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Archives: December 2009

Can a Metal Bowl Speed Up 3G? My Own Tests Seem to Support This Odd 3G Enhancement Notion

YouTube video courtesy of teemuruskeepaa

After reading this item on the Mobile Broadband Blog…

The Craziest Way To Boost Your Mobile Broadband Signal

…I watched the embedded video (see above) several times and discussed it with friends and co-workers after showing the video to them. It would be easy to fake the screens seen on the video. I had to check this out for myself. So, I found a metal cooking pot (sauce pan) in the office kitchen and ran a couple of tests using my iPhone 3G. My initial tests (3 outside of the pan and 3 inside) seemed to confirm that the downstream data speed was faster when the iPhone was in the pot. This definitely needed more testing. So, here’s what I did after getting home…


I don’t have any AT&T data signal at home. So, I continued my testing using a Droid on Verizon’s 3G network on a Touch Pro2 on T-Mobile’s EDGE network (T-Mobile’s 3G signal poops out about 2 miles from where I live). Here’s how I tested the two units. I tested each device and network five times outside of the bowl and fives times inside of the bowl. I alternated test positions (inside or outside) to try to get each pair of tests as close together in time as possible.

Downstream speed estimates were obtained using DSLreports.com’s non-Javascript speed test found at:



I used the 400KB payload to test the Droid on the Verizon 3G network. As you can see from the graph above, results inside of the bowl (red) were consistently higher than tests outside of the bowl (blue ) using paired tests. The average download speed outside of the bowl was 354.6Kbps. The speed inside of the bowl was 474.4Kbps. The average downstream speed advantage inside of the bowl was 119.8Kbps (33.78%). Wild, huh?


I then tested an HTC Touch Pro2 on the T-Mobile EDGE network. A smaller 100KB payload was used for testing on the slower EDGE network. As you can see from the graph above, the results were reversed here. EDGE downstream speed outside of the bowl were, in 4 out of 5 cases) faster than inside of the bowl. The average download speed outside of the bowl on the EDGE network was 129.2Kbps while it was 121.2Kbps inside of the bowl. The average download speed inside of the bowl was 121.2Kbps. It was, in other words, 8Kbps slower in the blow (6.19% slower).

So, there you have it. It looks like with the right metal bowl, 3G downstream speed actually increases. But, the same conditions don’t help EDGE connections.

Via Slashdot: Boost a Weak 3G Modem Signal, With a Saucepan

Evernote Hits the 2 Million User Mark – 1 Million Use Evernote from an iPhone

I have Evernote clients installed under Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, Windows Mobile, iPhone OS, and Android. And, multi-platform is the name of the game for Evernote which now has more than 2 million users. 1.585 million of those 2 million users logged in from two different platforms. And, it looks like a good bet that one of those two platforms was an iPhone since over 1 million users logged in from an iPhone. In fact, the iPhone is the single largest platform used by Evernote users followed by Microsoft Windows (674K) and the web (623K). BTW, more than a half million users logged in from 3 different platforms. And, I guess I’m one of the 6387 people who logged in from 5 platforms. You can find all their cool statistics in this Evernote blog item.

We can finally say “Millions”!

And, you can hear my discussion with Evernote CEO Phil Libin from January 2009 in the embedded player below…

Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G WiFi Router May be on its Way

Sprint’s $70/month 3G/4G plan has interested me since I learned about it. Sprint, like every other so-called 4G plan provider, has teamed up with Clear to access their WiMax network. One of my few remaining blocking factors (aside from the idea of paying another $70 per month for wireless data) is the need to use a USB modem for the service. I would much rather have a MiFi-type device that shares the 3G/4G data service using WiFi to my other device(s). According to Engadget, this blocking factor may be removed soon…

Sprint Overdrive dual-mode WiMAX / EV-DO mobile hotspot leaks into the wild (update: $50 U301 on contract?)

The Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G WiFi router they describe would let me use it with any WiFi-capable device I’m carrying (including an iPhone). Now, if only Sprint would reduce the monthly recurring price or give current Sprint customers a price break, another blocking factor would be removed for me.

