To use iPhone5 LTE in At&t today... I would have to drive to Cleveland, Oh or Muncie, In?

I've been considering the iPhone 5 mostly as a better performing camera that will outperform the "never ready" camera in my iPhone 4.  For me, 4G was mostly a "nice to have".  Today, I found out it's a "not to have" in Michigan.  Despite all those At&t commercials extolling more 4G in more places than Verizon, when it comes down to it, I have to drive 4 hours to use the 4G LTE on an iPhone 5.  On, they have an excellent chart that compares LTE rollout between Verizon, At&t and Sprint.  For anybody considering iPhone 5, it's a big eye-opener.

At&t is fond of showing their 4G map "all colored in" but I now realize that the 4G LTE coverage is only indicated by those rather sparsely isolated yellow dots. **

UPDATE: After I hit "publish" on this post only a few hour ago, Engadget did an article saying At&t LTE was live in the "Detroit metro area" and sure enough, the image on the At&t web site is now updated to show Detroit and Grand Rapids added to the list of "coming soon" cities.  So strictly speaking the CNN story is still accurate if you don't take the "coming soon" cities into account.

The good news is that if I pick up an iPhone 5 in the coming weeks, I won't be waiting around 'till 2013 to use LTE.  

A thought provoking reflection on Sept 11, written Sept 12, 2001... from space...

In my RSS feeds today, I found a link to astronaut Frank Culbertson's letters written 11 years ago on Sept 12, 2001.  I knew the damage to lower Manhattan was visible from space.  I never realized the ISS was passing over at the time the second tower was falling.  More at


Our Visitors from Osnabrück

This summer we hosted 3 musicians from Osnabrück, Germany.  Their visit was sponsored by Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.  Ours was near the last stop of their itinerary.  They performed music at Ferndale High School.  We really enjoyed the time they spent with us.  Photos are posted at

I Side With... A Presidential Candidate Picker...

Today I stumbled across, which is an online quiz you take to see how your views line up with the candidates.  I had some agreement with conservatives on right to life but when it came to immigration, the environment and health care, Obama and a green party candidate showed up as my top picks. BTW, the same bishops who take Obama to task on contraception issues side with him on immigration so it's not as simple as either side wants to make it out to be.

Give it a try.  It's interesting to have all the candidates' major views summarized in one place and you can use a quiz to see who you have most in common with.

Lightning Liz

This past track season, Liz's relay team set a new school record at the State track meet in Grand Rapids, Mi.  Liz decided she wants to continue to improve and asked us if she could run AAU track over the summer.  

Last weekend, she qualified for AAU Junior Olympics in Houston, TX this year in 3 events.  She qualified in 100m dash and in 2 relays. This is her first year running AAU track and she has done extremely well.  


The Greening of Detroit

This past weekend I had an opportunity to volunteer with the Greening of Detroit planting trees at Erma Henderson Park and Marina.  It is located south of East Jefferson next to the Jeffersonian appartments. This is where my uncle used to keep his boat but the marina is empty now.  I was there because one of our boy scouts is doing this as part of his eagle project.  Our troop turned out in force as did a bunch of my friends from work.  It was very hard work.  We had to dig holes about 2 feet deep and 4 feet in diameter.  This would have been easy but the ground was dry, hard and rocky. My group got 2 trees planted.  It was hard work but I will definitely do this again. 

When we arrived, we could see about a dozen old growth trees in the park but there were places where trees obviously should be that they were missing.  All the teams working together in small groups planted about 20 trees over a period of about 4 hours.  It was a very hot day and the work was very tiring.  The spot chosen for us for our first tree seemed to be on top of a coal seam.  Our second tree was easier but not much easier.  I haven't swung a Mattock or Pick Axe so many times in years.  Actually I think it was 2008 during community service conservation project at Philmont.

My Galaxy Player 5.0


After spending close to 12 hours trying in vain to set up my work email on my Sylvania 7 in tablet, I went in search of an alternative.  I was looking for a "larger" form factor than that of my iPhone 4 and the various iPod Touches we have lying around.  I don't want to spoil either my iPhone or iPad with the work-issued exchange profile that makes the device clumsy with a 5 minute (might as well be 5 second) screen lock and other restrictions like mandatory passcode changing.  

My goal was to shell out less than a Galaxy Tab 2 would cost, even if you count the $65 I spent on the Sylvania, without winding up with something gimpy and difficult to use or that flat out didn't work.  I considered the Galaxy Player 3.6, 4, 4.2 and 5.  I also considered the Amazon Kindle, Nook color and Pandigital Novel.  I decided to avoid other "noname" tablets in the $139 range available at Microcenter because another gimp solution would get me close to the Galaxy Tab 2 out of pocket but I'd still be without a working device.  I played around with the Galaxy Tab 2.  It's very nice and I do like ICS better than either Gingerbread or Froyo.  And to think it was lack of ability to get Froyo that drove me to go iPhone for my primary device in the first place.

Welcome to my Bond movie - SpaceX docks with ISS

We are finally acting out a recurring theme from Bond movies of the 1960s and 70s.  A private spacecraft has docked with the space station.  I wonder if a little hairless kitten with a frickin' laser beam on its head will go on board to subdue the crew...

The above image from NASA is not as quite impressive as the images from Moonraker, but impressive nonetheless...

Math Fail: 40% off ten bucks is 5 bucks?

Our friends over at binary bakery are having a sale and they are offering 40% off a $10 app and charing $4.99.  Yay! 

My 7 inch Sylvania Android Tablet

My what?  I said what?  I've been a loyal iPad user since day 1 and I've now got an Android tablet?  Wait and just hear me out.  I love my iPad.  It's great.  I take it everywhere.  But when IT guys at work started letting us get our work email on our iOS devices, I decided to go for it.  It messes up my iPhone and I'm not about to let their stuff on my iPad. So what do I do? Clearly I needed a "spare" device.  How much should I spend on said device?  $200? $100?  Try $65 including shipping.  

And let me assure you it is awful.  It has a resistive touchscreen and the cpu is busy doing something else on almost every keystroke.  But it was only sixty five bucks.  For that much I thought it was worth a try.  

The OS is Android 2.1.  I know, old.  The app store that comes with it appears to be focused on gimpware.  I immediately downloaded the Amazon app store and my first app was Kindle reader.  Nice.  Well, the as nice as a resistive touchscreen can be kind of nice.  The device only has 4 gig of storage but it has a micro SD slot so I'll have to dig around for that 8 GB micro SD I had lying around from one of my old dumb phones, or was it my Blackberry?  Once I pop that puppy in there, I'll have a 7 inch tablet with 12 gig of storage for 1/7 what an iPad costs. It's amazing how Apple drives competitors into the dirt (price wise at least).  It reminds me of all those $49 mp3 players I see in the stores collecting dust while they can't keep $200+ iPod Touches in stock.

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