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The Mobile is dead, long live the Mobile

05/22/2014

Entry 5/22/2014 10:41:33 AM – Mentat 700

Oh it has certainly been a week to remember and to forget.

For starters, the middle front fan on the PC tower for the hulking monster of a desktop had finally given up the necessary lubrication and needed to be re-oiled. So confirming that the same method of fixing the issue was valid for newer fans as they used to be for the older ones, off we went a couple of days ago to Wal*Mart to pick up some sewing machine oil. And after getting home and applying the oil to the rumbling fan, the fan is once again humming quietly as it should A sound I have to admit wasn’t something I have heard in quite some time. Oh don’t get me wrong… it wasn’t as though it was whining and rumbling too loudly the last year or so. But now that it’s purring like a kitten — it’s like a sound I’m not quite familiar with. It makes me wonder if the fan had been needing a quick oiling since the time I got the replacement case.

So going back a couple of more days. It’s Saturday early afternoon. The coffee I had in the morning is completely out of my system, I’ve had lunch and my brain crashed. Naptime for me that doesn’t normally last longer than ½ hour. I woke up when Moe got tired of laying on me and crawled off to sleep next to me instead.

I grabbed my phone and hit the power button to check to see if I received any message.

The display didn’t come on.

I unplugged it and noticed that the charge light didn’t shut off.

Not good, I thought, this is the sign of a problem.

Deducing that some time between when I last used it and my checking on it at that moment, one of the apps that I had on it might have auto-updated and FUBAR’d the OS, I was able to get to the settings and perform a factory reset on the phone. It went through the usual screens for it and then one came up that I really didn’t recognize… It looked like it was having problems performing the factory reset and that the screen that came up was indicating a problem with the Micro-memory Card. It sort of came up again after that — but really wasn’t acting properly then either.

I dialed into AT&T Technical Support Chat on the website, I spoke with Kathryn who walked me through a boot level reset. This went moderately better… I was going through the new user set up but then when I got to the part about the wireless set up, it simply stopped. Ground to a halt. Tried it a second time, and I couldn’t even get to the lock screen. At this point the phone was clearly bricked.. Wasn’t even a “fun” paperweight either because I couldn’t access any of the standard operating system functions.

Kathryn was more than happy to oblige me with the information between going the route of filing a claim for a replacement phone or going the upgrade route. Insurance which I’ve had, is a great piece of work if you have the phone within the warranty period. They will take a credit card number to ship out the replacement phone and pay for everything else when they receive the broken phone. Outside of the warranty period, it’s a bit uglier and involves a $125.00 deducible. And as mentioned to Kathryn while she was discussing this option, I had this sort of plan with Sprint when I used to have the Angry Cricket and they shipped the “equivalent” as a replacement. If by equivalent, Sprint’s Insurance Company meant same price depreciated at the time of the theft but not same quality at all. I ended up with a POS phone that didn’t have a tenth of the features as the Angry Cricket. I bitched up a storm at them for, for which both Sprint and the Insurance Company said, “Oh well, you should’ve gotten a smartphone instead.

The other option was to go the upgrade route and for $36.00 (and any additional costs for the purchase of the phone), and re-establishing a 2-year contract, I could have a new phone. That in itself has a different set of pitfalls. I have a minute plan (with rollover) that is no longer provided. Which is amusing given that the current mobile calling plan involves 450 anytime minutes with rollover and my current rollover minutes is more than 8 days of talk time. I also have a grandfathered unlimited data plan that cannot be throttled quite like the newer plans due to a Lawsuit against AT&T years ago.

I thought about it for the next day and a half as to what option I was going to take, shopping through the AT&T website for the cheapest method for replacing my bricked phone.

Sunday mid-morning, I was able to contact the Insurance Company through their chat interface and they were able to confirm that to replace my Inspire would be with whatever phone they had available at the time. They couldn’t even confirm it would be even an HTC equivalent.

on Monday morning, I decided that the upgrade route was going to be the best (and cheapest) choice. Going back to the AT&T website, I tried to see if I could order the thing through their website and was faced with the problem I had some years back when I tried to upgrade my older Samsung phone. Because the data plan is grandfathered, it prevents me to keeping/replacing the data plan without human intervention. I contacted a sales support person through the online service and see if they could solve the problem by pushing the order through. I didn’t get quite as far as I hoped. While the technician was checking with their supervisor, my laptop had locked up to the point where the only option was to shut down Chrome altogether.

