Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thinking Of Upgrading Your Sprint Phone To A Smartphone? Think Hard!

Use Caution If You Are Considering Renewing Your Sprint Contract And Upgrading Your Device!

Having been with Sprint for over five years I speak from some experience as a customer. I become eligible to upgrade my device on August 01, 2012. I enjoy checking out the options available prior to the eligibility date and have been online for a couple of days "checking things out."
One of the options that will become available to me is to upgrade to a smartphone. In the past I have not had a smartphone. I have had the standard phones as well as what Sprint calls a "feature" phone, but not a smartphone.
With high expectations (which have now been shattered) I started looking around. I found numerous smartphones that would become available to me for free upon renewing my contract with Sprint for two years.
My first concern (there is a major second concern, so read to the end) is that I noticed that Sprint was offering to waive the activation fee, online, for a new phone for new customers or for existing customers that added a line. I read the fine print and found that this did not cover customers who have been loyal to Sprint over the years who were considering renewing their contract. In other words unless I am a new Sprint customer, or added an additional line I am going to be charged a $36.00 activation fee. Now this fee is for a number that is already activated, my current number. I have, in the past, activated my phone myself by going online, therefore, no Sprint employee had to be paid to do this.
I popped into the Sprint forums and have read hundreds of posts about this $36.00 activation fee and 99.9% were loyal Sprint customers who felt this fee is very unjust. Many have left Sprint for other providers due to this single issue. It seems that Sprint will not, under any circumstances, waive this $36.00 activation fee.
Losing so many customers over a gain of $36.00 does not seem to be a good business model at all. To gain $36.00 in revenue, they are losing vast numbers of customers who were paying into the hundreds of dollars a month for service with Sprint.
My decision on renewing a contract with Sprint just based on this first concern is leaning towards not renewing my contract and going elsewhere.
There is more, however! If you are looking to upgrade to a Sprint smartphone your monthly rates will go up an additional $10.00 per smartphone device you add to your plan. That is correct! This is even if you have one of the "unlimited" data plans currently with Sprint. Unlimited does not cover smartphones. The $10.00 a month charge is for data use and data use alone. Sprint justifies this additional charge because "on average" a smartphone user will use "up to" ten times more data a month. This leaves the current Sprint customer astonished that suddenly their "unlimited" plan has been deemed as limited in some way.
In the background, behind this window I am typing in, I have the HTC EVO 4G LTE phone up on the Sprint website. A great phone, a great smartphone. Retails on Sprint without a contract for $549.99. If you upgrade you can get it for free. All the best features are on this phone that one could hope for that I can see. This phone ships with the Android 4.0 OS as well. Great battery life for talking and standby. I could go on, however, suddenly this upgrade I was hoping to make is becoming an unreality. Should I go this route, my Sprint bill for two lines will go up with the additional one time activation fee as well as this new "data" usage fee monthly.
The information contained in this article is NOT on the Sprint webpage where you view the devices that Sprint offers for sale online. You have to wait and get into the "fine print" of your plan to see the additional charges that you will have should you choose, as an existing customer, to upgrade your device to a smartphone and upon renewing your two year contract. Even if you have a smartphone and upgrade, your bill will go up as stated.
Therefore, please do be aware of "hidden" charges that Sprint has become so well at squeezing into their contracts but not openly displayed or discussing on their website sales pages.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Animal and Human Nature, The Western Conflict

Animal Nature

Humans' relations to animals and our participation in the world bring forward our innermost instinctual selves, the highest in the order of our biological senses and being and the core element of our consciousness. Traditional peoples around the world have incorporated this sense into their relationship with animals, as they see all animal species as having equal rights to life and a place on Earth.
The ones who live in contemporary cultures have largely disassociated themselves from their natural instinct for affiliation with other forms of life. The once sacred Earth Community that nurtures human life has become "outside", a place filled with malevolent natural forces that must be controlled or otherwise guarded against. Fear, control, and exploitation of the "outside" or the other as enemy is deeply embedded in the psychology of Western society. To this end, much of modern science and technology has been mobilized to guard against or to war against the other, be it a mountain, a forest people, a religion, or the world of insects. From ideas in books and film, through education, government, and science, the message and therefore the practical belief, has been one of fear and the need for domination and control of nature - its plants, animals, insects and even its microorganisms.
Even the word "beneficial" is a judgment call based on modern conditioning with regard to the natural world. We love our pets as long as they conform to deeply entrenched attitudes about animal nature. But usually we project upon animals the worst of who humans are. Anthropomorphic projections upon animals are reflected in everything from cartoons children view to commercials for the latest tennis shoes. Animals must serve humanity or be done away with; after all, it says so in the Bible. We have been conditioned to act, think, and project prejudicially toward animals, and as for the insects, we lack both the emotional and intellectual appreciation that would bring forth any true appreciation for their role and importance in the natural order.
Animals raised for food are given little thought at all. They are certainly not the focus of prayers, dance, art, or ceremony as they were in earlier times. So called "wild animals" are confined to lead desolate lives in zoos apart from their homes, the real sources of their natural being. We say we do this for their protection, their own good. We have simply become adept at rationalizing our "bio-phobia", our basic fear of nature. Ask "What good is it?" and "How can we further our plans?" These questions and their underlying orientation form the basic foundation for the modern Western worldview of humanity as well as nature.
We have little awareness that globally there is the equivalent of a biological "holocaust" in play, and that every day the Earth experiences the extinction of hundreds of microbiota, plants, insects, and animal species. The biodiversity of live is dwindling and with its loss, we lose the biological web of life upon which we depend, we incur a real but largely hidden danger; in the life of the land or this planet lies our human lives. We ignore these relationships at our own peril.
In contrast, Native cultures usually look at all species as sharing a circle that is inclusive of all life, a circle that embraces science, art, community and spirit.
Native cultures have much to teach non-Native cultures from their inclusive vision of life - about listening to the "noise of the infinite in the small." All animals including insects are necessary for the biological functioning of the biosphere and the survival of all living things. The known benefits of the honeybee, the earthworm, silkworms, lady bug, various beetlesants and spiders balance out their perceived harmfulness to humans.
An entire species may be condemned to extinction if humans deem its behavior or appearance unacceptable. This is the prevailing modern Western cultural attitude towards animals. In many ways this attitude has also characterized Western attitudes towards Indigenous cultures that have traditionally afforded kinship to the entire animal world.
For Native people, knowledge of animals was important to all aspects of their lives. Learning about animals was a lifelong task integrated in every aspect of tribal life. Practical knowledge included characteristics of animal behavior, anatomy, feeding, patterns, breeding, and migration.
Techniques of hunting and fishing ranged from simple to complex and required long periods of teaching and learning, but these skills were always learned in the context of detailed understanding of the natural ecology of tribal homelands.
Native hunting combined great creativity and flexibility with complex rules of conduct and acts of spiritual significance. Through long apprenticeship and experience the hunter came to know his prey, where and when to hunt and the topography and weather conditions most appropriate for hunting. He also knew the myths, songs, rituals and history that were woven into the context.
Author note: Some people will try to understand the relationship between humans and animals by going to zoos or places like Disney Land or Disney World which have animals that people can interact with. Knotts Berry Farm is another such place. This will not show any type of "natural relationship" between humans and animals.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Teddy Redsun - Native American Hip Hop Artist Focusing On Tribal History And Children

