People, people, people. Its not about the death grip. Its not about general signal loss on all phones.
It is about the magnitude of signal loss. According to Anand's article, the iPhone 4 loses 20 dBm from holding it naturally with the antenna gap covered. That is 30% of the signal range. No other phone can acheive this signal loss, even with the death grip. Most phones 10 dBm or less, or better, even with a death grip. The magnitude of the iPhone 4's signal loss is 100% higher, or more, than all of its competitors when held naturally. This is abysmal, and makes it very hard for the user to predict whether his call is in danger or not. The bar change helps this a bit, but it doesn't take away the fact that a vanilla iPhone 4 has a signal handicap on all of its competitors due to shitty engineering.
As you've noted the iPhone4 loses in the ballpark of 20dB with the deathgrip applied, which is nuts compared to the competition, but it's also worth noting that dB are a logarithmic expression which means that the more dB you've lost, the steeper your actual decline in signal strength is. -10dB is not even close to half as bad as a 20dB loss.
mplayer dvd://1 -ss 1090 -endpos 20
Seems to work well enough.
Sorry LainTouko, still breaking the DMCA with that one so you might as well have an exception to the DMCA. (Much like they are trying to do.)
Command line mplayer is probably beyond your average 7th period drama teacher as well.
That one's easy.
Absolutely free text messages would result in people using them for everything, including massive file transfers. (hey, people use gmail as a storage drive. I can't wait for textmsg2avi to come out.
Text messages save them bandwidth, but also costs them their bread and butter phone calls, so when you pair that with the huge negative that free text messages would create, it's obvious they have to charge for them.
I still think they charge way too much, though. You should be granted something like 100 free text messages per day - plenty for average use, but not enough to abuse them. Or they could have reasonable rates like $0.01 per 25 text-messages. (clumps, reset daily)
Except that SMS costs the provider nothing, thought we covered that here already. If you don't remember, have a quick refresher here: http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/12/text-messages-c.html
An SMS doesn't even take any bandwidth away from the regular channels which carry calls: That's why a message is so limited in length: it must not exceed the length of the message used for internal communication between tower and handset to set up a call. The channel uses space whether or not a text message is inserted.
The space is being used one way or another, it's no skin off their backs to have it carry a message or not. The fact that they charge or limit SMS at all is an insult. MMS are another matter.
Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.