Category Archives: Original Content

Why I switched to T-Mobile

( @tmobile @googlenexus )

I had this conversation with so many people in the last year that I decided to capture it and publish it on my blog.

Around this time last year, my 2-year contract with Verizon was up and I was looking to renew and get new phones. Then I received a letter stating that they were switching us to a family-share plan once we selected new phones. We would be moving from unlimited data to a 4GB shared plan. Also, my plan was going to go up about $10 per month.

I was furious.

My wife and I didn’t come close to using 4GB (we usually averaged 400 MB), but I didn’t like that the unlimited data plan was going away and that I was being charged more for what I considered to be less (plus the smart phone I had at the time sucked and I assumed a new phone would eat more data). For the first time in 6 years I started shopping around.

Also around this time, Google announced they were selling a completely unlocked phone called the Nexus 4 for $300 (no contracts). An unlocked smart phone with a perfect android experience that gets updates immediately directly from Google? That sounded perfect. But the phone was not compatible with Verizon. Yet another reason to start looking around.

I started calling companies that the Nexus 4 would work with. AT&T ended up being just as much as Verizon. My wife suggest calling T-Mobile but I hesitated. Even though Verizon has the best coverage nationally, I did not have a great signal in my house. I assumed that if Verizon gave me problems, T-Mobile would have absolutely no signal in my area. I looked up their coverage map and my house was in a dark green area (excellent coverage). Then I checked work…dark green again. Then I started looking at places we go to frequently…all dark green.

Not to belabor the point, we decided to give T-Mobile a shot and cancel if we had a bad experience. I am going to be honest, we almost did. Getting the right sim cards (mini) and an issue with the first payment time almost derailed the whole thing. Several days/hours on the phone with their customer support was like shoving nails in my eyes, but I powered through it. In the end, we settled on an unlimited everything plan (data, voice, text) and I am saving $90 per month.

The coverage has exceeded my best expectations. I always have a great signal in the places I am the most. I have also been traveling quite a bit for work and haven’t had any issues (unless I am in a basement or heavy concrete building). Also, instead of having a phone where I am always saying “I wish my phone did that”, the Nexus 4 is constantly surprising me with some useful thing it does in the background (like Google Now’s ability to automatically check flight status, traffic, and even hotel reservations).

I rarely experience situations where making switches like this ends up being dramatically better (there is almost always a compromise). By switching to T-Mobile and buying a Nexus phone I saved money, actually got better mobile performance, and was able to shove it to a company that I didn’t feel was treating me well. I have been using the service for 10 months and had no issues. Last week T-Mobile announced it was ending roaming charges internationally. Another move that tells me this company wants to be competitive and understands what is driving customers away from other mobile providers. I thought it was a good time to share my experience and offer my suggestion.

So that is my (completely not paid for or sponsored by) opinion, I hope it helps.

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Chug: The next installment of “Three Sheets”

( @DrinkingMadeEasy )

My editors over at Drinking Made Easy asked me to post here on my private blog about a potential new drinking show called “Chug”. Basically, it is “Three Sheets” but traveling by train. Sounds good to me. Here is the press release:

Zane Lamprey Announces Kickstarter Campaign for International Drinking Show, “Chug!”

For Immediate Release – April 22, 2013

TV host and world drinking ambassador, Zane Lamprey, has announced a Kickstarter project to produce “Chug!” a new international drinking travel show. Similar to his previous international drinking show, “Three Sheets” (Travel Channel, SpikeTV), Lamprey will drink with locals as he learns about a region’s drinking cultures and customs. However, in “Chug!”, Lamprey will begin each episode by arriving by train (hence the name).

The Kickstarter project will end on May 31st. Supporters of the project will receive a number of rewards, such as episodes, limited-edition merchandise, invitations to launch parties, and even an appearance in the show itself.

To learn more or to contribute to the campaign, head over to http://chug.tv

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Babycenter roundup: Week of April 7th

@babycenter

Opinion: Is fighting okay?

Is it ever okay for kids to get into physical altercations?

Personal: Too busy parenting to socialize

Article about not socializing too much due to the baby’s schedule.

News: NJ bans tanning beds

I basically make fun of the real house wives of NJ and “Tan Mom”.

Opinion: Can you outsource parenting?

The comments about this one got pretty wild. Interesting post.

News: Kids and Google Glass

Article about the potential social innovations with children that Google Glass could create.

Opinion: Dangerous houses and tiny rebels

Post about the differences between parenting today and of years past.

News: Another kid with a mohawk makes headlines

Covering another story about a kid getting suspended for having an alternative haircut.

