Sunday Morning Frustration

My morning got off to a little bit of a frustrating start because it’s hard to “Sprint Ahead” when you don’t have any network service.

Apparently here in the Cleveland area, it’s been a problem to connect to someone and keep connected. I’ve called two people already this morning and our conversations are cut short by a disconnect. It’s not just my phone because the two other people I’m calling also have Sprint. My mother doesn’t have any problem connecting but she lives south of Cleveland and she’s dialing out like she has the Verizon network of 8 billion people behind her. Me, on the other hand, I have Sprint network of zilch. (I don’t know if I’ve ever used that word in a post before.)

While I’m on the topic of phones, I’d like to talk about my dying satisfaction with the Samsung Instinct. Sprint has been promising upgrades to the phone but they don’t roll out when they’re promised. They also have done nothing but make my phone more buggy. I’m not happy with the fact my phone locks up more (after the alleged updates) than when I first pulled it out of the box. If I’m on a three way call and someone text messages me, forget it. I’m wading through screen after screen of different notifications just to get back to my information about the current call.

Samsung and Sprint still have to do something about the virtual keyboard. So many people have a problem with it and how it’s arranged. I can’t type a text message without bobbling a letter and resulting in a misspelled word to save my rear.

Instead of recommending the phone to people, I’m telling them to get an iPhone if that’s really what they want. I’m playing with my iPod Touch more and more and finding out that Apple really gets it. They seem to design products that people enjoy. I’m thinking about pitching a real complaint to Sprint and maybe even trying to get off their network. I’ve recently been nothing but unhappy with the phone they marketed and sold to me. The service, with the exception of this morning is acceptable.

Hope this problem with the service is temporary. I also wish there was a place on the Internet that they’d post information about outages so everyone could go to that page to find out what was wrong and when the problem would be fixed.

For now, I’m sitting and using the Internet for my only form of connection to the outside world. I’m just jogging instead of “Sprinting” ahead.

Thursday Night Football

The Browns can sure put on a pre-game show. It’s the game itself where Browns fans have the problem.

There was much hype before the game about Brady Quinn taking the field. I heard people say “a look into the future of the franchise” I heard people cheer him on when he took the field. I heard the Browns play the “Mighty Quinn” as they called his name. In the end, Browns fans sat through a game that toyed with their emotions. For the second week, we sat watching a decent amount of points on the scoreboard dwindle away into a deficit. Browns fans left the game booing the team and the coaching staff. It was not a good Thursday night for football in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame city.

Check out the picture of Quinn in the style of an Obama-like “Change” image that has been circulating around the Internet. Browns fans will eternally have “hope” but it’s usually about “next year.”

Which brings me to another topic, the horrible Sprint service inside the stadium. Sure, you could look at my phone and see full bars of coverage. Try to send a text message or a picture through e-mail to your blog and you’ll encounter with the network. It won’t send a text message when you want, but at one point when the network catches up, you’ll get all of the text messages that were sent to you.

My Samsung Instinct won’t queue the messsages to an outbox. Instead, the “smart” phone simply tells you the message fails to go through and saves a draft. Of course, you never know when the network will catch up to you so you have a limited time to get the text message or make the phone call during the game.

I do see people with phones calling and texting, I’m sure they have different services with networks that aren’t overloaded during the game.

Does anyone else have a similar problem with their Sprint phone or with their cell phone service?

McDonald’s Love & Life

The manager at McDonald’s gave me some love today. Er, in the way of free food. I thought he was just going to give me a free breakfast but he comp’ed my entire order. I can’t tell you what that consists of because it would make me look like an absolute pig. (quick blog search confirms I haven’t divulged that in the past. thank God!) My weakness is McDonald’s breakfast. Afterward, I get that self-loathing feeling (think Crying Game, sitting in the bathtub with the shower going) Okay, maybe it’s not that bad but I do feel like I at least need to work out that night.

On another health note, I got this strange sore throat after this past weekend that was the weekend of the summer for me so far. Thursday night with a couple of friends eating out, Friday night at Twilight with some great friends, Saturday with the family and some awesome food, Krusty’s with some great friends and some new ones. Sunday was just an awesome day of rest. This morning, I had zero voice. This afternoon, it’s amazingly bad. My throat still hurts. Maybe it’s that freaky “i-slept-too-close-to-the-air-conditioning” syndrome or something.

I just spent about 40 minutes on the phone with one of my friends. I realize being on the phone focuses me. I can get the dishwasher loaded, windex my counter tops, put the dishes away, load the washer and dryer. Yesterday, I straighten up my closet. Believe it or not, I realize I have this awesome ability to multi-task while I’m talking to someone. The problem is some people don’t like the pots and the dishes making noise but they’ll get over it. My sister claimed she could still hear me over the vacuum, (why do I always misspell that word?) I don’t believe her.

On the technology front, Samsung and Sprint pushed out a software update for my phone, the Samsung Instinct. Push, I guess, is a strong word because I pulled it into my device. At any rate, the update, BF30, apparently corrects at least one of the issues I have with the phone. The volume over the bluetooth headset is not that loud. I have a stereo headset and I don’t like to hear the radio or the TV in my gym over my music. I haven’t tested it to see yet.

One of the other issues getting a lot of net buzz is the update to the calendar, which I think is admittedly weak compared to my old “Q”. Now you can set your appointments to recurring.

There’s apparently also an issue with voicemail, which is one of the strong points with the Instinct. I loathe having to dial voicemail, wait through the password sequence and then listen to the message. Some people are reporting problems with having the voicemail immediately download to their phone. I hope this is not the case.

I just hope Samsung fixed the constant prompt for a password I get through the e-mail. I always seems to think I changed my password even though I didn’t.

