Unbelievable: AT&T Buys A Smaller Carrier, Gets Bigger

In a move that is nothing short of unprecedented, unbelievable, and shocking, a large wireless carrier is purchasing a smaller wireless carrier. Said Gandalf the Grey on the issue: “Something is about to happen that has not happened in an age.” Whispers and legends have been told of such mergers of the gods, but none have ever been seen by the likes of man.

We talked to a Verizon CEO who had this to say:

“We’ve just never seen something like this happen before. It changes everything, really. We need to discuss it with the board of directors, but we may simply close up shop and let all of our customers know they should just head to AT&T. Unless we can find a strategy to fight this, we won’t have much choice. And, though I hate to be premature, I don’t think we will.”

AllTel, who was also on the phone, seconded Verizon’s feelings on the matter.

Meanwhile, Sprint was a little more optimistic:

We’re excited about the possibilities of this upcoming acquisition. Up until this point, we were able to tell our customers that, while we may not be as big as Verizon or AT&T, we’re still the third best and head and shoulders above T-Mobile, the only other national carrier worth mentioning. Now we don’t have that. We are the bottom rung. We’re excited to see how this is going to light a fire under our feet. We look forward to pushing forward with all the forward momentum we can move forward.

Nextel merely stood in the corner and shook its head.

One thing is clear, though. This move will change the industry forever. In what is surely a never-before-experienced-phenomenon, AT&T will become the largest telecom in a particular field. The implications of this alone are so far reaching that the U.S. market may never be the same. Said one Cingular AT&T executive on the subject:

It’s a little overwhelming, going from being the underdog to being the top of your field. It’s like “Whoa, just last year, no one listened to anything I say, and now everyone wants to know what we’re gonna do next. We’re the center of attention, and not only that, for the first time we actually have money to do all the cool and exciting things that you don’t get to do when you’re building cell phone towers in your garage. It’s a really exciting time and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.

For our parts, we at AD were surprised when the executive used the words “like” and “whoa”, though we probably shouldn’t be. It seems to be a trend of all the hip, up-and-coming, boy-wonder CEOs to continue to speak in the layman, even in official statements.

And, of course, the question on everyone’s mind is how will this affect the iPhone. Will future versions of the iPhone be available to what are currently T-Mobile customers? We reached out to Steve Jobs for comment. He punched us in the stomach and charged us $300 for the privilege. We happily paid, as it was the most intuitive, user-friendly beating we’d ever received.

Why AT&T Is Forcing A Tethering Plan On You Selfish, Jailbreaking Jerks

In 2010, AT&T killed off their unlimited data plans, capped usage, and charged specifically for tethering. This has made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad move. They made it slightly better by adding a 2GB bonus for tethering, which means you at least have some reason to add the plan, assuming you don’t have a grandfathered unlimited data plan and don’t mind paying through the nose for data. But there was always an option: jailbreak for free tethering. Well, not no more!

AT&T has unleashed their tethering Santa Claus brigade on freeloading customers. They see you when you’re tethering, they know when you’re ripping them off. And they’re sending emails to all freeloaders with a clear message: pay up or else. The “or else” referring to a horrifying $20 additional monthly charge on your device.

Of course, AT&T’s move makes perfect sense. Because, you see, when someone uses tethering on their device, they inevitably use more data, which is a bigger drain on their networks. The more data you use, the more you should pay, right? Right! Except that without a tethering plan, your data is capped at 2GB. And if you go over that, you are charged overage fees to the tune of $10 per GB. So, if you were to use 3.5 GB of data in a month, you’d be charged $20 more for a total of $45/month. Compare this to the much simpler, customer-friendly tethering plan which gives you a generous extra 2 GB of data for $20/month more. So, if you use tethering and, inevitably, use more than 2GB of data, you’re covered! And all it costs you is $45/month! And anything more than this would result in the same $10/GB overage fee. See? Isn’t paying $45/month with a tethering plan so much better than paying $45/month without a tethering plan?

Sarcasm aside, AT&T’s tethering plan is the most needless “feature” of anything they offer. Before the increased data cap, it was a charge for how you use your data. Now, with the increased data cap, the net effect is that it’s making the first two overage fee increments mandatory. The idea is that if you tether your laptop, you’ll probably end up using more data. In practice, if they made tethering free and merely counted on the overages to do their dirty work, they’d get the same amount of money. That is, unless a user didn’t happen to go over that 2GB limit even with tethering. In which case they’d be paying appropriately for the amount of data they used, rather than needlessly paying more. And we can’t have that.