Fine, I’ll make a call into their sales department and start from scratch…

I got in touch with Sarah explaining the situation and like all sales people says that she’ll more than happily help. At the point where my mother had offered as a birthday present to pay the grand total of $1.06 for the item (I got Sarah to waive the shipping costs), She explains that there might be a problem given that her name and mine aren’t the same. So Sarah makes a call down to the shipping department to ensure.

A couple of minutes later and two attempts to getting back to me to ensure that she’s trying to get such an issue resolved, on the third attempt she puts me on hold, I was greeted with the fast busy that her phone glitched the call.

Taking a deep breath and calling back in the hopes I would get her again, I ended up getting Cody from the Texas area. Explaining the situation to him for the second time, including all the information I had gone through with Sarah. He got a chuckle out of it when I was repeating back to him the Terms & Conditions part of the script he was supposed to read to me. At the end of the call (that Cody didn’t disconnect), the order was placed, I was given the order number and informed that I would be receiving an e-mail for accepting the new terms and conditions and another when the order was shipped including tracking number.

The Terms & Conditions e-mail was received and I accepted it within 15 minutes of the call.

One day passed without the second e-mail.

Two days…

On the morning of the third day and not receiving the e-mail, I went to check my orders on the AT&T Website.

Cancelled!

It’s 6:30 in the morning and I’m seeing that on my screen. I haven’t even started getting cleaned up or ready. I haven’t had my breakfast or morning coffee. The good ol’ ADD his screaming into overtime with barrages of thoughts I wanted answered and strings of cussing that would make a sailor blush. Forcing myself to calm down by going through my morning habits, by just after 7 AM, I was washed, dressed, the house was in semi-order and had a cup of coffee on the desk while I started the chat with AT&T…

LaShanna’s the winner of this aggravation this morning… And she didn’t help matters any. She gave generic answers, she did not seem to want to take responsibility for handling the situation trying to hand it off to anyone she could. She couldn’t answer the questions as to why the order was cancelled. When asked if I could place the order through her and have the unit picked up at the store, she said to me that the retail stores only had “new phones” and not the one that I was wanting. I got pretty vicious in my use of words telling her that the site I’m connected through is telling me the particular store had them. She tried to say it was refurbished. Told her that perhaps if she researched it on her own site, she’d see it’s new.

What’s worse is that near the beginning of the discussion she copy & pasted a scripted answer that clearly sounded like she was closing the call when she shouldn’t have. I put the fear of god into her a moment when I requested to know which call center she was working in and what her supervisor was. While in the end I felt like I was going nowhere with her, I stopped the conversation before I lectured her at the lack of responsibility for handling the situation — even transferring it to someone that could handle it. Although I will looking be looking for a method for me to write to AT&T about such customer service, the story did however continue…

I went out with my mother yesterday to do my part as a mule while she picked up water (for the house and the dog) as well as various sundries that I forgot to pick up Monday when I went shopping for groceries.

I vented out my frustrations on this while at the same time came to the conclusion that I would make one more try through with the local store and if that didn’t work, my relationship with AT&T was going to end right there.

Calling down to the Providence Place Retail Store, I asked whether they had the phone I was looking for — and they said they did. I explained the situation I had experienced online and after being transferred to another sales associate the man told me I could come into the store and they would match the price and keep the plans that I had established. I warned him that I didn’t want to have any of my plan changed, that I didn’t want to have any sort of bait and switch, and I most certainly didn’t want any up-sell.

The man chuckled, told me that he hears that quite often from New Englanders and assured me he would get my order fulfilled with the littlest of inconvenience.

Thirty minutes later (15 minutes to the retail store as it’s a 1 mile/1.6 km walk from the house) I was walking out of the store with the phone I tried ordering two days earlier and paying the exact same price I was promised to owe when I spoke with Cody: $1.06.

The Inspire is dead, long live the iPhone 4S.

