Author Topic: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1  (Read 170271 times)

Travis

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #600 on: October 09, 2017, 02:18:06 PM »
So our Samsung S5 lost an argument with gravity yesterday. The glass has a nice impact across half of it.  I called four repair shops in my area about it and one won't touch it because it's too expensive/too much trouble for them, two will charge between $150 and $200 because they want to replace the entire LCD, and the last will charge $80 to replace the glass.  I looked it up and there's quite a process to separate the glass from the LCD unit involving heat treatments and precision techniques.  With the effort portrayed on Youtube for this repair, $80 sounds reasonable; however, I paid $85 for the phone on Ebay.  Is it even worth going through the repair?
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #601 on: October 13, 2017, 08:23:44 PM »
Can anyone recommend the most cost effective way to unlock a cell phone? I have a Lumia 435 I bought off ebay that was supposed to be unlocked, but it appears not to be after all once I put my Airvoice SIM in it. I'd rather not pay $20 for an unlock code. Are there other solutions?
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alsoknownasDean

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #602 on: October 15, 2017, 05:26:00 PM »
Can anyone recommend the most cost effective way to unlock a cell phone? I have a Lumia 435 I bought off ebay that was supposed to be unlocked, but it appears not to be after all once I put my Airvoice SIM in it. I'd rather not pay $20 for an unlock code. Are there other solutions?

Which carrier is it locked to? Is it just a carrier locking or does it not support the network Airvoice uses?

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #603 on: October 16, 2017, 06:38:24 PM »
Can anyone recommend the most cost effective way to unlock a cell phone? I have a Lumia 435 I bought off ebay that was supposed to be unlocked, but it appears not to be after all once I put my Airvoice SIM in it. I'd rather not pay $20 for an unlock code. Are there other solutions?

Which carrier is it locked to? Is it just a carrier locking or does it not support the network Airvoice uses?

The outside of the phone says Microsoft and the previous owner said they bought it unlocked and used it with Straight Talk wireless. When I put the Airvoice SIM in, it just says something about it being manufacturer locked and asks for a code.
Proverbs 13:4
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Proverbs 13:11
Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.

https://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/wGp3WGH/savings.png

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #604 on: October 24, 2017, 05:25:35 AM »
That's no good. Hope you managed to get it sorted (even if you had to pay to unlock the thing).

I've started cleaning up my old MacBook, and I've realised that it's full of software cruft. My SSD is showing the following:

Other: 42.87GB
Photos: 23.4GB
Apps: 17.39GB
Backups: 15.64GB
Movies: 2.94GB
Audio: 590.1MB

I'm tempted to clone this drive to another HDD and give Linux a try full-time. I reckon if I started from a clean base (and consolidated all of my photos properly), I could keep the total install to under 30GB. I've backed up everything (I think) to a single 64GB USB drive.

These days I don't use my MacBook as often as I used to, and could go for something a bit more lightweight. A Linux install that's a bit more 'Chromebook minus Google' than 'Windows/macOS minus Microsoft/Apple'. Maybe Lubuntu/LXDE/Ubuntu MATE is in my near future?

For now, I just need to copy all of my saved passwords from Safari, maybe to a password manager (or even a text file).
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 05:28:04 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Daley

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #605 on: October 24, 2017, 09:54:48 AM »
Are there other solutions?

You got my email answering this question, correct?



These days I don't use my MacBook as often as I used to, and could go for something a bit more lightweight. A Linux install that's a bit more 'Chromebook minus Google' than 'Windows/macOS minus Microsoft/Apple'. Maybe Lubuntu/LXDE/Ubuntu MATE is in my near future?

If you're already thinking about Lubuntu, maybe give LXLE a try instead. Dang if it isn't zippy on older hardware in a way I've not seen many other distros handle in a long time... even in comparison to Lubuntu. My only complaint is the default browser (Seamonkey - though I do understand the choice), which can be easily enough swapped out for something like Vivaldi.
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alsoknownasDean

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #606 on: October 24, 2017, 06:15:52 PM »



These days I don't use my MacBook as often as I used to, and could go for something a bit more lightweight. A Linux install that's a bit more 'Chromebook minus Google' than 'Windows/macOS minus Microsoft/Apple'. Maybe Lubuntu/LXDE/Ubuntu MATE is in my near future?

