Monthly Archives: November 2010

  • Quick Tattletails zBoost Giveaway

    November 30, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    For those of you who would like to win a zBoost YX540 METRO, Quick Tattletails is having a giveawway contest!

     

    Ways to Enter the Quick Tattletails Giveaway:

    Mandatory Entry:

    Go to Wi-Ex and tell me what you learned.

     
    Extra Entries:

    1. "Like " Wi-Ex zBoost on Facebook. 
    (1 Entry)

    2. Follow Wi-Ex on Twitter. @Wi_Ex
    (1 Entry)

    3. Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter and leave the direct link.

    ► ► ► One lucky reader will win the zBoost Metro ($299.99) Cell Phone Booster @bonmay #giveaway @Wi_Ex http://bit.ly/gTBb1L

    (1 Entry)  This can be done daily!

    4. Write a short review on Alexa for Quick Tattletails and give me 5 stars.
    (5 Entries)

    5. Fave me on Technorati. Add to Technorati Favorites
    (5 Entries)

    6. Follow me on Twitter. @bonmay
    (4 Entries)

    7. Stumble this post, at the top of this post.
    (10 Entries)

    8. Follow me on Google Buzz.
     Follow on Buzz 
    (10 Entries)

    9. Post on Google Buzz, at the top of this post.
    (10 Entries)

    10. Follow me on Google Friend Conncect.  On my right sidebar.
    (4 Entries)

    11. Follow me on Networked Blogs.  On my right sidebar.
    (4 Entries)

    12. Fan me on Facebook.
    (4 Entries)

    13. "Like" this at the bottom of this post.
    (3 Entries)

    14. Sign up for my newsletter.  On my right sidebar.  Leave your email address.
    (5 Entries)

    15. Sign up for my RSS feed.  On my right sidebar.  Leave your email address.
    (1 Entry)

    16. Add Quick Tattletails to your blogroll  with this URL - http://www.quicktattletails.com/
    Tell me where I can find it.
    (5 Entries)

    17. Share this giveaway with the "Share the Love" buttons below.
    (2 Entries Each Social Site)

    18.  Leave a comment on any non giveaway post.  Tell me which one.
    (2 Entries Per Comment)

    19. Enter any of my other giveaways, just let me know which one.
    (1 Entry per giveaway)

    20. Put my button on your website and tell me where to find it.
    (5 Entries)

    21. Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link to find it.
    (10 Entries)

    For more information about the giveaway contest, please visit the article at: http://www.quicktattletails.com/2010/11/zboost-review-and-giveaway-ends-12-21.html

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 25, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    Wi-Ex wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Holiday Travel Tips from ABC News

    November 23, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    Seven Tips for Smooth Thanksgiving Travel

    How Long Will Airport Security Take? Can I Bring a Turkey on My Flight?

    http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/thanksgiving-holiday-travel-tips-traffic-flight-delays-ruin/story?id=12195296&page=1

    By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ

     Thanksgiving? Expect the roads and airports to be significantly more crowded than last year, thanks in part to an improving economy.

    Roughly 42.2 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from their home this holiday, according to AAA. That's 11.4 percent more than last year.

    To help avoid car trouble and unnecessary delays during holiday travel, AAA recommends drivers check their tire treads, tire pressure, wiper blades and battery connections.

    While the vast majority of those travelers will be driving, it's those who take to the skies that often deal with the most headaches and heartache. Sure, nobody likes bumper-to-bumper traffic, but would you rather be stuck in traffic in your car or having airport security do a thorough pat-down of your privates?

    Besides, it seems that every year the rules of the airport change ever so slightly. (Most people drive every day and the rules of the road really don't change.)

    And for fliers, there is some good news: the government is once again opening up some military air space to help speed commercial flights.

    So with all that in mind, we reached out to Genevieve Shaw Brown, senior editor at Travelocity to answer seven commonly-asked questions about flying during Thanksgiving.

     

    • #1: May I Bring My Turkey?

    The short answer here is yes, though you might get some strange looks at security. Keep in mind, however, your turkey (or whatever other food you bring on the aircraft) must be part of your carry-on luggage and must not take up more than the free one bag and one carry-on item allotted by every domestic airline except Spirit (which charges for carry-on luggage). Remember, though, that the TSA still allows no more than 3 ounces of liquid in any one container, so your turkey cannot be soaking in brine, getting itself ready for dinner at grandma's house.

     

    • #2: How Long Do I Really Need to Get Though Security?

