Anybody who follows me on Twitter (or Facebook) will know that I’ve been counting down since yesterday. Today is 3 days to go.
Yes, it’s finally come around. My contract with Carphone Warehouse and O2 has been cancelled and expires in a couple of weeks – time to get a new one. And the HTC Hero it will be. Or, rather, the G2 Touch, which is T-Mobiles name for it.
T-Mobile it is simply because of the cost. Where everybody else is insisting on £35 a month for a reasonable number of minutes and text (and unlimited data) for 24 months, T-Mobile is offering it at £27.50 for 18 months. In all cases, the phone is free. With a £35 Quidco cashback, that equates to £460 over the contract period. This compares to £680 at Vodafone or Orange and £760 with 3.
On top of this, I also need to consider selling my Nokia. When doing something like this I’d recommend using the MobileValuer site which can compare the various companies that pay cashback for them. At the moment my N95 is worth £122.51. Again, factor in cashback from Quidco and the final tally is £122.51. Take that off my contract and my bill over the next 18 months is £337.49. Not bad.
Now I’m trawling through the huge number of sites that recommend Android apps to see what I’d like to install – I plan to make a lot more use of this phone than my N95, which I didn’t really get on with. It’s very confusing though, with many people recommending different apps – trying them together I suspect is going to be the best way.
Naturally, expect to see my own lists sometime soon. If you have any of your own that you’d like to recommend, then please let me know.
Yea, I’ve been AWOL over Christmas and New Year. Who can blame me though? Spending some time with my family, only occasionally catching up on email.
But, now it’s 2010 and it’s time to get back to some work.
First off, some resolutions. No, not those “get fit” type of resolutions that don’t survive January. In this case, it’s my resolutions for what you’ll find coming up from this site in the coming year….
1. Less personal rants, unless it’s about customer service.
I think I’m a pretty fair minded person, and I think I’m not overly harsh with those who give bad customer service. None-the-less, more news-worthy rants (political, etc.) are going to reduce. Why? Well, take a look on any forum discussing similar subjects these days and you’ll find a plethora of ignorant views being spouted by people who think they know better than anyone else. And I don’t want to end up sounding like one of those people.
For example, I don’t wish to get into the recent announcement that people paying fines are going to pay £15 to subsidise support for victims of crime. Don’t get me wrong, I believe victims of crime should be supported and helped all they can. The thing is, people recieving fines rather than going to court are generally not those leaving behind victims. If I speed a little and get caught on a camera I’ll end up paying. If I speed and run someone over, I’ll end up in court and not have to pay. But which one involved a victim? Another well thought out piece of legislation.
Equally, I’m not going to rant about driving north up the M1 last Tuesday at 11am and finding that during the 20+ miles of 50mph restricted motorway there was not ONE workman present. Just some skips and temporary huts.
But I will rant, for example, about Phones4U who attempted to sell me a new mobile phone, claiming to buy out my existing contract and all for a fee no different to my current monthly cost. Only to find out later that they wanted to clobber me for a ridiculous amount each month in insurance.
I’ll also rant about Carphone Warehouse and Marks & Spencer, both of whom have not responded to customer service emails that I sent, oh, about 2 months ago.
That kind of thing.
2. More Android
Well, I still plan to get an Android phone next month, so expect lots of reviews and suggestions for accessories and software – the kind of thing I did when I got my Netbook.
I was thinking of turning my hand to Android apps, but I believe that they’re written in Java so I’ve suddenly gone off the idea.
3. More WordPress Plugins
Yes, they will continue and will come as a 2-prong attack.
First, I’ll be continueing to update and maintain the existing plugins – this will include planned updates to Simple Feed List, Simple Readbag List and Simple TTIW List (mainly around caching). I’m sure I’ll also be adding more shortening services to Simple URL Shortener as well.
Second, I’ll be releasing some new plugins.
At the moment I’m working on one to assist with embedding YouTube videos into your blog. Yes, yes, I know there are loads available. Indeed I have one installed for this site. However, all those I’ve come across are either way too complex for simple video embedding OR are nice and simple but have certain limitations (for example, playing HQ video).
And this plugin will not be part of the “Simple” range as it will include, amonst other things, an options screen.
There are a few of my existing plugins that would benefit from an options screen – if I add one, though, they will become a new plugin, developed side-by-side with the existing version.
