Turning Off Google Two Step Verification

Google created a two step verification process to increase security. The process requires entering some code, typically a six digit number, in addition to the regular user password. The code is normally sent by Google via SMS text message to the user’s phone.

The downside is if you have any applications that use Gmail’s SMTP to send out email messages, it will be rendered useless due to the extra authentication.

I ended up using another SMTP server. Thanks to AT&T. I’m glad I found another option for sending out email messages within applications. Google does give you the option to turn off the two step verification process, which I ended up doing anyways.

I think the two step process is more of annoyance than anything. Clearing your browser’s cache requires you to re-enter a new code. Each time you’ll receive a new code via SMS text from Google. After doing it for about 10 times all within a week, I grew tired of it.

Now, the two step verification is turned off for good. Thank goodness.

Converting To AT&T Uverse

A few weeks back, AT&T notified me that they are converting the entire neighborhood from DSL to Uverse. To make the switch, they are sending out a free modem. They told me the download speed is going to be the same, which is 6MB, which is not fast by any means, but it serves my purpose. I could always a higher speed, but it will cost more. The upload speed is 1MB, which is about 3 times faster than the 300kb than I have now. As part of the promotional, they will only charge me $20 per month for 1 year. After that, it goes back to the usual $43 per month. It think it’s a great deal.

Porting From Vonage To Google Voice

If you want to port your phone number from Vonage to Google Voice, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I will explain the process that I went through porting my number. Just to be clear, you can’t port your phone number directly from Vonage to Google Voice. However, it is possible. Porting a Vonage number to Google Voice require two steps. First, you need to port your number to a wireless provider. I chose AT&T. Second, once the number is transferred to the wireless provider, you will need to port it again to Google Voice. Unfortunately, there is no other easier way.

Vonage to AT&T

You can go with any wireless provider that you prefer. I chose AT&T since I’m already a customer.  The porting process usually takes anywhere from 7-10 days.  Since you are only doing this temporarily, I suggest you get yourself a prepaid GoPhone. Getting a prepaid phones will not require you to be tied to a 2 year contract. You just pay as you go, but AT&T require that I purchase a prepaid card.

So, I went to a AT&T store, and told the sales guy exactly what I was going to do. He did not have a problem with it. He asked me for my Vonage phone number, account number and ID. After a few minutes, I received a SIM card in return. I also had to purchase a $25 prepaid card, but there is no need for me to get a GoPhone. The cheapest GoPhone was $20. Unless you need one, you can probably skip purchasing one.

AT&T to Google Voice

Once the porting process is cleared with AT&T, I ported the number again to Google Voice. You can only port once to Google Voice. The porting fee is $20 payable via Google Wallet. Google will check if your number is available for porting. It will then go over the several porting conditions that I detailed below.

The cost of porting is $20.00 (payable through Google Wallet). Your mobile phone service plan will be terminated when you port your number to Google Voice and your carrier may charge you an early termination fee. Once porting is complete, you will not be able to receive calls to your mobile phone until you complete the following steps: Google Voice is not a mobile phone service provider, so you must setup a new mobile phone service plan (with your existing carrier or a new carrier) and request a new number. Once you’ve secured a new mobile service plan and a new number, you will need to add this new number to your Google Voice account as a forwarding phone. You may be unable to receive text messages for up to 3 business days after the porting process is complete. Your Google Voice number will be replaced by the number you are porting. It will remain on your account for 90 days(you will be able to make it permanent for a one-time $20.00 fee).

Google will also ask you for more details, like the wireless account number, phone number, address, etc. The porting process usually takes about 24 hours. Once you have confirmation from Google that the porting process is complete, your Vonage number should now magically work with Google Voice.

Total Cost

I spent $25 for the prepaid card and $20 for Google Voice port fee. The total cost to port from Vonage to Google Voice was $45. It was worth it, if you really want to hold on to your old number. With Google Voice, I can now call any US or Canadian mobile or landline phone for free.

I Wish Data Caps Would Melt

I wish data caps would melt faster than polar caps. But this is wishful think on my part. In fact, data caps will soon be imposed by many network providers around the world.

Starting May 2, my Internet provider, AT&T will cap my broadband service to a mere 150GB. Someone pinch me and wake me up from this bad dream.

If I go over the limit for the first time, I will get a disciplinary message. Gestapo spanks. I’m shaking in my boots.

If I go over my cap the second time, I will get an ultimatum. Scary. Get my act together. It’s now or never.

The third time. Bam! I will be charge an extra $10 for the next 50GB. And the charges pile up to ad infinitum.

AT&T is not alone in joining the Internet axis of evil.

Comcast is already imposing 250GB limit.

In Canada, Bell Canada and Rogers Communications have limits.

The same in the UK. British Telecom and Virgin Media are entrenched.

So, what to do. Move to another country?

Somebody save this penguin.

AT&T To Cap DSL and Uverse Services

AT&T plans to impose limits on its DSL and Uverse services. It will cap 150GB on its DSL service and 250GB for Uverse. This is based on this morning’s article by Ars Technica. This affects me and family. We are big Netflix users.

AT&T says the move will affect “less than 2 percent” of customers and that it is necessary to address congestion in the network.

