Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Saturday, January 15, 2021

Well fuck me in half — my iPhone 3GS appears to be dead.

And I killed it, via a dunk into water. And by “water”, I mean “toilet”. Yup, among the more embarrassing ways to inflict mobile-phone damage upon yourself, and I committed it. I mostly blame the sweatshirt I was wearing, though — the stupid pouch-pocket in front is basically designed for calamities like this. (I took out my frustrations by ripping said pocket clean off.)

I retrieved the phone within 5 seconds of submergence. After a quick alcohol-wipe cleanup (the toilet and its water was, thankfully, clean) and removal of the SIM card, I dropped it into a big jar of uncooked rice. I’ll leave it there over the weekend to dry out, but I’m not too hopeful of a recovery. Some gingerly-applied testing shows the audio is mostly shot, and weird notifications are popping up onscreen.

So, I’m faced with two realistic options:

1. Head over to an Apple Store and pay $199 for an out-of-warranty replacement 3GS. (Lest you think I’m regretting not getting an extended warranty, in fact water damage is not covered; so I’m glad I didn’t pony up, as I’d really feel stupid right now.)

2. Head over to an AT&T Wireless Store and pay $399 for a new iPhone 4, along with a re-boot to my wireless contract that now would run through 2013.

The first option seems like it makes more sense. But, the replacement probably will be a refurbished 3GS instead of a factory-new one. And even if it is factory-fresh, it’s still a 3GS, i.e. last year’s model. Basically, I’ll be paying a premium for nothing better than what I had. Worse, it’ll just remind me of the dumb method by which I acquired it. And in a little over a year, when my AT&T contract is up, I’ll be that much more anxious to upgrade to the newest iPhone anyway, so that premium payment will go toward only a year’s use.

The second option? Obviously, the $200 price difference is a consideration. But, I’ll be getting a brand-new iPhone 4, and thus a bunch of new features that I didn’t enjoy with the 3GS. It’ll be a true upgrade, which assuages the cost (somewhat). The extension of the AT&T wireless contract isn’t that big a deal to me, so it’s not really factoring into my decision. If anything, having the more-new 4 now might compel me to hang onto it two years later, instead of upgrading to the latest iPhone in 2013; so in that sense, the $399 I spend now would be amortized further.

Sounds like I’ve already made my decision: A step-up to the iPhone 4. Pending results from the resuscitation efforts over this weekend, of course. But it looks like this Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday weekend will complete with me getting a shiny new Apple toy.

UPDATE - Turns out that there was a third option: Getting a replacement 3GS for nada. Which is what I got.

I hedged my bet by stopping at the Genius Bar first, just to cover all the bases. I was sure they’d detect the evidence of water damage right off the bat, and then present the $199 repair/refurbish plan, which I’d turn down in favor of an iPhone 4 re-boot.

They did recognize the water damage (I basically kept my mouth shut beyond “it doesn’t work”). But to my surprise, they granted me a replacement unit anyway, under warranty! Something to do with my clean customer record — apparently some people are serial iPhone killers and keep coming back for free substitutions.

In any case, I’ve got a 3GS again, and it cost me nothing. I’m pretty sure it’s a brand-new one too, and not a refurb: It was handed to me wrapped with that plastic film. The battery, in the early going, seems better too.

Win-win all around. I do have a twinge of regret, though. I was prepared to drop the four hundred bucks for the new 4, and start digging into FaceTime, etc. But I guess I shouldn’t complain about spending zero to get back to zero.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/15/2011 07:21pm
Category: iPhone
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Sunday, January 09, 2021

in spirit
I’ve already latched onto a new iPhone-borne time-waster for the new year: “Spirits”.

This little low-impact game app will look familiar to anyone acquainted with “Lemmings”. The premise is pretty much the same as that old PC-era classic: You shepherd to safety groups of little beasties who have one-track minds. Notably, the “dig” command is in the modern game, attesting to the “Lemmings” heritage. (Maybe these “spirits” are the ghosts of departed lemmings, with their hive-mind mentality carrying over to the afterworld?)

I’m not generally a fan of puzzle-type mobile games, but this one works for me. The nice graphics and animation help with that, along with the music (although half the time I play it while listening to my own iPod playlist). I’ve already killed off big chunks of dead time between appointments with this gamelet, and happily so. It’s almost worth the battery drain that leaves the iPhone almost fully discharged by the end of the day…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/09/2021 11:10pm
Category: Videogames, iPhone
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Saturday, December 18, 2021

The backend of this blog regularly alerts me that I have three updates available for installation: Two for plugins, along with the latest version-point-nth bug fix for WordPress.

