Technology

Pretty Much Over I.T.

Bored TechYup, I’m pretty much over it.  I.T. that is.  I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now.  I started doing it in the Navy.  It was a blast at first.  Helping people.  Hearing “thank you” at the end of every conversation.  Sadly people have grown unappreciative.  They do the same things over and over and learn nothing.  Today I took a call of, “My mailbox is full again.  Please empty it.  Thanks.”.  Followed by the click of an ended call.  They have asked me to do this every few weeks since February of 2009.  They still start the call with, “I’m computer illiterate.”.  Then why do you own a computer if you’ve learned nothing in 8 years?

The same people call with the same problems.  “I don’t know why this keeps happening?”.  We explain, they ignore.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  My friend deleted some programs, now their browser won’t open.

If it wasn’t for the fact I get medical and dental, I’d quit and go full time delivery driver.  At least there all I have to deal with is cheap-asses who don’t tip.  That job is hard to let go.  Despite my clothes smelling like garlic butter when I come home.  That washes out.  My vehicle may smell like it, but now I’m using disposable seat covers to help cut down on that.  Plus I can get them steam cleaned.  However, the money I make is too hard to pass up most weeks.  I’ve looked for a job for over two years.  I don’t look as often.  There are next to no jobs I want that would start me at $12 an hour.  I don’t want to be a tech anymore.  Today’s lazy ass doesn’t appreciate us at all.

I don’t do computer repair anymore on a personal level, except of course my own computers.  Which I can’t remember the last time I needed to do that outside of replacing a faulty part.  Especially when people won’t bring me their computers so I can use my high speed internet to fix it.  Not to mention, I can be in an environment I’m comfortable in.  The last comment I got was, “there is a reason why i don’t come to ur house is ur trailer is small.”.  Do you realize how insulting this is?  My place plenty big enough with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  I tried to let that comment go.  Didn’t work.

In retort, I don’t want to drive to the boondocks, where there is limited internet to download large updates.  Where I have deal with the odor of pot, cigarette smoke and empty beer cans.  Sure you go outside to smoke while I’m there, but your home already is permeated with the smell.  It’s gross.  Let’s not forget, I work two jobs over 50 hours a week.  I generally only get 1 full day off a week.  I don’t want to do more tech support on what little time off I get.  I’d rather go see my kids, or go out on a date.

Self Defense and Dead Printer

Self Defense and Dead PrinterSo today my printer died.  Not a big deal really.  Though of all the printers I’ve ever owned, this one was a real gem.  It was a Canon PIXMA MG5220.  I got it around late 2010 or early 2011 at Walmart for a sweet $35 on clearance.  Little did I know then, it retailed for nearly $150 and sometimes more.  It was insanely good and quiet.  I found ink deals on Amazon for $8 for all 5 ink tanks.  They all worked perfectly and it was the perfect photo printer.  It made all my sweet Christmas Cards for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  There was none for 2016 as I had realized that no one actually cared to get Christmas Cards from me.  I sent out 30+ cards in 2015 and got zero in return.  In 2014 I got 1.  Sure, it takes me a while, but I can take a hint.  Though now I need a new printer.  I’m going to try the updated version of the MG5720.  Same basic printer, some new features.  I hope I get 7 years out of this one.  Though I have my doubts.

Though the bigger news is that yesterday I took an NRA Self Defense class and did surprisingly well.  My skills with a gun are fairly good.  Good enough to protect myself and my loved ones.  For my build, I did pretty darn good.  We not only learned when you can and can’t use deadly force, but how to duck behind objects for protection and doing things like leaning around corners and firing rapidly with fairly good accuracy.  We learned a lot more, but I won’t bore you with the details.  I am proud of myself and thankful to those who helped me get to where I am so quickly.  My mom who helped me get the gun and equipment at a decent price.  The salesman at Jay’s Sporting Goods for the suggestion of what gun to choose on a budget.  My Uncle Roger for his support, tips and advice.  As well has letting me use his property to practice.  Bob for covering my shift at the day job so I could attend class.

