Off The Grid

I left my phone at home today.  The crazy part is that I left my apartment with the holster on my belt, but no phone inside of it.  It wasn’t until I got out of my car after arriving at the office that I realized that it wasn’t there.  Of course, I had no desire to go back and get it at that point, but it stuck on the back of my mind all morning.

While I am a little concerned because there is a tropical storm bearing down on my hometown, I am not expecting any calls from anyone at the moment, so I figure I can leave it at home for the day.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that I don’t miss my smartphone, though.  It is more of a communication device now than it ever was.  In addition to phone calls and text messages, I use it to check Facebook and Twitter and read the news every so often.  A friend on Facebook is warning me not to let it become an appendage, but that ship sailed a few years ago.

Its almost lunchtime and I wonder if I should run home and get it during my lunch break, which would take a good chunk out of it.  I probably won’t.  Instead I will stay at work and enjoy the silence, no ringers, no notifications, and no emails.  Besides, I can check all that stuff with my laptop, anyway!  😉

2 hours later…

So I didn’t run home get it after all, instead I had lunch as usual.  I didn’t really miss it too much, but I felt a tinge of unease, because I knew that if something happened, like say, a flat tire, I would not be able to call work and tell them I’d be late.  Other than that, I didn’t miss it at all, so perhaps I am not quite as attached to my cell phone as it would seem.

Advertisements

RANDOM REVIEW REVISITED: Nintendo 3DS

Read my Nintendo 3DS review here.

AT LAST, MY GREATEST CREATION IS COMPLETED!

It has now been almost four months since I purchased my Nintendo 3DS, and I have been happy with it so far.  Of course, you should keep in mind that I paid $200 for it, as I received $50 off for trading in my DS Lite.  A system update in June was pushed out that included some software additions that now complete the system:

The 3DS-exclusive eShop is an extension of the DSi Shop.  In addition to games and apps, videos can be downloaded to the system.  While videos are available to watch in 2D or 3D, the selection so far is limited to movie trailers and previews of upcoming 3DS games.  As far as games are concerned, the only 3D content so far is currently limited to a Pokedex app and re-releases of Excitebike and Xevious.  Nintendo is also bringing some of their older portable titles to the eShop, but for every Super Mario Land and Kirby’s Dreamland there is a Baseball or Tennis.

For those who still have a DSi, the System Transfer utility is also now available for transferring games from a DSi to the 3DS (and vice versa).  After downloading it to both the 3DS and the DSi the utility works as advertised.  Games are removed from their original system after being transferred, so no sharing!  Some games and apps also do not transfer, so they will have to be repurchased or redownloaded, and some don’t make the jump to the 3DS at all: no Flipnote Studio?  Come on, Nintendo!

The Browser is now available.  The first time I tried it, it ran very slowly and locked up my 3DS, so I haven’t touched it since.  Oh well.

A Netflix app is also now available from the eShop.  It works in a similar manner to the versions currently on the PS3 and Xbox 360.  After linking your Netflix account to your 3DS, you can watch your movies on your 3DS via a WiFi connection.  While the picture quality is very good, the 3DS’ teeny speakers make headphones necessary unless you are in a fairly quiet room.

Archer on the 3DS via Netflix
Archer on the 3DS

Finally, there is the recently released Nintendo Video app.  While it is possible to get videos from the eShop, the Video app downloads videos from Nintendo while the system is in sleep mode.  In a message I found slightly creepy, Nintendo encouraged me to leave my 3DS on sleep mode all night.  I’m really not sure that I want to know what ELSE it will be doing as I slumber, though.  The initial batch of our videos included a movie trailer, two funny videos and an introduction video.

STILL WAITING FOR GAMES

While the browser, Netflix and the other functions of the Nintendo 3DS are fun to play with, this game machine is still suffering from a lack of games. While some good titles have dropped, such as Dead or Alive Dimensions and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, Nintendo again continues the tradition of making the best games for its systems with the recent re-release of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time.

When I first head about Nintendo pulling the ol’ re-re-re-release thing again, I was disappointed, but I have done a complete one-eighty after playing Ocarina of Time.  Unlike previous re-releases, this version has been remastered from the ground up to take advantage of the 3DS’ hardware and the difference is astounding.  Ocarina of Time literally looks better than ever before without the Nintendo 64 blur and fuzz we’re all come to know and love.  I can’t wait for StarFox 64 now.  With the holidays approaching, there should be more games on the way, but as of now the 3DS’ lineup is still fairly weak.

