July 2008

Since the price of the new iPhone 3G is now half of the original price (bringing it in line with the cost of a new Razor or similar phone), I could justify (to my wife) getting one. I went to the local AT&T store on the day they were released (July 11), but they didn’t have any left. I had to get the phone from AT&T vs. an Apple store due to a technicality on our AT&T account and “upgrade pricing”. Anyway, I ordered one (only to discover they were on backorder already). I ordered one for Kirsten as well; I had convinced her to wait to get a new phone until the 3G came out so she could sync with her office email (Exchange), etc.

I got a notice that my phone was in one week later (this past Friday). I picked it up after lunch, but had to wait until after work to play with it. All was rosy for an hour, and then the screen became all washed-out, and began to flicker. Ick. I went through all I could think of (restored phone via iTunes, complete wipe, etc.) to no avail. I called the AT&T store where I bought and they said to try an Apple store! I guess AT&T can’t do much more than send in a defective phone.

Anyway, by Saturday morning the phone seemed fine again. But by late evening the screen washout problem was back. Sunday (yesterday) I stopped by my local Apple store (in Columbia, MD). I didn’t have an appointment to see one of the “Genius” bar assistants, but got on a “standby” list. Within 15 minutes I was squeezed in between appointments (thankfully someone was late for their scheduled one), and an iPhone specialist was helping me. I showed him my phone with the washed out screen, and he immediately went [paraphrased] “whoa – that’s not right. Obviously a problem with the LCD screen”. I explained the problem more fully to him and he said he could go ahead and give me a new phone (new, not refurbished, etc.) right then to replace mine – under warranty. He swapped out sim cards, and verified for me that the new phone was working. He also had me go ahead and do a complete reset of my old phone (deleting my personal data for security). After filling out the paperwork, I was out the door with a new, working, beautiful iPhone. Total time in store: <30 minutes. I just love Apple, and the service at the Columbia, MD, Apple store! BTW, the iPhone is great. Now if I can just keep my 13 year-old from grabbing it to watch YouTube videos or playing Texas holdem... Also, Kirsten has had her iPhone for about a week now, and she loves it - especially the ability to check her work email, contacts and calendar from anywhere.

Douglas Adams\' Typewriter

A bookseller on ABEBooks.com is selling a first edition of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for $25,000.00. That’s quite pricey for this book – however they are throwing in the typewriter Adams (presumably) used to write the book. I’m a big Adams’ fan, but this is a bit much.

Enchantress of Florence

I went to see Salman Rushdie give a reading from his latest book, The Enchantress of Florence on Monday night (June 30). The event was at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC (presented via Politics and Prose Bookstore). Quite engaging speaker. The event was sold out (you got free tix if you bought the book, as I did, at Politics and Prose) and I’d estimate 300 700 people were there. After the talk he answered audience questions, and then he did a signing in the hall in the basement of the synagogue. Long line, but they served refreshments so time passed fairly quickly.

I’ve read the book, and while I liked his prose very much (beautifully descriptive and evocative), I didn’t find that the book gelled. Part history and part fantasy, it was often a blurry line between the two and hard to follow with any sense of cohesion. But it was a quick read, and enjoyable if taken as a few loosely-coupled fables. This was the first book I’d read by Sir Rushdie (he was recently knighted by the Queen), and I liked his prose enough that I will be going back and reading one or more of his other books.

I video recorded the talk (the above is a still).