My Tale of Trying To Get an iPhone 4

Short version: got up early, didn’t get one, bummed.

Here’s the long version though. I’ve wanted an iPhone 4 for a while, accuse me of being a fanboy or silly or whatever, but I have. My current iPhone is two generations old now, and is starting to feel like it, and with the official Canadian release of the iPhone 4 coming July 30th (that’d be today), I was amped, ready and prepared.

Last night I was up late (I blame the tea) and couldn’t sleep, wondering if I should be one of those crazy people who camps out the night before, telling myself I’m not that crazy, then envisioning myself as person #11 in a lineup outside a store with only 10 phones and wondering if I should just go and drive to Abbotsford to check. My compromise was to set my alarm a bit earlier and go to sleep.

After tossing and turning till about 1am, I finally got to sleep, or at least I must have. Then at 4am I started hearing a strange noise, strange enough and loud enough to wake up up. Got up and found it was my laptop making the odd noise, not the hard-drive it seemed (thank the computer gods) but it must have been the fan. In my groggy state I had enough presence of mind to shut my laptop down and go back to bed.

Of course, now at 4am my cats saw me awake and figured now was the time to talk to me, so the next 40 minutes was more tossing and turning while being head-butted, pawed, cuddled, and purred against by various furry critters. At 4:40am I gave up (as my brain was now asking me if there weren’t crazy people who may not line up outside a Rogers store in Abbotsford the night before, but first thing in the morning?) and just got up, got dressed, and headed out. I hit the store where I was at for the first iPhone line I was in at and there was thankfully no one there.

I filled up with gas, got a coffee at Tim Hortons, and drove back, still no one there.

I took my rightful place in line as person (fool?) number 1.

About 30 minutes later two other guys showed up and we chatted for a while, then another, and another, and we got to know each other and were happy to be with “our people”… those who were perfectly self-aware of their shiny-tech-gadget lust. We talked about rumours we’d heard, guessed as to the various numbers of phones that would be at the store, and everything else. All through this I kept on realizing that no matter what happened, even if the low number of 5 of the version of the phone I was wanting was true, I’d still get what I wanted as I was #1 in line.

A couple of hours pass now and there are about 7 people in the lineup, and we start to notice that there were people actually inside the mall, sitting right outside the Rogers store.

To clarify, we (the “real” lineup) were standing outside one of the mall entrances that was closest to the Rogers store, but there were 5 other entrances, and there were a group of old folks who walked the mall in the mornings who go in through a service entrance.

So it looked like the two people inside the mall got in there through either the service entrance or another set of doors. The inside group grew by a couple more and people started to get a bit nervous and annoyed. Finally a mall-cop came by and was nice enough to let us in.

Now the douche-bags came out. First of all there were about 7 people ahead of us (the “real” line) inside already, and they some how multiplied to about 13 as others glommed on. In particular there was Douche-bag In The Hat, who was around 8th in our outside lineup, went to the front of the line to chat, and then just sort of stayed there when the Rogers people came out. Then there’s Douche-bag With The Popped Collar who came late and just stood ahead of me, saying “don’t freak out, I’m just here for my brother” when someone complained, even though he didn’t seem to be with anyone and there was no younger brother nearby. Turns out he was standing behind his brothers girlfriend or wife, and his brother came later as well (isn’t it nice you can come to the line up at 9am and end up ahead of the people there at 5am?). I have no problem if you’re there cause you need to co-sign a cell phone contract, but if suddenly there are now 2 extra people in front of me that’s also 2 extra phones disappearing.

So when the Rogers people arrived I had somehow gone from first in line to 13th. I could say I’d be ok with being 3rd, as there was a guy there with his wife who got there at 11am the night before. Still, 13th? sigh.

In the end though, the store only got two of the 32GB models (which after all this I wasn’t going to compromise and not get exactly what I had come for) so they were gone by 9:45 when the 3rd or so person went in. Of course, the Rogers network was also down from the demand on it (my buddy Bryan has yet to have his phone which he got in Vancouver activated as of mid-afternoon), so people weren’t actually getting phones to take away, just a phone reserved in the store for them until the activation tools were working again.