On my iPhone, the App Store icon sports a “4″ in its upper-right corner, indicating the presence of updates for four apps.

Screw email bankruptcy. I’ve got a case of update-alert bankruptcy brewing, similar to others who’ve applied this nuclear option outside of the inbox.

Why don’t I download all these upgrades, and rid myself of those pestering reminders? In general, the credo “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” overrides any potential performance improvement. That’s especially the case with the WP code; the lack of quality-control encourages update submissions on a whim, regardless of actual usefulness (think added Bulgarian language support, etc.). Frankly, if something’s not working properly, I’d be more likely to uninstall it long before any fix came down the pike from the developer. But in cases where something’s working well enough to not risk any snafus with an “improvement”, those reminders are annoying fixtures.

I’m sometimes tempted to click on the “update all” button (or equivalent) just to get the subtle nagging to stop. Is it worth it to screw up my finely-humming website and device, just to erase those number-bugs? No. So I’ll just have to develop a blind spot and plod along with my outdated versioning. There are worse fates.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/18/2010 03:22pm
Category: Bloggin', Tech, iPhone
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Saturday, November 20, 2021

It’s been a while since a user-submission gimmicky website caught my interest. Damn You Auto Correct! has managed it, with its seemingly endless supply of unintentional mobile-device typographical humor.

Although, while the above “lobe-live-libe-love-fyck” example above surely rings true, I wonder about some of the other submissions. For instance, this alleged flub where “going to divorce” subbed in for “going to Disney”. I’d be willing to bet that that one was staged.

The underlying joke, of course, is that by this point, the auto-correction technology still can’t work out context to avoid these errors. Or that the keyboards on most phones, including the iPhone, aren’t better suited to human communication. But I guess we could still have a good laugh over the results. Either that, or else we can all go to “ducking he’ll”

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/20/2010 06:16pm
Category: Comedy, Internet, Tech, iPhone
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Saturday, October 16, 2021

suck on it kid
As someone who was practically raised by television, I’ve known the hypnotic soothing of the videoscreen all my life. Nowadays, toddlers are getting the same palliative satisfaction via their parents’ iPhones:

Kelsey would ask for it. Then she’d cry for it. “It was like she’d always want the phone,” [mother Natasha] Sykes said. After a six-hour search one day, she and her husband found the iPhone tucked away under Kelsey’s bed. They laughed. But they also felt vague concern. Kelsey, and her 2-year-old brother, Chase, have blocks, Legos, bouncing balls, toy cars and books galore. (“They love books,” Ms. Sykes said.) But nothing compares to the iPhone.

“If they know they have the option of the phone or toys, it will be the phone,” Ms. Sykes said.

I’ve run into this phenomenon, and I don’t even have kids. Friends and relatives have conditioned their little tykes to regard a smartphone as more of a toy than a tech tool. That’s fine for them, as I’m sure the little ones need constant distraction, and handing over the iPhone falls under parental duties.

Where it bites me: Whenever I whip out my iPhone while around these youngsters, it’s like a feeding frenzy. They often start demanding my phone so that they can play a game on it — and often, a game I don’t even have, but that their parents do on their devices (an interesting perception by the kiddies, in that they expect iPhones to be uniform media platforms). Regardless, I have a problem with some grubby little monkey making that grab. It’s my iPhone, and while I play with it often enough, that doesn’t mean I want little fingers smudging up the screen. Especially little fingers attached to uncoordinated little hands, that are apt to drop the iPhone (probably while fighting over it) and end up costing me a few hundred bucks to replace it.

So, I come off like Uncle Selfish Dickhead for refusing to share my 3GS. And half the time, the parents give me the evil eye for not going along with this cellular enabling.

I suppose I could start carrying around my old iPod Touch, to use as a decoy. I wouldn’t care as much if that iToy bit the dust. Still, who figured child development would create such a treacherous terrain for mobile phoning?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/16/2010 06:42pm
Category: Society, Tech, iPhone
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Wednesday, October 06, 2021

I’ve taken my distaste for text messaging to a new level: As of today, I’m no longer able to send or receive texts on my phone.

Yup. I called AT&T Wireless and had them put a “text-lock” on my account. It doesn’t affect my monthly bill, as I’d been going without a texting plan in the first place — meaning I was paying a per-message charge for each incoming and outgoing SMS. But from here on out, my iPhone will no longer see any new texts (outside of the occasional support message from AT&T, which is free anyway).

