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Facebook co-founder renounces US citizenship

Just days before Facebook’s IPO, Facebook’s co-founder Eduardo Saverin (the angry guy who smashes his laptop in The Social Network) renounced his US citizenship and has claimed Singapore as his home country.

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin renouces US citizenship

While I’m sure there’s plenty to love about the city-state of Singapore, it’s most likely Saverin’s citizenship decision is motivated by economics. Though he owns a “small” 4 percent stake in Facebook, his stake is worth $3.8 billion. By taking up residence in Singapore, Saverin can shield his fortune from paying any capital-gains tax. In comparison, his co-founder Mark Zuckerberg could be facing $2 billion in taxes when Facebook goes public.

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Samsung announces Galaxy S III

The new king of cell phone manufacturers, Samsung, recently announced its newest device. Keeping with recent tradition, the next device will be the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Unveiled in London yesterday, the Galaxy S III looks like a big deal, literally. With a screen measuring at 4.8-inches, the Galaxy S III might just be a dream come true for those who love mega-screen smartphones.

ImageOther worthy features include an application similar to the iPhone’s Siri called ‘S-Voice,’ Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich software and a camera with an array of features.

The Galaxy S III is expected to launch in the US in June. If you were thinking of picking up the Galaxy S II soon, I’d wait to see what the Galaxy S III has to offer before making a final decision. 

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Wisconsin mobile users experience highs and lows

Some Wisconsin residents experienced an eventful day yesterday with their mobile devices. While Cellcom launched its 4G LTE network for customers in the state, Verizon users in Milwaukee were faced with another service outage.

The rollout of 4G LTE is good news for northern Wisconsin residents as the first phase of the launch includes Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Wausau, and parts of Oconto and Marinette Counties as well as Madison and Milwaukee. More cities and devices are expected to be ready to go later this year.

Verizon users in Milwaukee on the other hand had troubles making calls and using data for part of the day. Before too many disgruntled Verizon customers took to Twitter to express their frustration, service technicians appeared to resolved by about 3pm according the telecom company.

Just another exciting day for Wisconsin mobile residents

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Nokia Lumina readies for a shootout in the iPhone corral

There’s a new kid in town this month with AT&T’s introduction of the Nokia Lumina 900 next week on April 8. We’ve reached an era where a new smartphone release frankly isn’t as exciting as it used to be – yes, I am a little jaded – but the Nokia Lumina is an interesting little introduction.

Holding it in my hand, my first thought is that this is a world apart from my very first phone, a Nokia my friends affectionately referred to as a “candy bar phone,” both for its shape and size. This is that Nokia’s sexy, sleeker older cousin.

It’s coming out at a $99 price point, which rivals the iPhone 4. The dimensions of the Nokia Lumina aren’t much bigger than the iPhone, though the screen is bigger, the design makes the boxy iPhone feel stocky and a little awkward even though they are roughly the same thickness.

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The Lumina is comfortable to hold in my hand, and my grip is smaller than the average person’s. I’ve often shied away from larger phones due to this reason.

Internally, there are two things I really like about this phone in comparison to the iPhone. First of all, there’s the access to LTE, compared to the iPhone 4’s 3G access, in available markets. Secondly, it has nearly twice the data storage base. That may not seem huge to the average user, but heavy users of video, music and those who like to take and record movies and photos will find this an added bonus.

As I’ve written before, I’m a big fan of the Windows operating system on phones, which the Lumina offers. Techies often complain about the lack of apps in the Wisconsin system, but I’ve always been able to access the apps I use on a regular basis.

If you’re looking for a phone with a Windows operating system at this price point, I’d encourage you to check this one out, if anything, just to put a little sophistication in your hands

Thephone is $99, and it’s with a two-year contract through AT&T. However, if you’re willing to head on over to WalMart, you can cut that cost in half.