I’ve also had a few calls for a personal plugin that I use to be made available. If you look in the sidebar (not sure which side, I keep changing it!) you should see a section named “Find me online”. Under that is a number of icons for social sites – click on these to display my profile for that site. I’ll (again) add an options screen and a lot more sites.
If anyone has any requests for any of these, let me know.
4. Updating the Online Tools
That online tools section of my site is currently a little under-utilised. I’d like to fix that, so I’ll be looking to add some more pages. I’ll also be updating those already there, especially the CSS compressor, after a recent review.
5. Arsing around with this blog’s layout
I’ve done it throughout 2009, so I may as well be upfront now
Yes, I’m still in the market for a new phone. I’m now 2 months away from the end of my contract which means that if I stick with O2 and Carphone Warehouse I can move contracts now. Except, well, they don’t have a half decent Android phone.
At the moment the HTC Hero is the only one that interests me. None-the-less the New Year looks to bring the Sony Ericsson X10 and the Google Nexus One so, right now, my plan is to ride out my final 2 months and then look seriously at what’s available. If it’s still only the Hero in contention then I’ll jump ship and move networks.
Whilst I’m on the subject of Carphone Warehouse, I received a letter after I had 2 months of remaining contract, saying that I would SOON have only 2 months left. But it confirmed the correct date, indicating that it had already passed. Hmmm. After that, though, I heard nothing for a week until I started getting mysterious phone calls in the evening – if I don’t recognise the number then I don’t answer. Anyway, they eventually rang during the day and I decided to see who it was. The voice was distant and foreign enough to make understanding them quite difficult. They identified themselves as being from Carphone Warehouse, but a few seconds later the line went dead (duff signal I suspect). They never rang back.
Ok, quick catch up. My phone contract expires in a little over 2 months. My supplier – Carphone Warehouse – will be contacting me in a couple of weeks to get out of my contract early if I stick with them and my network (O2). The problem is that I’m after an HTC Hero, which is not available from O2 at Carphone Warehouse.
My plan was to leave it for the contact to expire, then I’ll have my pick of the offers. However, today, I was in the Westfield Centre (Derby) and popped into Phones4U. I had a good look at the HTC Hero (although for a working model, head to the 3 shop!) and I was approached by an assistant. I explained my situation.
Much to my surprise he had a solution – they would pay off my remaining contract if I signed up them. They have the Hero on Orange. For the same price I’m currently paying I could have 1000 free minutes of calls, unlimited texts and unlimited internet1. It was tempting but I never make a decision there and then.
I popped into Carphone Warehouse to see what they thought! Except… they’ve recalled the HTC Hero. Anyone know why?
Later, back at home I read more on the Sony Ericsson X10. It’s an Android phone which includes an 8.1MP phone and a decent flash. Before my current N95 I owned a Sony Ericsson K800i, and I miss its excellent camera. The X10 sounds ideal – assuming Sony don’t mess it up. Anyway, it’s due early February – just as my contract expires. Nice.
So, I think that’s my plan – wait for the contact to expire and check out the Sony.
The result… there is no recall, and they’ve checked with various other stores and they happily have stock. Hmm. The assistant at this store was quite insistent though that it had been recalled across the company – I wonder why he’d have thought this if it wasn’t the case. It’s not as if he wouldn’t have wanted the sale…
which is actually 512MB. Don’t get me started on how they can call this “unlimited”. Besides, most other networks offer 2GB, so this isn’t necessarily a fantastic deal [↩]
No, not the name of a new publication related to robots Of course I’m referring to Google’s rather excellent mobile operating system.
My current phone contract expires soon and I’m seriously interested in getting an Android handset. But which to have. I was excited by the Samsung Galaxy but reviews have generally not been as glowing as I’d hope for – issues such as a hidden1 marketplace icon and abysmal PC connection software have rather tainted it. On top of this, although it’s on O2 (my current provided), it’s only available from O2 themselves and not Carphone Warehouse (which is where my contract is with). Oh, and it’s expensive.
The viable alternative is the HTC Hero, with excellent reviews, but a poorer quality camera (yes, the camera is one of the selling points for me) and, gulp, only available in pink or brown from the Carphone Warehouse.
However, the Hero has just won the T3 award for best mobile phone and best gadget of 2009. I’m not sure I can argue with that.
Having said that, I’ve just noticed that 3 are bundling Spotify Premium with the HTC Hero…. Hmm. Between now and my contract renewal, it may get quite exciting!
If anybody has any thoughts, have tried either phones, then please let me know.