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After the First Full Week

We've had our first full week with the Instinct, and are still thrilled.

Stocking stuffers included belt cases for each of us. I'm surprised that members of the family who previously laid their phones on the entry way table when they came in from outside, now sometimes keep their phones on them in the house. Increased use of text messaging with friends is one cause.

And yes, we have been known to call each other, even text, from within the house.

My son made his longest solo drive this week to a place he'd never been, and did so without any missteps using the Navigator. That in itself is worth the price paid.

Newest application added just today : Google Maps. It has satellite view but not yet street view. I can see this being a big help. Recommending without extensive testing. Go to Getjar.com on your phone, and input code : 36398.

The First Application

Following the advice of both a knowledgable friend / Sprint sales person, and the users on the forums, the first thing I did after opening the phones was to invoke updates of the Operating System and email application.  I knew from following the forums before buying that a major, long awaited upgrade had occured in late November and and the email application had been updated in early December.  The update allowed the phone to use some Java applications that needed a keyboard, and view Office and PDF documents when attached to an email.
And again, following the advice of the forums, I installed my first application.  Opera Mini.  The built in browser is okay, and apparently a lot better than it used to be, but Opera Mini has a better reputation.  I downloaded from here.  
One nice thing, you can download the PC version of Opera and synchronize bookmarks between your desktop and mobile.  I don't want all my desktop bookmarks on my phone, but having my phone's bookmarks on my deskt…

The Instinct

Okay, today was day three with the Instincts. If you are a long user of the phone, the posts that are going to follow in the next days will make me seem like Captain Obvious.

On the other hand, if you are new to the phone, or to smart phones in general, what follows is what I would have liked to have found when I began researching smart phones.

Blogs like I wanted to find likely exist, I just didn't find them. Feel free to leave your suggestions in comments.

When I began researching phones, and more or less settled on the Instinct, I found some excellent forums for the Instinct. They include Sprint's own forum, Buzz about Wireless (from here on, BAW), Sprint User, Instinct-Users.com, and even a Yahoo Group.

I've spent countless hours learning on those forums, and the users have been generally very helpful and informative. A lot of the tips & tricks you'll see here are from those excellent sites. Be sure to check them out and contribute if you are thinking of, or b…

The Instincts have arrived

This family of simple flip phone users moved up to smart phones yesterday.

At first blush, we are thrilled. We've been out running errands all day today, and have made test runs using the Navigator, found dinner with Live Search, web surfed while out to learn something we needed to know and of course, phoned and texted.

I can see this as another life changing gadget, just as the PC and regular cell phones once were.

New York Times-Mr. Obama’s Internet Agenda

The editorial concludes :  'Restoring America to its role as the world’s Internet leader could be an important part of Mr. Obama’s presidential legacy."
It also has this pithy quote :  “This is the Eisenhower Interstate highway moment for the Internet,” argues Ben Scott, policy director of the media reform group Free Press.  

I couldn't agree more.



Google Chrome

Google this week took their Chrome web browser out of Beta.

I primarily use Firefox, although I use Internet Explorer too for some specific things.

During the work day I tend to have a lot of tabs open in Firefox. My company uses web based email, CRM, and calendar. Plus there is the companies own Intranet site to keep open, and the company website. I was noticing memory use of Firefox growing a lot through the day. It might start up using about 330K and grow to over 500K. That could bog down my system. I could exit Firefox, restart it and all would be fine again for a while. It was like using Windows 3.1 again!

And it may be worse on my system. I suspect my PC could benefit from a wipe and reinstall of Windows and all the apps, but man, that would be a huge job now.

Chrome uses a different scheme for memory management. You can see the memory usage for each tab by typing "about:memory" in the address box. I am going to try it out for a week and see if it bogs my system …

Government Meddling in Broadband could be good

The always good Gigaom today suggests three reasons government should meddle in broadband : Education Access, Medical Care Improvements and Telecommuting.

I've always thought the best things Congress ever did involved infrastructure.

Transcontinental Railroad
Land Grant Colleges
Rural Electrification Program
Interstate Highways

And you could argue the Space Program of the 60's helped trigger the technology boom that started in the 70's and continues today.

I consider a national aggressive broadband program that puts the goods of the citizenry ahead of the telecommunications company to be worth doing.

Smartphones for the Family

Since our family is now three adults, my wife and I and the > 18 yo son, I can't get away with just buying myself a SmartPhone. It has to be three or none.

A smart phone is not very good without unlimited data and unlimited text messaging. Pricing out 3000 minutes for the three of us to share is an eye opener.

Best I can figure, AT&T wants $300 a month, Verizon (our current provider) wants $350 a month, T-Mobile $215 a month and Sprint wants $190 a month.

So that leaves Sprint & T-Mobile as my candidates. Verizon has the better coverage in our area, which is why we switched from T-Mobile to them two years ago. But paying $135 more a month (or $160 more if we choose Sprint) is way too much of a premium.

And I want the Android phone over the iPhone anyway (that's a future topic). Right now, the only Android phone in the US is the G1 from T-Mobile.

Problem is, we left T-Mobile because their coverage of our street is abysmal. With the carriers now offering street level…

Mobile Websites

I've added a box to the right hand column listing websites for mobile phones.

The BGB family is considering new phones as our family Christmas present.

Our priorities (after being a phone, of course) are :

1. Turn-by-turn instructions
2. Voice dialing for safety while using when driving
3. Affordability for three people

Kind of leaves the iPhone in the dust at the starting line, doesn't it?

Corporate Evolution

President-elect Obama has apparently pledged to appoint a National CIO. Considering the impact technology is having on our society, this is a wonderful idea, and overdue.

A website has even been created to allow you to vote on what you believe are the most critical technology issues this CIO should address.

I happen to agree with, and voted for, the current #1 choice : Ensure the internet is accessible and network neutral.

The cable and phone companies have a unique opportunity. They get to engineer their own demise.

Both sell broadband to their customers. For my cable company, it means they have doubled the revenue they get from me each month. And DSL customers are providing more money to their phone companies.

These companies love this. Each is using the increased broadband coming into your home to try and put the other out of business. Cable companies are selling phones using VoIP, and my phone company is wiring their customers with FIOS (fiber) as fast as they can and then selli…

Where I am coming from

I suspect a lot of this blog is going to about my adventures, and misadventures with technology. Technology is moving so fast that a persons point of view is skewed by their age. Therefore it is important I think to give readers an idea of where I am coming from technology wise.

When I graduated from high school, there was but one telephone company. You couldn't hook up any equipment to the phone lines unless they sold or rented it to you.

Video games had just come out. They had plastic overlays that went over the tv screen to make the borders of the game.

Video tape recorders existed only in TV stations, not in homes yet.

A few years before, a TV series that ran for only a couple years forecast days when we'd have communicators in our pockets, video stored on small silver disks, devices that could stun someone, engines that would propel us faster then the speed-of-light and teleporters. A bright future we figured we'd never see. The first three on that list are here t…

The First Entry

What's this? Another new blog no one will ever read? Maybe. Hopefully not.

Stay tuned. I have diverse interests : gadgets, technology, life hacking, history, reading, and more. Maybe one of mine, is one of yours.