Andy Laub

Andy Laub is a designer & developer in the Twin Cities.

Tagged cell phone

The Fourth Kind »

Buying a new phone is definitely an easier decision for me nowadays.

My iPhone 4 arrived two weeks ago while, fittingly, I was in the middle of what would be my final phone call from my iPhone 3G. I was caught somewhat off guard, as I hadn’t been following FedEx as closely as I sometimes do and it was arriving nearly a week before schedule. I managed to make it through the rest of the call without any sort of drooling or heaving breathing so I feel like I handled the whole situation pretty well.

The unboxing process was nice enough but I wasn’t nearly as excited about this iPhone as I had been about the 3G, mainly because I didn’t expect this transition to be nearly as drastic. I was both right and wrong about this, in a good way, so let’s break it down:

Design

This – THIS – is what an iPhone should look like. I liked the original aluminum iPhone, and very much disliked the glossy plastic 3G and 3GS so this new design is a very welcome change.

Unsurprisingly, it feels great to hold – Apple has few peers in this area. In recent history their influence over competitors’ designs is somewhat obvious, but photos can’t portray just how big the difference in build quality is. At the risk of stepping into fanboy territory, it’s often the difference between buying a gadget and a functional work of art.

Interestingly, I did run up against what is mostly a psychological problem when setting the phone down. In a situation where I’m about to put the phone on a desk or other flat surface, I’d tend to hold it with my thumb on the left, four fingers on the right, and the screen facing up. The curved back of the iPhone 3G meant that the back of the phone would make contact before my fingers, so I could then release. The flat back of the iPhone 4 results in the opposite, meaning I either have to reposition my fingers or “drop” it slightly. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an issue as it doesn’t result in any harm to the phone; it’s just an oddity.

Experience

I found the initial startup to be a little underwhelming, actually. I think there was a lot of buildup for the Retina display and at first I didn’t notice a tremendous improvement. It is definitely nicer – a little whiter and a lot sharper, but it’s something that requires a slightly closer look for me to really appreciate. Where the difference is most pronounced for me is the app icons, as some of them are still formatted only for the old resolution and are quite grainy as a result.

What I wasn’t expecting was for the increase in performance to be so noticeable. Everything is significantly faster than on my old phone, but for me the two most useful instances of this are:

  1. The camera. It still takes a couple seconds to launch, but shutter actuation is much, much faster. It could still benefit from a bigger lens, but so could every camera ever made.
  2. Wifi. Locking the iPhone 3G would result in a loss of wifi (understandable), but it would take its sweet time reconnecting when unlocked. Not so with the iPhone 4, which retains a wifi connection even while locked (presumably for short periods of time) or reconnects almost instantly when unlocked.

The wifi in particular is an example of what Apple does well: continually refining things that were already okay until they’re great. The 3G’s wifi performance was a little annoying at times, but it wasn’t a situation where identical behavior from the iPhone 4 would’ve prevented a purchase. The newfound responsiveness has been particularly useful when using Touchpad, the remote app for our Windows Media PC.

Gripes

I may be a fanboy, but I’m not so rabid as to admit that Apple’s devices don’t have their flaws. In this case, though, I think the nits I have to pick are mainly software-based except for two, both of which are self-explanatory:

  1. More storage is always better.
  2. The camera could be better still.

Even iOS 4 is pretty solid, in that it would take me a fair amount of time to remember and compile any of the complaints I would’ve had. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is with Apple’s implementation of Facetime. I certainly understand their reasoning for putting it front and center within the in-call menu, but they did so at the expense of the hold button. This resulted in a panic when I tried to put a call on hold the first time, and the end result was not pretty.

There’s been some coverage of this already, with the “official” response from Apple being that hold is just a glorified mute button. I get that, and now that I realize there even is a mute button I find myself a bit less peeved by the whole thing. The obvious question becomes: why did the two exist in the first place?

Also, I guess they’re having antenna problems or something? I wouldn’t really know as I haven’t experienced any.

