Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Note to Cell Mates

my new Motorola V325 on Verizon wireless

Owing to my activist life-style (alternating with more sedentary times, like in front of a screen), another cell phone bit it: my Samsung (replacing an LG I'd bought on eBay, to replace my previously beheaded LG (that happened on Amtrak, Coast Starlight in fact (beautiful train ride))).

Once again, the head got separated (not entirely my doing). So this time I'm going with a Motorola, having sampled Samsung and LG.

I was sorely tempted by the many display models, each supporting an assortment of bells and whistles. Some delayed windfall profit was burning a hole in my pocket, residuals from the big Hood River Cabin Sellathon (wherein I never played a real estate agent -- I served as webmaster and event coordinator that time).

But given my track record, investing in an expensive, delicate, all-purpose phone/PDA, would likely be a setup for disaster. I'd bash it against some airplane fusilage the next day, trying to squeeze into a passenger seat (some of those F-whatevers don't leave much room). What, no insurance? I'm sorry Mr. Urner but you've just destroyed our latest six million dollar phone. Nah (slap slap) gotta snap out of it.

But I didn't go "el cheapo" either, even though I had to pay full retail this time. My first choice, vendor recommended, was actually a bargain basement Nokia, but I was just glazing on the name. We EuroPythonista types, or loco PyConistos, know there's a series of Nokia out there that supports our favorite bindings: write your own little telecomm applets, with the provided GUI, in native Python code. But that wasn't what they had on sale for only $59.99 with a 2 year plan. No way Jose. I don't think the USA Verizon version even lets you buy such equipment, at least not through these storefronts.

They're too scared about snakes over here (South Park style 8th grader to teacher: "can we have Python on our school server teacher?"; teacher [heart pounding, thinking panicy]: "omygod, omygod, what are they asking, little hackers at this age? Should I call homeland security?"). We're not what you'd call real "computer literate" out here (mostly cuz of that stupid TV they all watch so much; it doesn't teach 'em much of anything that's useful -- unless you're expecting a starship to swing by).

Anyway, I'm still going through the activation process, like on Google Video. So if you call and you just reach a friendly Verizon recording, please try again later, and my apologies for the inconvenience.

Latest news (early March 9 AM):

Verizon is having technical difficulties in the Portland region. New phone activations are not going through. They're working on it, no time estimate. There's nothing about my account in particular that needs fixing. I've been without cell for going on 36 hours now -- since the Samsung died -- about 15 since purchasing this new Motorola.

In the middle of all this, Network Solutions called, wondering if I'd like to buy any variations on the theme, such as maybe or or whatever (so-called "extensions"). I declined the offer. She asked if there was anything else she could do for me today. I offered she could try activating my Verizon cell phone.

A joke, but hey, worth a try.

Wow, 10 AM and still no dice. Vendors confirm this is one of the biggest area outages they've seen -- usually we've got a resolution within like five hours. Verizon thinks this is probably bigger than Verizon, regionally speaking at least.

I've done a Python class in the meantime, and am now on to helping with "Sir Roger logistics" (Sir Roger Penrose is our ISEPP speaker this evening, plus Winterhaven is doing its annual Math Alive! -- a student poster session).

None of this is made any easier by not having a working civilian cell phone, I can assure you. But I'm good at my job. Anyway, Google Talk is working great.

OK, 2:40ish PM and your activist is activated (please deploy wisely etc.). Remember, nothing from the Samsung was salvageable, so I've lost all photos and electronic records. Tough cookies. Thems the breaks. Don't feel shocked if I don't call you right away.