I got a boost

Sorry for the lack of updates over the past several days. I threw my back out (it couldn’t handle the strain of getting up out of my recliner), and I haven’t been up to posting.

That said, I have news: I got a new cell phone. After my disappointment with the Metro PCS network leaving my house in a connectivity hole, I found out that my house and most of the places I work are pretty well served by the Boost Mobile IDEN network. Boost, however, doesn’t offer the promise that Metro PCS does: that the will refund all of the charges if you don’t like it. In fact, the different places that sell Boost phones had different return policies: one Sprint cell phone store refused to take any returns, Target may have had a restocking-fee policy (the clerk to whom I spoke wasn’t sure), and BestBuy said they would take the phone back – but all agreed that I would be stuck for the first month service, even if I couldn’t get connection.

(That said, Boost offers a no-contract plan of $50/month which includes text/talk/web, as long as use is reasonable. While there are complaints, they don’t seem to be about Boost shutting down users for overuse of the system.)

I decided a $50 risk for the first month of the plan was reasonable. I looked at their phones, and decided I wanted the I465 Clutch, the one “QWERTY-keyboard” phone in their IDEN-network lineup. (Because there’s no contract, you pay full price for the phone. That said, the device costs seem reasonable to me.)

Well, I get great connectivity at home and one of my worksites, and OK connectivity at the other worksite (and NOBODY has great signal there). And I get web, even when I only have one or two bars. I’m very happy with that.

Boost customer service leaves a bit to be desired; I’m not sure anybody there really knows what’s going on. I did have a smidgen of trouble getting the service started, and once I set up may “bill my credit card automatically” payment plan, I still got a text asking if I wanted to set up such a plan (I had to call customer service to make sure it was set up correctly; I was assured it was – but it’s not clear from the website how to do it, or when it’s been accepted).

However, there are some nifty other benefits. Motorola offers a desktop phonebook manager for free download, and the BoostApps site has both apps for download and tutorials on how to tweak your phone. Some require Bluetooth, so I got a cheapo (but effective) Bluetooth adapter – and now (after a tutorial) I’m making ringtones (Hey, Audacity!) and wallpapers (Hey, GIMP!)

I’ll post a lesson on making wallpapers in GIMP one of these days. There are a lot of little steps (and there’s probably an easier way), but I’m having fun with it.

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