iPhone 4 and 4G Cellular Networks – Apples and Oranges

These days the term “4G” is thrown around very loosely, and used interchangeably to describe the fourth generation of the iPhone (iphone 4), or the fourth generation of cellular networks. The most common misconception, which marketing geniuses gladly perpetuate, is that the iPhone 4 runs on the “faster” 4G network. Not exactly.

First let’s examine the current cellular network services to understand what they offer in simple terms. There are three to four standards of cellular networks available from most carriers – 2G, “Edge”, 3G, and 4G. The “G” stands for generation, not Gigahertz. 2G was launched on the GSM standard in 1991, offers digital encryption of cellular conversations, significant mobile penetration for cellular signals (in buildings, for example), and introduced data services such as SMS messaging and email. The digital 2G service reduced fraud because the cloning of handsets became nearly impossible. It reduced power requirements for handsets so they could become smaller, and dramatically increased handling capacity for cell towers. This brought costs, and prices, down across the industry. It also eliminated most of the static we had grown accustomed to on the analog systems of the 80s. Now instead of static, the call drops out.

“Edge”, also referred to as “2.75G”, stepped up capacity and allowed higher data rates within the GSM system.

“3G” provides a minimum peak data rate of 200kbits per second, enabling intenet access, video calls, and transmission of images in a “reasonable” amount of time. Several version of 3G now exist, mostly to provide mobile broadband connectivity for smartphones and laptops. The minimum data transfer rate is generally considered to be 2megbits per second on 3G, though enhanced versions of this standard are a bit faster, yet don’t qualify as “4G”.

“4G”, or “Fourth Generation” cellular sets the peak download speed minimum at 100 megabits per second for transmission to/from a moving vehicle, and 1 Gigabit transmission rate for a stationary phone. Interestingly, many cell providers market “3.9G” transmission standards as “4G”, because they offer a significant improvement over what we understand to be 3G. But technically, such “4G” designation is incorrect. Without getting into too many details, let’s just say that even within the 4G standard, not only are all 4G services not alike, but some aren’t truly “4G” at all. Instead, they are 3G LTE, which fpr the sake of argument you could think of as “Enhanced 3G”.

The race between the cellular companies to offer the most comprehensive “4G” networks is now on. Sprint claims to have one of the largest “4G” networks available, which according to their marketing materials can provide “up to” 10 times faster mobile broadband connectivity. But ten times faster than what? Morse code?

Verizon, meanwhile, touts all the money it is investing in its extensive “4G” network across the country. Who doesn’t remember the “can you hear me now” ads we were bombarded with for years. And, judging from the excellent reputation it has earned with its subscribers, Verizon is often regarded as one of the most reliable cellular networks. The power of repetitive marketing. It’s certainly the largest, by number of subscribers.

AT&T, meanwhile, touts “more bars”, which refers to their 3G network, with no mention of the 4G standard. Pressured by the competition, even AT&T has had to roll out its own version of 4G development, and promises a “great things ahead”, “coming soon” and “please don’t leave us yet” strategy. Last year they announced a plan to invest $17 Billion in their infrastructure across the country.

What does it all mean to the average consumer who just wants a phone that works, provides email and some occasional entertainment while waiting in line at the bank? It means that if you want the fastest possible service, one that allows live-streaming of television programing, or video chat with the office, the kids, or your significant other, then you want “real” 4G – not the beefed up 3G service they’re labeling 4G. It will, of course, cost you. And, no iphone currently on the market offers 4G compatibility. The best you can do with an iphone is 3G (either GSM or CDMA), period.

As of this writing, the only 4G-capable smartphones available are made by Samsung, Motorola, HTC and LG. They sport the Android operating system introduced by Google. Sprint offers 4G connectivity today. Verizon is waving the “coming soon!” banner. In view of that, it’s easy to understand the serious threat that Android phones pose to the iPhone’s market share. Indeed, it’s no accident that sales of Android phones have been brisk, and have already apparently cannibalized a part of Blackberry’s share of the market

Closing in on Verizon are Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile, both with their own versions of “4G”. At the moment, Verizon leads with 5-12mgb per second, followed by Sprint at 3-6mgb per sec, and then T-Mobile at 3-7mgb per sec.

While AT&T apparently can’t offer 4G service yet, it’s reported that it already has the capability to support those speeds and the newer technology on it’s current infrastructure.