A couple of people came out of the store ahead muttering about “no more 32G versions”, and I decided not to just go home and try next week, but stayed just in case there was a list to put my name on. Turns out that was a good move, because there was a list, and I am (trumpet call) number 3 on the list of people who will get called when more 32G versions are in (monday or tuesday maybe).

So that’s a long way to spend a morning to get nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m ok with not getting a phone. It’s just a phone, and I have a perfectly fine working phone now (shiny as it is). Really, I am. What I’m pissed off at is not getting a phone EVEN THOUGH I WAS FIRST IN LINE. I feel a bit cheated, and have to say will not be going to this store for the next “event” and will instead go to a Rogers store that has a single entrance.

The rest of the morning (now approaching afternoon) wasn’t much better:

  • Cost me $150 to have the fan on my laptop fixed, or at least the part ordered and pre-pay the costs.
  • Have my doctor tell me my bad cholesterol is down (yay), good cholesterol is up (yay), and blood pressure is perfect (yay).
  • Coming home and poking at my laptop the noisy fan seems to have fixed itself, but of course they won’t cancel the ordered part and refund me the money. sigh

Now I’m tired, a bit cranky, but still hopeful that new stock will get me a shiny toy to play with before the new work week appears. There’s still time for it all to turn horrible though…

Read More

Someone Is Out To Get Me (A Tale of Car and Cat)

It’s like the outside gods don’t want me to leave the house, or have fun, or have any money….

First of all, Saturday was a family barbeque, which was great, a full day of some productivity at home, then family, a huge delicious salmon, homemade bread (thanks dad!), cheese, etc. Great all around.

Then came Sunday.

So we had arranged a climbing day in Squamish. I’ve been hankering to get out on the rock again even if it’s just to see that I’m way too old and fat to be out on the rock again, and my buddy Lawrence was up for it, so we and some other friends arranged to head up early Sunday morning. I had all my gear ready (got it out of storage the night before, spent some time going through everything and smelling it to see if I could smell the rock again), and people were all about ready to go and meetup with Lawrence in Abbotsford to get on the road. As we were out on the driveway someone pointed to a cat and said something like “what’s wrong with her?”.

Closer examination showed that Munchkin’s whole backend was black. Not dirty, like she’d fallen in a mud puddle, but she had somehow gotten her whole back end into either paint, or tar, or the goop they use in asphalt. Her back legs, tail, and belly were covered in a black tacky goop that made it hard for her to walk, and was covered in dust and bits of plants that she’d picked up walking around. It also was splattered on various bits of her, including mouth and tongue (from trying to lick it off no doubt).

So there goes the day. Andrea saw pretty quickly that it wasn’t something we could just hose off, so we cancelled the day with everyone, and set to work figuring out what to do next. Of course being 6:30am on a Sunday the vet wasn’t open, but the answering machine pointed us to a Langley 24 hour clinic, who suggested we bring her in in case she’d injested any, as well as to get it off. Better them than us I say.

OK, so pack the cat into a carrier and head off. Heading up to the highway on ramp about 20 minutes in my car started making a funny noise. You can see where this is headed right? A bit farther down the road it stopped making the funny noise. OK, can’t be that bad, I’ll keep on going and deal with it later. A bit farther down the road it made a “schwack” type noise and I figured it was time to pull over.

Toll of the car was a belt had come off. Not bad right? Except there was another belt connected to another pulley that had also come off. And then the pulley at the bottom of the engine that that connected to was moving in a way that even a non-mechanic like myself could see a pulley attached to an engine wasn’t supposed to do.


