PSA: Verizon and unlimited data plans

I don’t write a lot (if any) tech posts here, but I’ve been meaning to start–and now is a pretty good time to start. Verizon is ending unlimited data plans for upgraders in the near future. (They’ve been unavailable to new customers for a year, but as of right now, you can still upgrade and keep it if you already have it.) They’re moving to tiered data plans, which will cap your data and charge you a premium for overages. In short, a terrible deal. No specific expiration date on unlimited data yet, but if you have an unlimited 3G plan right now, you’re going to want to jump on the unlimited 4G ship before it’s sailed forever. (If you’re devoted to iPhone, you may be out of luck, though.) Here are some ways to keep your unlimited and upgrade to a new 4G phone:

  • If your phone is available for a discounted upgrade, do it now. Get yourself a good 4G phone that you’ll be satisfied with for a while. The Motorola DROID RAZR or HTC Rezound are good options; also, the HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE is coming soon. All of these have (or will have) the newest version of Android: Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. Do some research to ensure whatever phone you get will have this.
  • If your phone won’t be available for a discounted upgrade for a while, buy one of Verizon’s certified pre-owned phones online. They have some pretty good 4G phones, some as low as $50 with a new two-year contract.
  • See if Verizon will offer you an early upgrade. They send out occasional promotions. I don’t know exactly when or why they offer these; maybe a few months before you’re due for an upgrade you’ll get an e-mail promotion. Don’t hold your breath for this, though.
  • Buy a new phone at full price. It’s the most expensive option, but if you really want a certain phone and you can afford it, you can always do this without having to sign a new contract.
  • Switch to Sprint. They’re the only major cell phone carrier still offering unlimited 4G plans to new customers. Verizon has a much better network though, so if you can keep them, I would.

Point being: upgrade to 4G now if you can. This is basically your last chance. Verizon still has good customer service despite this awful move, and they have the best network for both voice and data. I hate Verizon for this, but it is what it is.

spaghetti and blankets

Here’s something I think is pretty special. I know it’s floating around the interwebs, but any Mitch Hedberg recording is worthy of sharing. This particular audience recording (not mine, but will gladly give credit where it’s due) comes from his set at the 40 Watt here in Athens, back in 2002. I’m quite happy with the quality and choice of venue. We were lucky to have him. Hope it makes you laugh as much as it makes me laugh.

Mitch Hedberg Live at 40 Watt Club – Athens, GA – 4/9/02

Download ZIP Archive

team conan!

It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge fan of Conan O’Brien for a long time. I loved him on Late Night, and what he’s done so far during his brief time on The Tonight Show is spectacular. He’s updating the franchise for our generation, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the work he’s done in the past seven months. Sadly, NBC thinks differently.

I’m sure you’re aware of the fiasco going on at NBC right now, and if you feel the same way I do, feel free to copy and paste the email addresses here and let your opinion be known:

Subject: The Tonight Show

Dear NBC Executives,

I’m writing in regards to…well, you already know, so I won’t waste your time with an introduction.

I’ve enjoyed watching Conan on Late Night, and much more briefly on The Tonight Show, for the better part of two decades. He is my favorite late night host on any network by far. If he stays on NBC, I will continue to watch him on NBC. But if this reckless move that you are proposing goes through, then I will not watch any late night show on NBC, the local news on NBC affiliates, nor will I tune in to any NBC show other than The Office, which for me at the current moment, is the network’s only worthwhile output other than The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.

The reason why Jay’s show failed and Conan’s show has been losing to Letterman in the ratings is two-fold. First, Jay is not funny. Secondly, and related to the first point, Jay was not put back on the air until months after Conan took over The Tonight Show. Thus, many of Jay’s remaining fans split themselves between Letterman and Conan. By the time Jay finally returned at 10, he was easily forgotten because of his aforementioned inability to be funny, and because he had already lost so many viewers to Letterman and Conan. He may have been able to survive at 10 had his show began immediately when Conan took over, so that Jay’s fans could watch him and then hopefully stay tuned for Conan, but NBC took another route, and have failed. Suck it up, and cancel–not move–Jay, just as you would cancel any other show that fails. Jay Leno has had his moment in the spotlight for long enough, and it’s now Conan’s turn.

If Conan does not remain the host of The Tonight Show at 11:35pm EST, every weekday on NBC, I can guarantee that whatever he does next will far exceed–both in content and in ratings–anything that Leno can do for your network. The aftermath of your decision will not be pretty. You will lose far more viewers than you have lost already, myself included.

