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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the droid and other stuff

okey dokey. i've been on a computer blackout. and it ain't been pretty.
my palm centro was acting up again. with only 6 months left of my current sprint plan, i didn't want to spring for a $100 co-pay to get a new phone (yet again) . i wanted to switch to verizon, anyhow, cause there are places i have been (like the slabs) where i didn't get service and the verizon folks did. and i wanted to get a phone that did more and could combine tasks of several other things (think downsize) and maybe allow me to get rid of the netbook. enter the droid by motorola.
this little phone is pretty awesome. it has one of the largest screens of any phone i've seen, really intense graphics, amazing speakers and more applications available than i ever new existed. i can tune my guitar with this little thing! i'm serious! it has a downloadable app that is an actual guitar tuner! it also has a guitar playing app so i can strum or pick songs! think campfire karaoke!
some of my other favorite apps are the mindfulness bell which rings intermittantly to remind me to focus and center myself (you'd love it bri!), a virtual zen rock garden with sand and rake, a 5 megapixel camera with flash that does good closeups for taking hat pictures for etsy, satellite radio, gps navigator, slide-out and virtual keyboard.....
what's not to love? heh. the ONE thing i need my phone to do is to cut and paste and trim, especially emails.  and because of connectivity problems (especially at the farm) i need to have an email retrieval ability that will let me do it off-line.
the droid does none of that.
i think the droid was made for techno savvy folks who don't live in rural areas and have to worry about signal strength too often. so the idea of selling the netbook to cover the cost ($200) of the droid goes right out the window. i need regular online access to do the most important tasks for access and the ability to work with them.
it looks like i have several options. because i don't have cell access at my homebase, verizon will let me out of the contract no problem. because it's in the 1st 30 days of purchase i can switch phones and pay a $30 restocking fee. (i don't think i should have to pay this because i was very specific about what i needed the phone to do when i bought it, and everyone including tech support said it would, although no one could tell me exactly how (that shoulda been a clue) and it took a call to motorola droid support one week later to tell me in 60 seconds that the droid smply can't do that. it can be a metal detector, a vibrator (yes, a vibrator, ew!) or a flashlight, for heaven's sake, but it can't trim text?)
another option would be to switch to a basic phone plan, and get an air card for my netbook. the cost would be about the same as the monthly data plan of the droid, which was about the same for the sprint palm centro. then i would have broadband access even at the farm, and ditch the dreaded dial-up. or.....
i could switch to the "palm pre plus" which verizon just got in yesterday. the reviews have it almost as good as the droid, only smaller screen, only a 3 megapixel camera but a better flash, not as good sound quality, no speaker phone, but it will manage my email just the way i need to. the keyboard is better than the droids, too. i don't know if it can tune my guitar.....
if i go with a smartphone with dataplan, i can't add the cost of the aircard to my budget. the air card is an attractive thought, especially if i can use it at the farm. i'm waiting to hear from mar on her take on that, as she had a verizon aircard when she was here.
the other attractive thought, though, is having one device perform the task of many. especially when on the road.
so if anybody has any thoughts or feedback or ideas, i'd appreciate your comments. i have a couple weeks left in my grace period to make any changes. your input will help me make a better choice.


Gary L said...

Katie- I feel your frustration. I've spent the past 20 years trying to simplify, downsize, and consolidate my life. Some of my efforts have been a success, but not when it comes to technology. Given the annoyance of cell phone companies' contract policies, and their impersonal big corporate management hierarchy, I would use a cell phone for one thing- making calls. And I would use a netbook or laptop computer for everything else. For being on the road, have one cheap, $10 prepaid GSM (ATT, T-Mobile) phone, and one CDMA phone (Sprint,Credo,Verizion). That way, as long as your phones have free roaming capabilities, (careful- some, i.e. Virgin Mobile, don’t) you should be able to talk to any nearby cell tower. I am puzzled as to why your Sprint phone didn’t work at the Slabs; unless you had the phone’s roaming feature turned off, you should have been able to connect with the Verizon tower there, since as I previously mentioned both Sprint and Verizon use the same CDMA network. Every "Swiss army knife" phone I have looked into is lacking in some feature; one Blackberry that was offered to me for “free” (with an $80/mo two year contract!) said it had a GPS. Well, it wasn’t a real GPS, as in find-your-way-out-of-the-woods GPS. It merely was a cell tower linked road map system, useless to this outdoorsman. It also lacked built in wi-fi, because the cell phone company wanted me to pay for their $30/mo “data plan”. Someday soon as new technologies emerge, and as most of the general public tires of the fine print contract nonsense we might have a “do it all” phone that you can buy off the shelf at any store and activate it with any carrier. We’re just not quite there yet.

Judith said...

I think a lot of us have these questions. Gary, I have had Tracfone for a while. How can I tell which tower network my phone works with?

