Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Save $50 a month: iPhone 4...From ATT to Straight Talk

The iPhone 5 has been released.  You have looked at the specs, and find it to be underwhelming.  You have an iPhone 4 from 2010 and would like to continue using it.  Great, I have a solution for you.

I would not have been able to make the switch from ATT to Straight Talk as smoothly if it were not for the instructions in the article and video below.

I am an Apple fan, and owner of an iPhone 4.  I have found that I use more Apps on my iPad than my iPhone, which has reduced my need for a new iPhone.  However, the iPhone 4 is still a great piece of hardware.

So, I have a solution for many of you who are off ATT contract and would like less expensive phone service.  After a few weeks of searching, I selected Straight Talk as a substitute for my ATT plan.  Straight Talk only costs $45 a month for unlimited talk, text, and "data".   I purchased my Straight Talk plan from Walmart.  I had to ask the folks behind the counter if they had the "bring your own phone" option in stock.  They did, but it was behind the counter, not in public view.  The Straight Talk option will most likely save you over $50 a month.

*A little tip...The version I purchased on-site from Walmart had 3 sim cards included in the pack.  One micro sim for iPhone 4 and a regular ATT sim and T-Mobile sim.  I plan on using the regular ATT sim for my old iPhone 3G.*

In terms of getting ready for selecting this plan, I made an error.  You must first UNLOCK your iPhone.  There are a number of criteria you must satisfy, but you must ask ATT to unlock your phone first.  As stated in the link below, I suggest you contact ATT tech support on the phone, rather than filling out the online unlock form.  I had my iPhone 4 and later iPhone 3G unlocked rather quickly.


Once the phone is unlocked, you can start the Straight Talk transfer process.  I had made a few errors in this process, so I wanted to add clarity for others.  Again, make sure your phone is unlocked.  Insert your Straight Talk sim card into your iPhone.  Go to Straight Talk's website and activate the Sim, and port your previous phone number.  In my experience, porting the number took just a few minutes on a weekday.

Secondly, you will want to look at the video link below, which helps you gain access to the iPhone's cellular data service.  Follow the directions closely, and you should do fine.  All of this is focused on what is called APN.  Just follow the directions in the video, and you should be fine.  This is a technical part that may make casual computer users nervous.  If you are not very tech savvy, you may want to watch the video below, and see if you are up to the task.


I would expect there to be a large number of folks who have iPhone 4 that are off contract, but don't find a compelling reason to buy the iPhone 5.  I have used the Straight Talk service for over a week, and it has worked fine.  I called ATT to cancel my service, but they told me that when I ported my phone number, my ATT service was automatically cancelled.
You may say that I have lost my ATT unlimited data plan....well, not really.  ATT puts data caps on 2 GB worth of data, so you really don't get unlimited data at fast speeds.  The same with Straight Talk.  I'm not sure how this plan will work out long-term, but I am happy to have it.  I have paid so much to ATT over the past 4 years, it is time for a break.  In 6 months to a year, I may pick up the newest phone, but for now Walmart's Straight Talk works great.

A New Engine

The American Enterprise Institute opened up a video contest to promote The Moral Case for Free Enterprise.  Prizes totaled $50,000, including $40,000 for the winner.  This is a huge cash prize compared to most video contests.

The video above is my entry into the contest, and it was selected as one of the final 19 featured entries.  I believe the 3 winners will come out of this group.  The winners will be announced on October 9, 2012.

As the Washington Post said today, "Finalists will be judged by a panel including: S.E. Cupp, New York Daily News columnist and MSNBC host; Jonah Goldberg, American Enterprise Institute fellow, author of “The Tyranny of Clich├ęs” and National Review editor; Kristina Kendall, executive producer for “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network and Remy Munasifi, comedian."

Out of 19 final videos, what makes my video different?

As I viewed the cinematic entries by the other finalists, there were a few common threads.  There were a number (3) of videos that spoke about the immigrant experience of success in America and several entries (6) that focused on children learning to earn something themselves rather than taking from their parents.  A third theme that is pretty common among the videos is emotion and drama.  I don't know if I am bad at showing emotion and drama on video, because I've never tried it.  Making an emotional piece rarely crosses my mind because I'm an insensitive male doofus.  Maybe I'll try an emotional appeal one day.

My entry was the only one that discussed current government policies, and how they impact people today.  In my video, I focus on how the Chevy Volt and a number of electric car companies have been anointed by the federal government as the technologies of the future.  To make these technologies popular, the government gives people $7,500-$9,000 in tax credits, rebates, and other goodies if they buy one of their chosen vehicles.  The point of my video is that this practice is against free market principles, is not fair, and prevents other alternative technologies from emerging.  I think I was the only one to really point fingers at the government and call out real companies by name.

I have no idea what the results of the final voting will be, but most of these video entries looked beautiful.  Most of them were most likely shot on DSLR cameras with a small crew.  DSLR filmmaking has exploded, and really allowed people to communicate in a more beautiful and compelling manner.  That is an amazing thing, and a testament to free enterprise.

I also noticed an entry from video contest champion, Happy Joel.  This guy has entered and won a ton of video contests, and it's not the first time I have seen he and I on a finalists list.  Good luck to him.

Lastly, I found this finalist video, "Joke of the Day"by Don Brookins to be a great surprise.  It is real, it is funny, it is simple, it has a great point.  I don't think this video was shot with a DSLR.  They probably used a consumer grade video camera with a wireless mic.  It works!  You want to keep watching, you want to see where it goes, you want to hear the end of the joke.  So, after I said all those great things about DSLR filmmaking...it really comes down to a compelling idea.

Don's video is below.