Teddy Redsun Native American Hip-Hop Artist

Teddy Orii (Redsun) is a rare Cherokee Native American music artist. He performs hip hop music for a vast audience, focused on children interaction at his concerts and Native American tribal history. This is done without the use of profanity. Redsun also loves to incorporate motorcycles in his live performances.
Redsun is in the process of writing a series of children's books that will focus on bringing a better understanding of the Native American culture, present and past. The overall scope of the books will be to present an optimistic message and create focus on his music which is hip-hop and appropriately "clean" for young children to view and enjoy. You can view some samples here of the artwork and text to be incorporated in these books.
Redsun has performed at the Cherokee Heritage Center AmphitheatherCreek Nation Casino Native Fall Music Festival, and L.A. Music Awards (he was honored as the Best New Artist in Southern California.) He has further performed at CBS studios, maintains a live concert venue, does shows at elementary and junior high schools, as well as various festivals and churches in several states.
Delving into the featured video at the top of this page, Tribes....To me this is a top rate performance and message to the youth of a nation. The music video is attractive to the younger generations due to the presentation in hip-hop style. Tribal history is presented in a fashion that makes it very informative and most interesting, inspiring further research, perhaps, by our youth.
Redsun has a great library of music as well as several music videos and I have yet to find one that does not resonate with my heart.
The question was raised by several to me about is Redsun a member of the Cherokee National Historical Society. Yes, he certainly is a member.
The EPK video, which you can view HERE, is a great video in which you can hear Redsun give his thoughts and reasons for doing what he does and the style in how he does it. There is also some great "live" music concert footage included in this video as well.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What is Malware? - How to detect and avoid using Malwarebytes

Malware can kill your machine!

There are times that your antivirus software will not detect all things that can hop aboard your computer while surfing online. You can pick up things from visiting a reputable website without that website having anything to do with what your system picks up. Hackers will plant malicious programs on various sites through Javascript ads and other various means. One of the biggest threats today is malware.
An example that may help give a better perspective on this is what my wife and myself went through a couple of years ago. As AT&T U-verse Internet subscribers, we got the paid for version of McAfee antivirus software for free, included in our internet subscription. To us, that sounded wonderful, as we had always ran the AVG free version of antivirus software in the past. So we both installed the McAfee and went about our business..after uninstalling the free version of AVG.
Within a matter of weeks both of our systems picked up malware that got by the McAfee antivirus software. With my wife's system, total loss! Had to replace her system. With my system, I had to have Dell work on it, as it was under Dell warranty still. The hard drive was trashed.
We got both systems back online and once again, I picked up some kind of malware. I contacted McAfee and they did a remote session with my laptop in an attempt to troubleshoot the matter. After various attempts they downloaded a free version of a software program called Malwarebytes on my machine and scanned my machine. Within minutes, Malwarebytes picked up what McAfee could not find, isolated the malware and solved the problem. What this showed me was that I needed to do two things, install Malwarebytes on all my systems and let McAfee go. I reverted back to the AVG free version for my antivirus protection.
For the next few months my wife and myself encountered no additional problems. We then invested in two licensed versions of Malwarebytes for our main machines, and I keep the free version of Malwarebytes running on my three lab computers.
Two years has come and gone, and none of the machines have had issues since we started running Malwarebytes in tandem with AVG's free version of antivirus. We surf the web tremendously and visit more than the average amounts of sites in the course of a day as we both do various work online that requires such.
Malware is designed to take control of your machine and from my experience, I can vouch that it does the job very well!
If you would like to visit CNET (safe download site), you can download the free version of Malwarebytes by clicking the link. Also, from the CNET site, you can download the free version of AVG antivirus, that I run alongside Malwarebytes.