A while ago, I was extolling the virtues of my Android smartphone. I have to say, I am still pleased with the unit, having a mini-computer/camera/phone/calculator etc is handy. It makes life easy to find a needed part on Mouser.com, order it and get it the next day. I can snap a picture of something and send to somebody in less than a minute. When trouble shooting a transmitter, sending a picture to the factory rep cuts down on the back and forth and brings the effort directly to the point.
I have also blogged about my mediocre Pandora experience. Now, it seems there is another reason to be weary of the mighty Pandora machine.
The Wall Street Journal has a good article about what these companies are doing with your data.
Both the Android and iPhone versions of Pandora, a popular music app, sent age, gender, location and phone identifiers to various ad networks.
Read the whole thing, it is enlightening.
Is my Smartphone spying on me? Apparently so. Frankly, I’ve had enough of this. There is nothing compelling or even terribly unique about Pandora. I’ve found the Pandora listening experience to be adequate, but certainly not worth all the hoopla it gets. Being constantly bombarded by advertisers selling all sorts of garbage is becoming annoying. I’ve gone through and deleted all apps that access personal data of any kind, including Pandora. There are a few which are hard rooted in the phone such as Skype mobile and Facebook which can’t be deleted. Skype mobile can’t even be deactivated, as soon as the program is ended, it restarts on it’s own.
So, is Skype mobile recording everything I do and sending to some black hole somewhere? I don’t know. If it is, it is likely boring somebody half to death as most of my life is pretty mundane.
Update: I rooted my phone, which was far easier than I thought it would be, and deleted all the programs I didn’t like.
I read a very good and interesting post on James Critland’s blog. He is somewhat concerned about the trend for mobile wireless providers to no longer offer unlimited data service for a flat fee. I find it interesting that all of these companies seemed to have reached the same conclusions at the same time. But anyway…
The general surmise of James’ post is that the average person will not be able to afford online radio through a 3 or 4G device because of the limited minutes available and the additional charges incurred. (35 quid is about $50.00) To make that meaningful to a US audience, I decided to redo some of James’ math.
Iphones are primarily serviced through ATT. ATT has two different data plans that are coupled with voice plans in a bundle. For example, a 450 minute voice plan and a 200 Mb data plan will cost $55.00. At 900 minute voice plan with a 2 Gb data plan will run $85.00.
Here are a few interesting tid bits and some good math:
- A 64 kbps stream runs 7.68 kb per second, or 460 kb per minute (1 kilo bit per second = 0.12 kilo bytes)
- 1 hour of online listening equals 27,640 k bytes of data transfered
- The 200 Mb plan cost $15.00 with voice plan, the 2 Gb plan cost $25.00 with voice plan
- The 200 Mb plan would allow for 7 hours of listen time if no other data use occurred
- The 2 Gb plan would allow for 72 hours of listen time if no other data use occurred
- Beyond those data transfer amounts, extra charges are incurred
Almost 50% of the time spent listening to all radio source (terrestrial, satellite, online) is in the car. The average person in the US listens to radio about 3 hours per day, or 90 hours per month. Half of that time would be 45 hours or so.
Clearly, anyone who is more than a casual listener of online radio will need the 2 Gb plan. However, given the paucity of entertainment available from traditional radio sources, this is not an outlandish amount to pay. I remember in the 70’s when folks were saying cable TV would never catch on.