And finally, still no 3G around here. Just go suck a dick, AT&T – you guys are terrible. On that note, though, I am now on the new DataPlus plan so I don’t feel like I’m being totally robbed every month. I guess that’s an advantage.

Spot on »

The iPhone 4 in two words: DAMN YES

Today at WWDC, Steve Jobs introduced the eager public to iPhone 4, the latest and greatest addition to the iPhone family. A short list of awesome:

  • 940×640 HIGH-REZ “Retina” IPS display
  • Front and rear cameras with flash and HD video recording
  • A4 processor (like such as the one found in the iPad!)
  • FaceTime video chat over wi-fi
  • All-new (albeit unsurprising) industrial metal and glass case design

So basically, it’s everything that we all knew was coming, yet the fact that it is official and will be here soon (and on my half-birthday!) is no less exciting. It’s a home run in just about every way; I’m especially excited about the new optics. My entire list of gripes can be summed up thusly:

  • Storage tops out at 32GB.

Given that iPhones have a tendency to catch up with the prior year’s iPod touch in terms of storage I didn’t think it was too far-fetched to expect the iPhone 4 in 32 GB and 64 GB flavors; instead they’ll remain the same as the 3GS which means they still can’t accommodate my entire music library (which currently weighs in at nearly 47 GB for those curious). But it’s a small sacrifice; I’ll be the first to admit that at least half of my library should never be listened to again, ever.

But the phone is just the first third of an all-important trifecta. There was a fair amount of talk about iOS 4 (formerly iPhone OS 4) as well; the iPhone demoed was clearly running that software which leaves me to assume that the new phones will ship with it later this month. I’m curious as to how that will shake out regarding the iOS 4 update for the current crop of devices.

And finally, AT&T may have actually made a decision that works out in my favor for once. Last week they announced a restructuring of their data plans for all smartphones, eliminating the $30 unlimited plan and replacing it with two new variations:

  1. The “DataPro” plan gives you 2 GB of data per month for $25, with each additional 1 GB costing $10
  2. The “DataPlus” plan gives you 200 MB of data per month for $15, with each additional 200 MB costing $15

It was difficult to determine how good of a deal this ended up being without first consulting my own usage records; as it turns out it’s rare for me to even come close to 200 MB per month. As a result, I think I’ll be able to safely downgrade to the DataPlus plan and easily knock $15 off of my current bill (and as I’ve mentioned before, price per month is much more important to me than buy-in price). And on rare occasions where I exceed that bandwidth, I’m still only paying what I was before, which is a fine compromise.

All things considered, I’m pretty pleased with this most recent round of iPhone news.

I briefly mentioned the bugginess of Aurora Feint: the Beginning. You should know it’s been replaced by the still-free Aurora Feint II: Lite, which is just as good and about 0% as buggy. Definitely worthy of “get” status.

On my iPhone »

By popular demand?

In the past week, two iPhoners friends with iPhones have asked me what apps I’m currently using on my iPhone. And while I’m not writing this down with the pretense that anyone will actually care, I figure it’s a thing appropriate for a blog such as this. Yes, I’ve covered this topic before, but this is a more comprehensive listing that also accounts for my tastes having since changed.

The List

I have my phone divided into four pages, plus the typical quick launch bar at the bottom (Phone/Text/Safari/Mail):

  1. Primary Apps (11 + Settings)
  2. Secondary Apps (16)
  3. Games (8)
  4. Web Shortcuts (3)

I’ve decided to include arbitrary ratings for usefulness (how good it is at what it does) and frequency (how often I use it), 5 being the highest.