So 30 minutes latery my mother-in-law showed up and too Andrea and the cat off to the vet, while I went with the tow truck and car in the other direction to leave it at the dealership. Course, the on-ramp is far enough away that it cost me money to tow the car there. And as I found out today, it’s not a cheap fix. Not “oh my god have to buy a new car” expensive, but a fair hit. Plus the other stuff that needs to be done to it as well, and at this point, I’m in for a penny in for a pound you know?

So a while later cat and wife returned, with the poor kitten very unimpressed and extremely silly looking in the carrier, with her hind end, tail, legs, belly, all shaved down. And we still need to bath her to work at getting the rest of the tar crap off.

That trip to the vet was costly too, not only the after hours call out fees, but the multiple baths they gave, vet consulting fee, etc. Luckily she wasn’t showing any “sick” signs of having eaten any of the stuff, so other than being completely emberassed and silly looking, she’s all ok.

Something about the experience (or maybe the cone of shame) has turned her into a bit of a lap cat though…. she’s spent the night on the bed with us, and a lot of time beside me and Andrea on the couch, something she’ll only do once and a while. Maybe in my “cat ownership by alan” book I’ll put a chapter on dunking your cat into tar or paint to get her to spend more time with you…. :)

So obviously the gods don’t want me out on the rock again, so I’ll probably not tempt fate by leaving the house on the weekend anymore. The way that it’s going I’ll be completely broke if I venture out the front door again!

Read More

After 7 Years, My GNOME Panel Bug Gets Confirmed

So in 2003, I reported Bug #123796 in the GNOME bug tracking system. Three years later it was marked as duplicate of Bug #340180. Finally over 3 years after that (today), it was marked as confirmed.

It’s a relatively simple bug, easy to reproduce, and while not a huge important bug, it’s annoying and I’d say at least one out of ten people with dual monitors has probably come across it at some point. Yet it’s sat mostly ignored in the GNOME bug database, as have most of my other reported bugs.

Ah well, I guess there’s a chance that it will be fixed now, should someone step up and actually fix the code that is.

Read More

Much Ado About ‘iAds’

Seems that since Apple started serving ads from their new mobile advertising platform, named ‘iAds’, there’s been a bit of a tizzy, with people mocking them for saying that they are ads that you’ll want to see, and how dare they advertise ads in your mobile phone as a “feature”.

First of all, I hate ads, I use ad-blockers whenever possible, pointedly don’t look at billboards when possible, and so on. I’m also an Apple Fanboy, but I don’t think that matters here.

Yes, people are right about ads as a “feature” being stupid and while I’m sure that there are some that will be more interactive and interesting, but I think this will wear off as quickly as those full page flash ads where the webpage would jiggle or crumble or whatever it was that had their 15 minutes a year or two ago.

However, look at it this way:

  • It doesn’t add any ads to your mobile apps.

    This is just an ad network that app developers can use, so chances are if you have an app with no ads in it, that’ll stay the same.

  • It’ll make the current ads less annoying.

    Right now if you have ads in your apps and click on them, you get exited out of the app and it opens up the mobile browser to show you the ad. While this has gotten less annoying with the advent of iOS 4 and multi-tasking, so you don’t have to “lose” your place in the app when it exits, us older iPhone owners still have that PITA factor if you accidentally mis-click. With iAds, the big deal about them is they stay in-app, so your app doesn’t stop running when they play, or give you an interactive whatchamacallit or whatever. So if you click the ad for whatever reason, you just close it and you’re still in your app.

Of course, that’s my guessing as I have yet to see iAds show up in any of my apps. If instead iAds show up in apps that aren’t supposed to have ads, and they’re forced on users, show up full screen 3 times an hour and use the “we’ll interrupt you so you remember to buy our crap” model, I retract everything I said above and will start looking much harder at Android, but I seriously doubt that Apple, a company that prides itself on user experience, will do that sort of a dick move.

I’m not saying that it’s a good thing, just that it’s really no worse than the current state of ads in mobile apps. I won’t comment on the whole “locking google out” thing though, cause no one seems to be talking about that, and I don’t know much about anti-compete law (unless I’m bitching about Microsoft of course).

Read More