New!!! Improved!!! (sigh)

I wanted to ask the guy if he was retarded, but instead I asked him if when he was in school, was he in the special classes. My estimation of his IQ was confirmed when he failed to notice I’d just dissed him. “Look, it’s simple.” I said. “I want to understand what I’ve gotten myself into here.” The Verizon clerk wasn’t getting it at all. I had just changed phones, reluctantly I add. I had a Droid 2 that had served me wonderfully for two years, and I would have kept it but it started to show the signs of age; missing calls, locking up, sometimes refusing to turn on –or off. I tolerated a lot of that, but when it started garbling the sound during phone calls I threw in the towel and signed up for a new one. I couldn’t get another Droid like my old one and I wasn’t impressed at all with Motorola’s other droids. They have great battery life, but the rest of their features leave me cold. So I became the owner of a Samsung Galaxy S3, reported to be a spectacular phone.

It came in the mail so it was up to me to activate it on the Verizon website. The website refused to back up my contacts and content in spite of 20 attempts on my part, so I finally said screw this and just activated the phone. Now, I was using my Droid as a modem in order to get online to do the activation. They said that at the end of the process, my old phone would be deactivate and my new phone activated. Except that they deactivated my old phone at the very beginning of the process, knocking me offline and leaving me with two deactivated phones.

Standing in the Verizon store, I was talking to the guy who told me that I could use my phone as a modem for the process, and so my question to him was “Why did you tell me that I could use my phone as a tether when you have to know that Verizon would deactivate the phone before the process was complete? The question seemed to be way too much for his meager brain power. I had the sense to ask about using the phone as a modem, why should I have to suspect of any answer that Verizon’s claimed professionally trained support people had to offer?

The thing is, that I’ve noticed that a lot of people who provide telephone answers to support questions tend to know very little about their product, but seem to be mortally afraid to say the words “I don’t know. Let me get you someone who does.” Worse yet are the offshore support dweebs who sit in boiler room support offices in Pakistan or India and seem unable to get past the greeting, no less answer a question. If you’re a glutton for punishment, I mean a world class masochist, try to get telephone support for an Acer product.

“Um, uh, dunno.” squeaked the sales clerk. I’m really sorry that happened.”

“Me too.” I replied. “Can you fix it for me?”

“Uh, um, no. I don’t know how and the guy who does is at lunch.”

“Do you have a phone here?” I asked sweetly, looking at the display of a hundred or so of them.

“Um, yeah. Sure.”

“Perhaps you could call someone and get some assistance?” I suggested kindly.

He decided that was probably alright and disappeared into the back of the store with my new phone. I waited for almost twenty minutes before another man stepped into the store, and seeing me alone asked if he could help me. I explained the situation and listening, the guy rolled his eyes and said he’d go take care of it. He reappeared about five minutes later and handed me my activated phone. “Just had to go into setting, tell the phone to restore factory defaults, and because it isn’t activated, it goes back to initial setup,” he said. Then I called your SIM card ID in to support and bingo, your phone is good to go.”

Ahh, the difference between competent and drooler. Gotta love a pro.

I like the phone well enough, but for all the hype about 4G LTE, the hotspot built into it doesn’t work worth a damn. My Droid worked first time, every time and this thing staggers and drops the connection, and that’s when the phone is sitting next to or on top of the computer. Get more than 3 feet away and forget it, a connection isn’t happening. With my Droid, any device in the same room could use it just fine. After a few hours of monkeying with it, I gave up and downloaded a tethering app that uses USB instead of wireless to connect to the computer. That worked, but the phone only gave me a 512k connection instead of the megabit the Droid faithfully produced. I don’t see much use for it as a modem in the future. If a brand new phone and a brand new computer work that badly, well, I can just imagine the future as even dimmer. So far as I can tell, 4G isn’t all the hype cracks it up to be. Right now, 3G seems the more reliable and faster hookup. That’s my experience anyway.

But I see why people are talking up the S 3 smartphone Except for its dubious modem abilities, the rest is spectacular. It beats the heck out of the new iPhone 5 a business partner just got In fact, he likes mine so much he is giving the Apple phone back and swapping for a Galaxy like mine. As to not being able to back up my stuff before swapping phones, my first login to Google handled that –it had kept a copy of everything and loaded it all into my phone automatically, populating my contacts, calendar, photos and music. Thanks to Google, I don’t have to go through the angst of manual entry. Of course, Google makes that information handy for merchants dry washing their hands in gleeful anticipation of discovering my desires so they can send me offer on offer trying to be the one I buy from. But there isn’t really anywhere that true privacy exists. At least the ads presented to me as I wander the halls of cyberspace deal with the topics I have interest in (for the most part) instead of inundating me with women’s hygiene products or something.

Technology. Meh.