Monthly Archives: March 2011
When I went back to my old job, I returned to the 150 mile round trip commute. Daily. It’s all freeway, but I had some very near misses this winter, and winter in the Gorge is unpredictable. With gas prices climbing and a decidedly inefficient car, I was faced with possibly having to find a different job, closer to home. Thanks to my boss and the company owner, my current job is now the job closer to home. Today was my first day of telecommuting. It’s a two month trial, but I’m doing all I can to make things permanent.
I wish I could say that it was a smooth transition. I’d worked on getting the phone set up Saturday and thought I had it. Then, this morning, it wasn’t working right. We got it working, then I started losing the internet. Finally, after having Comcast give me a second ip address, both the internet and phone were working at the same time. I can access most of my tools from my computer, but there are a few applications that I needed a remote desktop to access. I’ve got that part working now too. I’m able to log into the phone queue and take calls from my desk in Quinn’s old room. It’s a nice view.
Advantages to the company are– I can now work a split shift, giving a bit more support in the morning. I’ll be taking a 3 hour break in the afternoon, then working another three hours. It’s also like getting a raise that didn’t cost them any money. And, if someone calls in sick on the weekends or they get hammered with an outage, I can jump in for whatever is needed. My office is just down the hall.
Advantages to me are simple. An extra 9 hours a week that I don’t spend driving. Less money spent on gas, and this runs $25-30 a day. And I get to stay with a company that I do care about. It’s a real win-win situation.
I’ve been reading a lot of cell phone reviews lately. We replaced Lon’s old Razr in December, after a brief try to replace it with a Chinese Razr. The Chinese Razr did have a perky ringtone “Hello Moto!” which caused us to answer the phone with the same. It didn’t hold up the way his original one had. Bad hardware, you could say.
And so, I started reading reviews. I read the ones on AT&T. On those reviews, no matter what phone, someone will say “This is the worst phone I ever had. DON’T BUY IT!) I read the reviews on CNET and a lot of other sites devoted to cell phones. What I have discovered is that cell phone reviewers are the worst sort of techno-snobs, counseling people to buy only what they personally love and sneering at the bulk of the phones out there. This is not helpful, to say the least.
I am a geek of sorts. I run Linux Mint exclusively on this old laptop. I use a command line program “Task” to keep track of events. I keep up with technology as part of my job, since people love to have us walk them through setting up mail on their iPad or Droid. I’ve had people bring in their iphones so I can configure them. I have a lifelong love of different interfaces and operating systems. Yet I am not a cell phone geek. For the longest time, I preferred to keep my PDA and phone separate. I carried a Palm and a basic prepaid Nokia phone. This is still the cheapest way to go, by the way. My Tungsten C cost me $75 at FreeGeek. It does wifi and still amazes me. But I moved to a Samsung Propel 2 years ago, when my boyfriend added me to his cell phone plan (that modern day equivalent of engagement.) I read reviews before I bought the Samsung, and I wasn’t looking for a smart phone at that time. I almost replaced it in the first 30 days, as there is a problem with the keyboard. I have to pop the battery to turn it off most of the time. Sometimes the keys on the keyboard will type just one letter and not the one it’s supposed to do. I kept the phone and soldiered on. I wasn’t ready to type much on a phone. It does webpages, but really, who wants to surf the web with such a tiny screen.
I narrowed things down, when looking for Lon’s phone. I made myself stop looking at phones I found interesting. I knew Lon liked Motorola and I wanted a phone with a large keyboard. He hadn’t been able to text with the Razr. I thought he might learn to do that with a keyboard. I looked at the Backflip, the Flipout, and Flipside. I had him buy the Flipside. Reviews of the phone were anemic. They called it second class, not worthy. Better to go buy that iphone! They judged the phone on things like web browsing, picture taking, or number of apps. Yet the phone consistently got high marks for call quality. The reviewers liked Motoblur to some extent. Lon has used that a bit during a stretch when we didn’t have internet and he likes it. But he doesn’t like reading email on the phone, and I turned off the email updates. He’s never looked for apps, as he hasn’t yet looked at the ones installed on the phone. The keyboard makes it worthwhile as he can now add people to his contact list and text message his son. He likes seeing pictures of the person calling, when it’s one of his friends. All in all, he’s happy with the phone. If I’d listened to the reviews, I would have wound up with an overly complicated phone that was frustrating to use.
The Flipside is not without problems, of course, It freezes occasionally. The touch screen is, well, touchy. I’d been considering a Backflip, thinking that it would be good to have interchangeable charging equipment. I read the reviews and considered ignoring them and forging ahead. I had time to think it over and started looking at other phones.
I started looking at Palms. I do like the Droid OS. I happen to stumble across a review of the Palm Pre and WebOS. I loved the idea of WebOS. It’s sort of like betting on one of those great applications they came out with in the early days of tech, the applications that failed because the company that created them had a lousy marketing department. WebOS may go the same way, although it looks like HP is committed to it. But again, the reviews said these were second class smartphones and you’d be better off to buy that iphone. One frustrated Pre owner said that the main complaint about the Palm Pixi was the 2 megapixel camera. Why should that be something you even consider when buying a phone?
Now I don’t have an answer to all of this. I’m going to be upgrading to the Pixi. I have no use for iphones. I don’t sync with iTunes. I can’t even run it on my computer. I’ve found Apple to be a restrictive company, hell-bent on making technologies obsolete, bound to determine what you can install on your equipment and quite capable of turning out poor hardware. (Anyone remember the antenna problems?) I’d urge you to take those reviews with a grain of salt. Buy the cell phone that fits your style. Don’t get something too complicated for your purposes. Above all, keep in mind that you are buying a phone, something you will use to talk on. Make sure that it gets decent call quality. Look at how easy it is to save phone numbers. If the reviews indicate that the phone hardware has quality issues, look elsewhere. Don’t let someone else tell you what you need, based on the latest fad. Above all, don’t be concerned with how many “apps” are available. That’s the last of your worries. Maybe someday, we’ll see cell phone reviews that are more balanced. Today, there’s a lot of nonsense out there.
Well, it’s not anywhere near done. I’m in the process of redoing the Spindlitis site. I’m moving it off Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress and back to basic html. I’ve put back in some nice stuff about spindles. I’ve yet to do my spinning, knitting and blog pages for the site. I’m pretty happy with it so far. Here it is!
In other news, travel in the Gorge continues to be treacherous. I left early on Friday, at the owner’s suggestion. Monday, I had no problems. Today, I got to Cascade Locks and it was a mess. Several inches of snow were on the ground and I-84 also had snow on the road. I turned around at the first car off the road and went home. The highway is fine to milepost 30, but the 14 miles to Cascade Locks is where you start to see snow. We even had a bit of snow at home last night, but it’s turned back to rain. I realize that we have not had the sort of winter they had back East or even the kind of winter I dealt with up in Carson. Still, I’m ready for spring.