504 days of EVO

the OGI must confess, when I got my HTC EVO 4G it wasn't because I wanted it. I mean I did, but not until it had been tested by others. The reasons I ended up getting it earlier was that my previous phone couldn't make a call to save my life, and the repair service refused to come with me so I could show them it didn't work anywhere except the Sprint store or in a field next to a cell tower.

The EVO 4G was the hot new thing, having just been released a few weeks before, but all I needed right then was something that could make a phone call and share internet with my laptop. There was supposedly a waiting list 114 people deep for the 4G, but as I was leaving the store I said that maybe I would just wait until it was in stock and reactivate my landline for the next month or two.

An EVO mysteriously appeared in the rep's hand, she offered it to me, I said "whatWabout the 114 people on the list?" and was told there was no list – the manager wouldn't let them keep one. Er, ok… it worked I guess… odd, though. Since shortly after the EVO launch, then, I've been using my 4G and now 3D for pretty much everything, and overcoming almost any obstacle that's come in my way . . . eventually.

Rather than write a series of pieces on various apps, I thought I would highlight the problems I ran into and what I used to solve them.

2010 – You call that internet?

It is December 2010. I am at my in-laws in Sandy, Oregon, for Christmas. I'm sick as a dog and having to work remotely due to some issues 2,000 miles away.

Bill SlowskyFor reasons I still do not understand, the internet at that house only works with one computer and this computer is agonizingly slow. No amount of router rebooting and finagling would let my decently powered laptop work (I even cloned the MAC address of the slow desktop in an attempt to make it talk to my computer). There's a two to three second lag as I'm trying to do anything via remote desktop, and it keeps disconnecting because the computer I'm on is too slow to respond in a reasonable time frame.

I was rooted and running Sprint Lover's ROM at that point. I downloaded WiFi Tether for Root, put it on my phone, and bam… nothing… didn't work. However, I quickly learned that was due to some random issues with EVOs at the time, so I downloaded the beta copy of the app and it worked.

I was able to log in, fix what I needed to fix, and be off Sprint bandwidth in under ten minutes, thus saving me waiting for Sprint to activate it (and paying $30 for ten minutes of internet.)

2011 – Gale force winds strike Nashville.

Wind lowers already low prices Large sign on power lines  Phone lines snapped / laying in road  Advertisement for BK on electric wires

Sign blown down by 70+ windsIf you can get a signal you get that all circuits are busy; everyone's calling their loved ones on the cell networks. I get an email from a friend that there's no problem with landlines (except on my street) or internet at that point. It's just that everyone with a cell phone is calling or being called, subsequently freaking out when they can't reach someone and continuing to demon dial until they finally can make sure they're safe, compounding the problem.

I'm at home, no landline, people are calling left and right and getting dumped into my voicemail. My wife is 20 miles away in an office. I just want to tell her to sit tight and that things are ok/do not get on the roads, but it's impossible to reach anyone from where I'm at, as cell towers are overloaded/downed. Cable internet, however, was not.

I loaded up GrooveIP, made a SIP call to my wife at her office over my WiFi/cable internet, and made a couple of additional calls to let people know I was alive and that I would call them if I wasn't. I checked my voicemail with Google Voice over WiFi, and sent texts to the people I could not reach using an email-to-text message bridge (Google Voice has internet-to-text capability; I do not know why I was not using it for texts then.)

2011 – Ice storm freezes city

A sheet of ice formed over everything. Nashville does not get a lot of snow or ice, so we don't have the infrastructure to handle 50 square miles of roads all at once becoming solid ice. The city pretty much grinds to a halt in a slight drizzle to be honest with you. Locals in their 4x4s suddenly realize 4 wheels power spinning into a ditch vs 2 wheels slipping is not much help as they go off the roads.

I went to my 2×4 4-cyl Honda Element daddy wagon (hey, I'm a computer tech and a landlord; I need something that hauls boxy stuff) to go and get the wife to bring her home, slap my EVO 4G on the dash, pop up Google Maps, and proceed with caution along backroads that although unsalted are not traveled. I invite a friend who is four minutes from my house, stuck at work, to come stay the night with us as the town is a parking lot.

I used TDOT's smartway system and Google Maps traffic indicators to look at traffic along most of the route and plan accordingly. In 22 minutes, I pulled into my wife's work, picked her up, we mad e a stop along the way back to get her tattoo touched up (appointment had been made and they were still stuck at the place), and got back home safely without waiting in any traffic. I used Google Maps the entire time to stay off the main roads, which were not moving.

All said and done it was under an hour and a half to get her, get ink, get back. Two hours later my friend managed to get to us. Traffic was still backed up the next morning from the night before.

2011 – Dude, where's my car?

Although not so interesting as the previous entries, Carrr Matey! has been helping me locate my car in different cities for a while now, most recently in Seattle as we parked and walked in circles for a while.

2010/2011 – Okay, that's closed, what else is there to do in this city?

Often when meeting with large groups of friends we'll set a destination to meet and the place is closed due to one thing or another (private parties, gas leak, murder, the usual.)

There's nothing quite so fun as a group of friends in areas they might not know attempting to weigh in on where to go next. I've used Yelp! a number of times to discover what's close and had deals. Its' Google Map integration means you can also get turn-by-turn directions for your non-smartphone friends.

You can also Urbanspoon it.

2011 – What did I drink last night, what did I do, where is my car? 

Press Sherlock key, say "note to self," and leave yourself little notes. They'll end up in your Gmail account, transcribed with an attachment of the audio recorded. "Drinking tequila, coffee, and tonic water did not make me a classy Colombian. Do not repeat. Repeat, do not repeat."

The gallery is always a good clue too, and Carrr Matey! will tell you where you left your car (you better have cabbed it).