The cap structure is not currently set up to squeeze extra fees out of most users. Subscribers who exceed their monthly allowance will pay an additional $10 for each 50GB over the cap, but AT&T tells Ars that “customers will hear from us directly numerous times before they exceed usage and before they incur any additional fees.”

The company will notify users when they hit 65 percent, 90 percent, and 100 percent of their monthly caps, and will also provide historical usage reports and a monthly usage tracking tool. (AT&T says that an average DSL user on its network currently transfers 18GB each month.)

It gets better.

Claims of congestion are notoriously hard to validate from outside the network, but industry analyst Dave Burstein does extensive writing about and consulting for various ISPs; he fired off a tweet this morning saying that AT&T “lied” to the Wall Street Journal. “Congestion is minimal,” Burstein said.

Capping is now a reality.

It comes at no surprise that AT&T wants more money. It posted $20 billion of net income last year, although more than half came from its wireless service. AT&T will cap use of its DSL, Uverse and wireless services. Comcast already caps its customers at 250GB per month.

Competition squeezed.

What’s even more interesting is, AT&T’s Uverse IPTV and VOIP usage is exempted from the cap. That doesn’t look fair to me. Companies and services like Vonage, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, considered as over-the-top providers are getting squeezed by AT&T and Comcast.

Read the rest of the article.

Verizon’s iPhone Arrival Is Not So Perfect

Verizon plans to announce today the arrival of the iPhone. But, the scenario not quite perfect as everyone thought it would be. Verizon plans to run the iPhone 4 on its ‘3G’ network, and not on the faster ‘4G’ network. It’s disappointing if you ask me. To make matters worse, the timing of it is not quite so ideal. Let me explain.

The next generation of iPhones, the iPhone 5, will probably be released later this summer. It would be nice if the iPhone 5 coincides with Verizon release later this month, but we all know that will not happen. Can Verizon wait until summer? One problem. Rumor has it that Verizon will not have access to the iPhone 5 until the end of the year, which gives AT&T a six month advantage.

I’m sure Verizon’s executives are not happy with this scenario. But, they don’t really have a choice, it’s either release it now or at wait until the end of the year. And waiting until the end of the year is not really an option. So, reports of the demise of AT&T, in terms of losing million of users to Verizon, is far from becoming reality.

Come to think of it, maybe it’s the deal that Apple wanted with both carriers. It was really meant to be this way. It satisfies both carriers, without sacrificing the other.

iPhone Coming To A Verizon Near You

Will the iPhone finally come to Verizon near you? This rumor has been circulating for years. Is it finally coming true? I can’t believe, that it has been 3 1/2 years since the iPhone was introduced with AT&T as sole partner in June 2007. How time flies. Apple and Verizon plan to announce on Tuesday the new partnership. No details yet. No plans. No prices. I guess we will find out more about it on Tuesday.

Based on early analyst estimates, Apple will likely add 9 to 12 million new iPhone users on Verizon’s network. The figure will probably equal the number of iPhone units sold via AT&T this past year, estimated to be around 14.5 million units. Does this mean iPhone users will double in 2011? By the looks of it, based on estimates, it probably will.

Will see a max exodus of AT&T users switching over to Verizon? Probably not. After all, it’s not always easy to get out of a contract. Remember, AT&T increased the early termination fee to $325 last year and $10 extra for each month. People would think twice before getting out their current contract. In addition, AT&T also cut the iPhone 3GS phones from $99 to $49 last week. I think AT&T will be fine.

Microsoft Introduces New Phones

Microsoft just unvieled several smartphones based on Windows 7 mobile phone operating sysyem. Three new phones will be available at AT&T on November 8 for  about $200. Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile will follow in 2011.

Microsoft latest entry in the highly competitive smartphone market with the Android, Blackberry and the iPhone already entrenched. Microsoft will have to rely on features to entice users to buy a Windows 7 based smartphone.

Integration of social networks, messaging and the Microsoft Xbox are standard as well a smartphone version of the Powerpoint presentation. The smartphones will also include Office Hub, which offers a free integration with Microsoft’s One Note software which shares documents online. In addition, AT&T customers will have Uverse TV service added.

In my opinion, I just don’t see Microsoft making any significant gains or dent in this competitive market. The new Microsoft smartphones just doesn’t have enough of anything to make people switch.

Even with Apple’s marketing and loyal fans, the iPhone manages to come third behind the Android and the Blackberry.

AT&T Upgrade Fee $200

An AT&T smart phone upgrade fee will now cost you $200. If you recently signed a 2 year commitment with AT&T and you decided after a couple months later that you want a new smart phone, it’s going to cost you $200. As I recall, the AT&T early termination fee is $350.

In my case, I’m out of contract. I still haven’t decided which phone to get or what carrier to go with. Typically, you can get a great deal by jumping to another wireless provider than the one you are currently with because usually wireless providers consumers tantalizing offers to get you to jump ship.

It’s a good possibility I may just do that.

Dell Streak

Introducing the Dell Streak. It’s a 5 inch go-anywhere entertainment, social connection and navigation device. For $549 and a 2 year contract with AT&T you can have a Streak which browse the web, watch videos, access social media Facebook, Twitter and more, Google Maps with navigation, and hundreds of other applications from the Android Marketplace. Oh yes, it’s an Android powered device. It’s too bad, just like the iPhone, it’s only available from AT&T. Will you get one?