September 30, 2009

Adventures in Cell Phones (aka I Are Smart!)

Over the weekend I bought a new cell phone.  Verizon keeps sending me these notices saying I'm a VIP and eligible for this that and the other thing. (remind me to send in the rebate stuff...).  This makes me feel important - or not.  In any case I decided a change was in order. 

After a while phones annoy me and I want to take another shot at finding one that works as expected.  I'm still searching for one that does what I want without having hissy fits. Anyhow, my Blackberry had become annoying. 

First in that it would randomly turn itself off which necessitated the battery to be popped out for it to restart. 

Second we are too far from the local cell towers. The search for email ensured I had to charge the battery nightly. 

Third, I'd plug it in by my bed.  This meant the first thing I did in the morning was check my email... this is never ever a good idea.  Trust me on this one - keep the data out of the place you sleep!

(I learned when I had my office in an upstairs bedroom at the other house... I will "stop for just one minute" to check my mail - then I will discover 3 hours later I never took a shower, or ate anything and suddenly I'm too busy to leave the desk - not good!  Little did I know this should apply to cell phone email too)

I think that's enough of the list - although it does go on.  Since I have an iPod touch with a decent calendar, I decided to go with an LG Env3 (in the Maroon color).  It will be a phone and a text message catcher, nothing more.  I like the fact that the buttons on the front with the numbers are large.  I love the keyboard inside.  Couldn't have gotten this phone if I didn't have the ipod - I need a calendar.  

I've had it for 2 days now and I'm finally getting it set up the way I want.  I pulled my old ringtones onto it yesterday so I have something other than the defaults to listen to - if they ever go off.  (just 2 - one for phone one for messages).   

I like the fact that I can change the ringer volume from a side rocker switch from silent, to vibrate, to loud - much easier than the bb.  It's easy to lock the keyboard, although I did reset the "unlock" to 2 clicks of the "okay" button - the default is 1 click - a bit dicey in my opinion, especially if you're like me and throw it in the purse.

Haven't taken any pictures with it yet.  I also need to get the sync software so I can sync my contacts via outlook although the phone numbers were synced up by the Verizon guy.  I've received 3 text messages from my Remember the Milk todo list, but haven't sent any so I have only used the keyboard to fill in my family contact info. 

Nice thing about the contact list in this phone - it has an initial entry for ICE (in case of emergency) you can put in up to 3 people to contact.  I like that.

I'm on day 2 since I charged it (right after I got home with it) and the battery isn't even down to half yet!  That's freakin' awesome! 

Today was the real challenge.  I wanted to pair my bluetooth headset with it.  Took me all day to figure out how. 

Of course I was working for 99% of that time.  But still... I had no recollection of pairing the thing with the bb.  I couldn't even remember the name or model number of the headset.   I thought it was a Plantronics - but wasn't 100% sure.  (it's not on the stupid thing at all - HEY THERE headset makers - put some little bit of branding on your sets!)

I went to Cnet and searched the bluetooth head sets.  Lo and behold - it was a Plantronics Voyager 510.  Whew - found it! 

Next I had to search for directions on pairing.  No wonder I couldn't figure it out.  One must push both the "call" button and the "volume up" button to get it in pairing mode.  (I really have no recall of this part at all - none).  Therefore at about midnight tonight - I finally got the headset to pair with the phone. 

Now I'm feeling very smug.  This will last until I actually try to USE the phone and fail.  Then I'll be in hiding for days.  I'll have to wear a disguise to Starbucks so no one laughs at me.  But I'll figure it out eventually... never fear.  I Are Smart!

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 12:12 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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September 26, 2009

This and That

A wandering post... because I have floaty thoughts and they need to land somewhere.

Sorry, I've been so busy this week the blogging - it has come to a near standstill. There are some weeks like that, much as they annoy me. Lately it seems to be turning into chunks of months like that.

Much as I would love to be able to create a site and blog in the style of The Pioneer Woman this will never come to pass. What she does is the equivalent of a full time job and she excels. She knows her audience and is able to provide an incredible site for them. I admire that tremendously.

Me, I just noodle around and throw out the odd post or so as often as I can. Lately it's all been lacking. Work, plus an outside organization conspired to take up every bit of my time and energy.

Actually, the outside organization has been worse than work. Last year I was handed a job in a completely disorganized mess. I've spent nearly a year dragging out bits and pieces of information I need to do the job from the prior holder. I dislike working with people who are so disorganized that everything is a perpetual emergency. It is especially irritating because it is unnecessary.