Why this drastic move? After all, texting is wildly popular. But it’s never been with me. Even before getting a Web-capable smartphone, I thought that texts were an annoyance, essentially a stop-gap time-waster on the way to eventual phonecalls. Now that I have email in my pocket — that’s free, insofar as the data plan I’m paying for anyway makes it free — I seriously don’t see the point of paying even a little bit extra for something I neither use nor want to get.

The only snag: Apparently, anyone who does send me a text from here on out won’t get any indication that it’s not going through. Basically, some of my acquaintances are going to think I’m blowing them off. But that’s the risk I’ll take. If they know me at all, they’ll already know that I don’t play the texting game anyway, and to either call or email instead.

There’s always an outside chance that I’ll find myself so inconvenienced by the lack of text-ability that I’ll beg AT&T to restore the function (which I can do at any time). Although if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t lay down a nickel on that happening.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/06/2021 10:19pm
Category: Society, Tech, iPhone
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Thursday, September 30, 2021

This is a good enough place as any to make a record of this: Today I bought a new pair of in-ear headphones with inline mic, for use with my iPhone. They are, in fact, this V-Moda’s Faze Nero model.

Let’s see how long these babies last. Anything will be an improvement over the set they’re replacing, the Scosche IDR400M. I’ve already trashed those on Amazon, seeing as how they lasted a mere two months before starting to fall apart.

A quick sound test of the Neros on the iPod shows promise — certainly not audiophile quality, but good enough for my purposes. I’m crossing my fingers on the phone mic performance when I try it tomorrow morning.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/30/2010 11:51pm
Category: Tech, iPhone, iPod
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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Tonight, I deleted every single song by The Hives that was on my hard drive/iTunes library (and, by extension, my iPhone and iTouch).

I’m treating this development as a sign of unexpected maturity. Let’s go with that.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/28/2010 07:39pm
Category: Pop Culture, iPhone, iPod
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Monday, September 20, 2021

You don’t have to tell me that nobody pays attention to voicemail anymore — of the dozen messages I left with friends, relatives, and colleagues last week, nary a one has been returned as of this morning.

Going 0-for-12 is a bit extreme. What’s the point of even dialing?

Not that any of them were of critical importance. Still, I wasn’t just shooting the time-stamped breeze; I (foolishly?) was expecting some reply on at least half of them. Even an acknowledgement via alternate channel, like a text or email, would have been acceptable. Instead, zilch.

I’d like to attribute this cellular-radio silence solely to shifting societal mores. But I have a feeling it’s nothing more than a reflection of my low-totem-pole standing in several of these relationships. My communications within these circles seems to be two-way in theory only; good thing that I enjoy the sound of my own voice…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/20/2010 10:27am
Category: Society, iPhone
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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

I’m irrationally skeptical of mobile banking, but a new breed of check-scanning iPhone apps definitely could sway me:

Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase updated its iPhone app to let customers electronically deposit checks. To make a deposit, customers photograph the front and back of the check with the phone’s built-in camera, then transmit the image to their account.

I’ve managed to minimize the paper-based payments amongst my accounts receivable, but I still have to run out and deposit the occasional check. Not that that’s a hassle, as practically every street corner around here has a full-service ATM that accepts paper checks for deposit.

In short, I probably don’t really need to snap photos on my iPhone to drop funds into my account. But the concept is so neat that, well, I just wanna. So this is all it takes to throw e-fiscal overcautiousness to the wind…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/13/2010 10:19pm
Category: Business, Tech, iPhone
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Monday, June 28, 2021

When I first heard of the iPhone 4′s innovative steel-band outer antenna, I thought it was a fantastic concept. Finally, something to alleviate the inherent lack of cell reception on the clean, uni-body design of Apple’s device.

Then, the pesky users got their hands on the thing:

Bloggers and pundits argued through the weekend about whether the iPhone 4′s “death grip” problem represented a serious design flaw on Apple’s part (the antenna on the new iPhone is integrated into the stainless steel band that rings the outer edge of the handset) or was being overblown.

AntennaSys expert Spencer Webb postulated that at least some the blame might lay with the FCC, which mandates that phone antennas in general be as far from the user’s head as possible, which usually means putting the antenna at the bottom of the handset — where your hand usually goes. In the iPhone 4′s case, just touching a pair of tiny little slots near the bottom corners of the handset could be enough to “short” the antenna and cause interference, Webb wrote.

