2017-05-07

The iPhone 3G and 3GS in 2017: Why? I'll tell you why!

The iPhone 3G ended production in 2010, and the 3GS was ended in 2012.  So the 3G/3GS series are all 5+ years old now.  But I have one that I keep and use.

Why use one now?  Because these models are still useful phones.  I use mine as a backup phone, for use when friends or family damage or lose their primary phone.

Both models are GSM-centric and have 3G radio chipsets, so they're still great for phone calls.  They have GPS, so they're useful for mapping and navigation.  And you can use them for texting, of course.

They're also inexpensive.  For under $50 you can find a great one that you don't have to worry about losing.  You can keep one as a backup phone, or as a loaner.

Of course, you'll want an unlocked one, so that you can use it with any GSM provider.

The Reasons for owning an iPhone 3G or 3GS:
  • Super-inexpensive, perhaps $50 for a fine 3GS.
  • A great backup phone if your primary phone is lost or damaged.
  • A great phone for international travel - as all iPhone 3G/3GS models are GSM.
  • A great "first phone" for a kid, so you don't have to worry about them carrying, breaking, or losing a much more expensive device.
There are some limitations, of course:
  • They're stuck at an older iOS level, so they can't run apps that require a more modern iOS.
  • Neither model has a front-facing camera, so video chat is not a possibility.
  • The iPhone 3G does not support iMessage.  However, the iPhone 3GS does.
  • Significantly slower than a modern phone for the web.

2017-05-04

Why I love my Roomba

The amazing part of the Roomba is how shockingly well iRobot supports them.  You can get a ton of spare parts for them, and it is easy and inexpensive to repair or even upgrade a Roomba.

You read that right: Roombas are easy to work on AND the parts are inexpensive.

That's like buying a BMW, and learning that cylinder heads and alternators are $50 each and can be snapped in within 5 minutes.

I've had my Roomba 600 series for five years. Now five years is a lot of time for a computer technology product that deals with dust and dirt.  Here are the things that I've done so far:

Replaced the battery

After about 3 years, my Roomba's original battery was getting pretty weak.  I replaced it.  Replacing it is a simple affair, taking about 5 minutes.  New batteries are readily available at low cost.

Replaced (and upgraded) the brush head

Evidently I used my Roomba too much in my extremely dirty basement.  My Roomba's original green-colored brush head stopped working well.  I opened it up and it looked like the gears were getting chewed up with dust.

Therefore, I decided to buy a new brush head.  The brush head is basically the entire cleaning system of the Roomba.  It is possible to upgrade the classic brushhead to the Areovac version.

Sounds expensive and hard to deal with.  But it's not!  The new cleaning head was under $40, and it took about 5 minutes to install.

Even better, the new brush head was the modern Aerovac version.  That's right - this repair upgraded my Roomba's cleaning technology.

Replaced the power jack

I'm not sure what happened here, but my Roomba's original rarely-used power jack failed.  It was somehow sending a signal to my Roomba that he was still plugged in to the charger, when he wasn't.  This led to docking issues.

This was easy to install, but it took a little more time - maybe 15 mintues.  The replacement jack was about $5.

Conclusion

iRobot is the best.  They stand behind their products, and their products are improvable after purchase.  One thing I'd love is an upgrade to Roomba's brain, so that he could be controlled via bluetooth or wifi.   That'd be real fun!



2017-05-03

Bad Drivers at Intersections

I find it fascinating that many drivers are too dumb or too uncoordinated to stop before the stop line at an intersection with a traffic signal.

A large percentage of drivers ignore the stop line and pull into the intersection - perhaps because they want to "get ahead", or maybe because they want to "see", or maybe because they don't understand the size of their vehicle.

Sadly for these bad drivers, there are sensors in the roadway that tell traffic signals when to change.  If there is no vehicle triggering the sensors, the lights don't change as fast or at all.  Obviously, vehicles already inside the intersection - such as notably beyond the stop line or in the crosswalk - will not trigger the sensors.  Those drivers have to patiently wait for another vehicle to trigger the sensor.
 
Duh.

I've seen vehicles wait over 5 minutes in an intersection during low-traffic conditions.  You'd think these drivers would figure it out, but they're so ignorant and/or distracted that they never seem to learn.

And, of course, pulling past the stop line can impede vehicles making turns, and can put pedestrians at risk due to restricted visibility.

So why do drivers so often drive past stop line, and therefore past the sensors?   We can only chalk it up to stupidity, driver inexperience, or a lack of driving expertise.
 

2017-05-02

My worst eBay purchase ever

Purchased: Three new batteries for the iPhone 5 from an eBay seller

Shipped quickly, and well packaged.

Received:
  • Three iPhone batteries.
  • A.K.A., two iPhone 5 batteries and one non-iPhone 5 battery
  • AKA, one working iPhone 5 battery, one non-working iPhone 5 battery, and one non-iPhone 5 battery.
  • AKA, one limited life (~ 15 minutes) but working iPhone 5 battery, one non-working iPhone 5 battery, and one non-iPhone 5 battery.
  • AKA, one heavily used, limited life but working iPhone 5 battery, one damaged iPhone 5 battery, and one non-iPhone 5 battery.
  • AKA, three used, not-fit-for-any-purpose batteries for various phones.
Needless to say, I demanded (and received) my money back.

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