New Weather Channel App Notifies You When Cell Networks Are Down

 New Weather App Can Spread Urgent Alerts Even When Cell Networks Are Down
New Weather App Can Spread Urgent Alerts Even When Cell Networks Are Down. 

The Weather Company’s new Android app uses mesh networking to spread data between phones over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. IBM, The Weather Company launch mesh-powered app for internet-poor regions.

Having a wealth of up-to-the-minute climate data at our fingertips is something most of us take for granted. Thanks to a reliable cell connection, our smartphones, and the work of hundreds of meteorologists and climatologists around the globe, keeping abreast of an incoming storm isn’t so much a matter of how, but how quickly. Unfortunately, though, that isn’t the case for everyone.

In developing countries, cellular connectivity is congested, intermittent, and in the worst cases inaccessible. That’s why IBM, in collaboration with developers at The Weather Company, introduced Mesh Network Alerts, a new technology that provides a peer-to-peer means of facilitating communications between residents of underserved nations.

Mesh Network Alerts work by linking mobile devices directly to one another, daisy-chaining handsets in a sort of node network. Using a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, each connected smartphone stores and propagates messages to devices within a 300- to 500-foot radius, creating a mesh that can effectively reach more devices. Read more

SiriusXM Raises Rates $1 Per Month 3 Consecutive Years In A Row

SiriusXM Rate Increase $1 Per Month for 2015 & 2016
Rate Increase $1 Per Month for 2015 & 2016

Here is the new notification I received below . . . 

Effective April 27, 2016, the price of SiriusXM Select and Select Family Friendly packages increased by $1 per month. Effective this same date standalone SiriusXM Internet Radio increased by $1 per month. 

I think this rate increase would be justified if SiriusXM made some concerted efforts to improve coverage and reduce the amount of SirusXM signal interference in areas areas.  We get hundreds of people per day reading and comment on this blog who are having reception issues.

Comments appreciated below. 

Verizon Says OpenSignal Data Is "Not Valid"

OpenSignal vs Verizon Wireless
Why Does Verizon Think Rootmetrics Data is More Valid Than OpenSignal?  
They both stink & don't deal with the real problems!  Fixing coverage!  

Verizon dismissed OpenSignal’s data as “limited and non-scientific”, after a new report said rival T-Mobile US was “within a stone’s throw of matching” the market leader on 4G availability.

OpenSignal’s Q4 State of Mobile Networks: USA report, based on 4.6 billion network measurements for the period, said its testers found a Verizon LTE signal 88.2 per cent of the time. T-Mobile, meanwhile, closed the gap, reaching 86.6 per cent. It also said the companies were neck and neck on overall 4G speed metrics.

Verizon, in a post on Twitter, questioned the validity of OpenSignal’s data.

OpenSignal said in the report its availability metric measures the proportion of time users can access a particular network, rather than tracking geographic coverage.

Verizon said: “OpenSignal provides crowdsourced data. Crowdsourcing favours downtown areas – that’s where the majority of the tests come from – so it doesn’t reflect the depth and breadth of the 2.4 million square miles of our 4G LTE coverage, by far the most in the industry.”

The company continued: “In addition to limited, non-scientific testing, with OpenSignal not getting a signal – the inability to perform a test is not counted against the results.”

Verizon then pointed to other studies from third party testers including RootMetrics, J.D. Power and Nielsen, which it said “do a better job of reflecting the actual customer experience.

“And in those tests, there is no real comparison”. RootMetrics, for example, ranked Verizon top in every category they tested in the first half of 2016, including speed.

Unsurprisingly, T-Mobile’s reaction to OpenSignal’s latest report was more favourable. The company released a statement hailing the results.

“When you combine T-Mobile’s value with great speeds and a coverage map that’s virtually indistinguishable to the big guys, well, let’s just say ‘its on’,” said Neville Ray, the company’s CTO.

Does Rootmetrics & OpenSignal Drain Battery Life & Memory?

OpenSignal, Sensorly, Roortmetrics, MyMobileCoverage
SensorlyOpenSignalMyMobileCoverage or Rootmetrics apps basically turn your cell phone into a signal meter so you can measure your 3G & 4G LTE signal strength.  These apps run in the background of your phone and send data to the provider.  They all aggregate the data and provide a theoretical coverage map.

There is one big limitation to all of these apps.  They don't take into account direct customer feedback and map it similar to deadcellzones.com.  Most people know 3 or 4 areas where they persistently drop calls or cannot get a signal.  Deadcellzones.com allows you to contribute to a map direct customer feedback in a particular area WITHOUT downloading a app the might drain your resources and battery.  If you search for dead cell zones on your phone using a browser it will automatically redirect you to our dead zones mobile friendly site that does not require a download.

Reading these two blog posts and comments might indicate that these apps use resources and battery if you keep it running in the background constantly.  CBS articleLifehacker article

Would love any technical feedback below.

Does The Sensorly App Drain Your Battery?

Sensorly App Screen Shot & Users

Do any of our readers use the Sensorly, OpenSignal, MyMobileCoverage or Rootmetrics signal measure apps the run in the background on a regular basis? I have been reading some blog posts that indicate that these apps drain battery.  Would love your feedback on the added benefit if you like it or not?

Apparently they have getting a lot of user feedback and have updated the app. Here’s what you can expect in the newly updated Sensorly 3.9.6: On the Sensorly blog post they stated the following.

- Added Refresh Map Cache button to the settings page
- Fixed bug caused by switching networks on the map
- Tweaked max battery settings
- Fixed issue with the periodic wake timer resetting
- Improved Battery life

"User feedback centered around two main aspects of the app: battery life and the map. Some devices were not displaying mapped coverage and speed tests correctly, so we added a clear cache setting to reload map data and address this issue. Other map related changes will ensure that all map buttons function properly. We’re confident that these changes will provide a better overall map experience to our community."

"The team also made improvements to help optimize battery life, including making sure that maximum battery discharge for passive mapping keeps values set by the user. Changes to the way Sensorly performs check-ins and background tasks were also tweaked to aid battery longevity."


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