It’s just a matter of time before we all will be using 4G. At the moment however, not only can the newest iPhone on the market NOT handle the faster, broader-spectrum cellular network speed known as 4G – AT&T hasn’t rolled out its version of the 4G network yet.

While Verizon starts to bring their version of 4G online in certain metropolitan markets, the Verizon version of the iPhone won’t run on it. It’s a 3G-only, CDMA phone. To top it off, Verizon recently announced that it would be “throttling down” data speeds on its mobile networks to compensate for the anticipated spike in new iphone users. (Verizon iPhone 4 sales are apparently below predictions by the way). Some are concerned that this 3G may end up slower than it was prior to the introduction of the Verizon iphone.

The Apple iPhone 4 is not capable of 4G speeds. Buy it because it’s cool. Buy it because it works seamlessly with you Mac. But don’t buy it because it’s faster online. It’s just not . . . yet.

iPhone: Verizon vs. AT&T

The “new” iPhone 4 for Verizon is finally here. So do we jump on the bandwagon and abandon AT&T? Not so fast. For those of us with AT&T iPhones, there are several things to consider. For current Verizon customers, the following article won’t apply. They have already ordered their iPhones. First, let’s outline the key differences between the two services.

AT&T uses the GSM network. What this means is that you can use the iPhone in the States, and in Europe. This is no small matter for folks who travel for business and pleasure. The Verizon iPhone is outfitted with the CDMA chip, which means it will not work in most parts of Europe. Because of the CDMA technology, (which has been around for quite awhile and will soon be obsolete, by the way), one cannot make a call and surf the web on the phone at the same time.

Why would surfing the web be necessary during a call, you ask? Consider looking up a webpage of a restaurant, or a map for directions, while you’re on the phone. Or perhaps you’re waiting for an important email, but are on hold with someone for 30 minutes. Also, certain apps may depend on internet connectivity to function. According to Verizon, this “feature” accounts for the call reliability. Less calls are dropped. If you place a call on the Verizon iPhone, that app functionality may be on hold during the call. With all of it’s well-documented faults (mostly in cellular service and connectivity), the AT&T iphone is more of a multi-tasker. One can be on the phone and send a text message, or email, or search the web at the same time. For those of us who live on the phone, that’s important.

For some, all that matters is reliable phone service. And if that’s your main criterion, the Verizon version of the iPhone wins hands down. David Pogue, the Mac Guru and tech columnist of the New York Times, conducted his own scientific test recently. He carried an AT&T iphone, and a Verizon iPhone around with him for a week. He reports that his AT&T phone consistently dropped calls, while the Verizon iPhone consistently did not.

There are many current Verizon customers who were only too happy to finally get their mitts on an iPhone. The AT&T customers looking to jump ship and go to Verizon, however, have other factors to consider. One is the early termination fees on their AT&T contracts, if their two-year commitment hasn’t expired yet. The other is data usage. Early adopters on AT&T still enjoy unlimited data plans (it is no longer offered for new customers), while Verizon states it will offer unlimited data plans on the iphone “for now”. Eventually Verizon plans to throttle down that offer to 2Gb per month for $25. For power smartphone users, overage charges will add up quickly.

The next item to consider is roll-over minutes – a feature only offered on AT&T. If we switch to Verizon, those roll-over minutes will disappear, the data usage will eventually be capped at 2Gigs per month, and the phone will not work when we travel to our Chalet in the Alps, our favorite restaurant in Rome, or museum in Paris.

And finally, the Verizon iPhone 4 is older technology. In a few months, the next version of the iPhone should become available from Apple and AT&T. Do we really want to abandon AT&T in spite, and adopt the CDMA iphone 4 just to be locked in to that older technology for the next two years? The trend is towards 4G cellular service. What if the next generation of iPhone, which would most likely be introduced in June, were 4-G capable? (For an explanation of the difference between the 3G network, and 4G network, please see the article “iPhone 4 and 4G Cellular Networks – Apples and Oranges”.

In our opinion, Apple should have incorporated the 4G cellular technology into the Verizon iPhone from the start. Verizon stated they would have liked that. But then EVERYONE, especially AT&T customers, would have flocked to Verizon en masse, which would have devastated AT&T in many different ways.