I should start hanging my certificates on the wall.  I’ve got a small collection of them now.  This was passing the class.  I also have ones from my Navy days and others.

If it wouldn’t be so messy, I’d use the dead printer for target practice 😉

What would you do?

Poll

I’m curious what you would choose.  I’ve dealt with having to reprogram and replace products for several years.  Many times people will choose replacement regardless of the product being able to be fixed for free simply so they don’t have to take time out of their day to drive an hour round trip.  I suppose if you really do have a busy life, that’s a good option.  Although, sometimes people choose to cancel service based on the fact their products were found faulty and needed fixing or replacing.  Which would make them have to be without service for several days.  Perhaps even a couple of weeks and likely have to buy new equipment anyway because not everyone includes it with the service.

So let’s say you have a service you pay $30 monthly for.  Such as television, telephone, internet or whatever that is similar.

You purchased your equipment valued at $70 such as a cable box, a fancy home phone, modem or router.

If you had a broken product that could be fixed valued at $70, would you?

  • Drive 30 miles to have it fixed for free. (100%, 2 Votes)
  • Buy a replacement and pay $15 for shipping. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Get frustrated and change companies. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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If you choose to replace it or cancel service, please let me know your reasoning via the comments below or on the linked Facebook post.

A Reintroduction…

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to reintroduce the all new and redesigned CastleRain Web Design & Computer Services!

CastleRain Web Design & Computer ServicesClick Image to Visit Site

I offer the same mobile friendly web design services, and have added my computer skills as well.  All in a brand new, pretty website!  Granted, this is NOT a business.  Just a hobby that I do to make extra money on the side.  It has no relation to either of my current places of employment.  I’m a low cost Evil Genius.  At least until I find and breed flying monkeys 😈

Dough, Bleach and Shame

Dough, Bleach & Shame CologneA new fragrance for him or her from Den’váir of CastleRain.  Dough, Bleach & Shame.  It combines the smell of a minimum wage pizza job with the essence of having done dishes for an hour and gives you the feeling of the sum of your life is less than what you dreamed.

I’m being fairly silly about this.  The idea just came to mind the last night I worked, that I have been coming home smelling of raw pizza dough and bleach.  Also, it is somewhat depressing that this is where my life ended up.  I know I said I’d give it a go.  I just can’t help but feel like its somehow makes me a lesser person over all.  That edging feeling of shame for doing it.

It’s not all bad.  When you actually break it all down.  Wages, plus mileage, plus tips, equals on average $14 per hour.  That’s not actually bad income for this neck of the woods.  It’s actually more per hour than I’ve made in years.  I’ve never dreamed of being rich and I don’t want to be.  Never have and never will.   As long as the bills are paid and I can have some fun every so often.  I’m perfectly content.

As I’ve said though, I enjoy being a geek.  I like solving problems and helping folks with their gadgets and computers.  I think my resume is fairly impressive.

I haven’t given up looking for a tech job.  Just every one here has a Mom and Pop computer business.  (and it seems there are a boat load of them)  I don’t have the start-up capitol.  I will still do computer repair and consulting on the side.  I still like to design websites.

The pizza job though works out well for me mostly with my physical limitations.  It’s not standing in one spot for long periods of time.  I’m not repeatedly lifting heavy things.  I get exercise by walking and using stairs.  I get to use my brain by figuring out the addressing system (relying less on GPS) and counting change in my head.  The money is pretty good.  I dress comfortably.  I’ve always hated suits, slacks, button up shirts and uniforms.

Upsides?  The money will be better once I move closer to my new job.  Because right now about $12 to $20 a night goes into my gas tank for driving from Gaylord to Petoskey and back.  Not to mention, the appeal of a fairly good hospital there.  If I end up in Otsego Memorial for anything major, I may as well just call the crematorium now and reserve a shoebox for my ashes.  Plus the drive between EJ and Petoskey is so much nicer than the roads between EJ and Gayrock.

