Virgin Mobile (Secretly) Announces New BB2Go Plan

I logged into my Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go account the other day and noticed something new. Previously, I had two plan options: $10 for 100 megabytes (or 10 days, whichever comes first) and $40 for unlimited data (lasts for one month). However, there is now a third option in the list.

It seems, since I bought my MiFi from Wal-Mart, I can get one month of service with 1 gigabyte of data for only $20. Obviously this plan wouldn’t work for me as my sole source of broadband (I know I use a lot more than 1 gig each month), but it is probably a great deal for people that just use the MiFi occasionally or strictly for Web browsing (no downloads).

I initially thought you could get this deal if you simply bought a new top-up card at Wal-Mart, but this article seems to indicate that it is only available to customers that bought (or buy) their MiFi devices at Wal-Mart. Sadly, at this point in time, Wal-Mart seems to be charging $40 more than list price (and Best Buy is charging $50 more; both according to their websites – Radio Shack is still selling the device at the $149 list price) for the MiFi devices, so you’re most likely going to have to decide how much you think you might use this mid-tier plan before you decide whether to buy the device at Wal-Mart.

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Windows Phone 7 vs. iPhone

After using an iPhone 3G for about 2 years, I gave it up last week. Then, this week, I picked up one of the new Windows Phone 7 devices (the HTC Surround). Following is a brief comparison of the two from my perspective.

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Virgin Mobile Experiences Major Outage

Around 2:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, (just a few hours after I finally cancelled my satellite Internet service), my access to the Internet through my Virgin Mobile MiFi device stopped working. After trying to restart the device a few times and doing some other troubleshooting, I decided to call Virgin Mobile to see if they knew what was happening.

When I finally got through to a technician (around 3:15), they told me that they were aware of the outage and that I should try connecting again in about four hours. We still went ahead and tried it throughout the rest of the day anyway without any luck. By 9 p.m. last night, it still wasn’t working, so I decided to call back and ask for an update. The Virgin Mobile technician told me they were still working on the outage and asked me to try again in about two hours.

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Updated Again: Is AT&T Shafting Its Stores?

This evening, I headed out to our local AT&T store to buy myself a brand new HTC Surround Windows Phone 7 handset. Unfortunately, when I got to the store, they didn’t have any. After I asked about it, I found out that it wasn’t because they’d sold out; it was because they still hadn’t gotten any. On top of that, they hadn’t even been told yet when they would be getting their first batch of the phones. The poor guy at the store really had no idea what the story was; he hadn’t even yet seen any of them in person.

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Windows Phone Released

So, I know I’m about two days late on this announcement, but the new Windows Phone 7 was released in the United States on Monday. At this moment, three new handsets are available; two from AT&T and one from T-Mobile. Another is on the way from AT&T and Dell is supposed to be releasing the new Venue shortly, as well. In the first quarter of next year, Verizon and Sprint are supposed to be getting WP7 handsets, too.

AT&T offers the HTC Surround and the Samsung Focus right now, with the LG Quantum currently available for pre-order. T-Mobile has the HTC HD-7.

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Last Call for edUi 2010

edUi 2010 ConferenceThe 2010 edUi Conference will begin in less than 24 hours, but there are still a handful of spots left if anyone is interested in attending. For those that are not aware, edUi is a conference for Web professionals at higher education institutions, libraries, museums and more. The conference focuses mainly on user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), but myriad other topics will be covered, too.

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WordPress: Using the Title Attributes with AIOSEOP

I have seen many websites and bloggers tout the benefits of using Michael Torbert’s All-in-One Search Engine Optimization Pack (AIOSEOP) plug-in for WordPress. I, myself, use it on most of the websites and blogs I set up. It has a lot of great features built in.

One of the features built into the plug-in is the ability to set completely different titles for the page depending on where that title is being displayed. You can theoretically set up a page to use a different name/title in each of the following locations:

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Google Releases mod_pagespeed for Apache Web Servers

Last year Google released Page Speed — a suite of tools to make webpages load faster. There is a Page Speed extension for Firefox/Firebug which helps web developers see how their web pages and web applications are being loaded and the time it takes for each piece of the page to load.

Today they announced the release of mod_pagespeed, a module for Apache Web Servers. Google notes, “(the module)…perform many speed optimizations automatically. We’re starting with more than 15 on-the-fly optimizations that address various aspects of web performance, including optimizing caching, minimizing client-server round trips and minimizing payload size. We’ve seen mod_pagespeed reduce page load times by up to 50% (an average across a rough sample of sites we tried) — in other words, essentially speeding up websites by about 2x, and sometimes even faster.”

Google is working with GoDaddy to get mod_pagespeed installed on all of their webservers.

Here’s a simple video from Google to show you a basic webpage and the difference in loading time with and without using mod_pagespeed.

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Creating a New SourceForge SVN Repository

I recently started a new project on SourceForge, attempting to open the source of the content management system I’ve been developing for my current employer over the last few years. Unfortunately, the whole process of creating a new project on SourceForge caused more frustration than developing the CMS in the first place. While creating a new project is extremely simple, and uploading a packaged archive of your project’s files is easy, attempting to set up a new SVN repository so that you can begin versioning your application is beyond difficult (especially for a complete newbie to version control systems like me).

There are tutorials all over the Web that give you pieces of the information that you need, but I couldn’t really find any that gave me step-by-step instructions explaining how to turn the batch of source files I had on my hard drive to having a fully functional SVN repository containing those files on the SourceForge server.

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Adobe Limiting Free ConnectNow Accounts Even More

A few years ago, I signed up for one of Adobe’s free “ConnectNow” accounts when they launched acrobat.com. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the interface and the amount of features included with the free account. From the time the service launched, Adobe has always allowed up to three participants in a free ConnectNow meeting room at a time. ConnectNow proved a great resource to use when training clients how to use their new content management systems, holding meetings with small groups of people and more.

Unfortunately, though, Adobe sent out a notice yesterday informing all of its ConnectNow customers (the free accounts, at least) that they are changing things. The main change is that, as of Nov. 4, they will only allow two people in the meeting room at a time.

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