All I really needed was a single document, possibly in Word or even in Notepad with information about what was done in prior years, who the contacts were, the associated costs, and any prior arrangements that I need know about with others. But no - that would be too simple. Far better to keep doling these things out in bits and pieces not to mention having palpitations because "I promised these people [this], we need to keep them happy".

There are many people who seem to enjoy this state of everything being a near disaster. I do not. Therefore, while I've been pulling things together this year, I've been documenting everything for whoever follows me in this job. The goal is to make it far less daunting than what I walked into. It's quite a lot of work without any of the drama.

Last of all, I stumbled upon what looks like a terrific calendar app for my ipod touch! It's called Pocket Informant. It looks very much like my beloved Datebk6 that I had on my treo. If it works the way I hope it will, it will take care of all my calendar problems which would be a wonderful thing indeed. After reading the description and looking at the screen shots, I decided it was definitely worth the $12.99 to buy it.  We shall see, so far it's sounding great.

If I can get the gmail thing figured out on this itouch - I'll be very happy.  Then I can go to a simpler phone and use the itouch like the old palm devices. 

Now I'm off to do some necessary shopping. Must brave the mall and hope for the best. I'm not optimistic, but maybe I'll make it through unscathed. One can always hope. Heh.

UPDATE: I lied about the shopping... when I got upstairs I realized that there were millions of weeds that needed to be removed from the various gardens.  Tonight the rain is supposed to start. 

So - I have deferred shopping until tomorrow and just finished pulling about 3/4 of those million weeds.   Now we're going for a walk.  The leaves are turning - maybe I'll get some good pics!  One can always hope.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 11:24 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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September 09, 2009

Under Serious Consideration...

I make no secret of the fact that I tend to rely utterly on my smartphone to be my memory.  Went from using a Palm pilot, to a treo, to a blackberry.  Now I'm kinda waiting to see if the palm pre comes to Verizon. 

Right now my blackberry is acting very funky.  Considering I treat it like royalty - this annoys the hell out of me.  I baby it, it turns itself off for no known reason.  Booting up takes nearly 5 minutes.  I could understand this if I had downloaded every app known to man, threw it around like a baseball, or dropped it in the toilet... But no.  I only have about 4 extra apps on this thing. It lives in a very nice case and I'm very careful handling it.  

For heaven sake my old Windows machines started up faster than this thing does!  I've only had it for a little over a year!

Of course this sets me to thinking... how can I get around this?   Will this last until the pre makes its way to Verizon?  Will I be disappointed in the pre?  What are my options?


I own an ipod touch which is a pretty awesome little device.  (Please Note, I refuse to do anything AT&T ever again - they have the most horrible billing and I fought for months with them over my daughter's first cell phone when she was in college. She had a one year plan the last 6 months were a total disaster - I won't do that again. Especially as I hear that many people have the same problem all these years later! Therefore the iPhone is out.)

The difference in the itouch is that it's wifi.  If I'm home this is okay, but away means I either have to pay for wifi or just not use it.  (I don't use it).  The thing is - it has a calendar, it has email capability, it has a browser - everything my blackberry has execpt a phone and text messaging.  And my phone does not work well at my house. I tell people to call my cell only if they like hearing every other syllable of a conversation... if that works for you, we can do fine with my cell at home.  Away from home it works fine, but I'm not away very often.

Tonight I was trying to catch up on my blog reading and finally dropped by Leslie's place.  She was asking about the Mifi (the link is to Verizon, but Sprint has one too).   As I was posting an answer, it suddenly occurred to me... depending on the cost of the monthly mifi plan I may have to change my thinking about what I want.

I could get a "free" cheap-o phone that has a keyboard so I can call and text.  Then get a mifi and have my own wifi that I can carry with me.  It supports up to 5 devices so it would work well when traveling.   And in the end, all that might actually cost less than what I pay now for the minimum minutes/data plan on my current set up.

Yes, I must consider this. Not to mention the reduction in wifi hassle during travel would be excellent.  I commented at Leslie's that I couldn't justify the cost of a Mifi, but this might actually work.  I shall have to ponder a bit more and start trying to use my itouch calendar and email functions to see if I like it. 

It has possibilities. 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 10:54 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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September 03, 2009

Helping Out a Friend

Don't know if this will work or not, but I have a friend who is having some issues... it's a "work" computer for which she has no disks, so we have to see if we can work around it.

Here is a link taking you to the do the software for Malwarebytes. It should say in the title on the page...

Welcome Malwarebytes Anti-Malware users

And it is a site download.  Let's see if this works.

Update - it worked for her.  Now to get her stuff backed up...

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 08:35 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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