A very welcome and also painfully overdue resolution. Something I experienced through my wife about a year ago.

And I enjoy Gruber and most of the Apple famous/nerd crowd, but this is kind of funny if not typical:

I don’t think it ever occurred to anyone at Apple that someone might eventually want to switch from iPhone to another phone.

Riiiggghht. Of course it’s common practice for businesses to not worry too much about customers they’ve already lost. But I’m sure there were plenty of folks at Apple who knew they could/should fix this – it was just never a priority. Kudos to them for finally getting around to it. And kudos to Gruber for the humor.

In the past six months I’ve changed my cell phone plan twice. The end result is a family bill that is about $75 now, coming down from almost $160 before the changes – without any real impact on our service.

It seems like Sprint is really being forced to race to the bottom to add and retain subscribers (are they really being passed by T-Mobile?). And since I’ve been a customer for nearly a decade without a major service issue I plan to ride the bumps out and save some money.

(As an aside, I originally left Verizon over a bill they wouldn’t change when I had repeated misclicks on my feature phone that resulted in $1.50 being charged to me each click. I couldn’t even remove the button from the phone home screen. Good riddance.)

Here’s the process I went through with Sprint:

A few month’s back I decided to ask them about the “Framily” thing. (A name that has thankfully been killed and buried as of this post’s writing.) Switching from our “Unlimited for Life” plans at about $80 a line, we still got unlimited talk and text but I reduced our monthly data allowance to 1 GB each. If you’re not on WiFi as much as my wife and I that might be an issue for you, but it’s not for us.

Anyway, this change got us to about $125 before taxes. I was pretty happy about that. Oh, and no more two-year contracts. A nice bonus (to hell with subsidized phone purchases).

That brings me to today. I went online to pay my bill and noticed an advertisement for what they’re calling “Family Share Pack“. The nuts and bolts are this:

  • Pick a shared data package.
  • Add $25 for every line you want.

2 GB shared is $25. Our two lines are another $50. So yes, our monthly bill for unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB shared data is $75. It was that simple at the Sprint store (I’m loathe to change plans through the website), even if the clerk seemed a little bewildered and reluctant to help me switch (would love to know more about how this might affect the store/salesperson).

Anyway, if you’re sick of your nasty cell bill you could do a lot worse.


Last fall, having sold our home but not having found a new one, my wife and I moved our family into an apartment. It was… challenging. And memorable. But mostly challenging.

A downsize that dramatic meant a bunch of everyday things got left out. For us, that meant most of the electronics around our entertainment center, which turned out to be a problem.

Just a few days after getting settled in, most of our goodies away in storage, my wife realized she had no good way to play music for herself or the kids around the apartment — not something we wanted to do without for the next few months.

So I made a quick run to Target (which, by the way, had a surprisingly nice demo area for sound equipment). The parameters of this purchase were pretty simple:

  • Don’t spend a fortune
  • Get good sound, even when loud.

I tried out several products, including stuff from the usual suspects of Sony, Bose, etc. But as I listened to each of them I kept coming back to the one brand I had never heard of before: Soundfreaq.

Soundfreaq Sound Kick

And after walking out of the Target with that little guy, it not only played a part in keeping us sane for the months in the apartment, it is now serving a vital role in our new home.

It sounds great. It completely fills a very large area with sound. The battery lasts for hours (I had it go five hours the other night but have never pushed it further than that).

Bluetooth does have its limitations, and if I’m busy and walking around with my phone the stream will inevitably start to stutter.

It also will tick down its volume a bit when it’s on battery, but you can still reach satisfying volumes.

But for around $85 it is one of the best tech purchases I’ve made. Completely satisfied, and if this thing broke tomorrow I’d be replacing it with another Sound Kick immediately.

Even as a teen in the nineties with all the angst-filled musical taste you could possibly stereotype I never really got into Smashing Pumpkins. I couldn’t tell you why. It’s just how things worked out.

But I’m sort of glad it did because it led to a pretty neat personal moment the other day. Getting through a day of coding I set about attacking their catalog chronologically. Most of it I had heard at least once or twice, but some not. But as I was getting through Siamese Dream and hearing Mayonnaise for maybe the second or third time ever it dawned on me that this HAD to be the best Pumpkins song. I had never truly listened to it before, but it made an impact even at 20+ years old. It felt like this was objective.

I had to know. And lo and behold, a bit of googling and Mayonnaise IS largely considered the band’s best effort by their fans. Fun few minutes for me. Going to stay on the playlist for a long time.

I’m considering this new endeavor a hobby with some net positive side effects.  I’ve been throwing ideas back and forth in my head about how to approach my desire for a writing outlet (or, to maybe be more cynical, some new place to for attention seeking), but it took a bit to conclude I didn’t want to do it anonymously.

I’m fortunate enough to have decent career security. Enough that I feel comfortable making this not only a place to host my resume and contact information, but a place to develop and improve expressing my opinions and analysis on what is interesting to me.

So here goes. If you’re actually reading, thanks. And by all means, feel free to comment. Opinions are free around here.