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AT&T’s 4G masquerade

Motorola Atrix 4G

ATT says it’s not capping upload speeds on the Motorola Atrix 4G.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

There are some angry ATT customers out there, and rightfully so.

Over the past few weeks, there have been mounting complaints and reports against the carrier about capping upload speeds on its 4G devices, specifically the HTC Inspire 4G and the Motorola Atrix 4G. ATT remained mum on the subject until late last week when a customer filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

ATT states:

ATT is focused on delivering a wide choice of solutions and the best possible smartphone experience to our customers. Be assured that ATT has not “capped” the upload speeds on the Atrix 4G. The Atrix 4G is an HSUPA-capable device, and we currently are performing the testing and preparations necessary to ensure that, when we turn this feature on, you will continue to have a world class experience. Please keep in mind, software is only one of many factors that can affect speeds experienced. Factors such as location, time of day, network capacity and facilities, can have an impact as well.

So according to the statement, the carrier isn’t putting a cap on data (we beg to differ), rather it hasn’t yet enabled the HSUPA radio inside the smartphone. HSUPA, which stands for High-Speed Uplink Packet Access, is the protocol that allows for faster upload speeds (up to 5.76Mbps) on your mobile phone.

However, the problem isn’t just that these devices aren’t living up to their 4G potential; they’re actually delivering speeds slower than some of the carrier’s 3G smartphones, which we’ve experienced firsthand. In our tests, the Inspire 4G averaged upload speeds of 150kbps and the Atrix 4G averaged 180kbps in the Manhattan area, while the 3G-enabled
iPhone 4 averaged 850kbps.

The issue has prompted multiple forum threads, calls to the ATT president’s office, and one ATT customer, Zack Nebbaki, has even started an online petition against the carrier for capping its upload speeds.

“The main reason I bought it [the Motorola Atrix 4G] was because it was advertised as being the most powerful smartphone in the market, and I was also getting tired of my iPhone 4. It also advertised 4G connectivity as soon as ATT’s backhaul was in place, and promised the fastest data connectivity on a phone on their network. This latter part has proven to be incorrect,” Nebbaki told CNET in an e-mail.

Nebbaki said after buying the Atrix and getting dismal upload speeds in multiple locations, he called ATT to make sure there wasn’t an outage in his area. There wasn’t, but ATT offered no clear explanation or resolution, so after doing some research on the Internet and seeing that others were having the same issues, he decided to start the petition, which had 870 signatures as of press time.

“There is so much misinformation being touted by ATT that they need to make a public official statement–preferably a promise of support with a date on which to expect it–and hopefully this petition will help them see that they need to speed this along a little bit,” said Nebbaki.

He added that the carrier’s response wasn’t enough. “In my opinion, ATT’s reaction is what you can call ‘PR lingo,'” said Nebbaki. “How can they say that they are not capping upload speeds but they will turn on HSUPA later on. This answer does not make sense to me because doesn’t turning off HSUPA mean that the upload speeds are crippled?”

CNET asked ATT when it would enable HSUPA and why the issue wasn’t made clear to customers from the beginning, but an ATT representative said it wasn’t commenting on the situation beyond what was stated above.

Earlier today, PC Mag posted a story saying that ATT is shamelessly lying about 4G, and they’re right. Though the devices are technically 4G capable, the fact is that they’re not capable right now and the carrier’s advertising fails to mention this minor detail.

With heavy competition among the carriers, the definition of 4G has been muddied, but at least, with T-Mobile and Sprint, we’re actually seeing faster data speeds on their 4G devices.

It would have been one thing if ATT was forthright from the get-go. I’m guessing customers would have been a little more understanding had ATT said that the feature would be enabled in the future because the Motorola Atrix 4G and HTC Inspire 4G are great devices even without 4G, but now they just look shady.

For Nebbaki’s part, he says he hopes that ATT will provide a reason for its actions and make a public commitment to turning on HSUPA on its 4G devices in a reasonable time frame. We’re hoping for the same.

Two Little Known Secrets To Strengthening Your Email List

This is a guest post by Shaun. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

When it comes to building a successful mailing list, there are a few standard things everyone knows you should do: Give out a free incentive, have your opt in box in a highly visible position, and don’t annoy your subscribers.

Today however, we’re going to look at a couple of the lesser known things you can do to strengthen your list. So read on, and feel free to add any additional tips in the comments.