I am either going to get a Blackberry and tether it to my laptop (not allowed in the fine print for most, but not all carriers) or get an air card for the little netbook and do what you suggest--use the phone just for phone calls.

Smart phones are tempting, with all those apps. How neat that you can tune your guitar with a phone. I wonder if any others have that app.


Gary L said...

Judith- Boy, have I sure been tempted by those nifty smartphones, but I haven’t taken the bait yet. As far as your Tracfone, it depends on what phone model you have. If you Google the specs on your particular Tracfone model, it should tell you if it uses GSM or CDMA. This doesn’t mean a whole lot, as I have yet to see a cell tower advertising as to what type it is. You either get a signal or you don’t. GSM phones generally use a SIM card though; that little card in your phone that stores personal info. Quite a nice feature if your phone dies; you can put your SIM card into a new phone. If you don’t have a phone with a SIM card, you would need to manually input your personal data into your new phone.

Mark Groen said...

I have never had to cut, copy or paste text on a phone, but it seems that many other people really value this feature on the Motorola Droid. Here’s how it’s done.

1. Tap and hold your finger on the text box you are copying text from for about 2 seconds.

2. A menu appears where you can select Select text.

3. Drag your finger across the text you wish to copy.

found this info on the web, HTH!

Miles To Go Before I Sleep...... said...

OMG. That's so funny you wrote a post about the Droid!!! I have an En-V 2 and the thing is a piece of crap! (I've replaced it twice already and it's ready again.... argh.)

So I have decided to welcome myself to the modern world and get a newer and better phone (all though I REFUSE to be as "phone up my ass" as my husband....)

I was looking at the Droid as well! I was also looking at the Blackberry Storm. Your review of the phone was very helpful!!!! I'm gonna go check it out now I think... John said that Verizon *might* be bringing the iphone to verizon??? (He said something like that but check first cause I'm not to up to date on techno stuff)...

Oh! And I really like verizon service... It has worked for me even up in The Boundry Waters! It didn't work ALL the time but it def worked in a lot of places that other people could not get there's to work at :) I even converted my ma (she lives rurally) and she hasn't looked back to sprint since! :)

Good luck with your decision!

Judith said...

Gary, I was thinking of possibly keeping the Tracfone, as it's very cheap--as little as $7 a month--as backup, and getting something else that uses a different tower system. That way, I might (or might not) have better coverage.

I don't use the Tracfone much, so I have lots of minutes built up. They rollover indefinitely but you have to buy a minimum every 3 months.

So it's hard to get rid of it! And the phone was very cheap so I don't worry much about damaging it.

I'll try to figure out which system it uses, thanks.

Brian Many Wheels said...

Katie, I agree with Gary L....
I think you should stop buying stuff and get on the road...but hey, that's just cuz I'd like to see you sometime before I get too old to remember you...;^) Remember K.I.S.S.!
Love, AB

hoboknitter said...

thanks for all the replies, guys! lots of good thoughts here.

gary, i am strongly leaning towards your advice. i really wanted to consolidate as much as possible, but as brian noted, i sure wasn't simplifying. i really REALLY have loved being able to read/send emails on my phone these last 2 years, and still hate to give that up. but an air card would be a second best solution to help me feel connected. or maybe i just have to suck it up and learn to be more solo, not rely on others so much. which sounds odd coming from a hermit....i had free roaming with sprint and it was active. i occasionally recieved a call at the slabs, but dropped it immediately. had to drive to niland for reception. once in awhile i got reception on the other side of salvation mountain.

mark- i tried that and it doesn't work! it may have to do with my reception here, though....i'm going to try in town you see one for highlighting/deleting text?

dana- heard the rumor about vzw and the iphone, but nothing definite yet that i've heard. let me know what phone you get! i'm definitely sticking with vzw. i think ;-)

haha, bri! i'll wear a nametag! my goal date to leave is next week, but i won't go without a working phone, and some sort of internet access. just too risky. i hear ya (and gary) about keeping it simple though. i do have a buyer for the netbook if i get an email capable phone, so i will actually make a profit and have extra gas money!

i will definitely post an update!

Carolyn said...

I have an AT&T iPhone... absolutely stellar wherever I've traveled. It's pricey for the phone and the data plan is $30 plus you'll want unlimited and no roaming, etc... that plan is about $70.

The iPhone was I think $200 or so (probably much less now)then I got a rebate ... there's all sorts of deals... but thereafter the plan should be no more than $100 with unlimited everything and no hidden fees or charges.

We have the family plan and the cost for the three of us is $195... so don't know what the single rate would be... certainly much less.

They're adding flash player sometime in the summer which will enable movies and TV shows. There are quite a few available now without the flash player.

There are a gazillion apps and games and of course, the Apple search engine Safari and email capabilities as your PC would have and well... I just love it... ;)

I cancelled my air card and cable and of course phone ... it really is unbelievable the stuff this iPhone can do.

Mar said...

I did answer that in an email, didn't I?