utility bills based on usage not cost brackets determined be speed, bundling of phone and TV features rolled in based on the type of package you sign up for; home wireless only plans doing that now at astronomical expense due to their allotment of data and charges for going over coupled with how they calculate data usage every time you must refresh a page, click through pages of search results, restart a video because you had to stop and answer the phone, it subtracts substantially from your data limit. Held up against the evolution of phone plans all major carriers offering at least one package that puts unlimited talk, text and data on a flat monthly fee for the duration of your usually multi-year contract born out of the days when teens where racking up thousands of dollars of cellphone bills because no one thought to tell them or their parents at that time each text cast so much money; how they’ve been able to effectively go back to an AOL type restricted data model a mystery, double whammy often the only thing available in rural areas apart from ghastly expensive satellite. Speculations about carriers throttling or slowing down data past a designated point on your phone even under an unlimited plan aside, the specter of broadening that pay every time you swipe/click, type a URL to the entirety of the internet is frightening and counterproductive to what we want to achieve especially with chatter that 5G will replace existing internet due to speed possibilities; a major point if you are also using a streaming device or thinking you might want to cut your cable cords for steaming options, believe you can afford it over more expensive ever rising traditional cable prices. Listen closely to the famer’s story in video 3 below exploring the realities of the coming 5G divide discussed at the beginning of the paragraph, his ability to monitor crops and send data to his clients minus doing it at midnight or driving 60 miles to a better connection was improved when broadband was introduced, expanded where he lives not as one of the few emerging 5G pockets cultivated around the country; an argument for proliferating nationwide what we have if blog and author have ever heard one. We don’t yet know what would happen if say CenturyLink’s touted 1 gig internet speed was the new normal in America over the next 6 months to 2 years and intertwined with suggestions to hasten 5G and increase our speeds more on par with the rest of the world where they’ve been improving while we’ve stagnated (see article after paragraph 1): incentivizing carriers to broaden their coverages nationwide, imposing regulations via price controls creating affordability for potential customers who can’t afford costly they say wireless plans, what if we broadened that to all internet plans, regulations on speeds forcing major giants in the industry to not offer speeds below the median definition of broadband about 60 meg, mirroring Canada who when they made their internet a public utility in late 2016 began base speeds at 50 meg going up from there, leaving off whether or not we go the public utility route, using the speed mandates to drop off dial-up speeds, 768k DSL, 10 meg, providers are no longer allowed to craft plans around because they are non-functional. What if Mediacom’s Xtreme offering lightning fast cable internet didn’t charge added fees for the modem/router boxes on top of putting data limits to the speed you are paying for when they offer multiple speed options and multiple device connections at that speed based on plan paid for. If they must operate on a data limit model then allotting those limits based on binge streaming habits or having a list of things that don’t subtract from your data limit, security updates for your operating system and navigating pages of google search results to name 2 on the should be no charge list, as well as ads for any site if you are not using a browser with an ad blocker built in or are on a site stipulating you must disable said blocker to see content, limited data subtractions for listening to music via YouTube, viewing educational videos placed there by teachers for the technique known as flipping the classroom, how-to tutorials on any school subject, data limits based on how many household members will be using it, how many streaming devices or smart TV’s (updates to that and Blu-ray firmware off the charge list too) are in the home. We don’t know what would happen if the systems’ hardware we had were kept in optimal working order at all times; phone lines used for DSL often in disrepair even in regular residential use, constantly prone to lightning strikes frying extensive lengths of wire, when I moved in to my first solo apartment and got cable I was fortunate to avoid about $150 in replacement equipment being a new customer as all the outer stuff was bad and needed a total overhaul. Prior to my complex’s renovation completed last year getting my DSL to function at the speed I was paying for was a challenge even for my provider because I rent and the phone/cable box was the purview of the property manager and from roughly the 1970’s meaning it wasn’t built for DSL and jerry rigging was better known as Tuesday, problems detailed before in my work especially in poorer areas, public housing units; indicating, tabling the make internet a public utility argument, regulations for universal boxes any carrier of phone, intent, cable can tap into setting up service based on who the resident has chosen and when it starts malfunctioning that carrier, current carrier replaces it with another universal phone/cable box so that the above scenario is never an issue again for renting persons, controlled charges for home owners and property managers replacing in bulk. Instead we are hung up and panicking, bound to be disappointed by 5G, falling into data limit traps on all levels. Of course we understand the Sprint T-Mobile merger’s goal is their profit margin, increasing it exponentially but if they are right in that it will create greater coverage, access particularly to rural areas already being left behind by existing technology excluding 5G then what appears to be the challenge for supporters of breaking up big tech, Elizabeth Warren most vocal about her plans, to foster competition and prevent monopolies of industry is if, as senator, you can legislatively pass and implement something better for the consumer good adhering to the timeline of the merging entities or operational before it is/was to take effect, by all means; otherwise, let this go forward in the interest of people having the opportunity to enjoy, reap the benefits of greater mobile function, utilize home wireless internet plans if they have the funds for it and a computer, wish to work toward that goal. An alternative to breaking up big tech we mandate big tech (wireless companies phone sector) adhere to some standards on coverage they provide, if you are widespread across the nation applying to the lesser more affordable versions Tracfone and the like (“I want more than 2 bars on my damn phone” ) then 4 of 5 signal bars on your phones/service area must work for you to remain in business outside small areas of the U.S. where the criterion are met; take some of that money you’re making and as opposed to shoving it into your Wall Street offerings, your shareholders investing in your service. Yes we know the lite versions of social media sites are targeted to emerging markets, the developing world with rudimentary networks at best, spotty at worst; upside, Facebook, Spotify hopefully Twitter will be available to low income Americans with cellphones that aren’t smartphones on affordable pay as you go carriers especially when you consider 2 of the platform’s role in getting jobs today, added bonus of cluing the tech makers in to the types of phones most prevalent in which demographics in America perhaps adjusting accordingly. Providing data on who and how many don’t own a computer, aren’t paying for internet but spent their limited dollars on a phone, given that your next job interview could be conducted via text messaging it might be a good idea to give older persons the chance to become fluent in the technique on the flip phones they regularly use; more important with the known brand Nokia’s newest models with a similar look and similar functions to flip phones, quite popular too if the comments on the last video are anything to go by people craving simplicity over complication and gravitating bells and whistles, imagine that.
Society today western, American is more than gadget culture and the resounding complaints about it, surpassing the critical observation grumbling about the smart dumb fridge that has a an internet connection, ability to run built in apps, a note pad, 21st century upgrade from post-its and scratch paper scribbled missives, shopping lists, appointment reminders, after school schedules/monthly school lunch menus, digital pictures meant to replace actual ones held up by magnets, designed as a family hub with calendar, weather information options, options to replace items in your fridge via partnered grocery stores and Master Card. But crashes completely if it doesn’t get updates and all that connectivity severely shortens the life of the main feature refrigeration; not to mention the $6,000 price tag, Cnet bragging about a reduction to about $4,300 as if that was supposed to be a significant selling point. Outdoing the downsides of the smart home more hackable than a smartphone without a screen lock/password protection and what exactly can happen when the automatic front/back door lock is left open, you can’t control the blinds or flush the toilet because something has gone wrong; plus customer service for this is just as bad for everything else if not worse, but the internet of things was supposed to get people all excited. At the same time massive data breaches from retail stores, hospitals, credit score calculators are fast being filed under any day that ends in Y right up there with revelations Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Alexa and Apple’s Seri along with Facebook’s new messenger was either picking up recorded conversations when it was thought to be off, owners didn’t know it was recording or workers were commissioned to listen to a select volume of conversations under the guise of ensuring quality/improving the voice recognition aspects essentially spying into their lives without their knowledge. Google quietly killing a program that shared user data with mobile carriers in the interest of improving their networks representing a 2 fold problem, A- they never told users what they were doing then B- stopped something that might have provided benefit to customers if only they had been informed so it could continue as long as needed. Well beyond the kvetching of middle aged ‘tech grandmas’ whining about the latest iteration of digital music, TV and movie streaming services, who don’t know what a fire stick is let alone how to use it, likely to mispronounce Roku before ever learning what it does, remembering childhoods minus cable TV so unimpressed with cord cutting options Sling, Direct TV Now, Play Station Veu, who remember when Netflix was a DVD by mail service at the outskirts of their understanding, genuine senior citizens who honestly think they either woke up one day on a different planet or woke up 150 years in the future navigating and deciphering any Apple i-product. There are serious issues when companies are now cocking up the basics of cellphones; take my own personal experience with the Alcatel MyFlip phone a hastily bought emergency replacement for my previous flip phone I lost somewhere between home and a trip to the dentist; from the get go trying to buy the most cost effective one was a challenge as they all said in store purchase only on one site, when I went to Tracfone itself their site kept crashing, ending my quest at Wal-Mart.com $13.99 plus tax. 2 days later get the phone, put in the battery, call to activate and they can’t activate it because it wasn’t scanned at a store; a week later went to the store same phone 19.99, 45 minutes and the infinite patience of the electronics department the phone makes and gets calls, I think I’m good to go; boy was I wrong, not only did I waste the initial almost $15 it was just the beginning of my hell scape journey into ‘advanced technology,’ a week later it needed an update told me to turn on Wi-Fi, put it on it’s charger to download. Except all of the options were locked asking for a password I don’t have, don’t know how to get, no tutorial can tell me how to get, the Alcatel owner’s manual, what there is of it, suggests if you find them all locked to contact a network operator but there are no links or 1-800 numbers given next to your choices to easily do so implying were you to contact them they would see the phone was activated to a carrier and customer information therefore supply a password with options to change it according to their parameter for passwords, solutions to forgotten passwords like every other entity revolving around passwords. Meaning it’s a countdown to when the bowser stops working, with it my ability to add airtime and minutes to use my phone; to that end there need to be some basic things understood by phone makers, carriers, mobile OS developers and basic items built into any phone sold in America feature or smart. A- there are people who only need their phone to make calls, get calls, have voicemail, the mobile phone version of an old school answering machine, ensure their phone has a place for contacts, takes pictures for the product they want to buy or that rash they need to show their doctor, video a bonus, FM radio nice, web browser convenient backup to downed home internet; chosen precisely because, they don’t want the distraction of social media, constant apps and notifications with a smartphone, they are senior citizens and only need those mentioned basics anything else honestly too much, they are buying it as a first phone for their teen/tween who needs to be able to call a cab/parent to come pick them up when finished with an activity, if in a dangerous situation like a party with alcohol and they need to get out but don’t need the police, but don’t want them to have a smartphone, want to teach them about money and time management giving them so many minutes, texts and data when it’s gone deal, manage better next time. B-more and more people are going the inexpensive prepaid route with your rudimentary flip phone, fallen out of favor blackberry type phones and lesser touted carriers, not because they are cheapskates al-a the TLC TV show too haughty to pay for ‘better,’ more known cellular carriers, more ‘brand name’ complicated phones with added feature options/standard ‘smart’ capabilities, the popular assumption (notice the word inexpensive not cheap); rather because, top of the list, they can’t afford anything else seeing as there is no city in America a person can afford a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment on minimum wage, and cellphones, the ability to call people on the go, have people reach you on the go is essential to employment, safety seeing as the curtesy phone died in the 90’s and the payphone had become extinct by the early 2000’s at the latest. Many cellphones in their various varieties have replaced landlines in areas that have had said lines fall into disrepair due to lack of use, at least one state and several cities have voted to allow major carriers to stop providing landline service; translating to it (owning a cellphone) is no longer optional. C- that people increasingly live in wireless weak zones if not utterly wireless dead zones relegated to 1 or 2 bars at all times, commonly available wireless networks for phones or internet are locked requiring a password to access, not one, online tutorial or person, able to tell you how to obtain a password from listed available provider, only how to retrieve a previous one, an android how-to advising if there are no open ones to relocate where there is open Wi-Fi, popular fast-food restaurants, coffee shops or perhaps the public library. Problem, at minimum for me, those places may possess free Wi-Fi but not the extra plugs for members of the public to plug in their devices and there was no time estimate given indicating how long the update will take so even if I could arrange transportation, go to a place with free access absent signs on their door about loitering, I’m still at the mercy of maybe it won’t work. Thus flip and minimalist Android phones with an OS need to be engineered accordingly, based on those criteria the following things should be true of all phones first- ones like Straight Talk, Net 10, Total Wireless, Tracfone exc. that require activation by the mentioned carriers should be able to be activated after online purchase through a retailer’s website instead of mandating they be first scanned at a store (what is this 1985 and isn’t that the type of nonsense that killed Radio Shack; also do you do that with the phones sold on your own website, noting I initially tried to buy the very model from there?) though they didn’t sell that most cost effective model in my local store, or so I was told; further all retailers need to be made aware of this fact, if that’s truly the route you chose to take, and place notations on their website WHY it is in store purchase only. Second if you are a retailer willing to sell the phone, you should have staff willing, able and required to set up the thing for the customer if for no other reason than when they come back with parts of it malfunctioning angrily demanding a refund; not like the Reddit forum links listed below by electronics personnel incredulous they were asked, ranting they didn’t have to, yelling about the stupidity of customers who couldn’t follow ‘basic intuitive directions’ to do it themselves. Same reason why I politely ask them to put minute cards I buy on my phone to ensure the card works properly, adds what it’s supposed to and if it doesn’t both the worker and the manager inevitably getting involved can see it isn’t working either giving me a card that does or refund my money as opposed to if I waited until I got home, did it, it didn’t work and trying to prove to them I hadn’t simply applied the minutes and was trying to scam them. Philosophy that holds true when something similar happened to my friend trying to buy a Safe Link (approved model ‘Obama phone’) and had to go through several to get one that would activate properly. And while my experience with my local Wal-Mart staff was superb (shout out to Stacy) I still had issues with the KaiOS store from the moment I opened it to see what it was saying it would close and update automatically, almost a month later it still hasn’t remaining for all intents and purposes stuck like that; I never should have been able to leave the store with it already broken, acting up when the person followed the directions perfectly, the battery was placed correctly, minutes were transferred, independent it took half a lifetime. Third, it is time for the less expensive but still widely known and widely sold carriers and mobile OS makers to get brick and mortar stores in every city where their phones are sold, OS’ used (if Amazon has cottoned on to needing one, everyone else is sorely behind) allowing people to take it in and show them what it’s doing, have either carrier or OS maker attempt a fix or provide replacement/refund; instead of when I contacted Tracfone, they never could get beyond the half a dozen pre-arranged things they were allowed to say to customers, none addressing my problem eventually landing on don’t go there ma’am. Finally found contact capability with the OS engineers of my new phone, them unable to understand the store problem despite typing to them exactly what it said on the screen, asking for a screen shot I didn’t know how to give them, don’t believe is possible on a feature phone without using another device unlike a PC, laptop, probably tablet (personally have never bought/used one) that has that function, not providing me instructions on how to do so assuming there is a way; settling on telling me to remove the SIM card, turn on the phone, turn it back off, put the SIM card back in, turn it back on, see if that solved the problem; me electing to send them an abbreviated version of this paragraph on how to make a better phone over cannibalizing my, for now, working phone that still does everything I need it to in making calls, getting calls and taking messages. Forgetting, as I told them, they were wrongly assuming I could take out and replace the SIM card sans damaging it, get it back in place properly; never mind it took 45 minutes for Tracfone to transfer my existing minutes/airtime from the phone I lost to the new one and they doubtlessly would be suspicious if they had to redo it even telling them the story relayed here. So, fourth all SIM cards should have the capacity to be reset, reconfigured remotely by the OS maker when contacted via e-mail, whatever communication means sending information to the carrier Tracfone, whoever about the detected problem so minutes, airtime and data can be correctly restored. Fifth those who function on cards used to add airtime (extending the activation of the phone in lieu of a contract), minutes, messages and data should have an icon/built in app to add those where you open, input the number on the card (usually on the back under a scratch off surface similar to a lottery ticket) and within moments you see your new balance with the amount of 1 or all 4 you paid for; along those same lines your minutes, data, messages and airtime end date balances should be something visible on your phone, somewhere in your phone without having to download additional apps like the Android Tracfone, visit their website and put in a several digit SIM numbers; even if it must be protected with a security code, traditional answering machines still