If you're already thinking about Lubuntu, maybe give LXLE a try instead. Dang if it isn't zippy on older hardware in a way I've not seen many other distros handle in a long time... even in comparison to Lubuntu. My only complaint is the default browser (Seamonkey - though I do understand the choice), which can be easily enough swapped out for something like Vivaldi.

I'll give it a try, thanks :)

I guess one criticism I have of even many 'lightweight' distros is that while they may have a lightweight desktop, they're still including everything but the kitchen sink.

I'm unlikely to use Audacity or GIMP or XChat (or even LibreOffice) regularly enough for them to be pre installed. Give me the basics and I'll install the rest.

Perhaps having everything already installed is great for people with poor internet connections, but I know anything I want is an apt-get away. Maybe I should just roll my own. :)

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #607 on: November 02, 2017, 10:30:20 AM »
US Mobile is finally offering plans on "America's biggest 4G LTE network" (Verizon), including slightly smaller minimum buckets for talk and text (for slightly less money) but with a higher service fee ($4 vs. $2 for GSM/T-Mobile). I'll end up paying a dollar more a month ($9 -> $10) for the minimum buckets, but it beats sticking with T-Mobile's gutted 3G network.

Free SIM card is in the mail ... now I just have to get a used phone with the proper Verizon bands, lol.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #608 on: November 03, 2017, 09:49:50 AM »
Daley, it warms my heart to see that you're still here dishing out tech advice. Four years ago you recommended me a phone, the Motorola XT560, and it is only just now crapping out on me (stopped charging yesterday). It's been a good run with this hardy little device. While the XT560 definitely has its drawbacks, I've loved having a physical keyboard and a phone that's tough as nails. It still has a perfectly intact screen after dozens of drops (some of them quite spectacular).

Looking around at the smartphone market now, the scene is even bleaker than 4 years ago if you're someone who prefers the durability and utility of the old QWERTY + smaller screen form factor. I still see some sliding phones but my experience with those is that they tend to suck. I'm wondering if you might have any recommendations other than the ones I'm currently considering:
Blackberry Classic or Q10 (I would miss Android but oh well...)
Motorola Droid Pro XT610 (would need unlocking, also Android 2.3 is a relic at this point)

I've been using Airvoice and am happy enough to hang onto it for now. Their customer service department seems to be drowning but I've had very few problems and have been able to reach them through email.

EDIT: With great struggle I am now able to charge my phone, so at least I have some time to figure out what to get next. Follow-up question - with Airvoice being an AT&T MVNO, will any old AT&T-locked phone work with my SIM card, or must it be an unlocked device?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 12:03:21 PM by TwoWheels »

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #609 on: November 03, 2017, 07:38:38 PM »
Looking around at the smartphone market now, the scene is even bleaker than 4 years ago if you're someone who prefers the durability and utility of the old QWERTY + smaller screen form factor. I still see some sliding phones but my experience with those is that they tend to suck.

It is bleak, and I've just given up and learned to tolerate (at least in my case) Microsoft's swipe keyboard (I'm one of the last Windows 10 Mobile holdouts). Here's your list of AT&T 3G UMTS friendly Android handsets with physical keyboards that runs at least Android 4. Small screen and candybar? That only leaves the Plum Velocity II, and I know nothing of it other than it's impossible to find. Of that list, I'd considered the NEC Terrain at one point. It's taller than what you've used, but roughly average candybar Android handset size, and you may find the dimensions tolerable, especially in light of the IP67/MIL-STD-810G ratings.

Be aware of Blackberry's privacy policies these days. Also BB10 is a bit of a limited field of apps at this point. I'd squeezed about all the life I could out of a BB 9900 running BBOS7 for a couple years, but finally abandoned it last year for a $15 (at the time) Lumia 435, which I will have to abandon once T-Mobile refarms their 3G service in my state to LTE as the phone is sadly locked. Apparently I'm doomed to love dying operating systems that lost the market wars.

About the only bog standard Android device I'm willing to suggest these days is the Moto G4 Play.

Like it or not, you may just have to lean into learning to tolerate the stupid touch/swipe keyboards. It stinks, but it's what I've had to do.

Follow-up question - with Airvoice being an AT&T MVNO, will any old AT&T-locked phone work with my SIM card, or must it be an unlocked device?

