phone

AirPods get stuck in low-quality 16 kHz audio mode when starting a VM

I always love when I find a really dumb solution that works reliably to fix a problem that should never really be a problem in the first place. But having worked with audio devices before—though nothing nearly as complex as the AirPods—I am willing to cut Apple some slack in building a seamless aural experience with using AirPods across phone calls, VOIP, iOS devices, Macs, music, and Apple TVs... it's hard to execute perfectly, and as I said in my review of the AirPods two years ago, these little earbuds are as close to perfection when it comes to a wireless sound solution for someone like me.

Anyways, here's the problem:

Sometimes (maybe 10% of the time) when I run vagrant up to build a local development environment for one of my software projects, and I'm listening to music, my AirPods suddenly switch into super-low-quality audio mode. It sounds like you're listening to a song played through a long subway tunnel or something.

Mobile Phone SMS Spam Can be Expensive

I recently started receiving spam (unsolicited) text messages on my iPhone. I first received one on New Year's Eve, at 8:31 p.m., and then again at 5:00 a.m. a few days later (nice wakeup call... thanks).

These messages were all from some company named 'GagaCell', which didn't turn up many good search results (most were about Lady Gaga, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't harass people with text messages—just her music and lack of style.

GagaCell IQ Spam Text Message

After some online research, I discovered that many people, even after sending STOP to these shortcodes, end up with monthly charges on their cell phone bills. Since I watch my bill pretty closely, I noticed that, all the sudden, I was getting a $9.99 subscription from 'BULLROARE', a content provider I'd never heard of, from short code 31850 (The subscription name was 'IQ32CALL8668611606').

AT&T's New Data Plans - No More Unlimited...

After hearing about today's AT&T data plan pricing changes, I had a pretty bad gut reaction. After thinking more about the new options, I don't quite not what to think...

The new data plans are as follows:

Data Plus - 200 MB of data for $15/month. Additional 200MB for another $15.
DataPro - 2GB of data for $25/month. Additional 1 GB of data for $10.
Tethering - Additional $20/month for DataPro customers.

I logged into the 'myAccount' section of AT&T's mobile website, and looked up my usage stats (there's a link to view past data usage stats), and they were relatively surprising:

iPhone Data Plan Usage - Jeff Geerling

Communicating on the Go - A Guide to Traveling and Staying in Touch

In late 2009, I spent about two and a half weeks in Rome, Italy, which is far removed from my hometown of St. Louis, MO. Italy, France, Asia, etc. – all these countries are outside of AT&T's nationwide coverage plans, and since I wasn't going to be traveling for many weeks, I decided to not sign up for AT&T's extremely expensive worldwide plans, but rather did the following, which allowed me to stay in touch with friends and family worldwide, with different tradeoffs for each:

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