When news this week was announced that my current cell phone carrier, T-Mobile, is going to be merging with AT&T, I was less than thrilled. This comes after last week’s rumors that T-Mobile and Sprint were going to be merging. I was hoping this was just another bad rumor but the fact it was being reported by real news organizations, not just websites that post rumors, meant there was more to this one than the speculation about the merger with Sprint. With official announcements coming from T-Mobile, it just confirmed what I hope was not going to be the case. I’m not a happy camper about the news.
Why would I be not happy about the news? Well first off, I’ve been a very happy T-Mobile customer since 2003. I originally switched to them from my first cell phone carrier, which was Sprint. I didn’t leave Sprint because I was not happy with their service, I switched because Sprint is a CDMA technology carrier and I wanted to go to a GSM carrier as it’s more of a world standard service and since I do like to travel outside of the United States, I wanted a phone I could easily use outside the US. T-Mobile also offers to unlock their phones when you’re one of their customers so that when travelling abroad, you can easily switch out your T-Mobile SIM card with a pre-paid SIM card in the country you’re in to get a local number there. It’s a great option.
Continue reading AT&T and T-Mobile Merger Leaves Me Annoyed
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On May 21st, Google celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Pac-Man. For those not present in the early 1980’s Pac-Man was a phenomenon that took the world by storm. Arguably the first video game since the invention of the format that created a pop-culture frenzy. Pac-Man machines were all the rage, everything from traditional arcade machines, to cocktail table machines, and even home machines modeled after the arcade model and even appearing on popular home gaming consoles at the time like the Atari 2600.
Pac-Man was hitting pop culture by storm, appearing everywhere such as t-shirts, lunchboxes, board games, toys, and several incarnations in the arcade including the very popular Ms. Pac-Man. The popularity even spawned the creation of a Saturday morning cartoon series based on the game. If people were excited about Pong, the first video game, Pac-Man was the equivalent of Beatlemania taking it to a whole new level. Pac-Man was so popular it even inspired a song entitled “Pac-Man Fever” by Buckner & Garcia and it even incorporated sounds from the popular video game. If you’re interested in hearing the song, I’ve included a YouTube clip containing the song at the end of this blog entry.
Continue reading Google Celebrates Pac-Man’s 30th Anniversary
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If you are lucky enough to live in the Portland, Oregon area, or happen to have an Internet connection (which I suspect you might if you’re reading this) then you had the opportunity on Thursday May, 6th, 2010 to tune into the Paula’s Picks program on KBOO FM during her program and hear her present “You Have To Be There” performed by Helen Sjöholm from the musical “Kristina.” “You Have To Be There” is written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA. Paula Small is a friend of mine that I went to high school with and she moved to Portland and one of the fun things she does out there is host a radio program on the first and third Thursdays of every month for KBOO.
The last time I saw Paula was when she was back in town to visit some family at the end of 2008, so I took Paula to see the Xanadu production at the La Jolla Playhouse, and when I saw her online on Facebook and I said hello using the chat feature of Facebook, we ended up discussing some music. I was so excited about the live album “Kristina At Carnegie Hall” coming out and I’d just gotten it in, I sent her “You Have To Be There” to share my excitement about the show. Paula really liked the song and we both commented about how it starts out similar to “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” but ends up being a much more powerful song. Paula thought it might make a great addition to her show the following night.
Continue reading Paula’s Picks Presents You Have To Be There From Kristina
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I was originally planning on spending today at Disneyland with a friend and possibly some others, however my friend had to cancel earlier this week, so since I had my heart set on going up to Disneyland and I was going to be going by myself, I opted to go yesterday instead of today as it would just work out better for me. And while I was there I took the opportunity to play a wonderful iPhone app game designed to be played at Disneyland called “Wishing Stars.”
The concept of the game is that several “Wishing Stars” have been broken up and scattered throughout the Disneyland park. In order to find them, you have to take your iPhone to the location of the clues and hit the “I think I’m standing in front of it!” button. You can’t cheat because the app uses the GPS built into the iPhone to verify that you’re standing in the correct spot. It won’t accept your attempt to stand in front of the correct answer unless you actually are in front of it. Essentially its a GPS based treasure hunt. The game is the perfect addition to Disneyland for an Annual Passholder who finds themselves wanting something more to do within the park besides the rides.
Continue reading Add A New Element Of Fun To Disneyland With Wishing Stars
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One of the things I think that was inevitable was being told about Words With Friends. I was initially told about this Scrabble like game for the iPhone and iPod Touch through a few friends, but soon it was taking over the iPhone owners at work too. There’s no escaping Words With Friends. No doubt this due to the fact that Apple’s iTunes App Store carries both a paid and free version of the software, so there’s no excuse to not try it.
I consider Scrabble one of my least favorite games, as it was always one that my Dad liked to play. As a young child who loved games, I quickly grew to hate Scrabble as my young vocabulary never had a chance in hell of beating my Dad because he would never play it so that there was ever a chance I could win. While I’m sure some Scrabble grand masters would wipe the floor with my Dad, at such a young age I grew annoyed and frustrated that he’s never sacrifice a few top scoring words for the sake of giving the impression that he could be beaten or even sacrificing a game or two here and there to give a little victory and ensure those around him would still be willing to play with him. So I was a reluctant player drawn into Words With Friends due to this mostly hateful relationship I had with the game of Scrabble over the years, sure my vocabulary is greater than it once was, but I am no where near the type of player who truly masters the game with high scoring unusual words that only Scrabble grand masters know.