1. Giving The Reader Something More To Do

If you send relevant emails to your subscribers, you should hopefully peak their interest and get them excited about what you’re talking about. If you do this successfully but then don’t give your subscriber anything more to do once they finish your email, you are effectively losing out on a big opportunity. This person has just been warmed up and is ready to go, so not giving them anything more to read or interact with is a big waste.

One thing I like to do is link to a relevant blog post at the end of each of my emails. Let’s say for example I’m giving a tips on how to increase your subscriber rates in one of my emails. At the end I’d then add a link to my post with further information on this topic, and entice the reader to read on.

There are three main benefits to doing this:

  1. Building a stronger relationship with your subscribers. You can offer a lot of value using this method without sending overwhelmingly long emails. You’re basically introducing people to a subject in your email, and giving them all the details in your relevant blog post. Giving this much value will mean people learn to trust your emails, and stay responsive to them for a long time to come.
  2. You get more visitors back to your site. This will increase your site’s page views and get people finding content they otherwise wouldn’t have known about. This can build life long fans, and mean your older blog posts still get regular views.
  3. You will make more money. If these blog posts you lead them back to have affiliate offers or your own products for sale, you will get a percentage of people buying them if it is a topic they are interested in.

I like to include this strategy in my autoresponder series, as it means people will always have new things on my site to look at. When people first visit your blog and subscribe, most of the time they don’t go through your archives or look at any posts past the first two pages. This strategy will allow people to see your older and lesser known posts that are still as helpful as ever.

It also allows you to set out a clear path, and gets people to view your content in a order it’ll benefit them the most.

2. Delete Non Responsive Subscribers

This may sound like a weird thing to do, but at times it can be beneficial to delete some of your subscribers. I know this goes against what many bloggers recommend, but there is a reason behind this logic. Many bloggers feel that the bigger your list is, the more successful you are. This however couldn’t be further from the truth, as having a list of thousands isn’t worth anything if they don’t interact with your emails. Not only will they not benefit your business in any way, they will actually hinder your business and lose you money.

Think about it, if you’re using a email marketing service such as Aweber, having more people then necessary on your list is costing you money. As most of you know, the more people on your list, the higher your monthly Aweber fee is. Similarly, the less subscribers you have, the less you’ll pay to keep their service going every month.

So let’s say for example you have 3,000 people on your list. You will be paying $49 a month to keep your mailing list up and running, according to Aweber’s current price plan. But imagine 1,000 of your subscribers never open your emails and never contribute to your business in anyway, this will be 1,000 subscribers you could easily delete from your list without it having any negative implications on your business. It will have positive implications however, as deleting these 1,000 subscribers will bring you down to a lower price band. So instead of paying $49 a month, you’ll pay $29 a month and have better list statistics (A higher open rate, more link clicks etc).

So how would you know which subscribers to delete? Well luckily, most email marketing services keep these sort of stats for you. You should easily be able to see who never opens any of your emails, and doesn’t click any of your links. These stats are usually rounded up to give a general rating for each person on your mailing list, and anyone with the lowest rating should be deleted.

Got More Tips?

Both of these methods can help you streamline your email marketing campaign, savings you money and building a stronger relationship with your subscribers. As I’m sure you know though, there are a whole heap of other things you can do to get more subscribers and keep them interactive. So, what email marketing techniques do you use to strengthen your list building efforts? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Shaun is the author of Ultimate Mailing List, a site dedicated to help improve your email marketing campaigns.

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Adobe to deliver Flash for mobile 10.2 next week

Android Flash(Credit:
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET)

Adobe Systems, working furiously to disprove Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs’ belief that the Flash Player is a bad match for mobile devices, will deliver its second version of the software for Android devices on March 18.

The software will be available in final form through the Android Market for Android 2.2 (Froyo) and 2.3 (Gingerbread) devices and in beta form for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
tablets after Google’s 3.0.1 system update, Adobe said in a blog post.

However, it’s not for any Android device. People can check Adobe’s list of Flash-capable Android devices to see if theirs made the cut.

Flash Player runs cross-platform software, notably games, and is widely used to stream video to personal computers. Adobe hopes to extend its cross-platform promise to mobile devices, but it’s been hard given the different user interfaces and lesser hardware abilities compared to PCs.

