Category Archives: Life

iPhone 6s

iPhone 6S $20/month at T-Mobile – Not so Simple

I just wanted to clear up some misconceptions about T-Mobile’s new $20/month plan for the iPhone 6s:

  1. Yes, you can get the upgraded storage specs – you simply put $100 or $200 down on the phone before you begin the $20 payments each month depending on if you want the 64gb or 128gb respectfully. Your card will not be charged until the device is shipped.
  2. Yes, you can stop paying monthly before your 18 months are up. Tired of your payments? Cancel your plan, pay the remaining months, and send back your phone or pay the pay-off amount and keep your phone. You won’t get the $7 monthly bill credit this way, so you’ll end up paying full retail price for your phone, but if you decide to leave T-Mobile before the 18 months are up you do have a way out. If you stay the full 18 months, you’ll end up saving yourself $125 on the cost of the device by joining their Jump on demand leasing program (so long as you pay the pay-off amount at the 18 month mark so that you leave the program and own the device).
  3. Don’t like the phone or service in the first month? Take it back for a full refund. Seriously. 30 days and you can return it to T-Mobile for a 100% refund including any down payment you’ve made or any service costs you’ve paid for.
  4. Go to a T-Mobile store if you want to sign up. You cannot sign up for this plan over the phone unfortunately.

I hope this clears some things up for anyone considering these new plans from T-Mobile. Thanks to the new LTE and 700mhz support, my girlfriend and I preordered these yesterday after about an hour in the T-Mobile store. Hopefully your T-Mobile store experience is speedier than mine.

The mail server “” is not responding problem on iOS with

This was a new annoyance on my phone for personal (mostly spam) gmail accounts as of iOS 8.3. The issue became a lot more frequent as of iOS 8.4 and I believe I’ve found a fix to the problem.

This issue seems not to affect google apps accounts, at least in my experience, but has affected any “free” gmail accounts I had added to the system mail app.

To solve the problem:

  1. Remove all of your affected accounts from mail.
  2. Re-add the accounts, but do not select “Google” from this screen and instead select other.
  3. Choose add mail account.
  4. Enter your gmail information including the name that you want your recipients to see.
  5. On the following screen, add your information again. You’ll also need to add the SMTP and IMAP servers as well as your gmail address and password to additional fields on this screen 
  6. Choose if you want to sync notes on the next screen
  7. That’s it!

You should be all set with your gmail account added to mail again bypassing the failing Google oauth authentication method. You may also need to enable IMAP on gmail if you have not done so at some point already.

It should be noted that using this method will no longer sync your calendar or your contacts. In order to sync those using open protocols and their standard authentication mechanisms rather than using the “Google” account in iOS to sync everything (which uses Oauth2 I believe), you’ll need to add your contacts using CardDav and your calendar using CalDav.

To fix this and get your contacts and/or calendar syncing on iOS again:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Add Account
  4. Other
  5. Add CardDav or Add CalDav
  6. On the next screen:
    User Name: Enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address.
    Password: Your Google Account or Google Apps password.
    Description: Whatever you want to call this account.
  7. You’re finished!

I hope this helps you resolve your gmail issues with iOS’ mail app.

Jet – A Costco for the Web

Jet is launching in the next month or so and it’s going to be something I’ll keep an eye on. The founder, Marc Lore, announced on his blog that they’ve closed a round of Series A funding so it’ll be interesting to see if they make it to IPO. Jet, founded by the same guy who started and, is setting out to take the proven idea of a “members only” warehouse club in a more modern and tech savvy direction.

Costco, as a concept, has worked very well but their website and online inventory system are lacking. Amazon’s website and logistics are great, but their Prime membership is pricy and is far more than the cheap membership for fast, free shipping that it started as. Now that Prime is roughly $80 and includes streaming video (which most already have netflix for) and streaming music (with a pretty abysmal selection compared to any other paid streaming service), I feel like it’s approaching a “jack of all, master of none” situation. $80 for discounted shipping and two streaming services (one very mediocre, the other largely duplicated by Netflix) is likely pricing itself out of the normal $50 per year membership price most consumers have in their minds already thanks to Sam’s club and Costco. While most of my peers have Amazon Prime, my parents have Netflix and Costco memberships and I don’t think it’d be easy to convince them to get an $80 Prime membership as long as they hold on to the others. Even then, with a shiny new Prime membership, prices are almost always better at Costco for items carried by both Amazon and Costco.

Jet will likely be looking for the Costco/Sam’s member as well as bargain hunters who crawl through Slickdeals, Fatwallet, and Saviry as their potential customer base. If Jet comes out of the gate with a $50 or lower membership price, free “standard” shipping, and prices akin to most members-only clubs my parents would surely buy in to that, and so would I. It’s much easier to swallow a membership price if you can easily see the value. Costco’s value is the physical store itself whether it be for buying tires or trips to the brick and mortar store on a Saturday. Jet could easily put itself in a position to be an online Costco for the weekdays or nights when going to Costco is out of the question.

Delivery, From The Internet

There are a lot of things that I dreamt up as a child:

I really liked drawing fantastical cars with my fancy colored pencils my mom would buy me.
I liked imagining what computers would be like.
All games would be virtual reality  and amazing (I was roughly five years old).

Once the internet came around and we had CompuServe (we had others but CompuServe made it more “real” to me as a child), I was certain that “everything” would be on and done through the internet. I was young and didn’t quite have a concept of the logistics involved in ordering a house on the internet and having it delivered – but I was certain these sort of things would take place soon.

When computer shopping around the year 2000, we ended up going with a Gateway, and when it was delivered (after ordering online) it felt like my imaginative dreams were finally coming true. It was amazing to me that a 50+ pound package could be delivered for for such a low price (I think delivery was $50-$99?). My mom and I were both very relieved to have not had to deal with the pressuring sales people at CompUSA, Best Buy, or Computer Builders Warehouse and we were further astounded that our custom computer was delivered within a month.

This week we’re getting our new bed delivered and it’s coming from somewhere near Topeka, Kansas…from “the internet”.

It’s an entire bed, and it weighs at least 100 lbs; delivery was free.
While a bed isn’t quite a house, it is just an odd moment that has triggered me to reflect on the progression of my own technology usage in my lifetime.

The best or nothing.™ – adopted elsewhere

My girlfriend and I talk about this on occasion, but for a moment, imagine if the motto “The best or nothing™,” was adopted by people or companies other than Mercedes Benz®. You can take this opportunity to imagine the ridiculous results of this – which is usually the path of discussion we take:

“How was your day today?”
“Well, I didn’t feel my best so I just did nothing at all.”

“We’ve been waiting four hours for our food, where the hell is it?”
“I’ve asked the chef numerous times, he simply keeps responding – The best, or nothing.”

And so on.

But for a moment, think about if this motto was adopted by people for things they’re truly passionate about. wouldn’t even need to exist.


THE BEST OR NOTHING™ and Mercedes Benz® are either registered trademarks or trademarks of DAIMLER AG and/or Mercedes-Benz USA in the United States and/or other countries.