In short, we believe the argument to switch from AT&T to Verizon is, at least at present, weak. Within a few months there will be a new version of the iPhone, and we don’t like the idea of locking ourselves into a two-year contract on a CDMA version of last year’s iPhone 4. Who knows? Perhaps the iPhone “5” will be smaller, cooler, faster . . . 4G COMPLIANT. Live video streaming and Face Time (the video conferencing feature) via the cellular network is VERY attractive. Currently Face Time and video streaming only works via WIFI connection, not via the 3G cellular network. That is of course unless you hack your phone. But with the data limits on the “Verizon”, who wants that?

Nope. For now at least, we’re going to stick with AT&T. We’ve suffered through the poor connectivity this long, a few more months won’t kill us. Besides, we’ve accumulated so many roll-over minutes that we need some time to take advantage of them. And, if the “iPhone 5” continues the trend of fabulous improvements, and even sports 4G connectivity, then the wait will have been worth it.

If, on the other hand, the faster 4G network does not become part of the equation with AT&T by June, 2011, then all bets are off. By then Verizon will surely have adapted its iPhone to the faster and more reliable 4G network. At that point, no manner of roll-over minutes will keep us from finally walking away from AT&T and embracing Verizon’s superior network.

Hacked AOL Address Books and forwarded chain emails – the latest threat to your security

We’ve received several calls from clients recently, who suspected that their Macs had been hacked from the outside. While they were incorrect about the method, it appears that a new twist on an old scam has surfaced, and that it is surprisingly, alarmingly, successful. We have reason to believe that email addresses in AOL address books and chain-emails are being compromised by criminals overseas. The criminals send “emergency” alerts out to friends and family of unsuspecting victims, and, posing as the victim, claim to be in trouble and in need of cash to get home. These messages are more refined than the “Prince in Nigeria needs help getting inheritance out of Africa” messages we have all received at one time or another.

A sample of a successful scam follows:

Subject: Emergency!!!

I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, I’m sorry for this odd request because it might get to you too urgent, but due to the situation of things right now, I’m stuck in London United Kingdom right now, i came down here on a short vacation and i was robbed, my bags, cash, cards and my cell phone were stolen off me at GUN POINT, so i only have access to my emails, it was such a crazy and brutal experience for me and i was hurt on my right hand, but I’m glad i still have my life. I need help flying back home, the authorities are not being 100% supportive, i have been to the embassy and the Police here in London, but they’re not helping issues at all, but the good thing is that i still have my passport but don’t have enough money to get my flight ticket back home and some bills settled, please i need you to loan me some money, i promise to refund it as soon as I’m back home. You can get it to me through western union, email me back so that i can give you details to send it to.

[End of message sample].

This was sent to a client’s address book listing while the client happened to be traveling this summer. She could not be immediately reached, so naturally her friends and family were very concerned.

Now, most of us might say “who is going to fall for that?” Sadly, if a loved one seems to have sent you this sort of message, and you then can’t reach them on the phone, you might be alarmed. There are several variations of this type of fraudulent message floating around. The bad guys have become more sophisticated.

Another of our clients had a similar experience, and we have heard of friends of friends also falling victim to this scam.

We believe that our client’s AOL’s address book was accessed or hacked online, and not locally on her computer. When contacted, AOL was surprisingly unsympathetic to the victim’s problem. Those addresses and additional notes in the address book were used to glean private information, which was then implemented in making the “emergency” emails sound authentic. They used family names, pet names, and whatever else they could pick out of the address book information to swindle friends and family into wiring cash overseas immediately.

Another trend we’ve seen is Viagra ads going out to everyone listed on someone’s AOL and Yahoo address books. The ad appears to come directly from your friend’s mailbox. While that sort of spam is often the result of a virus, it’s increasingly sent from online address books. Your computer’s anti-virus program can’t prevent that. Your computer is no longer necessary to commit the scam. All the criminal needs is your name, your email address, and a list of your friends.

Should you fall victim to this sort of scam, either as sender or recipient, here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself:

1) If you receive an emergency email, try to reach the person claiming to be in trouble FIRST, and confirm the mail – by phone. DO NOT REPLY TO THE MESSAGE BY HITTING “REPLY”.

2) Take a close look at the sender’s email. In most cases, the criminal has imitated the sender’s email address, but used a different free service like gmail, aol, yahoo or hotmail. If the address is different than what your friend or loved one usually uses to write to you, BEWARE. It’s probably an imposter. The big tip-off is if the emergency email asks you to reply ONLY via email for more information.

