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Posts Tagged ‘Best Buy’

Just ordered a new phone!

Yeah, I love my Optimus V, but there have been several things about it that I’ve not been too fond of. Namely that it’s not all that fast, the minimal onboard storage capacity (it’s sitting there with a “low storage” warning in my status bar as we speak), the fact that it won’t play flash, so I can’t even play back the videos on my own website, and the screen is pretty damn small, even when I wear my readers. Even using ThickButtons, typing on that thing is really tricky, my fingers hit the wrong keys on a fairly regular basis. Plus there have been a few apps that I’ve run into out there that I’ve REALLY wanted to put on the phone, but while they’re compatible with my version of the android OS, they’re just not compatible with just that phone. 

(And yes, I noticed that out of everything I’ve mentioned about the phone, in this and previous posts, about how it operates, one thing that never comes up is how it handles phone calls. LOL. But I almost never use it for that, which is why that Virgin Mobile $25/month unlimited text/data plan with just the 300 minutes is so perfect for me. Essentially, I treat it as a PDA, that just happens to be able to make calls when I need to, which is rarely – don’t think I’ve ever gone over 30 minutes in any given month since I’ve had it. So as long as it can make them when I need them to, it doesn’t need to do much else so far as its phone abilities go.)

So as a rule, it’s been acceptable phone. Gets the job done. And it was the best one that Virgin Mobile offered when I bought it earlier this year. 

Motorola Triumph Phone from Virgin Mobile

But THEN, I made the mistake of going to my Virgin Mobile account to update my credit card info last week, then peeking into their “phones and plans” area. Whoops! The Optimus V is not their best offering any more. Now they’ve got a Motorola Triumph. With a faster processor. And a much bigger storage capacity. And a bigger screen. AND it will play flash video. PLUS it’s got two cameras compared to just the one on the OV. AND a flash for the still camera, which OV doesn’t have. AND HD video that you can play back via an HDMI cable directly into your TV set. In short, it’s like the OV, on steroids.*insert Tim Allen Tool Time grunt here: ARGH ARGH ARGH!*

Reviews on it have been mixed, but it seems like if you get a good phone right out of the box (which seems to be a problem on occasion, some folks have gotten real lemons right from the manufacturer), people have been happy with it.

So after hemming and hawing for a week (and missing Best Buy’s sale on that very phone in the process), and doing my usual comparison shopping, helped by the handy dandy plug in for FireFox called Invisible Hand which pops up when you’re shopping for something to let you know if there’s a cheaper price online anywhere, I found myself at Amazon. Invisible Hand told me it was cheaper on eBay, but I tend to like the return policies better from a known company vs someone on ebay where you’re not sure who you’re buying from. Plus if I put it on my Amazon store card, I’ve got something like 4 months same as cash to pay it off. THOUGHT I could use the nearly $50 in reward points from my Visa card towards it, but since I wasn’t using the Visa to pay for it, apparently that’s not an option. So did the next best thing. Used the $30 gift card that my sister got me for my birthday in July, put THAT towards the phone instead, saving my rewards points for my birthday purchase when I make it. Amazon seemed happy with that. So I got $30 off, free shipping, and 4 months same as cash. Nice deal. Ordered it this afternoon.

And one other thing I like about Virgin Mobile… If you’ve got a phone plan with them, and they change their rates, as long as you keep your same phone plan, you get to keep it at the same rates. So apparently even though VM raised their $25/mo plan to $35/mo recently, even if I swap out my OV for the Triumph, I still get to keep my $25/month plan. Sweet. :)

Can’t wait for it to come in so I can play. Fortunately it’s still an Android phone, so the learning curve on it won’t be to steep. AND all the apps that I already have via Amazon’s app store and the Android App Market should work with it as well (including, hopefully, the ones that were supposed to work but just didn’t like the Optimus V. So we’ll see.

