I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Saturday, September 4, 2010


So I bought a new iPhone 4 on Wednesday. I've been wanting an iPhone for ages but didn't want to pay full price and so needed to wait until my provider contract was up to get the best rate. Unfortunately, when I left on my no-sailing non-adventure, I had put my account on hold. There was a small monthly fee to keep it activated and when I got back, I had it restored to full service. But what they did was start me over with a new contract for three years. So that means I still have two more years to fulfill before I can get an iPhone for cheap. Someone at work was telling me that the provider tried to do that with them and they wouldn't stand for it so they didn't start her contract over. So I call my provider and, after some gentle persuasion, get them to fix it so that I am now without a contract. Which means I can sign a new 3 year contract, and get the phone for $260 less the $150 I have in FIDO dollars (a rewards program with them). Sweet deal!

I go down to the store on Tuesday but they are all out and inform me that they are getting shipments all the time but can't tell me exactly when; just that they get deliveries from UPS between 11:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon but not every afternoon. Great.

So I head down there on Wednesday at 10:30 with the script I have to break down for the show that starts September 7th, and sit outside the store on a mall bench to work and wait. I am there about two hours when I see the UPS guy arrive with a huge cart piled high with boxes. I snap my binder shut and dash into the store. There are two people ahead of me, and they want iPhones as well. How on earth did they get in before me? I guess they just got lucky and showed up at the right time.

The guy behind the counter is surly and seems mad that we all want iPhones. When someone asks him if there are any in the boxes now piled behind the counter (not all the boxes on the cart were for the cell phone store) he growls that he has no idea as he hasn't had any time to check them. He then proceeds to open the boxes, one at a time, and slowly scan in the contents, going over each purchase order sheet with a fine tooth comb. He makes all of us that want iPhones move over to form a new line. Whenever a customer comes in that isn't there for the iPhone, he stops to serve them and then resumes slowly checking in all the phones. Each box that opens, there is a collective holding of breath from the now dozen or so of us in the lineup. One lady, who's husband is also there, has stepped out of the lineup to get closer to the counter so she can peer over into the box and tell us what they are. Blackberries, Motorolas, Siemens'... everything BUT iPhones. Our hope is waning with each box. He then opens the last of three boxes. BINGO!! It's the 32G iPhone 4. There's 6 in there. That means I will get a phone for sure. He then opens the next box; 6 more - all 16G. The last box has more iPhones, not sure which ones. So the rotter intentionally kept those boxes for last just to keep us all waiting and in suspense.

When I walk out of there with mine, an hour after lining up, I head right over to London Drugs to buy a case for it and some screen protectors. Working on set, I need something to keep it in that will attach to my work bag and keep it from getting knocked about too much. I find what I need and head home.

When I open it up, there's not much in the way of instructions or directions, so I plug it into the wall socket to get it powered up but it seems it has come with a fully charged battery so I plug it into my computer to get started with activating it. A window pops up on my computer screen saying that the iPhone will not work with the operating system I have on my computer. Oh no. Was not expecting this.

I do some checking and discover that I need the 'Snow Leopard' operating system and I have 'Tiger'. So I pack everything up and head back down to the mall to the computer store to see about getting upgraded. The guy I get tells me that in addition to the upgrade, I need to add another gig of ram to run it. Total cost - $265. I swallow that bitter pill and hand over my laptop and my debit card. Three hours later I go back to pick it up. When I get home, I plug in my iPhone and all works great. So I spend a happy evening downloading a bunch of cool apps and playing with my new toy.

Thursday evening, after a production meeting in North Vancouver all morning and a hair appointment in the afternoon (I got it cut short!) I put the toy aside and get down to the business of prepping paperwork for my script. I go to print it out, and my printer won't print. I fuss with it for a while and then realize that I probably need new drivers to work with the new system. So I go to the Lexmark download page and discover, much to my dismay, that there are no updated drivers for this printer. I guess at four years old, it's too old to bother with. Fabulous. Not.

Friday morning I drive back down into town and buy a new printer from Staples. I am not thrilled about this but I had been planning to get a new one eventually, just not this soon. The reason being the price I have to pay for cartridges for it. I thought I knew what I wanted because I was looking at them a few months ago and the sales person told me that Kodak printers were great and, best of all, the ink cartridges are $9 for black and $16 for color!!!! A huge difference from the expensive Lexmark ones, my model being the most expensive of all. But now a different sales person is telling me that they are really slow at printing and that the cartridges print less than half what a HP cartridge will. And he shows me a really nice 4 in 1 printer that scans to files, faxes, copies, prints AND is wireless. And it's $40 cheaper than the Kodak. I hem and haw for a while because my mind had been made up, and then buy the HP.

I get it home and it takes me 20 minutes just to get it all out of the box, put together, and plugged in. When I get the ink cartridges installed, they won't align. I try three times and they just won't align. I am frustrated beyond words and, as the whole unit is computerized, there's no way to override it like there was with my old printer. So I can't print a thing. I am visualizing having to get it all back into the box to return it when I get the bright idea of putting in some nicer paper, the stuff I usually use, and not the cheap stuff that I thought I would use to save on the good stuff just for aligning. BINGO! It works. So I print out a bunch of paperwork for the show and then I decide to update my drivers license jpg file (I have to submit a copy of my drivers license for proof of residency for each show and so have it on my computer to email in) as I now have a new license... and it won't scan. Nothing I do will make it scan, and I try for over an hour. I can't get the wireless to work either.

I look up tech help and get online with a live person. He is in India. He starts to help me and after about fifteen minutes, I realize he never asked my for my operating system so I tell him I am on a Mac and give him the numbers. He tells me he only works with Windows and I need to call a 1-800 number for Mac help. So I get off line and call the number. I get a lovely young lady who has me uninstall everything I installed for the printer and then reinstall drivers from the HP website. Turns out the disc that came with it has old drivers and they don't work with Snow Leopard. We test it and everything works great. YIPEEE!!

But I rejoice too soon because I see on the screen that the new tool bar is telling me that my computer battery isn't charging and needs replacing. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

Also, a friend online is chatting with me and I tell him what is going on and he asks why I paid $260 for Snow Leopard when it's $35. WHAT?!?! So I get on the phone to the computer store and ask them the same question. Turns out, if I had Leopard then, yes, the upgrade is $35. But because I had Tiger, I needed the whole package. But he tells me that, if I come in, he will give me a discount. I tell him about the battery so he says to bring it down.

So I pack it all back up and drive all the way back down into Langley.

I walk in there with my laptop and he runs a bunch of diagnostics and, yes, the battery is kaput. With the discount he gives me for Snow Leopard, I hand over $40 instead of $135 and get a new battery with strict instructions to stop keeping it plugged in like I normally do. (Oh yeah, right: unplugging right now as I was charging it.)

Saturday morning, I get on the laptop and I plug it in to recharge it and the display reads 'Battery not recharging'. I numbly stare at it for a long time. This can't be happening. It just can't. But it is. So I throw myself together, pack up the laptop and head back down, yet again, into town to the computer store.

The guy plugs my laptop in, and the battery is charging just fine. What the crap? He then asks if I use a surge protector bar. I sure do. I paid over $100 for it. He tells me that, not long ago, there was a huge power surge in Langley and there was a flood of computers that came in for this very reason. Battery wouldn't charge. He said that, what ended up being the problem was, one outlet on the power bar took the hit and half died. So it had enough power running from it to run the computer but not run it and charge the battery. He suggested I go home and plug it into a different outlet on the bar and see what happens.

I do and it works and FINALLY everything is working fine.

And so, the almost free iPhone ended up costing me over $800.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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