Wifi on mass transit - Good Thing or the end of the last bastion of serenity?

Engadget is running a story about Hong Kong installing wifi on their mass transit system. I don't want to sound like a luddite here but I'm not sure it's a good thing.

My ride to and from work is the only part of my day where I am truly detached from the world. With Wifi and cell service in the city I am available to folks all day long, from morning til night. I use the time when I commute to reboot the mind and get set for the rest of the day, I'm sure I'm not the only one.

This generation is the first generation that has less personal time then the one before it. Gone are the days of the 40 hour work weeks; 50-60 hours are now the norm. Gone is the idea of a corporation training an employee to advance, if you're not spending your nights preparing for advancement you're not going to advance. Gone are the days of leaving the office behind you on vacation, there have been numerous articles on the topic of people checking their email and voicemail and actually working on their vacations. This is the reason I've become a consultant to be honest, employees are treated like consultants with health benefits.

To me there are 2 places to detach from the world. One is Mass Transit. The other is and airplane (don't get me started on cell service on an airplane... it's another rant). Please don't take them away from me.

    Posted: Jul 17, 2007

Spam, Spam Spam Spam Spam!

Most of my spam gets filtered for me (I've spent a lot of time setting things up so I don't have to see spam). However one got through today and this was at the bottom of it:

Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions of this Email:
This notice outlines the privacy policies associated with his Email. By clicking any image and/or text link in this Email (excluding the removal link), you are accepting the practices described in this Privacy Policy. As such, you are representing that you have the authority and are authorizing [link removed] and/or any of its business associates to contact you via email, postal mail, or telephonically with information stored in the [link removed] database.
Changes to the Privacy Policy:
We reserve the right to change the terms of this Privacy Policy at any time. We encourage you to check the Privacy Policy in each new email sent to you regularly. Your continued use of our email service following any changes to this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of such changes. This privacy policy was last amended on October 9th, 2006.
Personal Information and IP Address:
Each time you view and/or click any image or text link in a [link removed] sponsored email, our web server automatically recognizes your IP address and contact information. Your IP address is used to help us identify and gather broad demographic information about you. We also use your IP address and contact information to help diagnose problems with our servers, pre-populate [link removed] administered Web Sites, and to better serve you in using the features associated with our email service.
View Complete Policy Here.
Contacting Us About Privacy Questions Or Concerns:
If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please email us at [link removed], or by sending a letter to:
Privacy, P.O. Box 425 , Newark, NJ, 07199

note: I have removed links to the website.

Now, I'm not a lawyer but, if I click the link to view the complete policy I'm agreeing to it, right? And by privacy, you mean lack of privacy, right. Maybe it's because I don't see much spam anymore but I'm surprised that they have Terms and Conditions. What's next "By reading this email, you agree to send us 1 Billion Dollars"? Hey, I should try that!

    Posted: Jul 17, 2007

Problems with Sprint - Resolved

OK Mystically, the service book just got pushed to the blackberry. It's up and running, don't know why. I'll call Sprint tomorrow to get them to refund my time without service.

    Posted: Jul 16, 2007

Problems with Sprint, Pt 2 - The Fun Continues

Continuing on from yesterday's post about Friday's issues with Sprint (read http://seanreiser.com/node/71 for the details). I called Sprint at 3PM today, in defiance of "the threat" to determine why my data plan still wasn't working.

After 20 mins of hold time I got to speak to a support representative. She looked up my ticket, I told her my story, she told me that the network folks did what they needed to get things working and I informed her that the device is still not working.

She has me try and reprovision the device, which fails. She then has me pull the battery while she performs some magic on her side, which is less then successful. Finally she has me wipe the phone's data and start from scratch by setting it to factory defaults (basicly when in doubt, reinstall the OS). This also doesn't work.

She decides that deleting and adding the blackberry data plan might help. This will take 4 hours. She will be calling me in 4 hours to let me know if the errors on her side went away.

Here's the kicker. If this doesn't work, she has informed me that it will be 36 hours to get the problem resolved. As I was fooled once, I asked if she means hours or business hours. She means business hours. When I point that we're talking about another week, she answers that it's 36 hours, not a week. I point out that if the clock started right now, I wouldn't have service until next monday, a full week from now, and she relented. (I'm pretty sure Sprint's estimates are designed to sound like less time then they are ... 14 hours instead of 2 days, 36 hours instead of a week, etc).

