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iPhone X Ordering Fun

It’s been 2014 since I’ve had the “fun” experience of an iPhone upgrade. The iPhone X is the perfect replacement for my aging iPhone 6 which has become unbearably slow since upgrading to iOS 11.

I read an article about using the Apple Store app and going ahead and creating a favorite that you could drop into the shopping bag and checkout. The process was going great and I had a pickup time scheduled at the Apple Store for pickup on release day, but I made a fateful mistake. I selected payment as the Apple Upgrade plan instead of buying it outright. That added a step of a long form that needed to be approved by the financing company which was unsurprisingly swamped. I got a notice that it could take 8 hours to get approved for financing and that I should not place another order while it was being approved.

I decided that I was not going to take any chances with that and tried to place another order for one that I would buy outright, but the site kept resetting until the the ship time grew to 4-5 weeks before I could get the new iPhone. I’m still kicking myself this morning for that rookie error. While it might have been nice to upgrade after 12 payments or have a 24 month no interest loan, the price of not having the new phone for 4-5 weeks makes me wish that I hadn’t made that decision earlier. So, I went to bed with one sure order with an estimated delivery time 4-5 weeks and one that I didn’t know if it was going to be placed or not. I was hoping that it would get placed so then I could cancel the second order.

When I woke this morning I got an email from the finance company saying that I was not approved because something didn’t match on my application. So the good news is that I did place the second order with the bad being that I won’t get it for 4-5 weeks unless Apple somehow starts to make the phones faster.


Update 2: 10/28/17

I’m now getting my iPhone X on Nov. 3rd! I responded to the email below regarding the problems that I had with the iPhone Upgrade process and my delivery time has updated to Nov. 3rd!

Update 1: 10/28/17 

I received an email from Apple stating:

Our records show that you may have recently encountered an issue while applying for a loan for an iPhone X.
To help us solve this issue as quickly as possible, please do one of the following by Sunday, October 29th, 11:59 PM PDT:

1. If you have already placed a new order, please reply to this email and provide your order number (e.g. W1234567).

2. If you have not placed a new order yet, visit or Apple Store app and place a new iPhone Upgrade Program order. Please then reply to this email and provide your order number.

We’re excited to get you your new iPhone X, and we’re working hard to get it to you as soon as possible. Please check Online Order Status in three days to check the status of your order.

I’m hoping that by asking me for my order number that they’re able to move up my ship date. I guess I’ll find out in three days.

Marketing, Technology

Amazon Dash

AmazonDashI saw this- the Amazon Dash on today and immediately checked to see if it was an April Fools’ Day joke. It seems real, but I am not convinced. Do we really need a plastic button in our kitchen to press when we’re out of Mac ‘n Cheese? The Verge calls it the “clearest example of where human ingenuity intersects with laziness”.


Technology AT&T will pay $105 million for unauthorized charges on customer bills AT&T will pay $105 million for unauthorized charges on customer bills

AT&T (TTech30)has agreed to pay $105 million for “cramming” unauthorized charges on the monthly bills of its wireless customers, federal and state regulators announced Wednesday.

I wrote about this pretty extensively in 2009 after experiencing an unauthorized charge by a third party on my AT&T cellular bill. The improper billing started after a company sent me a text SPAM which led me to be billed $9.95 for some “service”. I called AT&T to complain after seeing my bill and was refunded the charge.

Since most people don’t spend a lot of time looking at their bills, I’m sure there are a lot of people who have been charged improperly.

Now, AT&T is settling with the FTC and is offering refunds that are being processed through the FTC website. If you have been improperly charged or aren’t sure, fill out the form. It only takes a few minutes and basically asks for your phone account information. They’ll go through your account and determine if you are eligible for a refund. I’ve submitted mine just in case there is a charge that I missed in my bill.

The FTC notes that it may take over 9 months to get a refund.



Product Review, Technology

Costco: Excessive Packaging


Just bought this Seagate 1TB Hard Drive from Costco and found the packaging to be ridiculously large and wasteful. The packaging is too hard to open by hand and if you end up cutting them open with scissors or a knife, you’ll very likely end up cutting up the instruction sheet like I did. No, I don’t read instruction sheets for a plug and play device, but if I did I would be out of luck.

Maybe hard drives in warehouse stores like Costco are too hard to find or too easily stolen, but I think this has gone too far.


Improvement, Product Review, Technology

Going Paperless with ScanSnap- Evernote Edition Scanner


Messy offices and desks are something that many of us have problems with. Over the years my office has gone through cycles ranging from minor embarrassment to total disaster. Occasionally, when I have had enough of the mess, I try to organize things, but soon piles of paper build up, staking their claim to my desk. Chaos occurs because I don’t have a system to deal with daily organization.