Downsides?  It’s hard on my car.  It’s not exactly prestigious.  That whole, “Oh, you’re a pizza delivery driver?  I think I have to wash my hair for the next century or so.” issue.

Puh Puh Pizza

Pizza DeliveryAs I say goodbye to what is likely my last free weekend.  I brace myself for the coming changes.  I’m struggling with the eventuality of having to let go of a job I really like.  Though it’s not by my choice really.  It’s not my fault the company I work for doesn’t advertise at all.  I’ll hang on as long as I can, but the time has come to take on a new job in the evenings.  It’s not like I haven’t done Pizza Delivery before.  I have done it frequently for quick or fill in cash flow many times.  It’s an easy job and if you get the right location, the tips can be more than the take home pay sometimes.  Especially during the major holidays.

However, this time it isn’t just a fill in job.  I’m going to try to move up the ranks and stick it out.  I’ve tried for months on end to find a job in my field of computers and technology around here.  The closest I came was a job doing tech support for fluid monitoring systems and software.  For like tanks and wells in fields.  That alone sounded mind numbingly boring.  I want hard drives, video cards, memory, motherboards, CPU’s, GPU’s, smartphones and tablets.  Not some goofy thing that measures the flow of liquid.  Yippee Flippin’ Skippy.  Plus, they have this weird on duty thing where one week a month, you’re on call.  You work your normal hours, then go home and wait by the phone for someone to call.  Even if it’s at 3 a.m.  I don’t want to take a call from some dude in Alaska whining about he can’t see his readings from his oil well.  At that hour, I had better be sleeping.

Don’t get me wrong, if a tech job that’s more my type comes up, I’ll certainly try for it.  I may have not made a lot of money where I am now.  But I’ve had a blast and the people I work with are awesome.  They have always treated me well.  Once I got rid of the “issue”, the pay was just fine.  Well…  (When I say “well” like that, why does it always sound like David Tennant’s Doctor Who voice in my head?)  Until the hours got cut.

I’ve done the pizza game before.  Though I was 25 years younger.  The new boss seems patient with my health issues and is willing to give me a go.  Now all I have to do is dust off my skills and show them off.

Sadly, the place I work for, is out of town.  Way out of town.  Hence the area code on the car top sign.  But, it’s in a town I lived in for a year and a half prior to my shipping off to the Navy.  I loved that town.  Walking downtown during sunset was always a good thing.  Riding my bike down the path that goes from one end of town to the other.  So hope to find a place to live that’s closer.  Especially since all I need for my day job is a good internet connection.  The one I’ve been using here has been absolutely smashing.  Sadly they don’t have a call center near here or I’d go for a job with them.

Time for a career change?

Career ChangeI’m beginning to seriously consider changing my career path.  Going back to before I rediscovered computers in 1994.  Prior to that time, I spent a good deal of time working in the fast food field of Pizza.  Starting at Little Caesars, then Domino’s where I went from a driver to manager in a short time.  I’ve also worked at Pizza Hut and a few others over the years as part time fill-in jobs.  But I never stayed with one place for long.  The thing is, it’s something I know and I don’t totally despise.

I’ve spent the past 5 months searching for a new job.  The one I have now is merely hanging by a thread and can end at any time.  But since I’ve moved back to Northern Michigan I’ve found that tech support jobs are few and far between.  I can either freeze my nuts off and do installs for Charter or Frontier, or I can do support for tank and well monitoring software.  The latter sounds mind numbingly boring and completely uninteresting, while the former is simply out of the question for me.  And I’ve dealt with Charter installers.  Nice fellas, but not as smart as they should be.  I never did thank them for wrecking my home network because they said it would never work with Charter.  Funny, I put it back and it works fine for me.  Dill-holes.

