Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Psst - wanna free cell phone? (Or, "At least I didn't sleep all day.")

Weird day today.

I did two things. I thought each thing might take about half an hour. Between them, they took something like 7 or 8 hours. They were not the most important things that I could have done today, but I fell into doing them largely because I had not decided what was most important, and therefore did the first things that came to mind that seemed reasonably important and that I thought would not take too long to do.

I updated the antivirus software on two computers. That turned out to be more complicated than it sounds because in each case it involved purchasing a new license for software that I already had on one machine (McAfee) so that I could download and install it on a second machine, after uninstalling the software that was already on the second machine (Norton).

The second thing was, I ordered a new cell phone - a decision sparked by the fact that Sprint is offering the Samsung Galaxy SII for $0. That got complicated because ordering from Sprint meant switching from Verizon Wireless. And because I went back and forth about whether to order it in my own name or in the name of Luminaria Productions. And because when I did start to order as Luminaria, the cost of the phone jumped from $0 to $99. Then when I went back to order as simply myself, my recent credit history brought up special conditions that made me rethink.

I decided to do the deal as Luminaria, and prepared to swallow the $99. Then I noticed that there was another phone available for $0, even for businesses: the Galaxy Nexus. Hmmm....

I had considered the Nexus earlier in the process, but had rejected it because it has a 5-megapixel camera (the SII camera is 8-megapixel), and because it has no expansion slot for micro SD cards. But as I thought further, I realized that:
  • For my purposes, a 5-megapixel camera will probably do.
  • The Nexus has 32GB built-in. Right now, I'm using about 13GB, and that includes a lot of stuff I don't need, or even use.
  • The Nexus has 4G LTE, while the SII has 4G WiMax - which Sprint is, by all accounts, abandoning for LTE.
I also remembered how I lusted after the Nexus when it made its debut as the first "true Google phone" - i.e., an Android phone not burdened with third-party bloatware.

So I ordered the Nexus for Luminaria Productions. And kept running into problems with Sprint's website (e.g., not recognizing my Verizon Wireless account number as a valid account number, and not telling me what made it invalid), which meant consulting three times with a live rep in chat. By the time I finished, it was almost 10:30.

You see what happened? I made a decision (to buy the SII), then I asked a question which I should have asked before making the decision ("Should I do this personally, or as Luminaria?"), which led to a new decision (to act as Luminaria), which led to new information ("Now the phone will cost $99"), which led to a new decision (to get the Nexus).

I could have done all of that thoughtwork beforehand, and would likely have saved considerable time by doing so.

Today's big lesson? Making it up as you go can work, but making it up beforehand usually works better.

Big lesson #2: Some decisions predetermine others. Getting serious about segregating personal and business expenses will automatically answer some questions in the future about what to do (even as it generates questions about how).

Those lessons help to redeem what felt like a loser day. There were other wins. I expect to save $20 a month with Sprint vs. Verizon Wireless, separate from additional savings that may accrue from Sprint's unlimited data (Verizon's charges for data overages were the first thing that made me think about returning to Sprint.). And the day strengthened my motivation to use the Pomodoro Technique, if only to facilitate learning about how long it takes to do things.
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