Mobishark’s SharkModem for the BlackBerry lets you view detailed connection info in a simple format.
Up until 20 minutes ago, I had no internet access from home. How could this be, you ask? Living as I do, in a rural part of the country, however, high speed access is not ubiquitous by any means. In my case, I could get cable, but until two weeks ago, my service provider was Adelphia (soon to be bought by Time Warner Cable), and now is Time Warner Cable (staffed apparently by new and different, yet equally incompetent, call center gnomes). Neither of these moronic corporate behemoths are able to muster the energy to appear at my domicile, even to extract an exorbitant $24.95 a month for ‘mediocre-speed’ 256kbps access on top of a $49.95 ‘installation fee,’ which is where the company’s tech gets paid training in how to set up a cable modem, and I get to pay him or her for it. Dialup is the same price, and therefore a rip-off in its own right. So what’s left?
The Blackberry, dingus! Pay attention.
Now, the fine folks at Mobishark, errr, Software? have created a truly interesting piece of software, not to mention a good way to stick it to the big wireless companies for their strong-arm tactics. Here’s the breakdown of the scam your service provider’s probably trying to pull: (1) An ‘unlimited’ data plan with a provider such as, say, Verizon Wireless grants you ‘unlimited access’ to use your Blackberry handheld to surf the web, no matter how many of those little bits and bytes you steal through the mysterious magic wires in the sky that let us all be ‘IN.’ (2) Your Blackberry can be a modem. Pure and simple. After all, Verizon’s perfectly willing to sell you their NationalAccess or BroadbandAccess plans for another $30 a month, so it must work, right?
Heh, yup. Download the trial of SharkModem from Mobishark’s website, and you’ll find just how freaking easy it can be. Install it on your computer and use the app loader to put it on the Blackberry, and you’ll be up and running almost right away (albeit with a 5MB throughput limit on the demo). I was sold immediately. After all, it doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense to be paying for unlimited data which is being unfairly limited (SharkModem uses the device itself to make HTTP and socket requests, so it’s exactly like surfing the web on the Blackberry, only with a real screen) solely to make free money for your wireless provider. At $34.97, on ‘sale’ right now, SharkModem is around what I would’ve paid for a month’s service through my wireless provider, and it’s a one-time fee.
The speed is not bad, although it’s nothing like Verizon’s BroadbandAccess in terms of being able to stream media or live content. Not surprisingly, the big delay is on the initial request, while (I assume) the device has to wait its turn to send the request through the tower to a computer, to the content’s host, back through the computer to the tower and back to the Blackberry. It can take up to 5 seconds before there’s a response (which you can see on SharkModem’s simple yet highly informative Connections tab), but once you’re going, download speeds on Verizon’s network average around 10KBps with 2 bars of service, or approximately 2x modem speed. And the price is right.
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