I like the “death grip” tag, as it’s most apropos for a signal-killing defect. Not that the killer-clutch extends to the balance sheet, as the 1.7 million sold units attest.

My second-favorite moment from this event: Steve Jobs advising iPhone 4 owners to “just don’t hold it that way” in order to avoid the problem. Thus conjuring up the old “it hurts when I do this” doctor joke. A gripping saga all around.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/28/2010 11:35pm
Category: Comedy, iPhone
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Monday, June 21, 2021

hours and minutes
If you squint hard enough, you’ll see that the screen time displayed in the above iPhone image reads 9:42 AM. Apparently, that’s a theme:

I’ve noticed that in all the commercials, print ads and outdoor ads for the iPad, the time is always shown as 9:41 a.m. Then I noticed that the time in all the iPhone ads is always shown as 9:42 a.m.

I know that watch ads like to show the time as 10:10 so the watch hands are open to reveal the brand name, but cannot figure out why Apple likes times before 10 a.m. in its ads.

Furthermore, checking this blog’s iPod category, I notice that the standard iPod Touch image similarly sports a 9:42. So this is consistent across all of Cupertino’s touchy-feely product line.

The reason remains a mystery, as Apple apparently isn’t talking. The old 10:10 minute-hand/hour-hand watch timestamp is a tempting clue, but I’m not sure there’s any connection. I can’t imagine a rational reason though.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/21/2010 11:02pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., iPhone, iPod
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Sunday, June 20, 2021

eyeballing it
I pretty much get the science and specs behind the iPhone 4′s ultra-high-def display resolution:

By developing pixels a mere 78 micrometers wide, Apple engineers were able to pack four times the number of pixels into the same 3.5-inch (diagonal) screen found on earlier iPhone models. The resulting pixel density of iPhone 4 — 326 pixels per inch — makes text and graphics look smooth and continuous at any size.

Still, did they have to call it “Retina Display”? However accurate it might be, it sounds vaguely creepy to me — like that extreme micro-pixelation is somehow boring into your eyeballs, potentially causing damage. Better to leave the anatomical terms out of consumer technology pitches.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/20/2010 10:51pm
Category: Science, Tech, iPhone
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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

zero plus oneOne year after I learned about it, today was the release date for Bret Easton Ellis‘ latest opus, “Imperial Bedrooms”. It’s nothing less than a direct sequel to his groundbreaking debut novel, “Less Than Zero”.

And I scooped it up first thing this morning. Via the Amazon Kindle app for iPhone. This would be my very first ebook purchase (not counting a couple of freebie titles that I downloaded, mainly just to practice reading on the iPhone screen).

Why did I inaugurate my digital-literature collection with this title? One reason is that I’ve been craving a must-read book for a long while now. Nothing else I’ve come across in the past several months has come close to engaging me. Ellis’ body of work certainly delivers for me, so I gladly committed to a pre-order for his newest output. A revisiting of the nihilism of “Zero” is just the ticket.

The other reason is that, frankly, I resent having to shell out an inflated pricetag for a hardcover edition. Because I hate hardcovers. I vastly prefer paperback/softcover formats, sheerly for their easier portability and handling. I understand how the book publishing business works, and how the hardbacks generate the lion’s share of revenue. But I still don’t like it. So the opportunity to pick up the ebook edition, at a steep discount, was too good to pass up. My only reticence came with my level of comfort in reading a bona fide novel on a mobile device’s small screen; turns out that the Kindle app is a good reading medium. So, I’m set.

I’ve already knocked down the first couple of chapters (I’ve no illusions about stretching out this read — I fully expect to devour it within the week). It’s already immensely entertaining, with Ellis’ spare elegance providing a compelling narrative. Clay, Julian, Blair, et al are definitely being set up for a wild ride in the onset of their middle age, some 25 years after the events in “Zero”. One immediate distinction between then and now: Seemingly all those characters now have last names, implying that they’ve grown up to be more “real”.