Guppies and Other Technical blah blah blah…

This WAS going to be a tweet, but I realized that I kept typing and couldn’t shut up, so decided to make it a blog post instead. :)

Brought back the Tivo box back to Best Buy tonight, and made a pitstop at PetSmart on the way, to pick up the new 10 gallon aquarium that we’re buying to put in the living room this weekend. Or as I like to refer to it, “The Guppy Birth Control Device”. Once it’s set up, I’m fishing out all the male guppies from my 20 gallon tank downstairs and putting them in the 10 gallon upstairs, leaving just the Fertile Myrtles in the tank downstairs. Guppies really should come with a warning label, that when you buy two you’re really buying 30+ of them. In any case, separating the males from the females should put a stop to the population explosion my aquarium has been experiencing since the first batch of babies was born during the opening ceremonies of the winter olympics. Of course the fun really begins when I actually try to fish out JUST the males from the tank. YeeHAW! Fish rodeo! 😀

Then finished hooking up the rest of the video stuff tonight. Stole the HDMI cable from the Roku box to put on the DVR, bought new component (the red/green/blue ones, one step down from HDMI, but better than s-video or RCA) cables when I took the Tivo box back to Best Buy, for the Roku box, but then had to pull the Wii’s component cables from the back of the TV to give the Roku a place to plug in (the other component jacks are being used by the Panasonic VCR/DVD burner combo, and the other HDMI cable is hooked to the Toshiba HD dvd player), so switched out the components on the Wii back to the RCA composites (the red, white, yellow ones). I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference on the Wii when I upgraded from composite to component before, so no great loss there, really.

Whew! Confused yet? LOL Lucky I do this for a living, among other things. Didn’t have time to test either the Wii or the Roku out yet, by then “The Middle” and the rest of the Wednesday night shows were coming on, but things LOOK like they should work now, nothing is left hanging out in the room anymore, and even the cables that were hanging along side the TV while we were testing things out have been run down the back of the entertainment unit and out of sight. So HOPEFULLY everything works, I’d hate to have to try and move anything now.

Of Bluebirds, Tivo, & John Barrowman

Noticed that I wasn’t getting a whole lot of hits on the blog recently, and it occurred to me that maybe it was because I hadn’t posted anything new since April 28th or so. 😀 So a few updates to some prior posts to remedy that. You can do a search on some of the main terms to see the original posts on each one.

THE BLUEBIRD EGGS:

Bluebird Eggs And then there WEREN’T five. Apparently those five bluebird eggs were defective. Last weekend we checked the nest, which was supposed to have hatched by then, and there were only four eggs left in the nest, and none had hatched yet. We were told to wait another week or so, and then if they hadn’t hatched by then, to get rid of them and the nest, clean out the box, and let the bluebirds start over. Took a peek today. ALL the eggs were gone, and Ma and Pa bluebird had already started building a NEW nest over the top of the old one. So apparently they figured out that the eggs weren’t going to hatch, cleaned house all by themselves, and are starting over again. So we may still have baby birdies to watch yet. Yay.

THE WHOLE TIVO SITUATION:

Aaaaand, it’s OUT OF HERE! The wireless N adapter that I bought at Amazon arrived Friday afternoon, so I figured I’d take a couple of hours on Sunday to get the Tivo up and running. HAH! After banging my head against a wall with the thing for FIVE hours on Sunday, 3 of which involved another online chat on the laptop with their tech support folks (you know you’re in a bad spot when even the guy at Tivo technical support is at a loss as to why the adapter – which connected to the network just fine, but refused to connect to the Tivo box – refused to connect), I said enough of this crappydoodle stuff, and we decided to ditch the Tivo and just call Time Warner to have them set us up with digital cable and one of their cable box/DVR combos.

As much as I hate getting beaten by anything electronic, which almost never happens, I’m not all that heartbroken about getting beaten by a dinky little Tivo adapter. Didn’t want Tivo in the first place, and between coughing up $300 for the box, another $100 for the adapter, and $100+ for a years worth of service, I’m more than happy to send everything back, get my $500 back, and let Time Warner, who we’ve been happy with 99% of the time handle our DVR needs for a while.

