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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

James Bond, iPhones, and How I Spent my Thanksgiving Vacation

So, while enjoying my week off, I finally had to succumb and do what I'd been planning for a while.

I got an iPhone.

If you're my friend on Facebook, then you'll know that this is something I've been thinking about for a while.  My cellphone contract was due to expire at the end of July, and I figured that would be a good time to upgrade.  But, as I also lamented on Facebook, my car ran into some troubles and getting my car fixed wound up wiping out my iPhone savings.  But I figured that would be OK.  I could make do with my BlackBerry for a few more months, get the savings back up there, and hopefully by that time, the shiny new iPhone 5 would be widely available and I could get the latest and the greatest.

But, as we've learned from the movies, fate had other plans.

I was back home in Entwistle, lounging with my folks, when my BlackBerry started acting up.  I had an older model with a trackball, and the trackball frequently siezes up.  I'd read online how to fix this, and had fixed it many times in the past.  What you are to do is to get some isopropyl alcohol and gently flush out the trackball.  Do you have an old head cleaner cassette tape or VHS tape?  Isopropyl alcohol is the head cleaning solution. 

So my Dad had some out in his garage, so I took my BlackBerry out to the garage, dipped a cotton swab into the isopropyl alcohol and began gently scrubbing the trackball.  With that done, I went to turn on my BlackBerry.

My BlackBerry wouldn't turn on. 

So, I reset my BlackBerry.  I pulled out the battery and put it back in.  It came on fine, the trackball was fine, but the keyboard was toast.  Couldn't push any buttons to make anything work.

My choices were clear:  keep monkeying with it, trying to get it work, or take it as a sign that the universe was telling me to get a new phone.

I took it as a sign.

The next day, I went into Edmonton, with my sights set on getting a shiny new iPhone.  Now, I know that the Samsung Galaxys are quite popular, and the Google Android OS is pretty much on-par with Apple these days, but I'd been fixated on an iPhone for quite some time.  Hell, I originally wanted an iPhone three years ago when I bought my BlackBerry, but the iPhone wasn't on Telus yet.  And I knew I wanted to stick with Telus.  Living up in Athabasca as I do, Telus still has the best coverage for remote, rural Alberta.  Besides, I've got about three years worth of iTunes purchases on my home computer that I finally want to be able to take out and about with me.

So, it was off to Edmonton to get my iPhone.  Now, as much as I wanted the shiny new iPhone 5, I remember reading all those news reports about how the iPhone 5 was sold out all over the world.  So I fully expected not to find it.  I figured I should go straight to the source...the Apple Store in West Edmonton Mall.  If the Apple Store didn't have it, then I'd be fairly certain that no one would have it.  And sure enough, I went into the Apple Store, chatting with a friendly clerk, and the first thing he said to me was, "I'm sorry, but we're all out of stock on the iPhone 5."  I thanked him, and went on my way.  As much as I wanted an iPhone, I figured I would be better off getting it from a Telus Store, as they would most likely be the most knowledgeable about the various Telus plans.

Rather than hang around West Edmonton Mall, I decided to hit the Telus Stores in Spruce Grove, as those are the ones my parents deal with all the time, and they say nice things.  And let me be the latest to say more nice things.  If you're ever in the market for a new cellphone, and you want to go with Telus, and you're in Spruce Grove, Alberta, then I highly recommend that you hit the Telus Store in the Westland Market Mall.  That had to be the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff I'd ever run into when buying electronics.

I walked into the Telus Store, and was met with a gruff-looking elderly man.  We did the usual clerk/customer banter.  He asked if there was anything he could help me with today.  I said I was in the market for an iPhone, and for the hell of it, I asked if he had any iPhone 5's in stock.  "Afraid not," he said.  "Sold out this morning."  So I inquired about an iPhone 4S.  I was hoping for a model with a 32G memory, because if my BlackBerry was any indication, I'll soon be stuffing the memory full of movie trailers and digital copies of TV episodes.  The clerk said that they only had 16G memory models in stock.  "OK, that'll do," I said.  The clerk disappeared into the back room and came back out with a brand new iPhone 4S.  "You're lucky," he said to me.  "I found one last 32G model in the back room.  It's yours." 

The gruff-looking (but very friendly) clerk turned me over to a young lady to finish up the transaction.  Now, she must have been in the iPhone expert in the store, because she was able to get it out of the box, get it all set up, and answer all my questions about the phone, the new plan I was signing up for, and all that good stuff.  She was even able to go into my old BlackBerry (I'd brought it with me out of force of habit) and successfully transferred over my contacts list to my new iPhone.  She was even able to show me a few tricks to help prolong the iPhone's battery life. 

And I went home that day with a shiny new iPhone 4S.  I am a little worried about my iPhone.  As the clerk reminded me, the big thing about BlackBerry's is their proprietary method for compressing data.  She said that when people switch from BlackBerries to non-BlackBerries, they can see their data usage go up as much as 6x.  But, my old BlackBerry wasn't wi-fi capable, so now that I can get on wi-fi hotspots, the data usage shouldn't go up too significantly. 

Granted, I'm expecting my data usage to be high and my battery life to be short for the next few months, because it's all shiny and new and I can't stop playing with it! 

That wasn't the only thing I had on my mind, though, that I was looking to upgrade.  For about a year or so now, you may have seen me blogging and lamenting that my DVD of the James Bond classic, The Spy Who Loved Me, seems to have given up the ghost.  I've got two DVD players, a Blu-Ray player, and the CD-ROM on my computer and it doesn't play on any of them.  Sadly, The Spy Who Loved Me had fallen out of print.  That's the thing with the James Bond movies on DVD and Blu-Ray...they're only available whenever there's a new James Bond movie about to hit a theatre near you.

So, with SkyFall coming out in about a month or so, the James Bond movies are slowly returning to DVD...some of them coming to Blu-Ray for the first time.  A few weeks ago, we got the massive Bond 50 boxed set, containing all 22 James Bond films.  I don't want all 22 James Bond films.  When DVD was new and exciting, I figured I'd just get my favourite for each James Bond actor.  And when The Spy Who Loved Me gave up the ghost, my Roger Moore slot was unfilled. 

Perusing my DVD websites, I saw that The Spy Who Loved Me was getting its long awaited individual Blu-Ray release on October 2...but only at Best Buy stores.  Since this tale that I'm sharing all took place on October 2, I knew that one of my stops would have to at Best Buy to finally get The Spy Who Loved Me

I was a little wary, though.  Everything I read online said that The Spy Who Loved Me was going to be available exclusively at Best Buy, but they didn't mention if that included Best Buys in Canada.  So I just took my chances and showed up at the store on the morning of October 2.  And lo and behold, there was The Spy Who Loved Me, and even better, it was at the discount bin price of $10.

At that price, I also decided to upgrade my copy of George Lazenby's lone James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  When you're choosing your favourite George Lazenby James Bond film, you don't have much to choose from.  Actually, next on my list for upgrading would be Tomorrow Never Dies (my favourite Brosnan Bond) and The Living Daylights (my favourite Dalton Bond), and they also had them at Best Buy for $10.  They're next for upgrading because my DVDs are the plain versions...no bonus features to speak of.  I didn't get those two that day, because some times I've got to be careful.  I have been known to buy more DVDs and Blu-Rays than I can watch, and they wind up just sitting until I find the time.  A man's got to pace himself. 

So, as a vacation went, I think it went pretty good.  I got new toys and new movies.  That's all pretty much anyone could ask for. 

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