jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

First Things First

My phone went through the wash today.  Turns out it happened first thing this morning.  I really should be more careful about cleaning out my pockets before throwing something in the washing machine, but to be honest, I never liked that phone to begin with.  It had a faulty battery, and a faulty USB charger, so it would almost never fully charge and when it did, it would drain quickly.  The Bluetooth on it didn’t work either.  So, it wasn’t that great of a phone, and now its gone, and good riddance to it.  Now, I’m faced with the prospect of finding a replacement phone, but this comes with complications.

US Cellular has me for another 10 months.  My contract doesn’t end with them till November.  I can cancel my contract for $70, and I may wind up doing just that, but then I’ll also have to replace my wife’s phone as well.  US Cellular is a good phone company, but when I think about spending money on a phone, its hard to justify purchasing anything other than an iPhone, which takes US Cellular out of the equation.  I’m eligible for an “upgrade” in May, when I can get a new phone for a reduced cost from US Cellular, but if I want a phone between now and then, I’m paying full price.  That’s $159.95 for a Samsung SCH-u340, which boasts an internal antenna and a VGA camera.  When I look at that price, and think that I could get a refurbished iPhone for $9.95 <it>less</it>, it makes my wallet hurt.  

So, if I buy an iPhone, won’t I be chaining myself to massive monthly service charges from AT&T?  Well, maybe, maybe not.  We pay right around $100/mo. for our service now.  This is for 1000 minutes shared between our two phones.  Looking at our phone bills, I find that we do not come anywhere close to using 1000 minutes.  We would be perfectly suited to the At&T 450 minute family plan, which is right around $60/mo.  Couple this with the iPhone’s required $30/mo data plan, and we are at $90/mo.  Of course, I’d have to have two data plans… because there’s no way my wife would let me have an iPhone and not get her one as well, so that’d bring the grand total up to $120/mo.  So, $20 more per month than what we are paying now.  Since I’d have to cancel both of our accounts at US Cellular to get this to work, that would cost $140.  The iPhones, even refurbished, would cost $300.  So, for the first month, to get going, we are looking at $560.  We are not poor, but we are not rich either, and that amount of money needs to be well thought out, which brings me to the basement.

We’ve got an unfinished basement that I’m working on as time and money allows.  I’ve built a couple of walls, made lots of plans, taken lots of measurements, and bought some tools.  I’m a long, long way from being able to have a couple of my kids move their rooms down there.  The basement is also where I have my desk, which holds my monitor and Time Machine drive, and where I do most of my programming at.  Programming takes a lot of concentration, a lot of studying, and most of all… lots and lots of time.  Recently, I’ve been thinking that the unfinished basement would be much, much easier to concentrate in, if it were a little closer to being finished.  

The phone going in the wash today has actually been a conduit for me re-aligning my priorities.  I’m still very intent on finishing my application, but I think I would be more comfortable, and therefore be able to concentrate on development better, resulting in a better product, if I finish the basement first.  Since I’m going to have to adjust the budget for the new phone, and since I’m going to need money to finish the basement, I’m thinking that the new phone is going to have to wait.  Work gives me a cell phone every other week so I can be “on-call”.  Normally I simply forward the phone over to my personal phone so I don’t have to look like some kind of geek Batman carrying around a utility belt full of gadgets.  Now, since I don’t have a personal phone, I’ll just carry the one they give me.  I suppose I’ll also have to start carrying the pager again.  Yes, a pager, and party like it’s 1989.  

So, I’ll live without a cell phone for a while, and I’m also going to put development on hold for a while.  Not entirely, I’ll still have a little time in the morning, but I’ll probably put that time to use blogging either here or over at The Apple Blog.  The rest of my time, and the rest of my money, is going to go towards finishing the basement.  After that’s done, I’ll be in a much better position to move to an iPhone, and finish developing Go in peace and comfort.

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