Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'
My not-so-new ultimate etoy now
Jonal entry 1168 | February 14 2011
wrote four blogs about "my new ultimate etoy," Jonals
back in November and have been describing results of "tests"
I've been making of it, specifically of its video camera capabilities,
in all but two of the blogs ever since. These, of course, are the
"video Jonals" showing highlights of my "hikes"
on trails in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live. The "etoy"
(for "electronic fun device") is my Internet camera phone,
a Sprint 4G EVO manufactured by HTC utilizing Google's Android operating
system, and this is a follow-up on the device and the Sprint service.
Jonal number 1145 described some "pleasant
surprises" I had had the first week I was using the EVO and also
mentioned that I somewhat feared some "unpleasant surprises"
when my first Sprint bills started coming because experience with
AOL, AT&T, and Comcast has prepared me to expect bad things from
such "services." I had been with Verizon for about six years
before switching to Sprint and in contrast to the companies just mentioned,
Verizon performed as advertized and impressed me as being honest in
its dealings (refunding overpayments, for example, before I even noticed
them) and always courteous when called for resolution of problems.
Long story short, Sprint has provided a
few unpleasant surprises, but none that I haven't been able to get
resolved satisfactorily. The main one has been that even though I
initially signed up for email billing, I received no emails from them,
and when I called they treated me as though I was the one at fault
and even tried to charge me $5 to send a paper "duplicate"
of a bill I had never received in the first place. Three months in,
I am still not receiving either email or paper bills from Sprint but
they have trained me to go to "my Sprint" and find my charges
and pay them. They agreed to reverse the $5 "duplicate"
charge and have done so on some other questionable charges.
But there have been additional pleasant
surprises that have offset the unpleasantries. The best is that by
around January 10, after I had seen no 4G coverage from Sprint at
my home though it is advertised as available throughout this area,
it started coming through, and has been dependable at home ever since.
I had mentioned in a previous blog that a saleswoman at Radio Shack
(where I signed up with Sprint) had encouraged me to standby for coverage
improvements, and they have been occuring. I also found, pleasantly,
that Sprint service was also adequate at my brother's home in a small
town in "the boonies," too, when I spent a few days there
at Christmas. The 4G wide-area wireless is great; though I seldom
see more than two "bars" when using my phone, even with
one bar it is at least as fast as the 3G Verizon modem I was using
for several years for my Internet access.
And in my previous blog I had not yet proved
whether the "tethering" feature my salewoman told me about
was a viable way to get Internet service on my PCs. I finally Googled
information about wired tethering of an Internet phone to a PC and
by following the directions there and paying $10 for a tethering "app"
("application," a shortcut word meaning "software program")
I was able to tether and started getting excellent Internet on my
tablet PC. So with Sprint's "unlimited data" plan, I'm ahead
in terms of usage charges compared with Verizon.
I've also found that the EVO is easier
to use on some Internet features than PCs are. For example, maps are
much easier to get because the map app, unlike a Google or other search
for maps on a PC, immediately takes you to a map rather than thousands
of listings of web pages that might "mention" a map but
don't actually contain a map. Also, Google apps for the Android phone
work exceptionally well with voice input, such that "texting"
is easier to do on the EVO by voice than by typing on the keypad.
Google Earth, also, works better on the EVO, because it has built-in
GPS so it, unlike your PC, always "knows" your location
and finds anything you input (by voice or typing) more readily. I
especially appreciated this when my son Kevin was working in Stockholm,
Sweden, for several weeks earlier this month. And with the GPS and
an optional "carpack" for the EVO that several of my offspring
got me for Christmas, it doubles as a faux Garmin, complete with Google
audible directions as you drive.
Another pleasant surprise, though an indirect
one, is that I feel a certain glow when I see cops on crime shows
use their smart phones to show someone photos of a suspect, or they
take and transfer crime scene pictures using their phones, instantaneously.
I can do that, I can't help thinking, and that also applies
to all the commercials on TV these days for EVOs, iPhones, and even
iPads. iPads do a few things (but not many) that my smart phone can't
do but, at least until the next version of the iPad comes out, my
phone can do a few things it can't, not the least of which are taking
and transmitting pictures and phone calls.
In short, at this point I'd say my EVO
is the best $200 investment I've made, and I'm glad I got it instead
of any of its competitors.
Webmaster Jon Kennedy