October 28, 2010

Wireless Priorities

I call this: phones,tech — Posted by KP @ 5:52 pm

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.

For many years I’ve been a member of Howard Forums, where totally dorky people go to talk about cell phones. I’ve been a member since 2003, at which time I was struggling with a T68i on AT&T, and about to switch to Verizon when cell number portability was introduced.

Even back then, one of my primary concerns was tethering. The T68i was one of the first phones that could tether, via bluetooth or infrared (remember infrared?). At the time I wasn’t as concerned with tethering my laptop as I was with tethering my PDA (remember PDAs?). Back in the day, smartphones were either clunky, poor in features, or both. If you wanted a really good PDA you had to get its internet from the outside. So it was a big deal that the T68i could tether pretty easily (easily being a very relative term). Verizon, of course, didn’t want anybody tethering, sharing, communicating or anything else, because they hadn’t figured out how to monetize it, so their phones did nothing. Except make calls, which was something AT&T’s phones couldn’t do, at least not in NYC. People make fun of AT&T in NYC now, but in truth what we have now is a huge step up from when you could press your head against a window and still not be able to get a call out.

A brief aside: on the plane to California I finished listening to one of my favorite podcasts: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (iTunes link), and his 4-part series on the Eastern Front of WWII. In it he remarks that the battle between Germany and Russia (or more specifically between Hitler and Stalin) was not a good-guy-vs.-bad-guy fight, but bad-guy-vs.-bad-guy. As I was about to contrast the policies of AT&T and Verizon above, I was initially going to say matter-of-factly that Verizon locked down their phones because they’re evil, which in that context seemed to imply that AT&T was or is not. This is not the case. They are both evil, just in different ways at different times. Being a Verizon or AT&T customer does not put you on the right or wrong side of a battle. Like the Russian and German civilians, you will be screwed no matter which side you’re on or who is dominating the other at the moment. So never take my bashing of one carrier as an endorsement of the other.

Anyway, I don’t read HoFo nearly as much as I used to, since I have been a smartphone user since 2005, and there are generally better forums for specific smartphones, rather than having to delve into the particulars of hacking your phone to work with your PDA. As an iPhone user in particular, there are much more focused places I can get my tips and user support. HoFo is a great resource for talking about phones and phone networks, but I generally only check it these days if I’m having an AT&T issue that isn’t directly related to the iPhone.

Because of this inactivity, I hadn’t updated my profile in years. HoFo has some nice profile sections that allow you to add information specific to the topics discussed, such as what phones you own or have owned, and what’s important to you.

This is what my profile looked like when I found it:
I think the most important phone feature is:
reliable reception

I think the second most important phone feature is:
fast data

I think the third most important phone feature is:
lots of software choices

Is this the answer of an iPhone user? Fast data, yes. HSDPA is far faster in theory than Verizon’s EVDO could ever be. Software choices, well yes, there’s an app for everything. But my #1 priority was reliable reception. At the time I updated this, I’m sure I was a Verizon user. That just struck me as really odd and strangely hypocritical. Not that there’s anything wrong with changing one’s priorities, but it’s interesting how a phone can suddenly make the most important priority a non-issue.

So I updated my profile, since it was embarrassing that I was an iPhone user and said that on my profile, and also since it’s obviously no longer true for me. So I thought about it for a few minutes and decided on:
I think the most important phone feature is:
easy sharing of data between cloud and desktop

I think the second most important phone feature is:
fast data

I think the third most important phone feature is:
reception (mostly for data)

You know what else is really interesting? No mention of tethering in either case. What is up with that? Is it because those other things like reception and bandwidth are requirements for tethering? I suppose tethering isn’t actually a “phone feature” as much as it is a carrier decision. Most advanced phones support tethering from the manufacturer, whether the carrier chooses to enable it or not is something else entirely. In fact if it wasn’t for tethering, I wouldn’t be writing this post, cause the Hilton wants $10/night for internet. Thanks to tethering, I blog on.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting to get this unexpected snapshot of my changing beliefs about mobile computing, and how the industry has changed consumer expectations in recent years.

July 17, 2010

Verizon iPhone Advice

I call this: phones,tech — Posted by KP @ 11:25 am

Yesterday my old buddy Nick posted on his Twitter the question that has plagued philosophers and Verizon users for months:

To droid or not to droid….that is the question. Should I still hold out hope for the iphone on verizon or just deal with it?

