Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

My Name is Shannon and I’m a Bum.

I didn’t make it a point to get to bed at a decent hour last night and my alarm didn’t scream at 6:15A like it normally does. It’s currently 745A and I’m sitting in my kitchen, sipping home-brewed coffee, browsing Nordstrom’s website and organizing my online life (read: unsubscribing to emails from a million obscure websites that bombard my inbox) before leaving for England on Thursday. It feels like a three-day weekend today; the Monday after Labor Day, perhaps. It still hasn’t hit me that I have opted to be a jobless bum for an indefinite period of time. My schedule today is filled with the oh-so-important tasks of shopping, gymming, tanning, laundry and packing. It’s truly bizarre because I haven’t been jobless since I was 15ish and now my “job” is to be a super student and traveler extraordinaire (and blogger, of course). If that’s the case, I suppose I should hope to graduate with a Masters with distinction (or high distinction, if such a thing is humanly possible) and should return next year with the most amazing pictures ever! On the traveling front (to ease my bummy nerves), I do have trips to Germany, Malta, Italy & Greece nearly set in stone, and getaways to Scotland, Ireland and France are a must considering their proximity to England! In any case, before I start thinking about those fun-filled adventures, I’m off to Kohl’s to stock up on an array of socks and shoe inserts.

Don’t be jealous.

Hope everyone’s having an amazing day at work!

Shannon

PS. As a side note, I tried Skype with my iPhone last night (with no phone plan or SIM card or anything!) and it worked like a charm! Provided you have internet access (and the Skype subscription — $30 a year to the US and Canada), you can call any landline or cell — CRYSTAL clear!

PPS. Buy one, get one 50% off at H&M! Download the coupon here.

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e-Inspired.

I find myself inspired by the most ordinary of things.

The way that coffee comes to sit in my cup after traveling a long road from a farmer and a plant in Central America (or South America, or Africa, etc., etc.) The way that colorful pumps manage to totally invigorate an otherwise mundane outfit. The way that I can actually see the leaves on trees when I have my glasses on. The way in which a well-written text (or textbook, for that matter) can ignite previously undiscovered thoughts. The way that our minds really have power over matter.

ebay

Today, however, my inspiration comes in the form of a well-known e-auction house: eBay. Pierre Omidyar is a true luminary. In a time when our now-everyday technology was relatively new to the masses, he brought us an amazingly innovative way to shop. Although I have used eBay since its inception, it is in recent times that I have really discovered how powerful it truly is. I recently purchased my iphone off of eBay and could not be happier — not only did I save money on the phone, but I managed to purchase an unlocked version for use in the UK. Also, since eBay does us the service of “rating” sellers and buyers for us, I was confident in sending $200 through cyberspace (via PayPal) to a person that I had never met. As per usual, my order arrived on my doorstep within 5-7 business days: convenient and efficient. I didn’t even have to leave my desk! Yesterday I also purchased a cover for my newly acquired iPhone. $6 for two hard covers (white & black) with free shipping. Voila!

Although I harness the power of technology on a daily basis, every so often I have to take a look around and appreciate the efficiency that computers, the internet and technological advancements have borne. What would we/could we do without the internet? Without email? Without search engines and Wikipedia to help with our last-minute research endeavors? Without e-Trade for our stocks and without CNN and E! Online for our daily news? How could we live without social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Can you imagine having to send in paper applications to apply at a university or having to send actual mail (with stamps!) to communicate with people across the world? How ever would we survive?!

Thank God (& tech whizzes around the world) for technology — what would we do without you?


Signature Stamp - Shannon

Holy Apps!

I am happy to say that I received my amazing new iPhone via UPS on Thursday night! I’ve been playing with it incessantly (as my family will tell you) because it is so saturated with cool features! Although I thought I had purchased the new 3G, I think it may actually be the 2G. No sweat, though. Either way, I got this bad boy for a mere $190 (with shipping) and it has all the apps I could ever need. In addition to the iPod, Gmail, Safari, GPS, and YouTube, the app store has given me access to loads of free apps to customize my phone! The coolest part is that although I don’t have a SIM card as of yet (that part has to wait until London — jumping on the O2 network), I can still use our Wi-fi to get online and start playing! It’s my handy little mobile computer.