sold retail come with a manufacture build in one customers are highly recommended to change but then allows them to call home, listen to greeting, input the code and follow directions to hear messages remotely. No we aren’t interested in auto-refill, having to have an account with either both our carrier and the OS brand or one of those entities, we aren’t enthused about downloading an app that doesn’t work, suddenly stops working just to see our aforementioned balances, forcing us to a site that if the commenter in the Tracfone Review blog links is to be believed is run by GoDaddy opening people who type in their phone number to get desired information up to scams/robocalls, texting a 6 digit number representing Tracfone help just to see something that was once on the home screen of phones all; convenience of the enter your phone number get balance option that was not Tracfone’s official site was articulated by a person managing a ‘family of phones,’ their description, not always having them physically in hand for SIM numbers, tone of people offering comments simply relieved they could finally track their balance like they did before to care about the scam chance with entering their number. Sixth, software updates for phones with an OS should have the option to do it either via Wi-Fi or the web browser and should not subtract from your phone’s data limit in the latter case because it is necessary for the phone’s operation; especially in the case of the only way to refill your phone using just your phone, extend active days of your phone is to go to say Tracfone’s website through the browser and view your balance, hit refill and follow the instructions, to keep this in solid working order the software must be updated. For that matter Wi-Fi, data, whatever method why aren’t said updates done remotely with little or no action from the user; contrast my detailed experience with getting a message on your phone that says turn of Wi-Fi (if off), plug into charger to receive update, estimated time to completion given, option to download or cancel if you don’t presently have time, reminders showing up periodically until updated. Additionally why does something I’ve had out of the box no more than a week already need an update, answer: they have the java, flash player problem, constant updates and patches over building it correctly in the first place; yet if Wi-Fi is the route you chose to provide updates, seventh then there must be one open Wi-Fi option in every city where you sell said engineered phone covering the entire area (city, state, county) where you sell said phone and/or including coordination between maker- in this case Alcatel, carrier- in my example Tracfone, OS developer-Kai and wireless network operators insisting all those functions work together and no one is locked out of wireless access to update their phone even should you restrict that open carrier to updates only. Still presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to break up big tech; no senator Warren I am one voter who doesn’t think so, beyond the concept being much more complicated than the senator thinks, fact even this tech novice understands, paramount issue is these entities are right now all separate, running by their own rules (let’s not dismiss the reason why Wi-Fi networks are locked to begin with is because telecom companies on the lesser/losing end of the landline wars migrated into mobile phone and wireless internet locking them from public access so they could sell that access turning a profit) KaiOS an emerging mobile OS popular with developing world market India, Africa thought to be poised to take Android’s spot in the global market, unlikely when it’s substandard in the U.S. Tech analyzers blaming a lack of updates available for U.S. flip phone owners (are they sure they don’t exist over phones unable to update); understanding KaiOS is an outgrowth of the defunct Firefox OS a variation on the same Firefox web browser increasingly falling out of favor with users as more options have become popular and Firefox has essentially stayed the same over decades as one article put it ‘It’s 2019 and your still Using Firefox…’ known more for it’s bugs than it’s browsing. Meaning eighth, for new mobile and web browsers to break into American markets, be placed on phones, tablets, computers to be sold in U.S. stores to U.S. consumers they have to reach certain milestones of functionality, functionality tests Kai should have failed based on what every reviewer said about it and the store malfunction reported here; returning to the Wi-Fi disaster, distinct impression this is a local problem because the same locked carriers for my phone are the ones who show up on my wireless enabled computer; suspicion, at best consumers are expected to pay for a 3rd thing after buying the physical phone, paying the carrier in whatever capacity now expected to fork over extra dollars to unlock said Wi-Fi. Plus the Alcatel Myflip is offered on most, perhaps all major carriers not just the prepaid variety lesser cost choices, translation, you could have not only paid more money for it but be paying a monthly fee to your carrier versus the add minutes, data and airtime set up, scenarios that could happen as well with a fully smartphone device; leaving people, myself included, surely thinking thank god I didn’t pay $100 to $150 for an older i-phone, never mind newly released ones costing as much as a computer in the $750 range to start. Worse it was marketed as ideal for senior citizens, who they, what, think they won’t give an old lady an aneurism, some sweet old man a heart attack with not only the design but lack of information; to that end tenth, all cellphone owner’s manuals carrier or phone brand must be complete with the basics: standard things like how to charge your phone after it was left on and shut off with no battery life left (a 15 minute affair in which I though mine was irreparably broken instead of showing a charging symbol when plugged into it’s charger likewise connected to a power outlet), how to space between words when texting added to the where to find punctuation marks, how to achieve capital letters for proper names, instead of me texting Tracfone help only for them to reply but me not understand the message content, the only thing I could find to type was the question mark prompting them to send it to me in Spanish, or at least that’s an approximate guess as to the language. I had to find consumer cellular tutorial videos on YouTube about the MyFlip original vs. the newer one I own the Flip 2 to discover I needed to set up my voicemail prior to people being able to leave me messages, particularly important since I had my pervious phone’s number transferred, number on file in several places who might need to contact me, used my old phone when I moved and there was a lag in final setup of phone and internet because my provider needed to effect modification due to room spacing and electrical outlets, talked about in other articles the sketchy nature of my internet due to DSL and poor maintenance of phone lines at the pole versus going to my apartment. When I can get more information about my phone’s specs and features from Safe Link’s website that’s a problem; too these were sold as part of the Safe Link program to people who don’t have internet at home, need their phone for safety walking to/from work or grocery store after dark, persons who don’t have time to go to their local library and futz around with your allotment of 1 hour per day internet looking up how to operate their phone. Rewinding a bit speaking of battery life, at eleven, could it be any poorer, the phone does all the things you could want it to for a simple feature phone and it will be lucky to last you a year for the love of repeated charging and finding replacement battery that actually works, 21st century needle meet haystack leaving it on sans using it to make calls or do anything else but log incoming calls, texts, alerts of voicemail messages means charging it at least twice a week maybe 3, need it fully charged for the next day, better throw basic safety to the wind and leave it on the charger overnight or until you leave; otherwise if you charge it and leave it on and ready it will be at 98% having done nothing, rapidly going down from there, another epic fail for technology. Lastly twelfth, recall this whole scenario started with a lost phone unable to be found even after scouring the dentist’s office and calling the city bus company, why phones even hated feature only, not smart, phones need a GPS find my phone option where I can log in to my carrier using my phone number not the zillion digit SIM or serial number and get a map location of where my phone is to retrieve it. Where am I getting these demands, what ‘outdated’ mindset am I basing them on, my previous LG flip phone had nearly all of the above or didn’t need it, it possessed minutes and airtime days display on the home screen, it had an icon to add airtime simplified down to things in minutes buying a game to reading your texts, replying and sending messages deducted so many minutes or fractions thereof; it hosted a rudimentary honestly clunky browser but never needed an update eliminating the current Wi-Fi problem. Games, ringtones and other available to buy apps or download free accessible through the browser making a store function unnecessary and one less thing to break; I rarely if ever needed to call Tracfone help and previously received all the help I needed through there never having a reason to use flip phone texting features differing from the on screen keyboard display of smart phones, my voicemail had a default greeting and possibly no other options but needed no action from me to take messages. And if I can see a Google maps real-time view of where my Gurbhub, Door Dash, Postmates order is then I should be able to see a similar map with a blinking dot representing where my phone is so I can take a cab, a bus to where it is, direct someone at the bus depot to the seat it got sandwiched in. Switching gears slightly there are the things the Alcatel flip phone got right, because it did get some things perfect even for sale in smartphone obsessed America; it has a large screen wonderful for older persons, anyone with vision problems or simply not wanting to develop them looking at a tiny screen for extended amounts of time. The button interface is equally as large making it easier for, again older individuals, combating arthritis, persons with disabilities whose hands don’t work at optimal speed or dexterity, to those who don’t want to require thumb joint replacements in middle age or after; icons fit the screen size and less of them means less clutter and confusion for older individuals to first time users or people seeking to simplify their life/phone usage. Coming with a web browser offers at least the chance of a low cost means for students to participate in flipping the classroom techniques without a tablet