Other people have been asking that a lot on Facebook as well, and my answer to that question has changed a bit in light of recent events with the iPhone 4. First of all I want to clarify what I’m talking about. I’m disappointed a bit with the “death grip” issue, in which you can’t put your fingers in a certain place, or have to use a case. But that’s not really my concern. My concern is with the reports that even when not holding the phone at all, its reception is inferior to the 3GS. AT&T sucks bad enough as it is, I don’t need a phone that’s any worse at picking up what little signal I’m given.

I tried to express my thoughts to Nick in a series of 140-character Tweets, but that got old really fast. I tend to use sentences longer than 140 characters, never mind being able to express a complete opinion. So I said I would blog about it.

1. Is there Even a Damn Verizon iPhone?

We still don’t know. Just this morning I read some analyst say “when the iPhone 4 comes out on Verizon” as if it was as certain as the sun rising in the east. I have no doubt someday the iPhone will be available on Verizon. But the iPhone 4? Even if it was supposed to exist, the iPhone 4 is having enough problems that I don’t expect an unreleased model is ready to be boxed up and shipped to tens of millions more people anytime soon. Verizon, who in the past was notorious for delaying smartphones by as much as a year because they didn’t pass all their rigorous testing (which is why I left them, actually), is not the company I would expect to rush their biggest product ever out the door when it has a known flaw. Verizon has one selling point: their network. This flaw will make the network suck. Why on earth would they risk it?

In short, if there ever was or is supposed to be a Verizon iPhone, I believe the iPhone 4 is the least likely to be it.

2. Does the Purchaser Even Want an iPhone 4?

You read my blog, you may know me by now. You may have seen my liveblogs from the lines out front of the Apple Store at 5AM on launch day of the previous iPhones. You may know that I didn’t line up this year because I was trying to save money by trading in my 3GS at Radio Shack, rather than buying directly from Apple.

I do not yet have an iPhone 4.

I do not yet want an iPhone 4.

I mean of course I want it. It’s sexy. It has that nice retina display. I will use the improved camera constantly. But I’m waiting to see what really happens with the antenna issue, and with some people saying it’s better than the 3GS and some saying it’s worse, and Apple saying, “Nothing is wrong, nothing has ever been wrong, but we’re sorry, we screwed up, and we’ve fixed it. By giving you a free piece of rubber to put around your $700 phone, which has nothing wrong with it. Really.” I really don’t know what to believe. But sort of like Consumer Reports said, they can’t recommend the iPhone 4 because of reception issues, but also declared it at the same time the best phone on the market. And I think that’s probably a good way to describe the problem. Of course there are reasons to buy it anyway, but considering for Verizon users it doesn’t yet exist, and the Droid does, the potential of the iPhone 4 not quite being up to snuff is a little more important.

3. What Kind of Phone Does the Person Have?

A big question when the person is debating whether to buy a Droid now or wait for an iPhone is what kind of phone the person currently has. Is it old and crappy? Is it a dumbphone? Does it just plain suck and they hate it? Nick has been sick of his Blackberry for a while, so it makes me sad to see him waiting around for something that may not come. On the other hand, if the person has a decent phone that they still enjoy, there is more incentive to wait and see.

Cell phone contracts are two years. You can usually get the full discount on a new phone in 18 months (maybe it’s 20 or 22 on Verizon, I have no idea anymore). If it ends up being a year before the iPhone comes out, that’s 365 days of using a crappy phone — hundreds of thousands of calls, texts and email-checks on a phone you hate, and for what? Wouldn’t it be better to buy the Droid and be maybe 75% happy for two years, and then buy the iPhone? Or use it for a year and then shell out the money to buy the iPhone at the higher price after a year, if it’s that important.

My Recommendation

At this point, I haven’t had much opportunity to play with the Droid, but most people seem to feel that it’s a reasonable equivalent to the iPhone for those stuck on Verizon. For heavy Mac users like me and Nick, it might be a little more frustrating to not be able to enjoy all the Mac-specific features the iPhone offers, but it’s far better than nothing. Unfortunately I have changed my tune, and now recommend confidently, if you’re on Verizon and your old phone needs an upgrade, just get a Droid and be happy right now.

Nick got the Droid X, and has posted his review. It sounds like it’s already improved his life.

