Saturday, December 21, 2013

Catching Up, and Choosing a New Cell Phone

It's been awhile since my last post.  At the beginning of November I got the flu shot, went away for the weekend and came back with .. the flu.  Ugh.  I ended up being off work for a week, and then spent several more weeks with a rough cough.  It really put me behind at work and I spent a fair bit of time getting caught up on projects, and coming home bagged at the end of each day.  Just as the cough was nearly gone I got a cold and spent this last week again at home.  Recovery has been much easier this time, but once again I'm behind with work projects.  All this to say my life has been trying, and tiring, and busy, busy, busy.

It's only a few more days before Christmas and I'm off work for a couple of weeks - a chance to rest and recuperate.  I love Christmas and hope to enjoy this time home with friends and family.  It's going to be our first Christmas in our new home - a chance to build on family traditions in a new setting.

Before I got my flu shot and subsequently got sick (not, of course, from the flu shot - that was just a weird coincidence), I was doing research on replacing our cell phones.  This research had it's origins almost 2 1/2 years ago, shortly after Manuel and I signed up for corporate cell phone plans with Telus. We both received Nokia E72 cell phones - we'd decided having the same phones would make it easier to share chargers, and make it easier for me to support Manuel (I'm the techie in this household).  I really like Nokia cell phones - they work well, the quality is quite good, and I love-love the world-wide maps that are free and don't require data plans to use.  Unfortunately, Manuel's cell phone took an untimely swim which damaged it enough to make it inoperable (within a couple of weeks of ownership).  Luckily, we had several older cell phones that he managed to use for the next couple of years.  Fast forward to this fall when the last available extra cell phone died.  Now, we were paying for a cell phone plan that didn't come due until April 2014 and no phone to use for Manuel.  I started researching.  I learned we could re-new our contracts early and get upgrades.  I also learned we could buy cell phones from almost anywhere as long as they were capable of communicating with the Telus network.  We weren't sure we wanted to go for another contract (we are considering going pay-as-you-go).  That meant we could buy used, buy a pre-paid, or even buy outright a contract phone.  I was a little leery of buying a used cell phone.  I've noticed a general trend with cell phones of good usage with a sudden, quick degradation before dying.  I didn't want to buy something used that was almost at the end of it's life cycle.  Buying a contract phone outright was expensive.  If we could avoid data plan requirements the full cost was sometimes worth it ... still, $400-800 was a lot of money.  That left pre-paid.  With pre-paid you aren't getting the top of the line.  These are either older models or entry level phones.  If you don't need the latest, zippiest, wow-level they can be a great option.  Next, I needed to consider the operating system (the OS).  I really didn't want an Apple phone.  They are too expensive, with built-in obsolescence, and require you to commit to iTunes ... another money grabber.  I just didn't want to go there.  That left Android and Windows as possible OS choices (I didn't even consider Blackberry - there just wasn't enough positives to consider it a serious contender).  Manuel has a Samsung Galaxy S3 at work (Android OS), and I have an older Android tablet (Archos 43).  Manuel has a Windows 8 touch-screen laptop at home while I work with Windows 7 at work and on my home laptop.  The more I learned about the Windows cell phones the more intrigued I became.  Manuel was ambivalent ... but it seemed he'd accept whatever I decided.  Telus was selling the Nokia Lumia 520 pre-paid for $150, so I decided that I would try it out and if it seemed OK we'd get Manuel one.  It was very simple - the London Drugs person simply cut my SIM card down (most SIM cards have now become micro-sized), and I was ready to go.  I even used Bluetooth from my old Nokia E72 to copy over all my contact information and text history in less than a minute.  Amazing.

The experience with the Nokia 520 has been incredible.  I was a little worried that the entry-level display would leave me wanting, but my old eyes haven't had a problem with it.  I'm loving the tiles - I've organized everything exactly the way I like to work with things.  I've downloaded free apps (although there's a complaint that the Windows Store doesn't have as many apps as Google does for Android, comparing 200,000 to 900,000?  How many does any one person need?).  I've set up a Kid's Corner with games and applications that I feel are appropriate for Walter - this means he can play on my phone without inadvertently calling the Queen.  And those Nokia maps?  Better than ever.  I don't need a data plan or even WiFi access to use them.  They work from my cell phone - using triangulation to find me.  And it's way faster than my old Nokia E72.  I downloaded maps for several Canadian provinces, US states, as well as a couple of European countries.  Not only do I have regular map viewings, but also satellite views.

Manuel now has his own (bought on sale for $89), and a co-worker got one too after seeing mine.  We're all happy Nokia Lumia 520 users now.

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