Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Coolest Thing Since Sliced Bread!

Okay, I'll admit to being a bit of a Geek. Far from a Super-Geek - but hell, I live in the Silicon Valley (to say nothing of being married to an Electronics Engineer!) - so it's kind of a pre-requisite, right?

At the same time, I was still toting around (and relying quite heavily on) my old Palm IIIxe (10 years old with a monochromatic screen!!!). Yes, I got ribbed for that but I was staunch in my defense of the device: "It has my Outlook/Work Calendar on it and squawks at me when I have a meeting; It has this really cool [no-longer-supported] Diet Program on it (Complete with the USDA Nutritional Database!); and it's got about fifty-bazillion different Solitaire Games on it! It has *exactly* what I need!"

Nevertheless, I was suffering (more than a tad) from iPhone Envy :::sigh:::

Something about having the Internet at your fingertips 24/7 was stirring a lust, deep in my soul, that I simply couldn't deny! (No, I'm not addicted! Really!)

Of course, I wasn't jealous enough to fork-over a freaking fortune for a new phone! And certainly not envious enough to switch cellular providers! (*gasp!*)

Well, my Contract was nearly due for renewal and - lucky me - they were offering a pre-renewal Upgrade Special thingie-doo on new 3G Smart Phones, so I started surfing for more info - on my laptop, of course, because my antiquated Palm does NOT have internet access ("Oh the HUMANITY!!!"). I was pretty-much 99.9999% convinced that I wanted a Motorola Droid.

So then I toddled off to the local Verizon Store to take a look. I was a little apprehensive, at first because the place looks like it's *always* jam-packed with people - and I was expecting to get the Hard-Sell and/or Brush-Off if I wasn't prepared to purchase That. Very. Minute.

Fortunately, my fears proved to be (largely) un-founded. Well, I did get the Sales Pitch and Brush-off, but not in a Bad Way.

Yeah, I spoke to a Sales Rep for a few minutes - but no High-Pressure-Sales-Pitch. And yes, the Sales Rep vanished - almost instantly - when I indicated that I wasn't going to be making a purchase that day. But I did get the opportunity to play with the phone and they did answer my questions.

I did manage to Make an Adventure out of it, though!

Here's a little PSA for ya'all:

If you go into any phone store to "play" with a SmartPhone - DON'T log into email (or whatever) using a "real" personal account. Use one of your Garbage/Spam accounts!

So if you - like me - find that you accidentally left the "Remember Me" box checked, you won't leave ALL your personal (and potentially financial) information wide-open for the next schmoe who might want to play with the very same phone!

Yes, I stupidly logged into my gmail email using my "real" email address. The one that's linked to my online banking, all of my credit cards, most of my shopping sites (eBay, PayPay, countless others...), and also has a Google Checkout Account (with a Credit Card) linked to it. "D'oh!"

Yes, I logged out. But I didn't realize (at the time) that even when you close the browser, it still remains (logged-on) in the background. So even though I kept signing out and closing the Browser App - every time I brought it back up, it went back to my current emails and kept me logged in! AAAACK!!!

And, of course, since I'd already dispatched the Sales Guy when I said I wasn't buying today, it was damn-near impossible to flag anyone down to learn how to clear the cache!

I did drag someone over who hit some buttons and claimed that everything was clear. But then I pulled up the browser and - again - all of "my" stuff still popped up - as logged-in - on the phone.

Quite frustrating! And actually really unnerving - I DON'T want my credit card info out there for all the world to see!

I ended up coming straight home and re-setting my passwords. But I *still* wasn't comfortable that I'd rendered "my stuff" inaccessible through the "C'mon and play with me" Slut-of-a-SmartPhone at the Verizon Store!

So "Quick Study Time!" I pulled up the pdf of the Droid User-Manual and read-up on how to clear the browser, cache, cookies and passwords.

I hurried back to the Verizon Store and went back the same Demo-phone. I used my newfound knowledge to clear the cache, browser and cookies and double-checked to make sure that nobody could access my account which, unfortunately, became the default sign-in acct on the Google screen! But at least I confirmed that you *couldn't* get into it without the password :::Whew!:::

So there you have it! If you're gonna play with a Smart-Phone at the Cellular Store and want to play around with the browser and read your email - USE A GARBAGE ACCOUNT! And WATCH-OUT for that "Remember Me" box! Jeez!

That was a real Bone-head move on my part! D'oh! For a minute there, I was afraid that I was gonna have to BUY the phone that day. No - not just a new Droid - but THAT VERY PHONE!

So then I went home and surfed some more. Read lots of reviews. Read about ALL THE APPS you can get. No, not as many as Apple - but I like that it's Open Source and you aren't limited to Proprietary-stuff - like the Apple.

Side-Note: I really hate iTunes. Made the mistake of downloading it and bought a few songs - only to discover that I can't play them on any of my mp3 players - unless I burn 'em to CD/AVI/whatever first - then convert them back to non-proprietary mp3 format - what a PITA!

That was the point where I decided I really didn't care for Apple - for me personally (I know there are lots of BigTime Apple i-whatever fans out there and I am not dissing them, by any means! It's just not "my personal preference!") I'm fine with letting Apple forge into new territory and introduce New Fantastic Can't-Live-Without-It Technology. I'll also let 'em work the bugs out and wait patiently for the i-whatever Ripoff to come out, and buy it then!

And yes, I'll silently lust after it, in the meantime!

Anyhoooooooo... I did all my research and crunched some numbers. I figured I'd wait 'til my Contract was truly up (in 3 weeks) and save an add'l $50.00. But then it got all dreary and rained all weekend. And I got terribly bored. Couldn't go out and play in the garden. Nothing on TV. And every time I surfed the 'net, I kept coming back to the Droid-related sites.

Oh to hell with it! I transferred some $$ from my savings and headed out to the Verizon Store - AGAIN.

Meet Rosie:


I LOVE her!!! (But I'm still carrying my Palm Pilot!)


View my page on Meet the Phlockers