DataJack $40/Month Unlimited 3G Sounds Great But Has a Tiny Footprint

3G coverage map courtesy of DataJack

Subscribing to the big four’s 3G data service for your notebook or netbook in the US has two big drawbacks:

1. It is a relatively expensive service at $60 per month
2. You are limited to 5GB of data per month. A couple of movie downloads and a big system update can push you beyond that limit very quickly

So, ChipChick’s item about the DataJack 3G service caught my eye…

DataJack to Launch Unlimited Prepaid Mobile Broadband for $39

$39 per month without a 5GB data cap sounds good to me. But, if you take a look at DataJack’s 3G coverage map (see above) and read discussion threads like this one over at HowardForums…

HowardForums Datajack discussion thread

…it looks like DataJack’s 3G network is based on the tiniest national network in the U.S.: T-Mobile USA.

T-Mobile’s 3G coverage in my area appears to be a tiny corridor about 20 miles long. Guess who lives about 2 miles outside of the edge of that network? So, DataJack wouldn’t serve my needs. But, if you have solid T-Mobile 3G coverage in your area, they might provide a relatively inexpensive 3G solution for your netbook or notebook.


RockYou's Data Breach Takes A Turn For The Worse With Class Action Suit

-RockYou Logo-

RockYou has come under fire recently after a SQL injection flaw resulted in a data breach which exposed over 32 million RockYou user emails and passwords. Rather than immediately solving the problem however, RockYou was complacent. As Nik Cubrilovic pointed out, “They have not taken steps to rectify the problems that caused the breach and have not addressed their users in a suitable or adequate manner. An appropriate response would have been to take the site down for a period of a few hours and enforce that users enter new passwords, which would be stored in a hashed or encrypted form.” Two weeks later a class action has been filed.
Read more

RockYou Faces Class-Action Suit

RockYouLogo.jpgRockYou was rocked by a proposed class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Northern California as the result of a hacker gaining access to email addresses and passwords that the site stored in plain text, GigaOM reported.

RockYou member Alan Claridge is leading the suit, accusing RockYou of failing to properly secure his data, allowing hacker “igigi” to gain access to it and failing to promptly notify him about it, according to GigaOM.

The hacker succeeded by using a method that has been around for more than one decade—a trivial SQL injection vulnerability—according to TechCrunch.

The hacker published a slice of the information he acquired, which also confirmed that RockYou’s data contains a table that stores user information for partner sites and social networks.

Ronna & Beverly Creators Push Show to Showtime via Social Media

RonnaAndBeverly.jpgJessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo are using social media to try to push rejected sitcom pilot Ronna & Beverly, which they created and star in, onto premium cable network Showtime’s schedule, Mashable reported.

According to Mashable, the sitcom follows two 50-something Boston yentas who wrote a self-help book titled You’ll Do a Little Better Next Time: A Guide to Marriage & Remarriage for Jewish Singles. Showtime commissioned the pilot for Ronna & Beverly but declined to pick up the series, Mashable reported.

Showtime aired the pilot Dec. 22 for tax purposes, and several celebrities on Twitter tweeted positive messages about the show and encouraged followers to watch or DVR it, including Diablo Cody, Mindy Kaling, Rainn Wilson and Joel Stein, according to Mashable.

Kindle Tops Amazon’s Best of 2009 Lists

Nothing terribly amazon_sm.pngnew here, but Amazon released its “Best of 2009” list, compilations of bestsellers and most-wished-for items from the past year. Once again, it’s another situation of Amazon tooting its horn without any numbers to back it up–a practice that’s increasingly frustrating publishing people.

The lists reaffirms what Amazon’s been saying all along: Kindle is its top product, both in sales and wishes. The next two items on the list are notable, if not surprising. Item number two on both the sales and wish list is the print edition of Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol,’ and number three is the Kindle edition of the same book.

But tensions are building around these kinds of claims. Already, a commenter on Mike Cane’s eBook Test, claiming to be an employee of a major trade publisher, has said the 200,000 supposed eBook sales of ‘The Lost Symbol’ is “laughable.” If more publishing people come out of the woodwork with numbers, Amazon will feel some pressure to come up with numbers of its own. Though of course, that kind of pressure has never had any effect on the retailing giant before.

Subway Boards the Facebook Train

SubwayFacebook.jpgFive…five-dollar…five-dollar foot long!

Subway waited until Christmas Eve to jump on the Facebook bandwagon, launching a fan page with a 20-second commercial-sneak-peek video featuring Olympic Games swimmer Michael Phelps and a sweepstakes in which the sandwich chain will give away 10 $50 Subway cards each week through Jan. 24, Inside Facebook reported.

The page has already tallied more than 222,000 fans and, as per Facebook’s new promotion rules, members of the social-networking site do not have to become fans to enter the sweepstakes.