(photo credit: Wikipedia)

SMS has been with us from the very beginning of the so-called “mobile revolution”, and yet many of us still don’t use it to its full potential. Maybe we’ve been conditioned to avoid the draconian limits and overage charges from the mobile overlords, but strangely these days carriers are the handing out unlimited messaging plans like it’s going out of style. What else could they do? They’ve been gouging us over for years, charging for a service that costs them next to nothing to deliver (don’t get me started on the international text plan racket) and in response people have shifted their methods of communication to more data-centric options like social media, apps like Kik, or the ever-awesome (and free) Google Voice. They’re losing profits and I say serves them right. Now they’ve changed their tactics to making data their cash cow; tiered data plans, or “unlimited” data for “just a little more”. And while it’s hard for us consumers to quell our ever-increasing data addiction, it’s easy for the frugal masses to find a cheaper route.
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Sometime last year I stumbled upon this great DIY project for the budding tinkerer. The MintyBoost: a portable AA battery-powered phone charger concealed within an unassuming Altoids tin.

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When I got my first BlackBerry, countless years ago, one of the features the annoying sales rep was trying to push was that Hotspot@Home garbage. You know, where T-Mobile (I guess I’m outing myself) gives you a wireless router and you use it to make “unlimited” Wi-Fi calls in your home, and on your handset for an additional $10/month fee. Little did he know I did my reading and knew that I didn’t need that BS. The Curve 8900 came with the UMA feature that let’s you connect to T-Mobile’s services from ANY Wi-Fi connection that supported it. Yea sure it would use my monthly minute allotment, but I was planning to join the cheapskate “MyFavs + Google Voice = Unlimited Calling plan. Suckers. Read the rest of this entry »

Welp, I bit the bullet. I didn’t want to do it, but that stupid little icon just kept taunting me to upgrade. Fully aware that this would re-secure root access and dash any hopes of running Android Market (which makes it sooo easy to get apps), I decided to take a leap and hope* that someone would crack it again someday. So far I’m okay with my decision. Mind you, I hardly think this will change how I feel about RIM right now, but I’d be remiss not to acknowledge a positive step forward.

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Oh RIM, ever since I jumped on the smartphone bandwagon four years ago I reveled in this wonderful new ability to get things done on-the-go. I still remember the feeling as I took my Curve 8900 home for the first time. Coming from a RAZR, it felt like I had magic at my fingertips. I mean, it had a qwerty keyboard for crying out loud. Ever the frugalist, I entrusted RIM with the task of being my sole internet provider as wi-fi wasn’t abundant (or rather I was too cheap for a faster ISP). In a pinch I could tether my Curve to Silvia for a quick email, or a light web browsing session. Sure it was slow, but I was “mobile”. Yup, Silvia and “Odie” (yes I name everything) made a great team. Then something happened.

As a tinkerer, and someone who generally likes to unlock new potential in older things, I became wrapped up in the world of beta software. Every now and then they’d add something new to appease my boredom, but nothing really wowed me. By this time I’m sure the iPhone debuted, and I found my phone spinning its wheels trying run all these newfangled apps RIM was trying to catch up with (hourglass reference). I even found myself under attack because of what phone I was wielding. Which was odd to me, I never thought of a tool as an outward expression of self. After installing beta OS after beta OS, it became clear that BlackBerry wasn’t gonna rule. At first I tried to deny it, focusing on the utilitarian and even minimalist qualities in the experience. Less is more. Less distraction, more productivity. Once I got a taste of broadband, I needed more speed. And I had hoped I could get it from RIM.

“Hope is the denial of reality” —Margaret Weis

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