Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Dark Red Side

As some of you may have heard, Tiffani and I bought a condo!  And we also got a dog!?  Its kept me insanely busy so I haven't even had time to tell you all about it.

The "house" is about a mile down the street from our apartments so it's still the same neighborhood and area which we really like.  For reference and when you come to visit:

283 McDonald Ave
Charlotte, NC 28203

We're still working on it but i'll try to update with pictures later.  Also near the end of a March a little stray dog was wandering around Tiffani's parking lot at work.  Long story short the owner couldn't be found and we have a little mutt named Gabriel or Gabe for short.  We actually think he might be a mix of chihuahua and miniature schnauzer--certainly terrier of some kind.  He's pretty much a puppy, the vet thought he was about one year old.  He's a baby and has the worst sad puppy eyes face--it'll melt your heart.  here's some pictures


We both had iPhones from AT&T and weren't getting very good reception at the new place.  So, my first thought was to get the femtocell they call the "AT&T 3G Microcell".  It's essentially a personal/home cell tower that broadcasts cell signal and connects to the cell carrier network via ethernet to your home network.  The signal was almost non-existent in the bedroom and stairwell.  However, in the living room and kitchen there are some windows and it's higher up so decent signal was available--about 3 bars, -89dBm.  Well, it created a problem because your phone is always looking for the best tower and strongest signal.  You may actually switch back and forth between regular cell towers and never know it because it's seamless.  The microcell is unable to seamlessly allow this switching repeatedly.  So, in the living room it would go back and forth and eventually drop the call.  I even tried moving the unit from downstairs to upstairs but it didn't help.  What I learned was that these devices don't do very well for supplementing coverage.  They have a very specific use and that's for a place with almost no signal so that there's never any question for your phone as to what tower it should connect to.  

I really like AT&T, or at least want to like them.  I don't really like Verizon.  It's hard to put my finger on why exactly but they just seem so arrogant and pompous.  they are the most expensive, offer the least features and value, and try to control everything you do.  They're so protective of their precious network.  Their pre-dominantly USA-only CDMA network that's slow and hasn't evolved and kept pace with the explosive growth and change in GSM.  And, since Qualcomm is the only manufacturer for CDMA chips they took vzw to the bank for their phones.  And they couldn't get the phones that everyone else in the world used.  Heck, they used to cripple bluetooth and GPS on their phones so you couldn't transfer images or ringtones and had to buy their wallpapers/ringtones/VZNavigator.  They were among the first to increase text msg charges to the unfathomable rate of 20 cents each on pay-per-use.  They were also the first to introduce "unlimited" data that was actually limited to 5GB/month.  because they thought you were too stupid to understand units of data or that you would ever use such an amount.  It's no doubt they lost the iPhone to AT&T becuase they would not concede to Apple's requests--they were Verizon, they were the boss.  you were lucky and fortunate to use their premier wireless service.  Only devices pre-registered with them can be activated on their network.  So no, you're absolutely not allowed to use a BlackBerry as just a phone and PDA without a data plan (something awesome to do on GSM if you don't want a data plan a BlackBerry is a fantastic feature phone).  This is what led to their support of Android and their despiration move to pay stupid Geoge Lucas to use the word DROID.  There is nothing about the history of Verizon and how they've acted in the past that would make me think they actually like a developing, emerging, and "open" OS like Android.  You know they were drooling over Apple's solid, popular, and controllable iOS.  here's another example of control:  thanks for meddling with my content before delivering...

But I digress because Verizon uses some of the lowest cell frequencies so they reach further distances from the tower and work better in buildings--hence the long standing notion that they have the best coverage.  Well, they have slightly better service at work for me, much better for Tiffani, and adequate coverage in all parts of the house for both of us.  So, I guess that's that.  Verizon doesn't work at Patrick's farm or Snowshoe but I guess I have to live with those two problems in exchange for solving my others.  Because I did so much work trying to fix AT&T and make it work they were very nice and offered to waive both of our early termination fees.  I polished up the phones and sold them on eBay to pay for the new phones and earned a little extra as well--to add to my future phone fund since there's probably no way i'm going to be able to wait 2 years to buy another subsidized phone.  If you want to keep up with my all my numbers here they are:

(704) 31-EVANS (313-8267) - This is my Google voice number and rings/texts all of my phones.  it's great except you can't send picture messages and it doesn't qualify for free mobile-to-mobile if we're on the same carrier.

(704) 620-2650 - This is my iPhone number on Verizon.  You can use it for FaceTime or free Verizon calling but I have less of a chance to hear it ringing.

(513) 235-MARK (6275) - This is my BlackBerry on Cincinnati Bell Wireless used primarily for work (PIN 21B36979 if anyone still uses BBM...).  It's connected to my inPulse smartwatch.  This is very handy for reading texts and alerting me of incoming calls.  This is part of why I love Google voice so much, I can get texts on my BlackBerry, watch, iPhone, and computer.

Yes I'm happy to use an iPhone instead of Android.  Why?  Because it's the best hardware right now.  It's also rooted so it's much more powerful.  The Thunderbolt and LTE is pretty awesome but it's kinda big.  I'm not sure if I really like 4"+ phones to use everyday.  It also destroys batteries and the battery door is one of the worst designs ever.  That Nexus S with Google Wallet is pretty appealing though...

Ok, well that's my current phone status.  Back to working on the house and getting ready for the wedding!