Karma Go Review and First Impressions

Karma Go Powered On

 

I’d been anxiously awaiting my Karma Go since I pre-ordered it back in November of 2014. The devices were suppose to start shipping in Q1 of 2015, but due to some manufacturing setbacks and approvals they did not begin shipping until mid-summer.

Between “Amazon Prime Day” and receiving my Karma shipment notification I felt like Christmas was already here.

I had high hopes for Karma as I had previously tried similar services before with crappy service or refurbished equipment (ahem FreedomPop).

Services like Verizon or AT&T are fine for road warriors but I wanted something for occasional use and family travel.

Would Karma Go live up to my expectations? Only time will tell for sure. But here are my first impressions of Karma Go.

Shipping Time

Not including the time Karma tortured me by making me wait so long while they were manufacturing the device, the shipping time from the warehouse on the West Coast to my home on the East Coast was less than a week.

Also, Karma did communicate well with the people that pre-ordered with monthly status emails and gave us a few opportunities to pre-purchase data at half price. I stocked up.

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Presentation and Design

I was very impressed with the design and presentation of the Karma Go, and so was my wife (she appreciates clean design even more than I).

Karma Go Wool Sleeve

The device itself came with a grey wool sleeve for protection. It has only one button and 5 indicator lights.

Karma Go Power Button

The materials feel very sturdy and it looks as though it was well manufactured.

Karma Go Magnetic Cable

The charge cable is a minimal-looking USB cable that magnetically connects both ends when not in use and also allows you to tame the cable with a loop connector.

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It also came with some stickers for you sticker heads. I knew this would be my 3-year-old son’s favorite part.

User-Friendliness and Simplicity

The only instructions were a couple of cards that explain power on, power off, sleep mode, signal strength, and mobile apps.

The single button leaves little to the imagination. Hold the power button equals power on or off. Press the power button for a second or so when the device is on and it will go to sleep to conserve battery.

Green indicator light means the device is on. Red indicator light means it is off. White means that it is asleep. The 3 middle indicator lights are the signal strength.

The best part is that the lights flicker Knight Rider style. This alone makes me want to power the device on and off constantly.

Functionality & Service

Although I appreciate the simplicity of the Karma Go, I do not like that I cannot set a password on the Wi-Fi, nor rename the device to something like “FBI Surveillance Van” to keep the gold diggers away.

But in terms of a LTE hotspot, the device and network performance was on point.

(Image Coming Soon)

Battery Life

The advertised battery life of the Karma Go is about 5 hours.  In my initial tests that seems to be about right. Of course I have only tested this in places with powerful signal strength.

I have not tested if the standby really lasts the 220 hours as it is typically just easier to turn the device off.

Affordability

I purchased the Karma Go on pre-sale for $99 but I think it runs for $150 now. This isn’t bad considering that most of the big guys like AT&T will charge you a couple hundred bucks for a low end device and lock you into a $50 per month contract for 24 months. Ouch.

The data plans for the Karma are very affordable. $59 for 5 Gigs and $99 for 10 Gigs. The best part is that the data never expires. Other companies’ plans typically do expire each month – even the pre-paid ones.

Conclusion

At first blush, Karma Go seems like a fantastic option for road warriors and casual users alike. The service seems up-to-par with the big boys like Verizon (thus far in my limited tests). The design and character rivals that of an Apple product (love them or hate them). The data plans are super affordable. And battery life is reasonably good so far.

The biggest scars on the Karma Go is lack of ability to rename your device and set a password on the Wi-Fi. So if you are hanging out in places with lots of freeloaders or worst yet, with several other people with Karmas, things could get crazy.

Karma Go Coupon – $10 Off

If you found this review helpful and are interested in getting your own Karma Go click here to get $10 off.

Oops, I’m #1 in Google. How’d I do that?

Back in the days of 2007, before anyone knew what a “tweet” was, when Facebook was still for college kids, and before email storage space was unlimited, I needed a way to archive my funny email forwards that I got from friends and family.

Well, I thought: why don’t I just start a free blog on that blogger platform that Google acquired and just post them up there.  That way I can free up my email and others might find some funny stuff on there.  And so http://funnyforwards.blogspot.com was born.  I created the site, uploaded about 50 email forwards that were humorous, and then pretty much forgot about it.