Honestly as I explained a couple of times over the course of the last 5 days, the only other phones that matched what I was looking for in the Droid Market (and for the same price) had an entirely different set of software: Samsung. I have enough software on my system (and HTC’s is currently on the chopping block for removal as that phone is now a handy paperweight). I already had iTunes loaded up on my machine, so with the price it became the next choice for phones. Not to mention that a majority of programs that I use are also available for free on the store. Well, save one… KeePass. Apparently that comes with a price tag (I refuse to pay) not to mention it’s next to impossible to sync up the KeePass file without using something like Google Drive or… ugh, Dropbox. I was aware that it’s a hell of a walled garden, but it’s something I can live with for as long as I don’t need to load up more software in the process.

Heh, then there’s the inconvenience and annoyances this morning. Thirty minutes after getting the phone fully charged yesterday, hooked up the phone to iTunes, get the programs that I used to use a lot on my Inspire into the Apps queue, the next thing I see in iTunes is that the iOS needs to be updated to 7.1.1.

All right, it’s in the queue for tomorrow (today). And I might as well update iTunes as it’s been bugging me the last time I’ve loaded it up.

This morning I did iTunes first and it went without a hitch. Did the software upgrade with the phone shortly after that. Took a bit longer to restart once the download and install had been verified, but I kept busy doing other things while I waited to see the icons of the Welcome Screen.

Ten minutes after that, I remember that iTunes also loads up the Bonjour file sharing tool and go about what I normally do about uninstalling that (it’s a useless service for Windows and as iTunes is loaded up on a desktop without Wi-Fi it’s bloat). Went about finishing what I started around the house. When I come to sit down to write this journal entry, I load up OneNote… I load up iTunes. I take a deep breath…

And iTunes crashes without me doing anything with it. I was able to re-create this crash more times than I wanted.

So, off to the forums to find fixes and ended up unsuccessful on all but one solution: uninstalling everything associated to iTunes, the folders within the \Program Files and \Program Files (x86) folders, restarting and reinstalling. While I’m fortunate that the music is stored within the \Users folder(s) and the configuration files (including the acceptance of the licensing agreement and configuration files) for iTunes are stored in the \AppData\Roaming folders I was back to up and running in about 20 minutes.

Looking back at all this for the last 5 days, I have to say that in spite of the occasional flare-ups I had handled my anger remarkably well. And even when I was angry, it was more a matter of frustration than actual anger. I did have an almost-rage moment this morning in the shower when I had a flash back to the time when I lived with douchebag #1 and had one of those moments of savage glee that comes from the thought of flattening his nose with my fist. Repeatedly… Though I’ll admit it wasn’t as strong as it was 6 months ago, and certainly was something I could easily handle.

It makes me wonder if that’s actually improvement. It certainly feels like improvement as I’ve noticed I’m not prone to being too angry… Loud? Sure.. I’ve always been loud. But not raging… And certainly not stewing as I used to for hours at a time.

I’ll be back in a bit to wrap this up. Right now it’s supper with the family and that means tonight. Homemade Spaghetti with Meatballs and Sausages… Until then.

[Last Edited: 05/22/2014 6:24:43 PM]

After getting thoroughly stuffed, I remembered the final thing I wanted to talk about: The Legend of Hercules (2014). What an absolute abomination of a film that was. I was only able to get to about an 1 hour 18 minutes (which incidentally was somewhere around the time Lutz gave his pep-talk speech to the forces that joined him) and even then it wasn’t to actually watch Lutz’ rippling pecs and 6-pack abs either. No sir, I was more interested in his side-kick that played Sotiris (played by Liam McIntyre) and even then I was writing slash in my head about him and Hercules as entertainment more than the movie I was trying to watch. Because in spite of the award Lutz got from People Magazine about being one of the “50 Most Amazing Bodies”, there was just something off-putting about him being shirtless. It was like his head was too round and his eyes weren’t quite in the right place making his face look… piggy. Listening to him give his speech, I got three impressions… 1. Lutz struck me of someone that was a fat kid in school that worked out to get over his fat. 2. The way he talked struck me that as a toddler, he was the kind of child to chew on those thick toddler Crayola Crayons… and 3. he licked chalk.

It was at that point, I gave up on that atrocity. Gone were the 10 Labors and in its place was a re-told story of Cain & Abel that had no place in this Greek Myth.

Well that’s about it for the time being. Off to watch an episode of Doctor Who and then perhaps play a game or two. Until the next time.

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