Page 1 Usefulness Frequency  
AIM 4 1  
Facebook 3 2  
NetNewsWire 3 0  
Twitteriffic 5 3 Recommended
The Weather Channel 5 5 Recommended
Page 2
Amazon.com 4 1  
CameraBag 4 3 Recommended
Delivery Status Touch 5 3 Recommended
Google 5 1  
Shazam 4 1  
What’s On? 5 4  
WhitePages Mobile 5 3 Recommended
WordPress 4 1  
Page 3
Aurora Feint: The Beginning 4 2 Recommended
Crystal Defenders Lite 1 0  
Moonlight Mahjong Lite 3 1  
SimCity 3 0  
Sol Free Solitaire 4 5 Recommended
Tangram Pro 3 1  
Topple 4 1  
Touchgrind 1 0  
Recommendations

I’ve already covered Twitteriffic, TWC, and WhitePages Mobile; my reasons for liking them still stand. But here’s a quick rundown of the others:

  • CameraBag is a nice little filtering app that makes the photos taken with your phone not look quite so lame. You can either shoot directly from the app itself, or edit photos after the fact. Here’s a quick example: before and after.
  • Delivery Status Touch is the best package tracking app I’ve found with support for every delivery service imaginable. As a bonus it’s updatable from the web.
  • Aurora Feint: The Beginning is a really fun game, when it works. It used to constantly throw out errors when it couldn’t talk to the server, to the point where you couldn’t even resume a game you were playing. It looks like the original free version had been removed from the store, replaced by Aurora Feint II; perhaps this newer iteration works better.
  • Sol Free Solitaire is solitaire, with a few variations. Go play Demon – I’ll see you in a few hours when you realize what time it is.

What I like about iPhone OS 3.0 »

One more iPhone post before I move on and find other things to complain about.

I’m not sure I can describe how I felt at the end of Apple’s iPhone event yesterday. Indeed, it was two hours spent talking about what to expect from the next major release of the iPhone OS, and while that actually affects me now (yay), I think I found myself in kind of a neutral state afterwards. I am certainly glad to see progress being made, but the new features and fixes don’t generally hit close to home for me.

Copy and paste is a welcome addition, obviously, as is MMS for those that actually use those. The additional calendar protocols are nice to see, although Google Sync addressed that issue a month ago. I don’t know how useful Spotlight will be, as I don’t think I have a lot of things that I have lost on my phone, but it will be fun to mess with.

But two features stood out and have me eagerly awaiting the magical summer day when I plug my phone into iTunes, and after it stalls and I have to restart it one or two times, I can finally download iPhone OS 3.0:

  • Landscape Mode for Mail, Messaging, and Notes
    Just, seriously, duh. I never really understood why Safari was the only app to make use of the big horizontal keyboard; especially since that is not where a typical person would be doing the brunt of their typing. So I am really glad to see that option proliferate to the other apps that badly need it.
  • Note Syncing
    Assuming this is implemented well, I am excited about it. I don’t use a ton of notes, but I really like the option to sync them from my computer. Now that I think about it though, a wireless sync would be even more useful than having to deal with iTunes just to update my grocery list. Oh well, we’ll see.

All in all, though, I can’t complain too much because it’s all free and it only makes the iPhone better.

Unsimplification »

I like buttons. I like pressing instead of sliding.

Apple is a strong advocate for keeping things simple. This is especially evident in their hardware design, as one may gather from the fact that most of their hardware has only one switch or button. And generally, this strategy seems to work like crazy for them, effectively setting them even further apart from their competition.

However, there are some decisions that can be subjectively classified as missteps on their part. The new iPod shuffle is a demonstration that maybe not having any controls on the device is an idea that should’ve remained on the drawing board. I can’t say for sure as I haven’t played with one (and probably never will), but most of the complaints I’ve heard thusfar have centered around the decision to take the controls off of the device and make them part of the component that you’re more likely to replace or lose (the headphones). I don’t disagree with that particular sentiment, as having to carry specialized headphones for two different devices (iPhone and shuffle) is a concept that seems vaguely, uh, mentally deficient.

