I hope you don't mind solid brick walls of texts, because I share that syndrome with you!
First off, beautiful, beautiful post Mr. Daley, despite my initial criticism and skepticism (Who's this disconnected old man trying to kid ? What does he know about tech ?) but I have to say that, after reading through the entire post, I was very humbled by your knowledge and awareness, as many of it is even unclear to me! I can't thank you enough for taking the time to come up with an appropriately titled Superguide.
Now, while I'll hold off most of my questions until I'm back home in Canada, I do have one that is currently relevant and very important to me. I currently live in Syria and seem to be stuck here for the foreseeable future. I use GV on my jailbroken iPhone (with firewall, don't worry. Only apps I allow, when I allow, can use data) with the aide of SMS and Phone extensions that blissfully integrate them into the native Messaging and Phone apps. Here's my problem however. While I don't mind that the sending of texts uses data, data is also required to receive texts, since GV doesn't support international forwarding, not even just for texts. As a result, I'm forced to continually check my gmail account for new texts and download them that way. As I'm sure you're aware, the iPhone is a data hog and, to make matters worse, the cellphone market is cornered here in Syria like a monopoly in a cul de sac. There are two "rival" companies that are owned by the same person, probably to simulate the impression of competition, though their prices are exactly the same, with the only difference being certain limited time offers. The largest data (EDGE) package (which, "offers discounts up to 60%!) is 25MB. That's not enough to last me 24 hours. And so, I've decided to try out their 3G offers (btw, 3G was released here when 4G was released everywhere else). They have much better packages, but not only are the prices not much better, but the chances of slipping and going over your allotted data amount is bafflingly risky. These companies here (run by the government obviously) are designed to use trickery and deception to suck as much money as possible from employees. And while customer service "seems" just fine if you want to activate services (i.e anything involving paying them more money), it's actually quite useless if you have problems. And don't even think about ever asking for a refund on anything, no matter how wrongfully stolen.
Here's my situation. I text quite a bit, and never call. All my contacts are in North America, but I'm still not likely to ever make calls as there's no workaround I'm aware of to call through GV (via GSM, not data) for free, as the ones that exist for those living in north america. However I would still like to have the option (as I still live here, after all) to make calls to Syrian numbers, even though it would cost me quite a bit, but as you've stated regarding e911, I'd feel much safer having that option when and if I need it, regardless of how much it would cost me.
I'm sorry, I talk a lot and it tends to confuse people. I'll simplify my requirements:
1- The ability to forward incoming texts from GV to my phone without using data, making incoming texts free for me, in which case I'd only be paying for sending them via data. I'm currently receiving texts through my gmail account, which seems to be burning through my data like anything. So, with this data cost limb amputated, I'll only be charged for sending texts via GV. Which, when done via the SMS extension (and NOT any official GV apps!) should cost nothing over 1kb, though I have absolutely no way to confirm that (if you can help with this, providing me a way to monitor my data usage for texting, that'd be great. Since I'm using data strictly only for texting, and as such it's the only thing I need to monitor)
2- The ability to call Syrian numbers via data free of charge, even for just a single minute, as stated above, exclusively for emergencies.
3- The ability to have calls from my Syrian number forwarded to my phone via GV.
4- The ability to activate Facebook texts using my GV number. Fb texts is unavailable in Syria, but I have nevertheless found a loophole 3 years ago to make it work on my phone. However my number's changed and I can't seem to add the new one. I've tried adding my GV number but I never receive a text from them. And texting FBOOK (32665 I think) from my GV number doesn't seem to work. Apparently GV can't text such "service numbers" or whatever they're called ? Because if I can activate FB texts, coupled with GV, that would permanently strip my data usage down to just texting and, if I manage to find a way to forward texts to my phone, I'll literally only be charged for sending the texts via GV on data, as receiving them will be free, via GSM.
I forgot to touch on number 3. If I was to make the transition to 3G (as opposed to EDGE) it would mean serious compromise. I'm not sure how they did it, but 3G SIMs here cannot be used for making or receiving calls or texts (except texts from Syriatel of course, regarding offers, ads and the status of your account) and as such my iPhone will become more like a miniature iPad 3G, without phone or text capabilities. Fortunately though, using GV, I'll be able to fill this gap, except for one loophole that I have yet to find a solution to, forwarding calls from my Syrian number (the SIM of which will remain unused, paying a certain fee to keep it active for a year) to my iPhone (via my GV number). Do you know if this is currently possible ? Regardless of what charges may apply. At the very least I'd like to use this as a mere notification of incoming calls on my Syrian number, at which point I can use a landline to call the person back. I have no problem routing my GV numbers through several DID's or SIP's, as long as it eventually works. I've tried VoxOx, which was very promising (it even has an option of forwarding texts to my cellphone), but I can't seem to receive calls on it in order to hook it up to GV so that's out.