    Provided you have checked in online before your flight (see question three), you can arrive at security one hour before your domestic flight and most likely be just fine. But, just to be on the safe side, you might want to leave yourself an extra half-hour during a busy travel weekend like Thanksgiving. If you choose not to check in online, arrive at the airport at least two hours before your departure time to be ready for long lines at the check-in counter, which are in addition to the lines at security. Arrive at the airport two hours before all international flights.

    • #3: How Do I Make Sure I Don't Get Bumped From My Flight?

    There is no guaranteed way to avoid getting bumped, but there are certainly ways to minimize your chances. First and foremost, reserve a seat when you purchase your flight online, rather than letting one be randomly assigned to you at a later date. Next, check in online on your carrier's website up to 24 hours before your flight. Often, when a flight is oversold and no one is willing to give up their seat, the airline will bump the person or people who checked in last. Finally, get to the gate as early as possible (see question two; this is when that extra half-hour might come in handy) and reconfirm your seat with the gate agent.

    • #4: What If I Miss My Connection?

    Typically when you miss a connection, the airline just puts you on the next flight to your destination. During a peak travel period like Thanksgiving, however, that might not be so simple because planes are flying very full and you'll have to wait for a flight with an available seat. The easiest way to not miss a connection is to book a direct flight in the first place. If that's not possible, leave a minimum of two hours to make your connecting flight to protect against any delays on the first leg of your trip.

    If you've already purchased your flight and you're worried the connecting time is too tight, visit your airport's website to see a map of the airport to get a lay of the land. Then ask your flight attendant on your first flight to tell you what gate your next flight is using. This can save you several minutes of searching for your gate. Finally, if you do miss your connection and it looks as if it is going to be a while before the airline finds you an empty seat to your destination, it's time to be flexible. Be willing to travel to airports near your destination -- for example, Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami, or Charleston instead of Savannah -- if there are empty seats.

    • #5: What Should I Keep With Me in Case We Get Stranded on   the Tarmac?

    It is very unlikely that you'll get stranded on the tarmac. However, make sure you're prepared for the worst-case scenario over Thanksgiving weekend and every other time you fly. Keep on your person at all times a fully charged cell phone, all medications, water (purchased post-security) and a snack. If you're traveling with children, make sure they have formula (this is an exception to the TSA liquid rule), diapers and activities to keep them amused. Bottom line -- if you can't live without it, don't put it in your checked luggage, because once it's checked you're not going to see it again until you get to your destination.

    • #6: Can I Bring Gifts Along?

    Yes, but be aware that wrapped gifts may be opened at security. Use gift bags or wait until you arrive at your destination before wrapping presents. And of course, anything you carry on the plane counts towards your allotted one carry-on bag and one personal item.

    • #7: How Much Will It Cost My Family to Check Our Bags?

    That, of course, depends on how many bags you check. Most airlines charge $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second on domestic flights. Exceptions are JetBlue, which allows one free checked bag, and Southwest, which allows two. Generally speaking, a family of four, each checking one bag, will pay a total of $200 round-trip in bag charges. Some airlines offer small discounts -- usually $3 per bag -- if you pay online before your flight.

    Your bag must not weigh more than 50 pounds or measure more than 62 inches. Otherwise, it will be subject to overweight and/or oversized bag fees. On international flights, you're often allowed to check one bag free of charge, but check your carrier's website for specifics.

    Keep in mind that every ticketed passenger (including a small child) is entitled to one regulation-size carry-on bag and one personal item for free, except on Spirit. Regulation size is generally 45 linear inches or less; you can figure this number out by adding the width plus the length plus the height.

     

    Wi-Ex wishes you safe travels this week!

  • Wi-Ex featured in New York Times article "Cellphone Carriers Try to Control Signal Boosters"

    November 18, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    Sandy

     

    Cellphone Carriers Try to Control Signal Boosters

    Sean Kirkland in the living room of his San Diego home with a Clearstream Microsite signal booster in the background.

    By KATE MURPHY

    When Sean Kirkland, an executive vice president for sales and marketing for a company that plans corporate meetings and events, moved into a new house in San Diego last year, he loved everything about the place.

    The zBoost YX545 SOHO, a cell phone signal booster.

    The DeskTop Signal Booster, from Wilson Electronics.

    Everything except the poor reception he got on his cellphone.

    It was worst in his home office. When a dropped call caused him to spend several minutes talking to dead air instead of to an important client, “I wanted to bang my head against the wall,” said Mr. Kirkland, 42.

