Smartphone Madness

Last weekend I went with my wife to the local AT&T store to upgrade our phones. Our anniversary is today, but last Sunday was Mother’s Day and there was a special on phones across the board. We went in with no expectations except to exchange the phone that AT&T sent her as a replacement when we had problems with them late last year.

We got lucky as we walked into the store because there was only one person working there and no one else was in the store at the time. The guy spent a lot of time talking to us, and eventually we decided on getting a HTC Inspire 4G, which would be the first “new” phone we’ve ever bought. Every other phone we’ve bought had already been discontinued but had a great price. In this case because of the holiday they were offering the phones at $49.99 each. Sure, we had to go through that long process of setting it all up, but at the end of the day we went home with our first ever smartphones.

The problem? No bars in the house, and very few elsewhere most of the time. For all that AT&T touts themselves to be, over the course of the 11 years we’ve been in this house we’ve rarely had much access to service. With the previous phone I had, the Motorola Razr, at least I rarely had any of my text messages bouncing back. With the new phone, which I thought was supposed to be a major improvement, I couldn’t get a text message to leave the house half the time I tried; same with my wife. But we’ve had people come to the house using Verizon and being able to have total access and use their phones in any way possible.

Over the course of the first week I called AT&T customer service twice. The first time they supposedly sent out a signal booster to both of our phones; nothing happened. The second time the guy said I had to do a full system wipe of my phone, which would cause me to lose everything on it, but that it should work; it didn’t.

If you know nothing else about me know this; I’m kind of a loyal guy. I got my first cell phone in 1995 when the company was called Cellular One. They went through a couple of takeovers until AT&T got them a few years ago, and overall I never thought much about leaving them; it’s just not my style. However, this was the final straw, and it followed my wife not having any bars anywhere she went last Saturday when I was out of town, which left us unable to contact each other.

Last night we went back to the mall knowing we were going to switch from AT&T to Verizon. The picture you see above is the phone I have now. Actually, it’s almost the same phone I had before. This is an odd thing but both phones are from the same company, HTC, and when you look them up on Google they’ll appear as the same thing. But AT&T calls it the Inspire; Verizon calls it the Thunderbolt. And there are a few other changes as well. There was a $200 price difference for each phone, which was kind of irksome, but that’s because the Thunderbolt comes with a 32G SD card; sweet! It also comes with unlimited internet access, whereas the Inspire came with only 2GB; how does one measure how many GBs they’re using online anyway?

The Thunderbolt is slightly smaller, so all the accessories except for the carrying case are too big, and thus we have to get new stuff. The off/on buttons are on opposite sides of each other, as are the volume control buttons. But almost everything else is the exact same. I’m not sure why they do that but so be it. Oh yeah, the Thunderbolt also allows you to take pictures on both sides of the phone; yeah, I won’t be taking many pictures of myself, and y’all probably need to be happy about that.

As far as canceling the deal with AT&T? You get 30 days once you sign a new contract to cancel, and that’s a great thing. And for once, even though it was in the contract, this guy didn’t charge us for the restocking fee, which I think he just forgot about because he didn’t even ask why we wanted to cancel out. If we’d had the same guy we bought the phones from I think it would have been different.

As to the new people? Well, because of all the traffic, strange for a Monday night at this particular mall, we were actually there past closing time, but the two people there showed us a few things we could do with our phone that we hadn’t figured out over the week we’d had them. And some strange anomalies that had occurred previously with the other phones seemed to solve themselves as well.

But the most important thing… we have bars in the house! I don’t have all 4 bars, but I have 2 bars, more than I had most of the time with my other phones over the course of years. I should have done this years ago, but it’s that loyalty thing again. Loyalty needs to be earned from all corners; I need to start holding companies as accountable as I do people.

But I’m happy today, and my wife is happy, and at 14 years together it’s a nice thing. 🙂

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Loyal Blue Not So Loyal

Facebook has an interesting feature as it pertains to groups nowadays. It seems you can create a group on almost any topic, then go around and add people to it. And, if those people like it, they can add other people as well. The best thing about it is that anything said in these groups can be closed if the moderators want to keep it “safe” for the participants to express themselves freely, and thus it won’t show on your page, or they can open it up and, like Facebook business pages, what’s said will show up in your stream, which opens up the possibility of other people seeing it and joining in.

by Steve Jurvetson

I was added to one of these groups, one called Loyal Blue. It was a group for people whose political stance is liberal. I’m fairly liberal for most things, but certainly can’t be called a bleeding heart. I won’t get into too many details because this isn’t a post about politics; at least not directly.