January 12, 2008

I Have Left Verizon and Palm

I call this: phones — Posted by KP @ 12:25 pm

One thing I haven’t mentioned because of all the time I spent working and blogging about Frankenstein, is that I have had a major shift in my telecommunications life.

To recap:

  • I have been a Palm user since 2000 (my first Palm phone was the Treo 650 in 2005)
  • I had AT&T from 1997-2003 and HATED it — couldn’t make calls indoors
  • I switched to Verizon and despite hating their policy of crippling all the good features out of their phones, their reception is pretty much perfect in NYC.
  • I am a Mac user and as such am opposed to Windows Mobile for both philosophical and logistical reasons.

Then this happened:

  • As I excitedly blogged in May, Palm released the Treo 755p for Sprint. My Treo 650 at that time was dying.
  • Verizon was rumored to be releasing it in July, then it failed testing
  • I bought a 700p and extended my contract because I seriously needed a new phone
  • I was one of the first people to get the maintenance release for the 700p that supposedly fixed it. This blog made PalmInfocenter, which I thought was the coolest thing in the world, despite being labled a “he.”
  • The Maintenance release turns out to have some horrible bugs, and a relatively minor one which causes the phone to randomly make audible DTMF tones even when silenced.
  • After way too much time they release another fix which still doesn’t fix the DTMF bug (which I was able to notice within 30 seconds of buying the phone). It turns out the 755p also has the bug.
  • At this point I give up on Palm OS.
  • Months go by, the 755p continues to not be released, and the 700p continues to be buggy.
  • Palm announces that their next generation OS is at least 12-18 months away.
  • Verizon is rumored to be soon releasing the HTC XV-6800, known as the Mogul on Sprint. This is a Windows Mobile 6 device. By now (September) I’ve decided to turn to the dark side for multitasking and a modern OS. Meanwhile AT&T is about to release the Tilt (aka HTC Kaiser), which is the next generation version of the 6800.
  • The 6800 fails testing. AT&T announces the Tilt release for October 5.
  • October 5, I call all over town before I find an AT&T store with one in stock and jump in a cab on my lunch break.
  • I try out the Tilt for a month and decide to keep it and cancel my Verizon account, with 20 months left in my contract.

So my AT&T experience has been quite good. Reception is definitely not as good as Verizon’s, but it’s the difference between being able to make a call from the basement of a basement behind a cinderblock wall or not. My usage has shifted a lot in the last few years, too. I use my phone far more for data than for voice, and I find AT&T’s 3G and HSDPA networks to be very fast. Overall my Tilt accesses the internet much faster than my Treo, which is probably more to do with the phone’s hardware and software than the network, but the important thing is that it’s faster.

I’ll be posting more details about this whole experience in the future, specifically from the perspective of someone moving from Palm OS to Windows Mobile.

July 4, 2007

I am the Chosen One

I call this: phones — Posted by KP @ 6:41 pm
UPDATE A major bug has surfaced in the Verizon MR (which apparently is also in the Sprint MR). The data connection will not work when the phone is in a regular 1X data area, instead of the faster EVDO connection which is now available in some parts of the country. I can’t even conceive of how a bug like this got through, and I’m not sure if everyone has it, but please consider that before you go running off begging Verizon to give you the upgrade. If you’d like to learn more, the TreoCentral forum for the 700p has several threads discussing it and other advantages and disadvantages of the MR, but this one seems to be the most directly related.

There’s a developing situation in the Treo world centering around the maintenance release (MR) for the Treo 700p.

A brief background:

The 700p was released by Palm over a year ago, and from the start has had a number of bugs, enough to actually make it notable above the normal amount of bugs of any Palm device. The biggest one is what is usually simply referred to as “the lag.” Instead of the normal immediate response that Palms are known for (and that makes the limitations of the Palm OS justifiable), the 700p was known for taking several seconds (or much more) to switch between apps or do various things. Some people were very much up in arms that the lag makes it skip when playing MP3s in the background. There is also something apparently wrong with the Bluetooth stack which makes it difficult for the phone to hold a connection with another device.

Cut to far too late:
Palm announces they are finally going to provide a maintenance release (not just a patch, sort of like a Service Pack is to Windows) that supposedly will fix all that ails the 700p, as well as adding a couple enhancements. Much fanfare was made when the MR was released for Sprint back on June 4. Of course the Verizon people were bitching that their version was not released simultaneously, which just poured salt in the wound of Sprint having released the Treo 755p first, also supposedly containing the same improvements. So the Sprint people had two options for a better Treo, Verizon users were still stuck with the buggy 700p.

