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Comment: Re:Boost mobile (Score 2) 209

Straight Talk is owned by America Movil, along with Trac Fone and Net10. Unlike most other MVNO's, they have contracts with all four of the Big Four carriers, though any individual handset will ride on only one of the four networks. The specific assortment of handsets they'll offer (either online or at retail) in any given location is a function of the coverage available from the Big Four at that specific location. Hence their website asks you for your zip code before showing you phones.

The retail packages indicate whose network the phone runs on. "CDMA-V" is Verizon, "CDMA-S" is Sprint, "GSM-A" and "GSM-T" are AT&T and T-Mobile, respectively. Pick the right phone, and you will be riding full-time on Verizon's network while paying Straight Talk's cheap monthly fees (and putting up with their shitty customer service).

Comment: Re:Republic Wireless (Score 1) 209

Republic Wireless is a MVNO that rides on Sprint's network. Hence why you can't use a GSM phone with their service. You have to buy the phone from them because no one sells "unlocked" CDMA phones. They don't sell them for the simple reason that the by far largest CDMA carriers (Verizon and Sprint) don't allow unlocked phones on their networks.

Comment: Re:Cheap grid storage (Score 1) 442

by JonBoy47 (#47708791) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

That statement is, dare I say it, true from a practical standpoint. It is certainly true if you want to get yourself directly into a circular orbit. However, you can get yourself into orbit if you thrust continuously for long enough on your orbit vector, once you're out of the atmosphere. You'll have a very highly elliptical orbit by the time you've raised your perigee out of the atmosphere, but it would work. Don't believe me? Install Kerbal Space Program, and try it out for yourself. Worked for my 10 year old kid.

Comment: Re:Are there any reasons... (Score 1) 174

by JonBoy47 (#47685493) Attached to: Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

There's the oil changes, but also factor in radiator and transmission fluid flushes, timing and accessory belt replacements, various radiator and vacuum hoses, and it starts to add up. A timing belt is easily a $600 job, by itself. With the 100k mile replacement interval typical on modern cars, and 15k miles/year average usage, that one service adds $100/year by itself, if you amortize over time. Hold on to that Honda Accord more than five or six years, and you'll also start to get into random wear-out failures after 100k miles, that will be costing you real money.

Comment: Re:So there is a problem... (Score 1) 174

by JonBoy47 (#47685371) Attached to: Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

Actually, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi all offer the 5/60 bumper/bumper and 10/100 powertrain warranties on all their new cars to this day. I dare say it hasn't translated to higher sales for Mitsubishi as effectively as it did for the Koreans.

Comment: Re: What for? (Score 4, Insightful) 191

by JonBoy47 (#47660199) Attached to: Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

Say what you will about Apple and their tendancy to buck the greater tech trends in the industry, but when Apple does buck the trend, their solution is technically superior and more user friendly than the incumbent alternative. The Lightning connector is but the latest example. Previous examples include Thunderbolt over USB 3, Firewire over USB 2, ADB over every pre-USB keyboard and mouse connection.

Comment: Re:Not just that (Score 1) 127

by JonBoy47 (#47195199) Attached to: Sony Overtakes Rival Nintendo In Console Sales

The Wii was able to exploit a perfect storm of marketing. The novel motion controls garnered a lot of media buzz, and it certainly helped that it launched at half the price of the then new PS3 and XBox 360, while including a pack-in game, which made it a more convenient "single purchase" holiday gift. It's graphical shortcomings were excusable, at least for the first three or four years, given the low cost, novelty of motion controls, and the low market penetration of HDTV's at the time of its launch.

Nintendo followed this up with the Wii U, with the Gamepad as the new hook. Unlike the masterful job they did with the Wii, Nintendo failed to effectively convey to customers how the Gamepad works, how it is used in game play, and that it is part of a bundle that also includes an entirely new game console, rather than an add-on for the original Wii. The Gamepad also boosted the manufacturing price. Given Nintendo's insistence that the console itself not sell at a per-unit loss, the resultant retail price negated much of the price advantage the Wii had enjoyed at launch.

