November 27, 2008

About this Black Friday business

While we're on subject of Thanksgiving, it naturally flows that we should also be thinking about Black Friday. Check this out for details on how Black Friday lines form, and when. Amazing.

Thanksgiving 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2008

More on the Verizon mandatory data plan

Some more info on this: in a fit of disgust, I stopped by my local Verizon kiosk in the mall over the weekend and asked them about these new mandatory data plans.
He repeated the party line as to the changes they're making, even going so far as to say it's a great deal at $29.99 since it used to be $44.95. But he did offer me a loophole. He said if you really want a smartphone which isn't data-connected, you can still buy one provided it was introduced prior to Nov. 14, which was the start date of the new program. So, if there's a model available now that you like, it won't have the restriction of needing the data plan. All new phones released after Nov. 14 will. That alone may give me the chance I need to upgrade. However, I'll be SOL in 2 years when all the available smartphones will be under the new regime.

It doesn't look like Tmobile will be any better. They're raising their data rates too:

http://www.brighthand.com/default.asp?newsID=14625

November 21, 2008

Don't look now -- MANDATORY Verizon Data Plans

Damn... check this news out. Verizon, as of Nov. 14, is now making ANY newly-activated smartphone require a data plan:

http://gizmodo.com/5074915/verizon-forces-30-minimum-data-plans-on-new-smartphones

Oh, and it gets worse. They're also hitting up full-featured phones, those that have an HTML browser built in, to require at least the $15 / month V-cast data plan (new activations only).

Here's another story on it: http://gizmodo.com/5086655/more-information-on-verizons-alleged-mandatory-data-plan

Wow...this is pretty terrible. Now I'm not sure what to do about re-upping my phone. I was leaning toward that new Samsung Saga with it's Wi-Fi capability, but now even that will cost me an additional $29.99 a month for a data plan.

Now I'm seriously thinking about switching carriers, although at the moment I'm not sure what I'll do.

November 17, 2008

Quantum of Solace

movie review Movie Review: Saw Quantum of Solace on Friday night. My initial reaction? A good solid Bond movie, and another positive step forward for Daniel Craig. While critics are largely blasting the movie for one reason or another, it's interesting how the love-fest that was Casino Royale has ended. While they couldn't get enough of that movie, largely I think because it was Craig in the role and not Brosnan, and because Craig and the producers took the franchise in a whole new direction, I find it interesting how quickly they've changed their tune. I've heard laments that Q still isn't in this movie, nor Moneypenney. Also that there's not enough gadgets (see CNET's related article: is Bond anti-tech?) . I for one, just want to register my vote for the new direction. The series was indeed getting stale, with the same lines ("shaken not stirred") and situations played upon in each release. There was always the Q scene, the Moneypenney scene, etc. I say throw it all away and let's get down to a good old fashioned spy movie with lots of action. Fortunately for me, that's exactly what the Broccoli family did, and I feel the franchise is in better health today for it.

If I have any qualms with Quantum (besides it's very strange title) it's that it's emphasis seems to be action, not much else. While Casino Royale was downgraded hy a select minority for it's casino scenes, which they felt were too long and drawn out, this movie offers up none of that. Instead it throws such dramatic suspense out the window and punches the throttle hard. You're in for a ride in this movie, and it seldom slows down. I for one would like a bit more of the charactierization and dialog we saw in Casino Royale, but still felt very satisfied by this latest installment. No spoilers here, it's just a good solid movie. Repeated viewings will reveal whether it makes the short list of my favorite Bond outings. So far, it's definitely behind Casino.