Truthfully, this campaign to force users to get a tethering plan if they’re tethering through a less-than-official means really only gets extra money from one group of people: users who grandfathered in their unlimited data plans and use more than 2GB a month, who would otherwise not use that much data if they did not tether, which is a mighty specific group.

If you had an unlimited data plan on AT&T prior to summer of 2010, you were allowed to keep your data plan so long as you never change it. This gets you unlimited data for $30/month. And if you tether to your laptop and end up using even more data, you don’t get charged anything extra because, hey! You’ve got unlimited data! This is obviously a problem for AT&T who wants to nickel and dime everyone, not just new customers. Those loyal users who have been with AT&T for a while need to start paying up!

While other carriers have different plans that make a little more logical sense, if still kind of a ripoff (Sprint has unlimited data plans, but charges for tethering since it likely uses more data), AT&T’s system is set up such that tethering could easily be free and the only downside is their customers would only be paying for the data they use. In other words, it would only suck for AT&T because it’s fair.

Way to go AT&T. I really didn’t think it was possible to be such a dick in such a complete way.

HTC Thunderbolt Released Just In Time To Be Several Months Too Late

The HTC Thunderbolt is a pretty phone. Very pretty. It’s got a gorgeous 4.3 inch screen, a front-facing camera, 4G data, even a kickstand. A kickstand! Clearly this phone is trying to make a statement! And what statement is that?

“I wish I was an Evo.”

To continue Verizon’s parade of getting other carriers’ phones, they’ve now added the HTC Evo Thunderbolt to their lineup, giving it a modest spec boost and a generous launch delay. Nine months after the release of the Evo, and five days before we’re expected to hear about the Evo’s successor.

This phone has actually been leaking since August of last year. So long ago that, when HTC began (intentionally?) leaking shots of the device in December, Gizmodo didn’t even realize they covered it already. And really, who can blame them?

In any case, if you’re interested in getting the finest device that the Summer of 2010 has to offer, look no further than the HTC Thunderbolt.

Android Panties: For The Android/Underwear Fan Boys And Girls

I know what you’re thinking. We’ve seen our little friend Andy on everything from mini figurines to pillows, from t-shirts to knitted device cases, but I’m still naked and have no Android-related garments I can use to insulate my outer clothing from some of the more unsanitary of my external organs!

OK, three things: one: you are seriously over thinking the function of underwear. Two: gross. Three: your wait for open-source smartphone operating system themed underwear is at an end!

The panties are currently available in women’s only. Men’s panties will be available once men start wearing panties. That is, men that aren’t Tim Curry or that crazy guy from Silence of the Lambs. Boxers are still up in the air.

So, Android fanboys that have girlfriends who are willing to indulge your geeky whims, get out your credit cards and order a Princess Leia bikini. But after that head over to androidpanties.com and get your girls a pair. And Android fangirls that are willing to wear Android panties without provocation: call me.

Facebook Is Shutting Down Says The World Weekly News Says The Huffington Post Says Autistic Disdain

Do you remember hearing a while back about Facebook shutting down? Yeah, it was apparently supposed to happen today or something. And it’s totally plausible. Because internet companies that have over 600 million users typically shut down virtually overnight.

The rumor was first reported by The World Weekly News which is, as you know, the second most reliable news organizations after yours truly here at Autistic Disdain. Then it was picked up by another news outlet that apparently has some kind of reputation for actual news reporting (this claim has not been verified at the time of publishing).

The rumor goes that someone heard Zuck say he hates his life or something, and he’s gonna shut Facebook down to de-stress. Maybe go to a spa or something. Travel around for a year, maybe. Experience life while he’s still young, get back to the whole “worldwide revolutionization of web-based social interaction” once he gets back from backpacking his way through Canada.

When WWN pressed their source for info on why Zuckerberg couldn’t just give control of his company to someone else, they replied, “Come on. Do you know anyone who understands social interaction as well as Mark Zuckerberg? Of course not. No one else can possibly understand how people interact with each other using the internet. We’re lost without him. The internet is lost without him.”

The rumors turned out to be entirely false, though further investigation did reveal that, in the event of an inexplicable CEO breakdown, Facebook does at least have a contingency plan to offload the more important duties of Facebook like Farmville, poking, and accidentally revealing drunken photos of yourself to your boss to third-parties.

iPhone: Time Is Hard

If the last few months are any indication, you should have seen this coming. Yet again, over the weekend, iPhone users awoke the world over to discover that their iDevices had failed to wake them at the proper time.