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Babycenter roundup:Week of March 31st

I have been lazy and haven’t posted links to several articles I wrote for Babycenter over the last few weeks. Here is a run down (I do this for my own archival purposes too).

News: Violence, video games, and all the voices

An article on a new study about video game violence and actual violence in children.

News: Should children be forced to exercise?

A reaction piece to an article detailing the trend of parents forcing children to exercise.

Personal: When are you having another?

Lisa gave me the idea for this article. I think you can figure out the topic.

News: Do chores together, stay together?

Reaction article on a study that finds couples that split the same task have better marriages.

Personal: From crib to toddler bed…

Personal story about me converting Ben’s crib into a toddler bed and getting the safety gate up around the stairs.

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Babycenter: Concussions on my mind

( @babycenter #football #concussions )

Babycenter published my most recent article about sports related concussions. I managed to slip in a shout out to my Uncle Vince Lombardi in the process. Check it out…

Babycenter: Concussions on my mind

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Babycenter: Do you pay the babysitter when you cancel?

( @babycenter #babysitter )

Babycenter published another post I wrote. This time I tackle the ethics of canceling last minute on the sitter and not paying.

Babycenter: Should you pay the sitter when you cancel?

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Telecommuting: After Yahoo’s decision is it on the decline?

( @yahoo #telecommuting )


Image Credit: MadPrime

A few years ago I wrote a post about the benefits of telecommuting for both employers and employees. Since that time, things have changed for me; I don’t work from home very much. My employer hasn’t changed anything, in fact, they are even more comfortable with it. I made some life changes that required me to be closer to my office. That being said, I really appreciate the flexibility of remote work and the culture it has created.

If I need to work different hours because of my kid, nobody is complaining if I sign on at home and knock some stuff out when the little guy is asleep. This flexibility allows me to crush deadlines (keeping the bosses happy) and take care of my family (keeping me happy). This is why I was initially shocked to hear that Yahoo and then Best Buy are ending their work from home programs. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has drawn the ire of many working mothers first by coming back to work soon after giving birth and now eliminating remote work.

People are worried that this will become a trend. It won’t. Both Yahoo and Best Buy are currently struggling. Something needs to change, and Mayer’s “all hands on deck” mentality may be the short term solution that the company needs to get better footing. Most companies are not as agile as Silicon Valley tech firms… telecommuting strategies take time and money. Every trend document I read points to companies investing heavily in remote tools and collaborative technologies in order to reduce real estate costs and pull from a greater talent pool.

Many companies have 3-5 year plans to roll out both technology and HR policies at the same time they reduce their physical footprints to maximize cost savings. Yahoo and Best Buy’s policy change will probably do little to impact these long-term decisions. I would also like to point out that considering both companies market positions, signaling the end of a telecommuting program could now be viewed as a sign of desperation and weakness on the street.

Sometimes a company needs to make a major cultural change, which should start with staff. Think about where Mayer comes from. Google is constantly viewed as a great place to work: they give you free food, their campus is awesome, they do your laundry, they have pods where you can take a nap…

Google does all of this awesome stuff because they don’t want you to leave the building. They take care of all of the stuff you worry about that distracts you from your job so you keep doing more work for them. It is a brilliant strategy when you employ programmers and other workers who do better in teams and clusters. Will it work for every business model? Probably not.

Working from home isn’t going to go anywhere, but Yahoo may go away if Marrisa Mayer can’t turn the ship around. Give her some time to see if the changes she is making will work or fail. Most companies don’t have the ability to offer the perks both Google and Yahoo (Mayer has been making many Google-like changes on Yahoo’s main campus) and they also don’t have the unique real estate overhead, so I don’t think the benefit of telecommuting is going to disappear for normal healthy organizations any times soon.

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Babycenter: Hooters looking for women…customers?

( @babycenter @hooters )

Image Credit: Bem Devessa

Babycenter just published an article I wrote about Hooters’ attempts at getting more women in the restaurant to eat. Check it out (it is pretty funny).

Babycenter: Hooters hoping to attract more female…customers?

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Babycenter: Baby’s first birthday

( @babycenter )

This one is a little late, but Babycenter published an article I came up with on Baby’s first birthday. Lots of good comments and feedback.

Check it out: Time to Party?

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Babycenter: Crazy expensive stroller gets owned…Lombardi style

( @babycenter )

Babycenter posted an article I had a little too much fun with. It seems Aston Martin is releasing a $3000 stroller lined with suede. I go off… this is my most “out there” post so far.

Babycenter: Aston Martin reveals insanely expensive stroller

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