    So he installed a cellular signal booster, or repeater. The devices, which cost from $250 to $1,000, depending on how much they increase a signal, work by first capturing cell signals through an external antenna, ideally affixed to the roof of a dwelling. A coaxial cable then transmits the signal inside the house to an amplifier and internal antenna, which strengthen and retransmit it to cellphones. Before, Mr. Kirkland said, he might have had one or two bars indicating signal strength.

    “I can walk around my whole home now with full strength reception,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

    But will Mr. Kirkland’s solution remain legal? In March, CTIA-The Wireless Association, which represents cellular service providers, filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission demanding stricter regulation of signal boosters. The commission is considering whether to let Mr. Kirkland and an estimated one million other homeowners continue to use them.

    Boosters have been around for about a decade, but they have not been widely used. And when they were used, it was mostly in commercial settings. But the popularity of bandwidth-hogging smartphones and poor reception in urban and rural areas have prompted homeowners to fill their homes with the electronics needed to pull in a reliable signal.

    Supported by separate filings by AT&T and Verizon, the CTIA claims that boosters interfere with cellular networks and disrupt service to customers. As a result, CTIA has asked the F.C.C. to require that “the use of signal boosters be coordinated with and controlled by commission licensees and the sale and marketing of such devices be limited to authorized parties.”

    In other words, CTIA wants cellular service providers to control who makes boosters, who sells them and to whom. Not surprisingly, the leading manufacturers of cell signal boosters like Wilson Electronics of St. George, Utah, and Wireless Extenders of Norcross, Ga., do not like this idea.

    They grumble that the wireless carriers want to shut them out of a market that is rapidly expanding as more people forgo landlines to rely on their cellphones, which may not work so well inside their homes. Common construction materials like concrete and foil-lined insulation can make good reception difficult without a booster.

    “You used to run inside to take a call, but now you run outside to take a call,” said Joe Baños, chief operating officer for Wilson Electronics.

    Mr. Baños does not dispute that poorly made boosters can sometimes cause network disruptions, but he said the solution was for the F.C.C. to tighten up manufacturing specifications.

    “As it stands, the F.C.C. criteria is useless,” he said, because it does not require boosters to have automatic shut-off features if they detect interference.

    Wilson’s $250 DeskTop Signal Booster, which transmits a signal up to 2,000 square feet, and Wi-Ex’s $399 zBoost SOHO YX545, which increases an indoor signal over 3,000 square feet, are popular models that can support multiple phones. The devices are available from electronics stores and online retailers like Amazon.

    Both Wilson and Wireless Extenders say their products are designed to prevent interference and do not affect cellular networks. Mr. Kirkland’s booster, a $375 Clearstream Microsite, was made by Antennas Direct, a new entrant to the market. While the company said the device was still in a public testing phase, it also had built-in safeguards against interference.

    But Christopher Guttman-McCabe, CTIA’s vice president for regulatory affairs, said that with the proliferation of tablet computers, smartphones and personal mobile hot spots, “The wireless environment is always changing and represents a complicated interaction of signals.” Adding boosters to the mix without carrier coordination and approval, he said, “can cause overload and serious confusion in the network.”

    Moreover, Mr. Guttman-McCabe said boosters sometimes interfered with the closed wireless networks that public safety officials use to communicate. Indeed, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Professionals International supports CTIA’s efforts to restrict who can operate boosters.

    And yet, Wilson and Wireless Extenders combined have provided hundreds of boosters to federal, state and local government offices nationwide including police, fire and public transportation departments. Examples include New York City Transit and several offices of the Department of Homeland Security.

    CTIA’s objection to boosters comes at a time when cellular service providers have begun offering their own products to cope with weak or intermittent reception. Called femtocells, these devices essentially push wireless signals onto the Internet to transmit voice and data. The signal travels via a customer’s broadband connection into and out of the house rather than on radio waves, which might get weakened traveling through say, trees or thick walls.

    Robert Plamondon, 51, a technical writer who lives on a rural farm in Blodgett, Ore., bought a femtocell last year — the Verizon Wireless 3G Network Extender. “Before I got it, I had to go out to the mailbox to take a call,” he said. “That wouldn’t be so bad except it rains a lot here.”

    The femtocell looks like a wireless router and plugs into his broadband connection to provide cell coverage throughout his house. “The only thing that takes some getting used to is the delay when you’re talking,” he said, referring to the lag time he experiences between when he speaks and when he is heard by the person on the other end of the call and vice versa.

    Verizon’s femtocell costs $250, whereas AT&T’s competing product, the 3G Microcell, costs $150. Sprint’s femtocell, known as the Airave Access Point 3G, is free on a case-by-case basis to customers who have proven signal problems.

