by Joel Saltzman
Just when I thought I was going to upgrade my 4 year old Ripcurl GPS surf watch with their 2nd generation, a funny thing happened. Not only did Apple "meet" Ripcurl with the same GPS functionality, they one upped them with the help of Surfline's new Sessions feature. I gave up waiting for a decent day to evaluate this thing at my local beach. I always get my most amazing statistics while at Corky's paradise but next to there, San O usually delivers impressive numbers. Apparently, you can use the Apple Surfline Ap or the similar-to-Ripcurl Dawn Patrol Ap as that one also can be synced with Surfline. While it was easy to set up and launch, I found the accuracy was nowhere near as good as my old RipCurl search watch. Of course, I was wearing my new Apple 4 under my wetsuit as the factory sports band could easily pop open outside the suit. My Ripcurl had a traditional clasp allowing me to wear over the suit. That being said, the problem was not that it missed waves. I did two sessions and mentally counted about 8 waves each. When I synced my watch with my iPhone, it showed I caught 12 waves per session. If that wasn't weird enough, I was also clocked on one wave at 21mph and another at 25mph. Anyone who has ever surfed San O Old Man's knows they call it that for a reason. When jumbo, it has its moments but normally, it's a slow, baggy s-turny reform kind of long, long wave. So I have go call BS on the accuracy of this thing.
At the moment, this APP only works with iPhones and the 3rd party Dawn Patrol Application which more resembles the Ripcurl SEARCH statistics. The great news is it looks like RipCurl's watches will be compatible with Sessions soon. While the Ripcurl search is certainly more durable waterproof-wise and likely more accurate, it's not a sexy beast like the Apple Watch 4. In fact, the first version was enormous, ugly and uncomfortable to sleep with. So far, the only downside to the Apple watch is it needs to be charged every 1-2 days where I could go over a week with the Ripcurl, except in Mainland Mex where the waves are 500+ yards each. Had to charge every two days down there.
I did have a problem initially getting my sessions to load on my iPhone. It turned out I was a defective user though and it was not Apple or Surfline's fault. Apparently, my watch was accidentally put in Airplane mode and once I turned that off, the sessions came over. I had to figure out how to swipe up from the bottom to reveal the sessions. The great news is this s**t really works. The dude who invented this technology gets a set wave of his choice from me. Of course, there are bugs which I will go over below that need to be addressed. Here is a typical sessions clip..
As you can see, the biggest limitations are the image quality and range of the Surfline cameras. I found that the system did not miss any of my waves which was the great news. Surfline states that this feature will record you as long as the camera can see you. Well that may be true but it also continues to record your stats when you are out of frame. My 11th wave was 699 feet long. I'm the dude who starts off going right and turned it into a left. I go out of screen about 200' into the ride. The dude on the wave behind me ended up getting captured way better than me so it's all about staying in the camera frame. Aside from Malibu with multiple camera angles, I'm not sure it will be possible to capture a long wave in it's entirety. That being said, anyone who has wasted time fast forwarding camera rewinds while looking to find their waves will love this.
Once I set up my Apple watch complications properly, it is a way cooler surf watch than the Ripcurl. I can launch a session with one touch on the dial. I can launch my Pandora APP for my iPhone with one touch as well as make a phone call. The watch face also shows me wind speed, weather conditions, time, and date,
All it takes is the Surfline Application (about $70 per year), and an Apple 2 or later watch. As I mentioned, Ripcurl will have this soon so if you have one of their watches already, sit tight. I'm not yet convinced that the Apple watch is as accurate but I have only had two sessions on one day compared to hundreds on my Ripcurl. I will continue to play with this and report back. So far, the biggest disappointment was thinking I was really ripping and then seeing the videos that were not quite as fabulous as they were in my mind.
by Joel Saltzman
Most of my friends and clients know that I had been in the wireless business since day one, long before handhelds or even transportable phones existed. They also know that I'm an avid surfer and start my mornings at the beach. My friends used to joke about whether I actually had the technology to make and receive phone calls from the water while surfing. I usually responded that when that became possible, I was retiring. Well it did, and I am now retired from the cellular industry. I still do some wireless IT consulting in regards to business Internet providers, global data roaming, voIP cloud phone services, SD WAN, and Cyber Security though.
