So it has been a while since I did much social networking or blogging primarily because I have been struggling through the malaise created by the depression that was caused when someone stole my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 from my car seat. See, I had been out with a friend at a bar, Ye Old Sticky Wicket, and had parked in the Target parking lot. After the bar, I had drank beer which was one too many to risk being pulled over by the police, so I crashed in the passenger seat. I placed the phone on the drivers sleep and began to snore. Sometime during the night, it was chilly and I turned on the engine to turn on the heat and when I turned it off left the keys in the ignition and forgot to check and make sure the doors were locked. About half an hour later, some white male, about 5’8 and 5’9 wearing dark clothes opened the drivers side door which awoke me almost immediately when the “Hey Idiot, your leaving your keys in your car” alarm began its annoying chirp.
The part that makes this so irritating for me is that when I told this story, my macho friends were all like, I would have ran his ass down and caught him. Wrong. When you wake up like that, it takes a few seconds to comprehend what is going on, Why is it beeping. Wait, what is this guy doing and why did he suddenly run away. Fuck. My phone. Several of my younger friends said they would have jumped out, ran his ass down on foot and got the phone back. Everyone likes to think of themselves as Mr.Badass until the situation happens and they realize that reality and their imagination are two different things. Let’s say, that by some chance they did awaken instantly, did jump out of the car and chase the guy? Now someone else, who was watching goes back and ramsacks the now unlocked car, or worse steals it because your instant chase scenario left the keys behind in the ignition. So, maybe you even catch this guy, anyone that bold is going to have a bold and brazen response to being chased so when you catch him, you feel that cold burning sensation of a knife or hear the unmistakable explosion of a gunshot as you feel the bullet pierce your skin. Keep in mind that a large majority of the transient population are junkies aka serious drug addicts with Crack, Methamphetamine and Heroine being the three major habits.
When I was 9 or 10, my mother was taking my Aunt Sue, who was pregnant with my cousin Nicole to work at Westview Mall. We had just pulled in to the first level of the two floor parking structure that was there. As Aunt Sue was exiting the vehicle, we heard this woman scream “My Purse.” My mother and Aunt Sue saw a guy running with a purse and like some television show reminiscent of Cagney and Lacey they took off after him. When they lost him, they split up and my mother found him hiding in some bushes by a house. She grabbed his foot and used her nails in his ankles to force him to give her the purse which she returned to the lady. Neither Aunt Sue nor my mother realized at the time how utterly dangerous their actions were, the young man in question was whacked out on PCP and had a pair of garden shears in his pocket as a weapon. He very well could have killed my mother, leaving me and my two little siblings, Danielle and Jessica orphans. My mother escaped death and ultimately was given an award plaque from the local Optimists Club at an awards dinner ceremony a few months later.
When the Note 3 needed to be repaired, I took the opportunity to jump carriers from the MVNO Straight Talk to MetroPCS simply because I wanted the option to be able to speak to a real, live person, in person as necessary. My bill with Straight Talk when I signed up, was $45 for unlimited everything until I lost my Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 in 2014. I say lost, but it really disappeared off the table in a Restaurant and I was able to track it using Google Device Locator right to a street address. When I called the Sacramento County Sheriff’s office, they said it wasn’t accurate enough and that there was nothing they could do. Sitting just inside the door of the garage where Google said my phone was located were several men. Ironically, the Sheriff knew their names. Smartphone thefts reached 3.1 million in 2013. So there was nothing I could do about the phone or the SD card and since the mobile broadband was so slow, 20gb of the pictures I had taken with that phone disappeared with it. At least the ones that I had not shared with social networking did. So even though the download speeds were atrociously slow, I wasn’t unhappy with the service otherwise, so I chose to order a new replacement sim.
One customer service nightmare after another and two weeks worth of waiting even though I paid a fee to have the chip expedited to me, I finally got a sim chip and the new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was now on AT&T’s LTE network. It was pretty amazing and I talked about in on Social Networking, pimping Straight Talk. Then about two weeks after this all started, I realized that when Straight Talk replaced my sim chip, they also changed the rate plan to “Unlimited everything*” where the * limits you to 2 or 3gb of 4G data and then the rate is throttled to 2g speeds and they were not kidding. I would have jumped ship at this time except that the plan was too good. Nobody offered anything close. When my Note 2 disappeared, I tried to port my number from Straight Talk to T-Mobile but you have to do it before the last day in your billing cycle, or else they wont let you port the number. Think about this for a second, you either pay them for service you will never use because you are taking your business elsewhere or you give up your telephone number. So I bought a used and abused Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
When I say used and abused, it is obvious that the previous owner went all natural, meaning he didn’t put a case or screen protector on the device and it was obvious from the markings that it had been dropped several times. I didn’t care, I just ordered a case and hit hid all of that. About 6 months after I bought the phone, the screen began to display large numbers of nonconforming pixels and in desperation, I contacted Samsung support. Score! It was still under warranty. Since I couldn’t be without a device, I went to MetroPCS and bought the cheapest device they had, the Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2. It is a pretty amazing phone and easily on par with the Sprint Samsung Galaxy Epic Touch 4g aka Samsung Galaxy 2 or so I thought. When Samsung sent the Galaxy Note 3 back to me, it would not register on any Mobile Network using any Sim Chip. So I had to send it back to Samsung to be repaired. This is when began to notice the limitations of the budget phone with only 2gb of internal storage. This basically limits you to about 12 downloaded applications unless you move those that you can to the SD card. I have spent weeks trying to find a method to root this device or some other method to work around this limitation. I currently have 16 apps installed and 4 or 5 of them on the SD card but there is no room for Facebook or a bunch of other applications that I use on a regular basis.