Flash Player 10.2 for mobile brings several changes, though. One is hardware-accelerated video presentation on Honeycomb 3.0.1 devices, something that could help preserve battery power and increase frame rates for smoother video.

The new version also can take advantage of better hardware in some devices with graphics chips and dual-core processors–Motorola’s Atrix smartphone and Xoom browser and LG’s Optimus 2X, for example.

The new software also is better integrated with the stock Android browser and with screen keyboards, Adobe said.

To keep competitive on the desktop, Adobe also is working on improving Flash with versions 10.3 and 11 under development.

Jays headphones bring Scandinavian ‘lagom’ design to your ears


Jays C-Jays Headphones

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

If you’re in the market for a new set of premium headphones, consider picking up one or both sets of earphones we reviewed this week from a Swedish company called Jays.

The C-Jays are a set of on-ear cans that give you three foam ear cup options, and the A-Jays Four earbuds include an in-line remote to control tracks on your smartphone music player.

Jays headphones maintain the Swedish design concept of high function, minimalist practicality, and the Swedish word lagom, which refers to the idea of “not too much, not too little.”

The company shares a similar take on pared-down product design as other Swedish brands like Ikea and HM that enjoy popularity in the United States, but the company isn’t just a pretty face–it happens to make headphones that sound as great as they look.

Neither of the headphones are cheap–the C-Jays and A-Jays Four retail at $120 and $70, respectively, but both make tremendous aural leaps over the stock earbuds you get with Apple iOS products. In light of today’s iPad 2 launch, consider adding a pair of Jays earphones on your shopping spree.

In fact, the A-Jays Four are $10 cheaper than the In-Ear headphones Apple would have you purchase separately, and they still make improvements with a more defined midrange and ample bass, not to mention a fettuccine-shaped cord that we dare you to tangle.

We recommend both the A-Jays Four earbuds and the C-Jays if you’re shopping for new headphones, but be sure to check out both reviews on CNET for comparison testing and alternative suggestions in both the higher- and lower-end price range.

Jays A-Jays earphone review
Jays C-Jays headphone review

FCC approves Kyocera Echo, BlackBerry PlayBook

LG Revolution

(Credit:
Nicole Lee/CNET)

Just like it did last week the Federal Communications Commission gave the nod to a lot of new cell phones and
tablets this week. Among the highlights were Sprint’s quirky new Kyocera Echo, the LG Revolution and the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook.

Because the FCC has to certify every phone sold in the United States, not to mention test its SAR rating, the agency’s online database offers a lot of sneak peeks to those who dig. And to save you the trouble, Crave has combed through the database for you. Here are a selection of filings from the past week on new and upcoming cell phones. Click through to read the full report.

HTC Desire

Huawei G7205

Huawei U3220

Kyocera Echo

LG Revolution

LG VS760

Motorola WX345

Nokia C7

Pantech P6010

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung GT-5660

Samsung GT-BT7510

Samsung GT-E3213K

Samsung SGH-i7078

Samsung SGH-T839

When Should I Quit My Job To Work Full Time Online?

questions and answersThis post is part of the Friday QA section. If you want to ask a question just send it via the contact form.

Sharninder Khera asks:

I have a tech tutorials blog and would want to make working on it my full time job. My question is when (and how) should I decide to do this? The blog makes me about 1/12th of my income right now, so what should be the level when I decide that I should leave my current job and work on the blog only and grow that?

Interesting question, and one that I think many people share.

The answer depends on your current situation. If you are young (e.g., up to 30 years old) and don’t have many financial responsibilities (e.g., no wife, no kids, no mortgages) then you could consider switching as soon as your website starts making half of your current income. Perhaps even less if you already know the ropes of Internet marketing and know your site has potential.

When I quit my full time job I was 22, and my sites were making only 10% of my salary, but I was completely sure the income would grow if I started putting more work on them. And in fact within the first year my sites were already making more than what I earned with my previous job.

If you have a wife, kids and other financial responsibilities, however, the picture changes. In this case I would recommend to wait until your website is making close to what you make with your regular job. On top of that I would also encourage you to diversify your income sources on the web.

For example, consider launching a new website on a different niche and with a different business model, or launch an email list and promote affiliate offers to your subscribers. Making money from a single website is a risky situation because things change very fast on the Internet. One day your traffic is booming, the other it might be gone.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to create a financial cushion before you make the switch. That is, save money to cover around one year of your expenses, so even if things go really wrong you’ll have one year to figure it out.