The one-button mouse, while an Apple icon, is another great example of their overzealousness for simplicity. The Mighty Mouse is a drastic improvement in terms of functionality, but only when you compare it to their previous offerings. Beyond that, it doesn’t offer much that can’t be found in even the cheapest optical scroll mouse. The scroll ball is nice – until it stops working, as it has now in every Mighty Mouse I’ve owned.

But the device where the button shortage bothers me the most is the iPhone. I pretty much despise the whole “slide to do whatever” mechanic – I would love to have the option to turn that off and just use some combination of the hardware buttons to bypass it. I’d even be fine if they used the Accept/Decline buttons that are present when the phone receives a call while unlocked. I don’t enjoy sliding my fingers around the screen for no reason; especially when it’s in an attempt to accomplish something that’s more easily achieved by pressing a button.

And that’s the crux of the matter. There’s no question that Apple makes some amazing products, but sometimes it seems they favor perceived simplicity to actual simplicity.

Docks and Docking »

Unexpected compatibility of the backwards/forwards sort.

You may know that I am some sort of dock fiend – if I own a gadget, I’d like to have a dock for it. At least, if it’s a gadget that I actually like. My 3G iPod came with a dock; I bought one with my 5G iPod, and I bought a dock with the iPhone.

I was happy to learn that the two iPod docks were basically interchangeable, which meant that the older one always stayed at work while the newer lived on my desk at home. But what makes me even happier is that the iPhone 3G works in both, in addition to its own. This is good news, but it’s not without its hangups:

  • The “work” dock was plugged into a wall charger – the FireWire charger that came with my first iPod. It always worked to charge the two iPods, but will not charge the iPhone – you’ll need a USB charger for that.
  • My stereo at work is unshielded, which means some nasty GSM buzz in the speakers every so often. This isn’t a symptom of the dock so much as two incompatible technologies having it out, but it’s worth mentioning. I’m still trying to figure out how I want to approach that.

Still though, it works out nicely – for whatever it costs me to buy a new USB cable I can now have a nice charger for my phone at work, and there’s no additional unplugging going on when I need to sync the iPhone or the iPod at home.

My favorite iPhone apps (for now) »

Here is some stuff I’m thankful for.

I’ve the iPhone from the first time I used one last year. The idea of having the “real” internet and email that didn’t feel like you were reading it on a phone really appealed to me. It truly felt more like a pocket-sized Mac than a typical phone. Since then there’s only been improvement – 3G, GPS, and of course, the App Store. In the past two weeks I’ve downloaded at least a dozen different applications, some good, and some not so good. Instead of reviewing them all, which would be remarkably boring, I want to just share the applications (included and downloaded) that I most appreciate. Disclaimer: this may be just as boring. Also I have not counted the “Phone” and “Text” functions as apps, since they are core functions of any modern mobile phone.

AIM (Free)

Having any instant messaging app at all is nice, as it doesn’t use up my allotted text messages. And at least a majority of my contacts are on AIM to begin with. But here’s hoping for Adium mobile.
Download →

Calendar (Included)

I was a little hung up on how I was going to handle calendars on the iPhone. The built-in calendar works well, but I’ve been using Google Calendar now for about a year and really appreciate its across-the-board accessibility. The problem is that Google Calendar on the iPhone SUCKS and is extremely limited in its functionality. Then I stumbled on this article pointing to a site called NuevaSync, which basically keeps your gCal in step with your iCal. Phenomenal – it’s the best of both worlds.

Mail (Included)

It’s email. Having email on a phone is nice.

NetNewsWire (Free)

I’ll be honest – I’ve never been much of an RSS user. But on a mobile platform it makes so much more sense than accessing sites one by one. NNW has been great in this regard. The only problem is that I haven’t seen a way to add feeds through the app itself – you have to manage them through NewsGator’s web interface. Not a big deal if you’re adding feeds at home, but if you’re out and about and only have Edge, then have fun hoping the page will load. Once it’s done though, it’s fantastic.
Download →

Safari (Included)

It’s the internet. Seriously, I’m not sure what else to say about it, but I love the internet and therefore I love Safari. Duh.

