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I’m Falling In Love With An Android…Phone

an android with love in its eyes

A few weeks ago, something happened to me that makes geeks the world over scream with happiness: my cell phone contract had reached its end with my previous carrier.  To normal folk, this might not seem like that exciting of an occasion, but to the geek species, this is almost like having a second birthday.

Suddenly faced with a decision that will once again lock me into 2 years of ridiculous fees, unchanging phone hardware and the prospect that I would have to use yet another phone that I would not enjoy, I decided to shop around instead of going with the only local carrier with decent coverage here in my area.

I said goodbye to US Cellular, and went out into the world to find a carrier/phone combo that met my needs.  Each one of the providers had a major flaw, but I decided I had to look past that flaw in order to find a device that was exactly what I needed.

So, Sprint became the clear choice, regardless of the fact that they do not have a retail store in our area.  Now to decide which phone I wanted to use.

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Do You Need To Change The World?

I’ve been listening to two stellar podcasts lately: Planetary Radio and Are We Alone? Each time I listen to these shows, the scientist inside of me is rekindled, and I feel like society is taking a turn for the better because of the science happening on this planet and elsewhere in the universe.

After listening to Planetary Radio, I got to thinking (dangerous, I know) about what I am doing, and how it’s far from changing the world. I write this blog, work part-time as a web developer and write fiction in my spare time. Aside from being a father and a husband, is there anything that makes an impact on other people?

So here is the question: do you need to change the world in order to make a difference and stay happy?
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The Value of a Higher Education

I’ve been kicking back and forth whether or not to write this article, but this concept has been weighing on my conscience for far too long.  Being a student in Computer Science, I am beginning to notice the students around me more, and their level of competency when it comes to the narrow topics that are being discussed in class.  For the most part, everyone tries their best and gets things done, and as adults tend to actually attempt to understand all of the material.

But there are a select few students that either are just not getting it, or are relying on the “No Child Left Behind” mentality to simply skate through the college experience and earn their degrees.  One problem with this set of students is that they are going to be completely shocked and overwhelmed when they reach a real work environment, and not all requirements and steps are set in stone and handed to them on a silver plate.

This is where my problem with the state of higher education stems.
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Comic – Wal*Mart Pharmacy

True Tales From the Walmart Pharmacy

True Tales From the Walmart Pharmacy

Let me first say that I am indeed not the world’s greatest artist. I also have never done a web comic before, so just look past those facts at this point.

I was inspired to write this today after a visit to the Wal*Mart Pharmacy. I know that these people are busy and all, but there really isn’t much common courtesy between the employees and their customers.

Though the prescriptions only cost ~$4, the amount of time that you spend waiting for your prescription–judged solely on the amount of time that they quote you–makes the prescription astronomically expensive.

I know you guys are busy, and I know that your inexpensive prescriptions make you popular, but please, please stop telling people that their stuff will be ready in 30 minutes.

I have a few suggestions for Wal*Mart:

  1. Hire more pharmacy workers – You have two drive through lanes, each with computers, and you have two computers at the front desk. Yet, you have one person who has to attend to all of them?
  2. Start being realistic about your time quotations – If you’re extremely busy, I’d rather hear “Please come back in 2 hours” than “It will be ready in 30 minutes”, if the former is accurate. I could go home, do some work, go eat lunch, etc. Maybe this is some sort of internal marketing strategy to psychologically get people to buy stuff because they are stuck in the store for so long waiting for their prescription?
  3. If there is insurance on file, run it through first – Nothing gets me riled up more than waiting for the prescription, only to find out that I’ll have to wait again to not have to trade in my arm to get rid of a sinus infection. And for god’s sake, if there’s a problem with the insurance, tell me the first time I come for the prescription.

Well, there you have it. If you have had similar experiences at the Fail*Mart Pharmacy, talk about them in the comments. Otherwise, just multiply the time they quote you at the store by 4 or 5, and you’ll be good.