Wednesday, February 24, 2016

AT&T wireless service how to save some big bucks switching to Cricket




It’s not well advertised that AT&T bought a company called Cricket back in 2013.  Cricket is pre-pay service that uses the same radio towers as AT&T.  Because they use the same towers you get the same coverage at much cheaper rates.  They have an easy to follow web site where you can order their SIM for $10 which includes 2 day shipping and port your number for free.  The Cricket stores can charge activation and porting fees which are waived online. 
When you go online the Cricket web site will ask for your IMEI number to confirm that your phone is compatible.  You need a GSM phone for Cricket.  In my case I used a Nexus 6P from Google. If you have a compatible phone there are a series of questions to help you migrate your account over before your SIM arrives.  You need two pieces of information that you may not know, your account number from your current provider (it’s not your phone number) and your PIN code. This data is entered in advance to help verify if porting is possible.  Keep in mind if you are still under contract you will have to pay some ETF (early termination fees) from your current provider. 
When your Cricket SIM arrives there are some simple instructions to switch services.  Since you entered everything in advance it goes very quickly.  Within 15 minutes of me porting my number I was receiving calls and text messages were fully working after about 30 minutes.  Outgoing calls/text work instantly.  
Cricket also offers a visual voice mail app for Android users.  I had a slight problem getting my PIN code setup with the Android app, I had to dial the voice mail number and setup my PIN code through the voice mail system, the Android app refused to store it correctly. 
The savings are worth the effort of switching.  I was paying AT&T $50.51 with taxes for an unlimited voice/text and 200meg of data.  Cricket has a basic plan which is unlimited voice/text and 2.5gigabytes of data for $35 including taxes.  To get the $35 deal you must sign up for autopay, otherwise it’s $5 more each month.  Other plans are available if you need more data.  In my case I saved over $15 each month to have the same coverage and increase my data by over 2gigabytes.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

Windows 10 laptop crashes when it sleeps or closes the lid fix



I recently upgraded my HP Envy 4 1043CL Ultrabook to Windows 10.  I also pulled the hard drive and replaced it with a Samsung SSD.  Windows 10 went on fairly easily but every time I closed the lid poof Windows 10 would crash. 

After inspecting the minidump the problem was clearly related to the Intel Rapid Storage driver (IAStorAV.sys).  I confirmed that Windows Update had completed all it’s downloads.  For some reason this driver was not included in the updates.  It was released on 12/14/2015.  Download SetupRST.zip and unzip the file and run SetupRST.exe and then reboot.

The version I used was 14.8.0.1042.  The driver can be found at this link below. 


Friday, December 18, 2015

Fix your photo date and time stamps to match the EXIF data



I resized a bunch of photos this week for syncing to an iPad that had limited storage.  When I synced them it was obvious I lost the date stamps.  Luckily I found this gem of a utility that can recursively go down all your directories and fix the date and time stamps to match the EXIF data.  I was shocked how fast it was.  It does a bunch of other options also, so it’s worth reading the usage page. 

For my needs this is the command line I used:  jhead –ft **\*.jpg

FYI it won't update any date stamp prior to 1970.  It's coded using Unix standards.  Unix only allows date stamps >=1970.

Download jhead here: