NEXT USER/DEVELOPER GROUP MEETING: Wednesday, August, 17 2011#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

The next meeting of the Boston/New England Windows Phone User and Developer Group will take place on Wednesday, August 17th 2011 starting at 6:30pm EDT at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA (201 Jones Road, 6th Floor).

Map picture

As the summer winds down, so does our “Summer of Mango” series of presentations, focused on developing Windows Phone 7 applications that take advantage of new functionality in V.Next (codenamed “Mango”) -

Windows Phone 7.1. Live Tile Development Techniques
The next release of Windows Phone 7 (codenamed “Mango”) includes enhancements for developers around Windows Phone Live Tile functionality. In this presentation, you will see how to add exciting new Live Tile capabilities that enhance both the aesthetic and functional aspects of your application. Included will be examples and demonstrations of adding back content to your Live Tiles, creating and managing secondary Live Tiles and scheduled Live Tile updating.

I look forward to seeing everyone there!

07/25/2011 11:14:08 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Netflix Price Increase - It is good for Netflix, but is it good for you?#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Well I am sure you all heard by now that Netflix is raising their rates in order to cover the expense of sending and receiving DVDs to increase their profit margin. Hopefully with this money increase they can use it to shore up more lucrative contracts with streaming providers to provide possibly original content and more content customers desire and is offered on cable and satellite, which can cost up to 10 times more for the same services. Netflix has heard from 5000 customers(the maximum amount available on their blog)  stating their disgust with the price increase so Netflix is getting feedback from their customers, if they choose to listen to it and react to it that is another matter entirely. Here is what Netflix has stated:

First, we are launching new DVD only plans. These plans offer our lowest prices ever for unlimited DVDs – only $7.99 a month for our 1 DVD out at-a-time plan and $11.99 a month for our 2 DVDs out at-a-time plan. By offering our lowest prices ever, we hope to provide great value to our current and future DVDs by mail members. New members can sign up for these plans by going to DVD.netflix.com.

Second, we are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into separate plans to better reflect the costs of each and to give our members a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan or the option to subscribe to both. With this change, we will no longer offer a plan that includes both unlimited streaming and DVDs by mail.
So for instance, our current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:
Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month

Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming), for $7.99 a month.
The price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). For new members, these changes are effective immediately; for existing members, the new pricing will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

As always, our members can easily choose to change or cancel their unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both by visiting Your Account.

I received the following email from Netflix a few days after the announcement

ScreenClip

Currently my dilemma lies in that I am not a huge streamer, but my family shares my Netflix account and use it exclusively for that. I prefer the DVD service for new titles, more exact I have paid the extra $2 for the Blu-ray Disc option and like the quality to view the maximum what my television can produce. I have been a Netflix subscriber for years and their turn around time has never failed to impress me on sending out movies in disc format. Occasionally, I will stream a movie via my phone, tablet, game console, or laptop when traveling, but that hasn’t been as often as it was in the past, but I have loved the ability to do so, when needed. Last year I rolled back my 2 discs out at a time to just 1 because there was just nothing to ship in my queue. As of late over the past few months it has gotten even worse, Netflix has unfortunately at the request of many movie companies particularly Warner Bros, to have a moratorium on offering new titles so the company can increase the small window of DVD/Blu-ray sales that Netflix great renting service has put a serious dent in their sales. Have the movie studios actually seen this be effective? We don’t know, since there are several other options for consumers to get that next day content RedBox, Pay Per View, Amazon Video On Demand, Blockbuster, Apple iTunes, Zune and my personal favorite as of late VUDU, which offers Blu-Ray quality streaming rentals the same day of disc release titles for a mere $2 for a 48 hour rental, much better than the competition as of now for me with no wait time. I used to be a huge consumer of DVDs and have a collection 3 shy of 900 titles not including the few Blu-Ray titles that I got to have. I am a huge fan of DVD extras and can watch movies over again when the mood fits.

image

Currently my Netflix queue has been in a stall with the turn around time being delayed not only by release date delays imparted by the studios, but also due to the shear volume of requests for titles and the availability of those limited discs in my local Netflix distribution center, where the status says short wait, long wait, and the dreaded very long wait(which many titles as of this week were glaring back at red at me) until a few just became available. My Queue hasn’t really moved in the past few months and my family and myself will just throw a title in there just because the delay and activity of turn around time has been, well slow compared to other options available. Due to the quality of the turn around time of newer releases, I have been contemplating just cancelling my Netflix subscription, first it was just going to be the DVD/Blu-Ray portion only and now that the content of titles in Netflix’s streaming library has really “stunk” as of late and with the current price increase this may be the reason to finally push me over the edge and cancel it entirely. I have until September to make this decision, so I am hoping the folks at Netflix will be offering more streaming content to make it worth while to keep and improve the DVD release dates with the studios to make it worth having rather than going to a more instant option. I understand that this all requires money to make this happen and that may be the reason why Netflix is going this route to add more value for its customers and hopefully improve, but they are at the mercy of movie studios, who also want to increase their coffers so they can make the movies and content we all love as well as a profit.