What about you guys, how much were you making when you jumped to work full time on the Internet (or how much are you planning to if you still need to do it)?

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4 Responses to “When Should I Quit My Job To Work Full Time Online?”

  1. I left my office job in late 2007 to travel around the world on savings, but after that was gone, I was back to a few grand in the bank, living with my parents.

    11 months later I left the US and returned to Colombia, supported solely from my 2 travel blogs and membership site. I’d earned about $2,000/month for the previous 6 months and knew that’d be enough to support me in South America.

    It felt like a huge risk, but my income rose steadily for the next 6 months after that. Definitely easier to do this kinda thing when you’re single.

  2. Interesting post Daniel!! Actually, after finished my college last year (October to be exact) i have no single doubt to take my path to become a blogger. I know that my blog hasn’t produced me such a tremendous amount of money right now, but i really love this job, and reading your blog here really opens up my mind even further and encourages me even stronger for not landing my foot to be an employee. Furthermore, i haven’t had any big responsibilities right now such as wife, mortgage, or anything.

    But what really makes me optimist for being a blogger is because my blog have helped me pay my college and buy me a netbook, so i’m really positive about my future to become a blogger.

    Daniel Likin

  3. I’ve written blog since 2007, and quit my job in 2009, though earning nearly nothing until 2010 Spring.

    During those without-incoming days, I had spent nearly all the money from my previous job, but luckily I get paid from the advertisement before I had to beg for life.

    It is a risk to quit a job and be a full-time blogger, just as you can see from Daniel’s suggestions, but it is also excited to have a try, that’s what I think.

  4. Thats a great advice Daniel.
    Also we need to think about backup and long term plan while switching to full time blogging.
    Especially when we have family responsibilities, whats the backup financial income if anything happens to me(blogger) or my websites?
    Current full time jobs will have some kind of insurance or retirement plans or Employment funds.
    We need to setup or save money for that too.

    I hope you will agree with my points.

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Samsung to release Nexus S across all Canadian carriers

Nexus S

The Nexus S heads to Canada where it will be offered by all carriers.

(Credit:
Samsung)

Samsung is taking the Nexus S north of the border this spring and releasing the handset on all major Canadian carriers.

Much like it did with the Galaxy S series of smartphones, Samsung should use a blanket approach for the handset. So instead of releasing exclusive devices or handsets tailored specifically to the various wireless providers, Sammy will keep the Nexus S’s stock Android 2.3 interface.

According to Samsung executives, the phone will ship to Canada later this month with an early April sell date. Pricing has yet to be announced, but I would expect it to fall in line with the $199 currently supported by T-Mobile. What’s more, some carriers could offer it at a lower price with a three-year agreement.

For some of the newer Canadian players such as Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, this device will help expand their smartphone lineups with a reputable handset. And we may see the Samsung follow suit here in the United States. Already there are signs that the device is headed to other carriers such as Sprint, which is rumored to be announcing a Nexus S with WiMax support at
CTIA later this month.

Tested: iPhone 4 (iOS 4.2.1 vs. 4.3) and Android phones

The best way to test battery life is to get a robot to do it. In lieu of a robot, I drafted a computer for the task. It’s just an immobile robot anyway, isn’t it?

(Credit:
Eric Franklin/CNET)

Earlier this week, we posted some very interesting tablet testing results. Today, it’s smartphones.

Over the last few weeks we’ve tested a number of smartphones in a multitude of ways. If you’re looking for talk time tests, however, check the full review of each phone. The tests detailed here will focus on real-world speed as well as audio and video battery life.

How we test smartphones

In the CNET Labs, we currently run four different tests to evaluate the performance of smartphones.

Battery life
We evaluate battery life by continually running a movie file on the smartphone until its battery dies. We do the same with audio using a full album set on repeat all.

For audio battery, each phone runs with its default mobile network on; for video battery, the phones are run in Airplane mode.

During the movie battery-drain, we set each
tablet to Airplane mode and adjust its respective brightness to 140 candelas per square meter (cd/M2) or as close to that number as is possible.

For the
iPhone, we run the iPhone version of “Toy Story 3.” For Android phones, a 720p version of “Toy Story 3” is run. The reason we chose 720p for Android was that most Android phones are capable of running 720p video and we wanted the best quality video represented.