To customize it and make it a little more me, I have added TwitterFon, Skype (which will be amazing for talking to my parents!), WordPress (to check iphone_appsout my blog on the go!), NY Times, LinkedInFacebook Mobile, e-Trade mobile, BofA, Expedia (to view my itineraries) and Lose It! (a food & exercise diary). Additionally, I found a load of apps that will be of use in London! I downloaded three that I thought would be particularly great: a translator, TubeMap and What’s On London. The translator will be cool whilst traveling, it has loads of languages pre-loaded! The TubeMap is also handy, it notes my “home tube station” and gives me a full map of tube lines, points of interest, plus the status of lines at any given time. PLUS, I can map out a route on getting to a destination. The “What’s On London” app is handy for some insight into what’s going on around town in terms of art, books, bars, sports, theatre, museums, music, restaurants, etc.

Best of all, these apps are 100% FREE! I love all things free, and when things are free AND useful, they’re even better. I could not be happier with my investment. This will be the best tool ever come September!

Hope everyone else in my position is having similar luck!

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Phone Plan… Check!

o2-iphone-uk

So, I got my bank account situation in order last week and NOW, my phone situation is one less stress! I have spent the last couple of months scouring UK phone plans. I looked at Vodafone, Orange, 3 and other other providers, but ultimately my heart was set on O2. O2 is sort of the equivalent of our AT&T in the US. They are the only ones that offer the iPhone, plus they have loads of pay-as-you-go plans, monthly tariffs and SIM only (something that I thought was kind of unique).

Now, I knew that I wanted the iPhone, but I had read that the monthly tariffs (phone plans = tariffs) were difficult for international students to acquire due to their lack of credit, etc. Even after looking at both tariff types for the iPhone (pay-as-you-go versus the monthly), they were both rather pricey. The 3G S is obviously more than the 3G, but I opted for the older version due to the cost differential. Even with the 3G model, the monthly plans are only available in 18 or 24-month contracts. Though it is possible I will reside in the UK for 18 months, that’s not my plan as of now, and having to deal with cancellations and extra fees isn’t really my cup of tea (pun intended?). The best monthly plan that I ran across for an 18-month contract was a 44.05 GBP per month plan. The plan includes 1200 minutes, 500 texts, unlimited Wi-fi and they give you the iPhone for FREE! Now, honestly, I would have been willing to pay the 44 pounds per month (right now 44GBP is about $70-$75) because of the fact that the phone is free, plus unlimited web access, etc. It’s actually a pretty good deal if you live in the UK or are planning on living there for 18+ months.

Now, the pay-as-you go plans/tariffs work in a different way. You pay an up front fee of 342.54 GBP (about $556 right now), and with that you get the 8GB 3G iPhone on the O2 network, plus you get unlimited Wi-fi for the 12-months following purchase. You also get unlimited UK minutes to landlines and other O2 phones when you top up 30GBP per month. Well, this one sounds like it could work for me. I likely wouldn’t top up 30GBP per month since the point of doing this would be to keep minutes to a minimum. Otherwise, I might as well do the 18 month plan for 44 GBP per month!

Regardless, both of these ended up giving me a headache; thinking about the extra cost of a phone is a task. I knew that I wanted an iPhone because of the functionality and the coolness factor, plus I need a switch after years of a BlackBerry (although they’re cool, too). This being the case, I stumbled upon O2’s SIM-Simlicity plans. You have to provide your own phone that can function on the O2 network. For many, this means just buying one of the cheap-o O2 phones that they offer for under 50 GBP. I decided, however, to purchase an unlocked iPhone that can work ANYWHERE. The SIM plans are available on a month-by-month basis or a 12-month contract. With the 12-month plan, you get 33% more since you’re on a longer contract. For 19.58 GBP per month, I get a SIM card to put into my new iPhone that has a monthly allotment of  800 minutes, 1600 texts and a bolt-on of my choice. The “bolt-on” (additional feature of your choosing) can be any of a number of things: unlimited O2 to O2 calls, unlimited texts, unlimited web access, unlimited Wi-fi, unlimited weekend calls, unlimited landline calls or 200 extra anytime minutes. I opted for the unlimited web! So, for under 20GBP per month, I get 800 minutes, 1600 texts and unlimited web access — I mean, really? In a stroke of luck, I snagged my UNLOCKED iPhone (3G) on eBay for under $200! The extra benefit is that since it’s unlocked, and not attached to the O2 network specifically, as I travel, I can purchase SIM cards in my country of residence (if I’m there for a semi-long period of time) and use their SIM cards to allow my phone to work (and not incur roaming charges)! All around a perfect fit for me!

Thought I’d share — it took me months to figure out what option was best and now that I’ve stumbled upon it, I have to share the wealth :)

Much love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon