Thursday, August 21, 2008

Entering the "connected" age . . .

As I noted a couple of weeks ago, Sarita and I have owned cell phones for years, but we hardly ever use them. Why? Because we never carry them around with us!

But then we were driving up to visit Amy and Phil on the birth of Jonadab and we wished--once more--that we had a different habit with phones. We had promised to bring some pie as a kind of celebratory gift. But Amy only eats wheat-free food, so we needed to buy our pie at Whole Foods. The local Whole Foods is several miles away . . . in the wrong direction.

"Let's just pick one up when we get to Boulder," Sarita said.

But we never thought to find out where Whole Foods might exist in Boulder. So we're on our way and have no clue where we should go.

"Boy!" (I think I was the one who brought it up.) "If only we had an iPhone, we could look it up online and get directions. Or call Amy and Phil and find out. . . ."

And then it struck me: Sarita and I don't need a cell phone too much for day-to-day communication; what we need it for is all the other stuff of life: PDA (I've carried my PalmPilot Professional around with me for something like 11 years--ever since it first came out), camera, electronic voice note-taker, . . . And then, if I used it for those "additional" functions, I might have it available for phone calls as well.

So--it doesn't take me long once I really become committed to a project--we got home and I began doing my serious research.

I didn't want an iPhone. But what would replace it?

The Samsung Instinct?

The more I looked into it, the more confused I became. Too many plans, too many options, and no clear, obvious winner.

I finally went down to the local Sprint store, with Justin and his girlfriend, Jaclyn, along, to get a first-hand look at the phones . . . And then, suddenly, it all seemed to become clear: Sarita had already declared that she wanted a BlackBerry Pearl . . . and with that decision made, I would get a BlackBerry Curve.

Sadly (?) we walked into the store at 8:40 pm, just minutes before they were closing. I had no idea how complex such a decision and application process it could be. So we walked out at closing with no phones and no agreements.

And, after finding negative reviews about Sprint's customer service, and then other sources for phones and phone plans at potentially better prices, it took almost one more day for me to come to terms with actually placing an order online with Sprint--at an unadvertised savings of another $50 per phone via online chat help that popped up when I visited their site.

So we received our phones last Friday.

And I spent all the rest of Friday evening and all day Saturday getting my data out of my PalmPilot and into my BlackBerry.

I've still got a long way to go learning about this modern marvel of connectedness.

Justin taught me about Cha-cha (text:242-242) in order to get a 160-character-limit answer to virtually any question I might have.

I actually even used it Sunday evening to find out whatever the "180 isotope of oxygen" is. --I had been unable to find the answer online myself. So I Cha-cha'd. I got a partial answer, but they actually seemed as stumped as I was.

Still, I have now seen Justin use the service. And I've used it. I'm pretty excited. . . .

Oh. --We never did get the pie for Amy & Phil. --What a bummer!
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