On iPhone, we ran the movie through its
iPod app; for Android, we used the movie player, mVideoPlayer, as it provides a much-needed repeat video function that not all native Android movie players include.

Site-loading speed
We used GiantBomb.com as our Web site of choice; it doesn’t use Flash or have many dynamic elements. Each tablet was connected to the same closed network (not its mobile network) with no other devices on it, with the router about 5 feet away. The test began the moment we pressed Enter, with the end of the test signified by the disappearance of the browser’s progress bar. We measured speed in seconds, with a lower number indicating faster performance.

We used the latest version of each respective phone’s OS. Obviously, for the iPhone 4, we used both version 4.2.1 and 4.3 of iOS.

Boot time

Rebooting your phone can sometimes solve issues you might be having with apps not functioning correctly, so it’s good to know how long it take to get back to action. The test begins when we press the power button and ends when we see the lock screen on iPhone and after the internal storage has been set up on Android phones.

Analysis

We definitely saw some interesting results here. In our tests, the Verizon iPhone 4 had much longer audio battery life than its ATT counterpart. This likely has a lot to do with the Verizon iPhone 4 having an easier time maintaining a mobile network signal than the AtT version does. It’s likely, then, if you live in an area like San Francisco where ATT coverage isn’t the best, you may see longer battery life with a Verizon iPhone 4 than with AtT’s.

Also, apparently iOS 4.3 makes a definite difference in Web speed and it’ll be interesting to see what effect the OS’ improved Safari speed has on the iPad, since the Xoom beat it in our previous tests.

As for Android phones, the Nexus S has the longest video battery life, but the Atrix is–by a slim margin–the fastest at loading Web sites.

Overall, although iOS 4.3 speeds up the iPhone 4, it’s still not quite as fast as the Atrix or Nexus S. What that means to you will depend on what effect losing 1 to 2 seconds while surfing has on your schedule.

We’ll be updating this post with new results as we receive them, so keep an eye out.

You Can Have WordPress.com Features on Your Blog Now

As most of you guys probably know WordPress.com is the hosted version of the WordPress software. You can sign-up for a free account there and get a blog with an address like yourblog.wordpress.com.

While I don’t recommend the hosted version (because by hosting the software yourself you have much more control and flexibility), WordPress.com used to offer some exclusive and very useful features. The good news is that Automattic just released a WordPress plugin called Jetpack that will bring all those features to self-hosted WordPress blogs as well.

Here is a list of the features:

  • Stats: Simple, concise site stats with no additional load on your server.
  • Twitter Widget: Display the latest updates from a Twitter user inside your theme’s widgets.
  • Gravatar Hovercards: Show a pop-up business card of your users’ Gravatar profiles in comments.
  • WP.me Shortlinks: Enable WP.me-powered shortlinks for all of your Posts and Pages for easier sharing.
  • Sharedaddy: The most super duper sharing tool on the interwebs. Share content with Facebook, Twitter, and many more.
  • LaTeX: Mark up your posts with the LaTeX markup language, perfect for complex mathematical equations and other über-geekery.
  • After the Deadline: After the Deadline helps you write better by adding spell, style, and grammar checking to WordPress.
  • Shortcode Embeds: Easily embed videos and more from sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and SlideShare.

There are more features coming soon, so definitely keep an eye on that plugin. The decision to release that plugin to all WordPress users also signals Automattic’s care about the whole WordPress community, not just those using the hosted version, which is a very positive thing.

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7 Responses to “You Can Have WordPress.com Features on Your Blog Now”

  1. Self hosting is the best..you always want to have control over your content..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  2. Awesome, I love plugins that do so many useful things at once to keep the number I install down. Stats and sharedaddy alone make this plugin worth using.

  3. I always liked the WP.com stats better than Google Analytics for a quick overview. It’ll be nice to have.

  4. Thanks for sharing the useful WordPress plugins with us. It’s easier when someone experienced recommends them yo us.

  5. Its definitely a very useful plugin (saves installing a lot of separate ones) but I think their motives are partly down to wanting to sell more premium services. All the features at the moment say free which suggests that future ones may not be…

    • And legions of people will gladly pay for them. They make good products. Why shouldn’t they charge for some of them?

      • I’m not saying they shouldn’t – I pay for some

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