AT&T Wireless Customer Service Gave Me $20

at&t, formerly cingularAbout 3 years ago I switched my cellular service from Cingular to Verizon Wireless because I was very unhappy with the customer service from Cingular. I continued to hear that Cingular and now AT&T were always scoring very low when it came to customer service. Especially last year after the rollout of the iPhone caused many customers to have to wait an unacceptable amount of time to get their phones activated. Well, apparently, AT&T is finally doing something about it.

About 6 months ago I switched back to AT&T because I wanted the AT&T Tilt phone and I also received a discount from my work, which lowered my monthly phone bill about $30 compared to Verizon Wireless. Of course I was very concerned about the customer service, but from the very first day when I purchased my new AT&T Tilt phone I received nothing but outstanding customer service. My new phone was activated in 5 minutes and another 5 minutes later I was synchronized with my works exchange server. I had all my contacts, emails, and calendar appointments available on my phone 10 minutes after purchasing it. Kudos to Mikey, the AT&T rep that helped me out.

Fast forward a couple of months. I was leaving the states to go to Mexico for a week and wanted my phone setup for international roaming. So I called AT&T customer service and asked to have my phone activated to work in Mexico. The rep had me setup in under 5 minutes. Wow. I couldn’t believe how quick and friendly customer service was. Unfortunately, when I got back from Mexico and recieved my phone bill I noticed the charges were way too high. ‘Here we go’, I thought. I just knew that when I called customer service I was going to get a hard time.

Once again, I called the customer service number and quickly reached an operator after pressing 0 twice to get through the automated system. I explained the situation and the AT&T rep immediately apologized and said that they made the mistake when they setup the account for international roaming. I should have received the discounted rates instead of being charged the full rate. She credited my account for the difference and asked if there was anything else she could do. Nope. I was once again extremely pleased with the quick and friendly service.

Two months later my bill comes in and again I see additional roaming charges from my Mexico trip for $12.30 on my bill. I called customer service and once again explained my situation. The rep told me that the charges were posted to my account very late from the carrier in Mexico. As soon as I mentioned that I had a similar problem 2 months earlier he quickly stated that it was not a problem and that he would correct the charges. A minute later he credited my account $20 for all my troubles. THAT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE!!! I never complained and never expected anything like that. I was thoroughly surprised. Good Job AT&T. I hope you keep up the GREAT customer service. Thank You.

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ATT Wireless Customer Service: 1-800-331-0500

Save on the cost of pay-per-view by using the Slingbox?

I purchased the SlingMedia Slingbox just over a year ago and it has already saved me enough money to pay for itself. At first I planned to watch my local sports teams while I was on the road or on vacation from my laptop. Then it happened. My brother called me to let me know he would not be able to come over to watch the pay-per-view fight at my house and would have to pay to watch the fight at his house. Slingbox to the rescue!

Why and How I use my Slingbox?

I use my SlingBox to watch TV (mostly sports and sci-fi) on my laptop in my home office because I have no TV in my office.
I also enjoy watching the local news, or local sports like the Miami Dolphins when I am out of town.
Read my previous post on how I even use my slingbox to watch TV by my Pool and Spa.
How about watching pay-per-view movies on the road or at a friends house. My brother was able to save on the cost of ordering a pay-per-view boxing match by watching the fight via my slingbox on his computer, which is connected to his 50″ TV at his house. How cool is that? (Keep in mind Slingbox only allows one connection at a time) But this idea caught on quickly and I figured that I could pay back the cost of my slingbox after just a few pay-per-view shows by sharing or slinging it with friends and family.
Whenever I want or need to have access to a TV channel around the house or even outside with wireless wifi I can have it setup in seconds with my laptop.
And now that I can sling to my Treo phone I can watch TV anywhere and anytime I want! And it’s pretty great!

I’m not alone!

Kenric saved $54.95 with a slingbox a few weeks ago. Read his other great ideas on saving money with a slingbox.
Read how others are Slinging Around the World.
And don’t miss the Sling Community Forum to learn more about the slingbox.

Join the sling community and buy your very own Slingbox.