or computer in districts housing both poor students and lacking the means to rent items to the relevant student body, who weren’t as lucky as the Tennessee school whom Google outfitted their buses with Wi-Fi furnishing students with Chromebooks to take advantage of long morning/afternoon commutes; being able to use it in conjunction with carriers a-la Tracfone offering 60 day, so many minutes, messages and X amount of data for $15 or 90 days and more of the mentioned features for $25 puts it within reach of at least some low income families with a single middle or high school age child. Cards that add singular functions like messages or data for as little as 5 or 10 dollars make it affordable for people and families to enter the modern era in some facet. They are keeping the headphone jack at a time when Apple’s air pods with no cord and prone to easily getting lost were the wireless accessory sold for the i-phone 5 and above, as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 and 10 plus is exchanging traditional headphones for ones you can plug into the phones USB port citing screen displays and sizes getting too big to hold, move somewhat hypocritical since they mocked Apple when they did it; important for the Alcatel Myflip 2 coming with built-in FM radio accessible minus downloading any additional apps, engaging in added steps, trying to set up Bluetooth for wireless headphones, not walking around with those clunky beats on your head, except plugging in the headphones to the provided jack. Unlike previous flip phones and mirroring smart choices, you can plug in your phone to its charger and still do other things, operate other menu items as it charges an upgrade from previous generations that gave you a charging symbol and you had to wait for it to charge; a true pity they broke almost everything else. Happy update, on my second trip to Wal-Mart with my phone their Wi-Fi was operational, it immediately connected and both the software update and the store update completed in 15 minutes or less, though the update for the store section failed it reverted to its original version and I was able to download games absent the warning about 3rd party whatever putting me off with my previous phone, many of the helpful apps already on the phone upon activating but ones presented were free including a collection of ringtones and my regular trips to the store means updates shouldn’t be a persistent problem even if the structures surrounding obtaining them are.
One of the prevailing mindsets we must get out of, recurring theme in my work, is the concept everybody has, fill in the blank, technology: worse that the tech marketing pushing people into buying/owning a desk or grounded laptop plugged into accessories like printers and rarely moved, a tablet/surface type device for computing, entertainment on the go, Surface perfect for the office tools used in business meetings, college classrooms or a Chrome book/Mac Book Air for office tools and internet combined or persons who like app version office programs and the cloud plus an e-reader for book content not in physical copy, has worked. That the lion’s share of Americans, millennials and aging Gen Zer’s headed to college, above all other generational demographics, are walking around with a mixture of these products, they aren’t; apart from the serious obstacle of affordability hitting the 2 latest generations the hardest confronting student debt, stagnant wages, the gig economy, rising housing costs, wrongly assumed is they want multiple gadgets rather than an all in one device, the don’t. A Business Insider piece’s title for late 2018 explained in one sentence why people are not buying the i-phone X- because they are perfectly satisfied with the i-phone they currently own, as of 2018 nothing was truer pertaining to the internet of things whole home devices from security systems to an Alexa; compartmentalizing those who aren’t old or established enough in their lives to be homeowners, have no intention of owning a home for the fact lifelong renting is cheaper taking them out of the market for home security, ring doorbells and thumbprint locks, features controlled by their landlord, millennials and college age gen Zer’s who bluntly don’t know what the internet of things is/means, further don’t think it is relevant to their lives thus aren’t seeking the offered devices. Others concerned about privacy and rightly so seeing the videos directly above, the fact tech giants were listening without permission quality control or not; besides having a smart home may well make it harder to sell people uninterested in complicated interfaces to operate rudimentary home functions, who don’t need remotely controllable shades as much as they need to consistently be able to move them up and down, worried about the creepy, invasive feel given off by their data collection on people and their behavior. Elsewhere in the consumer gadget landscape tablets are waning in sales, so are gaming consoles casual users opting for the choices on their smartphone in the latter case. As early as 2014 i-pad sales were sluggish because Apple kept their high prices while some competitors were giving them away free with phone and contract purchase, and no one was catching the update bug trending with their phone rollouts; others cited the apps weren’t good enough on Android tablets finally as smartphone screens got bigger and processing faster they just became extras unless you had kids you weren’t willing to hand your smart phone to in the interest of keeping them out of trouble at the store. Kind of the same story with the e- reader, as e-books have become more mainstream, coupled with the increased sizing and improvement of smart phone screens they just became something else to carry around. Bottom line on need- tech, once you have a computer and a smartphone you’re good to go unless you are in a specific job, carry an exclusive hobby; tablet makers need not fret though, in addition to their predicted demise being years long and yet to come to fruition, their biggest market is going to be school districts slowly transitioning from textbooks to i-pads and the educational software allowing teachers to expediently create worksheets and students to type their answers in provided blanks or touch the correct answer on a touch screen, tablets ideal for kids too old for the play computer/tablet toys and not yet old enough for a full blown computer or smart phone but needing those preparatory skills later when they are presented with such devices. Solely recreationally, the decline in gaming consoles can be traced to a few core reasons: older users miss plug and play angry consoles are just as complicated as a PC even more so in some cases; no Wi-Fi— no set up console, hundreds of dollars going back to the store, waiting for it to download the game to the hard drive, codes for extra content not on the disk, multi-player gaming online— you’ll need a subscription and a lot of hours to twiddle your thumbs while all this stuff downloads, oh and be prepared to micromanage and always be updating to make space for those games on that hard drive. Many gamers prefer PC gaming (gee I can’t imagine why) for the price per what you get sans all the surprise extras with a console, (many games released half-finished requiring out of the box updates) better updates, more exclusives and the process is what you would expect with a PC over a console, accelerated by gaming desktops and laptops designed with the high capacity, high performance needed to fully participate in aspects like multi-payer gamming, possessing the hard drive space to keep up with game size versus consoles relatively new to the concept. Entertainment and tech watchers/reviewers blame the slow start and seeming demise of 4K ultra Blu-ray mainly on streaming services and smart TVs pointing to Samsung’s discontinuance of 4K models, Hollywood’s decreasing 4K library, fellow reviewers under the impression it means the death of regular Blu-ray too, DVD’s going the way of the landline phone and the point and shoot camera; forgetting apparently the lack of buying appetite for yet another type of player back during 4K’s entrance into the market, woes continuing when the latest players weren’t released on tome confusing consumers who opted to stick with what they had and what they knew. Ignored, it was originally too close to the mass proliferation of DVD and lacked the extras once found on DVDs that Blu-ray had to woo buying consumers into purchasing a new set of discs. Likewise overlooked or over read into, their focus is Samsung who angered purchasers of first generation Blu-ray players when they discontinued firmware updates after a meager 3 years; commenters on the very article referring to them as high end junk. When people are tempted by the multi-device deluge of mandatory to hold a job, go to school, book a plane ticket tech it is because they can A-afford it and B-because they can’t find a convenient all in one that does what they need it to; laptops are too heavy and clunky to take out daily to class or work, don’t work well on the bus or subway for work or play, conversely have become so lightweight you dare not take it anywhere except for repair, you can add a shopping list to your smartphone, actual books don’t break in your purse or bag unless the vehicle your in has a major accident contrasted to an e-reader more complicated than anyone could have imagined and more corruptible than the paperback you doused with a 20 oz. soda and no one knows what a tablet is for outside the school example, also highly breakable for it’s expense. When people are on the hunt for new devices they are upgrading for work because they need to be able to do things for their boss from home or after work and their home electronics and their work electronics are incompatible a vice versa reason they aren’t upgrading because their job is still using older software X. However if you are in the market for new tech because your hardware is just shot, your laptop has gone through a hard drive, a battery, the trackpad has been battered out of frustration with the standard improvement that improved nothing fasten your seatbelt; looking to replace a PC and facing the Wi-Fi lockout problem, better be sure it has an Ethernet port the dying thing tech makers are increasingly finding superfluous, and be absolutely certain they aren’t using a slim version or you’ll need an adaptor. Still have anything on a disk or buying a dirt cheap digital camera, know disk drives for things like Blu-ray or omni-drive for CD’s, DVDs and Blu-ray add extra to the cost of laptops; like jamming to tunes late at night via YouTube or don’t want to annoy your neighbors in the 4 plex with your choice of news headphone jacks too are disappearing from said laptops, wireless Beats need batteries and does your head hurt yet? Best Buy’s best option reporting all these features and a 17.3 inch screen for all that streaming you can’t do elsewhere sans