Technically, yes, but try to get it unlocked anyway.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 07:46:17 PM by I.P. Daley »
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TwoWheels

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #610 on: November 06, 2017, 11:06:20 AM »
Thank you! I think I'm going to give the Terrain a shot. Looks like a decent device and I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet!

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #611 on: November 06, 2017, 10:14:45 PM »
I.P. Daley, I did read your recent blog post for your RVing friends and learned a great deal. I'll be ordering a Dual Sim Adapter from your link shortly to make my life easier with our growing selection of SIMs ;)

I am looking to supplement our various carrier options we have patched together over the pasts months, with Verizon or a VZ MVNO.
I have an unlocked Moto G5 plus that I purchased today to have more flexibility.
I picked the Moto G5, because I want to use the phone in Europe as well (have Sim for that already).

I have done some research on VZ and VZ based options.

1) Currently I can find a decent prepaid offer for  RedPocket :Red Pocket Mobile Premium Annual Prepaid Phone Plan, No Contract, Free SIM Kit; Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text & 3 GB of LTE Data - Only $21.25/Month
You have to pay the year upfront, but it seems a good deal

2) I am considering the VZ prepaid deal S, that includes only 2 MB data for $35 month, the 4MB is $50 already, yikes

3) There also seems to be a 24.99 VZ prepaid 4G SIm kit online that goes to $40/month after the first month and includes 3 GB data

4) Walmart has a VZ simkit with 4 GB (3GB+1GB bonus data) for $40

So I am not quite sure which one would be best for us.

I want 3ish GB, T+T does not have to be unlimited, 100 each is plenty, but I want to be able to call overseas on occasion when necessary

Of course I want to spend as little as possible, ideally below $30, unless there are good reasons to spend more.
Are there any pros and cons for the above solutions that you can think of?
Are there any other options I am overlooking?

Thanks in advance for your input!



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Daley

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #612 on: November 07, 2017, 01:05:18 AM »
I.P. Daley, I did read your recent blog post for your RVing friends and learned a great deal. I'll be ordering a Dual Sim Adapter from your link shortly to make my life easier with our growing selection of SIMs ;)

Glad to know the article was of use, even despite the radical price and plan shakeups that hit shortly after writing it, and that the recommendation will be useful for you. Shame I won't get a commission for it. :)

I am looking to supplement our various carrier options we have patched together over the pasts months, with Verizon or a VZ MVNO.
[snip]
I have done some research on VZ and VZ based options.

1) Even with longer established MVNOs, I'm nervous recommending annual, pay-in-advance subscriptions. The market's just too unstable.

2-4) It's Big Red's prepaid. Prepare to get handed over to the lower circles of support there, Dante.

I want 3ish GB, T+T does not have to be unlimited, 100 each is plenty, but I want to be able to call overseas on occasion when necessary

Of course I want to spend as little as possible, ideally below $30, unless there are good reasons to spend more.
Are there any pros and cons for the above solutions that you can think of?
Are there any other options I am overlooking?

US Mobile recently added "Super LTE" (read Verizon) plans to their lineup, for what it's worth. US Mobile is reasonably established at this point, though the Verizon service is still very new. The wife and I left Ting for them around the beginning of the year. If you're willing to roll with it anyway? $4/month per line plus the outlined talk, text and data requirements should be $29/month.

Use LocalPhone for your international long distance calling. If their Android app gives you problems, you can still fall back to using them with a generic SIP client such as Linphone or Zoiper, and/or utilize their Local Numbers feature.

Hope that helps! If not, you know where to find me.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 01:25:41 AM by I.P. Daley »
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FrugalZony

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #613 on: November 07, 2017, 09:47:11 AM »
Thanks for the input I.P.Daley!
Is there a way to use another affiliate link for the dual sim adapter (read amazon or something?) or US Mobile?

Regarding international calling I usually use skype and have a couple other options if that fails (freedompop, whatsapp, signal).
So I don't need another service like LocalPhone. I will bear it in mind, though if the others I use won't become available.

What I was referring to is a real carrier based option in case all the others solutions I have fail.

I will look into US Mobile, thank you for that as well, sound like it'll be a good fit!
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 10:33:49 AM by FrugalZony »
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Daley

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #614 on: November 09, 2017, 02:04:37 PM »
Is there a way to use another affiliate link for the dual sim adapter (read amazon or something?) or US Mobile?

