Category Archives: Josh Rants

Do you think his eyebrow is twitching?

Cell Network Price Comparison 2011

I feel like the service price comparisons between att, sprint and verizon are skewed and inaccurate.  Let’s break this down

  450 minutes 2gb data Unlimited text  
Sprint 69.99 10.00 (unlimited) Included 79.99
Verizon 59.99 30.00 (2gb) Included 89.99
Att 39.99 25.00 (2gb) 20.00 85.99


But realistically nobody with an iPhone only wants 2gb of data, how about 4gb of data?

  450 minutes 4gb data Unlimited text  
Sprint 69.99 10.00 (unlimited) Included 79.99
Verizon 59.99 50.00 (5gb) Included 109.99
Att 39.99 45.00 (4gb) 20.00 105.99


What if I want more minutes?

  900 minutes 4gb data Unlimited text  
Sprint 89.99 10.00 (unlimited) Included 99.99
Verizon 79.99 50.00 (5gb) Included 129.99
Att 59.99 45.00 (4gb) 20.00 124.99


And unlimited minutes?

  900 minutes 4gb data Unlimited text  
Sprint 99.99 10.00 (unlimited) Included 109.99
Verizon 89.99 50.00 (5gb) Included 139.99
Att 69.99 45.00 (4gb) 20.00 134.99


The only way that any of the figures can be calculated to be lower than sprint is if you get the ATT data plan for 200mb at $15.  Then it comes out $5 cheaper than Sprint.  It really frustrates me when I see Lifehacker and Engadget posting articles with clearly incorrect information.


Now, for my own purposes, let’s take a look at family plans for 4 lines.

  Cheapest base plan Number of minutes Additional cost for 4 lines 2gb data Unlimited text  
Sprint 129.99 1500 39.98 40 (unlimited) Included 209.97
Verizon 80.00 700 19.98 120 (2gb) Included 219.98
Att 69.99 700 19.98 100 (2gb) 30.00 219.97


Now, let’s look at a plan with more data and more minutes

  More minutes Number of minutes Additional cost for 4 lines 5gb data Unlimited text  
Sprint 129.99 1500 39.98 40 (unlimited) Included 209.97
Verizon 100 1400 19.98  200(5gb) Included 319.98
Att 89.99 1400 19.98 180 (5gb) 30.00 289.97


And just for giggles let’s take a look at their unlimited unlimited plans

  Unlimited minutes Additional cost for 4 lines 5gb data Unlimited text  
Sprint 189.98 179.98 40 (unlimited) Included 409.96
Verizon 50 150  200(5gb) Included 400
Att 119.99 99.98 180 (5gb) 30.00 399.97


Sprint finally fails to be the cheapest.  Oh well.

After all this analysis I will say that if your goal is to get the very cheapest plan, you can’t beat the prices from ATT, since they bill separately for texting, you can just not have a texting plan.  That would look like this

Att 39.99 15.00 (200mb) 54.99

And you can get a lower rate from Verizon if you split out the texting plan.

Verizon 39.99 30.00 (2gb) 69.99

So if you are content with not doing any texting, there are cheaper options, but I think that’s totally bull shit. 


The most interesting thing about these plans is how in-line they are with each other.  The last time I compared cellular networks was probably 2008 and at that time the plans were all over the place and it made them very difficult to compare to each other, but ATT and Verizon seem to have followed Sprints lead in creating pretty uniformed packages. 

And beyond cost, I think it’s quite apparent that Sprint is the best value, giving you the most bang for your buck. 

What do you think about cellular networks and data plans?

Blogging from my phone

I remember 5 years ago, when I started this blog, I was constantly looking for new and fun ways to blog while on the go. Using a variety of hacked together cron jobs to check mobile email accounts…. it wasn’t pretty.

Now here I am today on my android phone with my WordPress app, blogging away in the middle of a snowstorm at wordcamp. Does this mean that I will actually blog more? I dunno… maybe. I often have thoughts and ideas that just can’t be expressed in 140 characters.


New Camera and Photo Gallery


Great news!  I a new camera!  It’s a Canon 5D mk II which is a full frame DSLR from Canon that also does beautiful 1080p video with 23.97 and 29.97 frames per second.  Yeah, it’s bitchin’ camaro.

This first photo is one of my little doggy Ginger.  As you might well guess, we have taken a ton of photos of our dogs.  It’s a sickness really, but they are often so cute and goofy that we really cant avoid it.

Also featured in this photo is the room that we have been working on.  You can clearly see the beautiful wood floor and the brand new doors and trim work.  The door on the left is a closet that previously did not have a door, so we added a pocket door.  It rocks.  We had the floor finished by Greg’s Hardwood Floors in White Bear Lake.  I think he did a great job and I would recommend him to anyone.

We also went out for a photo-walk with the new camera yesterday.  We started in downtown Minneapolis at the Foshay Tower.  If you are unfamiliar with the Foshay Tower I would recommend you look it up.  It is one of the most interesting looking buildings in downtown and it stood as the tallest skyscraper in the Midwest for 40 years before the IDS was built.  On the top floor is an observation deck that you can go out on for $8 and you get a fantastic view of the city.  The picture to the right here is of the Wells Fargo Center which is my favorite building when it is lit up at night.  The observation desk is totally worth the $8 price tag if you have never done it before.

