Verizon, AT&T and Sprint offer Free Text and calling to Japan

In an effort to offer what they can,  in the aftermath of a bad disater, AT&T and Verizon have stepped up and offered free text and calling to Japan.


All Verizon Wireless post-paid customers will receive free calling to Japan from March 11 through April 10.  Post-paid customers are those who receive a monthly bill from the company.  In addition, Verizon Wireless post-paid customers will receive free text and multimedia messaging to Japan for the same time period.

Pay attention to this note too

* Only long-distance usage charges associated with calls made from residential landlines terminating to wireline or wireless destinations in Japan will be waived from Mar. 11 – April 10.  All other fees including taxes, surcharges, monthly recurring charges (MRCs), minimum spend levels (MSLs), monthly minimum charges (MMCs), etc will continue to apply.  Post-paid calling card charges to Japan will also be waived.

AT&T doesn’t have any mention of these additional charges. Not sure about Sprint.

Here is what AT&T has to say

Effective beginning last week, March 11, and continuing through March 31, AT&T wireless postpaid customers will not be charged for:

In addition, and also effective March 11 through March 31, residential wireline customers can seek credits for up to 60 minutes of direct dial calling to Japan:

For any of the above activity, customers will either see no charges reflected on their monthly statement, or they will see a full credit applied to their statement for activity between March 11 and March 31.

References : Sprint, Verizon and AT&T


Fiabee Sync – Chrome to Android sync

Price : Free

What : FiabeeSync allows you to acces, instantly search through and share any of the data you have stored across all of your devices, even when offline. Find any files from any device.

How : Having moved on from Firefox to Chrome, I am pretty impressed with the Chrome web store. Agreed, most of the apps are just links, but some apps are excellent.  If you haven’t played around with it, do try the NY Times on the Chrome web store. NY Times and Jolicloud alone can give you hours of geeky fun.

Install Fiabee on your chrome. In Fiabee , through a selective syncronization, you will be able to access all of your files as if they were locally stored.

Here is how it looks on the chrome browser.

Choose one of your devices and upload files into it and it automatically appears in your device. Easiest way to transfer files.

Click on the file when you want to access it.

Usefulness: Really good to easily transfer files. Since it is in beta, it has a limitation of 1GB storage.

Apps, Free Apps, Fun Apps

Got to do – Android App Review

Price: A Pro and a free version is available.

What: The best  ‘Getting Things Done’ productivity app that is out there.  A paid version is available, but a free version would be good enough for a majority of us.


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Apps, Free Apps, Utility Apps

3G Watchdog – Android App review

Price : Free

What : If you have a data plan that is not unlimited, then this app helps you monitor your data usage. When you reach a limit, you can choose to cut off your data connection through 3G.

How : In the settings, you enter your plan and the start date. There is a way to assign an initial value for the quota usage as well. Alerts can be set if it reaches over a specific user set percentage.

There is a warning message about disabling the data connection when it reaches the limit – it relies on external apps. So use that feature at your own risk.

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Utility Apps

A perspective of the history of Droid

Most of us already know the history of the mobile phone wars. Here is our perspective and timeline of it.
To appreciate this lineup of phones, it is pertinent to understand the history and the stakes that different companies had in this phone.

Apple : On June 29, 2007, Apple released the iPhone which changed the playing ground for many companies. The iPhone was the first of its kind and it clearly had no competition.

AT&T :
Apple’s iPhone was available only through AT&T. AT&T benefited when the iPhone frenzy hit its high, as people had to move to AT&T if they wanted the iPhone.

Verizon : Word has it that Apple first wanted to sign a deal with Verizon, but both the companies failed to come to terms with the deal. Verizon wanted the Verizon logo on the iPhone and Apple refused it. Though arguably, they had the best network, they did not have a great phone to champion their strength.

Motorola : After Motorola Razr, this company did not have a sensational moment. They had to prove themselves.

Google : Whoever thought that Google would complete with Apple in the mobile market? Google buys the Android operating system for mobile platform in 2005.

A couple of years go by with the iPhone rule. It required Verizon, Motorola and Google to come together to provide a challenge for the Apple iPhone.

Enter Droid. It was the pièce de résistance for Motorola, Verizon and Google.

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Scanner Radio – Android App Review

Price : A Pro and a free version is available.

What : Let’s you listen in on different radio Air, Marine, Police, Rail and Weather radio.  It has feeds from,, and

How : A very simple app. In the 5 minutes that I spent listening to the Chicago police radio, I heard them talking about a fallen tree in someone’s garage, a student being held for having a knife in school, two gangs shouting at each other.  It made my otherwise uneventful day, eventful.

It was interesting to know that it also had the Police and Fire radio right where I live. You could also browse by area, genre and source. We were able to listen in on the Australia and Austria police radio too.

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Apps, Free Apps, Fun Apps, News

Call an extension by adding a pause

This is one of the very minor, yet very useful tip that I have come across. I use calling cards a lot to call other countries which require dialing a number and then waiting for the call to go through and then entering my pin number and then the actual number that I am calling. If you do this frequently, it can be pretty frustrating.

This was the solution to the problem. Enter the number you are going to call and then use a “,”  for a pause. Each “,”  gives you around a couple of seconds delay before dialing the next number. Use as many commas as you need to and then save it.

This works for extensions too. Depending on the phone you have, you might have to use other characters like “;”  .   I edit my contacts and add a new number with the pauses and then add it as a direct dial.

Refer to this post to save it directly as a direct dial if you need quick access to it.

Droid, TipsnTricks

Turn Data off during International travel

I had to travel to Canada recently, and I was looking for a way to turn data off, but still be able to receive incoming calls. I was able to do it using the following setting.

Settings -> Wireless & Networks -> Mobile Networks -> Data Roaming (Connect to data services when roaming). Turn this off.

It is very important to do this before you travel to other countries with your phone because most of the time the carriers partner with local providers in the country and when you get back you will be slapped with a huge bill.

It worked flawlessly and it was interesting to see how my data kept going in and out near the border. When it connected to towers in the US, data connection would work, otherwise it would not. Definitely use this, if you are traveling international. I guess I will end up using this when I travel to other countries soon and still connect to data using Wi-Fi.


Android App Review – SMS Backup

Price : Free

What : Backs up your SMS messages to a gmail account.

How : It lets you specify a gmail account and the password.You can choose to do an auto backup when you get new messages.

In the advanced settings, you can name the label that you want these messages to be backed up with. That is it. As simple as that. Then click on back up now. All your texts have been backed up to your Gmail with the specified label.

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Free Apps, Utility Apps

Digg Addict – Android app review

Price : Free

What : If you follow Digg,   this is an Android App for Digg.

How : There is not much to explain. This is a way of keeping up with popular posts on the Internet. Between this, the Google News widget and the other social networking sites like twitter and FaceBook, it is easy to get tied up for a couple of hours every morning. Here are some screen shots.

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Free Apps, Fun Apps