Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Vlog Channel & The Great Phone Debacle

So, I finally have my new iPhone 4. I wasn't originally going to get one. The iPhone 3 was free for me in an upgrade but in order to take advantage of a vlogging opportunity I was given, I needed an iPhone 4 (or I could have gotten an Android or Blackberry phone but hubby was getting an iPhone, I've heard mixed reviews about everything including people telling me about the massive problems they had w/other smartphones & we were at the point of total information overload).

Seriously, one of the hardest things to deal with is getting a cell phone whether it's a smartphone or not. I also was shocked at the full technological leap of the smartphone vs. my basic phone that served me well since 2009. To give you an idea of how behind on tech I tend to be, the phone I upgraded from in 2009 was the one I got in 2003 before starting law school. Before that, I had 2 pay-as-you-go phones (the result of being poor in college & before that, the result of my parents' credit rating since I was a minor when I got my first cell phone in high school; I would have had to pay a $500 deposit to get one, which made me mad since it wasn't based on MY freaking credit). I needed a cell in high school since I was in after school events, didn't have a car & the office tended to close so I had the choice of hoping I had change for 1 of 2 pay phones to call my mom or having a cell phone so I could call for free + not have to wait for others to finish so I could use one of the phones.

So, I'm not kidding when I say having an iPhone of any type is a technological leap. I'm still learning how to do things on it. If anyone knows how to upload your own ringtones & pictures onto the phone from a computer, would you let me know? I want to figure that one out & no store is going to have songs I like in the format I want as a ringtone. I also have some sweet pics I'd like to have in the phone, particularly to ID people who call me or just b/c they're so darn unique & fascinating. I also adamantly refuse to pay for music I already own. I may be a lawyer but I do agree with the principal of not obeying laws that serve no rational purpose or basis.

Laws against murder/rape/child pornography = good.

Laws charging people $750,000 for downloading ONE song off a file sharing service, even if they own it on another medium like a CD = bad & likely funded by lobbyists. Screw them! It's called "create a better mousetrap & stop relying on an outdated & obsolete business model." There's a well-known truism in business: adapt or die.

As I continue to write this blog, you'll also get to see some video rants & maybe an adventure or two if you go to Mobli. Mobli is a website where users can create their own video channels & create their own series of vlogs. You can find me under "angryredheadlaw". They have some good reviews as well as some celebs there. Check it out!

By the way, that pic is darker on purpose. I had that taken when I was on a VIP tour of the Empire State Building recently. We got to go on the 103rd floor, which is closed to the public. That pic is from me being there. Warning: if you're scared of heights (which I'm definitely not), you don't want to be there. They also aren't kidding when they tell you it's windy & you could get hurt if you aren't careful.

Now, some words about AT&T. I'm not big on giving endorsements but they really went above & beyond so I have to give them a special shout out for this whole thing.

Originally, I'd considered going with Credo Mobile. Do you know that company? Their big platform is that they give money to progressive causes while Verizon, AT&T & the other major carriers are giving their money to whackjob Republican candidates + causes that really shouldn't be funded like legislation to outlaw abortion and turn anyone who isn't a white, rich male into a second class citizen.

While I'm not a supporter of this type of legislation & definitely don't support any Republican candidate (or really anyone for that matter, but especially Republican whackjobs), I do understand why a major corporation would contribute to Republican campaigns. They are, after all, more business friendly than Democrats as history will show. People also tend to identify with those who are like them so I'm sure major corporate heads see the Republicans as more like them.

Personally, I think these companies would be better served giving money to moderate Republicans who aren't obsessed with evoking God in every public appearance or show themselves to be national jokes on TV (Sarah Palin, anyone?). I can respect moderates since they at least seem to have some common sense unlike the whackjobs. It does seem like someone lives up there & they have their faculties in order.

However, that decision is between these corporations & their lobbying committees. These people would either hate to see me coming or would love me insisting on carefully researching candidates, their platforms on significant issues, public perception, etc. so the giving was useful instead of money wasted + we weren't considered whackjobs/kooks/bigots by association. Give me a nice common sense person who stands by what they say, isn't a closeted or open bigot & actually cares about moving the nation into modern times! Someone who uses LOGIC, not religion or political correctness/popularity concerns, to make decisions. I'm not obsessed with the party, as you may recall. I think the person would need to be a political outsider & would definitely have to be someone who's actually had hard times & still remembers what that experience is like. You'd need to murder the religion & party obsessed morons in society to get that person elected but I can dream, can't I?

That being said, let me tell you about an incredible irony with Credo Mobile. They claim to be "progressive," right? Do they realize that potential customers may not have sterling credit? That stupid loan crap is apparently enough reason for me to get "extra screening" on my application to get a cell phone, despite that being a debt that's at least $800 more per month a typical monthly cell phone payment. I was also told they didn't do deposits if you wanted to be their customer: it is either they approve your credit or reject you. Does anyone else find that a bit fucked up? How many people have student loan debts? How many lawyers have PRIVATE student loan debt (remember those "fuck you, pay me" plans?)? You're not motivating me to sign with you if you're going to give me static over a "fuck you, pay me" loan & base a decision to have a contract with me based on being too destitute to pay that ginormous payment every month!

Why not base decisions on how I've handled other LIKE accounts like cell phone companies? If my record was bad with another cell phone provider, a rejection or extra screening would be fair.

Since I have been with AT&T for years, was currently due for an upgrade, have never had a customer service issue with them (they've also corrected problems promptly when I had them) & wouldn't have to speculate on if I'd be able to get my phone or not, I chose to stay there since I figured "if it's not broken, don't fix it." Plus, AT&T had a better selection of phones. My husband wasn't particularly happy with Credo's phone selection & I didn't like the negative reviews I read about their service.

Credo's "extra screening" that they couldn't give me an instant decision on made the choice to upgrade with AT&T very easy. AT&T also made that choice easier when I found out I'd have to exchange the iPhone 3 I ordered for myself for an iPhone 4. The reps I spoke to were helpful, seemed to give a damn about my problem and gave viable solutions. I also reordered accessories that I'd ordered in my initial shipment that I was instructed to reject so I could effect the exchange (since I thought you couldn't take items you ordered online to a store to get them exchanged & didn't want to have to pay full price for all the accessories).

My initial order arrived on Thursday morning. My post office didn't bother making it available to me until Friday morning. The hatred for my local post office is legendary & well deserved: more on that in a future post.

To make a long story short, my post office's incompetence actually helped me for once. On Saturday morning, I had to go see if my package had been on the path to being returned & I learned that I could still use it + do the exchange in a store. No one had marked my package, even though they were supposed to the day before.

I was able to go to the AT&T store yesterday & get my items exchanged + both phones set up. Despite it being crowded when I went in, I was actually helped pretty quickly, got above & beyond service + really appreciated the people who helped me out. I definitely felt like AT&T cared about having my business & valued me as a customer. If you can do that, I'm a very happy customer, will recommend you to friends & will make damn sure that the people who helped me are publicly recognized since that sort of thing seems to be a rarity these days.

So now I'm an archetype: the iPhone owner. As you know, I have mixed feelings on it though aspects of having a smartphone have helped make things easier. For one thing, I have an app that tells you when the subway is supposed to arrive at your stop. It's proven to be accurate as well. Second, texting is actually helpful if you're in a subway station & need to meet up with someone or you can't hear anyone on your phone because of noise or bad reception. I'll still shudder at the huge bill increase but if the service keeps up & people continue to solve problems we have effectively, I'll be a happy camper. Beats the battle we're having with Verizon!

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