Finally, it’s imminently appropriate that I’m reading “Imperial Bedrooms” on an iPhone. Because the ebook is sharing space with my Elvis Costello songs. The connection, of course, is Ellis’ seeming obsession with Costello’s oeuvre — to the extent that he named “Less Than Zero” and “Imperial Bedrooms” after a song and an album by the musician. Technology happily melds popular culture in the palm of my hand…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/15/2010 11:36pm
Category: Book Review, Pop Culture, Tech, iPhone
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Wednesday, June 02, 2021

data and time
Looks like I picked just the right time to switch to an iPhone. Starting this month, AT&T Wireless is scrapping the formerly-standard flat-fee data plan for unlimited monthly consumption:

Newcomers will have two options: Under the DataPlus plan, subscribers can pay $15 a month for 200 megabytes of data; that would handle about 400 photos or 100 minutes of streaming video. The DataPro plan offers 10 times that capacity, 2 gigabytes, for $25.

AT&T will send text alerts to customers near their limits. DataPlus customers who go over will be charged $15 for an additional 200 MB. DataPro users will pay $10 for an extra 1 GB.

AT&T says 65% of its smartphone customers use less than 200 MB a month, and 98% use less than 2 GB.

The plus for me? I’m grandfathered under the old $30 plan, so I could keep that until the end of my contract in 2012. I could downgrade to one of the capped plans and save a few bucks. The problem: My monthly usage so far indicates that I’ll routinely top that 200MB of data. So it won’t pay for me to go with DataPlus, as I’ll wind up paying that same $30 anyway. I could go for the DataPro plan without missing a beat, but it’s just five bucks in savings — a drop in the bucket. I may change my mind later, but for now, I see no reason to not stick with my legacy plan.

Obviously, AT&T is just the first provider through the gate here. Given the trending usage toward more data and less voice, the other carriers will follow suit soon enough, and unlimited data plans will be a thing of the past. It was fun while it lasted.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/02/2021 11:30pm
Category: Tech, iPhone
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Monday, May 17, 2021

Of late, I’ve taken to tethering myself to my iPhone 3GS with my earbuds — or, rather, earbud.

If I’m not listening to music on it, I feel somewhat self-conscious having both earbuds in place. Because that’s a clear signal to everyone around me that I can’t hear them, and they adjust accordingly. Yet, I can hear them, so it’s almost like I’m eavesdropping on them. Or listening on false pretenses. It’s a weird state of affairs, certainly not unique in our audio-cocooned society.

So, to allay this, I pull out my left earbud, to indicate that I’m at least halfway open to outside audio communication. It’s the left earbud for a reason: The right earbud includes the wired mic, with which I can use the iPhone as a hands-free telephone. I’m finding the sound quality on the iPhone is much better when using the earbuds, versus holding the handset against my ear, at least when I’m in noisy surroundings (which seems to be most of the time). That’s why I don’t just unplug the earbuds altogether. Basically, the one-earbud mode means I’m always at the ready to make or receive a phone call, and to conduct it in the most optimal way possible.

But, the quandary: I feel even more self-conscious with this single in-place earbud. Frankly, I think it conveys a sort of asshole-ish look. I’m wondering if the people face-to-face with me think that I’m listening to music in one ear, while only partly listening to them with the other. I suppose that’s because that’s what I used to assume when someone pulled that on me.

So I can’t find a comfortable status quo for my iPhone-to-ear hookup. One bud, or two? Or none? The problems I manufacture for myself…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/17/2010 11:43pm
Category: iPhone
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Sunday, May 16, 2021

And I thought I was the only who never used up any wireless voice minutes. In fact, more and more people are talking less and less on their cellphones:

Instead of talking on their cellphones, people are making use of all the extras that iPhones, BlackBerrys and other smartphones were also designed to do — browse the Web, listen to music, watch television, play games and send e-mail and text messages.

The number of text messages sent per user increased by nearly 50 percent nationwide last year, according to the CTIA, the wireless industry association. And for the first time in the United States, the amount of data in text, e-mail messages, streaming video, music and other services on mobile devices in 2009 surpassed the amount of voice data in cellphone calls, industry executives and analysts say.

“Originally, talking was the only cellphone application,” said Dan Hesse, chief executive of Sprint Nextel. “But now it’s less than half of the traffic on mobile networks.”

And, markets being markets, this trending means that our wireless bills soon will flip-flop — instead of the bucket of voice minutes determining the base monthly charges, the amount of data we use will be the determining factor. I’m wondering just how that will be structured: It’s easy to get across talk-time, but megabytes of data are more nebulous. How many minutes of Web surfing or music-streaming will wind up being billable?

I’m pretty surprised by this decline of voice. Like I said, I thought I was a particularly light talker. Most people I know seem to chit-chat on their wireless phones with abandon, and they tend to carry plans with loads of minutes. Meanwhile, I’ve never gone with anything more than the monthly minimum-minutes plan, and never consciously had to limit myself with it. The only data component that seems widely adopted is texting — again, something that I’ve never taken to.