Nope, not that I know of with either thing. I do have a donate button on the website if you're interested, though.

Regarding international calling I usually use skype and have a couple other options if that fails (freedompop, whatsapp, signal).
So I don't need another service like LocalPhone. I will bear it in mind, though if the others I use won't become available.

What I was referring to is a real carrier based option in case all the others solutions I have fail.

Perhaps you're misunderstanding what Localphone is and isn't. Yes, they have an app. No, they are not just another proprietary communications channel. They are a full-blown VoIP provider. In fact, I would point out that with their Local Number feature? You could basically assign US phone numbers to your international phone contacts, thus allowing you to direct dial them using your mobile phone plan. Additionally, they offer calling-card features for dialing out to non-contact list numbers from a pre-approved phone number. Cheaper per minute for making telephone calls than Skype, and way more flexibility with the service, all the way down to not needing the app to make the call at all. Perhaps not directly carrier-based, but can be set up to use your existing carrier to make international calls if your MVNO of choice doesn't offer any (reasonably priced or otherwise) direct dial international calling plans.

Speaking of, it's worth pointing out that US Mobile doesn't currently offer any international direct dial calling or SMS access, but it is in the works. If direct dial from the MVNO is that important, about the only Verizon MVNO that I know of from the short list of "approved" carriers that give you a fixed amount of international calling credit as part of the existing plan is Red Pocket. This isn't to say that other Verizon MVNOs such as Selectel can't provide international direct dial, it's just that you have to pay extra for the feature. Thus the Localphone suggestion.
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FrugalZony

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #615 on: November 09, 2017, 07:54:26 PM »

Speaking of, it's worth pointing out that US Mobile doesn't currently offer any international direct dial calling or SMS access, but it is in the works. If direct dial from the MVNO is that important, about the only Verizon MVNO that I know of from the short list of "approved" carriers that give you a fixed amount of international calling credit as part of the existing plan is Red Pocket. This isn't to say that other Verizon MVNOs such as Selectel can't provide international direct dial, it's just that you have to pay extra for the feature. Thus the Localphone suggestion.

Hi, yes I did see that US Mobile does not offer international calling and I do understand how and why LocalPhone can be a great workaround for this.
Right now I feel all I have is work arounds, so if I add another thing to our cobbled together list, I want it to be straight forward carrier based.
Thinking more of a backup options.
There were very few situations were that was needed, so my close to free options worked out fine most times (yes I have read your math of $10 post ;) )
I still haven't pulled the trigger, currently seeing how my new phone improves things first, before I add another carrier.
But most likely, I will get either VZ or RP late next month.

BTW, your shopping hut link is down, just saying ;)
« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 08:00:56 PM by FrugalZony »
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geekette

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #616 on: November 30, 2017, 05:43:07 PM »
Back to MMS and photo texts on an iPhone6.  If I switch to an MVNO with Verizon, these both would work?  Red Pocket is running a sale for their 3 months and a sim for $20 (their usual $10/month plan).

Worth a try?

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #617 on: December 01, 2017, 08:12:22 AM »
Back to MMS and photo texts on an iPhone6.  If I switch to an MVNO with Verizon, these both would work?

Correct.

Red Pocket is running a sale for their 3 months and a sim for $20 (their usual $10/month plan).
Worth a try?

If the phone supports Verizon's service bands and activation, perhaps it is.

I'm just a bit personally nervous telling people to prepay for service with any substantial chunk of time and/or money committed to it... but this isn't near as bad as, say, a year and $150.



BTW, your shopping hut link is down, just saying ;)

So it is. I'm having a difficult time caring, honestly. A part of me is wondering if it may be time to wind the guide down...
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #618 on: December 06, 2017, 10:11:13 PM »
IP, did you know Cyanogen is defunct?

Yup, since the day it imploded. I've also shifted gears myself on third party Android build recommendations now that I've got Android hardware back in the house again for experimentation. Ressurection Remix is a whole lot closer to AOSP with all the nice gravy bits of Kang and the like, really matured, and runs a lot lighter than Lineage/Cyanogen. Not as many devices supported, so still recommend Lineage as they rebuild their own device libraries, but I kind of lean toward RR as a first stop now.

