The Mary Sue


These Price Is Right Contestants Guess the iPhone Is Way More Overpriced Than It Is

Wow, AT&T must be taking these people for a ride.

Maybe they thought the question was, "How much could Apple probably charge devotees for an iPhone?"

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Prosecutors in “Hacking” Case Admit They Don’t Even Understand What the Defendant Did

This whole court is a server! Technology is hard.

Andrew Alan Escher Auernheimer, a hacker and notorious troll who goes by the name weev, has been in jail ever since he was convicted for exposing an AT&T security flaw, and his case recently got a little sillier as the prosecution in his appeal literally admitted to not even understanding what he'd done.

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T-Mobile Sends Out Press Release That Reads Like An Onion Article, Slams AT&T Using Star Wars Jokes

These are not the mobile phone plans you're looking for.

Okay, we know that the phrase "This is like an Onion article" is used way too often of late, but the comparison here is apt: T-Mobile's recent press release imagines fake, casually-inflected quotes from high ranking corporate leaders in the company, using Star Wars references to discuss news that isn't even about them. Well played.

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New York City Offers Free Wi-Fi in 32 More Parks With Purpose-Defeating 10-Minute Limit

What can you even do on the Internet in 10 minutes?

Offering free Wi-Fi in public parks is a great thing for cities to do because it can help underserved citizens get online, but also because it's just hella convenient. New York City already has free Wi-Fi in a number of parks thanks to a deal with AT&T, but they're expanding the program through a new deal with Cablevision and Time Warner Cable. Unlike the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots -- which are free all the time for everyone always -- the Time Warner and Cablevision parks will have a 10-minute daily limit on free access. You're doing it wrong.

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It’s Now Illegal to Unlock Your Subsidized Phone, But Does it Matter?

As of yesterday, it is now illegal to unlock a carrier-subsidized phone for use on another network. Doing so before your contract expires now puts you in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The move is meant to protect carriers from losing the money they spend to subsidize phones before they have a chance to earn it back through their service plans. There's already a We The People petition to reverse the decision, but is it worth trying to overturn this law?

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Time Warner and AT&T Want Some of That Sweet Google Fiber Deal, Because of Course They Do

Google Fiber -- Google's incredible Internet service -- is set to make some pretty impressive waves in Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS when it finally rolls out. We know this, Google knows this, the citizens of Kansas City know this, and now it's apparent that Time Warner and AT&T know this too. See, Google got a series of sweet deals out of Kansas City to build up the infrastructure required to host gigabit Internet connections and the other carriers in the area want a slice of that pie, because of course they do.

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Verizon CFO Basically Calls “That Whole Unlimited Thing” a Fad

Mobile phone carriers have long flirted with unlimited data plans -- offering them and then not -- in order to trick convince customers to come to their side of the fence. This is nothing new, as both AT&T and Verizon have played this game before, but what is honestly the tiniest bit shocking is how these companies seem to think that unlimited plans aren't the future of their industry. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference yesterday, Fran Shammo, Verizon's CFO, said "that whole unlimited thing," in his opinion, "is going by the wayside."

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Check Out a Computer Animation from Nearly 50 Years Ago

You probably tend to think of computer animation as a relatively recent phenomenon, but it's actually a lot older than you're likely to give it credit for. While computer generated movies didn't start taking off until the '90s, computers were being used to generate animations as early as the 1960s. A video recently released from the AT&T archives shows off one of these early specimens, an animation from 1963, which very well may be the first computer animation ever; it's hard to really know. Nonetheless, it's an important piece of history.

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Which 3G and 4G Networks are the Fastest?

Because we can't help incite enough wireless network flame wars, we're going to start the morning with what we'll call an "update" to the usual comparison between wireless network speeds in the United States. PC World performed a little test between major carriers, and the results are actually a little more surprising than what you might've guessed.

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AT&T Will Unlock Some iPhones Starting This Easter

In a surprise move, AT&T has announced that they will begin unlocking certain qualifying iPhones starting this Sunday. Once unlocked, owners will be able to take their phones to whatever carrier they wish, even ones that don't officially offer the iPhone. Looking at you, T-Mobile.

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Man Successfully Sues AT&T Over Throttling his iPhone

Despite recent evidence that throttling doesn't seem to improve network performance, companies are still tightening their grip on your bandwidth. However, a recent court case could make data providers a little nervous. California judge Judge Russell Nadel has ruled in favor of Matt Spaccarelli over AT&T regarding Spaccarelli's claims that AT&T was throttling his iPhone's data connection. He walked away with a cool $850, which might only be just the beginning.

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Study Shows Throttling Unlimited Data Plans Doesn’t Really Affect Network Bandwidth

AT&T has caught a lot of flak recently for throttling unlimited data plans down to practically unusable speeds. AT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans a while ago, the only remaining users with unlimited plans being those who were fortunate enough to be grandfathered in. AT&T asserted that the throttling is to keep their network from being overtaxed, but many users feel more like AT&T is just trying to shove them over to a tiered plan. A new study by Validas, a wireless bill analysis firm, sides with the users showing that data usage on unlimited plans is comparable -- almost identical -- to usage on unlimited plans.