Sometime in 2009, I had another stockpile of funny forwards so I posted about 50 more.  Then I honestly forgot about it again.

Then in 2010, happen to stumble on my Google Analytics account and noticed that I was getting tons of visits every month.  The traffic would generally be about 100 to 200 visitors a day with spikes of up to 1000.  So I did what most rookies would do and slapped some Google Ads up there.  After a few weeks and only making a couple of bucks on ads I foolishly decided to move on.

Looking to consolidate some of my web properties and focus my efforts I stumbled across this site again a couple of months ago.

Now that I know what a niche actually is in the online world and know how to identify and evaluate one, I realize that I picked a really good one and set it up properly to get traffic.

What I am still uncertain of is if I picked a niche that I can monetize easily.  For example, when selecting a website niche where the goal is to put ads on, you want ads that have high cost PPC rates.  This way you make dollars when ads are clicked, not pennies.

However, if your plan is to monetize with a different method, say an eBook, you have completely different qualifications to look for.  For instance, it might be difficult to sell an eBook to monks, as they typically don’t do a lot of purchases online, let alone Internet browsing.

To make up for my mistakes I am going to be spending some time on this site to see if I can monetize that traffic.  I’ve already changed the design, changed the ad style, and moved the ad placement a couple of times to test what works best thanks to Pat Flynn’s advice:

The changes that I’ve made with my Adsense ads that have dramatically increased (and decreased) my income.

Was I foolish to turn my back on this? Yes. But granted, I didn’t know then what I know now: that getting consistant traffic can be really difficult and that there are thousands of different ways to make money from that traffic.  In my own defense, it is hard to know what you don’t know.

So if you do have some websites already, take a look at the analytics once in a while.  What you see may shock you.  And if you do have some traffic, figure out a way to convert that traffic to sales.  Or at least start building a relationship with your audience.

I will keep you posted on my progress with this.

Oh yeah, and case and point of this post, I guess content really is king.

Been awhile

I know it has been awhile since I spent any time posting anything of value on my blog.  My new years resolution is to pay more attention to this blog and my other online profiles.  As I discover useful information, instead of emailing it to myself, I am going to post it here, among other places.

Why am I announcing it, you may ask?  To hold myself accountable, I answer.

Google isn’t the answer to everything afterall

anti-google

I am quickly looking at life through a new lens.  Not to sound like a droid, but ever since my senior year of college, I have been discovering the importance of human interaction.

When I was going through school I was very focused on being the best software developer that I could be.  I had friends and everything, so I wasn’t anti-social, just more of an introvert.    In fact, I was even President of my fraternity.  However, I did not promote those social relationships as well as I could have.  Don’t get me wrong, I was never mean or rude to people.  It was just that I didn’t realize the importance of social interaction.

For instance, often when I was invited to go out, I stayed in and pushed forward a little more on the project that I was working on.  That probably brought me from a B+ to an A-.

What I should have done was taken the B+ then gone out and had a beer with some good friends.  Now that I am 5 or 6 years older (and wiser, I’d like to think), I am realizing the importance of human capital, and have been going out of my way to meet as many people as I can, in order to create valuable relationships with these people.  Especially since I am around so many intelligent and talented people.

This leads me to my point:  Google doesn’t have all the answers.  In the past, if I had a question I would just type it in to Google and wait 0.07 seconds for the results to return.  If I needed to talk to someone, I’d send them a text, email, or Facebook message.  Now I am learning to ask the people around me.  I have discovered that the people in my network know a whole lot more than Google (figuratively speaking).

It is amazing what one can find out about another person, just by asking a non-related question.  Start using your cell phone and lunch meetings instead of Google and email, and you too, will be well on your way to fostering meaningful relationships.  Just remember, it is not who you know, it is who knows you.

Credits:  Image from Visceral Observations

Love-Hate Relationship with Cell Phones

With Kristi and I drawing to the end of our cell phone contract with Alltel, I am beginning to look at what other options are available to possibly switch from Alltel.  The 3 problems we face by switching providers are:

Friends and Family

Most of our friends and family have Alltel also.  This is nice because Alltel offers free cell-to-cell between Alltel customers.  So, we can talk for free to just about everyone we talk to on a regular basis and, therefore, never come close to going over our minutes, even with my various business ventures.