Initially it seemed like it was going to be a fairly safe group to talk about some issues amongst ourselves and only talk to other people who believed as I do. Some might think that discourse ends when everyone agrees on everything, but I tend to believe that everything starts with people agreeing with each other, and then shades of disagreement help to flesh things out.

And things were going along well until there was an interesting post related to a blog post someone wrote on race and politics and this year’s elections. It was a pretty good post, linking to an article on another blog, as I went to read it, and I left a fairly innocuous comment and moved on with life. What happens is you get notified whenever someone comments on a post you’ve commented on, so eventually I went back to that post, only to see that what I’d written wasn’t there any longer. I thought that was strange, so I rewrote the post, thinking that maybe I hadn’t left it at all. Later on, I wrote a different comment on the same post, and left once more. Then when I went back I not only saw that my post was gone, but someone else had obviously written something and had their post deleted at least once, and they mentioned it and said they were out of there. At this point I got it and decided to leave as well.

The initial point I have to make here is that it’s ridiculous for any group to just delete comments they don’t like that have to do with a topic. For instance, every comment I saw,including mine, was on point with the original post. The creator of the group had left something saying he believed any conversation that touched upon race should be somewhere else. This person is black; did this person forget that the president of the United States happens to be black as well? If ever there was a time for this country to come to grips in talking about race, it’s now.

The second point I have to make is that no one gets to decide that race needs to be discussed in only one place and not everywhere else. I haven’t discussed race all that often on this blog but I easily could. In America, race permeates almost every major decision that’s made in this country; trust me on this one. I could point it out almost everywhere. But I don’t because, well, this blog would take on a decidedly different tone and that’s not what I want to achieve here. But I’ll certainly point it out when I need to, such as during the presidential election when I showed this video from Ohio; shameful stuff.

Finally, my third point is that if you’re going to censor stuff, you should make sure what’s being censored deserves it. The only thing I would censor on this site is bad language, which I’ve never had to do, and posts that I know aren’t related to the topic and are meant to inflame. Anything else, you can disagree with me and I’ll leave it here for the world to see. That and, if it seems like it needs one, I’ll write a post about it and see where that goes as well. That’s what this post is about; they can censor me on their Facebook group, but they can’t censor me on my own blog.

Nope, Loyal Blue wasn’t so loyal to the people who contributed to it, and that’s a shame. That’s not what social media is supposed to be about. Luckily, there’s another outlet, and I know the person and she has promised to never delete any comments unless they’re personal attacks. That’s good enough for me; now there’s loyalty.

And it made me write two posts in one day; way to go!

The Loudest Duck
by Laura A. Liswood

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Sunday Question – How Easily Do You Trust Others?

I’d be lying if I said I was the most trusting soul. I treat everyone equally when I meet them, but I don’t take many chances with people until I’ve gotten to know them.

Trust Us, We’re Experts
by Paolo Massa

This is an interesting topic because many people will say that they’re not the most trusting of souls, yet their actions will betray them. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She was telling me a story about things that kept happening where she works. I asked her why she hasn’t learned the lesson about people and stopped saying things in front of those who she knows will turn against her in a moment’s notice. She said that she gets mad, gets careful, but as things calm down she drops her shields and forgets the previous problems, and then it happens to her again.

It’s not that there aren’t times when I trust people to do the right thing. I tend to believe that most people will try to do the right thing. And I trust that they believe they’re doing the right thing. It’s just that I don’t trust everyone’s judgment at all times, and I worry about how it might negatively affect me.

So, I work hard at maintaining a sense of neutrality across the board until I do figure people out. Good people will always flesh themselves out. I truly believe in my three core principles when evaluating everyone: loyalty, honesty, and trustworthiness. You can’t ever tell that based on a first impression, which is why I take my time in evaluating people who will stay in my life a long time.

How easily do you trust others? Do you take time to make sure, or do you make friends easily, only to lose some of them just as easily?

Apple iPod U2 Cover Skin Case
Indigo Blue

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