2b) Alert your internet service provider, and your email service provider (you may be using Verizon for one, and Godaddy, for example, for the other).

3) Should YOU fall victim to someone sending out emergency emails in your name, alert everyone in your address book immediately that your address has been hijacked. One of our clients was brilliant and did this immediately, and stopped the scam in its tracks. Email address hijacking is incredibly easy to do. It’s also known as “spoofing.” (We won’t describe how it’s done here, as we don’t know where this alert will eventually end up.)

4) If you do any financial business online (banking, investment, bill payment, etc), alert your banks, credit card companies and so on immediately, and change your passwords. (You should never send passwords via email at any time. As we see here, email is not secure).

5) If your address book has been compromised, change your email address. It can be painful yes, but is no worse than changing your phone number. Your friends, family, colleagues and clients will get over it.

6) Change your passwords. Changing your email address and then using the SAME old password is pointless.

7) Make sure your password is a secure one. Use a combination of letters and numbers, not your kid’s name, pet’s name or your listed phone number. Do not just add a “1” to the end of your name. That’s the first thing someone will try when trying to crack it. Very obvious. Do not use “ABC123” or “password”. Foreign words are good, especially if you combine them with a number or two.

8) Write down your password in a safe place (not in a document on your computer entitled “Passwords”)

9) If you have a wireless network, make sure it requires a password to get online. You don’t want someone parking their car outside your house and using your internet to order goods on a stolen credit card. They’ll track the packages, wait for delivery outside of your home, and then leave with the packages. When the fraudulent charges are traced, the authorities will come to YOUR address. Always protect your network.

10) You may want to share this email with your friends, family, and colleagues, so that they are aware in advance of this sort of scam. Agree to only respond to such “emergency” emails if they can be verified. Let them know you would never ask for cash to be wired overseas in an email.

Next, hacking into personal computers, especially Macs, is not as easy as Hollywood will have you believe. It’s more fruitful for these criminals to hack into large banks, email service providers, and vendors. News reports have surfaced of hackers hijacking entire client lists at major retailers, and holding those lists of credit card numbers hostage. The banks or merchants reportedly pay ransoms to get those lists back, and keep the security breach quiet. Other fertile grounds for the con artists are the enormous amounts of forwarded emails many of us are forced to sift through.

Ever notice how many email addresses are listed on those jokes that Uncle Fred keeps forwarding to you? Do everyone a favor and don’t forward them! If a con man finds such an email, all he has to do is send a reply to that “list”. Many of those listed will know one another. Thanks to that forwarded joke, most of them are now potential targets for con artists.

The thing to do when forwarding an email, is to click on “Forward”, go into the body of the email, and erase everything EXCEPT the point of the mail – the joke, the statement, the link, or the picture. Protect everyone else and delete all of those addresses. No one wants to scroll through addresses and comments for half an hour just to get to the point of the mail. Delete them! Send only the point of the mail.

And finally, even though you have a mostly impervious Macintosh, don’t assume you are not at risk. If you don’t use a password for logging in to your Mac, you are at risk. If you do not have a password requirement for your wireless network, you are at risk. If your password for your email account on AOL or any of the other free, online service is a simple word found in ANY language dictionary, you are at risk. Hackers have programs that will throw every word found in a dictionary at a password login. Eventually, one of them will stick, and anything in your past emails, sent emails, or address book, becomes available to the professional criminal. From there it’s a small jump to stealing your identity.

These “emergency” emails sent out in someone’s name were not necessarily the result of a virus or a direct hack of the victim’s computer. Anti-virus software would not have protected them in this case. Either the ONLINE address book was hacked, or, a long, forwarded email was re-engineered.

We leave you with a parting thought. Install Anti-virus software, and backup your data on an external drive. Backup your data. Backup your data. Backup your data. Do it today. If you are backing up, check it. Make sure it’s working. Make sure someone hasn’t turned the external drive off by mistake, or that the computer is still trying to complete the backup you started five months ago (it happens). If you can ‘t get Time Machine to work, or if your system doesn’t include Time Machine (pre-Leopard), download a free copy of Super Duper from Versiontracker.com or shirtpocket.com. Then clone your drive onto another, blank external drive. Worst case, simply drag your data onto the external drive image and wait for it to finish copying. See our other posts for tips on backup routines and options.