Note my post to Dean a couple posts back. :)

I tried flashing my S4 to a RR build this evening, but I'm getting the following error when I try to flash on the phone:

E footer is wrong
E signature verification failed

I've searched all night for a loading app, but Heimdall doesn't work anymore and Odin won't do zip files which is what RR runs. I tried registering on their forum to talk about it, but their site won't allow me to complete the registration process.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #619 on: December 06, 2017, 10:34:35 PM »
I tried flashing my S4 to a RR build this evening, but I'm getting the following error when I try to flash on the phone:

E footer is wrong
E signature verification failed

I've searched all night for a loading app, but Heimdall doesn't work anymore and Odin won't do zip files which is what RR runs. I tried registering on their forum to talk about it, but their site won't allow me to complete the registration process.

Don't use Heimdall or Odin for installing RR/Open Gapps... TWRP is the preferred method/recovery tool these days (and once you get it on there, you'll understand why). Installation's pretty easy if you already have root, but check install instructions for your specific model of S4 first.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #620 on: December 09, 2017, 11:16:18 AM »
I tried flashing my S4 to a RR build this evening, but I'm getting the following error when I try to flash on the phone:

E footer is wrong
E signature verification failed

I've searched all night for a loading app, but Heimdall doesn't work anymore and Odin won't do zip files which is what RR runs. I tried registering on their forum to talk about it, but their site won't allow me to complete the registration process.

Don't use Heimdall or Odin for installing RR/Open Gapps... TWRP is the preferred method/recovery tool these days (and once you get it on there, you'll understand why). Installation's pretty easy if you already have root, but check install instructions for your specific model of S4 first.

I'm a bit lost now. I rooted the phone and flashed TWRP, but when I restart the phone and enter recovery mode I get a warning that says I have unauthorized software and it stops me from going any farther. The good news is if I do a normal restart the phone continues functioning though I haven't figured out how to restore stock recovery mode.

This bit from their site has me confused:

Quote
Only the earliest S4 for AT&T has a bootloader that is vulnerable to loki. If you took any updates or bought your device later on, you cannot install TWRP. Chances are, if you don't already have TWRP installed, you cannot use TWRP. Our images are already patched with loki so just root and flash. You cannot flash TWRP with Odin on this model.

Are they talking about Odin or TWRP coming with the phone as stock software?
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #621 on: December 10, 2017, 09:18:08 PM »
This bit from their site has me confused:

Quote
Only the earliest S4 for AT&T has a bootloader that is vulnerable to loki. If you took any updates or bought your device later on, you cannot install TWRP. Chances are, if you don't already have TWRP installed, you cannot use TWRP. Our images are already patched with loki so just root and flash. You cannot flash TWRP with Odin on this model.

Are they talking about Odin or TWRP coming with the phone as stock software?

Is your phone already rooted with Samsung Knox disabled? Installing alternate bootloaders with Loki/Odin isn't possible on the AT&T S4 if the Android firmware is even remotely current, given AT&T has locked the bootloader on the device.

I'm not going to be able to walk you any further, but this might be of use to you.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #622 on: December 12, 2017, 09:19:42 PM »
Back to MMS and photo texts on an iPhone6.  If I switch to an MVNO with Verizon, these both would work?

Correct.

Red Pocket is running a sale for their 3 months and a sim for $20 (their usual $10/month plan).
Worth a try?

If the phone supports Verizon's service bands and activation, perhaps it is.

I'm just a bit personally nervous telling people to prepay for service with any substantial chunk of time and/or money committed to it... but this isn't near as bad as, say, a year and $150.

I got the 3 months for the price of two special and CDMA sim from Red Pocket, and today, the day before my month on Red Pocket's GSM network was to end, I ported my number.  Group texts with my one droid friend now appear to be working, but it was not an easy switch.

I'm assuming this Verizon option is new to Red Pocket, because the online port threw out an error, and the chat folks, while pleasant and available, kept giving incorrect/conflicting information. Seriously incorrect info, in many cases. I think I ended up chatting with 4 people over the course of 4 hours before I finally got the port done and cellular data working. 

Now we'll see if the 3 months I should be credited materialize.  My account shows paid through 1/11, but "that's just standard".  Mmmmkay.

Anyway, thanks for the help, and let's just hope Red Pocket doesn't go belly up.  DH and Mom are still with Airvoice, which still seems okay for them.