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Verizon to Introduce $2 Convenience Fee for Online and Phone Payments [UPDATED]

A recently leaked memo indicates that Verizon really wants its customers to use autopay or electronic checks. So much so that it's going to start charging a $2 convenience fee to all customers who utilize the pay by phone or online payment option. The big idea, from Verizon's perspective, is to push their customers into modes of payments where Verizon won't have to foot a credit card fee. Of course, with a $2 fee rolling out, it might actually turn consistent, forgetful fee-payers into a better cash cow, but either way, the fee will make the situation a win-win for Verizon. That is, if they don't mind getting their customers a little bit angry.

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The T-Mobile and AT&T Merger is Dead, This is Probably a Good Thing

AT&T has spent months trying to convince the U.S. government to allow their $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile to go ahead. Along the way, the Telecom giants have argued the necessity of the merger, saying that the demands put upon the companies exceed the available wireless bandwidth allotted to them. However, the merger had several critics who said that merging the two companies would stifle competition. Today, AT&T announced that it was ceasing its bid for T-Mobile.

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Hacking Attempt on AT&T, but AT&T Says Everything is Okay

AT&T notified customers that it detected a hacking attempt that aimed at obtaining customer online account information. If you're an AT&T customer, you need not fret, as AT&T claims they don't believe any information was compromised in the attempt. Though AT&T service in the northeastern U.S. experienced a wireless outage earlier today for around three hours, AT&T claims this was unrelated to the hacking attempt.

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U.S. Expected to Have the Most LTE Connections Worldwide by Year's End

It's a frequently quoted truism that despite a huge market for consumer electronics and an insatiable appetite for the Internet, the U.S. has lagged behind other countries in adopting super-fast data connections. However, a recent blogpost from Pyramid Research suggests that could be changing. According to their study, by the end of 2011 the bulk of  worldwide LTE connections will be handled by U.S. companies accounting for 47% of worldwide LTE traffic. Additionally, 71% of LTE handset sales will be in the U.S.. Most of these LTE connections will be handled by MetroPCS, AT&T, and Verizon. The last of these is particularly significant, since Verizon launched its LTE network in late 2010 and now provides the most coverage across the country with the standard -- some 60% of the nation. Verizon expects to have 185 million LTE users by year's end. AT&T, though only recently entering the LTE fray, expects to add 70 million users of their own users to the standard by the end of 2011.

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AT&T Launches LTE Network This Weekend

AT&T CFO John Stephens announced that the company will launch LTE data service in five major cities this Sunday, September 18. The company aims to have 70 million people covered by the data standard by the end of the year.According to a report from Fierce Wireless, AT&T had previously identified the cities as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Though this will be the first rollout of LTE for the company, AT&T has already been selling phones and other devices that can take advantage of the network. The wireless standard, which is incompatible with 2G and 3G phones because it operates on a separate section of the wireless spectrum, is known for its high upload and download speeds; ability to handle many users; and is designed to deal with devices moving quickly from one section of the network to another. LTE has also been closely associated with other wireless companies in the U.S., namely Verizon which launched LTE service last year. It's worth noting that while AT&T's year-end goals for coverage are certainly worthy, it lags behinds Verizon's projected of 185 million users by the end of the same time. Clearly, they have some catching up to do. (via Fierce Wireless)

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U.S. Government Sues to Block AT&T T-Mobile Merger

As you may know, AT&T has had its sights set on T-Mobile for a while now, and the two had agreed that AT&T would be allowed to gobble up T-Mobile for a scant $39 billion. If you had your money on the merger getting blocked for antitrust violations, you were right. Today, the U.S. Government sued to block the merger on grounds that it would "substantially lessen competition," at which point AT&T's stock took a 5% hit. If the merger should happen to go through after all, we will see the birth of the largest mobile service provider in the United States.

Due to cancelation language written into the merger agreement, AT&T has some significant incentives to fight these antitrust allegations. If the deal fails to go through, AT&T owes T-Mobile a check for $3 billion and reduced charges for dialing into AT&Ts network as part of a package that's worth somewhere around $7 billion.

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AT&T Removing Individual Limited Text Messaging Plans Starting August 21

Starting August 21, AT&T will be slimming down and removing its limited text messaging package -- ten bucks for one thousand texts -- leaving the twenty dollar Messaging Unlimited plan as the sole survivor. AT&T users will have no other choice regarding text messages when the change takes hold, other than a pay-per-text and pay-per-picture-or-video plan, which will cost twenty and thirty cents per messages, respectively. The Family Unlimited Messaging plan remains unscathed. An AT&T representative confirmed to Engadget that current AT&T customers can keep their texting plans, even if they switch phones. Though the removal of the limited texting plan may seem inconsequential at first, there are likely to be a large amount of annoyed customers, since all AT&T is really doing is forcing customers to pay ten more dollars for text messages than said customers may have wanted. (via Engadget)

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AT&T Prepares to Throttle Unlimited Data Plans for Smartphones

]Before you head happily off into the weekend, we've got some sour news for those of us grandfathered in to AT&T's unlimited data plan for smartphones. Starting on October 1st, the top 5% of AT&T data users will have their connection speeds greatly reduced. According to AT&T's press release, this move is a response to their networks being overtaxed by the proliferation of streaming video, music, and gaming on mobile devices. Once the new plan kicks in, the users who suck down the most data in a billing cycle will find their speeds reduced. AT&T assures users that this will not affect any of the tiered plan users, and most (95%) of the unlimited data users will be unaffected. They also promise ample notice prior to throttling, and a grace period, presumably to let you change your wicked ways. Far from a total lock-down, this plan is surprisingly nuanced.

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