Sling Media’s Slingbox can be purchased at most major electronics stores such as: Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, Amazon.com, SlingMedia.com, Walmart, Target, Office Depot, etc…

Slingbox Reviews:

Take the Poll and leave a Comment.
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What do you think about controlling your TV from anywhere in the world?

I can watch live TV shows on my Treo 650 Smartphone now!

It was just over one year ago when I bought my Slingmedia Slingbox and started streaming my TV shows in my house and over the Internet. However, it wasn’t until just last week that I was able to stream that same video to my phone. Yep, I can watch live TV shows on my phone. And since I have a ReplayTV unit (just like TIVO but better in my opinion) I can watch my prerecorded shows on my Treo also. The best part is I don’t have to pay for a monthly service like MobiTV. Once you own the slingbox and the slingplayer watching TV is free on your phone (minus the data service charges – I recommend the unlimited data plan)

Here are the steps to get the SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm OS to work on your Treo650 Smartphone:

  1. Download the SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm on to your Treo650
  2. Purchase and install the Kinoma Player 4 EX – This version comes with the Treo 700+, but not the Treo 650
    (The Kinoma Player contains the kinomaVideoMPEG4Lib.prc and the kinomaAACLib.prc codecs that are required by slingplayer to work)
  3. Turn off Bluetooth on the Treo650 – This prevents the Treo 650 from locking up (VERY IMPORTANT – hopefully this will be corrected in future releases)
  4. Launch the SlingPlayerMobile and add your slingbox to your directory and connect to it

Thats it!
Thanks to the SlingCommunity for the tips to get this working on the Treo 650.

The reception and clarity is obviously not as good as the newer phones which take advantage of the higher speed networks but it still does work great. Just read the posts on the SlingCommunity forum and see what others are saying. It has been a year in the making but I am finally happy that I can sling my TV to my phone anywhere at anytime.

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What about you? Do you sling to your phone? Let me know by leaving a comment.

 

What is SpeedLinking?

I am relatively new to blogging and noticed over the past few months several posts with the title “Speedlinking: and the Date“. I had an idea of what it meant but I was curious to find a definition. I did a search on Google for “What is Speedlinking?” and I was surprised to NOT find a clear definition in the results. Then I tried Google Blog search, Yahoo!’s search, Microsoft Live search and many other search engines and still none of them had any definitions that jumped out at me. So, here is my definition of Speedlinking.

Speedlinking:

  • What is it?
    Speedlinking, aka linking, blog-linking, or linkblogging is the practice of writing a brief post with hyperlinks to favorite websites or blogs. Usually the post will contain anywhere from 3 to 5 links and each link will be accompanied by a one line description and a one line personal opinion.
  • Why do it?
    Many bloggers use this technique to quickly share links to blogs or websites that they found useful or relevant that day or week with their readers.
    Basically, it is a way to bring the growing community of bloggers closer together.
    I have come across speedlink posts that have more than 50 links. However, it is not a good idea to post that many links at once because it will be considered information overload and your readers will just skip over all of them.
  • Is it Dangerous?
    Only if you go too fast by linking sites that are not worth reading. In that case your blog may find itself alone on the Internet superhighway.
    And if that happens who cares how fast or how much you speed link, no one will be there to see it.
    Make sure the sites you link to are relevant and worth the time to read.

Calling for help. Leave me a comment if you want to add to the definition or have come across the origin of the term Speedlinking. I would also like to know if there are other terms with a similar definition or if speedlinking has other meanings than the definition above. Thanks.
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How to Remote Control your Home or Work PC over the Internet using UltraVNC and No-IP.com for FREE

A few weeks ago a co-worker of mine noticed that I was remote controlling my home PC from my work PC. I was accessing a spreadsheet on my home PC that I needed for work. When I told him that I setup the software for free and that it does not have any monthly or yearly fees, he was very interested. He tried several different programs but with different degrees of satisfaction. So I told him I would provide him instructions on how to do it on my blog and here it is. Click here to skip to the instructions.

