Archive for the ‘No Phone’ Category

The Facebook Debate – Artist vs Business

Friday, April 1st, 2011

To start off, let me say it’s been a very difficult decision that I’ve been weighing over the last several months.  In short, it’s a smart business move but my artistic identity suffers.

Before making this choice, I read through Facebook’s entire Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy, and noticed a few things:

  • 1. They have amended their text talking about content ownership, and it doesn’t seem to have such a tight grip on it.  It now states “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook”.  That statement nicely says what you own there to make you feel safer… however you’ll  notice how it doesn’t say anything about what Facebook owns and can do.
  • 2. An amusing line under paragraph 4 states “You will keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date”.  So what – they’ll delete my account if I don’t?

There’s an interesting documentary, Inside Job,  that talks about the corrupt banking system in the states that caused the economic crash of this decade.  It details how the bank execs kept getting richer by building a complicated system and telling everybody it was okay, while they completely knew it wasn’t sustainable.  When the crash occurred, they got to keep all the millions they accumulated, and were never caught – but instead many got promotions even into the presidential administration!  It sort of resembles how I feel about their updated Terms of Use.

On that note – here’s an informative flash video that details how deep the rabbit hole might go: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/facebook

Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but just some interesting links to provoke thought or discussion.

Facebook is a really good concept of connecting people through an online social network.  There’s many great alternatives too – but the problem is that Facebook already has such a large following.  There are more than 500 millions active users – that’s about 1/6th of the entire planet.

This brings me to my main reasoning.  It’s about my business, and the business networking opportunities I’m missing out from not being on Facebook.  Sure, we have a Facebook page, but having a personal account that people can connect with (and stalk) is much more effective as a marketing tool.

From another perspective, my media production business can be broken down into three aspects: the business, the technical, and the art.  Not being on Facebook is really good in one light because it compliments the art aspect – it’s something that defines one as an artist to have things that they stand for and against.   As a company, we have our technical knowledge of our profession down, and our work is really high quality and that allows our inner artist to show through. One area we’ve been growing in, and need to focus more on is the business. Many media companies fail because they never get this part down and they simply think their technical knowledge and artistic work will make them profitable.  There’s no denying that it’s a good business idea to use the world’s largest social networking site to advertise my company. It will help market us to a larger audience, and will increase business.

Other things that have defined me as an artists are things sort of like always wearing red socks, or not having a cellphone.  Well – both of those have fallen by the way side.  It took years, but I finally gave in to getting a cellphone because it was also obviously a really smart business idea.  Sure, I didn’t like being tied down, and didn’t like giving ‘the man’ tonnes of money, but eventually I gave up that part of my artistic identity to strengthen my business.  Some even say getting a cellphone was the best business decision I ever made.

So do I join the masses on Facebook?  I still stand against it in principal and that will not change, but it’s a stupid business move to NOT put myself in the middle of the world’s largest social networking website.

Well here it goes nothing.  Add me as a friend: www.facebook.com/paul.romein

Rogers Disabled Internet on HTC Dream

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

For those who don’t have time or don’t care, here’s a REALLY short version:

Rogers announced Friday night that there is an issue to do with GPS and dialing 911 and that we need to download a manditory firmware upgrade (which wipes all the data on your phone), and they will disable internet access on all HTC Dreams on Sunday morning at 6am. They did exactly that, and now there’s a huge outcry in the community. But for me, without internet access I can’t download a backup app to save all my data such as text messages, apps, settings, etc., and they completely refuse to turn it back on for me – claiming they can’t.

And in long form, here’s the full story.

January 15, 2010 at 6:51pm I received a text message from Rogers:

Rogers/Fido service message: URGENT 911 Calls: Please disable GPS location on your HTC Dream device to ensure all 911 calls complete. HTC is urgently working on a software upgrade and we will provide details shortly so you can re-enable GPS. Instructions: Select Menu – Select Settings – Select Location – Uncheck Enable GPS Satellite

A week or so later, I recieved another text message on Friday night – January 22, 2010 at 8:09pm:

Rogers/Fido Safety Message: URGENT 911 Calls HTC Dream software update: Mandatory software update is now available to help ensure 911 calls are completed from your phone. Please go immediately to rogers.com/dreamsoftwareupdate on your PC to download. In order to help ensure 911 calls are completed internet access will be temporarily disabled on your phone at 01/24/10 6:00AM EST. To minimize loss of internet service, please complete your software update immediately. Upon completion, internet access will be re enabled within 24 hours. For users of Macintosh and Windows 7, please call 1- 888-764-3771(1-888-ROGERS1) for update instructions. We apologize for the inconvenience but we prioritize customer safety above all.

