19 Dec 12 My Sprint 4G LTE Rant for this week

Sprint 4G LTE Coverage rant

So recently I was visiting my sister and brother in VA and was on 81 and half way into Staunton area I realized that my phone has 4G LTE Signal I was like really wow in the middle of no where? I checked the speed it was pretty decent not so bad. So I decided to keep an eye on it and see how long I’ll have it for. To my surprise I had it all the way to Winchester, VA after that I got off the exit and it disappeared after few miles. Believe it or not it wasn’t even available in Arlington, VA, DC area, Leesburg, VA. I do not understand what are Sprints plans for introducing 4G LTE Coverage. Almost seems like Sprint is way over their head when it comes to providing 4G LTE Coverage. They are actually putting 4G LTE Coverage in small areas and not where there is actually demand for it because of the population. Check out the map below from their website:

So according to Sprint providing 4G LTE Coverage to small areas like Lost River, VA, Harrisonburg, VA, Winchester, VA etc makes sense but they want to take their good old time to provide 4G LTE Coverage to busy metro areas where there is a demand for it. As my previous article explains that there is some 4G LTE Signal I noticed in Brentwood and Franklin area by the Cool Springs Mall. Also I was able to get very little 4G LTE Signal in Memphis area. Oh and where ever Sprint has 4G LTE Signal it is so not as fast as Verizon’s 4G LTE. But honestly I’ll be happy with this as long as they decide to finish their 4G LTE Coverage expansion in this decade hopefully.

If they can not do it then I don’t think it is ethical for Sprint to market and advertise constantly in these areas that there will be 4G LTE available soon. Unless to Sprint the word “soon” equals years or whenever they feel like it. Another thing to keep in mind when signing up for Sprint because of their unlimited 4G LTE service. Yes it is unlimited “if you are lucky enough to get the signal lol”, but it cost a whole lot more money if you want to use your Sprint phone as a Hot Spot. $50 per month for 6GB of data. With all the technology and progress, Access to the Internet and Cell Networks etc should be going down not up. Moreover it is not fair that Sprint users have to pay extra for the premium data usage when it is not even available to us.

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10 Dec 12 Sprint 4G LTE Coverage Nashville, TN

Sprint 4G LTE Coverage in Nashville, TN

I bought a Sprint 4G LTE phone back in June because I was interested in Sprints Unlimited 4G LTE Plan. I was told that Sprint 4G LTE should be available by Auguest 2012 in Nashville, TN area. Well I knew for certain that there is no way Sprint will be able to complete that mark as the providers and ISP’s never do. I figured September, October might be the months. November came, and then December and no coverage. They said that they did some capacity upgrades in the area for 3G Coverage well that made even the 3G Coverage worst. Any ways so today I was sitting at work in Brentwood, TN and happen to look at my phone because the message light was flashing and all of a sudden I realize it said towards the top it said 4G. I was kinda surprised and thought it must be a mistake, something is probably wrong with the phone.

I proceeded to Sprints Website to check out the Sprint 4G LTE coverage and the I got the results below:

From the screen shot you can see that it does not show that there is 4G LTE coverage yet available in Nashville, TN area. However when I tested my speed I got pretty nice 4G LTE speeds. So I believe Sprint finally have SOME 4G LTE coverage in Nashville, TN area. Perhaps Sprints’ horrible 3G Speeds was related with the Sprints’ 4G LTE turn on or perhaps not important thing is that we (Sprint users) finally have some Sprint 4G LTE in Nashville area. I know even though it is still not like Verizon’s 4G LTE coverage but I am still excited. Finally us Sprint users can taste Sprints 4G LTE Coverage and hopefully Sprint will complete our great City Nashville and surrounding areas for 4G LTE Coverage.

If you are a Sprint user please feel free to share the areas you get Sprint 4G LTE Signal :). Image from my speed tests:

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12 Jun 10 Microsoft Visio Alternative

Recently I got a new job and after I started the job I realized that things are a bit different there. They are kind of strict with giving out laptops so I ended up with a desktop, single monitor and my manager had to talk to the desk top services manager to get me Microsoft Office. According to them I didn’t need it since I’m a network guy and will be working on Cisco networking gear, at least that is the impression I got.

Any ways once all was done and I was working on a network one day I realized that it would be a good idea to start creating Network diagrams using Microsoft Visio for future troubleshooting purposes. As they did not have the network layout of any site. So I did what I usually do, Start, Run and then typed “visio” and hit Enter (yeah I know I like to use keyboard as much as I can got it from using Linux and Cisco equipment. Once I hit “Enter” I got an error message basically telling me that I do not have Microsoft Vision on my computer. I was like blehhhhh… now what. I knew about Open Office and google docs but I didn’t know of any Open Source Microsoft Vision alternate solution.