Sadly, the carrier bloat on this phone is pretty high and there are probably 1gb or more space used applications that it shipped with that I will probably never use. Carrier bloat is a real issue. So is the locked boot loader and lack of ‘rooting’ method. If there would have been a work-a-round for either one of these, this would be truly bitching badass phone because I could use a 32, 64 or maybe even a 128gb MicroSD chip to boost the storage. Then using Root, a few hacks and an app, I could have permanently eliminated the space issues. As of the writing of this blog, there is no known root method. So there is no method to create the symbolic links in the file system to move more apps to the SD card and fool your device in to thinking they are still where it wants them. Ultimately this is a design flaw being masqueraded around as a security feature or anything but what it really is.
Sadly, I cannot afford a different device at the moment and I would ultimately like to get another Samsung Galaxy Note 3 since I have two extra batteries and two external USB battery chargers for it. Having all those batteries allowed me to use it even more and the reality is this was a flagship device and as such it flew. I was actually moving to using it for social networking as well as entertainment. The end user experience on that device is amazing and the Samsung enhancements make it a truly capable device. I had stopped using my Notebook to watch television shows and stream online content using my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 instead. MetroPCS has an LG Phone for $249 with a $50 mail in rebate that could potentially be as good of an end user experience as the Galaxy Note 3. They also have a phone from a generic manufacturer named ZTE in the Zmax for $99 that could be an upgrade that would fix these issues as well. Ultimately, I would love to find someone who is grandfathered in to an old school upgrade for signing a contract like all carriers did a few years ago who doesn’t need or want the upgrade so that I can use it. I really covet the HTC One M9, Samsung S6 Edge or the Note 4 simply because I am a power user and these devices are designed for power users.
Imaging if you were a commuter and it was a choice between a Smart Car or a Dodge Charger as your commute vehicle. On the surface it may seem like the gas mileage would be an issue, except that the Smart Car EPA estimates are 36 mpg and the Charger gets a combined Highway / City rate of 32 mpg. So the tradeoff is in comfort and power and this is all the difference in the world if your commute is from Sacramento to San Francisco due to the need to climb above the mountains and through a pass to get to the bay area. The lack of LTE speeds combined with the unresolvable storage space issues make me not want to use Facebook because typing the responses gets frustrating when you are typing more then a tweet worth of characters and the device begins to stutter, lag and hang up. This is about how I imagine I would feel if I had to use a Smart Car to commute from San Francisco to Lincoln on a regular basis.
The only reason the depression hasn’t won is because I have some amazing friends who have pushed, poked and prodded me to try and keep me from wallowing. Unfortunately when the depression hits full speed, wallowing becomes much more appealing. Not social networking and not using Facebook just add to the misery and despair. Someone rear ended me, pushing me in to the car in front of be just before someone else rear ended them at the start of the Spring 2015 Semester and as a result, my HP Envy 17 3D Notebook that was on the back seat when flying off the seat and hit something (floor?) hard enough to dent the metal case and to cause the CPU Fan to stop working. Luckily I had a HP Envy X2 tablet that has helped get me by, but it doesn’t play games and I miss gaming. I miss gaming with my Son and Daughter on Weekends. The sad part is I am not sure when I will ever have an extra $1500 to spend on a Notebook again and this was a gaming rig.
I am hoping as I begin working with the two insurance carriers that one or the other will decide to pay for either sending it to HP to be repaired or replace it. Sadly, the last time I was rear ended, in October of 2014, the Insurance company refused to help me in any way and since I don’t carry full coverage on my vehicle, and I couldn’t afford to pay it on the rental vehicle, I was forced to take the cash payout. They also refused to pay for the Notebook that went flying (it’s a habit to reach back and deposit the Notebook on the seat after using it when picking someone up. I am more then likely going to have to consult someone well versed in this type of jurisprudence because I am almost certain that having to provide proof of purchase for said item isn’t a valid enough of a reason for denying the claim.
Remember how I said II above how amazing my friends, both real life and via social networking are? Last semester I was in Starbucks and someone asked me for change to buy coffee and instead I paid for her two cups of coffee even though it meant I would probably have to forego it one morning in the future. One of my awesome Dirty 30 friends sent me a Starbucks card because my story about buying the woman coffee moved her to do something awesome for me. Little does she know, that this card was like the Rainbow at the end of the semester when money was tight. Her humble act made the darkness just a little less dark. See, this is why I desire a better phone, because I desire to social network and connect with my friends and supporters. Thanks for that gift card my super awesome Dirty 30 Gawdess, you will never know how much joy and relief your simple random act of kindness brought to me the day it arrived and when I began to use it.
Now if I can just figure out how to get someone to buy me an HTC One M9. this is such an amazing device and like most electronics, spending a little more on a device will ultimately improve the end user experience in the same way random acts of kindness enhance the human experience. It is 104 degrees here in Sacramento today. Stay Frosty.