Mobile carriers in the U.S. are finally jumping on board with shared data plans, allowing customers with multiple devices to draw from the same data bucket. Unfortunately, for most of these, it's a horrible deal financially. Still, there are some who'd appreciate this kind of thing, and as such we want to let you know that AT&T will be launching it's shared data plans beginning on August 23rd. You can set up all your devices like smartphones, tablets, gaming devices (like the Playstation Vita,) mobile hotspots, and more to all draw from one bucket of data beginning on that date. AT&T has set up a page where you can calculate what it would cost to add all your devices to a single plan.
Read More | AT&T
Here in the U.S., the days of unlimited data are over, unless you've been grandfathered in on an older plan (and even those are now being throttled!) However, unlimited data is still running rampant and wild in the land of Russia.
Russian carrier MegaFon held a competition to see which of its customers could use the most data--seriously, imagine that happening in America. There were more than 1 million rubles ($33,000) in prizes at stake. The winner, who used a staggering 419 GB of data in just one week, won an overseas vacation valued at about $5,000. Though we’re not sure how he used 21-megbits-per-second, we stand in awe of both the user, and the mobile carrier that encouraged the bahavior. So if you ever find yourself in Mother Russia, just remember, over there you don’t use data, data uses you.
Read More | C News
Online backup provider Carbonite today announced the release of version 5.0 of its eponymous software, along with two new premium-level plans.
The new plans are HomePlus, which will run $99 per year, and HomePremier for $149. Both add local backup capability, for faster, full-system restoring from external drives connected to your PC. On top of that, the HomePremier edition adds a Courier service, which means Carbonite will ship a recovery disk in case of data loss. Carbonite continues to sell the Home version for $59 a year for one computer with unlimited storage.
Two brands get most of the mindshare when it comes to online backup: Mozy and Carbonite. For a long time, these were also the two major providers of "unlimited" storage backup, meaning no matter how much data your PC held, it would be stored and protected on the service's remote servers. Since Mozy discontinued its unlimited storage plan, Carbonite is the biggest name in this game, though there are other unlimited plays, such as the newer Backblaze.
We've been intrigued by a Bitcasa since we learned about the service a little over a week ago. The promise of the company is that they offer "infinite storate on your desktop" - a one-stop shop for storing all of your data, regardless of how much data you have. We've heard similar claims in the past from other companies, but they quickly renegged and changed terms to a tiered model. We're used to hearing terms like "unlimited" thrown around by wireless carriers, but even they will start throttling your data (or shutting it off) if you use too much of your unlimited allotment. That's actually why Bitcasa uses the term "infinite" instead of "unlimited" - they really want you to know that they mean what they say. The company was founded by a crew from companies like Mastercard, VeriSign, and Mozy, so it's easy to imagine that things like security and data protection would be taken seriously.
We can't vouch for the service just yet, but we will be getting access soon and will report back with our thoughts. In the meantime, check out the video above, and register for the Bitcasa beta yourself if you want to give the service a try.
Read More | Bitcasa
"Can you imagine what's on Osama bin Laden's hard drive?"
That's the question a U.S. official posed to Politico recently in an article that revealed the government is now in possession of the deceased terrorist leader's computers.
The Navy SEALs who infiltrated bin Laden's compound Sunday, killing him and several others, also confiscated computer drives and disks that the U.S. official said was "the mother lode of intelligence." The contents of those machines are currently being torn apart at a secret location in Afghanistan.
"It's going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable," the official told Politico.
Sony confirmed Tuesday that hackers have managed to obtain personal information Sony stored within the PlayStation Network, possibly including credit cards. The service will be down, at most, another week.
In an update posted to the PlayStation Blog, Sony senior director of corporate communications and social media Patrick Seybold noted that the "malicious actions" has caused Sony to send a email to all of its customers.
That email will tell subscribers that Sony has turned off the PlayStation Network and Qriocity cloud-music service; engaged an outside security firm; and "taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure by re-building our system to provide you with greater protection of your personal information".
Verizon Wireless will cease offering its monthly 150MB data plan, which costs $15, and by default will require all new smartphone users to adopt its existing $30 unlimited data plan.
During Verizon's fourth quarter earnings call on Tuesday morning, chief operating officer Lowell McAdam said the company was scrapping its $15/month 150 MB data plan this month.
A Verizon Wireless spokesman declined to offer any more details but confirmed Verizon would continue its $30 unlimited MB plan.
The announcement deals a direct blow to the original Apple iPhone carrier, AT&T, which had to scrap its unlimited data plan last summer. AT&T's metered data plans begin at $15 a month for 200MB. At the time, AT&T argued that 98 percent of its smartphone users consumed less than 2GB per month, and 65 percent consumed less than 200MB per month.
If you're planning to get a new smartphone on Sprint, you should probably do so in the next couple of weeks. After Jan. 30, data plans for smartphones activated on the carrier will go up in price by $10 a month, the company announced today.
Called "Premium Data," the mandatory charge is added to the Sprint's existing unlimited $70 Everything Data plan, pumping it up to $80 a month. Sprint says the increase is to address its users' "growing appetite for a richer mobile experience." The charge affects only smartphones activated Jan. 30 or later—existing customers will not experience the increase until they upgrade.
Facebook released some interesting data about how people use their status updates. They analyzed around one million status updates and broke them down into categories. First they see the relationship between age and some key words, then with the time of the day that the updates were made. Some interesting facts could be found, such as 4am is when people talk about sleep the most, and positive emotions seem to occur around 7am, while negative ones center around 1am. As the day progresses, negative emotions seem to increase while positive ones decrease. The chart shows a positive correlation between friend count and pronouns, total word count, communication, religion, swear words and sex. Then, there’s also a negative correlation between friend count and past tense verbs, family and emotions.
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A couple of days ago was the infamous Cyber Monday, where online stores see massive surges in sales, and eBay is one of the prime destinations people go to buy goods. Today they reported that their mobile sales for the Monday after Thanksgiving were up 146%. Also, eBay released a visualization tool that shows mobile shopping trends across 6 countries. The company reported that the use of its mobile platforms went up 3 times since 2009, with its iPhone app leading the way, followed by Android and Blackberry. In the US, cars and trucks were the biggest mobile trends, with cell phones, PDAs, women's clothing and other accessories leading the number of transactions done. It's clear that eBay is pushing its mobile apps, having recently released an updated version for the iPhone which includes a bar code reader, to bridge the in-store and online shopping experience.
Read More | eBay