Things evened out a bit more when after a few days it became clear that there was something wrong with Sprint’s MR. Instead of being a simple patch added to the phone’s RAM, the MR is a permanent upgrade to the ROM, which leaves open the possibility of the phone turning into a brick if something goes wrong during the upgrade. A lot of users were experiencing problems, either with bricked phones or the update failing to apply properly, and Sprint pulled the upgrade. Sprint then re-released the MR on June 21, which seems to be better at installing itself.

Verizon drags their feet
With this whole saga apparently resolved on Sprint (despite some new bugs that have arisen with the MR), Verizon users still have not heard a peep about either the fix for the 700p or the release of the 755p. So when I heard the rumor that the 755p was going to be delayed at least 6-8 more weeks, I decided I had to buy a 700p, even though I have a major aversion to paying for something that’s already obsolete. My Treo 650 first of all had a talk time of less than 3 minutes from a full charge, and besides that was acting even more buggy and losing more data than even a 650 has any right to. And I was getting tired of the slow data connection, especially given that I pay Verizon $45/mo. for data, regardless of whether I’m getting dial-up speeds or broadband. I was a little worried about the fact that I would be getting a phone without the MR, but since people have at least been living with their 700p’s, albeit unhappily, I decided it was OK.

Buying the 700p

So after kicking around some ideas, I decided that since the 700 is not that different from the 755, I should just get on with my life and enjoy the improvement over my 650. Plus, it would keep me from doing something stupid like jumping on the iPhone too early. So I called up a nearby Verizon store and asked if they had any. The guy I spoke to had to look it up, then said, “Yeah, I’ve got a couple.” He took my phone number and said he would get it set up for me to pick up.

When I arrived I was thankfully able to skip past the line of people waiting for service, and we talked a bit about my plan and I made some adjustments from my last contract. Then when everything was confirmed he passed my phone off to be activated, for which there was a bit of a line, so I amused myself looking at all the other PDAs that I had been considering switching to.

I found it kind of odd that they didn’t actually have the 700p on display. They had the 700wx, which is the Windows Mobile version, as well as several Blackberries, the Motorola Q, and the VX6700, which is soon to be replaced by the more stylish 6800. I have never owned a non-Palm smartphone, and have often wondered if perhaps I might like a less antiquated OS, but having so much free time to try all of them out, I was unimpressed. I’m sure if I owned them I would be customizing them more to my way of working, but the general feel of them was kind of nauseating. Anyway, it made me feel better about sticking with Palm. But I did wonder, as I watched salespeople showing customers around, how they were even supposed to know the 700p was available.

Finally my name came up on the list and I paid for the phone and signed my contract. However, when the rep tried to activate the phone, it started a reset loop. He showed me and I played with it while they brought out another one and went through the process of marking it as DOA. After completing digitizer calibration, the Verizon Wireless splash screen would come up and the phone would promptly reset.

The second phone they brought out started doing the same thing, so a tech was called out to look at it. He explained that they had just installed new software on all the phones and maybe the upgrades had failed on a few. I was surprised at this, because I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of the Treo world, especially given how desperately I was waiting for the release of the 755p. I asked if this was the big update Palm was releasing, because I didn’t think it was out yet. He said they had just gotten it in the day before (which would have been July 1), and he had spent the day updating each of the phones in their stock. I believe he said he did 40 of them.

Of course I was very happy to hear I would be getting the MR, but I was still perplexed at how I could have missed hearing of this huge development. When I got home and checked TreoCentral, I read a thread which said something like “some people say they’ve gotten the MR,” without a link to who these statements. So I chimed in that I had just bought a 700p and was told it had the MR. I asked what version numbers I should be looking for, and was told software version 1.10, and Bluetooth version 3.1.2 were the big indicators, as well as a new feature where you hold the home button and it pops up a list of recently used apps. My phone has all these things. A number of posters contacted Verizon, either the main customer service, calling local stores, or by e-mail, and were all told the MR has not been released to the public, is not available for upgrade in stores, and is not being sold on new units in stores. It was at this point that I took the above picture of my phone’s info screen and posted it.

