For two years now I’ve been held captive by Steve Jobs and whoever owns Hughesnet. About the same time I signed two-year service contracts for an iPhone and Hughesnet satellite Internet service.
With Hughesnet the contract wasn’t all that bad, just the product and service they provided. But even then, I really didn’t have an option unless I was willing to settle for dial-up as my internet service provider (ISP). We out here in Bumsquat, Ohio still don’t have any other viable option but satellite and I could continue with Hughesnet on a month to month basis free of contractual obligation. But, that would mean contending with their less than stellar performance and difficult to understand Asian technical support persons. I don’t ever want to attempt prying answers out of a Pakistani named Danny, who doesn’t understand me any more than I understand him, again.
So, just days after becoming free I have signed a two-year contract with a competitor of Hughesnet, Exede. Exede is another satellite ISP but with new technology that promises speeds up to 12 times that of Hughesnet, for the same price, and with US-based technical support. I’ve seen the system demonstrated three times now and spoken to an installer I know and he confirms what the company is claiming.
The contract I really disliked was the one that bound me to own Steve Jobs’ iPhone for two-years. Not that it was a bad product, it always worked without fail and one could do much more than just use it to make a phone call. The problem was the same as with all products made by Apple, the manufacturer decides what they want you to do with their creation and not what you want to do.
Perfect examples include Apple’s refusal to support the video format called Flash. Jobs decided Flash had no future so refused to permit Apple products to support it. Consequently, any video, and there are many, using Flash will not play on an iPhone. Can’t count the times I came across something I wanted to watch only to be told, “This device doesn’t support format.” Secondly, there is iTunes, Apple’s proprietary scheme to make control how the user installs music and podcast onto their phone. Instead of treating the memory of your phone like just another external drive that you can drag and drop files to, one has to open up a software program that involves a far more complex and limiting means to do it. To download content and applications the user must visit the Apple Store where they are tempted to open up their wallets and purses.
My contract having expired on the iPhone, I immediately jumped back into cutting edge prison with a new contract with AT&T. This time, however, I went with an Android HTC One X smartphone. The philosophy behind Android is just the opposite of Apple. It is an open software format based on Linux operating system and essentially anyone is free to develop applications and the device behaves like an external drive and most of what one knows about their PC applies to dealing with this phone. I can create directories, give them whatever name I wish, organize them as I wish, and move files and data around just as I am free to do with my desktop or laptop PC.
If I’m back in prison I’m looking at it like it’s one of the Federal resort style prisons where they sent wealthy white-collar crooks. Oh guard, more ice tea please!