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iPad Misadventures

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How hard could it be?

I waited for the hopped up 64GB WiFi 3G version that is about 150 bucks more than the same version without 3G. What can I say? I am a techno junkie. I like gadgets.

Those misguided souls — I include myself in this group — who waited, impatiently, for the release of the 3G version. To insure that FedEx dropped the bouncing baby iPad off without a problem, I even downloaded the nifty signature release, printed it, and taped it to my front door.

Lo and behold, like the Tooth Fairy or Santa, when I finally managed to get around to going to my front door, the new baby was resting comfortably on the front step. I was not going to be impatient, so I even plugged it in to charge while I worked on my book that is now overdue by a week.

I could stand it no longer. I finally fired up the little guy. I found the adorable cherub to be bright, inquisitive, and very eager to please its new mommy. We were bonding. I began to dream about shopping trips, vacations, even trips to the beauty shop while I was getting a color (you think my hair color is naturally occurring). The sound in head was not my chronic tinnitus but Romeo and Juliet.

Then…

Everything was perfect until I tried activating my 3G service with AT&T.

Umm… well… my address was rejected by AT&T. I tried again and again and again. I checked the tech forums on Apple's website and made a startling discovery. AT&T has this very strange mindset that refuses to allow someone to purchase cell service if their credit card does not have their home address on it. I use a post office box.

I called AT&T. Maybe that was my second mistake, my first being chucking out an extra 150 bucks for the 3G version. Why, they did not have a problem… I do. No one else had complained.

No one else had complained, yet the hit count on that specific question on the Apple tech forum was pushing a few thousand. Several people had come up with the bright idea of changing their mailing address on their credit cards. I logged into my Capital One account and made the change in less than a minute.

No luck.

I called Apple. The tech support guy had heard nothing about the problem. I hung up and tried resetting the iPad. No luck. I called Apple again. The second tech guy was aware of the problem, but had no fix. Had I called AT&T?

We’re pushing two hours. When you have a book overdue, two hours is an eternity. I was really ticked. I went back to work on the blasted book for awhile, but couldn’t stand it. I tried setting the 3G up once again. No luck. I called Apple. It was now pushing 2PM Mountain Time. The tech guy I spoke to was well aware of the problem. He could not say that AT&T was being a jerk — but he did transfer me to their complaint department and suggested I give them an earful. After 15 minutes on hold I was disconnected. I called AT&T again, spent another 15 minutes on hold and was disconnected. After 15 additional minutes on hold I finally spoke to a customer service “specialist.”

No one else was having problems. She suggested I call Capital One and see if my credit card was any good. I called Capital One. My card was and is perfect. I managed to get hold of the nicest tech support guy. He went in and changed every address on my account to reflect the Google map address of where I live. Did I like the iPad? Should he get one?

No luck!

I found a comment on the iPad support page suggesting a complete restart of the product. The love affair was over, the blasted thing was looking at a cold regression to a cheap auction on eBay by Monday morning. The Capital One guy suggested I wait until Monday and let all the systems cycle through a day. He did mention that AT&T had not even pinged my account, suggesting they were not even trying to connect with me, let alone turn down my address.

I glared at the little monster most of Saturday. I hated it. I was furious I spent so much money on it. Sunday afternoon I checked the tech forums and discovered the answer to my problem. Seems like AT&T has a lousy 3G network. When you live in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico, forget it. In order for AT&T to recognize the setup of one’s iPad you must be within their limited 3G service area. Then you must get someone else to sign up for you so you can sponge off their credit card and home address.

We’re talking a quickie five-day listing on eBay!

Then, I found a comment on the Apple forum. Get Verizon’s MiFi. I checked it out, and found out that Verizon has a huge 3G area and I live in it. To set up an AT&T 3G I would need to go several hundred miles from where I live. To set up Verizon’s MiFi, I can sit in my living room!

The love affair was back on again.

My first app download was my beloved Amazon Kindle. It is quick and simple. All you need to do is download from your archived items. Within 15 minutes I had about 400 books on it, and no space was used. I solved that problem by syncing about a dozen movies from my iTunes. I did the music thing, and photos.

Okay, let’s be “honest” here. I really do need the iPad so I can keep the 1800 photos that go into my new book where I could get to them. Never mind that I have an iPod Touch (that goes on eBay next week). Okay, I have a cute pink Nano, and one stuck in my Bose speakers.

For any good Wyatt Earp scholar, the real test is Tombstone. How well does it play on the iPad? The little darling has built in speakers. No more earbuds! I guess it really was true love!

I’ve played with apps. I’ve transferred movies, music, and photos. I can play Mah Jongg, Lines, and Bubble Pop. But seriously, it is for work. I swear it is for work. It really will help me with my work as a writer. I might even write a book on it. I might even adapt the book I am currently writing to go with it.

I promise, it is not a play toy. It is not a toy. I tell you it is not a toy but a life tool.

That is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Tuesday afternoon I called Capital One and changed my address back to my post office box. I called Verizon and ordered their MiFi. I guess things are back to normal?

P. S. The iPad can’t compare to my beloved Kindle!

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About SJ Reidhead

  • Kt

    This sounds more like misadventures with AT&T’s well-known limited coverage, as you say. Good luck with the iPad.

  • http://pwinn.tumblr.com/ Phillip Winn

    AT&T is absolutely terrible.