We hope this alert will help prevent you, and your loved ones, from falling victim to these scams. Now please, go backup your data and check it.

Itunes Update may delete some data, Macbook Air is a solid revision, and the iPad is here to stay

Monday Morning Report – October 25, 2010

The Monday Morning Report features a summary of recent tech support issues that we’ve encountered and resolved, and some current Mac platform-specific topics that our clients bring up..

The big news this past week was the introduction of not only a new Macbook Air, but also the newest rendition of the Mac Operating System, “Lion” 10.7. While Lion won’t be out until mid-summer of next year, the newest, thinnest laptop is available in stores now. It feels more substantial, and has a long-overdue, very welcome second USB port. But we’ll review the laptop is a separate article later. The other news is that Steve Jobs has apparently scoffed at the introduction of 7” screen pads by other manufacturers. It sounds like the next iPad will still sport the 9.7” screen. No update yet on WHEN that second generation iPad will arrive. They don’t want to kill the brisk sales of iPads currently in stores.

This brings us to our overall impression of the iPad phenomenon. Let me cut right to the chase. Judging from the huge impact the iPad has had in just the first few months, I think it’s safe to say that most everyone will be sporting some sort of Pad, whether by Apple or not, within the next three years. iPads are everywhere now. It’s being handed out in restaurants as an interactive Wine List, complete with the history of the grape, video clips and narration. (Hope they have that Pad tethered to the chair.) There will be hold-outs, to be sure. Just as there were many hold-outs when the laptop first appeared. Indeed, the first laptop (Osborne-1, 1981) weighed as much as a car battery, because it NEEDED the equivalent of a car battery to operate. The screen was 5 inches in diameter. They sold 10,000 units per month when it was first introduced. The Osborne company went bankrupt two years later. The first Mac “laptop” was the “Mac Portable” (1989), and weighed 17 pounds. The point is, there will be trailblazers, gadget-hounds and businessmen. Eventually, those who don’t have some sort of iPad, Slate, Playbook or other digital Pad will seem quaint – like people today who don’t HAVE a mobile number, because they refuse to get a cell phone. Tribesmen in the remotest parts of Africa have cell phones, by the way and probably enjoy better reception with their carrier than we have here with AT&T in Los Angeles . But that’s another story.

The iPad is revolutionary because it’s approachable. It’s not intimidating. Not a single user we have come across regrets buying an iPad. Email and internet is easy. The text and images are easily magnified. The interface is intuitive (and not foreign, thanks to the success of the iphone), and the unit is lighter than a laptop (though it could still be a bit lighter, according to several users). Those who have the Kindle DX have all but abandoned it for the iPad, though in certain situations the Kindle can still prove useful. But the Kindle can’t come close to doing what the iPad does. And as any Mac user who has used a Kindle can tell you, the interface on the Kindle is hardly intuitive.

Unlike some previous introductions of Apple hardware (such as the first-generation Macbook Air), to say the iPad is a hit is an understatement. For a more detailed explanation of tips and tricks for the iPad, take a look at our article “Tips for setting up the iPad for the first time”.

The other big news on the tech front is Apple TV and the necessary, but apparently risky, iTunes 10.0.1 update. We’ve witnessed a few instances of data loss after running that update. Specifically, on some machines this iTunes update seems to make purchased items such as movies and tv shows disappear from the library. One client lost ALL of his TV shows, while another lost several gigs of purchased music.

In a perfect world, these things are always backed up and readily available for restoration. Unfortunately, a few of our clients do not live in a perfect world. Time machine did not make a valid backup of their data, and they faced either repurchasing those items or forgetting about them. A quick search on the web revealed that their experience was not unique. What’s especially surprising is that the deletion of the data is very selective. Since the iTunes library music is still there, and not ALL of the content is deleted, many users may not even notice that they have just lost some or all of their purchased video content, or purchased songs. Calls to Apple brought us nowhere. They referred us to what should have been our backup – but that didn’t work. The Applecare tech claimed he hadn’t heard of this problem before – and I assured him he would be hearing a lot more about it very soon. Apple then posted a fix that didn’t work for us, but may work for you. Check our “How-To” section for a link to detailed instructions for restoring missing items in your iTunes library.

