Yes, you can get a free cell phone with government assistance. If you make very little money, or you're part of other federal programs such as public housing, food stamps, SSI, or Medicaid, you can get a free mobile phone paid for by a fee on everyone else's phone bills.
This program has been around for years. According to the FCC, the government has been subsidizing landlines since 1984; the program, now called LifeLine, added mobile phones in 1997. LifeLine was enhanced in 2005 during the Bush administration, and TracFone's SafeLink, the first purely free LifeLine phone brand, started disbursing free phones in 2008.
"The telecoms haven't done a very good job promoting LifeLine, and the penetration rates have been dismal," said Jose Fuentes, Tracfone's director of government relations. TracFone operates SafeLink.
LifeLine is funded by the Universal Service Fund, which you see as a surcharge on your phone bill. Established by a 1996 law, the USF makes sure that people who live in rural and low-income areas, as well as schools and libraries can get phone service. It doesn't make a distinction between wired and wireless phones; you can get a subsidy for either, but you have to choose one.
In this episode we give you a first look at over the air updates in iOS 5! With the release of iOS 5 beta 4, Apple is now testing OTA updates, allowing users to update their iOS devices without connecting them to iTunes. Instead, the update happens right on the device itself, using Wi-Fi or 3G. We give you a look at how the process works on an iPhone 4 running iOS 5 beta 4 on a Wi-Fi network.
Big thank you to Carbonite and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! Carbonite offers off-site backup of your computer, and you can get two free months (no credit card needed!) by visiting Carbonite and using promo code TPN. As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like.
Coverage of the iPhone tracking "feature" has ranged from concern to outrage. "I don't know about you, but the fact that this feature exists on an iPhone is a deal-killer," wrote PCMag Columnist John Dvorak, shortly after news broke. Editor Dan Costa drew a softer line, writing, "Apple may not be actively tracking you, but it did turn your phone into a tracking device without telling you."
I'm not about to give Apple a pass on disclosure or execution. Who combs through an Apple privacy statement when the latest iOS software awaits? And, to "collect" and "share" user data is one thing; to retain it in an unprotected file is quite another.
However, I think it's important that, with a few days' hindsight, we move beyond the bombast, pin down the facts, and see what's actually there. To do this, I've taken a close look at what's at risk and, in empirical spirit, borrowed fellow PCMag software analyst Jeff Wilson's iPhone 3GS to see what I could learn of the man and the travels using Pete Warden's iPhoneTracker app.
Dreading the hassle that comes with moving your contacts to a new phone? Don't despair. You can transfer your address book from your old phone into your new Verizon iPhone 4 in less than 10 minutes, you don't need a pen and paper, and in most cases, it's free.
Below are instructions for extracting your address book from most phones on the big four U.S. carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. There are only two things you need before diving in—active service on your current phone, and a Gmail account (unless you're already a Verizon Wireless subscriber).
If you’re anything like me, and I’m making an assumption here (because that’s what irresponsible journalism is all about), you might only have so much money to go towards fancy gadgets and various electronic compensations for a strikingly diminished sense of personal worth. That can lead to some trouble if, for instance, you have a decent gaming headset that you want to use for your Xbox 360 instead of a bona-fide sound sytem, since you can no longer use Xbox Live without Microsoft’s proprietary, flimsy headset.
A few headsets, like those from Turtle Beach, alleviate this problem by offering individual chat volumes and the ability to both listen to your game and communicate with your buddies. It’s a worthy investment, but a bit of a waste if you already have a good gaming headset - dedicated XBL headsets can hover around the $150 range. All you need is a $5 adapter and zero soldering.
Hit the jump to see what you need.
In this episode, we give you a look at a bunch of the new little features that you’ll find in Windows 7. They’re all small things that, we think, will lead to a nice increase in productivity and time-saving. We are talking about things like Aero Peek, Snap, Pin, and the like. None of those terms ring a bell? Then you might wanna hit the play button up there on this episode of Bleeding Edge TV.
Today, Google “announced” a feature that technically already existed before now, but giving it a name makes it more real, right?
Google says that by taking advantage of the conditional call forwarding feature your carrier provides, you can forward calls that you do not answer on your phone to your Google Voice phone number, thereby replacing your company’s voicemail with Google’s. This functionality has actually always existed: Google Help forums reveal countless people already were setting up their functionality long before Google made this announcement.
It boils down to setting up your call forwarding feature (*71 or the like) to forward to your Google Voice number (or your “Access Number” if you sign up “Without a Google Number”). Then, when your call is forwarded to the Google Voice number, the voice mail is logged and transcribed and stored online, with delivery options such as email or text message to your cell phone. You don’t get all the features you get if you use an actual Google Voice number for people to call, but it is still a nifty service.
A bit more information about Google Voice after the jump.
Read More | The Official Google Blog
Okay, we were all disappointed by AT&T’s decision to delay iPhone MMS to early fall, but that doesn’t stop ambitious folks such as ourselves from finding a way around it. And we have. I can confirm that I was able to get MMS working on my iPhone 3GS with about 3 minutes worth of effort. You wanna do it to? Read on for complete instructions for enabling MMS on iPhone 3.1.
Check out out HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.
The challenge presented at the beginning of this process was for us to build a great home theater PC while sticking to a budget of $1,000. We knew we were up for the challenge, and wanted to walk you through that process with us. Here’s what we’ve done, as a refresher:
- Let’s Build a Budget HTPC
- Selecting Our Hardware
- The MSI 7411 Motherboard, and Why It Rocks
- Achieving Great 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound
- Driving multimedia content to the HTPC
- The ATI TV Wonder 650
- Laying Out All The Components
So, now that we have reached the end of this process, we need to take a look at how we did, right? Were we able to stick to our budget? Let’s see how we did…
Check out our HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.
In our quest to build the ultimate inexpensive hoome theater computer, we’ve walked you through selecting all the major components that will power our labor of love PC. I’m talking about things like why we picked our chosen motherboard, the MSI MS-7411, a look at how we will drive 7.1 sound from the HTPC to our receiver, and the smart way that we will move content to the HTPC so it’s displayed on our television.
But what about the rest? The pieces that, although not major, are still required to have a - you know - functioning HTPC? Well, that’s where this article comes in. We are going to be giving you a quick rundown of the smaller components that you will need in order to get this thing built, before we do our wrap-up in our next article.
Read More | Series: Building an HTPC on a Budget