AT&T versus Rogers

First this is not a post about Canada versus the U.S. It is a post about cellular and wireless service in two areas of North America.

Since getting an iPhone over a year ago it took some getting used to in changing carriers from Telus to Rogers. There is the good and bad in both but overall Rogers has been a good supplier of cellphone services as they are used by the iPhone. What one takes for granted is the availability of service access. In your everyday working world which is usually limited in a geographic area things are pretty good. The phone reception is always 5 bars and 3G is always available. When traveling in Canada it has never been a problem to have good service wherever I have been. The caveat here is that others may not have the good luck to be in a good reception area of Rogers. Peoples personal history may vary.

With AT&T it is a different story. No matter where I have been in the last 12 days I have never seen 5 bars. I constantly see the dialogue box pop up ‘Network Lost – Your selected cellular network is no longer available…” You have the choice to Dismiss or go to Settings. Dismiss is the only choice you can make if you don’t want to waste your time. I have yet to see 3G service, only E. To put it bluntly I am not a happy camper when using their services. Rogers hooked me up with a US plan before coming down here so the cost is expensive but not ridiculous. Without the plan it would be a nightmare.

What happened today really showed me the extent of why people are fed up with AT&T. I was in the middle of Santa Fe and at 11 o’clock had to make a conference call. But first I have to find an area where I could get some decent bars. Just behind the art gallery we were at was a residential street where I wandered about 75 feet up and down the block to make sure there would be good service for the duration of the call. At one end of the 75 foot walk the cell phone service would drop. Now if you have ever been to Santa Fe you know there are not very many tall buildings downtown. It isn’t like you are in the middle of Manhattan. The question is why is this service so bad? Aren’t the wireless wavelengths regulated by some public body that at least has some standards that are maintained? Does AT&T offer its customers a rebate on dropped calls? How can a company that is this large offer such crummy service?

Apple should allow a little free enterprise here. Owners of iPhones should be able to choose which supplier they want, not be forced to make due with a minimal practitioner. The only way we as consumers have a say in economic terms is to be able to vote with our dollars. When we can’t do that it really becomes a cancer to a system that we don’t need.

Why blog?

After these years of blogging the reasons behind it sometimes needs to be revisited.

I choose not to have a blog about business or under the banner of the credit union I work for. It had to be a personal view of whatever topic was to be written about. Being a spokesperson for your employer under the banner of an individual seems somewhat convoluted. Your thoughts would never be 100% yours. Similarily I did want to bring personal aspects of my life into play. The goal was to make it interesting, bring some discussion forward if possible and enjoy writing.

But there is this incredible challenge to somehow hold back at times in what is being written. You really don’t want to offend anyone by being too blunt. One’s pet peeves certainly aren’t everyones. Then there is the political realm. Some have called me a socialist, others a right wing capitalist. People’s politics are not necessarily linear either right or left and certainly not at the extremes. I’ve never met a true socialist or right winger, there is always a hint of the other realm when discussing something. When people really consider the actions of government and what it does to the ordinary citizen and themselves there is a commonality. Discount the challenges of an individuals economic status and means and most people are humanitarians. Maybe we all yearn for good and truthful government. We really are very altruistic.

When I look at the wealth of individuals I know it is apparent that we are doing pretty good these days. But that doesn’t give me reason to neglect those that are on hard times. There is no easy solutions for homelessness, drug addiction, problems with mental health, sickness, or poverty. Most of these issues don’t touch our lives and when we see them in our families or friends there is a silent pain created out of empathy. Those people that are not empathetic are of the greatest concern.

The ancient Greek poet, Pindar, has some wonderful insights that hold as true now as they did 2,500 years ago. Humans haven’t changed that much.

Forge thy tongue on an anvil of truth

And what flies up though it be but a spark

Shall have weight.

Pindar did have something to say about the challenge to sometimes keeping your thoughts to yourself. He did answer the question for me and put some meaning into why one blogs.

That which is not the grace of God is better far in silence.

The start of holidays

Finally made it to August and the start of 4 weeks of holidays. Tomorrow and Wednesday will be the errand days to pick up everything that we need before we head south. Luckily the U.S. dollar is cheap right now so it is like your holiday just cost you 20% less. It should be raining by Thursday also so the departure is perfectly timed. 😉

Holidays do tend to go too fast. Before you know it you are back at work looking at an overflowing in-basket. But this year will be the strongest attempt to stay disconnected if only for my sanity. I think you can become too engrossed in your work so your personal life and what you really like doing gets put on the back burner. There is a huge backlog of books to read. I am currently reading The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton. It is a thorough exposition on the contrast of the ancient Greek culture with our modern concepts of life. It does seem much of the way we begin to think about the world around us still is influenced by this culture. The contrasts between then and now are not that great in certain aspects of your life but our modern way at solving problems, discussion and how we think is always changing. The Internet has started to make us realize the extent of individuals opinions and the ability to see this is slowly beginning to have some effect. I don’t think anyone knows where this will take us in the future.