Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finding Time

I'm finding it harder and harder to find time to blog.  There is a lot of information I would like to share as I have benefited from a lot of information that others take time to blog but so far Tweeting is much easier than blogging.  Probably something to do with the 140 character limit.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The value of my SIM card

This is the most obvious statement in the world but there are things in life you take for granted until you don’t have them. Like electricity, hot water, your car, internet access, and even your cell phone SIM card.

I have been doing a lot of traveling lately. I got back South Carolina on Wednesday and I leave tomorrow for Seattle. While getting ready today I noticed my phone was dropping its connection frequently. So I rebooted it and it still was losing its connection. I have a Tilt from AT&T. Yes, I’m planning to upgrade to a new Windows Mobile phone but until I can stay in one place long enough to go to the store I’m currently stuck with my Tilt. I like the phone but it is approaching 2 years of wear and tear.

After a subsequent reboot the phone told me that it could not find my SIM card. I reseated the SIM card in the slot and the problem went away – for about an hour. Then the connection dropped again and after a reboot I got the notice again.

Some internet research revealed only that the card may be loose and I needed to find a way to make it more secure against the contacts in the slot. None of my creative effort worked and now nothing I did would get the phone to work. It would reboot and say it had no SIM card and tell me I could only make emergency calls.

So, and I hate to admit this, the pain of not having my phone and data plan while traveling caused me to break down and called AT&T. They were most helpful (I have the everything plan) and said I needed a new SIM card after she tried reprogramming it over the air. Apparently mine had worn out. My wife got her SIM card at the same time and it is still working fine.

This was 8pm Saturday night. I leave Sunday afternoon. She said I could get a new card from the local AT&T store between noon and 5pm on Sunday or I could get one from Walmart tonight. Walmart to the rescue, they had a card, I bought it ($25) and called AT&T back to get it activated. AT&T also credited my account the $25 because if I had gone to the corporate store I would have been able to get the card for free.

So I now have a new appreciation for my SIM card. I asked the lady at AT&T what I would have done if the card had died while I was waiting for my connecting flight in Houston tomorrow. She said I could have called them from a pay phone and they would have arranged for me to get a new SIM card at a store at my destination. Nice of them but terribly inconvenient. Makes me wonder if I should set an outlook task to get a new SIM card every 20 months or so, the one that died only last 22 months.

Once I was up and running the normal endless flow of text messages and voicemails flooded in making me wish the phone was still dead but I guess that is the endless cycle of life in the modern age.

Friday, October 9, 2009

What do I have in common with the city of Lexington and Twitter?

I have been doing some traveling this week and as with most “cool” people I have been doing some tweeting. Thinking I was cool on Wednesday I tweeted that I had been to the city of Lexington in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky all in one week, actually all in the first 4 days of this week. Later that day the Twitter user lexingtonva mentioned me in a tweet by saying, “@JonathanESmith That's pretty impressive that you've been to Lexington, VA, NC, and KY this week!”

Who is lexingtonva? That is the Twitter account for the city of Lexington, VA. Their bio on Twitter says, “Promoting Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge County, Virginia!” So how did they find little old me?

I’m not sure who runs the Lexington, VA Twitter feed but it is pretty cool that they were watching for mentions of their town and commenting on them. It worked in driving traffic to their websites as I spent some time checking out the city and county. I may never be there again but it is a great marketing tool to watch for mentions on Twitter and then respond to them. I think these guys have it figured out.

Maybe Lafayette, IN needs such a Twitter feed? Who am I kidding?