On the flipside, maybe Nintendo is being a little more judicious in handing out the dev kits this time around.  Hopefully the 3DS won’t become a hotbed for shovelware like the DS and the Wii.

CONCLUSION

The Nintendo 3DS is now complete thanks to the recent system update, and there are lots of things to do with the system besides play games.  Unfortunately, this game system is still lacking in high quality games to play.  Until that little issue is resolved, it is hard for me to recommend buying a 3DS just yet but as we get closer to the holidays that minor quibble should be resolved.  Of course, I should again bring up the system’s relatively poor battery life (3-4 hours) so keep that in mind if you travel a lot.

If you look at the list of current games (which won’t take long) and see enough games there to keep you happy until the holidays, then by all means buy a Nintendo 3DS.  My recommendation for most folks is to wait until there are enough games that you want to play.

RANDOM REVIEW REVISITED: Sprint Overdrive

Read the Sprint Overdrive review here.

After purchasing my Sprint Overdrive about a year and a half ago, I was a pretty happy camper: I could access the Internet from pretty much anywhere, even in the hole in the Internet that is my hometown of Odem, Texas.

Two problems eventually arose, though. The first being that my income took a pretty nasty drop (like to zero) and so I came to rely on my Overdrive as my sole source of internet.  While it served that purpose fairly well, I couldn’t help but notice the less expensive alternatives that were popping up courtesy of pre-paid providers such as Cricket and Virgin Wireless.  After my employment situation stabilized, I wondered if it wouldn’t be worth the trouble to ditch Sprint and use a prepaid device for those few occasions when I needed internet on the go.

Overdrive with "battery critical" message
He's Dead, Jim

The second thing that happened was that the Overdrive stopped working completely.  Turning on the device resulted in a “Battery critical. Charge Immediately” message appearing on the screen, and after a few seconds, the device would turn off on its own.  Upon first seeing the message, I plugged in my charger and the device reported an 85% charge.  I let it charge completely, and the message appeared.

I went to a Sprint Store and they did offer to repair the device for $35, which seemed reasonable.  Despite that, I decided not to repair it because of the fact that I was not using the Overdrive enough to justify the $60 a month expense.

While it is pretty lame that the Overdrive did not even last long enough to cover the 2-year contract I signed to get it, the bigger story here is that $60 a month for the service is too much for the few times that I actually used it.  My current job doesn’t pay as much as the one I had when I bought it, so I’m cutting back where I can now.

While Sprint has apparently been kind enough to cancel my contract (as far as I can tell, I’ll know for sure once my next bill comes in) I will probably end up getting a 3G USB device from a prepaid provider.  Sure, it’ll be slower, but it also won’t be as expensive, and I won’t be tied down to a contract.  I could also get a new Android phone, but I’m not too sure I want to stick with Google’s wunderkind.  That’s a blog for another day, though.

In conclusion, the device worked great while it lasted, but be sure you are going really NEED an always-there fast internet connection before signing a 2-year contract with a provider for a 4G device.  If you have to think that question over, then you just might be just fine with a prepaid 3G device.  The operative word, of course, is “might,” though, I’ll let y’all know how that works out!

To the Guy I Accidently Cut Off Today…

I would like to start off by apologizing for going around you.  It was a mistake on my part; I was paying a little more attention to what was going on behind me than to what was going on in front.  I also understand why you honked your horn a few times.  I’ve been on the receiving end of bad driving too (heck, who hasn’t?) and I also like to let the offending driver know that they screwed up.

I will admit to being a little bit surprised when you started swearing and throwing the finger at me, though.  We were going pretty slow, so its not like either of us was in danger of being in a serious accident.  You also looked upset, I can’t say that I’ve gone as far as to swear like a sailor when I think I have been wronged on the road, but then again, I”m a pretty level-headed guy.  I honk my horn once and then life goes on.

I don’t know what it served to accomplish, though.  It didn’t get you to your destination faster, didn’t upset me, and only served to provide a spectacle to the other drivers around us.  I was on the verge of hollering back “Sorry!” but I figured that you wouldn’t be able to hear me over the sound of your own yelling.  If getting your ‘road rage’ on made you feel better, then I’m glad for that.  I got a laugh out of it, too, so I guess we can call it a win-win.

We should always learn from our mistakes.  I learned two things from this one: first of all, I should double check my front and back before passing someone, and second, people look like idiots when they holler and scream like little kids.  Thanks for the lesson.  Drive friendly, now!