Life's Good


There's a series of posts that have stemmed from one post I've been working on that is based on my family's time spent during MEA (2016). I decided to take a portion of that and post it as a stand-alone post last week, An Inconvenient Poop, and have done so this week as well.

When we were out and about on the Tuesday of MEA week, I noticed that I'd lost all network bars on my phone. I wasn't surprised due to the fact that we were indoors, even though we were on the top floor of a building and there was a sizable sun roof above us. Plus, that phone had been restarting itself every once in awhile for about the past six months. The frequency increased when I put Kaspersky security software on it. You know, to make it more secure... I had almost finished an email draft regarding our water damaged basement (post coming a-la-future) when the phone started getting crazy and restarted itself about five times in a row. I put the phone away and continued with our family time.


This is a picture I created during our family time at the Crayola Experience at the 
Mall of America. I basically colored the dragon. It was animated on the computer there.
dragons, Minnesota, phone, blog, budget, finance


After we got home, I checked my phone and I still didn't have any network bars. Something seemed amiss. I was able to get on wi-fi to finish and send the email I had started earlier. It wasn't until a little later that I started troubleshooting. I opened up the back of the phone and looked it over. I removed the SIM card and put it back. Still nothing. All of the troubleshooting tips and steps online didn't work either.

The next morning was school conferences for both kids, and we had a one-year well-child check for baby boy in the early afternoon. I took advantage of the gap in time between these appointments by going to a Boost Mobile store. I had hoped someone there knew the magic that would fix my phone.

The only guy working that day was a friendly and knowledgeable person. He looked over the phone and tried some special text codes I had never known (and still don't) and still nothing changed. He checked the "about phone" screen in the settings that should have shown my phone number and instead there was a random number sequence. This was the problem. I had checked that the day prior and it had my phone number in there, but that was also before two SIM card removal and re-insertions. He asked me, "Did you happen to do that while the phone was on." Yes. Yes, I did. Dammit. He said that he had learned that lesson the hard way as well but with a customer's phone. The SIM card was fried.

He offered to order me another SIM card, which would take two or three days to arrive. I was hesitant. On the one hand, the SIM card is fried, but on the other, how much longer is the phone going to work? He did say that the Kaspersky software I was running was redundant to software already working on the phone. Removing that software would allow it to work more efficiently and therefore much faster. Still, the phone was prone to random restarts, and even though it really hadn't been a big deal, it was annoying. There had been a few times that I lost writing that I had done and had to rewrite or was in the middle of texting and then had to wait for the phone to restart in order to finish. Trust me—my habit of saving what I have done has become obsessive. That, however, may not be a bad byproduct of that phone's experience.

He picked up on all of this and told me that I was eligible for an upgrade. With Boost Mobile, since it's a prepaid service where phones are paid for upfront, it means that I get a discount on the phones that are available. I went with the upgrade. I'm sure my new phone still "sucks," but what I went with was the LG X Power.

The phone that I brought in was a Sharp Aquos Crystal. *Sharp makes phones?* That's exactly what I thought! *Wait, Sharp is still around?* That's exactly what I thought! Yet, I bought it and have no ragrets.

A friend of mine had told me these were horrible phones after I had bought it a year ago, and for the first six months or so, it worked flawlessly. Not so much for the next six, and well, you know how that ended up. The Boost store worker told me that it was the first time he actually saw one of those phones still working. I guess I should consider myself lucky to have used it for as long as I have. Really, though, I still do like the phone.

I've now been getting my new phone set up with my preferences and learning what my phone is and isn't capable of. I was disappointed that my phone doesn't come with screen mirroring or "casting" capabilities out of the box. It's a feature on the Aquos that I liked, if only to give my kids a bigger picture of grandma and grandpa to see on the TV while we video chat. I've looked into how I may do that with the LG X Power, but I'm not terribly happy with any apps I've found. There are other options available for video chatting on a computer, and that will be something to look into going forward. For now, perhaps, the Aquos will stick around partly for video chat. It still has wi-fi capabilities, and I like waking up to its rooster alarm. Besides, my baby boy loves having a phone to destroy and reprogram if I'm on mine. He gets pretty excited when I hand it to him—phones and remotes. Apparently, it's all a one-year-old wants. Maybe, it has something to do with games my wife has on her phone, like the Peek-A-Boo series.

I don't want to get too preachy, so I'll make this a quick paragraph. Why Boost? Why cheaper phones? Well, it all makes sense to me. I'd rather not buy a really expensive phone only to pay even more because I'll feel I need to put insurance on it only to end up buying the phone AT LEAST twice if not three times over because I'm paying it off monthly with a two-year contract. What attracted me to Boost in the first place was the low cost and NO contract. The contract is: you pay, we give you what you paid for. I started out on a shrinking payment plan. So, over a year-and-a-half, my bill got smaller because I essentially (pre)paid it on time. I have auto-payment set up with a credit card, so it makes it hard to forget. My credit card already covers the insurance part on any phone that uses that credit card to pay for the phone and pay for its monthly bills. Either way, I don't stress out about my phone getting destroyed because it's so expensive. I just don't want the inconvenience.

Quick paragraph abandoned.

The service is technically a prepaid service. However, when a person is paying monthly anyways what difference does it make? They know they're going to get paid because you won't have a working phone if you don't. That assurance translates into savings for the consumer. Me.

Keep in mind that I get unlimited everything. I lowered my monthly bill even more by limiting my data to 2GB per month. Considering I use wi-fi whenever possible anyway, the "limitation" is never a problem. If I watched YouTube videos on my phone everyday throughout the day using the 4G network, then yes, I'd hit that limit pretty fast. I don't do that. I still get data after 2GB, it's just slower. How slow? I have no idea because I've never been over.

Grand total for my monthly bill: $30.14! (It changed to exactly $30.00 sometime in 2017.) With the power of math, we can see that $361.68 is my yearly phone payments total. Even if I buy a new phone and case every year at my preferred cap of $150.00, I will still only spend $511.68—still less than the fanciest, most expensive phones on the market (just for the phone!)—and still less than what many people are paying for the honor of being on a major carrier's network.

But, you're thinking, those cheap(er) phones must be a drag to use! They really aren't. Since I choose Android phones and my computing is Google heavy, going from phone to phone is pretty seamless. And, with every new phone I get, it's still an upgrade in technology from the phone I used to use. I like to use every phone I get for at least two years. That's my current average. It also translates into $75.00 per year, obviously, of cost to have a phone. I went out on a limb to try the Sharp Aquos, but I still don't regret it. If I would've paid $650.00 on it, I'd be very angry. AND, I'd want it to last for at least four to five years.

So, here I sit with the same quality of life as many others when it comes to phones and phone usage, and I'm paying a small fraction of the cost. To each their own. I'd rather spend that extra money on other things.



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Graham Sedam, blog, thoughts, life, interests, writing
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