It is a tough quandary to be in as a consumer who loves the service, but it doesn’t seem the service has been returning the same love to the consumer as of late. I hope we all see a turn around or we may see Netflix’s great model and customer service be replaced by another who does and go away like the brick and mortar stores they slowly closed over a period of a few years.

07/18/2011 05:12:25 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

T-Mobile America’s Largest 4G Network - Doubles its Speed to 42 Mbps#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

T-Mobile has announced that they have doubled it’s 4G speeds (HSPA+ 42) in 56 additional markets for a total of 152 markets, reaching more than 170 million people across the country including Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Hartford and New Haven, Conn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Lancaster, Pa.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Providence, R.I.; and Washington, D.C., among several others.

image

T-Mobile’s currently offers a variety of 42 4G enabled devices like:

  • 4G Smartphones: the Galaxy S™ 4G, the T-Mobile® myTouch® 4G, the T-Mobile® G2® with Google™, the T-Mobile Sidekick® 4G™, the T-Mobile® G2x® with Google™, HTC Sensation™ 4G and the upcoming T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide and the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900.
  • 4G Tablets: the Dell™ Streak™ 7 and the T-Mobile® G-Slate™ with Google™ by LG.
  • 4G Laptop Sticks: the T-Mobile Rocket™ 3.0, T-Mobile’s first HSPA+ 42-capable device, the Rocket™ 2.0, T-Mobile’s first HSPA+ 21-capable device, the T-Mobile Jet™ 2.0 and the prepaid T-Mobile Rocket 4G.
  • 4G Netbook & Mobile HotSpot: the Dell™ Inspiron™ Mini 10 4G netbook and the T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot.

I talked with John Diefenbach, Vice President and General Manager, of T-Mobile USA yesterday about this boost in HSPA+ and it’s benefits for consumers:

  • By doubling the speed of its 4G network in more than 150 markets across the country, T-Mobile customers will have access to the fastest 4G speeds available from T-Mobile.
  • T-Mobile has seen average download speeds approaching 10Mbps with peak speeds of 27 Mbps on the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 laptop stick – the company’s first 42Mbps device.
  • T-Mobile’s increased network speed capabilities will benefit its customers using 3G and 4G devices for data services, as the backward compatible network pushes the limits of 3G and 4G devices to achieve maximum speed performance as a result of expanded network capacity without having to upgrade customer’s current devices. Customers have to do nothing to receive this speed increase.
  • Increase in speed may result in an increase to an individual’s data speed limit,which can be bumped up for the remainder of the month to mitigate throttling and switched back the next month with out change in contracts or additional fees.
  • T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network is poised to continue its aggressive evolutionary path to deliver speeds on par with LTE.
  • 80% of T-Mobile’s towers have been aggressively upgraded with fiber backhaul links to its cell sites with a total of 1200+ 4G sites online and an additional 500 4G sites to be upgraded in the next year in the New England area.

T-Mobile 4G markets where 42Mbps service is launching today:
Allentown, Pa.; Anderson, S.C.; Asheville, N.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Baltimore, Md.; Barnstable, Mass.; Bellingham, Wash.; Bloomington, Ind.; Boise, Idaho; Boston, Mass.; Bremerton, Wash.; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.; Brunswick, Ga.; Carson City, Nev.; Charlotte, N.C.; Charlottesville, Va.; Chico, Calif.; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Eugene, Ore.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Flint, Mich.; Greensboro, N.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Lafayette, Ind.; Lancaster, Pa.; Laredo, Texas; Lynchburg, Va.; Manchester, N.H.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; New Haven, Conn.; Ogden, Utah; Providence; R.I.; Provo, Utah; Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; Redding, Calif.; Reno-Sparks, Nev.; Richmond, Va.; Roanoke, Va.; Rockford, Ill.; Salem, Ore.; Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Spartanburg, S.C.; State College, Pa.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Terre Haute, Ind.; Tucson, Ariz.; Washington, D.C.; Wichita Falls, Texas; Winchester, Va.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Worcester, Mass.; and York, Pa.

*T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network, including increased speeds, is not available everywhere. See coverage details at T-Mobile.com for the official press release head here.

07/13/2011 00:01:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

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