TWC (Free)

It’s The Weather Channel, on the iPhone. Much nicer interface than their website, and loads faster too. Great for checking out the forecast as I’m getting out of bed.
Download →

Twitterriffic (Free)

A nice free Twitter app for the iPhone. Ad-supported (by The Deck), but it works extremely well for the cost of zero dollars.
Download →

WhitePages Mobile (Free)

Why in the world would you not want a built-in phonebook on your phone?
Download →

Early Birthday »

You’ll notice a near-complete lack of cell-phone-induced neurosis in this post.

Last Monday I learned that Sprint is going to be adjusting their administrative fees again, meaning that subscribers desperate to jump ship can use this as an excuse to waive their ETF.

You may be surprised to learn that I was not among the desperate (this time). My 2 years is up come December, and I didn’t feel like arguing this with a Sprint rep, something I’ve tried before to no avail. But the article did pique my curiosity – when would my contract lapse, exactly?

So I logged on to Sprint’s customer service chat to find out:

Andy: I need to know when my contract expires.
[Rep]: I am showing your contract will expire on 12/17/08.
Andy: Okay – so is 12/17 the earliest I can close my account (I am planning on moving to a different carrier)
Andy: (without an ETF, I mean)
[Rep]:I am showing you will not have an ETF from this day forward.

Wait, what?

Andy: From 12/17?
Andy: Or from today?
[Rep]: From today on, you will not have an early termination fee.

So for whatever reason, my contract expired a month early. Which is why, since last Monday, I’ve been glued to my new iPhone 3G.

My final Sprint bill was for $4.04.

E-O-T-Y »

Well, here is the finale for 04. It was what I would call a moderately exciting year. Here’s the best stuff:

Events:

  • January – I bought my Powerbook and became a full circle Mac user
  • February – after months of waiting, we finally move to our new apartment
  • March – I got promoted at work, bought a PS2
  • August – I decided I couldn’t function without a car
  • December – CellOne is done, and I am happy with Sprint

Music:

  • The College Dropout – Kanye West
  • Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
  • Super D – Ben Folds
  • The Spine – They Might Be Giants
  • Pressure Chief – CAKE

Movies:

  • The Incredibles
  • The Butterfly Effect
  • Napoleon Dynomite
  • Kill Bill
  • Shrek 2

Games:

  • GTA San Andreas
  • Half-Life
  • Burnout 3: Takedown
  • Katamari Damacy
  • Sly 2: Band of Theives

Cars:

  • Acura TL
  • Chrysler 300C
  • Land Rover LR3
  • Porsche 997
  • Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

Stuff We Bought:

Phone Phrenzy »

Update: I added the Samsung A620 because Paul has it and thinks he deserves special treatment or something.

Well, on a lighter but still phone-related note, my Samsung came yesterday. I like it so far, but have yet to actually talk on it since service doesn’t start until tomorrow. The only criticism I’ve found thus far is that it doesn’t have a snooze button like my Nokias did. However, it more than compensates with its total assload of other features in what I can only imagine is one of the smallest still usable phones available.

I am still amazed at the size, which made me wonder how it compares to a) my old phones (3360 & 3560) and the other phones I was looking at (V400 & V600). Then I figured I’d throw the $500 V3 Razr on there just for fun. The results are pretty astounding. The only one that has certain dimensions smaller is the Razr. However, because it’s so thin while still having so many features, it had to be both widened and lengthened to compensate. I just don’t see how it’s the “it” phone. It’s neat, but not great. And if it’s anywhere as reliable as other Motorolas, expect to be spending a lot of time with a loaner Nokia 3595.

But I digress. Here, in reverse alphabetical and forward numeric order, is how the 7 phones I mentioned stack up. Bold denotes best in comparison.

