Monthly Archives: December 2013

saving money at all cost

This is a slight rant about some relatives, one in particular, because ranting is fun, and the smug sense of superiority feels good!

So, the said relative calls me on his new cell phone this week.  Yay!  New cell phone, but there’s a catch.  More about that later.  First, some background.

There is something about a branch of my family.  When it comes to computers, Internet, or mobile phone service, they have to beat the price down to the absolute bottom dollar.  They buy these used beat-up junk computers, then when I say that they need to pay for Internet service, and it could run a lofty $17.95 a month (on special) for the first year, they squeal “Oh My God” as their jaw falls to the floor.  These are people who drive relatively new cars, one of them drives a Lincoln, so it’s not like they are on the dole.

I used to help them repair these junk boxes, but I realized that I was totally wasting my time.  I don’t want to see another box running an infested copy of Windows ME ever again.  It’s time to plunk down the money and get something real that doesn’t take half an hour to boot up, if it ever does, and get off that $4.95 a month limited AOL dial-up that you can never use because it’s so limited.

So, the aforementioned relative just gave up using a StarTAC a few years ago.  He was fond of saying, “it’s just for emergencies and I only get a few minutes a month”.  I doubt it even worked.  I never saw him touch or test it.  It sat in the console of the car with tape wrapped around it and frayed wires sticking out of the charger.  Motion from the car would make the phone squeal with beeps and other electrical noises.  It got on my freakin’ nerves.

For the last five years, he has had some cheap phone that never worked from the get-go, but at least it did show signs of being connected to the towers.  The problem was that this phone had a buzzing sound on the microphone.  I had to strain like crazy to understand anything he said.  He knew that the phone was bad but kept it for five years.  For the last two, I refused to take calls from him on it because the audio was so bad.  I often told him, “I can’t understand a damned thing you say on that phone.”  He’d reply, “yeah, it’s bad.”

So, he calls me this week with a new cell phone!  OMG, it was clear and I could hear him again.  I said, “maybe I can text you now when I’m at work and can’t talk on the phone.”  “Oh no, no texting” he says,  “it takes too long on this little keypad.”

Out of curiosity I e-mailed him last night and asked what plan, carrier, and device he had.  He has a basic $35/month plan that includes unlimited minutes, texting, and a reasonable chunk of data.  The device is the kicker.  It’s the cheapest piece-of-shit clamshell phone that I’ve ever seen.  The carrier gives them away for free if you lock in for two years so they can rake off a couple of hundred dollars from you.  Full price, the unit sells for about $25 at Wal-Mart and Target.

I texted him last night just for fun, and he replied, “don’t text unless emergency, too hard to reply.”

I couldn’t resist.  I e-mailed him not to worry about me texting ever again.  I also said, “why don’t you plunk down $350 for an Android and live like a man.”  LOL.

We’re temporarily not speaking, but we like each other, so this, too, shall pass.  I had a good time picking on him.  He’ll get me back.  🙂

net surfing companions

They all sit just to the right of the monitor.  It’s dusty there.  When you’re online a lot, you don’t waste a lot of time cleaning.

Front row left to right:  gargoyle, skull, alien, something I bought at the Hopi Travel Plaza in Arizona (fool’s gold?), pirate.

In back:  Ava Gardner.

The pirate has been here since Windows95.  He might be gay.  I’m not sure.

netsurfers

papel higiénico

Thoughts?  lol.

image

Posted from mobile.

the perfect christmas gift

The perfect Christmas gift?  A book by Sarah Palin about Christmas.  I feel closer to God already!  :-p  I would indeed shout “Oh God!” if someone gave it to me.  Now, if I could just get that Ronald Reagan autobiography…

This article by Barry Lynn (Americans United) about her book made me chuckle.

the my opera meltdown is going swimmingly

As Opera continues to treat its fans like dirt, the My Opera meltdown seems way ahead of schedule.  I have been trying to get a backup of a blog for four days now.  No go.

An Opera logo dartboard might be in order at this point, but I don’t want to see the red “O” in my house anymore.

vodka problem

The only problem with vodka is not planning ahead and running out

Mixing a few cocktails on a Saturday night.

android OS swapout, switcheroo, and switch back

I felt some stress as I was coming home from work yesterday.  For years, my favorite stress/anxiety reducer has been messing with the Linux boxes.  I swap out one distro for another, change desktops, tweak, try a new experiment, etc.  I have the Linux computers nearly perfect, and they give no trouble, so it’s time to leave them alone for now.

What to do if I want to mess with tech as a relaxer?  All that is left for getting a good hard tech f**k is the Android devices.  It’s a little unnerving because those things are expensive, and if you screw up or brick them, you’re off the air.  I have two older Nexus S that were replaced by Nexus 4’s, so they were good candidates for an OS (operating system) swap.

Swapping out the stock Android for the popular CyanogenMod was actually quite easy, and I didn’t even use the new automatic installer.  Just download a couple of files and issue several fairly easy commands.  The important thing was to carefully read through the instructions and take it slow and easy, step by step.

I learned how to change the default recovery to ClockworkMod, do backups and restores, change stock Android to CyanogenMod, and switch it back.  For some reason things like this make my stress melt away…after it’s all done.  While I’m learning it, I often spit, swear, and fly into rages.  Strange how that works.  It’s kind of a catharsis.

Screenie of CyanogenMod on a Nexus S.  I’ll consider it for the Nexus 4’s later.  At least I got it down now.

cyanogenmod_nexus_s