Thanks Virgin Mobile!

If there’s one thing the Internet seems made for – aside from porn, cute kitty pictures and fantasy football leagues – it’s complaining about bad customer service. And that’s not for nothing: if you spend enough time at The Consumerist, TripAdvisor or you’d think that most companies don’t just have bad customer service, they’re becoming downright hostile to customers these days.

But this isn’t one of those awful customer service stories. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of that, a story about great customer service. And it involves Virgin Mobile.

My parents gave me a Virgin Mobile Samsung Intercept phone for Christmas last year. Coming from Tracfone’s relatively ancient LG 600g handset, the Intercept seemed like magic. And for the first couple of weeks, it was! But then odd things started happening. The phone would lock up often, requiring me to remove the battery to restart. It would lose connectivity, apparently unable to gracefully switch between 3G and Wi-Fi. It would reboot for no good reason. Many of the stock apps (and parts of the OS itself!) would crash. Most worryingly, the phone would gradually slow down – not just in a given session, but overall, like a Windows computer loaded down with malware.

The phone shipped with Android 2.1, and Virgin Mobile promised that most of these issues would be fixed with the 2.2 (Froyo) update, which was due in February… then March… then April. I’m an IT guy, and I understand how software releases get delayed. So I was OK with that, but was getting tired of resetting (wiping) the phone every few weeks to make it usable. Wiping the phone was great for restoring performance, but every time I did so I’d lose my SMS messages and call logs, and then had to spend an hour or more reinstalling my apps and tweaking the phone (notification settings, sounds, etc.).  Anyway, the upgrade was finally made available in April, and I upgraded. And yes, a few things were fixed… but the phone was still slow and still locked up far too often.

Continue reading “Thanks Virgin Mobile!”

Happy Birthday, Madonna!

I do this every year on the blog, so let’s get to it: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MADONNA!


It’s hard to believe that she turns 53 today! Gawd, we’re all getting so old! By the way, I really hope the rumors of Madge working with Ladytron on her new album are true! That would be all kinds of awesome! 🙂


I use the WP Random Header plug-in to change the header image each time you load a page here at the site (a feature that is now built in to WordPress, by the way. I guess I’m too lazy to reconfigure it!).

I sometimes add or remove one of the banners, and every so often I’ll go nuts and replace all of them at once. I did just that this past weekend. In case anyone’s curious, here are the new banners:

wp_lisa_gerrard_tLisa Gerrard, lead singer of Dead Can Dance; has also done several movie soundtracks, including Gladiator.

wp_jh_newman_tJohn Henry Newman, Anglican priest and founder of the Oxford Movement.

wp_hubble_tEdwin Hubble, astronomer who confirmed the existence of other galaxies and that the universe is expanding.

wp_walter_tBryan Cranston as Walter White from the TV show Breaking Bad, one of the best shows ever!

wp_harrison_tJohn Harrison, an English clockmaker who invented the marine chronometer and solved the “longitude problem”.

wp_luther_tIdris Elba as John Luther from the BBC series Luther, one of the best modern cop shows around.

wp_newton_tIsaac Newton, the English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, alchemist and theologian.

wp_grace_tGrace Kelly, American actress, later Princess of Monaco, and most beautiful woman in history.

wp_borleag_tNorman Borlaug, agronomist and Nobel laureate who saved a billion people’s lives in the Green Revolution.

I hope you enjoy the new banners!

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-14

  • 25 years later, when I hear R.E.M.'s "Fall on Me", I STILL wait for the "pop" at the end from the original vinyl I owned. #
  • @rlaw1971 Sorry to hear that, man! #
  • @cityofbelmont Lived here for 8 years now… and still don't know what the demonym is for Belmont residents. Can you help? #
  • Check out Asobi Seksu at Visualite Theatre via @lastfm #
  • Why do NPR announcers bend over backwards to pronounce "Caracas" with a fake accent, but can't say "Tottenham" correctly? #
  • I swear to God, if Deblina Chakraborty says "hung" instead of "hanged" one more time… @MissedinHistory #
  • I love the idea behind @MissedInHistory, but every episode must have at least two badly mispronounced words. "Battle of Canny"? #
  • Sometimes I love humanity: Broom armies reclaim London, Birmingham, and Manchester streets – #
  • What the hell are "breakfast pillows"? #
  • @chipvanalstyne Pecan beer? Tell me more…. 🙂 #
  • Saying we need to increase taxes on the rich to fix the deficit is like saying we can fix Lindsay Lohan by giving her more money. #
  • HAHA! RT @Andy_Richter: There are so many catheter companies advertising on TV; anyone know which one is best for recreational users? #
  • "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." – P. J. O'Rourke #
  • Dammit, North Carolina! If a traffic light is out, it's a 4-way stop! #
  • R.I.P. Jani Lane. I didn't care for your music, but I really enjoyed your "Cherry Pie" video! #
  • Appeals court rules against Obama healthcare law – Yahoo! News #

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The Presiding Bishop is an AWFUL Human Being