access to elusive wireless, $1,999.99 complete with maybe enough hard drive space to keep all those podcasts, picture files and the body of work of a journalist, fanfiction author in one place without buying an external hard drive at additional green. Planning to connect an existing printer or buying a new one you intend to connect using a USB cable check that the new things you are buying in both categories has matching ports as USB-A also referred to as USB 1 is falling away from modern laptops replaced with USB-B/ USB2 or USB -C/USB3 and tech watchers say USB 4 is coming, also keep that in mind if you ever plug your phone into your laptop as mentioned were the mini versions of those USB distinctions common on phones. Beyond not being fooled by the 2 in ones tablet laptop combos with detachable screens, Surfaces and Chromebooks just be aware nearly every new model, not the refurbished who knows exactly where it’s been offerings, are a touch screen engorging the price tag and according to reviews for some has a tendency to wink in and out. Not particularly wedded to an OS, brand now might be a good time to jump the windows ship as their speculated coming features sound like the stuff of horror stories for anyone not a tech geek; not only has no one ever answered the backwards compatibility questions for windows 10’s companion office suite, (paramount to anyone buying a computer before windows solidifies what they are doing, releases the next office suite) windows 11 isn’t apparently going to be a thing rather they drop the numbers and issue recurring twice a year updates, they are also scrapping their short lived Edge browser the next thing after internet explorer 11 for something called Google Chromium an open source browser people will inevitably mistake for Google Chrome and open source is synonymous with watered down, much of what probably went wrong with Firefox and is plaguing KaiOS in American markets. Oh where to begin breaking down what’s soon to be breaking the OS maker if these plans go through, added to the browser woes there are people now who can’t get the security updates to load properly sans hassle now they want to do it twice a year with the entire operating system; sure that’ll last about 2 attempted update releases before they have to discard the idea, forget knowing if your laptop is compatible with the new upgrades or if you have enough hard drive space. And who says every update, upgrade, new turn on an old idea is a good the mercury laden lightbulbs to the fail that was windows Vista lesson enough to slash the caution lights, again it isn’t just complaining central regarding consumer toys; take distracted driving arguably the scourge of the smart phone era people texting and driving thought to be some of the biggest culprits of traffic accidents and fatalities. Hold on, weeding out people who aren’t driving newer model vehicles complete with Bluetooth, doesn’t have on-star or GPS navigation, for the ones who are driving something less than 15 year old many times it’s adjusting the elaborate music systems, other features packed into newer model vehicles making the TV in the steering wheel of a luxury tricked out version for a celebrity or millionaire’s ride slightly less absurd sounding; highest reported problem by users not that the high tech touch screen looks like it belongs in a cockpit as expressed by the news anchor or came directly out of J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot rather, setting up the devices, grappling with conflicting, confusing instructions that don’t do what they say they are supposed to when you follow them to the letter, finicky touch screens that are too sensitive or ones you have to jam your finger to input commands all while driving down the road. Voice activations and commands that don’t work, require shouting to respond, known for struggling with accents; whether that’s operating your GPS like the man was who killed the featured father’s 21 year old daughter to as he highlights the insanity of being able to text, e-mail, access social media and the internet while driving, (plainly not personally familiar with LA, NYC traffic, St. Louis or Kansas City at morning/evening rush hour where it’s bumper to bumper and the only thing likely to happen is a double digit number of fender benders) or accessing the car’s safety feature settings that have to be turned on to function, the problem isn’t what’s there or how people try to use it, it’s that it’s too buggy and complex to use period, forget while driving. Relatedly converse mindset we also need to leave behind in the, yes modern era but with several generations in America, is the idea that even with access to the wide array consumer tech a majority of people here or on the westernized portions of the globe know how to use them, even more untrue than the accessibility realities when YouTube videos like the one below demonstrating how you can maximize your Google search to get needed results over minutia without spending hours scrolling through data, trying variations on search terms, are not only everywhere but regularly viewed; by point one some are lost on how to get the vertical bar symbol to appear in the search box and have to do a side search on that, dido the tilde symbol (~) they again had to look up how to produce before attempting the supposedly time saving shortcut. Still comments on the offered videos are closely attached to the video after paragraph 2 on rural area slow intent comment section complete with people implying businesses are whining if they are getting 10 meg not dial up, not realizing you can’t run a business, or in that case a doctor’s office e-mailing patient X-rays that way; the one standout on the provided tutorial video asking who doesn’t already know these tips and tricks has a basic answer: anyone in a grade higher than kindergarten after the national distribution of Windows 95 never mind people who were years out of educational institutions including college when Widows 95 became commonplace. Anyone across the generations alive in the western world who didn’t grow up with a computer or a computer connected to the internet in the home, older persons who only use computers/the internet as a novelty via the local library; ignored people who are satisfied with their results when they type generic questions into a Google search, effect minor adjustments in wording finding no need to investigate further, have already cottoned on to putting the word define or definition after a word to find its meaning. Epitomizing this is the Facebook cafés happening in the UK discussing privacy settings after survey results showed users didn’t know or were confused about those settings; similarly you can get pictures from a flip phone via an accessory USB cable with a micro or mini end fitting to your phones charger port and an end fitting to your PC/laptop’s USB port-but the top video that comes up in search results mentions syncing software for your PC which may or may not be needed depending on the make/model of your phone, make and model of your PC, age of either device, just one instance explaining everyone’s varied level of skill, how much they know based on how they use their electronics. Following forward of the massive misconception everybody has a, fill in the blank tablet, e-reader, PC, home internet, Wi-Fi availability including the locked cases in earlier paragraphs, smart phone, versus basic cellphone feature phones and everybody knows how to do— fill in the blank whether it’s get pictures off your phone, to customize your PC display, to maximize your PowerPoint to impress the boss with a killer presentation, you’re an ace with a digital camera it has become the same with TV viewing options; Star Trek’s makers angered long-time fans of the franchise well before the controversies about content, plotlines and rumors actors were told to lie about such things to inquisitive entertainment reporters and interested would be watchers when instead of honoring the tradition of putting Star Trek on over the air or at least cable TV, with Scott Bakula’s Enterprise, they decided to be ‘cool’ and place their newest installment Discovery on CBS’ digital media/streaming service All Access only rather than in addition to, turning off older followers less lost on how to use it and more refusing to pay for yet another thing so they can see one particular show that’s hallmark was over the air availability. Poised to commit the same sin with the most recent spin off brain child Picard trailer released at San Diego comic con, the Twilight Zone’s reboot hailed as perfect for our current political and social times is there and only there also, Veronica Mars’ long awaited reboot/season 4 is only on Hulu and probably only for a limited time sans coughing up dollars for a subscription; tech chroniclers noting the streaming wars have begun with several new services joining industry dominator Netflix, expanded services from Hulu and Amazon with plus and prime respectively offering both existing movies and TV along with original content shows for a fee of course, YouTube Red that is now rebranded as YouTube Premium coupling Google’s new music streaming service with Red’s features—ad free videos, original series and movies, launching YouTube TV offering live content through connected smart TV’s, streaming boxes, PC’s or mobile devices providing cloud based DVR, Disney’s Disney Plus and HBO Max, Apple TV Plus along with a yet to be named NBC Universal platform joining what should be being called the streaming product overload. Streaming services’ appeal was always more channels, variety less cost, at least the potential to give persons unable to afford traditional cable options an opportunity to get commonly sought after channels beyond just their local offerings; it was never supposed to end up costing as much as your traditional cable bill which is what it’s fast approaching when you are compelled to sign on to more and more services to get singular shows you want to watch, wish to see to ascertain how much you like before buying season or series on DVD/Blu-ray. The streaming wars also brought out hitherto unknown information about how those services are designed Newsy noting the millions of dollars Netflix paid to run the entire series of Friends or The Office on their platform and it was leaving because that contract is now up going to the newly formed HBO Max ending a long held mystery about things available on Netflix for a short time then removed, then brought back instead of enlarging their library; streaming platform unveiling by the same news outlet brought out potentially angering news about how CEO’s of spaces like Netflix view their place in the streaming world not as a hub to watch everything available to stream but to bring viewers the next great show they will fall in love with, sure if you say so. Smart TV’s like Blu-ray players before them require both constant firmware updates and a Wi-Fi connection for the smart