After a little research I found an excellent software that was free and full of features just like Microsoft Visio called DIA. DIA is available for Microsoft Windows, as well as Linux, I downloaded it right away from DIA’s website and started making my diagrams. It wasn’t as user friendly as Microsoft Visio but after spending few min on it I was able to easily use it as if I would use Microsoft Visio.

Take a look at these two diagrams that I made using DIA.
Hidden AP issue

So if you are looking for an alternate and free solution to Microsoft Visio check out:

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11 Jun 10 CenturyLink Mess up caused downtime

Talk about ISP mess up, I work for a major health care related company and we have over 800+ clients. I got a notification yesterday that one of our location is down. So I took the ticket and started to investigate. They are using CenturyLink previously Embarq as their DSL Provider. Well I noticed something strange. I wasn’t able to Ping the VPN IP but I was able to ping the gateway as well as our routers IP. So I thought there might be an issue with the VPN only, I tried to log into the router and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was looking at a log in banner of another company.

I knew exactly what happened. Some one messed up some where and they ended up giving our Static IP to someone else. As the ptr record was showing a mail server on that particular IP. So I called them up was on the phone for 20 min and they had no clue what happened, so I hung up so that I can call the customer back and let them know what happened. Certainly customer was furious and not happy as they were not able to work for almost a day now.

Then I call them back and after being on the phone with them for approximately an hour and a half we received new IP’s, I tried to get the same old IP’s but their supervisor said that they can’t give us the old IP’s and it is our responsibility to configure out equipment with the new IP’s. Thank God customer had a console cable and I was able to log into one of the computers there and reconfigure our Cisco 851W router with the new information.

But fact still remains that CenturyLink messed up big time and they wouldn’t agree on giving us even service credit. They caused down time, it was their mistake so the least the could have done was offer us couple of months of free service but their answer was, we are very sorry that this happened you have two new IP’s configure your equipment and that is the end of it.

So remember if you are using Cisco equipment for your clients make sure you have a Cisco Console Cable available for remote troubleshooting will save you lots of time and headache.

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14 Mar 10 Online Invoicing and Support Ticketing

I have recently started working on my IT consulting business to do some consulting work on the side. And I was looking for something that will give me all the features a small IT Consulting business would require and it would be cost effective as well. Some of the key features I was looking for are:

  • Cost effective
  • Supports multiple Clients
  • Supports Multiple Techs/Users
  • Supports sub-contractors
  • Has a Project Management functionality
  • Support Tickets
  • Estimates and Invoicing
  • Expense and Mileage tracking
  • E Mail reminders for past due invoices
  • Online payment options integration with Paypal and other Merchant services
  • Time Tracking
  • Mobility
  • Reporting features
  • Expense reports
  • Inventory reports
  • Tax reports
  • Support ticket reports
  • Profit and Loss reports

Finding all these features in one single product that is cost effective and available online was to good to be true. I contacted a few programmers and they all wanted to charge lots of money to do this. And then one day I ended up on Fresh Books website and I was amazed by the product, pricing and all the features they offer.

They offer a free version that limits you to to only 3 clients, after taking their online tour I immediately signed up for this Online invoicing and support ticketing solution and started test driving it. I was able to customize every thing in there, Upload my logo, customize my emails, invoices, inventory, client logins, login pages and much more. Their pricing starts from $19/month and goes upto $150/month but the ROI – return on investment is absolutely worth it. I can now manage EVERYTHING from location I do not need multiple programs for support ticketing, invetory and invoicing and project management. More over I can accomplish this from any where I have internet access. You can even access your account from iPhone and/or Windows Mobile devices. Track your time on the go and bill for the exact time no more guess work. No more worrying about if your clients have paid or not, this system can automatically send emails when you specify and send late payment reminders.

Like I mentioned they offer a free fully functional product that enables you to manage 3 clients. Give it a shot, visit Fresh Books – An online invoicing and support ticketing system and see for yourself.

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04 Sep 09 Some Money Saving Tips

I realized this year that I really need to cut down on my expenses, with the economy and job market paying bills is getting more and more difficult every day for middle class and lower middle class to be able to afford simple things.

After doing some thinking and a little research I found out I can eliminate certain monthly expenses easily with a little work. Now there is no guarantee that this will work for every one, or you will get rich over night etc, this is just something I started to do and is slowly working for me.

First step is to identify your needs and wants. For instance I want the fast internet access and all kinds of channels, DVR’s in every room etc but do I need it? No I don’t. Do I need to eat out every day? It is amazing how much money we waste eating Breakfast out, lunch and/or Dinner. Now if you have loads of money well go for it but, if you can’t afford it and living pay check to pay check like me it is just not a very good idea and will get you scrounging for change towards the end of the week. So lets see what I did.