2011 – So, we're totally lost with no cell signal

I went to go walking in a park I've been going to since I was a kid. Previous year's flooding had destroyed some of the paths I knew and this is a huge park, so I went on one I thought would bring us to a connecting trail. Man, was I wrong.

I was running CyanogenMod at the time and had some issues with GPS not functioning very well. You would get a general area fix but then the GPS would cut off (this issue was fixed months ago). Google Maps would not load on my wife's phone at the time, and without a data connection and clouds moving in, we were now suddenly lost in the dark.

I got a general bearing with GPS Status and Tools and we were able to backtrack to the car using Cardio Trainer, which had been running on my wife's unrooted EVO 4G, and using my EVO as a flashlight while being attacked by frogs.

The better solution (now) for this is to Google Map the area and pre-cache, or simply not go down a path you don't know when it's an hour to dusk.

2011 – My luggage wanted to go on its own vacation

I always bring my chargers as carry-on. On a recent trip, I was boarding the third plane in four days and right next to the airplane door when they announced they had four minutes to board an additional 40 or so passengers and all carry-on items were being taken and put in the cargo hold.

I knew I should have held up the line and unpacked a charger at that point, but no.

As stories go, Delta sent my chargers to Raleigh, NC. My conversation with the baggage department went something like this" "What number can I reach you at?" "You can't." "What? You took all my phone chargers."

I used an old Sprint phone that used the EVO 4G style batteries to charge batteries for my serviceless EVO 4G and my wife's working 4G (it used a different USB cable though). I also used GrooveIP + WiFi  on my disconnected 4G to make phone calls until I got my EVO 3D/4G cables back.

Solution for next time: carry USB cable in wallet, universal USB outlet in pocket.

2011 – Officer, I couldn't have been going a BIT over 533 miles per hour

Bored, on a plane, adhering to FAA regulations regarding not putting my phone into transmitting mode and also adhering to my egulations about not paying $12.99 for in-flight internet for an hour, I pop open my entertainment.

Using Vplayer on the 3D and ARCmedia on my 4G (which I brought along just to watch movies on the plane on) and some movies and TV shows I transferred into AVI format, I entertained myself for a bit (I'm still under the impression that if I own it, I can copy it and watch it on my phone legally).

I also discovered that Google Maps in airplane mode can still tell you generally where you're at and what you're flying over, as long as you have a window seat and put the phone where it can see the sky. No need to wonder "Where the hell am I that has purple houses?" with Google Maps and a window seat.

GPS Status and Toolbox will tell you how fast you're going and exactly how much your stomach raised when the plane dropped 30 feet by using the accelerometer.

I'm wondering if it's against FAA regulations to rebroadcast the $13 WiFi using something like WiFi Tether and a USB passthrough internet connection to a laptop giving free net to the rest of the passengers…

2011 – Does that look level to you?

I used my EVO 3D and Bubble Level to put up a shelf. It was possibly the most over-use of technology ever, but the only real level I had was quite a ways away.

2011 – I'm at a concert in the middle of nowhere, of course I can fix your email

At one of my jobs, I'm a slave to a cranky Exchange 2003 server that likes to blow up only when I'm on vacation or having fun. So of course I got a call from work when I was at a concert. It was way too loud to hear anything, which made me glad I missed the call and it went straight to voicemail so Google Voice transcribed it.

For reasons some can't comprehend, I don't carry my laptop with me when I'm going into a sea of drunk people holding open containers of liquids watching a concert and swaying/dancing, nor would they care overmuch that it was no re-entry to the club. Ah well, that's what Remote RDP lite is for – the ability to remote-control any server running Terminal Services.

Looking at a Windows 2003 server on your phone may not sound like your idea of fun, but the five minutes I spent RDPing into the thing sure beat having to leave to reboot a server on Friday night.

2011 – Who opened a garage door at a Pineapple-themed hotel on Roy Street?

In a parking garage in a hotel in Seattle on Roy Street, we wanted to exit via the garage door. There was a large sensor mat on the ground that cars drove over and would trigger the doors to open. A couple of our party tried jumping on it to no avail. I put my EVO 3D over the thing and the garage door opened.

"Rooted phone for the win."

(Okay, actually it was just the metal in the phone that triggered a magnetic sensor in the mat, but hey.)

2011 – Where you at?

This call has been eliminated from either me or my wife's voice time to each other. Google Maps + Latitude allows either of us to know where the other is at.

It's a little late, I pop open Latitude and see she's at work or the gym, so I don't call and then get worried because she didn't answer the phone because, well, she's at work or the gym. She doesn't wonder where I am because she pops it open and sees I'm out slaughtering baby whales and can't answer due to baby whale guts messing with my USB/HDMI ports.

2011 – Here kids, play with my phone

Endless entertainment.

2011 – Hey Netflix! We had a party and you were invited

For reasons I do not remember, I was unable to reach XBOX Live and had invited a couple of friends over to watch a horrible movie on Netflix streaming. HTC EVO 4G + WiFi + HDMwIn + Netflix saved the day. Well, saved the day for a crappy movie.

2010/2011 – So, rather than lie to you, here's a video walkthrough of the place

You know what rents a place quickly? Honesty and not wasting people's time.

EVO camera + Youtube and some picture hosting + Craigslist = people see what they might be renting as opposed to showing up to discover the apartment was nothing but glamour shots.

I post ads with video walkthroughs, which means nobody who sees a place I'm renting hasn't already seen it before. It drops my showings to maybe two before someone rents a place. I usually get responses from people who advertise saying how terrible it is that I advertise like that, as it's not going to work. I ask what their unrented history/average showings are and usually get a month or two a year and 8-15, which is absurdly high.

So, what are your stories of your EVO?

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts