Rant about US Mobile Phone Market/Plans

May 17th, 2012

I’ve been holding back ranting about the US mobile phone market for a while now, but alas, I find that my wife must wisk back to the States and I need a way for her to be in touch.  So it’s boiling over and I can’t contain it – the US carriers are running such a racket!

Last time we were in the states, we bought a 1 month T Mobile SIM for somewhere between $50 to $70.  I can’t remember exactly.  It included a ton of talk time, text, and 5GB of data with tethering (thank you Android and Samsung Nexus).  I thought the price for the plan was not too bad.  Unfortunately, the coverage at her parent’s house redefined BLOWING CHUNKS.  The phone would ring & possibly have a phone conversation inside the house.  Data never worked inside.  Sitting outside on back of my pickup truck, it would work, sort of, sometimes….  At her sister’s house, it was pretty good, in fact I tethered instead of switching over to her WiFi.  Outside at local parks and other areas it ran the full range of passable to downright good.  But still, in the primary location of need, it was horrible.

I selected T Mobile because AT&T’s offerings were spectacularly BAD.  We needed data, and their Pay as You Go data was highway robbery.  Our phones, living in the UK, are GSM so Verizon wasn’t an option.

Fast forward to today.  AT&T as “new data amounts!”  Whooooowho.  But wait, exactly how is this NOT false advertising?  I really need someone to explain it to me, because I’m quite confused.


and then

AT&T, you still SUCK!!!!

Let me give you a comparison.  We just went to Ireland for an extended weekend.  I bought a 2000 minute, 5000 text, All You Can Eat data plan SIM from Three for 20 Euro.  Yes – that’s $25.  In three days I used about 1.5 GB and was happy that I was able to upload some funny YouTube videos, some pictures, and research our next destination all while we were enroute (oh, and do a ton of GPS to get there).  Also, it was really darn nice that Skype worked just fine and our US relatives were able to reach us by calling my US number & carry on a conversation about a dire family medical situation all while we were driving down the road ….

Here in the UK, I’ve just ordered a Samsung Galaxy S3 2000 minutes, 5000 text, All You can Eat data for £0 up front, £34/month 24 month contract.  T-Mobile has a similarly good Full Monty all the data you want plan for around £36/month (not sure if there are any up front costs for the phone).

Both of these plans completely allow tethering….  My similar cost Orange plan the Nexus is on host more restrictive minutes & data, but allows tethering no problem (it’s your data – how you use it is up to you!).

What is the major malfunction with the US cellphone market?

Any chance it’ll get fixed within the next 2 years and 3 months??????


2011 Christmas Letter

December 21st, 2011

Presenting our 2011 Christmas Letter with Photo Collage (3MB PDF).
Here is a standalone, high resolution/quality version of the Photo Collage (5.6MB JPEG).

Thanks to Open Office for making it possible to get the jpg attached onto the last page and the whole thing converted to a high quality PDF!

Merry Christmas.
Chris, Lisa, Isabel & Bethany

The Bat In The House, Day 2

December 23rd, 2010

The bat is back tonight!

Last night Lisa wouldn’t get off the couch from under the covers to come see it through the glass door that was trapping it in our kitchen.  Tonight.  Yeah, she got a good view!  As I walked by the kids’ room where they were laying on either side of Mommy, diligently listening to a book, I witnessed the bat silently circling over their position like an AC-130 gunship on station.  I don’t know how long it had been doing that, but when I mentioned it….well….let’s just say it got everyone’s attention!

I was able to get the little guy to fly out of their room and into my master bedroom, where I the opened the windows and curtains.

Here is proof the bat exists

After sufficiently harassing the little guy with the video camera, I setup a flashlight on each window to attract the plethora of house flies that somehow manage to live even though it’s -1.3 deg C and hopefully coax the little guy to leave.  I turned out the light and left the room for about 10 minutes.  Upon returning, I think he’s actually gone this time!

If you missed the first encounter, it’s worth a read.


The Bat In The House, Day 1

December 23rd, 2010

Had an experience tonight that was definitely new to me.  It’s detailed on my Facebook wall, which is copied below for those that don’t do FB.

Our Forand 2010 Christmas Letter (in PDF this time)

December 23rd, 2010


It’s in PDF now thanks to Dan for reminding me that OpenOffice has convert to PDF.  The quality on the PDF OO generated blew away my other two attempts!

Our Family 2010 Christmas Letter

December 23rd, 2010

Please find attached our 2010 Christmas letter – what a great year!


Isabel’s Peter the Pig Story

April 30th, 2010


Saturday Hike Meeting Point

April 22nd, 2010

Please let me know if this is the Saturday meeting point. Thanks!

Stainforth Hike Meet Up, 20100424-0930

I started a blog

January 29th, 2010

For a long time I’ve been frustrated with the complexity and amount of manual work associated with my web page.  I never really had the time to look into or fix it.  Then, when we moved to England for work, people started asking if I had a blog to document my family’s experience.  I didn’t.

Now, I might be solving both of my problems in one step with WordPress.  I’m starting this blog in an effort to make it easier to post content to my web page and to document my family’s growth and adventures.

I hope you all enjoy!