BSG fans, is it just me or…

does the sound those small Cylon ships (raiders?) make sound exactly like an approaching train on the Washington, DC Metro? Seriously! Every time I’m in DC waiting for a train and I hear one coming, first thing that pops into my mind is “action stations!”

BSG=Battlestar Galactica, the only show I care if the writer’s strike ends in time to save this season.

Sympathies for poor Brit with huge cell phone bill

This story sounds familiar:

Ian Simpson, 29, was sent the bill for four weeks’ service after wiring his mobile up to a laptop to download TV shows – and only then found out his £41.50-a-month deal didn’t include unlimited web use.

His bill with Vodafone was something like $54,000 US$.

Why familiar? Because AT&T (then Cingular) has the same deal. I never used my phone as a modem, but I did get hit with a large bill one month and was informed then that the charges would have been legit had I been using the phone as a modem (I wasn’t).

Vodafone owes this guy a break. If their policies are written anything like AT&T’s, then it’s anything but clear. On the other hand, it doesn’t appear as if he had an “unlimited” plan to begin with. Ouch.

I don’t see why providers can’t do what credit cards do when there are unusual spending patterns. They should be able to figure out what’s a “typical” usage pattern and if a user has a month that’s significantly off some sort of trigger is alerted. Maybe an automated email that says, “hey buddy, do you realize your bill is now 3x what it was last month?” would have been an expensive awakening but not nearly the ridiculous sum it ended up.

If you have a phone with a regular ‘ole data plan, just don’t do it…use your as a modem, that is. There are too many of these stories out there, and the providers are hit & miss on enforcing their murky policies against it.

If you do want to tether your phone to your computer and use it as a modem anyway, then do it sparingly. If you’re stranded somewhere and must get data on a server somewhere, fine. Not for casual surfing. In the long run, if you absolutely need to go online with your computer and don’t have reliable access points, I can say from personal experience that a decent EVDO modem & plan is well worth the $60/month for wireless-without-wifi Internet.

Could the Kindle be getting uglier?

kindle-imageLike many, I was underwhelmed by the launch of the Kindle, Amazon’s e-book reading device.

$400 is a lot to spend on a stand-alone reader, plus the cost of the books. I don’t want to hack a device to make it marginally functional. I want to buy my books from sources other than Amazon and I want the option to share my books with others. So this wasn’t something on my holiday wishlist by any stretch.

I used to do a lot of reading on my Windows Mobile phone. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a solution that works very well for the Blackberry. The big stumbling block is the fact that I don’t have a decent way to sync files with my Blackberry. I can only add applications and data OTA (over the air), which rules out every book site I know of (only interested in legal ones).

Back to the Kindle…I haven’t seen one in person, and maybe it’s my imagination, but to me it gets uglier every time an article about it with an image lands in my Google Reader feeds. I’m about as geeky as they come, and even I wouldn’t want to be seen carrying this thing around.

Any Kindle owners or folks who are willing to pay $700+ for it on eBay care to tell me what the appeal is? I don’t get it. Maybe I don’t read enough books. I read. A lot. Just not as many books as I used to. Shouldn’t Amazon put out a device that would make me want to read more?

By the way, I did get a $150 Amazon gift certificate as a present this year. What did I spend it on? A Western Digital 160GB Passport USB drive and the movie, E.T.

The drive is because no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep more than 12GB free space on my MBP’s internal drive and I don’t like running that tight. I have a regular external drive at home, but lately I’m rarely at my home office desk so it doesn’t help me much. This one got very good reviews and the price was excellent (under $100 when I purchased it).

The movie is for the kids. We took them to see The Water Horse last week and they loved it. Eric and I were “eh” about it, and I realized that they never saw the much, much, much better version of the “cute alien-like create befriends lonely boy” movie from 25 years ago. Knowing my girls, they’ll love it as much as I did when I was not that much older than they are now.