Yesterday I interviewed for a part time position at an office supply store nearly an hour drive away.  They offered a hair more than minimum wage and then explained how you basically need to lick their boots so you can get offered more than a handful of hours.  They apparently do the “lets hire 20 people and see you sucks up the best” method.  Can’t say I’m real revved up to lick boot for next to nothing and no benefits.

As it is, I’m just this side of handicapped now.  I get dizzy just bending over moving my own stuff around.  I can’t do long standing and I can’t do heavy lifting anymore.  Even though I’ve lost 60 pounds and have been unfortunately hovering at the same weight since I moved here.  Summer I lose some, winter it comes back as I stay inside.  I hate winter, I hate snow.  The place I’m living in I can’t get an exercise bike put up.  I don’t have the room for it.

I’ve had no luck even finding a clerical job of any sort.  Though perhaps employers like women for such jobs.  Sexist as that is.  I’m sure it’s an unspoken rule.

Up until now I’ve been avoiding fast food like the devil.  Same goes for retail jobs.  Though I did apply for and was turned down at the Dollar General as I have no register experience.  Are you fucking serious?  I make computers dance and sing.  I think I can handle an elaborate calculator with a credit card reader.  That’s fine though.  I really didn’t want to work there.  But seriously.  My “register” experience was with a locking wooden drawer.  You had to make change by using your brain to calculate.  I delivered for several years.  I can make change from a wad of ones and fives in my pocket.  Which is why I get annoyed when I see the young person at a fast food place struggle to make change.  Especially when they have a display telling them what to give me back.  It frustrates me that our education system now not only allows, but requires calculators in school.  My generation was not allowed.

Back to my issue.  I love what I do.  Sure the customers can be frustrating.  But I love a challenge.  I love to solve problems.  I love how I amaze people by doing things from memory.  I love computers, I love technology.  But all we have here is office supply stores, a Radio Shack or two and a hand full of small mom and pop computer shops.  None of which really need any help.  I don’t have the capital to open my own.

So now I’m considering going back to Pizza.  Where I started.  I’d make less than I do now for a while until I moved up the ranks.  I wouldn’t totally despise the job.  Though I’d need some work done on my car.  Turns out the front bearings are going out and replacing them will require new struts and springs.  About $850 in repairs.  Regardless of my choice, I need to get that done anyway.  Anyone know where I can get a loan?  Sadly chipping away at medical bills and past marriages have made getting credit difficult for me.

Anyone have an opinion?  Should keep plugging away for a tech job?  Or just change careers?

Ho Hum Holiday

Christmas Snow GlobeTry as I might, I haven’t found a suitable job yet.  I know some would disagree with me, but I’m really trying to avoid retail and fast food.  Mostly due to my health.  I’m an overweight desk jockey who hasn’t done much physical work or long periods of standing in years.  Plus the occasional chest pains, dizziness and shortness of breath.   Having heart disease sucks.  I would hate to get a job only to lose it because I don’t meet their needs for a work horse.  I’m all about brain power these days.  While I do exercise and can walk for an hour or more a day, that’s not the same as standing still on concrete floors for hours on end or breaking my back carrying heavy things.

Speaking of heavy things.  The only serious job interviews I’ve had were dealing with heavy lifting.  Apparently a person with a lot of computer experience equals loading and unloading trucks and moving heavy appliances.  Well that’s the reason they called me anyways.  Once I showed up to the interview, they saw me and realized I am heavy lifting material.  So no second interviews or follow up calls.  Well I did get an interview from a local pizza place, but they didn’t offer me a job.  Which at first I thought was odd as we talked up a storm about the pizza biz.  Then I realized he was holding out for that nice girl who couldn’t make her interview because she was snowed in.  I’m guessing she is also really attractive.  Of course it was on a day when the roads were really bad and we got nearly two feet of snow as well.  Made me realize that not having driven in real snow for many years that perhaps that wasn’t the greatest of job ideas for me.  Plus I could use some new tires and an alignment.  Here’s to hoping for a decent tax return.