    T-Mobile takes a different approach by offering calling via any wireless hot spot at no additional charge to customers who buy phones that have so-called Wi-Fi calling. Unlike AT&T and Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have not told the F.C.C. of any concerns about boosters.

    Paul Kolodzy, a wireless consultant in Centreville, Va., said the booster debate obscured a more fundamental problem, which was that the number of cellphone users had outgrown network capacity. “Cell service providers either have to build more towers to handle the load or drive cell traffic onto the Internet.”

  • Even design trends favor telework

    November 17, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    Joining the ranks of the teleworkforce may have some unexpected pay offs. Literally.

    Home offices are one of the very few features of a home that are growing in popularity, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) "Home Design Trends Survey" for the second quarter of 2010.

    Those home theaters, fitness rooms and even home workshops? Out.
    Instead, residential architects say there's growing interest in "outside living spaces, home offices and mud rooms - despite the overall trend toward a downsizing of homes," reports Kitchen and Bath Design News.

    "As the overall economy has slowed in recent years, home offices have become the new home theaters," AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker told Kitchen and Bath.

    High-tech is still popular, but is starting to take a different form. Along with the increased focus on functionality, the 300 residential design professionals said they've also seen a big increase in energy efficient products and design.

    To read the full article: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=270&sid=2110083

  • zBoost Your Data Cards!

    November 12, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    I was flipping through the channels last Saturday evening and could not find anything to watch!!  I had gone through all the movie channels and normal cable stations.  I finally settled on the idea that I would stream a movie onto my computer from Netflix.  As I was browsing through all of the categories of movies, I was reminded that I could connect my laptop to my TV to get a bigger picture.  I was pleasantly surprised by how many different movie selections were available to stream into my laptop, and I finally settled on watching District 9.

    Well I do not have the traditional internet service at my home.  I use the data card from my wireless provider.  Once I selected my movie Netflix froze while “checking link speed”.  I knew that something was wrong, and started to get a little worried.  I had never had an issue with my internet because we have a zBoost in our home.  I decided to investigate why my signal was so low.  I went into our office where I keep our YX545 SOHO.  Someone had unplugged my trusty zBoost SOHO. I plugged it back in and went to go try again.

    I went back into my living room and tried to start the movie back up.  Netflix sped through the “checking link speed” and immediately started the movie!  It was amazing!  I couldn’t tell the difference watching District 9 through Netflix online or one of my DVD’s I had at home.  I now can watch ANY movie offered through Netflix and couldn’t be happier.  Once again the zBoost has changed my life!  Not only does it help with my cell and not dropping calls, but now I can get movies ON DEMAND.  I never have to worry about nothing being on TV on those Saturday nights I want to spend at home.

  • Mommy Blog: iTots - I Have One Do You?

    November 10, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    Joe

    It is nice to know that I am not alone and that now they too are branded with their very own i - iTot that is!   I can 100 percent relate to the recent USA Today article on iTots.

    "Call them iTots. Wunderkind of the 21st century. One-, 2- and 3- year-olds who know their way around an iPhone or an iPad better than you do.Some start waving their pudgy little hands over those glowing screens before their first birthday. Think 6 months.Kids aren't dreaming of a white Christmas anymore. Sleds? Trains? Front teeth? Surely you jest. All they want for Christmas are two new apps. They also want their own iPad."I guess my kids are actually aTots (Android Tots).  After making the move from a Blackberry to an Andriod, my  three year old now tells us that he is planning to tell Ho Ho (Santa) he needs a "touch phone." It is amazing how quickly they learn to use new devices. He could already text GiGi on my blackberry (not that it made sense to anyone but him) and post pictures to Facebook (I don't think it can be accident once they have done it more than a few times) but now he is ready to try out Mommy's new "touch phone." 

    This article from USA Today give some good insight into the iTot.
    http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2010-11-08-iToddlers08_CV_N.htm

  • Tested.com Reviews the zBoost-METRO

    November 8, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    Will and Norm of Tested.com took time to review the zBoost-SOHO.  They did a thorough job testing at both Will’s home and the tested.com offices.  The zBoost-SOHO did not perform as well as they hoped at Will’s house since he lives in a single story ranch and was not able to achieve the 15 feet of vertical separation.  Since then, Wi-Ex has offered to send him the zBoost-METRO, which is made for single story dwellings, and would be the appropriate product for his home situation.