There are many programs out there that provide remote control software for your PC such as GoToMyPC. It is advertised all over the place. I know many people who use GoToMyPC and it is a life saver for them. However, I am here to tell you that there are FREE ways to get remote control software to work on your PC. And I am not talking about FREE for the first 30 days only. The FREE software is just as powerful, easy, and safe to setup and use. It is just like sitting in front of the other PC.

Here are a few things you can do with Remote Control software:

  • Work on your office PC from home or vice versa.
  • Control your home PC from anywhere in the world.
  • Transfer Files from and to the Remote Controlled PC.
  • Remote Control your PC from a handheld computer such as a Palm Treo. (I do this all the time)
  • Provide remote PC support for family and friends (I do this all the time also – beats traveling to their house or walking them through problems over the phone)

What is UltraVNC? Remote Control Software for your PC

UltraVNC is free software that is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. For a history of where VNC came from and how it works click here. UltraVNC allows you to virtually connect to another PC and remote control that PC over a network including the Internet. It is just like sitting in front of the other PC. If you do find this software useful donate to the developers by clicking on the button above so that they can continue to enhance the program and provide even more useful features in the future.

What is No-IP.com? Dynamic DNS for your domain

No-IP.com started out in 1999 by providing Dynamic DNS and web redirecting services using free domains they provided. Today their services have expanded to include email solutions, DNS registration, dynamic and static DNS services and much more. If you look closely you will notice that this blog is being hosted at leonmink.com/blog. This is my No-IP.com address and it is pointing to my home PC. You too can setup a blog on your home PC. But I will leave that to a future post.

You can find the updated Setup PC Remote Control page in the left banner under Pages.

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Bargain Countdown – Deals So Hot there on Fire – Free Stuff

I just came across some amazing deals online at eCost.com. They have a Bargain Countdown section where they put limited items up for sale at huge discounts. You need to be quick because these deals go fast. (Limit 1 per customer) Here are a few deals that I saw today:

They also have a Clearance Countdown section that has some great deals as well.

These deals are HOTTER than this laptop catching on fire![youtube qmPm-YV9vdA]Avoid the the crowds at the store and don’t bother waiting in line on Black Friday (the day after thanksgiving). So if you are looking for some great gifts at great prices this holiday season get them RIGHT NOW! at this site

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Tips & Guides to Find Hidden Deals for Gifts this 2006 Holiday Shopping Season

Bookmark this page by pressing CTRL-D

It seems as though every year the holiday shopping period starts earlier and earlier. Just last weekend I noticed two homes in my community putting up holiday decorations and Christmas Trees already. You normally start seeing holiday decorations going up during the Thanksgiving weekend. Even some of the large retailers are starting their holiday advertising early. Walmart started advertising a $398 PC for sale two weeks before Black Friday (The day after Thanksgiving). According to some news stories retail sales in October were lower than expected. That is causing the large retailers to not wait until Black Friday to kick off there holiday sales specials. This is good news for you and me. So before you miss that next great deal I thought I would pull together and share some sites that I used to start my holiday shopping.

Check out additional Holiday Shopping links and Videos in the right sidebar! Red Right Arrow

Here is a List of 10 Great Gift Idea Sites that will make it fun and easy to do your shopping this season:

  1. Holiday SpendingHoliday Gift Guides – Associated Content ** My Pick **
  2. Five Insider Tips to Smarter Holiday Shopping – CNNMoney Article
  3. Holiday Gift Guide 2006 – CNet.com Technology
  4. Holiday Gift Guide – The Washington Times
  5. Office Playground – Gift ideas for the office co-worker, boss, client, etc…
  6. Christmas Gifts Directory and Gift Ideas
  7. Gifts.com – The easy way to find great gifts ** Gifts Directory **
  8. Gift Ideas & Shopping Tips at About.com ** List of Guides and Tips **
  9. Gifts for the Serious Home Chef
  10. FreshTrend – Shopping Blog of Unique Gift Ideas

And make sure to avoid the bad gift ideas by checking out these articles:

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Do you have your own Holiday Shopping Tips? Share them with others by leaving me a comment.
Have fun and be safe this Holiday Season.

Black Friday 2006 – Day After Thanksgiving Deals!