Other than that, it’s been very quiet on my email and phone.  Of course the dwindling income has forced me to cut back on any spending.  I haven’t been to church in weeks.  I don’t go many places at all unless I absolutely have too.  My vacation time and personal time have been bled dry.  My boss has been cool and offered to pay me for full 8 hour days for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  That’s pretty generous, but not enough to sustain things.  Guess my next move is to file for some assistance.  Not real happy about it.

Hell I’d take a job at any office doing clerical.  Though I don’t have the wardrobe for such a job nor the money to make such a wardrobe.  Been behind the scenes so long, I own only a couple nice clothes.

Which of course Christmas hasn’t always been a favorite holiday for me anyway.  While it’s supposed to be holiday cheer and good will toward others.  It’s rarely the case.  Stores get more busy, people have harsher attitudes and it’s just generally not very Christmas like.  Even my town doesn’t decorate the streets like they used too.

Then there’s the dumb things that like to happen to me at Christmas.  Several relationships have ended at Christmas and other general bad luck.  For the past two years I’ve skipped Christmas just because of high medical bills.  I’m still paying on two of them.  This year, I’m part time and no longer have my apartment.  Not happy about either.  Was not what I planned when I moved here.  Though I’m not giving up, just adjusting.

The good news is I managed to get a little something set aside before the money went dry.  So I’m not skipping Christmas for a third year.  It’s not as cool as what I was able to do for some birthdays earlier this year.  I wish I could repeat that performance.  Alas it’s a low budget Christmas.

Also, a shout out to my friend Jeff.  Who paid for six months of my game time so I can have something to do when I’m not filling out forms and answering psychological questions about if I should steal pencils from my employer.

Who pays for that?

Dork TeamMore and more, I find that anyone can jump into the Computer Tech Support field.  You don’t have to have a brain at all.  Worse is people have no clue of this when they hire these people to come to their homes and setup their new computers or fix their problems.  So as I mentioned before, they have to call someone else with actual knowledge to get their job done.  I feel I should get the pay for the work they aren’t doing and I am.  I won’t mention what over priced tech service was used, but let’s just say they are incredibly popular by their name alone.  It would appear to be clear that good marketing outdoes actual skill or talent.  That and the Human Resources that hired these people should really have some knowledge of technology as well.  This way the prospective employee can be tested for his or her knowledge instead of simply hiring based on paper certificates.

Here’s a call I took today:

[Me] Thank you for calling ____, this is _____.  How may I help you?

[Customer]  Yes, I have the Dork Team here and they are setting up my new computer.  The tech needs help setting up the email.

[Me]  Sure I can help with that.

[Customer]  OK, here’s the tech.

[Field Tech]  Hello, which do I choose for your service?  IMAP or Exchange?

[Me]  Are you using the email app that is included with Windows 8.1?

[Field Tech]  Yes.

[Me]  Our service uses POP3 and won’t work in the included app.  You’ll need to download an email program that supports POP3 like Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird.

[Field Tech]  What’s Thunderbird?

[Me]  It’s a third party email client made by the same folks who make Firefox.

[Field Tech]  OK Thanks.  (click)

To make things worse, the customer called back a few minutes later sounding angry at me.

[Me] Thank you for calling ____, this is _____.  How may I help you?

[Customer]  Yes, I just talked to you and in the past I’ve use Windows Live Mail.  The tech doesn’t know what Thunderbird is and neither do I.

[Me]  I offered up Windows Live Mail and Thunderbird as suggestions.  You can use Windows Live Mail.  All you need to do is download it.  I’m sorry if the tech got fixated on the word Thunderbird.  That wasn’t my intention.

[Customer]  OK then can you start again and leave out that word?

[Me]  Sure, that’s not a problem.  First the tech will have to download Windows Live Mail, install it and then we can set it up.

[Customer]  OK Thank you.  (I can hear the [Field Tech] in the background being all pissy.  “I know I have to download it.”)

