Sunday, September 16, 2012

Super Cheese

So Porter is growing up way fast. Cyndi worries that in some ways he's not reaching his milestones, but I think it's just because he's selective. This kid is super smart.

Among his tricks is knowing to smile when someone is taking his picture. He can be in the middle of something that makes him cry, but when the camera comes out, he puts on a smile.

Case in point: crawling through cold grass. I kept moving away and he was getting frustrated until the camera came out. That's when I snatched this one.

There's plenty more. He's not particularly fond of his car seat. And the list goes on.

Here's one more just for kicks

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sprint Sucks

Here's my Sprint Story:

Over 2 years ago, after a few minor problems with T-mobile, I decided that I would try out Sprint. I liked the idea of unlimited data and I liked the idea of 4g. At the time, Sprint was the only company  with active 4g service.  I got the newest phone, the HTC Evo 4g.  It was AWESOME . . . when it worked . . . which was rare.

It was also expensive.  I went from paying around $60/month to paying $100/month . . . plus smartphone upgrade . . . plus taxes . . . plus surcharges . . . plus insurance. For some reason I convinced Cyndi to get on the same plan with me. By the time it was all said and done, I was paying around $215/month for cell service - A small car payment, a good retirement fund, a new mountain bike each year.

Still, we continued, partly because I'm stubborn, and partly because we were "locked in".  The only time my bill was lower, was when I went to Mexico and switch to a different plan for the month since we wouldn't be using our phones. Unfortunately, Sprint decided not to activate the change in plans until after we had returned from our trip. The overages the next month more than doubled my bill, and Sprint wouldn't do anything about it.

The other problem was that even though Sprint was charging us for "premium data" we weren't getting it.  Our house on Herbert Ave in Salt Lake was like a 4g black hole. But then, so was the UTA office where I was doing some work. So was downtown.  Most places we went in Salt Lake had "spotty" coverage at best.  When the phone couldn't pick up 4g it froze up the data.  I soon learned that 3g was overall the faster way to get any data, and even that was spotty.

Here's the lie that is the coverage map. The marker is where I live.:

When my phone got dropped (not by me), I went in to get a replacement. Well, all that insurance I'd been paying for the last 18 months didn't really mean much.  I could get a refurbished phone for $100 or I could get a new phone for $150. I got the new phone.  Worst $50 I've ever spent. Know why? Because that $50 turned into thousands of dollars in fees, excess payments, and lost time.

So let's pause here for a second. I'm going to keep track of approximately how much time I spent with Sprint trying to fix the issues I had.  I'll put hours spent either on hold, on the phone with customer service, or at the sprint stores in parentheses "()" Oh, maybe I'll add in hours spent re-configuring my phone every time they did a factory reset.

My new phone, a Samsung Epic (failure) 4g, was garbage right from the start.  It had issues updating. The camera on it was amazing though.  Eventually, I took the phone into the Sprint Store (2) and they looked at it for a while and did a factory reset (2).  They told me it was fine and to go home. So I reconfigured my phone, but the next day it was doing the same thing. So I went back to the store, the same people looked at it, did another factory reset and told me that the phone was having problems this time(2 +1). They ordered me a new phone and told me they'd call me when it came in.

We moved to West Valley shortly there after, and I was really excited that I would have 4g coverage.  Sprint showed on their coverage map that we should have good service. NOPE! In fact, the 4g didn't work. The 3g barely worked, and even basic cell service was horrific. I was dropping a good 20% of my calls. Cyndi's phone had slightly better reception for some reason, so a lot of times I'd have to borrow it to make work calls.

The new phone they got for me was a refurbished phone as were all the following "new phones".  At one point one of the Sprint store employees told me that usually when they refurbish a phone, all they do is replace the glass. They don't even check to make sure everything works. Well ... that was obvious.  I went and picked up the phone (1.5) and took it home to re-configure it, reload all my apps, etc. (2). The first thing I noticed was wrong with the new phone was when I needed to take a picture of something. The camera would cause the phone to freeze up.  It wasn't even remotely functional, so I called the Sprint store and they told me to bring it in so they could look at it.  Yup, the camera doesn't work.  We'll order you another phone (2).

It was around this time, or maybe just before it that I began to notice a strange phenomenon. A lot of my friends were getting pissed when I didn't show up to things.  Some of my co-workers were upset when I didn't call them, or wasn't on time to meetings.  The funny thing was, I wasn't getting the invitations.  That's right, for some strange reason, Sprint was blocking a lot of my incoming text messages.  Not all, but some.  Certain people weren't able to get a hold of me via text, and well, in this day and age, that's a problem. A lot of people rely on text messages.