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Severe Weather? Think cellular in an emergency

If you are of a certain age, severe weather often meant not just temporarily losing power, but also losing phone service. And one of the reasons that stops many people from dropping their landlines is the thought of finding themselves without the ability to communicate in a disaster.

As we enter the spring tornado season, it’s good to know that the major cellular providers are not only on top of keeping their services running in the event of a natural disaster, they’re also taking the extra step to help out customers affected by these events.

For example, when an early season tornado hit Harrisburg, Ill. In late February, an authorized Verizon retailer set up free Internet access and device charging stations. In March, Verizon offered similar assistance in Henryville, Ind. All emergency personnel and local residents were able to make free phone calls, re-charge cell phones regardless of their carrier and access the Internet through a Wireless Emergency Communications Center, a heated mobile trailer. Verizon also temporarily boosted capacity on its cell sites in the damaged area.

AT&T is the first company nationwide certified by the Department of Homeland Security for its ability to resume business operations, including reliable network traffic, when disaster strikes.  The firm has Emergency Communications Vehicles that provide LAN, Wifi for first responders and are able to get these mobile hot spots up and running in about 20 minutes. Additionally, AT&T is also able to bring in cell sites via truck to affected areas.

Starting this month, U.S. Cellular customers who have a Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS)-compatible mobile device can receive Wireless Emergency Alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These alerts are geographically targeted and essentially are an emergency text rundown of what is happening, what areas are affected, when the alert expires, what action should be taken and who is sending the alert.  Alerts sent to a phone will be accompanied by a unique signal and vibration. What’s really nice about the system is that there is no charge for these alerts and the do not impact voice, text or data usage.

Going into our severe weather season, I’m feeling a little more secure. Hope you are as well.

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iPad owners weigh in on the newest generation device

It’s been less than a month since Apple introduced the New iPad. And a new study by ChangeWave Research shows that most users of the New iPad are quite pleased with their new purchase.

A survey of 200 new owners a week after the device was released showed that four out of five users (82 percent) were very satisfied with the new iPad and 16 percent were unsatisfied. Only 2 percent were somewhat unsatisfied and no owners were very unsatisfied. ChangeWave Research says that the survey results were higher than previous surveys.

The survey also asked users what features they liked or disliked the most. Three-quarters of users rated the high-resolution “Retina” display as their favorite feature, followed by longer capacity and the devices 4G LTE capability.

As for what users disliked most, one in four (26 percent) disliked the cost of the new iPad, followed by the cost of the device’s wireless data plan (23 percent) and its size/weight (8 percent).   

Additionally, the survey addressed a report issued by Consumer Reports that stated the New iPads have a heat issue, with some heating up to as much as 116 degrees Fahrenheit when plugged in and running a game.

The verdict? According to the survey, only 4 percent of users had somewhat of a problem, with none reporting it as a big problem at all.  Eighty nine percent of users reported no problem at all. 

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Operating system updates you should know about

Major carriers serving Wisconsin have come out with several big announcements regarding the operating systems for mobile devices. Here are a few updates that might affect your mobile. It’s good to be on top of these announcements as you don’t want to buy a new phone today with a two-year contract and be stuck with an old operating system.:

Verzion

Verizon released a pretty detailed list on which of its Android devices will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich and what mobiles will be out of luck. The reason for this is because Verizon has to go back and forth with the manufacturer to get these updates through as the devices have special Verizon-features (or apps).

AT&T

AT&T’s Android-running HTC Vivid now has Ice Cream Sandwich. The good news for Android users angered some Windows OS fans who are still waiting to for the “8701 update.” This update is supposed to fix a disappearing keyboard issue some users have been experiencing. However, AT&T has already come out stating they will have the next Window’s update in the future.

US Cellular

With the rollout of the 4G LTE in Wisconsin and several LTE devices, US Cellular hasn’t mentioned any impending OS updates. Not that I blame them. I’m sure once things settle down with the 4G LTE push we will hear about some updates.

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