[Customer]  OK Thank you.  (click)

Now I don’t expect the customer to know any of this.  It’s pretty much a matter of trial and error as it is just to get them to tell me over the phone the name of the icon they’ve been clicking on for email.  However when a customer is paying between $75 to $150 per hour for a tech who is supposed to be trained and qualified to handle this in their home.  He or she should know the ins and outs of the more popular email programs at the very least!  IF the person is any kind of tech at all, they wouldn’t need to call me for anything other than usernames and passwords.  They should be familiar with basic email setups and be able to make use of company websites to quickly look up things they may be fuzzy on.  Rather than eat up time on hold waiting.  If they must constantly call someone else for help they need more training before costing the customer more money by wasting their time.

Android vs Windows Phone 8

Android vs Windows Phone 8This is not a comparison based on the latest and greatest version of Android Phone and Windows Phone 8 with the best hardware and latest OS.  This is a comparison of pre-paid phones loaded with similar apps based on the MSRP of $99.  My Android is a Samsung Galaxy Centura that still retails for $99.  My Windows Phone 8 is a Nokia Lumia 520 also retailing for $99.

I received my new Nokia on February 3rd.  I haven’t yet activated the phone service as my month for my Samsung ends on the 14th.  I was considering actually re-assigning the Nokia to my current service of Straight Talk.  Which is incredibly doable.  Though, after reading several successful and unsuccessful stories about doing it, I chose to stick with moving to AT&T’s GoPhone service.  So for the first comparison, it won’t be with data, service or phone call quality.  Only apps and hardware performance over Wi-Fi.  I’ll do another review around the 30 day mark as I have done in the past for Windows 7, Windows 8 and my Mac experiences.  I’ll tell you now, it’s like night and day.  They are just that different.

A $99 Samsung Android Centura offers you:

  • Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich OS
  • 800MHz Single Core Qualcomm CPU
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 4GB Internal Storage (with expansion slot for another 32GB via Micro SD Card)
  • 3.0MP Camera (Rear Only – No Focus Features)
  • 3.5″ 320 x 480 Display
  • b/g Wi-Fi
  • 3G Data

A $99 Nokia Lumia 520 offers you:

  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • 1GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 8GB Internal Storage (with expansion slot for another 64GB via Micro SDHC Card)
  • 5.0MP Camera (Rear Only)
  • 4″ 480 x 800 Display
  • b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 4G Data

Already you can see that you don’t aren’t getting much from Samsung by comparison.  But the hardware isn’t the only differences.  I did a clean install of my Android and along with the new Windows Phone 8, I loaded equal software items on both devices.  Both with Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Angry Birds, My Bank Software, VIP, Notepad, Lotto Results, Bible, Craigslist, Cardmobili, iHeart Radio, Netflix, Waze, PayPal, Adobe PDF Reader, Skype, Speedtest.net and Teamviewer.

About Android

Issues with Android:

  • MP3 music skips and lags.
  • The phone needs frequent reboots from locking up.
  • Free RAM consistently below 50MB.
  • Playing simple games like Angry Birds, caused the phone to lock within minutes.
  • DVD rips had to be recoded and resized to play on Android.
  • Not real keen on Google keeping records of my wireless passwords.  (Found that out after the fresh reload of my device and I didn’t have to enter in my complicated Wi-Fi password.)

Impressive Features of Android:

  • Lots of apps to choose from on their store.
  • Notification Bar is incredibly handy.
  • Native screen capture capability.

Android Side Notes:

  • Having so many different phone makers.  It’s a lot like Linux.  There are so many flavors of phone hardware and only so many can use the same software due to differences.  Makes it complicated to get working apps across the board on all Android devices.
  • Apps that are bundled with many Android devices that I didn’t want couldn’t be removed.  Some could be disabled, but they still took up space.

