Saturday, October 22, 2011

Learning Cell Phones

Interested to learn that on Verizon you can activate any cell phone on any line by simply dialing *228 on the phone you want to activate and entering the phone number to put it on and the account billing PIN. Makes it easy! You could keep your old phone as a backup and activate it at will. There's a pretty useful feature that escapes most users.

So now I am using my part-fish phone with continued amazement, because it is more capable in addition to being more submersible...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Swimming with the Fishes -- Three Weeks! ...

A call comes in last night asking if I lost a cell phone. Well, yes I did... while biking to the local country club [to scavenge lost balls]. The phone rang on that ride so I knew I still had it two miles from home, but didn't notice it missing until the 8 mile turnaround. That was three weeks ago, and every nice day since then I've been retracing the six miles of that route finding nothing but more golf balls. I had ads in Craig's List and notified the lost and found at the club. I finally was resigned that some kid probably found it and decided to dissect it for educational purposes -- something that I might have done as a kid. Finally, I replaced it with a $35 Pixi Plus not trusting myself with a $400 like-kind replacement.

Now, this caller had news that his daughter found it a few days ago at the bottom of a stream that I cross at about the three-mile-mark. I knew the bridge and stream he was referencing, but that meant that the phone fell from its case on the bike on the bridge, landed in the water and sat immersed in that stream for three weeks! Huh? Well they placed it in a box of rice to dry it out and charged it up. IT WORKED. They brought up the owner's ID and got my main phone number. So a kid did indeed find it in that stream, but was responsible enough to apply proper electronics resuscitation and find the owner.

So I pick it up from their house across from the stream, and incredibly found that everything seemed to work. The only evidence of its excursion: a little discoloration on the back, and a couble of tiny dents in the screen protector. Functionally, it seems perfect. How far this goes beyond my wildest dreams! The enduro champ of all this: the Verizon HTC Incredible. They might want to change its name to the Indestructible or the Impenetrable or the iSubmersible. :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stunning 9-9-9 Analysis, If True!

If like me, you've been wondering about the impact of Cain's 999 proposal, here is an eye-opener:

"Visualizing Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich

"By Cory Doctorow at 10:02 pm Wednesday, Oct 19

"Maybe you've heard about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan for America: 9% sales tax, 9% income tax, and 9% corporate tax, and wondered how it would play out in the real world. Here's a chart that illustrates the answer neatly (click for full, farcically long-ass version): the poor will pay a little more (or a lot more, relative to their income), and the rich will pay a lot less, and the very rich will pay so much less that it takes 9403 vertical pixels to express how much they'll save. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)"

I truncated the bottom of the graph to make it readable -- it extends down to a reduction of $1,350,000 for the top .1% and a reduction of $238,000 for the top 1%. While it increases the tax on the bottom 80% of the households. I've known for a long time that sales taxes have a bigger impact on the poor, but this is huge. This is income redistribution of a type that the super-rich could love. I'm waiting with baited breath to see a rebuttal.

9-9-9 in One (Really Long) Graph []

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cell Phone Savings Delivered

This has such a low profile on the Internet, I am amazed that is can save us so much money. Here is the story of how we are reducing our cell phone bills.

Following up on the prepaid cell phone service savings which I stumbled upon in searching for a cheap replacement for my lost Android phone. Lynne's new Pixi smart phone [same as mine] was delivered this morning, within 2 days of ordering from Amazon with free shipping. My phone will be staying on Verizon for the unlimited data service that we need while on the road. Lynne's will be activated with the low cost prepaid company Page Plus. I rechecked the review on Amazon and the costs on the other sites and decided that we could save a few additional dollars by activating directly with Page Plus rather than going through Kittywireless which would cost an additional $15 for porting. Also found that the charge for a new number at PP is $10 and porting over an existing number is free.

So... I called Page Plus with the four pieces of required account info [name, address, account number and billing pin code] on the number to be ported, and found that it took less than 10 minutes. Called them back when the old phone no longer rang, and completed the set-up with no muss or fuss. Including the free minutes included to activate our net cost for the set-up is a credit of $1.68. Added the $10 plan and was up and running before lunch. Turned on the WiFi and turned off the Verizon data service. The auto renewals on PP are only weekly or monthly, so will be using Kittywireless for the 120 day renewals at apparently no additional cost. Unused minutes carryover automatically with the renewal. Plus, Lynne now gets fully synced contacts, email and calendar from the internet, as of the last time she connected on WiFi and some games like solitaire and other time-wasters -- something that was sorely lacking on her "dumb" phone.

A light user of cell service really should not be on anything else if cost is an object. This will reduce our yearly cell bill by $800, including the elimination of my second phone which I was keeping for the data service because it was adding "only $10" to the total. More importantly, there will be NO reduction in the amount of cell phone utilization benefit we receive. Amazing! Lynne asked how to know how much prepaid service was remaining, and we found that when you call a number, before the ringing starts, you get a report of your current balance -- a little more "no muss or fuss."

If you are somewhat technically challenged, you may need some additional guidance and help -- give me a call. Otherwise it is quite straightforward. So, if you have been a frequent caller direct to Lynne's cell, please change her number to our main number: 614-859-9365, so as to use her cell minutes most efficiently [this will still ring her cell phone through Google Voice but give us the option of picking up the home phone or my cell with more minutes] -- Thanks.

"Too good to be true" may NOT apply in this instance. Very happy with the service so far. The savings are a real eye-opener. Very highly recommended.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Year of Suddenly Getting Older

While I am still trying to rebuild my quadriceps muscle to the point that I can go down stairs normally, I had another recent medical encounter -- the removal of a basal carcinoma from my chin. After several years of wondering about it I finally asked the doc at my annual physical. He promptly shaved it off and had it biopsied. Then sent me to a dermatoligist-surgeon. Not only do they dig out a crater, once they are satisfied that it's deep enough, they enlarge it to an eye-shape so that it can be stitched together properly. Now my right chin zipper matches the one on my right knee. Ugh... At least the chin rehab should be trivial. Stitches come out next week.

Graceful aging is better if you can swing it. This why the updates have been a little light lately.

Cell Phone Service on the Cheap

Too good to be true? I intend to find out... Cell service on the Verizon towers, for $2.50 per month for 100 minutes of talk time over a four month period. At this price you should turn off the phone's wireless data function, but still use the WiFi service in its place. Pretty amazing if it works.

Buy a no-contract Palm Pixi Plus at Amazon for $37. [Prices will fluctuate. I have since seen this up to $50]

Activate it on PagePlus on the prepaid $10 for 100 minute for 4 months plan after turning off the wireless data feature.

The result is a nearly-full-fundtion smartphone, with a good selection of apps. Voice coverage is Verizon.
Data works on WiFi only.