Unfortunately, unlike Microsoft, who was able to realize an instant $100 price cut by simply jettisoning the white elephant Kinect, the Gamepad is so tightly integrated that releasing a lower cost Wii U bundle with a Pro Controller in lieu of the Gamepad most likely isn't a viable option. Fortunately, Mario Kart 8 sold 1.2 million copies in its first weekend. The (anecdotal) fact that none of the dozen or so Gamestop's within a 20 mile radius of my house have them in stock also bodes well, I think.

Comment: I too am somewhat underwhelmed... (Score 2) 180

by JonBoy47 (#46641443) Attached to: Amazon Launches Android-Powered 'Fire TV' For Streaming and Gaming

Regarding the assertion that you should just use a game console or old PC, many people don't game seriously enough to warrant a $400+ game console, and don't want to uglify their TV setup, or deal with the kludge factor of a PC-based solution.

That said, this thing retails for $100, which means it has no price advantage over Apple TV, and there are several Roku models (not to mention Chromecast) that undercut it. The purchase also oddly does not include the game controller, which seems more or less a necessity to play the games, which is positioned as a major selling point of the unit. As it is, there seems no compelling advantage over existing set-top streaming boxes.

This would have been much more interesting if it had included the game controller and a pack-in game at the $100 price point (Minecraft, anyone?) of if they had done a more minimalist device a la Chromecast with its own remote, that they could have thrown in as a freebie for all their Prime members, to offset the recent Prime price bump...

Comment: Say thanks to FDR (Score 1) 538

by JonBoy47 (#46384263) Attached to: U.S. Students/Grads Carrying Over $1 Trillion In Debt

Prior to WWII, college was a (relatively speaking) expensive proposition, only undertaken by those at the top-most rungs of the socio-economic ladder. Non-professional jobs did not call for a baccalaureate degree because there simply weren't nearly enough people with bachelor's degrees in the workforce to make such a requirement at all tenable. That all changed with WWII, and FDR's original GI Bill, which guaranteed a full ride at any accredited four year college. 16 million WWII vets qualified for GI Bill benefits. College enrolment exploded, both at existing colleges, and at the many new colleges that opened in the post-war years to service the explosive demand driven by the GI Bill. As the Greatest Generation completed their studies, there was suddenly a glut of college educated workers in the job market. Sallie Mae and the rest of the student loan/financial aid apparatus were erected to sustain enrolment and continue to make college affordable (at the point of service).

The last couple of generations (The Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers) benefited greatly, in terms of upward mobility, relative to their parents, thanks to their greatly expanded access to post-secondary education. Bachelor's degrees are now so easy to get that all the upper-level professional jobs are saturated with degreed workers, and employers, acting in their own self-interest, are requiring them of applicants for even mundane, low level positions. The Millenials are the first generation whose parents were themselves college educated. Thanks to the greatly increased income their parents have enjoyed, Millenials very often find themselves overqualified for the same financial aid benefits their parents enjoyed. Given the evolution of the job market, the student loan treadmill is Millenials' last option to get a degree, and enjoy even a small fraction of the upward mobility their parents took for granted. A bursting of this trillion dollar bubble is the surest way to break this cycle. Already, the system has evolved to the point that a large plurality of colleges and majors no longer pay for themselves in terms of lifetime earning-power increase. As a late Gen X father of three post-Millenial boys, I say "Bring it on! Burst the bubble!"

Comment: Re:Tell me again... (Score 1) 538

by JonBoy47 (#46383957) Attached to: U.S. Students/Grads Carrying Over $1 Trillion In Debt

Congrats, by being a brainiac (and thus qualifying for various grants and merit-based scholarships) you were able to have most of your college expenses defrayed at no cost to you. And it sounds like you covered a lot of the remainder by saving money living like a rat. Going to school in Arizona, with its low cost of living, also seems to have helped.

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