If you haven’t been keeping up with international Anglican news lately, faithful Anglicans in Zimbabwe are having a pretty rough time of it. Since Anglicans are one of the few groups unafraid to call out Robert Mugabe on his long reign of violence and corruption, Mugabe has seen fit to turn his wrath on them. Zimbabwe’s Anglicans have been arrested, parishes have had their property seized, and priests unwilling to go along with the “new regime” have had their homes taken. Those who defy Mugabe lackey Nolbert Kunonga (and, by extension, Mugabe himself) face a world of hurt. At that last link, you can read a quote from a local bishop who says that:

Intimidation has become physical violence. Threats have turned into beatings, rape and murder. The people’s trust in the forces of law and order has been blatantly abused by repeated acts of injustice, and as the Bishop of Harare has said recently, ‘When the justice system and the police are themselves corrupt, who can we turn to for justice?’

Anglican Church leaders continue to receive death threats, and believers are subject to violent harassment when they attempt to meet for worship. Churches, schools and mission hospitals are invaded and appropriated for the greater glory of Mugabe.

So… what does Katharine Jefferts Schori think of all this?

“They have experienced the same kind of thing as congregations in Fort Worth and San Joaquin,” she noted, referring to attempts by former leaders in those places to take ownership of diocesan property and leave loyal Episcopalians without a spiritual home.”

Yes, Katharine, because two American dioceses wanting to break away from The Episcopal Church and going to court over it (which was all your doing, by the way), is exactly the fucking same as living under Robert Mugabe.

When I was a teenager, I’d often say “I hate [some jock who hassled me]”. But I didn’t really mean it, of course. But as I get older, I’m starting to understand where hate comes from. I literally shook with rage when I read that KJS quote. There really are terrible people in this world, and KJS must surely be counted among them.

I mean, first of all, she has to find a way to inject her agenda into a continuing tragedy. As much as my dislike of Barack Obama grows, I’m sure the man isn’t stupid or vain enough to go on TV in the wake of a tragedy and say “Well, 30 Americans died in that helicopter crash in Afghanistan… just like 30 children will die if you don’t work with me to support [some stupid federal program that will accomplish nothing other than waste huge amounts of money]”. But to actually compare Fort Worth and San Joaquin to what’s going on in Zimbabwe? That’s beyond the pale, even for KJS.

You should be ashamed, Mrs. Schori. But, given your past record, I think we all can safely assume that shame and humility are two traits you lack wholesale.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-07

  • Oh man! @TheRailwayArms just tweeted that #Sherlock won't return until May 2013! What the hell? #
  • @TheRailwayArms Wait : Season 2 of Sherlock is airing her next year? When is it airing in the UK? #
  • @TheRailwayArms Oh cool! Thanks! #
  • Never mind, folks: S2 of Sherlock is probably airing later this year (in the UK). "Upstairs Downstairs" is 2013. #
  • I have just created a new list titled 'Politics' using TweetDeck, follow it here: @jimcofer/politics #
  • "You know I've got my walls… but Sally calls 'em prison cells…" #
  • I'm getting really tired of Doug and his mesothelioma. #
  • Cocoa Pebbles with Irish Cream: the Breakfast of Champions! :p #
  • Lady GaGa: ‘The World Killed Amy Winehouse’ :rolleyes: #
  • Ticketmaster Makes Deal With Walmart, Devil Confused As To Whose Soul To Collect First – The Consumerist #
  • Deal Dell: Please die in a fire. There's no reason swapping out a power supply should take 30 minutes! #
  • BBC News – Internet Explorer story was bogus #
  • R.I.P. Bubba Smith #
  • Woo-hoo! I won $20 in credit at Sir Ed's thanks to their weekly trivia question! (and Lisa for reminding me about it) Who wants Guinness? #
  • In his case, it will! RT @DrPizza: Looking for my migraine drugs. All I can find is Imodium. Don't think that's gonna help. #
  • @rlaw1971 Be sure to throw some on the ground for the Fairy! #
  • YES! One of my fav Steelers re-signs! "Steelers sign Woodley to six-year deal" – #
  • I guess the rent REALLY IS too damn high! – "Rent is Too Damn High" founder facing eviction from his apartment #
  • Even Warren G, Harding, Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter were able to keep the AAA rating. Then… 3 years of Obamanomics! #
  • OK, so I'm on Google+ now. Meh: 9 G+ friends vs. 317 on FB. If anyone else is on G+, lemme know. #
  • Has anyone been to the new Big Ben Pub on South? If so, how was it? #
  • Thank to Microsoft seminars and product launches, I haven't had to buy a pen since 1998! #
  • Check out my music taste on @lastfm #
  • @markmaser Thanks – Tried it and didn't like it (except for the mobile app, which copies music via Wi-Fi, which is neat). #
  • @markmaser I tried #spotify then tried @pandora again (pandora thinks I'm a 19 year-old gay man for some reason). #
  • @markmaser #lastfm has all these nifty charts and graphs and stuff that appeal to my stats nerd self! 🙂 #

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