Please reconsider your decision, and let Conan stay just where he is. Give him the time he needs to produce the best late night show on TV, one that advances the show’s format instead of allowing it to remain stale, because that’s exactly what Conan is going to do–whether he’s on NBC or not.

I hope you make the right decision.

Luke Humphrey

And here’s one of my favorite bits from Late Night, which inexplicably, Conan has not brought over to The Tonight Show:

those were the days when you were so cosmopolitan

I’ve spent most of this Christmas at home with loved ones, playing some new video games (DJ Hero and New Super Mario Bros Wii, and revisiting Super Mario Galaxy and Animal Crossing), and thinking a lot about Vic Chesnutt’s passing.

I discovered Vic just a couple of years ago thanks to a college friend who burnt me a copy of About to Choke. Vic first caught my ear in the late ’90s, but I was too busy listening to Chumbawamba and Fastball at the time (it’s painful to admit that). I was blown away by Vic’s raw, lonesome, but powerful presence. I knew I had been missing out on something, so I quickly tried to catch myself up, but I wasn’t quick enough.

Here’s one of my favorite cuts from Is the Actor Happy?

For me, and for everyone, he left too soon. RIP, Vic.

the first thing you see is the light

There’s a mixtape thread going over at TVCY, and people are getting pretty creative. I love making mixes, and I’m often forced to limit myself to 80 minutes because I don’t have an iPod, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

As these songs came together, I saw some loose themes connecting them and I decided to go conceptual. This mix chronicles either a) the destruction of Earth by an angry but loving God, or b) the stages of a break-up. Or nothing, you decide.

Beautiful Destruction
Download ZIP Archive

1. Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s – “A Children’s Crusade on Acid”
2. Massive Attack – “Unfinished Sympathy”
3. Danielle Brisebois – “Promise Tomorrow Tonight”
4. Modern Skirts – “Bridges and Overpasses”
5. The Olivia Tremor Control – “Tropical Bells”
6. Coheed and Cambria – “The Willing Well I: Fuel for the Feeding End”
7. Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power, and the Amorphous Strums – “Teddy Bear”
8. Dark Meat – “Well Fuck You Then”
9. Titus Andronicus – “My Time Outside the Womb”
10. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – “The Debtor”
11. Japandroids – “I Quit Girls”
12. Counting Crows – “August and Everything After”
13. Metric – “Help I’m Alive (Acoustic)”
14. fun. – “Walking the Dog II”
15. Volcano Choir – “Seeplymouth”
16. Jon Brion – “Peer Pressure”
17. Ben Thornewill – “His Good Side”

Under construction…but the foundation is set

Out with the procedural stuff first.

I’ve owned this domain since ’04, and while it’s been inactive for the majority of the time, it was cheap enough to renew it every year and keep it safe from squatters.  Time, money, and a lack of focus are primary reasons for the inactivity.

One of the most exciting things I did as an undergrad was producing and podcasting my radio show.  This was in ’05, right as folks were catching onto the wave of podcasting.  I did this on my own; no one at WGUR seemed to be willing to get the online streaming (or even a website) up.  I was one of a handful of non-mass comm. majors to be as involved as I was with the station.  However, I took on a lot of credits during my last year or so, and had to give it up.  I would love to have pursued it as a career, but my passion was primarily in radio, and it’s clearly a dying medium.  I’m excited that 99X just returned this weekend; I haven’t had a chance to listen because I’ve been out of the Atlanta area, but the fact that it came back is a bit of a miracle.  Commercial and public radio all around the country is struggling; the trend is definitely pointing toward podcasting or online streaming a la Pandora, and it has been for a while.  It’s cheap, you can reach a lot of listeners, and most people who do it aren’t looking for a lot of profit, anyway.

I was always surprised to see how many people visited and at least downloaded podcasts (who knows if they listened or not).  I amassed one or two reviews on iTunes.  Which, actually, was a big deal to me, because I did nothing to advertise aside from some flyers on campus.  I have no clue how anyone outside of Milledgeville got word of the site or the show.  People listening was/is a bonus.  I just love playing good music.

This has been a long time coming.  A big thanks to David (thirdeyeblindrocks) at TVCY for setting me up with hosting.  I won’t have the luxury of a studio like I did when I was at WGUR, but maybe that will be a blessing.  I’ll be buying a mixer and a mic with my next paycheck, and hope to be podcasting on the road some this summer; from my apartment in the meantime.

You can expect a few shows from the archive (re-runs) while I get things up and running with the site and hardware side of things.