I’m not sure who these other people are who claim to also have the MR, but they’ve remained silent on all the threads I’m following, and I haven’t seen links to any of these claims. All I know is I seem to be the only person in the Treo community who has it, and I’m not sure if I should feel lucky to be The Chosen One, or scared that my phone is running software Verizon swears up and down doesn’t exist.

Other notes:

The Sprint MR’s most apparent flaw is referred to as the “DTMF tone issue.” What happens is that when you perform certain actions that elicit a sound, like a beep when you click on something, simultaneously with the beep coming from the phone’s rear speaker, you will hear a sound from the earpiece that is the same tone you would hear when pushing the * key on a phone. As soon as I began using my 700p I noticed this, and being unfamiliar with the 700p, I figured I must have something set wrong in my system sounds or something. When I got home I found this thread, where I realized all the Sprint users were complaining about this on their MR. Just for the record, I would like to point out:

  • This update comes over a year after the phone was released
  • Palm has had ample time to test this update
  • Sprint has done their own tests to ensure it operates correctly on their network
  • Verizon has taken their notoriously sweet time with their extra “quality assurance”

As it turns out, the quick and dirty fix seems to be turning off system sounds altogether, which sucks if you like system sounds. Personally I keep them on because it’s a good reminder if I’ve forgotten to put my phone on silent, I will notice right away that I hear beeps when I tap on things. But for now I’m OK going without. I do hear the tone still when setting ringtones — if I tap on a sound in the list it will first play the DTMF tone through the earpiece, then the sound through the speaker. It’s also heard when that sound is played as an alarm (and presumably for calls as well). The sound doesn’t play every time a system sound plays, but one method that’s been discovered to be reliable is to go to the phone app and press spacebar. I would like to point out that this even happens if your phone is on silent (probably because silent mode doesn’t affect things coming out of the phone’s earpiece).

OK, a little annoying, right? But here’s the kicker: it really is a DTMF tone, and as such, will send a “*” to your phone whenever it plays. Some people have reported being on phone calls and having it do things, like deleting their voicemail while they were listening to it. NOT GOOD, PALM. NOT GOOD.

Why am I so blessed among all the millions of Verizon customers to be the only one with this obviously carefully tested piece of software? I don’t know. But there are many people trying to find out, and I will keep updating as the situation progresses.

Additional Reading:

July 2, 2007

Treo 700p and my first time touching an iPhone

I call this: phones — Posted by KP @ 8:19 pm

As you may know, for the last several months I’ve had my eye on the Treo 755p, which came out for Sprint in May, and has been reportedly on its way to Verizon by July. Well despite rumors of a July 4 release, there’s been no word on it, and today I read this post on TreoCentral claiming it failed its testing and will suffer further delays. My Treo 650’s talk time is now down under 3 minutes from a full charge, and I’m getting sick of how out of date it is, especially since everyone’s complaining about how slow the iPhone’s data connection is, while it’s several times faster than my Treo. In order to remind myself why I don’t have an iPhone, I must have a device that is faster. So I weighed my options (everything from getting an iPhone just to spite Verizon, to a Windows Mobile device, to a $40 battery for the 650.) I decided to suck it up and do the logical thing — get the 700p, which is exactly the same as the 755p except without the slick new form factor. I even get to keep my current SD card instead of having to buy a Mini-SD.

So I called up a nearby Verizon store and had them hold one for me. It took over an hour to get it, as they were quite crowded, and then they had some problems activating it. Unbeknownst to me, the long-awaited 700p maintenance release (read: Palm released a buggy phone a year ago and has just gotten around to patching it) just came out for Verizon yesterday. I hadn’t heard anything about it on the internet, which really surprised me when the technician came out and explained that he had just installed the patch on all the Treos in their stock and it had probably patched badly or something. After some time he got one working and I went home.

I also decided to go ahead with the purchase because I actually wanted to renew my contract with the Evil Empire. My current plan is very expensive ($124/mo.), and I wanted to scale it down and add basic text messaging. I didn’t realize until I got there and talked to the rep that in the two years I’ve had my plan they’ve actually come up with a cheaper one (imagine that!), because there’s a phone+data plan now, which saves you $5. At the time I last renewed there was no such combo package. So I saved $5 on the combo (which I promptly spent on the TXT plan), and I also reduced from 900 minutes to 450. I will have to keep an eye on that to make sure it’s enough. When I’m really busy my usage can get up to 500, so I’ll have to be smart about it. Ever since my parents got Macs and broadband, we use iChat instead of the phone, so that has probably reduced my usage by 100-200 minutes alone.