Again, many many thanks for this article. I have yet to read through all the comments, which I'll start now. Keep it up! I'm proud to call myself a mustachian now because of you! :D
EDIT: Having only gone through half of the comments so far (on page 5 currently) I already have a few more questions to ask.
Also regarding SMS usage. I'm familiar with biteSMS (and I think I've heard of crunch) but not chomp. All I know is that bite is the "free" version of the app on iPhone. I use bite, but mainly for all it's amazing features over the native Messaging app. I was disappointed to realize that Textfreek only sends free messages to other Textfreek users, as it is literally impossible to get everyone I know to install it on their devices, and as such am still limited to using it with Google Voice. As for date rates/SMS, I've been burned by this. I once spent 15MB in under an hour and a half of texting via the GV app. That was when I decided to revert to receiving texts via email and sending them via the GV extension.
As for Android, I've never been a fan, especially being an iPhone user, but you've really convinced me with all your talk on the Intercept (though, if I bought one, I'd prefer to get a GSM unlocked model that I can use here in Syria as well as back home in Canada). And despite all your warnings, I will most likely try rooting it (though I'm sure it's a much more complicated process than jailbreaking an iPhone) as I find it a must to experiment with my devices to bring them to their fullest potential. After all, prior to acquiring my current POS iPhone 3G, I knew absolutely nothing about iOS, having always disliked MacOS. But less than a month later, I became a pro, despite all the hiccups I ran into along the way and getting the phone bricked several times. My iPhone now has (software) features unavailable to devices prior to the iPhone 4, yet I have to admit that it is extremely slow and laggy, but hopefully when I find the time to restore it, I'll remove everything I don't absolutely need (I installed a plethora of features that I don't need merely to make my device less depressing, removing those should significantly increase performance and battery usage at the cost of the look and feel of the device, but it's a worthwhile sacrifice for making your apps, even Phone, load in under 20 seconds, if at all). But one question regarding CarrierIQ. If and when I get an android (to the best of my knowledge, and I've read about CIQ a couple years back, it's not preinstalled with iPhones) CarrierIQ will most definitely have to be removed from my device. You mentioned that certain kernels have CIQ embedded deep within them, making it practically impossible to remove, could you please shed more light on that ? As I refuse to operate a device with CIQ installed, both for privacy as well as data/battery drain. Though I should note in regard to battery drain that I don't mind charging my phone every night, since I currently have to charge mine every few hours depending on usage lol Also, in terms of security, I haven't found jailbreaking to be a big deal, though I'm sure rooting a droid is an entirely different matter. As an "old tech hand", is there a way to keep the rooted device entirely secure ? If not, what are the risky loopholes that can't be filled and, are they worth leaving the phone rooted ? If not, after modifying the kernel to my heart's desires, can I unroot the device ? You mentioned something about permanent roots, does that mean there are temporary ones ? (As in opening the case, tampering with it and closing it again, only on a software level) Because that would make me much more comfortable if there are great security threats to rooting. And you can't install cracked apps ? No offense to any developers here, but that's a seamless and risk-free process on iOS, I'd be lying if I said I'm not slightly disappointed.
A quick question regarding VoIP, you inferred that it costs hoards of data when really, I had a 256kbps connection here at one point and I was able to make Skype calls with one-party video. Video quality was cray of course (then again that does depend entirely on the type of cam used, and most of them suck) but apart from constant breaks and missing packets, voice was decent enough, especially when video is turned off. This is on a bandwidth of 25/30KB/s. Now I'm obviously not suggesting that this is ideal, I'm just comparing notes. If such pathetic bandwidths are capable of handling VoIP, why can't 1Mbps+ do it ? Could it be, since Skype uses their own proprietary stuff, that they require less bandwidth ? Does that make using Skype for DID and VoIP an ideal option ?
I'll most likely avoid piling onto this post with my questions regarding the second half of the comments (should there be any) and will post a new reply instead lol but sadly I can't continue reading them now and may not be able to until tomorrow (to your relief, I'm sure :D)
I should also note that, for all of my questions, I require explicitly free services as I have no access to credit cards while I'm here, and as such cannot make online purchases. And it's not like I have Walmart or Canadian Tire in my backyard for any requirements lol