Looking for the HOTTEST DEALS of the year?

Check out Black Friday Ads Sites below Now!

Check out the Black Friday Videos at the bottom of this post

The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. It is also known as . Stores all over the country will be enticing shoppers with ridiculous deals and discounts. How would you like to know today, what great deals are going to be advertised on Black Friday? Keep reading and check out the links at the bottom of this post. Last year I purchased two 19″ flat screen LCD monitors with built in speakers for $119.00 each. I also purchased WiFi routers for as little as $9.00. Here is a short list of stores to check out: Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Kmart, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Sears, Target, Toys R Us, WalMart and the list goes on.

The following sites display the actual ads that will be active on Black Friday. You can do searches for items at any store. You can sort the deals by ranking, sort by price, or sort by category. They even provide you coupons and rebate information.

Keep checking back throughout the month. Ads are being leaked everyday!

Sample Deals as of November 5th 2006:

  • $12.00 – Sandisk 1GB SD Card
  • $25.00 – Sandisk 2GB SD Card
  • $49.99 – MP3 Player with 1GB Capacity & Belt Clip
  • $1,294.00 – Panasonic 42″ Widescreen Plasma HDTV w/ Built-in Digital Tuner

Create your shopping list today and make sure you get out to these stores early on Black Friday. I know I will. Leave a comment and share your thoughts or secrets about Black Friday.

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November 24th 2006
Mark Your Calendar Now
The Hottest Deals of the Year!

Winning Money with PokerStars on my Treo Smartphone

PokerStars on my TreoA few months ago PokerStars upgraded their software to allow resizing of their tables. I wanted to see what it would look like if I shrunk the table size to 320 x 320 pixels and then remote control my PC from the Treo. It worked great. Ok, I can’t really say great but it was usable. The table actually was not able to shrink all the way down to 320 x 320. So I was only able to capture part of the table on my Treo screen, but it was still good enough to play. You can see an actual screen shot of a PokerStars table on my Treo in this post.

I went on a road trip to Tennessee in July with the family and decided to test out playing PokerStars in the car from my Treo 650. (My wife was driving.) I ended up playing for just under 2 hours with no drop outs! Here are a few tips if you try this yourself: (You may want an unlimited Data Plan to avoid large data connection charges)

  1. Change the theme of the PokerStars table to a more suitable color for your Treo
  2. Resize the table on your PC to as small as possible
  3. Remote into your PC with your Treo using PalmVNC and UltraVNC.
  4. Enjoy playing PokerStars on your Treo

Warning: Even though this does work I did find that at times their were long delays or lag time between screen refreshes. A few times I had other players ask me what was taking me so long to play, even though I never did get disconnected or kicked off the table. If you absolutely must get your poker fix but you find yourself on the road without a PC, the Treo650 could save your day, but probably not your wallet :-)

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DUII – Driving Under the Internet Influence; The Crackberry Addiction

DUIIWhat is worse than talking on a cell phone while driving?

I was driving home from work a few weeks ago during rush hour traffic when I noticed the driver in the car next to me typing on his blackberry. This made me curious, so I paid more attention to this practice over the next few days. I was surprised to find several drivers each day texting using their phone or blackberry while in traffic. Now I know their are several studies on the dangers of talking on the cell phone while driving but you have to imagine that typing on a small device must be much worse. I remember around 15 years ago getting into a car accident just because I glanced down at my radio to change the station.

According to recent news reports their have been several fatal accidents where the cause of the accidents were due to typing or dialing on a phone or portable device. This is a new phenomenon that I fear will get worse before anything is done about it. In countries where text-messaging is very popular (especially in Europe) the accident rates are quickly climbing. With the advent of high speed data access on newer phones such as the Motorola Q and the TREO 700, the ability to watch videos on a smartphone will be a text message click away. Then you will have drivers in traffic not only texting but watching and reading webpages on their phones. The addiction will become too great to resist. I can imagine a day when driving under the influence of a crackberry may become more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. What about you? Participate in my poll and leave a comment on what you think should be done about the use of phones, blackberries, two-way-pagers, treos, or any other portable device while driving.
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