Life is Still Happening (Long Tech Rant)

July 13, 2007

So I really haven’t had much chance to catch up with things online yet. I have my Audiogasm review mostly done, was able to get to some Generation Q mail, and got all of my bills paid and finances balanced and taken care of. Other than that, I haven’t had a whole lot of chance to catch up. So, my next step in reining in all of my work is to start looking at smartphones that I can use effectively to keep everything together.

This is a LONG post so I’ll throw in a More tag so you can read my rant if you want without cluttering the page.

sk3.png So the phone I’ve been thinking of for a while now has been the Sidekick 3. It’s a stylish phone, takes care of my e-mail needs, has an MP3 player, camera, etc. It has bluetooth as well. But the reviews of the phone I’ve read, and the people I know personally that use it, have been lacking. The bluetooth only works with a handsfree headset, not with a computer. Quality of the unit is apparently not amazing either. Many of my friends have complained about buttons and various other physical shortcomings. The organizer functions are also a problem as I would have to purchase a version of Missing Sync for it to work at all (and even then not perfectly) with my Mac. And then there’s the matter of it’s web browser. Since it’s a phone with a screen than a computer (obviously), the internet data is routed through Danger’s (the company that operates the Sidekick’s web service) servers, making it unreliable. It also apparently suffers from the same fault of the Sidekick 2, where if the GPRS loses connection, it takes a long time to reconnect, even to the point of having to restart the phone. So while it’s currently tied for top position in the phones I’m considering, it leaves much to be desired.

Note: I’m also a current T-Mobile customer, so I would just have to change my phone plan to include the unlimited Sidekick data.

blackberrycurve.jpgThe next phone on my list is a Blackberry. They have become very popular for a corporate useage, which means it would have the features that I need. E-mail, web browsing, text messaging, IM, all included. I’m not knowledgeable in regards to their plans, though, so I assume I would be purchasing a separate data package in addition to minutes, and those can become pretty pricey. I’ve checked out the Pearl and the Curve so far, and neither one of their UI’s strike me as very visually appealing. They are made to be easily and effectively read and used, and it seems (especially with their scheduling and e-mail applications) that style has been largely dropped to accomodate this. I need to check into their sync-ability with my Apple computer still, but from what I hear, they can work fairly well. So in the end, a Blackberry isn’t hugely appealing, but could very well fit the bill.

iphone2.jpgThe third (and most contentious) choice is probably the most appealing in many ways, most of them very obvious: the iPhone. It works seamlessly with my computer in every single way that I could want, has every feature that I need (and want), and is sleek and extremely eye-pleasing. There are only three things stopping me from going to the Apple store down the street and buying one right now: price, phone carrier, and the fact that it’s Revision A hardware. Since I’m probably typing this in order to convince myself to buy it or not, I’ll take some space up in this already very lengthy post with it.

First off, the price. I could technically only buy the $499 model for the 4Gb of storage, but 700Mb is already taken up by the phone’s OS. Add to that the e-mail and attachements I get sent and any pictures I’d like to take and store on the phone and there is a big chunk of music storage taken up right there. Let’s say there is 3 Gb left for music. I have 25. Slight shortage. But then again, I’m now pretty used to having a fairly limited choice in music from being forced to use CD’s in my car. And even with limited space, an iPod functionality kills the need to burn cd’s and have an inflexible choice in music. So we’ll see.

Next comes the phone carrier, one which was the bane of my existence at one point: AT&T. Thier customer service is atrocious and their network seemed to be lacking to me. But throughout the last year of having my own contract with T-Mobile, I’m not impressed with them either. They pulled a few fast ones on me when I needed my phone replaced a while ago and charged me full price for it even though it was under warranty. In addition to all of that, I’ll need to pay to get out of my contract (a $200 fee) unless I can manage to escape it or trade it off.

Third is the Revision A status. I bought my MacBook Pro when it first came out and have had to get it fixed a few times. Largely I’ve been completely happy with it, but the fact that I picked it up before some of the kinks were worked out has run me into some trouble on occasion. Nothin major though, so this is a lesser concern.

In the end, I feel that I’m fairly decided on WANTING the iPhone over all the other choices, but I need to wait until my settlement comes in and I get all my financial obligations taken care of to see what I have left. After I pay my parents what I owe them (close to $17,000 for my car, car repairs, and my computer) I need to get new tires, replace my brakes, get an external hard drive for my computer (less of a priority now that I can use our desktop as a backup too), and pay off my (relatively small) credit card debt. If I have enough funds after that to warrant getting myself a little something, then I can make a final decision then.

I think I’ll try out a “Get Luke a New Phone Fund” on the podcast, see if any of the listeners (if we even have any left…) will toss in a few bucks. I dunno though, I don’t want to be one of those podcasts that beg.

Well, I should get to work. I have an appointment with the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor at 1:45 today to check out what the thing in my sinuses is, whether its a polyp or a cyst, and what we can do about the havoc being wreaked on my head. So I’ll hopefully have an update afterward.

(Going to Best Buy to look at headsets and then to the mall to look over the iPhone a little more in-depth after my appointment…)


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