The Mantra we always offer is: backup your data and verify it’s current before you do any updates. If everything is working fine on your Mac, skip whatever updates are offered. This is especially true if your Mac is a bit older, and does not have an Intel chip, for example. If you’re running a G5 or even a G4, those updates may not even apply to you. Note also that some updates don’t necessarily offer amazing new features – they can also take old features away. iTunes is a perfect example. Once upon a time (pre-iTunes 6), users were able to strip Digital Rights Management limitations from songs in their library (via a third party plug-in) That ability was quashed with an update. If your Macs interface with other hardware, such as the Sonos music system, an update might render your setup MUTE. Have a favorite list of radio stations you like to listen to? After that next update, that favorite list may disappear.

Frankly, a lot of updates work as they are supposed to, if the system they are updating is well-maintained. If, however, there are underlying issues you may be unaware of, an update could cause the system or the apps or several apps to crash. Computers are not appliances (yet), but the iPad is another step closer to making them seem like an appliance. No CDs, DVDs, or multitude of cables. The iPad just works.

Similarly, the latest Apple TV has been slimmed down and simplified for functionality. No more internal hard drive, no more sync issues. It’s all about streaming the content from your computer or the web now. And, Netflix access is included in a pretty itunes interface. Nice.

For more information on the new Apple TV, check out our Apple TV review. For our take on updates overall, watch our “How to update your Mac properly” video clip, coming soon.

And finally for this week, we’ve discovered that many users don’t realize how their Boot Camp installation really works. We’re currently working on a video clip to address this issue. In short, Boot Camp partitions are created by those users who need to run the Windows operating system on their Mac. The assumption is that Time Machine, the automated backup routine that is built into 10.5.x and 10.6.x includes the Windows data in the backup. It does NOT. The Boot Camp partition is created for Windows by design. Time Machine does NOT include that partition when it makes a backup of your data. If your Mac is hosed, and you haven’t setup some sort of backup for the Windows side, you’re out of luck. There is a very simple, easy solution however. Check back soon for our video tutorial on how to backup up your Boot Camp Windows partition. When it’s complete, you’ll find it in our “how-to” section of the site.

If you are using Windows on your Mac via another method, such as Parallels or VM Fusion, without a separate Boot Camp partition, then your Windows configuration IS included in your Time Machine backup. But we’ve noticed restoring from such a backup is really “hit or miss”. We recommend configuring some sort of automated backup routine either from within Windows, or taking the time every week or every month (depending how often you use your Windows setup on the Mac) to archive your Windows data on a separate drive or USB flash card. You could also copy your documents to the Mac side, and THEN let Time Machine backup those documents. Depending on what application those documents were created in, you may need a Windows system to read them. We discuss the benefits and pitfalls of each type of setup (Boot camp vs. Emulation in Parallels or VM Fusion) in another article to be posted soon. Tune in next and every Monday for more.

How to get your own domain

Get your own domain, and never have to change your email address again.

For most people, the idea of having their own domain is daunting. Many aren’t even sure what a domain is, but they assume that a web site would be involved. To put it simply, a domain is the name given to a particular address you would use on the web, such as “thedetechtives.com”, or “patientfriendlyandaffordable.com. The challenge is really coming up with a domain name, or address, that no one has taken yet. You won’t find names like “worldpeace.com” or realeastateagent.com available. You’ll have to be more original. Domains are not limited to dot coms either. You may find a dot net, or dot org, or even dot TV.

Every now and then, you may receive a very competitive offer from an internet service provider other than your own. Instead of paying the current $50 per month, perhaps a competitors offers you the same connection speed at half the price. Problem is, you would have to switch. That means either paying your previous ISP a smaller monthly fee to keep your original email address, or, notifying everyone in your address book of your new email address. Not only can this be a real hassle, but there is always the danger that someone, somewhere, won’t know of your address change.

There is a better way. How would you like to have your very own email domain? Wouldn’t it be simple to just give out yourname@yourdomain.com? Someone named Nadine Shaw could set up Nadine@shaw.com. She would be completely independent of any service provider, and could switch to whichever service provided the best deal at any given time. Her email address would be hosted by Godaddy, not any ISP. Does that mean you have to set up and pay for a web site? No. All you need is an original name to use as a domain. We really like the services provided by an internet company called Godaddy.com. In fact, we now purchase all of our domains from them.