1- Bank Fees:

Fact is Bank Fees suck, monthly service fee, cashiers check fee, check writing fee, ATM fee and worst of all Over Draft Fee.  Many people don’t pay attention to it and let it go and let banks get away with this but after  my horrible experience with Commerce Bank, now TD Bank, I realized this is wrong.  If my bank gets over drawn a dollar or even a penny TD Bank decided they are going to charge me, well after couple of months I gave up, closed my account with TD Bank and started to do some research.  I ended up opening an account with Bank of America.

They gave me a free checking account since I was setting up my direct deposit, no monthly fees of any kind, no check writing fees,  I even got my first order of checks for free, they also have an awesome savings plan called “Keep the Change”.  The way it works is if I use my debt card to buy something for $1.50, they will round it to $2.00 and the 0.50 cents will go into my savings.  It is like taking all your change and putting it in the savings account.  Another cool thing they will match your “Keep the Change” 100% for the first 3 months.

Next I linked my savings account with my checking account so if there is an overdraft it just comes out of my savings account.  And the  most important thing, Bank of America lets you setup Over Draft limits.  And also set it up so if you don’t have enough funds your transaction will decline.  Which means no Over Draft Fees.

To save money on bill payments, using the free online bill payment option is a great idea.  You do not have to worry about Money Orders, Cashiers checks, Stamps, Envelops etc.

2- Internet and TV:

This day and age Internet access and TV are pretty much becoming a need instead of want. But still this monthly expense can be controlled. First thing I did was called my cable company and found out what I am paying for exactly. I realized I am paying like $185 to $200 every month for Internet and TV service whhooooooaaaa!!!!. Now that is crazy so I cut down all the channels to basic channels, cut down my internet speed since I do not require more than 6Mbps, returned my DVR because Comcast was charging me $15 per month for the rental. Got rid of two extra channels I had and I was paying extra $15 approximately for them.

Instead I took a computer and hooked it up to my TV so that I can watch most of my shows that I miss on the internet. Check out an excellent site that has an amazing list of all the popular shows that you can watch but you can also watch the previous episodes and some older movies. I usually like to watch “Greys, Fringe, House, Star Gate Universe, Smallville” and all shows are available on the internet for FREE. Why should I pay for them?

By doing this I was able to reduce my bill from $185 – $200 to around $50 per month.

3- Movie Rentals:

Once in a while I do like to rent a movie and watch it, but I was using Block Buster, pay per view or Net Flix. None of them honestly are cost effective. Net Flix used to be priced pretty good but not any more, their rates are increasing and the number of movies you can rent is decreasing. So one day while shopping at my local super market I saw a big Red box called Red Box and I saw a college kid rent a DVD from it. So I started checking it out and realized this thing is awesome. I can rent DVD’s for only a dollar vs. $5 (Cable TV or Block Buster). The only catch is I have to return it within 24 hours or I will get charged another Dollar. Still not so bad. So since that day I have been watching a whole lot more DVD’s and for less money :). More over I can reserve my DVD at work and pick it up after work. Just imagine if you rent 5 DVD’s a month from Block Buster that is $5×5= $25. With Red box it will be only $5×1= $5. You just saved yourself $20 per month.

If you would like to share your opinions or any other tips to save money feel free to share them in the comments section.

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10 May 09 WD-40

I have been using WD-40 to take care of multiple things for a while now and I always keep a can of WD-40 in my house and car. Recently when I was working on my car I came across an interesting article about WD-40. I never knew that WD-40 had so many uses.

Check out the article yourself:
Miracle Cleaner and Lubricant WD-40

04 May 09 MileBug – Awesome iPhone App

Since I bought the iPhone I have been installing and uninstalling applications on it. All of them have been free apps. However there is one app I found that was $2.99 and it was totally worth every penny. Its called MileBug. I am on the road a lot and get reimbursed for mileage and tolls etc. Before this application I have been writing my mileage in a note book, then putting it in an excel spread sheet and then printing it out and sending it to our accounting dept.

Well thanks to “MileBug” now I simply input my mileage by site and car into that application and simply email myself the report for review and forward it to our accounting dept. Honestly it has made my life so much easier. People who drive 30K and more miles yearly for work and travel all over the place and need to keep track of their mileage this application is a great application.

Keep in mind that nothing is perfect so I recommend backing up your phone and emailing the report depending on how many changes you make.

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29 Apr 09 New Blog

Starting my new blog finally, have some ideas and plans for this blog. Check back soon.

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