About Windows Phone 8

Issues with Windows Phone 8:

  • Missing apps that are important to me, such as SugarSync and Open Document Reader.
  • Firefox browser is unlikely to ever grace a Windows Phone due to restrictions on open source software.  Thanks to Cloudfox, this isn’t a huge problem 🙂

Impressive Features of the Windows Phone 8:

  • Initial setup was easy. Signed into my Google, Microsoft and Facebook accounts.  The phone integrated them all seamlessly and imported my contacts, emails and was ready to go in minutes.
  • I was able to watch High Quality DVD rips without a single issue.  No need to recode or resize just for the phone.
  • Built-in FM tuner (I’m fairly sure not all Windows Phones have this.) that provides music without eating up a data plan while not on Wi-Fi.
  • The phone is fast as hell no matter what you open or run.
  • Outside of doing an OS update to GDR3, I didn’t need to reboot the phone for any reason.  Never slowed down.
  • Free RAM consistently around 350MB to 395MB.
  • Angry Birds ran like a champ.  Shame I can’t stand the game.
  • Love having a dedicated camera button that not only takes pictures and helps focus, but it also launches the default camera app if it’s closed when pressed.
  • Videos load and play quickly and smoothly.  (Netflix, MP4, AVI, YouTube, Vimeo, Flixster/UltraViolet are just some I’ve tried so far.)
  • Live Tiles.  Need I say more?  Some better than others, but the better ones are awesome 🙂
  • Native screen capture capability.
  • All Windows Phone’s come with Microsoft Office Mobile.  How freakin’ cool is that?  Android and iPhone?  Pft, gotta buy an app for that.  Hell, you can’t even get that with a $2000 MacBook Pro

Windows Phone 8 Side Notes:

  • Wish the camera lens was just a hair recessed.  It’s flat with the body and it’s easy to get fingerprints on and possibly scratch when setting the phone on other surfaces.
  • Apps that came bundled that I didn’t want I was able to remove without issue.

Some Comparisons

Camera Indoor Shots

Camera Outdoor Shots


I wanted a nice picture for the outdoor comparison, but couldn’t bring myself to ask the pretty girl I was hanging out with on Saturday to be my subject.  Plus I didn’t want to get punched in the face.  Long story.  On the upside, I fixed her laptop 🙂  Better clarity, better color, wide format…  The Windows Phone 8 camera, while only 5MP still puts out more impressive pics than the Crapdroids I’ve had at that same price range.  Not too mention, the lens apps that you can get for Windows Phone 8 are also impressive.

Web browser on Wi-Fi loading castlerain.com from a cleared cache.

(I know my website is large and was not expecting any world record load times.)

Battery Time

I tried my best to use the phones equally for the tasks, but it was hard. I found myself playing with the Windows Phone 8 more.  Though if I had to try and guess at it, I would say the battery time on both was just about equal.  Plus, considering my Android has been in use for a few months now.  I would say on my average use, I could go 48 hours on a single charge.  Maybe less as now my live tiles keep me informed of Social Media events, where as I had to turn off notifications for Facebook on my Android as it sucked the life right out of the battery if I didn’t.  Plus, the sound of it going off every five minutes was driving me bat-shit crazy.  The Windows Phone just puts a quiet number count on the tile (and lock screen).

My One Week Summary

I’m very thoroughly impressed so far.  Sure I’ll miss my Swype Keyboard, Starbucks, Square Register and a YOURLS shortener apps, but I’ll live without them just fine.  I’m sure at one point or another those companies will get on board with Windows Phones as they get more popular.  With all the photo junkies out there, and Windows Phones boasting superior cameras to iPhones, you know they will.  You already get more for your money when compared to an equally priced Android phone.  You get more value for less money compared to an iPhone.  Honestly, even though I’ve only had the phone a week, I would say folks should take the Windows Phone Challenge.  (Watch the Videos from that link.)

And while my Lumia 520 only has a 5MP camera that won’t be winning any photo contests anytime soon…  It is, after all, a $99 phone.  Can’t expect miracles for so little cash.  However, I’m still enjoying it far more than any other low cost Android I’ve ever owned.

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{dŭm'ăs-ə-fō'bē-ə} The Fear of Stupid People.

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