features to operate presenting another barrier to the newest technology for people simply still replacing their old analog TV’s that have gone out, if you don’t have internet, Wi-Fi yet smart ones are fast becoming the only ones sold. Compounding frustrations for persons who do already have the mentioned components it connects to your ‘home’ network, setting aside people who don’t have a ‘network’ merely a connected PC via Ethernet cord pushed into extra steps to set that up then set up their TV are likely to face speed slowdowns because anything networked runs noticeably slower, part of the reason why every call center for you cable, internet, banking takes forever to pull up your information and if you are already running at slower speeds streaming services will be pixilated and buffering at best and non-functional at worst on top of the previously mentioned chewing into the data limit on a wireless only plan. Smart TV’s that have conflated the standard AV ports red, white, yellow and blue, orange green for various gaming systems and at least one LG DVD player with AV hookups over HDMI problematic considering the old school classic video game mini consoles from Nintendo, Saga and Atari, Sony just coming out with a mini version of the first Play Station unable to keep the items in stock attesting to their popularity, and though they say they will stop selling the NES and Super NES classics this year, that still leaves holiday season and people with 2 HDMI ports on their TV in a lurch. Returning on disk media, despite the facts rendered yet at least one Blu-ray maker believes manufacturing minimum one selection of the devices is a waste of time thanks to streaming; except streaming platform heads may find their attitude backfiring when people figure out the money they are shelling out doesn’t get them what they want, when they finally come to understand having an active subscription isn’t the same as owning a physical copy because the entities subscribed to suddenly change their offering library ditching things people ‘don’t stream anymore’ versus the one time cost, if you treat them well, of buying the complete series of Friends, The Office on Blu-ray or left out DVD, the low cost of intermittent replacement of either player due to high use, DVD ideal for low income people and those who want the movie not necessarily all the extra features, are cut off from Blu-ray absent Wi-Fi for firmware updates. Blog extensively covering the things popular with some audiences that have never been available on Blu-ray or if they are it requires buying from dubious online sites, things you can’t find in either Blu-ray or DVD at least not in the complete series of insert title of TV show here. Again despite everyone’s predictions of what’s ‘dying’ Redbox’s DVD rental kiosks are still around and used plus Netflix’s DVD service as of 2018 was thriving independent the numbers for it’s streaming offerings. Reading to this point ones doing so can expediently guess there’s a larger theme to be gleaned than just the masses’ access the latest entertainment dross everyone from philosophers to mental health professionals or average persons sick of reality TV and its effect on society calls a distraction and they would be right; it’s about access to information, getting larger quantities of national news, 2016 taught us the importance of being a better informed voter, more engaged citizen, starting with that access. Access that doesn’t happen without internet either to operate a streaming device opening the door to independent media or see it online via spaces like YouTube with a tablet or PC; importance ratcheted up several notches when we revisit things this blog has talk about since the phenomenon emerged print newspaper’s online content telling you to disable your ad blocker or subscribe (translation pay a monthly fee) to read, those who allot a minuscule number of free ads say per month, otherwise pay up, regardless if you are someone like me producing blog content possibly putting links to their things into my work as references to various topics. We want people to be better informed but regularly deny people the means; not a coincidence, that the 42% to 62% of people who either don’t know how to use the internet or can’t afford it comprise the percentage known as Trump’s base, signifying his highest approval rating at moments throughout his presidency thus far. Why Sinclair broadcasting’s propaganda-esque statements smattered all over local stations was such a big deal because they were ‘must run’ monolithic, blanket pre-fabricated segments suddenly mandatory on every local station from the spring of 2018 when it was done 39% of Americans within their reach and pushing the Trump definition of fake news (any news he doesn’t like about himself or a subject factual or not); notice a pattern in the given percentages again awfully close to numbers on Trump’s base/approval rating. Propaganda-esque material shoved down the throats of people who odds are aren’t getting CNN, MSNBC, Fox News let alone independent media, who rails on the status quo bias of the mainstream media. To the entertainment aspect being discussed, there is what people miss when they can’t participate in the social conversations around popular TV shows/movies being had at work, over family holidays less because they aren’t in your interest area and instead because you don’t have access, you don’t see television designed to reach the public consciousness and provide digestible commentary in a format individuals will accept and process from the Fahrenheit 451 remake to the Handmaids Tale turning the book into an Amazon series, as listed the Twilight Zone’s political/social commentary, films like Get Out and Us, Star Trek Discovery following the series tradition of breaking barriers with multiple LGBT characters, the way they displayed racial diversity in the 60’s pushing the boundaries of the interracial kiss, using the character of Ash Tyler to explore the effects of male rape, sexual trauma; chastised for doing it badly but recognized for doing it all the same. We are fast approaching a critical mass situation where very soon people won’t be able to do anything from watch the news, to find information, maximize shopping opportunities to save money on things they need, gifts for birthdays, holidays by shopping online, comparing prices, pay their bills or apply for needed social services/government programs for want of internet, computers, homes where these things can function; here is what we need to be worried about before fretting over who’s first to proliferate 5G.
There are things that can be done to solve problems not merely work around dysfunction in what is fast becoming technological necessity, inescapable reality; mirroring our physical infrastructure, instead of worrying about what China is doing with 5G in terms of global competition and technological advancement versus our very valid security concerns, if nothing else we can mandate major carriers and tech companies provide backups to 9-1-1 call centers and city/state services, medical entities across the board family clinics to the neurological/autism center in your local area, psychological services all, because no matter how good, how careful outages do happen. Setting aside 5G, tech companies, carriers, all involved entities can focus on security of the systems we have, to that end, international tribunals, courts and governing bodies need to pressure tech companies, a-la Microsoft, by crafting law to either not discontinue security updates when it’s being used in smaller, developing world countries like Mongolia helping operate things like hospitals (how they were attacked with wannacry still using the no longer supported windows XP) or offer them affordable, discounted operating system upgrades, preventing the devastation of something like the malware mentioned throughout the piece; American federal mandates it be the same scenario for city services, medical facilities in every state. Expanding on the maintain and repair what we’ve got details given in paragraph 2 as well, here at home too laws, parameters and guidelines at the federal level outlining standards for telephone poles and cable lines providing internet service; there is no reason why I should be paying nearly $100 a month for phone and internet that’s on a lifetime price control plan bundling phone plus 10 meg internet service. If I am going to be expected to pay that kind of money the minimum I should be getting in return is the added ‘feature’ of keeping the pole equipment in good working order whether it’s phone line DSL or cable I’ve chosen without it going out every time it rains or the wind blows the tiniest bit, it snows, random shutdowns roughly every 3 months because the equipment on the pole needs to be torn down and replaced; do the developers of 5G responsible for outfitting telephone poles to streetlights in preparation for the eventual launch of the new network not think will collapse if the existing equipment, possible the pole itself is falling down? If data limits are the new old model then there are little things websites can do to help people stay within those limits and continue using their site, viewing their product places like YouTube, Dailymotion putting video titles in their URLs so when I’m organizing an article like this I don’t have to load it to see which one it is and ensure videos, other links are in the correct order, middle men type entire pages dedicated to ‘click here to play video’ instead of going directly to the link and starting; if you want people to come to your site and look at anything in the future please disable add blocker needs to go the way of the dot matrix printer and lawmakers need to make that ‘option’ illegal. Building operating systems and adjacent software programs/apps better so they need less updates to begin with on the municipal function side or the consumer side would be a win, win; security updates for operating systems that actually update correctly without excess intervention from users, particularly one’s going to operating system computers in previously named public places, critical offices, medical buildings. When an update does fail error codes that when googled actually exist and you can find helpful information how to fix the problem not the zero information you routinely find; this holds double for speculated problems with your internet connection, the blue screen instructions I got when my hard drive went bad that were missing key steps on how to do what is was telling me and missing the fact the hard drive was bad and following the instructions if I could have would yield nothing; if I’m to be expected to pay $2,000 excluding tax, care plan and so in for the newest laptop how about some onboard diagnostics that can tell you what your specific problem is and exact steps to fix it not generic minutia Browsers that function like Webroot’s anti-virus software that essentially runs in the background needing