I feel like a cassette tape user describing to you the wonders of the CD player, so I’m not going to go into any details about what’s special about the 700p, at least until I’ve used it some more. To me it’s a nice upgrade, though.

While I was waiting for my turn to have my phone activated, I had a lot of time to kill in the store, so I played with all the other smartphones that I had considered getting. To cut to the chase, all of them sucked. No question, I didn’t want any of them, and once I tried them, I had no regrets about going with the 700p. I’ve never owned a Windows Mobile device, and have always wondered if perhaps I was missing something. When a friend will let me play with their phone I try to get a feel for it, but there’s little you can mess around with without screwing up your friend’s phone. A store display model is much easier to work with. I’m sure there are ways of customizing them, but neither the Blackberry or WinMobile UIs appealed to me at all. I’m sick to death of Palm OS, but I didn’t find the others very usable.

When I arrived at the mall, I thought, “Oh cool, when I’m done I can go to the Apple Store and look at the iPhone.” Then I decided perhaps it would be a better idea to look at the iPhone before buying the Treo, just in case the Apple Reality Distortion Field really was that strong. Well, obviously I made it out of the store, but I can’t say I did it with confidence. I think I was shaking a little. God, it’s pretty. If it wasn’t for my strong distrust of AT&T, I’d have overlooked all the phone’s other flaws and walked out of the store with one.

In brief, I found the touchscreen to be a little difficult. Every device responds best to a different amount of pressure, I’ve learned this from all my years with Palm, so maybe it was just that adjustment, but I found it sometimes didn’t respond right away, or in exactly the way I touched it. When viewing web pages I sometimes had to poke at it multiple times to get it to click on a link. Everyone is saying “trust the keyboard.” I found this to be true. When using it in portrait, I made quite a few mistakes, but the software correctly predicted what I was trying to type. I’ve heard in landscape mode it’s more accurate because the keyboard is a little bigger. I didn’t spend much time trying it that way. Overall, I agree with the general consensus online, it’s an amazing piece of work. The screen is beautiful, and the design makes you just want to keep using it. I am more than ever looking forward to seeing what the next version can do.

May 12, 2007

Treo 755p released for Sprint

I call this: computers,mac,phones — Posted by KP @ 8:39 am

The new excitement in my life is the announcement of the Treo 755p smartphone from Sprint. Now I’m not a Sprint customer and never have been or in all likelihood ever will be, but what’s exciting here is that Sprint and Verizon both use CDMA for their phones, which means they usually wind up with the same hardware sooner or later. The phone is very similar to the 700p, but a little smaller and with an internal antenna. It also uses Mini-SD instead of a regular SD card, which has many people up in arms, but I don’t really mind, since I’ve always been too cheap to buy an SD card for my camera, and take the one out of my Treo whenever I want to take a picture. At least now the camera can have the dignity of its own memory card. The phone also comes in two colors, midnight blue and burgundy. Colors are often different between providers, but I hope Verizon has similarly attractive options.

Although Verizon has not officially announced the phone, a thread on the very good TreoCentral forums contains a report of a completely unofficial claim by a Verizon rep that it’s in beta now and is scheduled for release in July. Oh looky-there, my contract is up at the end of June, how convenient.

I was actually planning not to renew and stick with my Treo 650 month-to-month until things with the iPhone shake out, but more and more I think the iPhone is a bad idea for me, given how my phone is my only phone for personal and business use, the iPhone is new and unproven on basic things like battery life, reception and availability of software, and I don’t trust AT&T/Cingular’s coverage in NYC. On top of that I will be in Massachusetts until the end of August and in no position to judge call quality in NYC for several months. So right now my plan is to get a 755p as soon as it’s released, which will be a big improvement over my 650, and I will probably not be tempted to get an iPhone until their second version.

And on a somewhat unrelated note, rumors are flying about the release of new Macbook Pros coming up with LED-backlit screens, probably in June at the Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC), which would be June 11. Now that I finally have the money saved up, it looks like it’s going to be a very exciting summer for me, after a long two years of not upgrading any of the computer-like devices in my life.