I personally use an iPhone, not because I love Apple but because they are more stable and secure than Android devices. I hate the way Apple regularly sneaks nasty features and functions into their software upgrades and never recommend doing a software upgrade just because they pushed it out to you, ...unless it addresses a critical issue on an app you use. I had always recommended my clients to disable the auto upgrade feature and wait a few weeks before doing these software upgrades. I would google "problems with new iOS 12.4" or whatever the new version was and look for the same kind of problems listed. If dozens of people noticed that their battery life now sucked, Id wait for the upgrade "patch". What makes matters much worse this time is Apple burned the bridge of return down so it is no longer possible to go back to iOS 12.3 or anything earlier.
Last week, there was even an article about how Apple modified a standard Texas Instrument chip to give error messages when customers changed out batteries, even if they were genuine. This was done on the new XS, XS+ and XR models in an attempt to make sure all battery upgrades were done at APPLE stores and not 3rd party stores, even those using the same exact OEM parts.
There is no doubt that the android camp is far more advanced in hardware innovation, after all, Samsung makes Apple's top of line Apple X displays. Qualcomm and Intel make the engines (processors). Where Apple excels though is with their Software (operating system), interconnectivity between Apple devices, and security.
So a funny thing recently happened. I've been using a RipCurl watch for the last three years that has the ability to use GPS to track lots of cool information while I'm surfing. It would show me how far I paddled, how far I surfed, how long each wave was in yards and minutes and lots of other cool stats. At the time this product was invented four years ago, it was quite revolutionary. In four years, Ripcurl has upgraded the software numerous times and but only recently came out with a new 2nd generation of the device which was essentially the same, albeit a tad smaller. Meanwhile Apple has had four different iWatch models with tons of software upgrades.
My RipCurl search watch would capture all of my surf session statistics which I could then sync to transfer to my Ripcurl iPhone application so I could see the information more completely than the summary given on the watch itself. As I mentioned, the technology world moves fast and while this was a game breaker four years ago, Apple not only just took took RipCurl's technology, they just advanced it and here is how.
Most Southern California core surfers know about Swellmagnet.com. They are an amazing FREE resource that provides live HD camera feeds at many of the major breaks from Mexico to Malibu. They are my first choice when checking the surf online. Their biggest competitor, Surfline, a corporate conglomerate, offers very quick glimpses of their cams with annoying commercials, unless you subscribe to their "Premium" service for $69.99 per year. While Swellmagnet has far more reliable cameras at my home break, they only have a couple dozen, whereas Surfline has over 500 globally. This meant that I still needed to rely on Surfline cameras for San O, Trestles, C-street, 15th street Del Mar, and Ponto jetty in Carlsbad. Even still, if it weren't for the fact that Surfline also offered a feature called "Camera Rewind" that enabled me to go back and actually see my waves on their pre-recorded camera videos, I would have dumped them by now. While this added feature was cool, it was a time consuming and a pain in the butt process sifting through all of their footage.
Enter the game changer... Surfline's "Surf Sessions"! Here’s how it works: when surfing with a smart watch, your GPS points and timestamps are sent through an algorithm to determine exactly when you’re riding waves…and when you’re not. For each wave the algorithm detects, Surfline generates a clip from its Cam Rewind product and delivers it to your Surfline app. The system then adds approximately 10 seconds to the beginning and end of each wave so you can see your paddle, takeoff, and kickout. As of launch, Surfline Sessions works with Apple Watch (Series 2 and higher). You can choose to track through either the Surfline app or Dawn Patrol. Surfline Sessions is now available following two and a half years of passionate research and development. Ironically, this technology will be coming to Ripcurl too.
Well, I just bought my iWatch four and would have been reporting back how well this thing worked except for one small issue. Mother Nature decided today would be the smallest day of the year for surf. It's ankle high and nothing out there to ride. I'll follow up on how well the Surf Sessions application works ASAP.