Facebook page for Sprint haters:

Here's where the hours on hold, with customer service, and at the sprint store get really frustrating.  I was spending a ton of time trying to figure this out.  Every time I'd get frustrated enough to call and work my way up the chain of command, they'd issue me some sort of CTMS, or Priority service ticket and promise to get back to me.  They never did.  The next time I'd call they would deny that any service ticket even existed.  Sometimes they'd tell me to go in and have the Sprint store employees diagnose my phone. They never found anything wrong with my phone. Everyone would just pass me around.

Working up the chain of command is interesting.  Before you could just talk to a supervisor, they'd have to pull up your record. Then they'd run diagnostics on the towers in your area. There was always a problem with the tower, but that didn't solve the problem. Then they'd pass you off to technical support - who you were trying to reach in the first place, and you'd have to start all over. Explain the problem. Listen to their crappy apologies as they check your file. Have them issue a ticket. Have them check the towers.

Finally, one day I'd had it. I wouldn't give up. I spent nearly 12 hours on the phone this day working my way through the muck of customer "service". At some point a Sprint executive something-or-other called and said that she knew what the problem was, and would get it fixed or let me out of my contract. For the first time, I was kind of hoping that Sprint would not fix the problem.  For the first time, they actually fixed something.  I started getting text messages.

Straight off the Sprint Website. Looks like I'm not the only one with complaints.:

I would like to say that this solved all the problems. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I was still dropping calls on a regular basis.  In fact it was getting worse.  In addition, the gps on my phone didn't work. The data seemed slower than ever, and since coverage was dropping all the time (in the middle of the city), the battery life was terrible as the phone searched for service.  Many of my work calls, if not dropped, would go to no service, and neither party could hear the other.

I spent countless hours calling customer service, working my way up the chain of command, and even went and had my phone replaced again.  Nothing helped.  They kept sending me garbage/refurbished phones, and the towers still had issues.  At what point do you draw the line?  Well, Cyndi's contract with Sprint ended since she had her original phone.  I was so jealous that she could make phone calls from our house, that I decided I had to bite the bullet.

I called Sprint customer service one last time to give them a chance to make things right.  If they had, I probably wouldn't have written this. They didn't. Instead, they insisted on checking the towers.  At that point, I'd had it. I packed my kid in his carseat, drove to the Verizon store and signed myself up.  I haven't dropped a call since.

They sent me a final bill. It included a $280 cancellation fee. It also included $45 in fees, surcharges, and taxes. It's paid now.  It's not worth the hassle of taking them to small claims court.

Long story short: Don't use Sprint. You will regret it. I did.

PS - WTF is a surcharge? Oh, I see. It's a way for Sprint to charge more than their advertised price. A way for them to arbitrarily add any amount they want to your bill.  Now I get it.

Here's a fun video about a guy with similar issues:

Matt vs The Phone Company part 1 from Matt Wiley on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My son (who is like a go pro to me now)

He's here. That's the story.  How about some pictures:

My baby feeds himself.  He's also potty trained.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Feedin' Ducks and Geese - Fun with the gopro that doesn't include action sports.

Well, there's a little bit of casual biking around the park. Cyndi wanted to get rid of the old hotdog buns that have been hanging around the house, so we biked over to the park and fed them to the ducks. Great S&G soundtrack as well. Enjoy:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wakeboarding with the fam and the go-pro (Which is like a son to me now)

Just a poorly edited video - I discovered how good the video editing software is on Cyndi's Mac, so the next one will be better.

City of Rocks - Rye Crisp 5.8

A quick rock climbing video. Even if you don't watch the whole thing, skip ahead to 3:26. Evolv makes the kind of shoes you can trust when you have to most.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Go Amateur

Took the bike and the Go-pro camera down to I street tonight for some jumping.  It was getting dark, but fun prevailed.

I missed getting a shot from the step down. I'll go back soon. Make it full screen. It's better.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pics of Shirlee Temple

Pics of my new bike.  I named it today: Shirlee Temple.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Some things that other people should own

Please excuse the crappy photos.

I have a lot of stuff. Some of it will be given away soon. I hope to give it to people I know who can put it to good use.

Here are some things that someone else should own:

Shoes and Dishes:

Size 12 for the most part. Somnio Running Shoes, Terra Plana barefoot shoes
, La sportiva approach/skate shoes, and some simple shoes.

The dishes are Correl break and chip resistant. Plates, bowls, small plates and some cups.

Luggage: Some one going on a mission?

Big ol' suit case. It measures about 24"x36"x12" Perfect condition.

Clothes and wine glasses and a yoga mat:

Mostly women's size small. Same with the clothes (he he)

I'm done with this stuff, so if you can come get it, it's yours. If you want to spot me $5 for a brand new pair of shoes or you find value in something else, that's cool too. You know how to find me.