Now this comes to me as I’m sitting in a pub, unwinding on a Friday night after a long work week – I don’t really care too much about this at the time, and it doesn’t cross my mind on the weekend at all.  Monday morning, I come into work and remember this nuisance.  I have to fill you in on a bit of history with my device.  This is my first cellphone ever – I got it back in June of 2009.  Over a few months, the phone had to be factory reset about a half-dozen times, to the point where it was replaced.  We attempted to upgrade the firmware, but I tried their software on four different computers and with three different HTC Dreams, and we could never get the program actually talking to the device!   Anyways, the new device gave me just as much crap over time, and I had them even write down in their system that it also is defective, but not wanting to have to start my phone from scratch again, I told them to wait until it happened just one more time!  Lucky me – it has worked great for the last two or three months with no issue!  Finally my first experience with a “stable” device – if you would call it that at this point.  Another side-tangent – Spencer and Sean both have the same phone, and have never had to factory reset it, yet I’ve done it well over a dozen times!

Anyways, I called their tech support line in the afternoon and waited 45 minutes to talk to a tech.  We got the program up and running and I cringed when I saw the message that it was a firmware update and I would need to wipe my phone.  I bit the bullet and told the tech that I would complete it on my own after I backed up all my data.

This is where the issue started to grow.

A few minutes after I hung up and I tried to download an app to backup my data it hit me – I need internet to download the app to backup my data.  Then came another automated text message at 4:02pm:

Rogers/Fido Safety Message: URGENT Reminder 911 Calls HTC Dream software update: Mandatory software update is now available to help ensure 911 calls are completed from your phone. Please go immediately to rogers.com/dreamsoftwareupdate on your PC to download. In order to help ensure 911 calls are completed internet access was temporarily disabled on your phone at 01/24/10 6:00AM EST. To reactivate internet service, please complete your software update immediately. Upon completion, internet access will be re enabled within 24 hours. For users of Macintosh and Windows 7, please call 1- 888-764-3771(1-888-ROGERS1) for update instructions. We apologize for the inconvenience but we prioritize customer safety above all.

At this point, I began to realize how much not having internet on my phone really sucks – the majority of what I use my phone for is via the internet.  I can’t download apps, I can’t get my email, I can’t download maps for Google Maps, can’t FTP home, can’t check my calendar, can’t use Google Talk… I could go on.  I would say over 75% of what I use my phone for is internet related.

I worked a little longer into the evening, and eventually called Rogers again at 11:09pm that night.  Waited on hold 55 minutes before getting to talk to a tech.  I explained to Kevin that if given internet access back for a short time, I can download the backup app and would gladly follow through the upgrade process.  He mentioned that there is the HTC sync software which can backup my contacts and calendar, but I explained that both of those are already sync’d with Google as I’m running the Android OS. I need the internet so I can download a backup app to save my apps, messages and such.  He said he can certainly get me internet access… BUT I have to do the update first.  There is no logic in this, as we spent 15 minutes going in circles!  He progressively got more and more condescending towards me, and started talking about how he’s been a 10 year service rep and such to back him up.  I refrained from lashing back at his incompetence.

Being frustrated, I asked to speak to the supervisor.  I believe his name was Survin?  After a few minutes, the supervisor and I agreed this situation doesn’t really have a resolve and I would not be able to backup my apps.  He claimed that they can not simply turn it back on for me – even just for ten minutes so I can download a backup app.  Apparently the network is blocking me out and there is nothing they can do for me.  I asked him WHY the internet was disabled in the first place, as the first message I got from Rogers indicated that it was an issue with the GPS and dialing 911.  He admitted he has no idea and doesn’t have access to that information – how does the supervisor of technical support not know this? I asked him to look further into this why this issue is forcing our internet access to be cut off and gave him my email to send the details to.  A reasonable request.  He said he would try to do so within 24 hours, but I haven’t heard anything yet.

I got off the phone with them around 12:30am, and proceeded to read more online about this entire issue.  I found an amazing resource at xda-developers.com.

I officially filed a complaint against Rogers Communications Inc. with the Comissioner for Complaints for Telecommunication Services (CCTS) this evening, but I doubt that will resolve anything quickly.  Sometimes it’s just nice to rant… ergo this lengthy post.  Thanks for reading, or not reading!

How I Almost Got an iPhone

Friday, May 29th, 2009

It all started back in early April, when Nate was back on leave, and his phone died and he picked up a blackberry!  We hung out a lot, and I had ample opportunity to play with his phone, and I was out on the road a lot with him too.  Even though the device wasn’t customized or optimized for me, I still found it to be a great tool.  As a business owner, I needed to be in touch with what was going on, and for the first time I experienced how instead of much of a nuisance and burden a phone can be, it could be an immense time saver and organizer.  I’ve gone over 22 years of my life without a phone, and six years now running my own business.  But as my business grows, the concept of a cellphone that can do all the things that they can do today finally becomes a reasonable idea.

300_blackberry_boldI struggled with this sudden turn of feelings towards a phone for a few weeks, but quietly researched further.  It would have to be a smart phone with a few key capabilities:

  1. Email (obviously)
  2. Real internet browsing
    (not the blackberry HTML only browser)
  3. Capable of VNC
    (so I can control my computer at home)

The newer blackberries, such as my personal favorite the Bold, seemed like the better choices.  However, it looked like I’d have to pay for a VNC client, and the browser still wasn’t all that amazing.  Also, blackberries seem… just older in the technology world?  An odd statement, but I mean that there are technologies out there like the touch screen, and better GUI’s that I saw in the newest blackberry – but it was slower and seemed an early attempt and fixing that issue.  I’m sure they will get better as time goes on.

