Google opinions reward app is a bit creepy…

I installed the Google opinions app a while ago thinking it was just a standard marketing survey app. It comes up with a few questions during the week about various products, and for your time, it’ll reward you with a quarter or two of google play store credit. It does make you feel like you’re doing tricks for google… rewarding you the way a animal performer rewards their dog with nibbles of food. But its been mostly harmless.

I say ‘mostly’ because lately its moved into the creepy stage. Twice now I’ve gone shopping only to have surveys pop up about the store I was just at. The first time it happened I thought it was a strange coincidence. This second time is giving me pause.

The survey app is on my tablet so its not that the ‘app’ detected where I was, rather it gives the impression that the servers that the app talks are asked where I’ve been lately. Funnier is both those locations are where I tried to use Google wallet with my phone but the transactions failed. Google’s “silent” war with Apple pay, trying to get data on failed usaged?

It still could be a coincidence… but I’m starting to get unnerved.

Sprint, S5 and bloatware

I had a ‘massive’ install of a bunch of apps on my phone. It looks like its sprint-mandated bloatware. (I use ting, but we all know how that goes…. had to get the S5 from ting, so….)

Anyways…. I removed them quickly. Disabled ‘mobile id’ which is what I think is causing it. (Mobile ID runs ‘MVNO Configuration Update’ which provides wallpapers among other apps.)

What was added? 11 files, each less then 1M. Almost wiped my phone from this. Still might…. not sure if it was actually pown’d or not. Here is the list:

  • Sprint Money Express
  • Scout
  • Featured Apps
  • NextRadio
  • NBA Game Time
  • NASCAR Mobile 2014
  • Messaging+
  • Eureka Offers
  • eBay
  • App Pass
  • Amazon Preloader

I should point out I just updated podkicker recently…. then this happened a few hours later. I could be that app. Either way I’m kinda pissed, but not sure exactly who to be pissed at.

Its the little things that I find funny…

Prawf was intended to be a ‘Practical Workflow Engine’. I had put together the words years ago thinking it didn’t mean anything else.Image

Apparently it (mostly) means “Test” in Welsh. I found this out months ago, but figured since no one reserved the domain name ‘prawf.com’ by now, it simply wasn’t that popular.

Since I started prawf.com, I’ve gotten random spam as anyone would. This one email that wasn’t spam caught my eye. It was from someone at gwynedd.gov.uk, which I thought was a fake hostname. Turns out its real. The email was a ‘test’ email. It was a reply from a filled out form to this website, with each filed in the form set to ‘prawf’. Instead of the email address of the person filling out the form being ‘test@test.com’, it was set to ‘prawf@prawf.com’. 

I have a habit of deleting spam regularly, rather then letting google delete it after 30 days. CodeHeadSystems.com never got that much spam, but prawf.com does. I think I’m going to start reviewing the spam folder there ‘just to see’ how much of it is ‘test’ messages.

 

Moving to Ting for cell service

Moving to Ting for cell service

I’m leaving Sprint. I got really tired of Sprint charging me for $10/phone/month for ‘extended data’, which was their way of saying ‘4G’, even though 4G is not available anywhere near me. But the reality is the costs are not that different between Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, or even AT&T. Sprint is (was) typically cheaper…. but I decided to part ways even though I’m not going that far. I’m going to use Ting.

With my son starting to need a phone, I was getting ready to add him to my Sprint account. It would be a two year contract, get him some phone, and its at least another $40/month. But instead, I opted to use Ting. My current bill of ~$140/month before taxes for two phones, runs about $53/month on Ting. The service list is pretty much identical. Differences include Ting allowing tethering with no additional cost. Roaming is free on both for voice, but Ting doesn’t let you roam for data at all.

The cost difference is because Ting charges you for what you use, where Sprint is ‘virtually’ unlimited, so they charge more then what the average user actually uses, and pockets the difference. The reality is my family uses far less on Sprint then what I pay for. As much as I complain about no 4G in my area, I’m not going to use a ton of data when I’m not in a wifi spot. Even when I travel, I use my phone for music (Pandora, Google music), email, and browsing on the web while waiting. That’s really still not a ton of data.

For my son, Ting lets me limit the number of messages, calls and megs used… sending warnings to him and me as he approaches those limits. The max he can spend on his phone is less then what it would be to add him to my account. (And pretty close to what I use now anyways) We used my old EVO 4G. Converting it from Sprint to Ting is easy, (You can only convert sprint android phones, not other phones from other carriers) and since I didn’t have to buy a new phone for this ‘test’, my out-of-pocket costs are minimal. But if he can show responsibility, we’ll get him a new phone to use.

For me and my wife, as our phones come off contract we’ll move to Ting. My phone is next early next year.

Trying out Ting…

Started looking at Ting for service. Started with my old EVO 4G, updated the OS to Jelly Bean (Maz build) and connected it up. I’ll post soon a longer post with what I ended up doing. We’ll see how it works, but if this work well, I’ll switch my other phones.