Continue reading Words With Friends Taking Mobile Scrabble To New Heights
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Press Your Luck was one of my favorite game shows from the early 1980’s. As a child I loved all the game shows of the period but one of the ones that always stood out was the short lived Press Your Luck with it’s host Peter Tomarkin. My brother and I used to enjoy the show, probably more for the Whammies than the actual game, as we were kids at the time. We loved to see the contestants hit a Whammy and have their money taken away so we could see one of the animated Whammy graphics come on and make the money disappear. They had so many wonderfully creative ones from ones that blew up a little dynamite detonator, to Whammies dressed like Boy George and the Beatles coming in to sing a little line from a tune before taking the money away. I also loved the sound effect from when the Whammy was hit, it just sounded like a dramatic electronic “Uh-oh.”
The game consisted of a round of questions where three players compete for the right to spin on the big board and earn cash and prizes, then a round of playing the spins followed by one more round of questions and then a final round of spins on the big board. The winner at the end of the game was the player who collected the most money in cash and prizes. Part of the strategy for the big board was to spin a few times to collect enough cash and prizes then to pass on the remaining spins to another player who would have to play those spins in the hope that the passed spins would force that player to hit a Whammy to steal their cash and prizes. It was a fun and high energy show that got quite competitive and a player could hit three whammies and stay in the game. A fourth Whammy eliminated them from the game.
Continue reading Press Your Luck Comes To The iPhone and iPod Touch
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To most of the rest of the country, Sonic Drive-In restaurants are a common, everyday sight and experience. Perhaps, one hardly worth taking note. However, they are relatively new here in San Diego, with their first store appearing in Santee about a year ago. I still have not visited that location, but on my way to my Post Office Box in Carlsbad I was driving through Vista and found they had put in a Sonic Drive-In near the recently redeveloped Main Street area. In fact, it’s really close to the old Peppertree Frosty shop that has an amazing variety of milkshakes and other ice cream treats.
I decided to give Sonic a try as I haven’t done a “drive-in” experience in years and thought it might be fun. I pulled into an open stall, decided on what to have then pressed the button to call the store to let them know I was ready to order. Once the order was placed, I loved the fact I could just pay with my Debit card (using it as a Mastercard) right at the menu board right next to the speaker and within a few minutes a young girl on roller skates was out to deliver my order and receipt. It was really cool. I know once the drive-thru was introduced, the drive-in’s were pretty much existing on borrowed time and nearly disappeared permanently, fortunately Sonic has been able to revive the format and make it accessible to folks who might never know the concept ever existed.
Continue reading Trying Out A Sonic Drive-In In Vista
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Now that 2009 has come to a close and 2010 has begun, I can safely say that it’s a year that has been very challenging and although I am not the least bit sad to see 2009 go, it certainly was not without some really incredible experiences for me that I would like to highlight before wipe the slate clean and start fresh with 2010.
This list was especially difficult to narrow down since 2009 was the year I kicked my blogging into high gear. I had started Ryan’s Incredible World in 2007 didn’t actually start blogging until 2008 and I would maybe make no more than five entries a month. So picking my highlights of 2008 was relatively easy since there wasn’t so many blog entries to go through to pick out the defining moments.
I had joined a couple of 30-Day blogging challenges which requires 30 blog entries in 30 days and it essentially got me into the habit of making almost daily blog entries. Now it’s pretty safe to say that each month sees about 25 new blog entries. The constant blogging has actually helped bring a bigger audience to my blog, so if your first time reading any of my writing has been in 2009, then no doubt something I wrote in 2009 caught your eye and is why you’re here reading this entry now. I am grateful for the many folks who’ve read my blog and left me comments, it’s been a pleasure to hear your feedback throughout the year. In any case, I looked through every post of 2009 to select what I feel were the 10 Most Incredible Things about 2009 that happened for me. You’ll note I combined a few complimentary things to narrow it down to 10.
I do hope you enjoy my reflection on 2009 and continue to join me on my quest to find the most incredible things of 2010. Without further ado, in no particular order.
Continue reading Ryan’s 10 Most Incredible Things About About 2009
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Earlier this month, my good friend Vito Grandolfo, said that he was going to upgrade his iPhone 3G to an iPhone 3GS phone and wanted to know if I would be interested in his iPhone 3G. I was definitely interested and I asked Vito if he was interested in my older Blu-Ray player, a Samsung BD-P1600. And he was interested so we decided to do a swap. A older Blu-Ray player for an older iPhone.
Vito got his new phone on Christmas Eve and we arranged a time to the technology exchange on the day after Christmas as Vito was flying out to another assignment for his job the very next morning. I helped Vito set up the Blu-Ray player on his TV and gave him a couple of the freebie Blu-Ray discs I had gotten by mail order rebate with the purchase of the player and we made sure it all worked.
Because I’m a T-Mobile customer and not an AT&T customer it was going to take a little bit of time to get the new iPhone ready for use. I already knew I wasn’t going to be able to use the 3G network as AT&T’s 3G network operates on a different frequency than T-Mobile’s 3G network and they’re not compatible. But what I was looking forward to was the integrated GPS as the older original generation iPhone I was using was only ever able to approximate my location using triangulation between cell phone towers and was not always the most accurate, especially when trying to use Google Maps for directions or having the phone identify the direction I was traveling on highways for one of the traffic monitoring applications. Additionally the iPhone Vito gave me was double the capacity of the small 4 GB iPhone I was currently using at the time. So plenty of room to expand.
Continue reading My “New” iPhone 3G
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