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April 2nd, 2005

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06:46 pm - I update to the last
I apologize for the scare I may have caused to people I aimed with "Greetings from the Hospital" last night. Yes, I slept in a hospital. With dozens of sensors attached throughout my body, the whole attached to a computer and recorded. They watched me sleep, it was a sleep study. The kind of study that I pay for. This week or two I should get a formal consensus as to whether I have sleep apnea. From there, we will determine whether to experiment with a surgical route, or just enthrall me to a machine for the rest of my life.

When last we spoke, aside from the radio show, I had lost a cell phone. It got better and worse from there. Between Wednesday (when the phone died) and Monday, every piece of consumer electronics I use on a regular basis appeared (or became) dead. During the radio show, my laptop drive had tried the bad sector gambit; it recovered, but lost several critical-to-functioning-linux directories. Then I dropped my phone. On Sunday, I tried to replace the noisy CPU fan, and instead the motherboard or processor lost its blue smoke. What is kind of scary was that I also have an impending invasive electronics project for my car, schedule for that Sunday. We can all see what would have happened, no?

The cell phone situation was funky. It happened at a good and bad time. The good: I was already working on replacing it; I had become convinced that the latest batches of Smartphones live up to their name, and the allure of unlimited general internet access from anywhere was becoming irresistable. And yet this time of year is the worst, cashflow-wise, for various reasons (holidays, March travel, taxes). And I still have some time left on my Sprint plan.

So the phone still worked, miraculously, but only for loose definitions of working. The Samsung A400 that I had is a flip phone, and apparently functionality breaks down like this: in the head is the speaker, the display, and vibration unit. Everything else is in the other half. I could make calls if I used a headset and if I remembered the number of the person (a lost art in the cellphone age) or autodial number. I could catch an incoming call if I saw the led blink appropriately. Suck.

The decision space was complicated like this: Sprint is fine, but their phone replacement program is weak. $150 off retail every 18 months of service (not cumulative). The Treo 650 I lusted after would be $450, which is more than both my laptop and my desktop (practically combined). And to get one with Sprint would require an additional 2 year commitment with a Vision plan.

Given that I don't know my future, investing lots of money in a super-snazzy phone that is only usable within the US rubbed me the wrong way. I am considering various international options, and would hate to have my superphone be a limit or downside. Staying with Sprint is no longer the no brainer it has been the past 5 years.

I have fallen hard for my new BlackBerry 7100t. It was free ($100, with $100 instant mail-in rebate) with a one year contract with the plan I would have gone with anyway. For about $8 more per month, I have more minutes and unlimited internet access on their GPRS network. The 7100t is a GSM phone -- phone being the emphasis, as it is not the standard blackberry brick. Instead of a qwerty, it has a 20 key keyboard and an adaptive, learning typing software. It works remarkably well. The device as a whole is remarkably well designed, I am getting more into it the more I play with it.

This is why I am on AIM a lot of the time now, and feel free to say hi. Also, I am experimenting with various mail filters to send my main email to the phone (BlackBerry is distinct with its so-called "push" email technology). But if you want to send a message directly to me on it (and please do, I like the idle chatter) try danfast at transient.

My standard cell phone number will be transfered over in the next couple of days.

So yeah. I "slept" at the hospital (maybe 3 hours) and was discharged at 6am after a shower. Took care of the dog in my life. Then I drove off to Robert Morris University (Moon campus) to take a free Kaplan GMAT practice test. I think I did well. And I rushed -- finished the second 75 minute section in about 35 minutes. I took off from there to watch Vanya (the Wonder Borzoi) compete at the Pittsburgh Dog Show in the convention center. He looked phenominal, but took Reserve (second place) in his group. It was blatantly obvious that the decision was political (the one that beat him did so with a lesser coat, out of control, and a limp... naturally, it took second place for the breed). Which sucks, but its just the show dog world.

And now it is dark, naptime and dinnertime (when was lunch?)

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC)
I am really frustrated w/ sprint. I've been them for a while because I love my treo, but I am sick of their lousy customer service and replacement policy. I plan to move on once my contract is up, and when I do I'm going to make sure that they know it is because they treat their early adopters like crap.

[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)

Speaking of customer service...

Wow. I'm impressed.

The company I got my phone through apparently activated the phone before they sent it out to me -- activated Monday. It arrived Wednesday. I fell in love by Friday, but did not get home in time to call the company to add the Insurance policy to my plan. And was told that to comply with the rebate thingie, all changes to plan had to go through the company. I'm not sure why I didn't add it immediately, like it wouldn't dissolve if I cancelled anyway.

So the company is only open business hours. So I called them today to have it added. "I'm sorry, that sounds fine but we can't add you because it is after 7 days. Here's T-Mobile's number, maybe they can help you"

Called T-Mobile, and phone died just as I got a customer service rep. But I decided to see what I could do on the web page. Adding the insurance was not an option, so I wrote an email explaining the problem (with a little threat of "as I am still within 14 days, this is the kind of thing that could make me walk away"). Two hours later, an email response boilerplate thingie talking about the Insurance policy and the insurance company to talk to. So I sent back a little response, "This did not address my specific case at all". 20 minutes later, another CSR emailed me saying that I had had the policy added, sorry for all the trouble.

Try getting that kind of result from Sprint. Even in-store. Three years later half of their computer systems still believe I live on Bates Street and that it is ok to call the Robotics Club about my account.

Which Treo have you? Did you see the recent posts about converting a Treo 650 to Verizon? (And yeah, that's also kind of why GSM was appealing... when the alternative CDMA is Verizon...)
[User Picture]
Date:April 6th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Speaking of customer service...

That is cool. The only acceptable customer service I've ever gotten from Sprint was by going into the store and practically taking a service rep hostage until they helped me.

I have a Treo 600. I haven't seen the posts about the 650 and verizon, but I should look into that.

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