After traipsing through downtown taking photos we went to Saint Anthony Main and took photos around the Stone Arch Bridge.

I have started a photo gallery for my photos which is presently located at , comments are open, I’d love to hear what you think of the photos.  I am looking forward to taking more photos around the cities, if you have a suggestion of where I should take some photos please let me know.  There are tons of beautiful places in the Twin Cities but I can never think of any when I want to.  Or if you would like to join us for a photo walk that would be fun too!

That’s all for now!



HTPC Windows 7 MC Reinstall

I recently upgraded my Home Theater PC from The Windows 7 Release Candidate to the final release version.  These are the applications that I put in that install…

  • Coreavc
  • DVRMSToolbox
  • Chrome
  • HappyFish
  • HDHomerun Software
  • Hulu Desktop
  • Matroska Splitter
  • MCE Addin for DTB
  • Mkvtoolnix
  • AnyDVD
  • ShowAnalyzer
  • TotalMedia Theater
  • uTorrent
  • VLC
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • FFDshow

Up until now I have had an auxiliary monitors plugged into the workstation that sits off to the side of the computer in case we wanted to use it as a desktop, but over the past couple months we have not used it as such so I disconnected the auxiliary monitor and went though the entire install on my HDTV.  The installation went smoothly, however after rebooting the second or third time the computer would not post!  I unplugged the HDTV and plugged in my auxiliary monitor and it posted fine!  So I let the computer load on just the monitor and then I shut it down again and plugged in both monitors and it loaded fine.  So I shut it down again and plugged in just the HDTV again, and it loaded fine!!!!

So I installed all of my applications and got Media Center running but the DTB Addin kept crashing!  So I uninstalled DVRMSToolbox and the Addin and when I tried to reinstall it the installer throws an error 2869.  After some research on I found that I need to do a manual uninstall, so I went thought the huge process of unregistering dll files and removing things from the registry and deleted a bunch of files and restarted the computer.  But the installer still didn’t work… after loads of cussing and posting on it’s still not work… no amount of cussing seems to be working.

Without DVRMSToolbox working ShowAnalyzer is useless.   My dreams just keep shattering.

And the computer has frozen on 3 different occasions for no good reason.

And audio doesn’t seem to be working on Media Center with certain MKV files.

And the remote control isn’t working in TotalMedia Theater.

I’m so frusterated right now.  I think I’m going to nuke the whole thing and start over tomorrow, but it takes so much effing time to reinstall and configure the channels and everything!!!!

I’m done ranting now.

UPDATE: It seems that DTB is not required to use the Addin and ShowAnalyzer is skipping commercials with no trouble.  Huh…. who’da thought?

Where it came from…

I originally started this blog as a cathartic way to get things off my mind and fall asleep at night, as you have noticed I haven’t been blogging as much and as a result I have gradually been finding it harder to fall asleep.  I guess I’ll start blogging about my life again.

I really wanted to talk about String Burn LIVE!  If you have not heard me talk about it, SBL is a live video video show that streams online every Saturday morning at 10am Central time.  I’m doing the show, with my long-time production partner Dan Reifenberger, from the sun room off the back of my house and the blood sweat and tears of our “spare time”.  I was lucky to get a great co-host to sit next to me, and that’s fellow yo-yoer Kirby Kirchgasler.  I chose Saturday mornings because, what else are you doing Saturday mornings?  I figure that most people are sleeping or just lounging at that time and if they had something to watch they would tune in… I hope that works out.  Our other options were to do it M-F at about that time in the morning, but I figure that would negate most working people, and during the school year it would rule out students as well. Or we could have done it late at night, but there are problems there too.

When I was telling Dan about this idea he had just procured a program for is Mac called Boinx TV that does live multi camera switching and with a weird but functional hack to send it to UStream, and just like that the show was born.

I was looking for a name for the show and I asked my friend Robyn what it should be called and she came back with about a dozen suggestions like Recoil, Rebound, Spun, and Rope Burn, I saw that last one and said that’s it “String Burn LIVE!” and the name was born.

Is anyone still reading this?  I hope not, I’m just rambling.  rambling rambling rambling. apostrophe. rambling.

We have had some teases of opportunities for real studio space, and one of them might actually pan out.  The most important thing that we are looking for is bandwidth because the better looking the show is on the live stream the more viable it makes us look.  respect.

Our set is sparse, we don’t even have a logo yet and we have had some people bitch about those points, but you know what?  It’s our thing.  It’s our thing to build.  You can avoid our thing if you want, of you can help contribute to our thing, or you can build your own thing, but if you’re trying to tear our thing down then you need stfu.  We have had some good legit constructive criticism though, my friend James pointed me to Kevin Pollaks Chat Show as a source for inspiration for our set, black background.  It’s funny watching Kevin Pollaks Chat Show because he’s doing a very similar thing to what I am trying to do, except with some cash, a studio, staff, and a pipe to the intervision that must be a mile wide.  The funny thing, it’s funny watching that because he keeps making jokes about how they “are not ready yet”, well, I would die a happy man if SBL were at the same level that his show is at.

More rambling.

A logo for the show is coming very soon, I think you’re going to like it.

I dunno, that’s about it for now.  But I’ve got a lot more to talk about in the future.  You don’t have to read it, but I’ve gotta write it to get it off my mind.