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Wayne Bristow

Wayne Bristow

I'm a poz guy, just starting my tenth year living with HIV. I've been blogging here at since March 20th, 2011. I volunteer at two AIDS Service Organizations in my area, ACG (AIDS Committee of Guelph/Wellington) and ACCKWA (AIDS Committee of Cambridge Kitchener Waterloo and Area). I've also been blogging for ACG since November 2010. I am a self-taught social media junkie doing facebook and twitter. I'm a great retweeter. I was recently hired by the OHTN (Ontario HIV Treatment Network) as a Peer Research Assistant. In my spare time I am a hobby photographer; some of my photos show up in my blog. 

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I am too dumb for a smartphone

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 Written by // Wayne Bristow - Positive Life Categories // Hobbies, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Wayne Bristow

Wayne Bristow admits he didn’t read the fine print on his smartphone contract, and he made a bad purchase, but he likes the photographic capabilities it comes with

I am too dumb for a smartphone

To everyone who gave me advice when I decided to get a smartphone, I confess, I should have listened.

What a difference a year makes. What I thought would be a good thing for me has turned out to be a nightmare. I’m not talking about the smartphone itself; my rant is more about the service provider. I was totally sucked in by their sales promotion, a free phone and a $130 Blue Jays jersey to top it off.

The plan they sold me became the problem I’m having right now. It started off with a data plan that I thought would be suitable, something that all of my friends had. But I learned after receiving several bills that were nearly $100 more than I expected that my data plan was for only 150,000 MBs. When I called the provider about it, they said the amount of data I had would only allow me to check a couple of emails and do a few Facebook postings per month; anything more than that was going to cost me.

I told them at the time of purchase that I do a lot of social media work, including for I need a plan that would allow me to do thatr and I trusted that it was what I was getting, but it wasn’t. I didn’t ask questions, I signed without reading it all. In my defence, the contract is several pages of small print - and who really takes the time to read all of it? I shouldn’t have gone alone.

That's my first admission of being too dumb for a smartphone.

As I mentioned above, my displeasure has nothing to do with the phone I chose. The Blackberry Z10 was what I wanted. I didn’t care how bad it was compared to others because even now I don’t use many of the apps or programs on it. I don’t even use the calendar to schedule my appointments, I have a paper list. I use it the most for texting and photography. I am getting some amazing photos from it.

The initial reason to get a smartphone was for the social media aspect but when I found out how annoying all the alerts were and that you actually had to check them to get rid of them I had had enough. Six months ago I disabled the alerts and I only check those things when I’m in an area where there is free wifi.

That's my second admission of being too dumb for a smartphone.

To finish off with this venting/rant/truth, I bought a tablet, the Samsung Tab3. I got it so that I could load my photos on it to show potential customers who might hire me for  my photography work. As I began playing with the tablet, I realized I could do all the social media stuff on it for free. I just need to be where there is free wifi and I’m online.

So with this new revelation, I contacted my service provider and asked that they drop my data plan, and I got a big “no, I can’t do that or I would be violating the terms of the contract and there would be a penalty to do it”. At the time of signing the contract, they were three year terms. I am 15 months into this contract so for the next twenty-one months I’m locked in to paying for data I don’t really need. Alternatively, I could buy my way out of the contract for $300 at this stage.

That's my third admission of being too dumb for a smartphone.

Well you live and learn, even at this age. I will listen more from now on. This being my first smartphone is no excuse, I should have asked the questions.

When I ended my call with the service provider, she tried to slip in another offer; she asked me if there was anyone in the family I cared to add to my plan. This is where I got really smart and because the call was being monitored for training purposes, my comment back to her was:

”Lady, I’m am not pleased with what I got myself into or the way you choose to help me resolve it, so the last thing I will do is recommend your service to anyone.”

“Free” rarely means free, I will end up paying for this phone for three years by the time the contract ends.

On the upside, the smartphone camera is still amazing. Last year I had one of the top 20 photos in the local ‘Guelphonography’ contest, and I have just been notified that one of my entries for this year’s contest is one of the top twenty. The top three winners will be announced on September 26th. Wish me luck!

Here is a sample of my smartphone photos.