Monthly Archives: August 2008

Tip of the Day : AT&T Contracts & Nokia NSeries

My tip of the day: How to sign up for a plan without a 24 month contract with AT&T Wireless in the US.
How? Easy. Buy your own Nokia Nseries phone and let the Sales Human at the AT&T store that you just want to get a sim chip and plan for it with no contract.
Ok, maybe not so easy. The sales human may try to sell you an AT&T branded phone from the store on top of your desired call & data plan. Resist. Bless AT&T, but at current time they are not carrying any Nokia Nseries phones due to the fact that Nokia will not back down on disabling the GPS & Mapping features (go Nokia!). AT&T would like to sell their own navigation/mapping solution for an extra $30 a month.
As an aside, let’s do the math here (as of Aug. 2008):
Cheapest Apple iPhone is $199 with the mandatory 24 month AT&T contract (in the US). But you also have to pay AT&T $30 extra dollars per month for their GPS/Maps feature beyond one’s phone & data plan, which is an additional $720 over the course of the 24 months.
$199 + $720 = $919 (real price of iPhone with GPS)
Cheapest Nokia N82 purchased on Amazon.com at the beginnging of August during a sale is/was $379*. A Nokia purchased outside of AT&T does not have disabled features, thus the GPS and mapping is free.
Thus the real price over the course of the device’s lifetime is $379.
In my world as a photographer a Nokia with a 5 megapixel camera for $379 is a much better deal than a 2 megapixel iPhone for $919.
Now to get back to my point, if you show up at the AT&T store (or T-Mobile) with your own unlocked device, then you don’t need to be in a contract. Multiple month contracts are a way for the carrier/operator to make their money back from subsidizing the cost of the mobile device. Last week, when my Mom and I went into the local AT&T store to purchase a sim chip and get a plan for her new Nokia N82 the sales support representative was very helpful and pointed out to us that he was taking off the 24 month contract requirement before I had to mention it.
If the AT&T sales human that you are purchasing a plan from does not rightly see the above logic, then find the manager to eliminate any contract requirement for a person with their own phone. The sales human will still get their commission regardless if you are in a contract or not, appeal to their finer nature.
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*If you gasped at the cheap price for the Nokia N82, start watching Amazon’s prices on Friday through Saturdays, that is when they seem to drop significantly. If I wanted to switch my Mom over from an evil little flip phone on Verizon, I had to find a similar price to what Verizon charged her two years ago. Now she is free.

Bird’s Sunflower are Almost at the Seed Stage

Fri 08.22.08 – Ryan staked Bird’s sunflowers last weekend as they were falling over. Soon the seeds will be harvested, then soaked in salt brine, then roasted, and then we can eat them.
File under odd but True: This summer at least once a week we have had June Gloom (maritime inversion layer clouds) until 10am or noon. Usually, from July 4th to October or November, we are cloud free. The days we have the inversion clouds it makes photography difficult.

SXSW 2009 Panel Picker – Vote for my Panel Idea

I would like to encourage y’all to vote for my Mobile Creativity panel for SXSW 2009.
Moleskine to Mobile :: Consume or Create!

“Mobile devices are the frontier consumption vs. creation for over 2.5 billion people in the world. Do we, the people, use our mobile devices to consume other’s creations or do we create with our mobiles? As designers, developers, and creators, will we let the manufacturers & operators define the mobile space or will we?”

Please go vote.

It’s Illegal!

Today Scruffy and I were driving out of the local CVS parking lot (I had to buy Draino to unclog the kitchen sink – a monthly occurrence in a 65 year old apartment building), when a man pulling into the parking lot in a large white van rolled down his window and screamed at me, “It’s Illegal!”
My first thought was, “What is illegal? You, Mr. Nosy, driving a large white vintage van that is rusted & bleching black smog?”… if it isn’t illegal, it should be.
What he meant was that Scruffy was sitting in my lap. Both of my hands where on the steering wheel, my mobile phone was in my purse, and Scruffy was not obscuring my vision.
But, and a big but, is that a Californian state legislator is attempting to pass a bill through the State Assembly and Senate to make it illegal for small dogs to sit on their owner’s laps while driving. I don’t know if it has passed, but with all California driving laws, if it has already passed it will mostly likely go in effect on January 1st or July 1st of the next year with much fan faire and public education.
I have heard of the bill being up for vote, but I have not read that it passed (I read the LA times every day) nor have I seen public notice as to the date it will be in effect if at all. So, I am not worried.
I am not a person who likes to borrow trouble before it happens. Thus, I am not going to worry about a law that may or may not have passed both houses and been signed by the Governator. A law that if it did get passed has not been activated and publicized yet. If…
Scruffy likes to sit in my lap while I drive, most of the time he lies on my lap and naps. Sometimes if we are driving slow and the window is cracked he likes to put his nose out the window. I don’t let Belle sit on my lap while I drive, as she is too tall and obscures my vision. I don’t let Magnus sit on my lap the few times he has been in my car, as he is too young and bouncy and does not respect the fact that I need both hands/arms need to be on the wheel. Scruffy is well-behaved, most of the time, and does not cause trouble.
But you know about those small lap dogs… nothing but trouble, which is why, I surmise, the Nosy Legislator from Fresno is trying to pass a law to ban Scruffy from sitting on my lap.
More importantly to the point I want to make, all of us have broken the law or a law of some sort in the last week or two, be it not stopping for a full 5 seconds at the stop sign or driving through that yellow light as it was turning to red or not using a hands-free while talking on your mobile and driving (I saw you) or you took office supplies home with you or you used your office computer or phone for personal use … or … or …

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Venice Beach

Tues 08.19.08 – This evening I drove up to LA to Venice Beach to meet up with a very jetlagged Donna & Colin from WOM World along with Amir, Bryan, Jean, Jeb, and Mike at the Sidewalk Cafe. As we were walking out, I looked up and was enchanted by the blue of the sky, the old wires, and the striped awning.