This marks the third time in six months that the iPhone has had trouble managing time. We asked Apple for a comment on the issues and received the following response from Steve Jobs himself:

“We wanted to take the time to get Daylight Savings Time and year-changes right. Anyone can say “Hey look! We made our phones automatically adjust the time in accordance with various time changes” but we wanted to make sure we developed a system that was simple for the user and up to the quality standards that our users are used to. Quite simply, we wanted to not just do it, but do it best. So, naturally, we put working on that feature on the backburner for a few years. We look forward to releasing it with iOS 7.”

The Clock app will come bundled with iOS 7, but will only be supported on the iPhone 6 and 7. Users with older phones can jailbreak their devices to get the correct time.

HP CEO: “HP Has Lost Its Soul”

The full text of a speech HP CEO Leo Apotheker gave to the company follows:

“Ladies and gentlemen,

……Gah. I’m just so sad, you know?

Some of you guys have been saying how you’re worried about me. And yeah, by “me” I mean, “the company”, but, come on. Like any of you could really understand what it’s like to be CEO. And, you know, I don’t want to worry you. It’s not like I matter to you or anything. I could probably fall off the face of the earth, or bleed out in my bathtub and no one would notice. But anyways, yeah. You’re worried.

Well, the truth is, you should be. HP has lost its soul. My heart aches. Wretched, bleeding torment. Could you even know, with your shallow, desperate vanity, the ageless trauma my spirit suffers? It is gone, like the feel of a first kiss disappearing from your lips the moment you pull away, saying “Thanks for letting me practice, Amy, for the day someone really loves me, like, for real.”

I’d like to die. I really would. And I accept my fate willingly. What is there left in the world for a CEO of a company that makes laptops? None. The earth has sold its soul to the demigods of industrial design and pretty packages. The blacksheep have no place here anymore. And, so, there is nothing left but the final escape. The greatest adventure a brave and tortured pioneer like myself can pursue. I bid you all a fond adieu.”

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At this point the CEO pulled a bottle of pills from his pocket and proceeded to pull a number out and attempt to consume them on stage, shouting “Don’t try and stop me!” It was later revealed the CEO was holding four Advil. He’s currently taking two months off before returning to HP, citing “personal reasons” such as “I just can’t face living anymore.”

The board of directors has already called his mom.

The Evotainment Evo/Wii Controller Hybrid: Because Shut Up

If you’re like me, you own an Evo and a Wii. So did this guy. Where you and I differ from this guy is he made them have babies, and nine release cycles later, the kludgy monstrosity to your left was born. Why? Well, why not, I say! For that matter, why shouldn’t I hook my video camera up to my toaster? Or hook my car stereo up to my refrigerator? Or hook my Virtual Boy up to my cat?

Pro tip: I’ve tried at least two of those and failed. It’s not worth it.

In any case, the device actually looks pretty cool. The Wiimote connects to the Evo via bluetooth, and then lovingly brings along the Classic Controller for a ménage à trois from the hellish pits of World 8. Functional? Gloriously. Elegant? You want elegant, go check out some iPad accessories, because you’re not getting it here.

And if you were wondering why there’s also a Mario Kart steering wheel in the mix…well, what did you think he was going to hold this thing together with? Duct tape? Please. Have some class.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any instructions or Instructables on how to make this genetic defect of electronic inbreeding that I so desperately want to play with.

via Engadget

Microsoft: “We Are So Very Sorry About IE6”

Dear Microsoft,

I forgive you. Because that’s what Jesus would do.

But Jesus also said “If your browser causes you to crash, cut it off.”

I think.

Yours Truly,

A Chrome user

via Reddit

 

T-Mobile, Sprint May Merge To Become Super, Ultra, Third Wheel

There’s a little over 300 million people in the United States, and roughly 200 million of them are either subscribed to AT&T or Verizon. That leaves the remaining third of the country as scraps for Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, and all of the other wireless carriers in the country to munch on under the table. Sprint and T-Mo make up the Abed and Troy of the big four: important enough to get their own storylines, but they’re still not the stars of this show.

However, even the Joey of this carrier drama might be able to get its own spinoff if rumors are to be believed. While it’s not clear yet whether T-Mobile USA will be moving to Hollywood, or just buying up spectrum from Central Perk*, but whatever the case, both companies are looking at various ideas for a joint venture.

The news is exciting to say the least. As exciting as when the Power Rangers teamed up with the Ninja Turtles. Or when Leonard and Penny got together for a while. Which is to say that it has the potential to get our hopes up before ultimately bringing them crashing down in a fiery plane wreck into a children’s hospital.

Or it could be cool. I mean, who knows.

 

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*- I’m bad at analogies.