Phone Length / Width / Thickness (in) Weight (oz)
Samsung A620 3.50 1.90 1.00 4.48
Samsung A680 3.30 1.80 .87 3.50
Nokia 3360 4.50 2.00 1.00 5.30
Nokia 3560 4.65 1.97 .91 3.80
Moto V400 3.50 1.93 1.00 4.40
Moto V600 3.50 1.90 .90 4.30
Moto V3 Razr 3.86 2.08 .54 3.35

More than a few times, I’ve wondered whether switching was a good idea. And I’ve been reassured everytime. Good things so far:

  • really fast shipping
  • an exact date and time when my number will switch (12/16 @ 6:43 AM EST).
  • I get a discount from work which I will in turn use to pay for the majority of the PCS Vision package I can now afford to add.
  • a really, really good deal. If you can, order now. I got my phone for $65. This is amazing when you consider it’s $280 with no contract and normally $130 with a contract.
  • a very helpful website and fast customer service.
  • a really helpful ordering staff. The person I was ordering with said the additional $80 discount was not supposed to be available in my area, but because that was the online price, he matched it.
  • if you transfer your number, they’ll refund your activation fee ($36).

Cell One Responds (Very Nicely) »

First, their response:

Dear Mr. Laub,

Thank you for contacting Cellular One. I apologize for the way your were treated by our sales representatives and that you were not informed about our GSM promotions. A copy of your email will be forwarded to the Wausau store manager for review.

As you are porting your number out to Sprint, your service will cancel after the port has been completed. Any applicable early termination fees will be applied to your final bill. We are sorry to lose you as a customer.

And mine:

I appreciate your timely response. I am genuinely not trying to be unreasonable, and I appreciate that you’re forwarding the information to a local authority.

I am aware for the termination fees, and although at this point I don’t see myself switching back, we’ll see how everything is in two years.

Thanks again,

Andy

Dear Cell One, »

I’m writing to let you know that I’m finished.

When I first signed on for your service, I was very pleased. This was back in 2002, when everything was TDMA. It was relatively simple to find a plan that fit – your home coverage area wasn’t the best, but with the Minnesota/Wisconsin plan I was very happy (I was commuting to Stevens Point at the time, so I needed a plan that worked south of Marathon County.

As time passed, I was still pleased, and would readily recommend your company to others. I was excited when one of your employees told me GSM was coming in early 2004. Unfortunately, I’d still have to wait another year before my contract expired to switch to GSM. Because of this, I went ahead and bought a new (TDMA) phone in March of 2004 to replace my aging Nokia 3360. I was happy, although not as happy as I would’ve been on GSM. Not two weeks later, my roommate got GSM from you. I was confused, since his contract hadn’t expired yet. I learned that you had a special offer where customers could switch to GSM, get a substantial discount on phones, and get a discounted monthly fee. I would’ve loved to have that, but I had just bought a new phone. That made me wonder why the person I bought the phone from (at your kiosk in the Wausau Center Mall) hadn’t told me about GSM at all.

That’s where the ship started to sink.

After that I was kind of disappointed, being stuck with a new phone that I could only use for TDMA service. I called your store in Rib Mountain to find out whether there was anything I could do, but I already had used my phone for more than 30 minutes so I was stuck with it.

Time passed, and I started to count down the months until my contract expired, so I could get a new phone. The thought entered my head to sign up for GSM in mid-summer, figuring that I’ll just suck up the cost of another new phone. However, the offer was gone. I was unhappy at the time, but now I am thankful because this brings me to another point–

From the point of view of a Nokia-user, your GSM phones are awful. I mean, the Motorolas are contenders, but a friend of mine bought a V400 that, admittedly, is very cool, but also seemingly very buggy, since every other week she had a loaner phone from you. The V600 is nice but costly. The Nokia selection was abyssmal then and still is. The two camera phones you carry look absurd and are something I’d actually be embarrassed to use. Speaking of absurd and embarrassing, there’s the Curitel Identity. I hope that’s a joke, right?