I've also been notified that they can't credit my account for the unused time on my blackberry account until we resolve the problem.

    Posted: Jul 16, 2007

Problems with Sprint - a lesson in customer service.

So, I mentioned that I have a new Blackberry. So far I've been unable to use it as anything other then a phone because Sprint has been unable to get the device they sold me provisioned. I hadn't had time to write it up until now, but it's been fun. Let's break down what's happened so far:

On July 5, I ordered it, 2 days after sprint had the phone available. They shipped on the 9th overnight due to problems w/ UPS and I received the phone on the 12th.

On the 12th I called Sprint, asking them to switch my service over to the new Blackberry. As I was moving over from a Palm, I asked if I was required to pick up the so called "blackberry plan". I was assured by the CSR that I didn't need the plan because I already had the Power Vision Plan on my Palm. I was told that in 2 hours I'd have a working phone; the data would work and in 4 hours.

A half hour later, the phone is working fine and dandy. I've synched my data over from my mac, so I have contacts, calendar, todo's and memos moved over. I wait the 3 and a half hours and still no options for browser or email setup. I chat with a twitter friend who's a long time blackberry user. She feel that Sprint needs to push the service books to me....

So, I call Sprint. They indicate that they haven't pushed the service books to me because they didn't add the "blackberry plan" I asked about above. They add the plan, and tell me it's going to be another 4 hours for billing to catch up with provisioning.

Four hours later, still no options for browsing or email and I'm back on the phone with my friends at sprint. After several attempts to provision the phone and several error 1012s, the person tells me that the problem needs to be elevated to the network folks and it will be resolved in 12-15 hours (odd, estimate, I know). I say "so, it should work, in the Morning"; he says, yes.

Friday Morning, still nothing. I try provisioning again, no success. I call Sprint mid-morning. I am informed that 12-15 hours means 12-15 business hours. Which started at 9AM that morning. Things won't be resolved until late monday at the earliest. Now, here's the punchline I ask when I should call again if it's not working. The young lady on the other end of the phone tells me that they will call me if there are anymore problems. I ask again, when I should expect things working and she tells me Monday Night. I say if I still have issues than I'll call Tuesday Morning. She tells me, "I wouldn't do that you know we just let a bunch of customers go who call too often, wouldn't want to see that happen to you.". Yes, I was threatened. She couldn't get a manager for me to chat with, and unfortunately, my work responsibilities stopped me from pursuing it further. I'm letting it sit until monday. If things aren't working tomorrow, I'm going to really cut into some people.

    Posted: Jul 15, 2007

New Toy

Just received my Sprint Blackberry 8830 from UPS; it's charging now. I'll be doing a short product review along with the reason I'm not buying an iPhone in the next couple of days.

In the mean time... can anyone recommend 3rd party applications for the BB that I might find interesting.

    Posted: Jul 12, 2007

Dragon Con Pannels I'm On.

Looks like I'm on 3 panels on the Brit Track at Dragon*Con:

Sunday 4pm Tea Time with Arthur Dent
Sunday 5:30pm Blake's 7
Monday 11:30am The Prisoner ("Breakfast in the Village: The Prisoner")

Now to rewatch The Prisoner as it's been a while.

    Posted: Jul 4, 2007

Thoughts on Twitter, Pownce and Social Media

Inspired by posts from Evo Terra and Eric Rice I have gotten to thinking about how I'm using the social networks and how to rate them.

For me the quality of a microblog is not the number of friends / followers I have; it's the quality of the posts that come out of it. I've noticed that pownce lends itself to more im depth posts, partially since it doesn't have the SMS message length limitations. Also I feel the ability to post replies to messages lends itself to more intelligent dialog.

Pownce feels more like a civilization conversation at a teahouse were twitter feels like a group of people at a popular bar trying to have a conversation. When it comes to using the services it seems that if I am looking for feedback I tend to use pownce. If I'm making random comments I'm using twitter. I suspect if there was a more open API I'd be using twitter less and less.

    Posted: Jul 3, 2007