This is certainly a shift in average-person usage. This, along with more migration to prepaid voice/data plans, means the telecom market could look vastly different five years from now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/16/2010 02:47pm
Category: Internet, Society, Tech, iPhone
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Saturday, May 01, 2021

There’s that old Jerry Seinfeld joke about the loss of the emphatic telephone sign-off:

…because you can’t slam down a cordless phone. You get mad at somebody on a real phone — “You can’t talk to me like that!” Bang! You know. You get mad at somebody on a cordless phone — “You can’t talk to me like that!” [Jerry searches for the 'off' button on his mimed phone, and presses it feebly, in a comedic sort of way] “I told him!”

It’s not like modern cellphones have gotten any more slam-downable. Thus, that joke still applies, which is why Seinfeld saw fit to update it, with the iPhone as the “cordless” phone.

And just this week, that joke was on me. I was concluding an unpleasant conversation on my iPhone — so unpleasant that I couldn’t wait to cut off the other party. Yet, as I pulled the handset from against my ear, all I could do was jab my finger at the iPhone’s screen, touching the big red “End Call” button. That’s it. It ended the call, which was enough, but I definitely felt short-changed, without any further release for my frustration. (Not that anything more would have registered with the jerk on the other end anyway, but still.)

There is an iPhone docking solution that re-creates the landline receiver-slam setup. While that might guard against an inevitable anger-flinging of the iPhone, I think the better course is to just avoid contentious phone calls. And to perfect the finger-swipe disconnects.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/01/2021 03:24pm
Category: Comedy, iPhone
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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A minor stir was generated this week by reports that some major American universities were banning iPads due to strains the device causes on campus wireless networks.

If that sounds at all familiar, it should. Because two years ago, the then-new iPhone encountered the very same “banning” at Duke University and other college campuses.

Duke eventually fixed their glitch, so Cornell et al will figure out their current iPad aversions in due order. Maybe they can figure out how not to hire computer-science geeks who can’t build halfway decent wireless access points, while they’re at it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/21/2010 10:17pm
Category: Internet, Tech, iPhone, iPod
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Sunday, April 11, 2021

I just got my first complete-cycle AT&T Wireless bill this weekend, so I checked my account for how many minutes I had left over. Out of 450 Anytime Minutes, I had used a mere 72 during March, which means the remaining 378 get transferred to my Rollover bank.

No surprise at all. In the dozen or so years that I’ve had a cellphone, I’ve never once gone over my monthly allotment of minutes — and I’ve never carried more than the minimum-minutes plan in all that time. Obviously, I’m not the chatty type (other than during nights/weekends, and when on the line with same-carrier mobile-to-mobile acquaintances). And the data plan on the iPhone is a separate animal, not affecting the voice minutes at all.

So, given AT&T’s much-vaunted Rollover feature, I’m looking forward to amassing tons of spare minutes. Last month’s usage was about average for me, so I figure around 370 minutes per month will get deposited into Rollover. Each monthly bloc of minutes does expire after 12 months/billing cycles, but by that time — assuming I stick to my average usage, and no extreme situation eats up lots of phonetime — I should have a monthly rolling reserve of about 4,000 minutes. And that’s on top of the per-month 450 I’m paying for in the first place. Meaning that I’ll be paying about 80 bucks a month for what will be, for my practical purposes, an unlimited calling plan.

Pretty sweet, although given my years-established calling patterns, such a surplus serves strictly as a peace-of-mind perk. I have no idea if AT&T offers any sort of “cash-in” programs for Rollover minutes, similar to airline frequent-flyer points. I’ll cross that bridge if/when I get to it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/11/2021 08:12pm
Category: iPhone
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Saturday, April 03, 2021

Ducks Eatery sports this eye-catching window display at their storefront on East 23rd Street. Since it was a bright, sunny day, I paused just long enough to iPhone-photograph it (Flickr-ized version, for your embiggened-viewing pleasure).

At the time, I thought that the mix of rubber duckies with ping-pong balls was just a colorfully creative way to fill the space. Turns out that the balls are just as significant symbolism as the toy ducks: The restaurant is attached to SPiN New York, a members-only table tennis club. Who knew?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/03/2021 03:24pm
Category: New Yorkin', Other Sports, Photography, iPhone
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