All posts by kirsch

T-Mobile Wi-Fi calling from outside the U.S.

T-Mobile now supports Wi-Fi calling on iPhones with iOS 8 and higher. This is a big deal to:

  1. People who live in the U.S. but travel abroad
  2. People who live outside the U.S. but have a VoIP (like Vonage) line back in their home country, and/or have U.S. SIM cards for their travels to the U.S.

Since I know a lot of people in the first group (including myself), and a lot of people in the second group, I feel like explaining:

If you have a T-Mobile line, you can use it from anywhere outside the U.S. for voice calls to U.S. numbers as long as you are connected to Wi-Fi. No roaming charges apply. You can receive calls too. See this FAQ.  And as before, you get cell-phone data and SMS messages.

And when you are in the U.S., you can of course use the cellphone normally. Including using data and Personal Hotspot. Or texting from airplanes at no additional charge. This will work on iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus (this has existed in other phones since before iOS supported it).

See the following screenshot: phone is in Airplane Mode but with Wi-Fi, and I’m making a regular phone call to a regular phone line. To use this, upgrade to iOS 8 and enable in Settings -> Phone.

wifi calling

This is really outstanding.

ice-bucket-challenge-tw-user-cover

I Completed the ice bucket challenge

My four year old nephew challenged two of his four year old buddies and his thirty six year old uncle to the #icebucketchallenge for raising ALS awareness. Done.

I must admit I was getting deeply offended no one had challenged me yet.

The three of you I challenged: I expect links to your videos within 24 hours.

Update Aug 20: Donation with company match has been processed.

Update Aug 20: My dad has accepted the challenge:

Final thoughts on Polla Brasileira 2014

The World Cup ended, leaving us all with that familiar giant void in our hearts that comes back every four years. Oh, and there was the Polla.

Here are some notes on it:

  • Record participation: 156
  • Some people complained that the entry fee was high, even more people complained that it was too low. Unsure what it will be next time if there is one.
  • I added the ability to create your own polla groups, but they weren’t used very much. I think the idea is good but the implementation was too barebones. Food for thought.
  • A surprisingly large number of people complained or were even scandalized about the use of the term “polla” which is slang for penis in some Spanish-speaking countries. I used the name originally in 2006 as suggested by Jaramillo and kept it since. Interestingly, as people wanted to join, we discovered Wells Fargo disallows transactions with the word “polla” in the description.
  • Users came from all over the world but mostly from the United States. Is this a tipping point in the popularity of soccer in the US? I doubt it.
    polla by country
  • Over 60% of all visitors were using an Apple doohickey. Less than half of those were trapped in Windows hell. And only 6% decided to visit from giant Android phones.
    Polla by OSI know whose Windows Phone those 77 hits came from.
  • The Polla system had some massive internal restructuring and it all went surprisingly smooth considering. I am already thinking of improvements for the next round, whenever that is, but it’s not a sure thing.
  • I made heavy use of Facebook and replaced the internal blog and comment system. It helped spread the word but made the Polla more… sterile. Also, less things to code.
  • Here’s a photo of the very last place. He won restitution. He’s a good looking guy with enough money to buy you dinner at Burger King. Sadly for all of you out there, he’s married:
    Polla cheque 2

Those of you who helped out with the website and the running (Eva, Jose Antonio, Moi): Thank you for the help. Those of you who played: Thank you for playing; do you have any suggestion or feedback? Please use the comments.

Brazil 2014 videos

Here are some short videoclips from our trip to the World Cup. The Big Bad Huge Photo Dump will come soon.

First, a quick clip of the cheers outside Estadio Castelao right before Mexico vs Brazil. I’ve seen this many times: the rival (Brazilians) cheer for their country, and we (Mexicans) cheer against the rivals. Nobody cheers for Mexico. Hey, at least we weren’t calling anyone “puto”… not yet, anyway.

This is our view before Mexico vs Brazil before it filled up. Yes, we were sitting far. Yes, we paid more money in scalped tickets than I’m willing to admit in order to get in there. But this was it: Mexico vs Brazil in a World Cup in Brazil. Cannot miss it. Odd thing: in the background you can hear a Brazilian cover of Soda Stereo’s hit “De Música Ligera”. Yes, they have covers in Portuguese for every conceivable famous song over there. I heard a bunch from the Doors. Go figure.

Remember the dune buggy in Natal? It may not look it, but going 80 km/hr in the back of a sand buggy completely unstrapped is terrifying. Here’s a little video, and also a video of a random zip line in the middle of the dunes.

More from the games: In the Mexico vs Croatia match we had an overwhelming majority. I recorded the Mexican National Anthem. I usually don’t do that, because I learned in school to stand very straight and sing very seriously, and I really do. This was an exception and I hope it was worth it.

Last one: In Greece vs Ivory Coast I was able to record a decent clip of the Mexican Wave. In every match you go to, someone in the crowd tries to start a wave. It takes a really boring match to get it going good… this was it.