Anyway, I kept hoping that maybe you’d have nice Nokias in by next year, so I could buy a nice one when the contract expired. At the same time, though, I was starting to think that maybe I’d be better somewhere else. Your new GSM plans are nothing to be excited about (from somebody who is currently paying $34.00 a month including tax), and the service isn’t that impressive (yet). I wanted a company that was nationwide and acted like it. By this I mean it would get the newest phones when they came out, instead of deliberating on whether anyone would buy them. Sprint came along. They did this one better, in that people actually make phones just for them. And they’re good phones.

Finally, yesterday (Saturday 12/11/04 in the Wausau Center Mall), I was so bored with waiting that I went to the mall to find out how much it would cost if I left your service that day. The person gave me the figure, and asked why I was leaving. I told her that was going to Sprint because they have better plans and better phones. I guess this set something off with her, because she became immediately defensive and condescending, as though I didn’t know what I was talking about. She responded that you have the same plans as Sprint. Not true. Sprint has a plan that I wanted more. I wasn’t in the mood to argue with somebody about my decision, so I just responded, exasperated, that I still thought they had better phones. She launched into a speech about how you have fourteen new phones (good for you, but they’re still not Nokias). I responded that I liked Sprint’s phones better, and just received an angry look. I told her about being unhappy with the general service, and how I bought a new phone in March and was not made aware of the GSM sale. She said it was because you weren’t advertising it. I responded that it was still very frustrating.

It is frustrating still. I can understand having a sale and not advertising it in newspapers, but when someone comes up to buy a phone that you know is practically obsolete, why not tell them something better is available. If that had happened, I wouldn’t be writing this letter right now. What bothers me even more is, everytime I mention it to someone within your company, the response implies that I’m at fault for not constantly asking what your special offers are. Isn’t that why they’re called offers — because you offer them to people?

And on the subject of the representative I spoke with yesterday: awful. Making a customer feel stupid is not a good way to handle things. Here is what might have made me stay:

If she had said, OK, well if that’s the problem, I can sign you up with GSM right now and give you the new contract price on a phone, I mgiht have considered. If she had sent me to the Rib Mountain store, that would’ve been fine too. But she didn’t try. She was losing my business and she didn’t care. I guess I am not surprised, because companies such as yours seem to be more focused on signing on new people than keeping your current customers happy.

I actually went over to the Rib Mountain store to ask about switching again, but I didn’t talk to anybody there. I am glad, because I would’ve ended up with another mediocre phone, at best, and at worst would’ve just been talked down to again.

It is for those reasons that I ordered a Samsung VM-A680 and a two-year contract with Sprint PCS yesterday evening. That phone is one of the highest-rated phones available and I’ll be pleased to be using it instead of my outdated Nokia 3560.

That’s the end of the story. Thanks for 1.5 decent years and 1 mediocre one. A response is welcome,

Andy

Xmastime »

It’s officially time for the XMASLIST. Here goes:

  1. A car would be nice. Like this one. ($$$$$)
  2. Maybe an Xbox. And Halo. ($$)
  3. A G5. Loaded or not. + Cinema Display. ($$$ – $$$$)
  4. Clothes. Shirts, pants, I don’t care. Shoes too. ($$)
  5. Since it’s a wishlist, how about some local Cingular service? (-)
  6. And a decent phone. ($$)
  7. What’s a wish list without a TV? ($$$$)
  8. Drums! ($$$)
  9. Money ($$$$$)

Since the move earlier this year, we’ve acquired much of what we wanted. Abe made the excellent point that with most of the stuff we want, we just buy it. I need to stop doing that or start making more money.

Speaking of money, I’ve been sent a lot of fake credit cards as of late – you know, the ones that look real but say “YOUR NAME HERE.” Well, Discover sent one that’s almost not worthy. It’s made of cardboard, kind of to simulate plastic. That is really probably the most pathetic thing I’ve seen. It wasn’t even attached to anything, just floating around in the envelope.