Service Great, Phones Suck

With “smart” phones like the iPhone and the G1 from Google being released every few months, it sucks that Alltel is usually the last carrier to get the things the cool kids are using.  But in the same breath, my phone has bars where many friends do not get service with carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

Where I Live

I just found out that T-Mobile does not have high speed towers in Central Florida so if I got the G1 we would not have access to many of the advanced features.  Asside from that is the alternative of getting an iPhone.   They are probably the slickest of the bunch but the plans are over-priced and I swore I would never return to AT&T.  I am anxious to see what the new Blackberry looks like and if it solves my problems. (Note: This was written before it’s release)

*UPDATE*

Verizon and Alltel Merger

Now that Verizon and Alltel are joining forces, I think we’ll wait and see what they offer.  Last I heard, the merger will commence sometime during mid January.  I hope it doesn’t take as long as the AT&T/Cingular merger.

Ignorant People Should Not Vote!

http://www.bpmdeejays.com/upload/hs_sal_in_Harlem_100108.mp3

After listening to this the other day, I thought of a brilliant idea.  Why not put a simple but relevant 5 question quiz at the top of every ballot and if you cannot get at least 3 questions correct then your vote doesn’t count.  This will ensure that only informed people vote.  This example is against Obama but I’m sure this kind of ignorance happens on both sides of the coin.  Trust me, I live in Central Florida.  I see it daily.

Disclosure: Personally, I like both Obama and McCain.  I just feel people should be educated before making decisions like this.

Oil Prices and Energy Conservation – The problems with America

4th of July Fireworks

Photo by Ianz

This 4th of July got me thinking…

Don’t get me wrong, I love the United States.  I love BBQ, free refills, and I prefer ice in my drinks.  However, I feel the US could take a page out of the books of other countries and regions when it comes to conservation.

To conserve energy, Japan has sensors that turn on escalators as people approach.

Using native or local plants for landscaping.  For instance, using cactus to landscape your desert home or using palm trees to decorate your tropical home.  Although this is beginning to gain popularity, it is not yet the social norm.

Satellite sprinklers are currently gaining popularity even though the technology has been around for many years.  These satellites link to a receiver in your yard to communicate local weather reports to your sprinkler system.  If it is going to rain, your sprinklers say off.

Public transportation and bullet trains are probably the most cost and energy efficient methods of transportation.  How come it has taken us so long to start considering this when Europe has had an extensive rail system for years.

The list goes on…

If I were a political leader, I would visit these countries, write down all of their great ideas, and bring them to the United States to be implemented and offer grants for those willing to research and develop the technologies.

Although, I am suffering too, in a weird way, I am glad gas prices have sky rocketed.  Every-time oil increases in cost, the topic gets 10 more seconds on the evening news and gets 80,000 more people thinking of ways to lessen our dependence on oil.

Update

Shortly after posting this, I received an email from a friend with a link to an article entitled “10 Things you Can Like about $4 Gas.” The article re-emphasizes my point that although we are suffering at the pump, pain is the fastest innovator because it causes necessity and people begin thinking and acting differently.

From the article

But it’s also true that Americans are finding options where there seemed to be none. They’re ready to change — and waiting for their infrastructure to catch up. They are driving to commuter-rail lines only to find there are no parking spots left. They are running fewer errands and dumping their SUVs. Public-transit use is at a 50-year high. Gas purchases are down 2% to 3%. And all those changes bring secondary, hard-earned benefits.

“Nobody wants high prices for oil. But there’s also no faster mechanism to change behavior.” The suffering will go on. But the story, like any good tragedy, is not without redemption.

Engagement Photos

So we got our engagement photos done last weekend and got to view the online proofs pretty quickly after that.  I was expecting  maybe 10 poses or so, but it ended up being a 3 hour ordeal.  I’m not complaining, because I feel we definitely got our money’s worth but it was pretty exhausting.  I’ll never say modeling isn’t difficult again.  Anyhow, below is a couple of my favorite photos from the shoot.  If you are looking for a great photographer and do not want to spend a fortune, check out Bryant’s Photography.