Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Verizon makes me get an iPhone

I don't write personal stories here very often, and once again I am going away from presenting data about something (its really quite a project for each item) in order to write a little blurb. But this recently happened and I thought I would write about it.

I have been a faithful Verizon wireless subscriber for about a decade. We had a great relationship. I paid them and they gave me a cool cell phone and good service for me and my family. After years of automatically paying them the same amount every month (thank you billpay), I was pretty content. I didn't bother them, and they didn't bother me.

Enter: The Land Line....

We recently got a house out in Nowhereville. None of our Verizon phones worked out there. however as we were building the house, we noticed that some of the workers phones worked perfectly. That was pretty annoying.

Because of our fear of the 175 dollar cancellati0n fee per phone, we decided to get a land line to the house instead of switching service.

  • 200+ dollars installation fee
  • 22 dollars per month for dial tone
  • 9 cents per local call
  • 7 cents a minute for regional calls
  • No long distance
  • This ended up being about 35 dollars per month.
  • they send someone out to attach it, only to have him leave after 'assessing' the area. I had previously told them that there is no phone line to the house, and the nearest active pole is on the road about 300 years away.
  • a week later they come out and attach power to the nearest pole and not to the house
  • a few days later they actually attach the phone to the house
  • happily I am an engineer, so instead of them charging me yet another 200 bucks because they found a short in the internally connected phone wiring because the electrician messed up, i spent all of 5 minutes looking at each of the phone jacks and found the short myself.
  • They left, considering the job done
  • They left 'underground' cable on the ground lying, and snaking in random directions generally leading to one of the poles (it was a lot of line, which I am sure to mow over one day).
I have called them 5 times to have them dig down this line, its their line, not only should they be doing it, I'm not supposed to do it at all since they own it. aLl this waiting and stalling between the time I ordered it (May) to the time we had a dial tone (july) happened while my aging mother was out there without a way to communicate (something I mentioned to them more than once).

OK we got a phone. Next step was to try to get one bill. So I had them add the land line to my wireless bill. So here was my big mistake. I admit it, I screwed up, I told them I screwed up, and would happily correct it.

I had assumed that they added the land line to my cell phone bill. What they had in fact done was add my cell phone to my land line bill. They even kept referring to this little used as my Home line (my cell phone is my home line). So my automatic payments went to the wrong place. They told me to stop paying wireless, and to make it into one bill the wireless balance had to get to zero (no credit, no debit). so I did that..... and I forgot to restart my automatic bill pay to the new account.

So months later, while I thought my phone bills were being paid, they weren't. Between June and October I racked up about 850 dollars in bills from them (no, I don't check the statements from people I pay automatically, I know I should, I just hate paperwork).

So here is the problem... Instead of recognizing our wonderful, cozy relationship for the past 10 years, and my very high credit score, the lady decided to be a snippy bitch on the phone. I was speechless, and of course thought of exactly the correct things to say 15 minutes after I hung up. I called back to see if there were some other solutions to the costs of the land line, the billing methods, and the wire that just lays there. Their only responses were "where's my money?"

The next day, I paid off my bill and canceled my land line. They asked me why, and the guy on the phone was all apologetic, and told me that one representative doesn't represent the whole company and tried to justify the cost of the land line, and make everything sound nice-nice. I told him there was nothing he could say to prevent this line from being canceled, and that if he wanted to talk to someone about it, he should talk to the snippy bitch in financial services.

But now there was no service at the house. So I went to Sprint and Cingular (AT&T), got a cheap shit phone from each, went out to the house, and found that while the Sprint phone didn't work at all, the Cingular phone worked perfectly. I went back, canceled the Sprint account, and got my mother a cool Cingular phone.

While getting the Cingular phone I had to call Verizon to get my account number. The guy on the phone caught on that I was switching a phone number away from Verizon, and started in with the 175 dollar fee. I told him that this was ridiculous since Verizon had no coverage where the phone was being used. He told me that they go by billing location. So I switched my billing location to the house in the sticks. This avoided my 175 dollar fee. Realizing this....

I switched over all the phones and got an extra phone for our au pair. Goodbye Verizon. You did everything in your power to get rid of me, and I have no qualms about dumping you like a sack of shit and writing about it.

Enter the iPhone...
Well now I had the useless treo 700p. I needed a new phone, and Cingular does offer the treo also, and pretty much all the same phones Verizon had. But they also have the iPhone. Treo...iPhone...Treo...iPhone.... The choice is pretty obvious...

I've been playing with the iPhone for 3 days now. I have to admit, it really is most of what it is cracked up to be. However you have to like or "not mind" certain things to be happy with it.

  • The LCD screen is spectacular. I've not seen any other phone with a screen that is the clear, this bright and of course, this big.
  • The main interface is easy. It actually works a bit like the Wii.
  • The setup was easy.
  • The wi-fi works pretty good with no set up problems
  • Having my phone, camera, and music that is compatible with the Pc software I already use (Outlook, iTunes, Picasa), on one unit it truly nice.
  • Using it is just like in the commercial, with the zooming, and flipping through items and so forth. It is very natural and easy to understand.
  • Its strangely thin, but it has a decent weight that makes in seem robust (unlike a RAZR)
  • It has a nice way to correct for mistype, by suggesting words (yeah, I know it is a feature on other phones, so what? its still nice)
  • The battery seems to last as long as they say it will. I've been playing with this thing for 3 days straight. LCD has been on for a lot of time, I have made a few long calls, and the battery just died (I didn't measure the exact amount of time).
  • The camera blows. Its like stepping back in time to when cameras were first put in phones. The update rate is slow, and pictures are fuzzy. I'm sure this will be one of the first things they improve with the next version.
  • Internet access is slow, compared to my desktop (which uses a wi-fi connection). I've not used any phone internet before, even with my treo, so I can't really tell you if its typical or not. Its not so slow as to be useless, just slower. When away from wifi, using the cell network, its even slower.
  • It takes a while to get used to the keyboard, I often mistype. I definitely liked having real keys, like on the treo, better than tapping on a screen.
  • Sometimes, it isn't obvious how to get to where I need to go. For example, I didnt realize that getting from album view back to song view, required that I rotate the whole iPhone. I was looking for a button.
  • When I plug in the phone, Windows asks me what program I want to use for the camera, it does not give me the option to choose nothing and to always choose nothing (I have to click cancel all the time).
  • There is no quick access, and it really requires two hands to use. This is probably a great personal phone, and perhaps not as good for a business phone. I could use most of my treo functionality with one hand.
Well, thats it for now. If you can get to AT&T an have 400 bucks to drop, I do recommend this phone.

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