The government is as fed up as you are with nuisance Robocalls and e-mail spam. While SPAM is a tougher nut to crack, Robocalls are quite easy, once have the telecom providers on board that is - either voluntarily, or by the threat of fines. Recently, the FCC began to encourage the carriers to deal with this.
CNN recently came out with a very good article explaining how the wireless carriers are dealing with this . They also make some good suggestions. One of which is the advice we always give our clients. If the number is blocked, or not familiar, let it go to voice mail. as thats what it is for. I get over a dozen hangups a day from people calling my number but not leaving any type of message. Like with e-mail, answering or following up is a bad idea because it just validates your number or e-mail as legit so they can sell it. Unfortunately, that government Do Not Call list does not stop most of these folks.
If you have a cloud based voIP phone system, it's very easy to set it up to make the caller chose an extension. I have my auto attendant set up to ask the caller which department they want. If it's a legit caller, they press the button and leave a message. I have the attendant repeat the messages with available extensions twice. If after two times, they have not pressed a button, they are disconnected. Robodialers cannot enter extensions and therefore are hung up on.
by Joel Saltzman
After a 30 year career in the wireless information technology industry, I've decided it's time to shift gears. My plan is to retire from the IT industry at year's end and focus my full attention on the surfing industry, as CEO of Corky Carroll's Blue Mango Surf Company.
Before I do that however, there are several new cyber security threats that, unlike ransomware, target the little guys (like us). Just because I'm done activating and selling wireless communication services does not mean that my previous clients can't call me for FREE advice. I still have all the resources, knowledge and training to help my clients make all the right choices in regards to the internet. Lately, I've been personally besieged with internet scams and cyber ploys and have been hearing my friends have been too. Here are some of the common ploys and tips on what to do if any of the below should happen to you.
1) Getting an e-mail claiming you have been hacked and demanding a Bitcoin payment
This has become so prevalent that many of my friends have also received this as well as me multiple times. It usually shows an old password that was revealed from one of the many previous hacks on large companies or healthcare organizations. Usually, the provided password is legit, but ancient and has likely has since been replaced. The perpetrators send an e-mail saying that they have taken remote control of your browser. They then claim to have taped you watching porn and threaten to send it to your contact list, unless you pay them a bitcoin payment. The extortion amount is usually under $1000 and the bad guys are hoping you buy their story. If the password was valid but long since changed, just ignore the e-mail and delete it. If it is still current, change it immediately.
2) The New Subscription you never subscribed too
I recently received an e-mail that I initially thought was a prank by my buddies. It was an e-mail asking me to please validate my new subscription to gay porn. It welcomed me as a new subscriber and stated that I needed to click one of two links. The first one was to accept. The second one was to decline it. I obviously ignored them both and did nothing. I then received another e-mail but this time stating that if I did not respond, they will assume I have signed up for this and send me "no more than 200 e-mails per day". I've come to the conclusion that these idiots are selling e-mail listings and using this ploy to scare people into validating that their e-mail address is legitimate. Do not respond to this or you will likely soon be getting lots of bogus e-mail solicitations.
3) The e-mail from a friend with a link attached
Not a day goes by without me receiving an e-mail with one of my friends names with a suspicious link to click on. Don't do it! Just because you receive an e-mail showing it was sent by a friend does not mean it is safe. One of the first things I do is wave my mouse over the "friends" name to reveal the true e-mail address it came from. Often times, it's the friend's name, but their e-mail address is totally bogus. Never click on an internet link that you are unsure of. This is the most common way to get a malware virus, spyware, or bloatware which slows down your computer.
4) Phishing e-mails from "Credit Bureaus, Banks, e-Bay, PayPal etc...
About once a week, I get a "Credit monitoring bureau" e-mail warning me that my credit rating just experienced a major change. These e-mails provide a link to log-in directly. The majority of the time, when I waive my mouse over the sender, it reveals it was not sent by the entity represented. Never log into any URL provided by an e-mail. Always initiate a fresh log-in with your browser.
by Joel Saltzman
Over the last five years, I have transitioned away from selling cellular services to selling business internet connections, voIP cloud phone systems, SD WAN, Satellite Phones and Website development. After helping my clients build their businesses for years, I've decided to semi-retire and concentrate on building several of my own businesses.