Paper is my biggest problem, so I decided to tackle it first. Dealing with paper should be an easy thing, but problems occur when an item doesn’t neatly fall into one of my pre-existing folders. Sometimes I’ll create a new folder if I feel that it warrants one, but often times it just gets put into a pile to be sorted later. Instead of getting sorted out, the pile soon grows and grows. I decided to attack the problem directly by trying to go paperless.

My tool of choice for this is the ScanSnap- Evernote Edition Scanner. This scanner is the special branded Evernote edition of the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner. The software for the regular iX500 is more versatile and has a few more features than the Evernote edition, but the workflow with Evernote is what appealed to me most. The Evernote edition is designed to automatically scan in documents, business cards, photos, and receipts into Evernote. I have used Evernote daily to store little bits of information and clipped web pages, so managing scanned documents seemed pretty natural. The ScanSnap- Evernote Edition comes with one year of Evernote Premium- you’ll definitely need managing this amount of data.

Now, as soon as something new comes across my desk, I deal with it immediately, deciding if it’s worth scanning or not. The ScanSnap is a duplex scanner, able to quickly scan both sides of a document at once. Multipage documents placed into the document feeder are scanned as quickly as they can be pulled in. Unless it’s an important document where I need to keep the original, it gets tossed in the shredder.

Scanned items show up in Evernote in various notebooks that you can set. From there you can label the items and file them into other notebooks. You can have the same problem as physical filing, the proliferation of notebooks but it is a lot easier and quicker to create virtual ones. But if you have too many of them it’s a little bit awkward dragging and dropping documents to the correct notebook.

One of the big benefits of filing things digitally is that instead of being buried in a physical folder, each document that is scanned into Evernote becomes searchable. I don’t know how many times I’ve found information that would be impossible to find if I had to go to the file cabinet. Documents are no longer just documents, but useable information.

There are a few little quirks in the workflow. The ScanSnap- Evernote Edition uses size to automatically differentiate between business cards, receipts, and documents. If you have two different documents, you must scan them individually or they end up in one file. If you have different sized items, you have to set it manually to document to get everything to scan into one document. Sometimes things are scanned in and are upside down and need to be manually rotated. You would think with Evernote’s automatic OCR that it would take care of it 100% of the time. It doesn’t.

Note: There is a video on the Evernote site that shows a bunch of papers, photos, receipts, and business cards sitting in the document feed being scanned in and automatically sorted. I think it is somewhat misleading, because Evernote can not sort between two different documents, any letter sized documents that are together gets scanned into the same document. Evernote suggests putting a business card between each letter sized document to break things into separate documents. In reality this not very practical. I have gotten used to scanning things in one at a time and this works fine for me.

The ScanSnap- Evernote Edition at $495 is a little pricier than other scanners, but to me it has been worth every penny. The ScanSnap can be found in Evernote Market.


Xbox 360 Repaired

The weekend before Thanksgiving, my Xbox 360 once again died with the dreaded three light Red Ring of Death hardware failure. This is a problem that has plagued the original Xbox 360 and is the third time my Xbox has failed since 2006. It’s been such a problem for users that Microsoft extended the Xbox 360 warranty to 3 years to deal with these issues.

I’ve never really worried about warranties for electronic devices mostly because by the time they break, they’re already obsolete. In most cases, they’re pretty much disposable.

However, in the case of the Xbox 360, the game console industry has changed. The Kinect accessory has given the Xbox 360 new life and is unlikely to be replaced any time soon.

Because of this, I faced the choice of purchasing a new one or having the six year old Xbox 360 fixed.

Because the Red Ring of Death is so pervasive, a number of Xbox repair places have sprung up on the internet. I chose a place and decided to try it since it was very low risk- only $49.99 for repair with free return shipping and a one year warranty.

I purchased the repair online and shipped it to them in Pennsylvania on Monday Nov. 21st and received it back yesterday Nov. 30, nine days later. Nine days is incredibly fast because it includes four days of transit and the Thanksgiving weekend.

I plugged Xbox in and it works! We’ll see how long it works, but I was very impressed with the speed of service I received from


Steve Jobs: Follow your heart

Watching and reading all the tributes to Steve Jobs, I found that nothing moved me more than his own words.  From his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Steve Jobs was an inspiration to me and my generation, showing that it’s possible to start from humble beginnings and achieve greatness.  Steve showed us that technology should be beautiful, functional, and easy to use.  And because of this, Apple products have permeated and changed my life.  But, in death he reminds us that life is short and that we should not waste it by not doing something we love.

If you have not watched Steve Jobs’s Stanford Commencement Address, I highly recommend it.