Bart and I have talked a lot in his Security Bits segment on the NosillaCast about the problems with security on Android. It’s not that Google hasn’t produced a good operating system, and it’s not that they don’t patch security holes when they find them. The biggest problem with Android is the stronghold that the phone manufacturers and the cell carriers have over the operating system.
If you buy an Android phone from a cell carrier, It will usually have the latest and greatest version of Android. But once a new version comes out, it might be greatly delayed in delivery to you, or the carrier may never let you have it at all. That’s a problem, but a worse problem is that the cell carriers may or may not push security updates to you.
From the data, it would be logical to surmise that the cell carriers want you to upgrade to a new phone and this is a way of nudging you along. But the important thing is not their motivations but rather the affect of these actions.
As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Steve and I went to South American for two and a half weeks to visit the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, and to hike Machu Picchu in Peru. Being geeks, we brought an enormous amount of tech with us, and used just about every bit of it. We thought it might be interesting to talk through what worked well on a trip like this and give a few anecdotes of tech fun along the way.
Probably the single best thing we did was get the Project Fi card. In an article back in March, I explained that Project Fi is a data SIM you can get from Google, and put into an iPhone, to get data internationally in 135 countries. We got one card with a phone number and data, and a second data-only SIM that shared the same plan. There are a lot of details I won’t go into again, but the bottom line is that we had data at only $10/GB. Continue reading “Tech Stories From Travel in South America”
From CSUN’s Assistive Technology Conference we’ll hear about Tap Systems wearable keyboard, and Tobii Dynavox speech generating devices. I’ll tell you about how Project Fi gives you international data for a really low price and in theory with high speeds (stay tuned on how that works). Don’t forget to send in audio recordings to Bart Busschots at firstname.lastname@example.org (Allister is all set). Bart is back for Security Bits. If you’ve been waiting for his interpretation of the Wikieleaks CIA hacking tools dump like I was, you’ll enjoy this episode.
In that conversation, he said that an essential tool of how he gets along is by using Google’s Project Fi. You may have heard of Project Fi before but I’m betting that unless you have used it yourself, you don’t quite get what it is.
Project Fi is a cellular service from Google where you pay $20/month for a service fee, plus $10/GB for data. You get unlimited domestic talk and text, and unlimited international texting. Unlike any of the cellular plans from any of the big US carriers, your data usage is prorated so you only pay for what you use. If you come in under what you thought you’d use for a month, Google refunds the difference. Need more than what you thought you’d need? You pay by the MB. Seriously. This would be cool on its own, but the data plan works in more than 135 countries. Continue reading “International Data with Google Project Fi on an iPhone”