Saturday, August 06, 2011

Meanwhile, Back In Realtime

Here I am at Re-Wired Cafe on Main Street, ground zero for Musikfest on a rather wet Saturday. (Here we are actually, since I'm here with Anne.) The place is a mob scene, mostly Fest peeps avoiding the rain -- the streets are not empty but they sure are emptier than usual, and a lot emptier than they were a few minutes ago -- and the baristas are like dervishes trying to keep up.

Last night was the first night of Musikfest, and it was also First Friday, and we did a Heels On Wheels pub crawl to check out the scene. Me & Anne, Donna, Amy & Aaron, and Emily and Mike and Brian and Maris, all the girls in short skirts and high heels... (We also met up with Debbie, as well as Doug and Lori, near the end of the night.) Pretty fun, though we walked more than biked (crowded streets) and only hit four places: Brew Works, Home & Planet, who had wine and birthday cake in the back of the store, Molly's, and The Wooden Match, the new place at the old train station (motto: "Beer, Meat, Cigars"); we finished with some late-night snacks back at Brew Works.

It was an early night, or early by the usual standards for these things, but we slept in anyway, and it's been a lazy Saturday ever since, just sort of hanging out, though we did manage to keg and bottle our latest batches of beer.

Tomorrow, if it's nice, I'll be riding in Jim Thorpe while Anne visits her mom. I think tonight we might buck the local trends and either stay in or hit Easton, though we could also do the music thing if the rain stops -- there are a number of good bands I want to see, but I really don't want to deal with outdoor shows in the rain, even if it's under a tent.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Sad Saga Of The Phone

My Motorola Droid is defunct, and I now have a Samsung Transform courtesy of CREDO, my new phone company.
It wasn't a software issue. No amount of removing or reinstalling apps helped, and no factory reset -- despite the advice of the guy at the Verizon store, who said that that was what he did -- was going to fix it. I remember doing the factory reset and the phone came back on with the touchscreen already going haywire, my only consolation being the knowledge that the idiot who recommended it was eventually going to suffer as I did.
And it wasn't a "thin film of oil forming on the glass" either, though I did slavishly scrub the screen with rubbing alcohol, and swore like a good Pavlovian that I saw some improvement whenever I did it. What it was, was basically a design flaw: the "ribbon wire" from the screen runs too close to the phone earpiece, making the connections more than usually vulnerable to moisture and dirt through that nearby hole in the casing. When the connections got bad, the screen started going haywire. It took me forever to find the info online.
Since my phone was out of warranty and I didn't have insurance, and per my policy I couldn't get my free replacement phone until December, I was SOL at Verizon. I was looking at paying full retail for a replacement phone, like somewhere around $450 or a little more if I stuck with them. But as it happens, Anne has her phone through CREDO (formerly Working Assets), who channel some of their profits into progressive causes, and who had a deal where I'd get a new phone for $30 (and they'd buy out my old phone contract) if I signed up with their plan. So that's what I decided to do.
The setup: All of this was going on, phone misbehaving and me deciding, while Anne's big trip -- her solo bike trip to Knoxville, where our smartphones would be her only lifeline -- was getting closer. I thought the phone would make it, but it died and I ordered the new one just before she left... (She had email on her phone, so I stayed close to the computer for a few days, and my new phone arrived on her second day out, so things weren't too bad.)
So anyway, here I am with my new Samsung Transform, with about 3 weeks under my belt to figure it out. I think that it's a decent enough phone, but I think that the Droid (except for the fact that it crapped out) was a better phone, and more advanced in some ways. I've had three disappointments so far: the phone seems slower at times, there is no port of the Flash plugin for the Transform, and while the phone has a front and rear camera, Skype does not have video calls enabled on the transform. I can live with it all, live and learn.
In terms of my new phone company, I like CREDO so far. The network they use is really Sprint, and I found out the hard way that Vermont is Verizon Country -- we'll see how hard I got socked for roaming charges when my bill comes -- but otherwise my coverage has been fine.
The kicker: about two days after I got my new phone, Anne's phone fell and broke.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Now Every Day's The Fourth Of July

Not sure what happened, why there was such a big blogging lapse on my part. I looked the other day though, and I hadn't posted a thing for almost the entire month of July, that caught me by surprise. What could have caused this, what have I been up to? Last thing I remember Doc, I started to swerve...
Reading: I just finished China Mieville's The Scar, the second in his Bas Lag trilogy, but last in my personal order of reading them. It was good, especially when considered on its own merits, but I couldn't help but be disappointed: Iron Council was a tough act to follow, and when I read Iron Council it really felt like a cowboy story even with the fantasy stuff, which made me think it would make a good movie along the lines of "Cowboys vs Aliens." The action in The Scar is mostly nautical and concerns a floating pirate city, but it never really became a swashbuckler, or or even movie-adaptation-friendly really. Anyway, and though I would definitely place it in the Guilty Pleasures category, it was another decent summer page-turner.
Listening: I downloaded Jefferson Starship's Blows Against The Empire (and I understand that it's not that Jefferson Starship, but another one of the same name and personnel that made this album). I probably haven't listened to it in a good 20 years, but I knew every song on it... Strangely enough -- and I don't think it's just the temporal juxtaposition -- but this album and The Scar seem thematically related in my mind.