Dearest Cingular, »

Let me start by congratulating you on you recent marriage with AT&T Wireless! Believe me when I say that I’d jump at the chance to take advantage of your services. Right now I’m stuck between backwater local services or Sprint. Not to say that Sprint is horrible, but they’ve never been my first choice.

Unfortunately, mine seems to be one of the only areas in the United States where your service is not available. How about being a pal and changing that, so no more will I have to watch your rollover commercials longingly. And hey, how abouts hooking me up with one of those Nokia 6620s. We could call it square then, and I can forget those hundreds of commercials you’ve shown me, effectively wasting hours of my life and using up quality TV-viewing time.

Thanks, Andy Laub

PS: T-Mobile, don’t feel bad. You’d be OK too, but leave Catherine Zeta-Jones and bring me a 6600 instead. That’s almost the same thing. I guess we could work something out with a Moto V600 or a Samsung too.

My Stomach Hurts (I Hate Election Day) »

I voted today. I hope it makes some sort of difference. That’s all I’m saying about that.
More things:

New iPods – eh, I guess they’re alright. I don’t really have a use for putting pictures on an iPod – I mean, it might come in handy if we see connectivity to camera phones or something, but that would require a much higher resolution picture to even make the iPod a worthwhile storage option. I am kind of sad that the 60 gig HD is exclusive to the iPod Photo, but then again I’m not buying another one any time soon so it doesn’t really matter. The U2 iPod is a neat admittedly gimmicky thing, but I wouldn’t consider any iPod that doesn’t include a dock, especially since for $10 more than adding a dock for your U2 iPod (which I don’t even suppose would match?) you can double your storage and get a dock anyway.

Grand Theft Auto – still fun.

I don’t overly know what else is going on. I am counting down the months (kind of) until my cell contract expires (I’ve got awhile – it’s July) and I can finally get a new one. I don’t know that I’ll stick with what I have now. Sprint is a viable option, but we’ll see what kind of phones are available when the time comes. I have always been a fan of Nokias although Motorola almost kind of has me liking them with the V600. Unfortunately, poor Mac support is enough to drive me away.

Cingular is merging (merged?) with ATT Wireless. Good for them. We’d be all set if they’d just come to Wausau (or buy Cell One)

Here’s a thought, Apple. You now have an iPod store. Don’t fill up the top space of the regular store with the iPod crap. I swear to God, if you change from a computer company that makes music players to a music player company that also makes computers I will drop you like a hand grenade.

Updating for the Sake of Updating »

There was this one time where I had this blog and I didn’t update it for like two weeks. Wait – that was now. Anyway, here I am with a list of fragmented thoughts:

  • scootering is fun, biking is almost as fun, especially with the weather finally getting nicer.
  • bought Kanye West’s the College Dropout and Jay-Z’s Black Album. Kanye’s is better.
  • also bought the Kill Bill vol . 1 soundtrack – also good.
  • also also bought Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. MGS2 is good, Hitman is hard.
  • still enjoying the Getaway and eagerly awaiting my reserved copy of Driv3r.
  • finally updated my blog with more meaningless blather nobody cares about.
  • thinking about a new phone (camera!) but there aren’t any good ones around here. Yet.
  • we gave the cat another bath the other day – he liked that a lot
  • I need to go rollerblading sometime.
  • it’s finally almost summer and I’m happy about that. I think

Maynard is Wearing a Tie… »

…and he pulls it off so well that I’m sending him to work for me tomorrow. He’s a pretty kitty.

I neglected yesterday to mention that my phone is the 3560. Not that it’s important. I like it. One of the coolest features is that you can change the color schemes. It also has the polyphonic ring tones which are kind of hard to get used to. Compared to my old 3360 it’s more phone in a smaller package. I appreciate the ability to separate my phone book into groups (friends, family, etc) and assign particular ring tones to those groups. Even cooler is the option to turn off alerts for certain groups if you so desire.

OK, I don’t know where I’m going.

I now have a new cell phone . Also, you may have noticed that the page has moved to charter.net, as has my email.