So packaged up the wireless adapter and printed out the postage paid return label from Amazon, that will go back out in the mail tomorrow. Boxed up all the Tivo cables and connectors and will be bringing THAT back to Best Buy tomorrow. And called Tivo proper last night, and got the $120+ credited back and the account canceled (Had to laugh, when he pulled up my account to see my tech support info, he’s all “You’ve got 12 PAGES of chat here from yesterday!” And I’m all “Tell me about it!”). DID find out something of interest though, assuming the customer support guy wasn’t just feeding me a line. Apparently Best Buy was selling first generation Tivo boxes, and with most first generation things, there are bugs. And the wireless N adapters are pretty new (the only two local sellers selling Tivo wireless adapters were Best Buy and CompUSA, and both were still only selling G, not N). And apparently, one of the bugs in the first gen boxes is that they don’t tend to like those newfangled wireless N adapters. So had I bought a Tivo box from someone else, I probably wouldn’t have had a problem. And for my trouble, since I was taking the Tivo box back to Best Buy anyway, Tivo would sell me a box direct, for $100 off the price. I told them thank you but no thanks, I already had the appointment for Tuesday with the cable company.

Which I did. When I called THEM Monday at lunch, they were actually able to schedule an installation for between 5-7pm tonight. The guy came before 5:30, and was done in less than an hour. And now we’ve got a DVR that will record two different channels at once, and more channels than we know what to do with (I’ve FINALLY got BBC America! Yay! And while I’m not ready to jump into watching the new Doctor Who quite yet – never seen a Dr. Who ep in my LIFE – they actually had a Doctor Who Primer episode on at 10am tonight, which will hopefully give me an idea of whether I want to waste time trying to get up to speed on the show or not.) Alas, we’ve already had a scheduling conflict with having the new channels now. Already had both DVR tuners and my RAM disc recorder programmed for the main three networks tonight at 10pm, what’s a girl to DO? Why, pull up Doctor Who in the onscreen programming guide and see if the episode is going to be airing again at a later time. Why yes, yes it is! 1am tonight. Selected it from the list, hit record, and whambam, it’s programmed. Just that easy. Tivo WHO? 😀

I will say though, in comparison to the customer “support” that I received from Philips when I contacted THEM for help, despite the fact that the whole Tivo thing didn’t work out, the Tivo customer support was actually pretty impressive, IMHO. So they get some points for that.

JOHN BARROWMAN:

Just a webpage update, if you Barrowfans haven’t found it yet without a blogpost to point the way. 😉 After not being included in the Desperate Housewives episode LAST week (which was a good thing, since locally, the whole first half of the show was pre-empted due to tornado activity in our viewing area), JB’s 3rd episode aired Sunday night, so I finally added his 2nd and 3rd DH episode clips to the site.

The clips can be found here, as usual. Enjoy, all you Johnettes and Barrowboys! 😉

Danny: “Heeey, double cappuccino, extra hot. Need anything else?”
Patrick: “Inspiration.”
Danny: “Sorry, we just have muffins…” 😀

Patrick: “…I’ve had an exhausting couple of days, what with searching your house looking for firearms, and running over Dudley Douche-bag…”

REALLY lovin' my new phone!

Finally broke down, when Best Buy made me an offer I couldn’t refuse a few weekends back, and traded in my fairly basic Virgin Mobile phone for my first smart phone. Had really WANTED to get an iPhone, but the original plan was to wait until I was able to get one through Verizon instead of AT&T. Then when Verizon finally got it, I found that after paying $5/month for phone service, I just couldn’t justify paying $70 per month for the smart phone plan through them. Then just happened to go back to Virgin Mobile, and THEY were selling smart phones with $25/month phone plans with unlimited data/text/email, and 300 minutes a month. Now a lot of people can’t get by with 300 minutes a month, but since I primarily use my phone for “emergencies” (like “I’m at PetSmart, do we need more cat food?” or “I’m at CostCo, should I get more peanuts for the squirrels?”), I don’t see myself ever going over my allotted 300 minutes a month. More important was the unlimited internet, which I figured I’d definitely use more. And some of the features/apps that came with it, that I was used to carrying around separately – camera/camcorder, GPS, and all the apps that would take the place of my PDA – all tucked away inside one small unit. Figured it was all worth paying an extra $20/month, easily.