As I have been extensively trained by the experts in Cyber Security Crime Prevention, Disaster Preparedness, Back-up connectivity solutions, and Unified Communications as Cloud Services, I'm certainly willing to still provide consultation and steer my long time clients in the right direction, gratis. I will no longer be activating or personally implementing services, but will obviously still share my knowledge and resources, which are quite vast after 30 years in the communications industry.
Most of you know, my passion has always been surfing. I was never good enough to be a professional surfer and I never had any special skills shaping boards. I've been fortunate enough to recently partner with several legends that were my childhood surfing heroes growing up. We've formed Corky Carroll's Blue Mango Surf, aka Blue Mango Surfboards. Corky and Mike Purpus have teamed up and specially designed their own models as well as a co-designed Legends of Surfing Signature model. I'm obviously responsible for web design, voIP business phone system, sales, marketing, social media, and my favorite... New product test pilot!
AARP aged folks will remember Corky's Miller Lite, Taste Great/Less Filling commercials with all the other professional athletes and Rodney Dangerfield. Younger kids may recognize his voice as that of "Grubby Grouper" in Sponge Bob Square Pants. Mike Purpus, aside from his famous bottom turn, 360, and cutback, was probably best known for his Playgirl Centerfold and putting life sized pictures of Raquel Welch on one board and a previous girlfriend on another... NAKED!
What we are doing is not just creating magic surfboards that will ride great. These boards are already collectors items before they ever even get wet or waxed as there will be a very limited number made. The Co-Design Legends of Surfing Signature model is numbered and autographed by both legends. We will also be putting Corky's signed and numbered paintings on the bottom of some of these boards. Corky and Mike's old surfboard models always get top dollar at the surfboard auctions and these boards are not likely to be made in large quantities, (hope I am wrong). Anyone looking for an investment should consider hanging one of these on the wall for a couple of decades and here is why...
Again, if you are a current client, or friend, and need some wireless or IT advice, I'm happy to give it gratis. It's been fun working with all my wireless clients over the years and I wish you all the best. It's kind of funny. For the first time in my life, I no longer have that guilty feeling now when I go surfing because I should be working. Guess it's time for some Ocean Therapy. If you're curious here is our site... https://www.bluemangosurf.com/
One of the things that drives me nuts is the slow rate of charging when using my iPhone X and 3rd party Q1 technology wireless trackpad. There were rumors that Apple might be working on a high speed version and apparently this looks to be true. Forbes just provided a scoop on that. For more details click here.
Anyone else getting error messages that certain Applications will no longer work in the future? I used to get those on my Windows 7 professional laptop when Microsoft wanted me to move to Windows 8. I have two older iMacs and a G-4 MacBook that work perfectly. I'm guessing the problem is Apple is trying to sell new product by phasing out older 32 bit architecture in favor of 64 bit. They also did this with iPhones. They also push the ap developers to revise new versions often leaving us with older computers that work great in the lurch.
I've moved on from the Cellular world but, like a bad habit, can't stop following it. The two question most often asked are who has the best deal. That depends on too many factors for me to address but I can say that, along with my California seniors State Beach Parking Pass, my T-Mobile 55+ Seniors plan is as good a deal out there. I personally avoid resellers in the cellular world as they do not own, operate, or have the ability to directly fix problems. Spectrum now resells Verizon and advertises that they are 40% less expensive. They do not clarify that this only holds true for a single line user. In fact, the more lines you add with them, the deal quickly gets worse. That's because the way it was explained to me, each line is $45. With most larger carriers, after 2 lines, it's about $20 per line for additional lines.
