Friday, January 8, 2010

Ahh, the Nexus One...

By now, you've probably heard of the Nexus One, and maybe heard too much. I want one, but Google and T-Mobile seem to want me to wait 10 months. While I'm about 99% certain there will be an even more awesome phone in that time, the Nexus One is the one I want.

Let me start from a little earlier in the story. Ever since Android was announced, I've kept an eye on it because it was a pretty cool concept, and there were certain things I wanted to do on my cell phone. Oh, and I MIGHT be able to write some programs that someone would be willing to spend money on.

So when the G1 came out, I decided that I would invest in one when my Verizon Wireless contract expired, which happened at the end of 2008. Frankly, I prefer Verizon by far, but at the time they were not Google or Android friendly, so I got my G1.

The purpose was two fold: first, I needed a new cell phone, and second, I needed a phone I could use for development. So it was an investment.

The G1 is a pretty decent phone overall, and even though it's kind of dated compared to the Droid and Nexus One, it functions pretty well. I wasn't and still am not particularly tempted by the Droid, but the Nexus is another story.

My only fear with the Nexus is the lack of a physical keyboard, but I'm more than willing to give the on screen keyboard and voice recognition a chance. But the big thing for me is going to be the fact that it will most definitely get Android's latest updates as they become available.

You see, the G1 apparently has a tiny amount of space for the operating system which seems to be preventing it from getting the official 2.0 update despite many rumors. If I'm going to be serious about doing Android development, I will need a 2.x capable phone.

Then there's the recent problems my G1 has been having. It started Thanksgiving weekend, when my phone suddenly started acting weird and certain features were suddenly either missing or malfunctioning. They seemed to be cured with a factory reset that caused me to lose some no longer available apps. Then the G1 started experiencing new problems, such as locking up while the screen was off. The weird thing about that was that the screen wouldn't turn on at all, and I couldn't shut the phone off either. The keyboard backlight turns on if the screen is slid open, but it's useless. Sometimes the notification lights would still be blinking, but the only thing you could do was pull the battery and restart the phone. This didn't happen often, but it was irritating.

So after weeks of hearing about the Nexus One, I asked T-Mobile if it would be possible to extend my contract to 2 more years in exchange for the Nexus at the discounted price. I did this before the official announcement, and was told theoretically that I could. When Tuesday rolled around and the announcement was made, I checked the online orderr system to see if it would allow me to do it, but it wouldn't. It didn't matter at the time any way, because I didn't yet have the money. Today, however I came into the money (through non-nefarious means) to pay on a bill and get the phone, so I called up T-Mobile to try to arrange it.

And I was told that because I wasn't qualified for the normal upgrade routine that I could call Google at a certain number to get the partial discount price. Fine, I called that number, which turned out to be HTC (the manufacturer), who told me that they had nothing to do with it. They connected me back to T-Mobile who then explained that I would have to wait until I was qualified for the upgrade in 10 months.

In rare moment of clarity, I realized what I could do, and I asked about the early termination fee on my existing contract. The lady told me that it was $200, which when combined with the cost of the Nexus One on a new plan was still less than the cost of the unlocked version by more than $100. Since that was a lot of money, I decided to hold off and think about it.

Then my G1 locked up again today, and I made up my mind. If it were just another random lock up, I might not have minded, but on Wednesday, my G1 developed another new and serious issue: while it would make outgoing calls just fine, it would send all incoming calls to voice mail before I could answer them (less than 2 seconds). So between these two problems, and today's lock up coming at precisely the time I was considering my options, I decided on investing in the Nexus One, and ordered it. In all likelihood, I'll contact T-Mobile and ask to get a replacement G1 due to these issues, and cancel that line in a few days or weeks.

Hopefully no one else has to jump through the same hoops I did, but I suppose the bottom line is that I'm getting what I wanted.

Update (1/9/2010 3:12pm) : Despite the disclaimer that it would take up to 72 hours ship the phone out when it has been inscribed (as a free option), my phone actually shipped out last night... The very same day I ordered it! And given that there's free overnight shipping, I'll be receiving my phone on Monday! A full 2-3 days earlier than I was expecting it! Thank you Google!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Who gives a QUIZ on the first day of class?!?!

Ok, so today is my first day of school for the Winter 2010 term, and my very first class was my Art History 100 class. Now, I've taken a lot of classes over a lot of years, but I've never had to take a quiz on the very first day of class before today! Now, I'm aware that there's a quiz in my Japanese class on Friday, my second day of class, as a review of last semester, but how is it possible that someone actually thought it would be a good idea to have a quiz on the first day of class of a 100 level course?

In my professor's defense, the order came down from above, and this waws intended as a practice quiz so we students know what to expect, and for them to know where we are in terms of knowledge of the subject, but damn that was uncool.

Any ways, now that it's over, I'll be prepared next time...