I went a few weeks with the thought of getting a blackberry in the back of my head until I talked with several people about blackberry versus iPhone.  If I was to get a phone, I wanted to make sure I get the best choice for what I need it for.  I’ve seen a lot of what the iPhone can do, especially through Mark, but it also popped up on my radar that Craig had switched from iphone_homeblackberry to an iPhone!  Both people of which I highly respect in the tech world.  After talking with them, and several others, I leaned stronger and stronger towards the iPhone!  It had everything I need – the only problem…. it’s an Apple device.  Apple and I don’t get along – it’s good for some people, but frankly you can achieve the same means in the same time and effort on PC or Mac, it’s just a question of how your mindset works.  Some people’s minds work more towards mac, and some more towards PC.  I’m definately in the PC mindset, and have always been – but for a phone, it might be nice to have a flashy GUI that I don’t have to do much with and it will work mostly good.  I say mostly good because mac and PC both crash just as often – mac people just won’t admit it – it’s the same with the phone.

Now, along comes the new iPhone 3.0 – with amazing upgraded features such as multimedia messaging, and an amazing feature to use bluetooth to tether it to your laptop to get internet access via your phone!  Yada yada… I was almost sold on it up until yesterday.

I heard about Android probably over a year ago on slashdot sometime, but over the last year I didn’t hear too much news about it except that it sucked and was disappoing.  Android is an open source operating system for mobile phones, built by Google – so this was a little sad news that it wasn’t any good.  Pelley tipped me off to the fact that Rogers is finally debuting the first phones in Canada with Android in a few days, and so I decided to actually take a look for myself.

htc-dream-2After spending hours watching YouTube videos showcasing the phone, and reading countless articles comparing it against the new iPhone 3.0 which will be out this summer, I found that this phone didn’t disappoint in any way!  This was amazing news… as I’m a massive Google fan too!  Specifically, I’m looking at the HTC Dream G1 phone – which I might pick up on Tuesday, when the finally debut in Canada.  Basically it’s the blackberry meets iPhone, with Google as the glue!  It’s got almost everything the other two phones have, and more.

This phone has a touch screen, and a firm fold out to reveal a full keyboard which is far larger than the blackberry one.  It can already be tethered to your computer to provide internet access like the new iPhone will do.  The whole thing is open source with some great app developers with some wicked apps for things like telling you what some is playing, telling you the constelations in the stars – or where a planet is in the sky, scanning a barcode and quickly telling you the best prices online, lots and lots of games, and much more!

It seems like remarkable timing on Google’s part to release their phone in three days from today – literally as I’m breaking down and finally seriously contemplating getting a phone.  Maybe – it was meant to be?

Updates, Updates.

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Apologies to everyone who has been checking my site as there haven’t been any updates in about 10 days! I’ve just finished uploading photos, and our new short film, Chasing Skirts, from the 72 hour Film Noir Competition.

In other news, Ray and Nate’s mom, had a minor seizure and has been diagnosed with a tumor in her brain, and another in her lung. The doctors have successfully removed the one in her brain, which caused the seizure in the first place. I’ve been down to see her countless times, and she is looking better and better every day! She has had countless visitors from friends and family who love her, and her spirits have been stronger than I could ever have imagined.

I’ve spent the last little while devoted to standing by the Blackmore’s as they carry though this ordeal, but they have been pillars of strength on their own.  Nathaniel was on leave for a week and came home to visit with us – and only by chance was here when their mom went into the hospital. His leave was extended a week so he could stay and help out with him mom, so we’ve been spending all of our time trying to make the best of it. We’ve been keeping ourselves busy, and I’ve hardly found enough time to work – let alone update my website.

And lastly for those die-hard readers who get this far, I’ve got a tiny bit of gossip-juice. Although it goes against a lot of what I stand against, I’ve actually been researching and contemplating getting something like a blackberry to help simplify my work-load and allow me to have more tools available to me while I’m out of the office.

No Phone Reason #5

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

I haven’t posted in a while about the reasons why I don’t have a cellphone, but I was talking to Mark on my dad’s cell today in the car and this new one hit me.  The stupid thing pinched my sideburns and was a little annoying!  And I’m not one to have huge sideburns – they’re probably just under a centimeter long I suppose.  I also realize not all cellphones even have hinges, but I guess the “cool” ones do.

Reason #5 is that it can pinch hair.

May Yet Get a Cell

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Well, I just stumbled onto something I’ve never even heard rumored before… a gPhone. This device is only a rumor and has little knowledge on it, but basically it’s a cellphone from the one and only, Google. Even though I know almost nothing on it, if I were ever to enter the cellphone market, the best chance it has at nabbing me would be through this device…

…Here’s hoping Google can sway me!

Oh, and by the way Sean, it is claimed to run OpenMoko!