So ended up deciding to, at some point, get Virgin Mobile’s Optimus V phone, which – other than a battery that people said drained too quickly – was getting great reviews everywhere. Wasn’t planning on doing it right away, I’d just coughed up about $8000 for surgery in January, and figured I’d just wait until eventually someone had the phone on sale. Enter Best Buy, two weeks ago, with their “save $50” package deal: $20 off the phone, and $30 off the accessory pack (car charger, screen protector, and $25 top up card for the service). Couldn’t pass it buy, and stuck it on my Best Buy card so I could get the 90 days same as cash deal. They ended up shipping me the phone (which despite being backordered for “1-2 weeks” – the deal was selling so fast, the closest in-store phone I could find for pickup was 2 and a half hours away, in Kannapolis! – I got in about 3 days) and I picked up the accessories at the local BB store. Got it activated and swapped it for my old phone so I could keep all my old account info.

After 2 weeks, still haven’t quite tried all the apps that came preinstalled, and after googling for “Best Android Apps”, have also already raided the Android Market for a very nice selection of freebie apps and games to add to it.

Favorite app so far? Up until today, anyway, probably c:geo, the freebie geocaching app. I like to geocache, but didn’t do it much, mostly because of all the planning ahead I always seemed to need to do, from loading the coordinates onto my Garmin GPS, either loading the cache pages onto my PDA or printing them out, then having to lug the GPS, the PDA, my camera (for shots of the find), and any paperwork with me to the cache location. NOW? It’s literally ALL in my phone. The GPS finds where I am, the app gives me a list of the 20 closest caches to my location, the GPS gets me within about a meter or two of where the cache is, I either find it or don’t find it, use the camera to snap a pic if I do, then can use my phone to connect to the website and log in said success or failure. All done on the spot. Sweet! If I find myself geocaching a LOT with the phone, I’ll invest in the $10 official geocache app. But for now, still testing things out.

Have several apps that I’m testing out for things like Twitter, and texting, and my internet browser, jury is still out on all those, but definitely have LOTS of options for each!

Favorite Freebie games so far? I’d originally been all about Angry Birds, since I’d heard nothing but great things about it, but after trying it, and finding it to be very similar to an online Monty Python game which I’d found to be marginal, haven’t really played it much. Haven’t played a LOT of other games yet, but so far, the vote for best graphics and playability go to AI Factory Limited’s Reversi and Backgammon. I’m a sucker for computerized board games. :)

But the thing that really made me *squeee* over the new phone today? I found myself in somewhat unfamiliar terrain after driving to meet my boss to give him some cables that he was missing from his kit for a video shoot this afternoon, and thought “okay, what’s the best way to get home from here? Hey, let’s try the Navigation app!” So pulled over (SO not familiar with my phone buttons enough to find it while in motion), pulled up the app, was all set to type in my address, when I saw the option to SPEAK my address into the app instead. KEWL! Hadn’t tried that before. So hit the record button, spoke in my address, which it captured perfectly and immediately started squawking at me, telling me which way to go. I over-rode a few of the GPS decisions once I got closer to home and knew where I was, but on the whole, it got me home pretty well. But what was truly *squee*rific about the whole thing? As I’m pulling onto my street and it’s telling me that “your destination is on the left” I happen to glance down at it again as I’m pulling into the driveway, and the map was gone off the screen, replaced with a Google street view photo of my HOUSE! I just thought that was REALLY kewl! Talk about giving it the personal touch! 😀

But now I understand a recent article I read about people talking back to the voices in their GPSes. Doesn’t take much to get me talking to myself anyway, but put something in my car that actually talks to me, even if it’s just to give me directions, and I’ve got NO problem talking back to it, whether to tell it “No, we’re NOT going that way!” or just “hey, you got THAT one right!” 😀 Pretty funny.

Yeah, I’m definitely loving my new smart phone. An iPhone it isn’t, but I think it’ll keep me busy for a VERY long time anyway. Best upgrade I’ve treated myself to since buying my new PC last summer. :)

Look! Very scary! I’ve actually put Hello Kitty wallpaper on my phone already. Be afraid, be very afraid. 😀 And yes, there’s voicemail on my phone. But I don’t know how to access them yet, I used the voice mail so seldom on my old phone, I can’t remember my passcode to check it. Guess I’ll have to call VM sometime and get access to it again. LOL. No rush though. Nobody has my cell number, so it’s probably just junk or a wrong number or something…