the occasional refresh in terms of the browser; personally I will probably be a forever user of Google Chrome because it functions thus needing a relaunch if it hasn’t been done in a while versus the constant issues with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the listed issues with Firefox. If Microsoft is determined to update operating systems the way we currently add security updates or update browsers then they have lightyears of work to do in making it less temperamental than it’s always been known for being and still holds a reputation for continuing in that same vein. Improving on the Elizabeth Warren plan to not only restore net neutrality but treat internet like a public utility as explained in paragraph 2, to expand access by subsiding local area built/maintained internet service for small communities/created co-ops, elsewhere ensuring there is one low income option for people to use essentially nationwide; it would be better to focus on reducing the cost of major carriers prices charged to consumers to avoid the low income option gradually being slower, less reliable, lagging in needed repair also true over time with locally generated and co-op versions that may end up neglected for various reasons, local budget fluctuation. It also eliminates the battle over what precisely is defined as low income weighed against having 5 school age children all needed to do homework versus 1 or 2, having no children but needed internet to apply for social services as a person with a disability making it harder to get out and appear in person at offices for want of transportation, weather effecting health, mobility or just wanting to be a fully informed voter, have a low cost from of enjoyment. Whole home Wi-Fi kits and professionals to install them in every home in America similar to the converter box coupons of the digital transition only with improved implementation might be better altogether in simplicity and goal achievement. In the interest of consumer protection and environmental preservation items with batteries shouldn’t function like this comment hoverboards to cellphones to electric scooters, ignoring entirely that Samsung did find a problem with their batteries and the other fire causing electronics used the same category of battery indicating a problem with them regardless of brand or country of manufacturing, “Things to remember to prevent stuff like this happening…1. Stay by your unit while you charge it. The battery only takes 1-3 hours for charging. Over charge and it can result to a damaged battery or even catch flames. 2. Teach whoever how to use a fire extinguisher.3. Watch what your buying! Read reviews, not just good good reviews, bad ones too. Does it seem legit? 4. Read the user’s manuel!!!”[Sic] Apart from the battery problem that’s known to exist, these things need to have built in shutoffs to prevent ‘overcharging’ causing batteries to explode and preventing excess drain and strain on the battery and the apparatus extending the life of both even if it’s left plugged into a charger subsequently plugged into an electric outlet; since people are playing the video games on their smartphones more than their PC or gaming console they should be built to operate on either battery or AC adaptor plugged into an outlet like the Gameboy advanced before it. Continuing on the consumer side how about giving people what they want not investing in getting people excited about the new shiny objects you have; exemplified by Microsoft’s X Box lunching a line of personal care products Buzz60 cheekily title the video ‘no one wanted,’ but only available in Australia and New Zealand trying to entice hardcore gamers to shower we guess. They, the buying public aren’t interested for the most part in tablet laptop combos, touch screens are not the deciding factor on what they are buying or not, people are done being bamboozled by laptop impersonators like the Surface, we are aware that the Mac Book Air for example is so tightly compacted it craps out in 2-3 years; while we’re on the subject, if you are going to call it a laptop then their legally need to be mandatory things on/in the device deeming it so including standard headphone jack, Ethernet ports such and until they are no longer used, standard USB 1/A ports for older printers, people without Wi-Fi to connect it cordlessly, again such and until those devices/ports no longer exist, and an optical drive capable of playing CD’s, DVD’s and Blu-ray disks, with no added cost to the buyer recalling the horrendous price of the HP model in the paragraph above holding all the common features people need and few new ones to justify the expenditure. Contrast that to the $1,300 I paid in 2011 for a 16 inch laptop identical brand with all the basic drive and ports mentioned including tax, 3 year protection plan home and student office package and Webroot anti-virus when such costs have been steadily decreasing, tablets and combos the high cost investments. What they do want, long begged for improvements to the structure of computing devices like laptops, going to the overheating issues detailed about the HP, why can’t they make a laptop intended to be grounded (as in rarely moved) that can run like a desktop without shutdown or feeling like a hotplate, smelling like warm, surprised it isn’t melting, plastic; why do laptops emit so much heat and can’t they build ones that don’t, that have impressive power but don’t run the chance of lighting desks with paint on fire? Comprehending people are buying laptops more likely less for offered portability and rather for space, they don’t have an entire desk to devote to just their computer, if they need repair they can’t always load their monitor, CPU and keyboard into their car and take it somewhere never mind the hundreds of dollars and hour for in-home service if you live in a town large enough to have it; if the shutdown to prevent overheating feature is a needed safety precaution then why is there no warning just screen suddenly goes lack and in 2 to 5 minutes it shuts off completely, there should be a 1-5 minute warning before it does so allowing people to move their laptop effecting better air flow before just poof your done and waiting minimum 30 minutes to an hour to safely turn it back on and use. Why is it when you remove inevitably broken laptop fans it looks like you are cleaning out the lint trap of your dryer after at least 5 loads of laundry, (contributing to or he root cause of overheating) they look like something removed out of your HVac system absent a filter, heating and cooling filters months overdue for a change, household air vents that have never underwent the recommended cleaning; that being said, why isn’t there an accessible filter you can change catching the dust so you don’t have to employ cans of compressed air and vacuum cleaner suction over the fan vents to try and clean it, buying a new one when it just shuts down because taking it apart to clean it directly is not something computer repair undertakes because of its delicate nature and how easy it is to damage the whole laptop permanently, how about making them dust repellent instead of, like all electronics, dust attractant? Why not make the letters on the keyboard raised like they are on your credit/debit, store cards perhaps minus the sharp edges rather than the stick on variety easily warn smooth in a short time making it harder for those of us who weren’t born, natural typists to type effectively; keyboard reconfiguration to put the backspace button over and up where the delete button is enlarging it so it’s easier to find without staring at your keyboard while typing, not putting the enter button too close to the backslash key enlarging it and moving it outward so you again can find it with your fingers not staring at your keyboard. Moving the caps and number lock indicator lights to the right of the power button on all laptops so that people are aware they’ve hit the caps lock if they didn’t intend to since if you have your fingers in the correct position on the home row you can’t see that light on or off, never mind if you don’t have exactly perfect typing form and mimicking desktop keyboards; including grammar symbols for laptops sold in other countries, the French sounding off on staple keys never built in, “there are no standardized keys for accents, quote marks or certain letters — like those that form the correct beginning of the word “oeuvre”… If you have an entertainment PC/laptop especially with video operations like stop, play, rewind and fast-forward paired with the function keys then there should be one keyboard row of space between them and the row of number keys or the beginning row of letter keys depending on specific design so people aren’t hitting those when they want numbers, also tie the play, stop and so on to be operational on videos found at YouTube or any other video online taking at least some of the wear and tear off the trackpad mouse and is theoretically quicker than convincing YouTube to add those buttons to their vast accumulation of videos. When it comes to display and operating system, people didn’t want the tiled look in windows 10, they got it anyway, they hated the ribbon display of font choices exc. in office 2010 they got it anyway going forward into 2013 and 2016, they didn’t want the bells and whistles of office 2016, they got the largely seen as minutia ‘upgrades’ anyway. What they do want, in the interest of reducing the world’s nearsightedness office products and browser display icons, PC and tablet display icons need to be roughly 10 times larger than they are, if nothing else inverting the size of items under the quick access options available on that toolbar making them larger and the things in the ribbon smaller depending on which tab you click in MS office, defaulting to large icons on the desktop sans users having to pick that choice, website and browsers also converting to this default sans constantly adjusting the zoom settings for our eye health, godsends for people working in offices. Basics like putting a space between the minimize, restore and close buttons in Google chrome operating windows 7 forward or office 2010 forward instead of expecting the trackpad mouse to compensate for the fact they are practically on top of each other, your aiming for one and will hit either of the others because the trackpad mouse isn’t that good. Creating consistency adjusting the color scheme of grammar and spelling error underlines to contrast effectively in order to be seen within various color fills and backgrounds, get rid of the white mouse pointer arrow on a white or nearly white background like the whitespaces on YouTube category pages or the ribbon in MS office, a new tab in google chrome, also ditch white on white scheme for the thing that looks like a hand with index finger extended you encounter when hovering your mouse over a specific link of google results for example; these should change to contrast the against the