Tired of RoboCalls? It's unbelievable how many calls I get on my cell and office phones. Despite being on the government's DO NOT CALL LIST, I get dozens and dozens each day. Since IT is my business, I have a voIP business
phone solution that nips this in the bud. When calls come in, the caller can choose which extension they want. If they do not choose (as robodialers cannot do), they are prompted to input a selection a second time. If they don't, they get hung up on. Of course, if they were legitimate callers, they would leave a message.
by Joel Saltzman
Maybe I have a bad device because most of my friends love their iPhone X models. There is no question that the last Samsung S8+ Smartphone I used, blew the doors of my iPhone for battery life and pure screen beauty. Apple will never be able to convince me that my crappy iBuds work as good as my wired JBL headset does. As I travel quite a bit, it really pisses me off that it is now impossible for me to charge my iPhone X, while listening to music or movies on airplanes. That's because Apple's brilliant engineers claimed they could not "waterproof the iPhone without removing and replacing the 3.5mm jack with their lightning port.". Well Samsung and others had no problem waterproofing their devices without removing this industry standard connection.
It's all about selling accessories which Apple is very good at. Ever notice that after doing an "Apple iOS upgrade", that charger that's worked great up until now suddenly gives an error message that "This device may not be supported"? It's no coincidence. I no longer do software upgrades, unless they address a major security flaw or issue that I am having. In other words, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"!
The above is not to say don't get an iPhone X. If I was to buy another one knowing what I know, I would avoid the higher end models with AMOLED screens and get the less expensive XR model with TFT, or even an iPhone 8.I am now using my old iPhone 6+ while awaiting repair on my iPhone X. I feel like I've reunited with an old girlfriend who knows what I love. Apple told me that I no longer needed a HOME button. I think they are wrong on this too. It may be time to grab a deal on an Android 9 or 1o and go back to the darkside.
I've been in the consumer electronics industry since 1975. Usually newer models add features, faster speeds, and greater functionality. It seems like Apple may be the exception to this rule. About 8 years ago, I replaced an iMac computer that I was using with an HDMI cable to turn my 55" Mitusbishi Flat screen into an iMac on Steroids. All was great and I decided to do the same for another Flatscreen in my office. Well, the newer version of the iMac, did away with the DVD recorder/player, yet is the exact same size. Why did they do this?
They did the same thing on the newer MacBook Pro models. They also eliminated the Apple logo that lights up on many models. Before you trade on your old Apple model for a new one, do your homework. The same thing happened to the iPhone 7. Remember Apple saying that they had to remove the industry standard 3.5mm jack in favor of their new lightning port connection. Well, I use a JBL set of headphones when I fly to drown out engine noise and relax. With my iPhone 6s+, I could easily plug in and charge at the same time. This is not possible with the newer iPhones. The first time I flew back to Los Angeles with my iPhone X, I had to take a taxi cab because Lyft was not an option with a totally dead iPhone. Ironically, Samsung, the provider of Apple's AMOLED screens, had no problem waterproofing their devices and maintaining their use of the 3.5mm jack. I believe someone at Apple thought this was a great idea that would force all of the current 3.5 headset solutions into retirement so they can sell more of their wireless earbuds. These are cool but are not in the same league as a wired pair of high fidelity headphones. Yeah, they make an adaptor, but you still cannot charge and it's just another thing you carry around and will lose. I cannot keep those wireless earbuds from falling out of my ears, especially in between my seats. Ugh!
The above has never been more true than on the original iPhone X model (A-1865 series). It appears there are two downsides to moving to the newer. Improved" model. Unless you have been living under a rock or don't follow technology, Apple and Qualcomm have been at war. The problem is Qualcomm had always been Apple's primary chip provider. They have the market cornered and their SnapDragon processors are the fastest and best available. Unfortunately Qualcomm is very aware of that and charges a premium for these. Apple recently decided to give their competitor, Intel, who offers a cheaper processor., the bulk of their business. Apple won't admit it but independent testing has shown the Qualcomm processor to be much faster than the Intel replacement.
If that wasn't enough to dampen your upgrade spirits, how about this...
Not only does the older model A-1865 series have a superior processor, it is a true global device whereas the newer A-1901 series offers a GSM-only experience with the slower Intel processor. What all this means is this. The MSRP of these devices is the same starting at $999.99 up depending on 64GB or 256GB. The resale value though and performance will be better on the A-1865 series (Verizon, Sprint) versus the A-1901 (AT&T, T-Mobile). Fortunately, in the US, both of these models work fine pretty well. In fact, Verizon is moving away from CDMA altogether.