    Happily the zBoost-SOHO had a stellar performance at the Tested.com offices where they were able to achieve the 15 feet of vertical separation between the base unit and the antenna.  See the video for more specifics, a bit of humor and a very cute dog.

    http://www.tested.com/tested-zboost-soho-cell-signal-booster/47-188/

  • zBoost Available at Best Buy and Micro Center

    November 4, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    The zBoost-SOHO and zBoost-METRO are now available at Best Buy and Micro Center. Designed to create Cell Zones™ in signal-challenged homes and offices, the zBoost line of products allows users to take full advantage of voice, data and Internet services on their connected devices including 3G high-speed data and video, instant messaging, pictures and more.

    zBoost

    zBoost

     “The retail channel is still a very important part of the buying experience for consumers. In fact, recent industry reports found that more than 40 percent of consumer research electronics online but still purchase in store.  We are looking forward to offering our products in Micro Center and providing consumers with another option to see our products firsthand,” said Sharon Cuppett, vice president of marketing and product management of Wi-Ex. 

    According to the annual zBoost "State of the Cell Signal" Survey, commissioned by Wi-Ex and conducted by Harris Interactive®, nearly 67 percent of cell owners experience problems with their cell phone signal at home including poor quality and 49 percent claim to have done something special to improve signal strength in order to make or receive a call in their home.. The survey, fielded December 8–10, 2009 via Harris’ online omnibus survey, also found that 67 percent of cell phone owners use data functions on their cell phones and, of those, nearly

  • Article of the Week from TheDigitalStory.com

    November 3, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    zBoost Metro Eliminated My iPhone Dropped Calls

     
    For the longest time I had decent cell phone reception at my studio in central Santa Rosa, CA. Then one day, as if someone threw a switch, my service was terrible. I could barely complete a call before it was dropped, and sometimes I would have to redial 3 or 4 times just to finish a short conversation. I was so frustrated.

    zBoost Metro in Window The signal antenna for the zBoost Metro in my window sill. Since this device doesn't require vertical separation like other single amplifiers, you can even use it in a single-level apartment or small office.

    I knew the solution wasn't going to be AT&T -- I had contacted them about the problem, and they said everything looked OK to them -- I would have to come up with something on my own. And I did. The zBoost METRO YX540 cell phone signal booster.

    How to Set Up the zBoost Metro

    It works like this. First you have to find a location in your home or small office that has the best phone reception. In my case, I could get 2 bars upstairs in the room facing south. I placed the signal antenna (shown here) in that window. I set it on the window sill, but the kit includes suction cups if you want to attach it to the glass.

    Then I ran the included coaxial cable down the stairs to the bottom floor where I previously had virtually no reception. I attached the zBoost Base Unit and made sure the light was green. I checked my iPhone downstairs, and I went from 1 bar (which quite honestly was really no bars because I couldn't complete calls), to 2 bars and sometimes 3. Before I let myself get too excited, I dialed up a couple friends. Perfect! I actually finished the conversations.

    OK, now for the ultimate test. I have a friend who uses a BlackBerry on Verizon. We have not completed a call in months. I dialed her up. We talked for five minutes without disruption. And, on top of that, her voice sounded loud and clear. It was a miracle!

    Once I had confidence that the zBoost was going to work, I ran the white coaxial cable along the wall, and for the most part, out of sight along the edge of the carpet. I could push it down in the crack so that it's barely visible.

    Networks, Coverage and Stuff

    The zBoost METRO YX540 is available everywhere for $199. It works with 800 and 1900 MHz frequencies, except for Nextel/iDEN. No problem for iPhones. It can cover an area as large as 1500 square feet. I have about 1,000 square feet downstairs at my studio, and the zBoost covers it easily. You get a system gain of about 50 dB, and it works with the following networks: CDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, EVDO, 1xRTT, UMTS, HSPA, and 3G. It uses 3W of power in standby mode, and up to 7W when its working hard.

    iPhone vs iPad

    Since many of us have iPads too, I decided to also test the zBoost with that device. The results were a bit surprising.

    I made sure WiFi was off for both the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 3G. The iPhone showed 2 bars and the iPad was displaying 3. But when I launched web pages on both devices, the iPhone 3GS beat the iPad every time. Generally, I think the iPad loads pages faster than the iPhone, especially on WiFi. But not using the zBoost.

    Using 3G only with the zBoost, DPReview would completely load in 50 seconds on the iPhone 3GS and 1:30 on the iPad. If I turned WiFi back on, the iPad would beat the iPhone, loading in about 10-15 seconds.

    So in my case, the zBoost does a great job with voice communication on the iPhone, but isn't really a plus for the iPad. Of course your mileage may vary.

    The Bottom Line

    You could not pry the zBoost Metro out of my hands. It has brought my cell phone back to life so I can use it with confidence in my studio.

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