background color, in the case of white the pointers, arrows should be red or black in order to be seen and seen clearly minus the eye strain, sans having to wade through easy access menus and display settings following endless mounds of instructions, not to mention it’s insulting to imply someone has a disability just because they want to keep their good eyesight or don’t want to worsen deficient vision. In that same vain, why is the curser in the text of Microsoft word or any box capable of receiving text inputs blinking rather than stationary at the point where you left off typing within the text or where you have directed your mouse to place it within the text; for input boxes on the internet it should be stationary at the beginning of the search field or the first search field on the page if there are multiple ones. All browsers and website makers too, don’t use fake cursers to indicate or decorate search fields; also don’t make me have to click inside the search field before typing a query or relevant information when there is nothing else you can do on that page. All such boxes in office products should have spell check operation just like latest versions of most browsers already do so that when I type something in the find field I know if it’s misspelled or not, ensuring the find function searches the whole of a large document or incudes search parameters on which portion you wish to look through would be a positive; speaking of find and it’s companion replace do users a big favor and A- don’t put it next to the select options and the big one, DON”T MAKE THE ONLY WAY TO TURN OFF THE FIND AND REPLACE OPTION (to continue typing like normal when you accidentally somehow turned it on in the first place) TO SAVE OPEN DOCUMENTS AND SHUT DOWN YOUR COMUPTER THEN TURN IT BACK ON. Instead when you suddenly can’t type anymore and the navigation box is lit up telling users the replace is on and having a button to turn it off able to go back to what you were doing. Micro enlargements to standard fonts like Times New Roman to make them easier to read both for dyslexics and people spending long hours at their keyboards followed by those same micro adjustments to word spacing keeps you from feeling like things are running together on the screen without sacrificing professional, school mandated founts, forgetting to switch back from something you find easier to see before printing, being able to judge final product page appearance in the professionally accepted front before printing or sending to a boss, professor, teacher. Ability to tile word documents individually and have them displayed such on the task bar instead of one icon you hover over displaying open documents difficult to maneuver with the trackpad mouse, simple additions like under windows update stating when it last checked for updates, a view update history option a currently scanning for updates notification in that box or choice to display it on the right of your task bar with the date, time volume, battery, internet connection, dido Webroot or other anti-virus an icon displayed on the taskbar stating it’s scanning if that’s how you set it to display, widows defender as well. Any of this stuff actually already available to set on your PC, then why don’t people know about it, could it be the lack of owner’s manuals dispensed with laptops, desk tops and their operating systems; and no, I don’t mean the (operating system) for dummies series not distributed by the maker of the machine or the software, (those function better as paper weights and door stops I mean a basic guide on how your computer works, where things are on your particular PC running X version of the operating system, what each control panel category has in it for instance, where exactly they put the disk cleanup/defragment settings since none of the online examples matched mine for the operating system I currently use, keyboard shortcuts for opening new tabs, hyperlinks in a new tab exc. listed in if not a paper owner’s manual under a heading more relevant than ‘getting started’ pm screen tutorials on how to accessible for as long as the computer operates. How about when you turn on your PC/laptop, you don’t get starting windows and that needless placeholder welcome screen but your desktop also, lose the black screen of ‘is it dead’ the back-lit black of ‘oh no did the hard drive crash,’ and do likewise when restarting after updates preventing people from panicked pressing buttons interfering with said updates (yet processors in the windows 7 era were supposed to be so much faster); I know what type of computer I bought and there are other places to determine if it is a PC or Mac if some repair person doesn’t know, I’m getting old and forgot. How about when you open it from hibernation start opening tabs of news clips on YouTube, research queries for homework it doesn’t pick right then to start checking for updates, scanning malware and updating your browser because it’s the scheduled time for checking, it’s been 24 hours since the last scan, there’s a new update available (knowing your luck all 3 at once) rather waiting until the usual (yes browser makers can and probably are tracking that) number of tabs for that user is all that’s open then running update operations, virus/malware scans, and browser relaunches. What do we want, what types of features did we all want to see in the office package versus the bells and whistles we got, here’s a hint what users have been screaming for, for years, the things they tell you time and time again after you release a new version still not addressing their issue, hot one word’s spellcheck to actually perform spelling and grammar checks similar to how Google does, how it did when XP was the height of operating systems; teachers everywhere beg students to get it’ and its right it might be nice if MS office could remember to do the same, could stop interjecting plural possessive where it’s simply meant to be plural, could master subject verb agreement on par with a 3rd grader and stop insisting it doesn’t when the sentence is grammatically correct. They don’t want to have to pay for a subscription to have access to brand name office tools a-la office 365 they want a solid complete, non-open source version to keep permanently on their PC period and for office 365 to do them any good they would have to know what OneDrive is and how to use it and actually use skype, if you are a single person you don’t need it for multiple users a-la the home version. By the way why is at Publisher not included in the home and student version when student also applies to college where students may well be creating flyers, newsletters and brochures for activism if nothing else, but paired with Access in the business version for roughly twice as much money? Instead of telling people what something can’t do (hear this one in the blog a-sphere a lot when it comes to what they can and can’t handle along the lines of size and media) or countering people’s complaints about say Google Chrome’s CPU hogging why not build something that can; instead of telling people about Onetab (another question why did I find out about this feature in a comment section instead of as a suggestion from Chrome itself) and insinuating they have too many tabs open at once and that’s the problem, build one that it doesn’t matter, creating 2 rows of tabs displayed if that’s what it takes instead of them disappearing off the end at some point too by the way. These are open ended tools that have many ways you can use them so why is refining that usage to what users are doing versus the original design vision so abhorrent; I got into a debate with my boss about the blog thing when I warned him how hard it was to publish things thanks to the amount of links and literally hundreds of ads being blocked from those links, how hard it was to load if readers wanted to read the work and him saying it was not standard web format suggesting I research what that was. At which point I reminded him he hired a writer who was clear about their role as a commentator not a journalist with mediocre research skills, him having to show me what an embed code was (hey I’m an 80’s kid) also regaling him with the last time he sent me down a look into this rabbit hole about auto-converting video links in WordPress I found the ‘we only whitelist these’ list and haven’t shut up about it in every relevant tech topic piece since. He let slip he had developers interested but they seemed to want the standard format I said wait you’re talking to developers of computer components/ web programs, blog spaces tell them to build something that can handle the volume of text (really not the problem) and links instead of A- chastising me or format when the biggest pint of the blog was to get away from the column inches of the newspaper and B- limiting writers to a hand full of links after each paragraph WordPress itself taking an exorbitant amount of versions to come up with a viable publishing interface that promotes ease of use and minimizing strain on computing devices like laptops; text in publishing videos much easier to read and adjust one click hyperlink conversion with none of the, copy and pasting into the field, lag after pressing convert. Still they lack pagination often seen on fanfiction sites of search results, google query results and other online articles that are far shorter than the things we were discussing, pagination that would cut the strain loading all text and links at once, forget if readers want to play provided video content. Added to the paragraph devoted to cellphones Absolutely people should be able to take their broken i product to whatever repair shop they want to and replacement hardware like batteries and screens should be shipped to them to effect needed repair sans voiding the warranty or going to an authorized Apple repair service charging more money; how they’ve been doing otherwise all these years unfathomable, and good on the 20 states contemplating laws to make it so. Relating to 5G and the fears about cancer perhaps they should have been paying a little more attention to the latest generation smartphones considering the i-phone 7 was emitting twice the radiation reported to regulators worse the tests are outdated based on when everyone was carrying them in a case on their hip as opposed to in their pocket and we are on what version of the i-phone now? Streaming devices and smart TV’s if you can and have activated those features should work like the TV’s of old you bought it you got all channels available, especially since you are already paying for the internet services enabling said features, at the very least once you buy a streaming device or capable television you should be able to get all available streaming shows for a flat comprehensive fee, none of this 5 and 10 dollar-ing people to death; practical things/improvements needed and would be appreciated, making our tech integrated world better completely divorced from 5G and its hype.