Interestingly, in Germany the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are now being offered with the Qualcomm chip set since they are suing Apple over there for patent infringement. Evidently, the only way they can continue to sell these devices is with Qualcomm's processor.
I soured on Apple about the time they did away with their 3.5mm Headset jack for their "proprietary" Lightning connector. This would not have been as bad as it was but Apple took away the option of charing your iPhone while listening to wired headphones. They try to convince everyone that their wireless earbuds are as high fidelity as wired but this is a lie.
Glueing in batteries and inventing their own proprietary screws clearly show Apple does not want anyone else fixing their products. I've personally had bad experiences in their stores and have heard horror stories. Not to say there are not unethical 3rd party repair shops but that is the best way to go.
Apple has even threatened legal action against third party companies that publish repair schematics for their products. They have previously done some nasty stuff without disclosing to their customers. The most egregious was probably when they admitted to slowing down performance of older iPhones.
While I prefer the device technology that SAMSUNG Smartphones offer, I'm stuck with Apple because I prefer the stability and security of Apple's iOS. I would never trust them for doing any out of warranty repairs. I have had a number of cases where they told me devices were unrepairable because of water damage and my personal 3rd party Apple expert fixed them easily. For two decades, I have utilized Mobile Fix Center to do all SmartPhone and Computer repair work for myself as well as all of our Dr Wireless clients. If you need any type of Smartphone or computer repair, ask for Jerry Fung. He's the best! You could take your out of warranty work to Apple but why? Here's a good reason not too.
Recently, there has been much confusion as to who is offering what. Using the term "Unlimited" is one thing, offering Unlimited 4G Data service is another. All of these companies paint their plans as the same but they are far from it. Now that Sprint is getting purchased by T-Mobile, that will leave 3 major carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, There are also some smaller regional carriers and many, many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) out there. MVNOs resell and bill for service they get from the major carriers. They come and go as they don't seem to have the long term longevity of the major carriers. As each is competing directly with them, don't expect much customer service. Even though these MVNOs may use a great network like T-Mobile or Verizon, it's not the same as going directly with the carrier, regardless of how big they are. After all Disney and ESPN both attempted and failed at the MVNO game. The reality is customer service from most carriers these days is exceptional.
The big problems with MVNOs is they don't own or operate their own networks. If you need help, calling the carrier directly is not an option. They will give you the phone number to the reseller and that is it. If the resellers support is no good, hanging up and calling back will likely give you the same person. Spectrum is the latest MVNO that jumped into the Cellular business. Since all the wireless carriers like to start their individual plans at the $70 mark, these guys came out with a $45 per line deal. For single line users, that's not a bad deal but if you are a large data user like me, it sucks. Not because of the wireless network, that's Verizon's. It's the fact that Spectrum will throttle your speeds down at 20GB. That's less than all the major carriers and not even half of the 50GB of 4G LTE T-Mobile gives their customers. Don't expect free global data and texting and many other features offered for FREE that the carriers offer their direct customers. Spectrum also utilizes wifi hotspots which may or may not be as secure as using encrypted cellular services.
Today, both T-Mobile and Verizon offer three types of Unlimited plans. Typically, the leader plans offer 480p resolution whereas the higher plans go to 720p or 1080p. This not important on a 4" screen but for those who would use a micro HDMI to HDMI cable to watch Netflix from their Smartphone to a 65" monitor, it's huge. The higher the resolution the better a large screens image will be.
Since I am often asked what plan I'm on personally, here it is...
Assuming your also a geezer like me, T-Mobile's 55+ Senior plan is their best kept secret, and by far, the best deal out there. It offers one Unlimited line for $50 which is fair but two Unlimited lines for $60 which is stellar.
Initially, they only allowed for two lines but I believe they will now allow a third line now for $35.
Anyone in the military can usually get a military discount, usually about 15% off, if you don't ask, you won't get.
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.