My new iPhone 3G

So after several months of mental anguish I have finally put my BlackBerry to rest.  I took the leap and purchased the latest iPhone 3G last week.  I know this phone is old news for several people, but for me it is new and since this is my blog I am writing about it.  Many people have been surprised I was not an immediate fan of the iPhone, but I usually avoid hype when I can.  So why the iPhone and not another BlackBerry, why not a Windows Mobile device.  I am a developer after all, and I can write .NET applications for Windows Mobile

Why not BlackBerry?

Honestly it was hard to decided against sticking with BlackBerry, I feel they still have a great product.  It boiled down to a few things for me.

  • To get my enterprise e-mail pushed to me my company has to be running BlackBerry Enterprise Server.  I cannot dictate to my employer to run software just for little ole me.  This is one of my primary factors for getting a new phone.
  • BlackBerry has abandoned the thumb wheel that I love and I don’t like the stick navigation concept. I played with the BlackBerry Bold and the stick didn’t impress me, I am hard on phones and knew I would break it.  Don’t believe me?  I am clumsy and break stuff all the time, heck I dropped my iPhone in the store after I bought it.
  • The BlackBerry Storm was promising, but on the Verizon network only and I don’t want to change networks, I like AT&T.  I didn’t even look at the Storm, but would have if it had been for AT&T. 

Why not Windows Mobile

This was my initial focus because I have had a Pocket PC in the past and was very happy.  Windows Mobile is all over the place so stability and usability were not major concerns either.  Beyond my desire for a productivity based phone, I wanted something I could use for entertainment when traveling as well.  I looked at phone after phone and few have a large screen, plus most are the stick navigation concept.  Until the HTC Fuze, which offered several impressive features, even touch screen. All the reviews raved about the phone and I decided that was the phone to get.  I went into the store with every intention to purchase the Fuze, but walked out with the iPhone instead.  You see, I was able to use the phone in the store and was just not impressed.  I am sure it is a great phone, but I found it kind of clunky from a usability and performance perspective.

What I like about the iPhone

  • My biggest fear for the iPhone was the keyboard, or lack thereof.  I talked with several people who have them and they all said it is not hard to get used to typing on the iPhone.  I have found this to be very true, I have had it less than 10 days and I am pretty good with the keyboard.  I really wanted a QWERTY keyboard, but it works great.  I actually bought a $.99 application called TouchType to get a horizontal keyboard which is even better. 
  • I can still get to my Live Mesh folders by visiting on my iPhone. 
  • My data plan was only $.01 more a month from my BlackBerry data plan
  • The App Store has a ton of applications
  • There are a large number of accessories for the iPhone

I could go on, but I won’t.

What I dislike about the iPhone

  • I miss the ability to have my tasks sync with Outlook, I think this is a major oversight or poor decision on Apple’s part.  I cannot complain too much, because Google doesn’t have a task management solution either.  I am just going to use my calendar.
  • I don’t understand why I cannot sync my calendar with Google out of the box.  I have seen a few convoluted ways to accomplish it, but I want Google Sync that was available on my BlackBerry.  I know I can visit my Google Calendar in the browser, but I want reminders on my phone.

My trip to Las Vegas

Today I left good ole Nashville, Tennessee for the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada. This trip was business not pleasure, I have never had a desire to visit Las Vegas actually.  I am sure it is a fine place to visit, but I never thought of it as a place I would go on vacation.  Anyway, I am attending DevConnections which is why I am in town.  So back to the reason for my post. 

It was a cool day with beautiful blue skies in Nashville when I arrived a the airport.  Little did I know the challenges that I would be facing and surprisingly how I would respond.  After making my way through security and I settled in at the gate to await my flight.  Around time for boarding the attendant announced that they plan was being checked for a small electrical problem and they needed to do a quick fix.  Well, 2 hours later the plane was officially deemed broken and the flight canceled.  The airline was quick to point out that there was another flight to Dallas, I was flying through Dallas to Vegas, and they would rebook all of us on that flight. 

During the rebooking procedure the attendant wrote up a new ticket (by hand) for my checked luggage.  The attendant then placed my claim sticker on the carbon copy and handed me the original hand receipt.  I got on the flight to Dallas without further event and even on the Las Vegas flight without issue.  Well that isn’t completely accurate, when we landed in Vegas another place was still at our gate so they parked our plane on the tarmac until that plane left.  I don’t know how long we were there, but I was happy when it was time to get off the plane.

In the back of my mind I was concerned about the airline losing my bag, based on the hand written receipt.  My fears were confirmed when baggage claim came and went without my bag being present.  When I presented the hand written receipt to the attendant in Vegas, she immediately groaned and said, I never trust this process.  She gets all the information and tells me who to call to check up on my bag and that they will deliver it to the hotel when it arrives.

After grabbing dinner with my colleagues I decided to call to get a status on my bag.  Somehow it ended up in Houston and my airline was giving it to another airline to get it to Vegas since they don’t have direct flights from Houston to Las Vegas.  When I asked how my bag ended up in Houston, the lady responded, I have no idea.  I wanted to say, I know how, you had a human intervene into a process that is run by computer.  Anyway, I will hopefully have my bag late afternoon.  I am curious though, why an attendant can rebook and reprint a boarding pass for any flight, but the process to handle a bag change is done by hand.  This seems like a serious defect and is confirmed when someone who deals with lost luggage daily expresses concern when seeing my handwritten ticket. I am not trying to complain, but rather understand how little things like this get missed.