Well, if I’m to get this workout in sometime today, I better get my rear in gear,

Happy Birthday, Dad (err, two days late)

I’m officially a horrible son!

I realized while talking to my mother this morning that I’d missed my father’s birthday. It’s not that I don’t love him, it’s that I’m a dense dude who has no idea what the date is. I’ve been on vacation for the past two days and apparently I’ve just checked out. My back-up isn’t even there for me anymore. My phone, the Samsung Instinct, doesn’t do the calendar function very well. My “Q” never let me forget anyone’s birthday. So, happy birthday Dad from the world’s worst (temporarily, I hope) son! You rock!

Dolly Hits The Valley

It’s been strange, to say the least, seeing people I know (community leaders) from South Texas appear on television talking about the impact of Hurricane Dolly.

I may be just as strange to see landmarks I remember from living there underwater or damaged.

I’m glad to report my friends are safe and there is minimal damage to their homes. From my view, Dolly did a lot more damage to the Valley than Emily.

I talked to my friend, Phil, this morning. He was up around 5am CDT, looking for a cup of coffee. He doesn’t have power at his place. I felt like I had to talk fast because not having power means not being able to charge your cell phone. Phil doesn’t have a car charger either. I get one every time I get a new phone. Dang those Samsung people for making the Instinct with a proprietary connector and not USB. I have about a thousand USB wall chargers around my house.

Phil told me Harlingen for the most part weathered the storm. He said he saw a lot of palm tree fronds on the ground. The apartment building near his place sustained some damage to the roof. Part of the fence around my friend, Beau’s apartment suffered some damage. KGBT is reporting more than 150,000 customers in the Valley are without power. I know everyone at my former station did a lot of work and worked a lot of hours covering Hurricane Dolly. They have a lot of work ahead of them with the coverage of the aftermath.

Dolly was the real deal with winds strong enought to make the storm a Category 2 when it hit the Texas coast. I’ve tried to get through to Phil several times today. I’m sure he’s okay but his cell phone battery may not be charged. I hope he found a place to get a car charger.

I’m just glad everyone I know is okay,

More Thoughts On Instinct

The “Q” was my mp3 player. I used a Plantronics stereo bluetooth headset and/or Motorola (you can see what happened to it – currently being replaced by Motorola) At any rate, I don’t think the Instinct’s volume through the Plantronics is loud enough. I’ve cranked up the volume on both the phone and the headsets. I could still hear ambient noises.

I like the alarm feature that allows you to choose the Monday through Friday feature. That’s something the “Q” didn’t offer.

The constant “locking” feature is annoying. As of this writing, I haven’t found a way to control the timeout feature, there may not be one. I just wish it would dim the screen and allow you to wake it out of the standby mode by touching the screen. Again, this is something that’s not a choice for the user to decide.

I have started to take advantage of putting things on the “Favorites”. I didn’t understand that you could choose “Applications” and put some of them on the “Favorites” screen.

It’s All About Instinct

Sprint Challenges The iPhone with the Instinct

I joined a bunch of other people around the nation running out to the Sprint store on Friday to get the new Samsung Instinct. I admit it’s a little bit of a novelty with the touchscreen but it does have some great features. Here’s my review after playing with phone for two days.

The pros:
The unit has something called haptic feedback. The device emits small vibrations in response to your touches.

You get two batteries with the phone. You can charge the extra battery in a vault-like case that runs off the same plug that powers the phone.

The GPS Navigation is great. I don’t even need my Garmin anymore. Turn by turn directions with text to speech easily will get you where you need to go. There are no maps to buy because they come from the Internet.

You’ve got a two megapixel phone. It also doubles as a camcorder. The pictures look good. Good luck taking photos at night. There is no onboard flash so you’re limited to the light you have.

The messaging and e-mail applications are intuitive. All of your conversations with one person are archived and displayed by their names. You don’t have to worry about scrolling through endless text messages to find the appropriate message. The onscreen keyboard is easy to use but they put the backspace key so close to another one that you often hit it instead. Hopefully, this will be addressed in future firmware. You also have easy access to Yahoo! and GMail.

Web browsing is fast and you can chose between mobile and full screen modes. Using the latter, you can see webpages like you would on your home computer. The EvDO network is fast but the Instinct lacks WiFi connectivity.

The cons:
The power adapter is not USB. It is Samsung’s proprietary connector. When you attach the phone throw the Samsung adapter to USB cord, the phone won’t receive incoming calls or allow you to call out. At that point, the phone basically turns all of your phone features off.

The Instinct defaults to the “Favorites” screen. I would rather have at least the option to customize it to the “Main” screen.

There is nowhere to put the stylus inside the phone. What to guess how long I’ll have it before loosing it?

The ringer volume is not so hot. I’ve missed several phone calls and I have the volume cranked.

If you’re used to a smartphone… Instinct doesn’t run on the Windows platform. Don’t expect to hook your phone up to your computer to drag and drop. To download custom ringers and mp3 files to use as ringtones, you’ll have to get Polyphonic Wizard to upload midi ringers and try something like to upload the mp3’s or wma’s. This caused me the most grief and time to accomplish.

These are goods or bads but just somethings worth noting:

The Sprint Media Manager is an acceptable application. You can easily move your pictures over to your phone. If you use pictures for your contacts, the Instinct decides which part of the picture to use. I don’t have the dimensions so I can’t crop them myself. A couple of my friends have heads that are cut off in the pictures because I can’t choose which part of the picture to display.

I miss having the keypad at my disposal. On the Instinct, you have to switch screens for the keyboard and that can be a little frustrating at times.

You can’t group your contacts together (i.e. family) and share the same ringer for all of them.

So far, I like it but there are some big features I miss from my “Q”. More reviews and tips and tricks ahead in the coming days and weeks.