Dragged Straight Into the Age of Modern Technology… Why Did We Resist Anyway?

BB and I finally gave in and entered the modern age of technology.

And I’m not kidding.

We went from half a decade old “flip phones” with AT&T (no texting) to full blown modern Androids with US Cellular.  We’re learning to text (but not when we’re driving!) and can check email or look up a map on the phone when we’re out of the office.

My only wish is that the new phones were a little smaller, but hey, there’s a lot packed into these things so I’m not going to whine about it.

Old phone/New Phone Pic

I have to admit it will be nice to be able to get email on the fly instead of having to hunt down a McDonalds or Starbucks while traipsing across the dusty expanse of West Texas where there aren’t too many of either of those.

BB even managed to talk me into ditching the old land line that I had clung to for some unknown reason, so we switched the house phone over to cellular too.

To top it all off, we ditched the old satellite internet we’ve suffered with for the past 4 years from Wildblue, (that was the best we could do out here in the sticks 4 years ago) and are now the happy owners of a tiny cellular hotspot that gives us 100% better internet performance and did not, I repeat, did not go on the fritz during our most recent thunderstorm. (Wildblue consistently went out at the first hint of rain and stayed out for days at a time…)

This is the old setup with the dish.  The bucket thing housed the router and controller and protected them from the weather.   Old technology / New technology pics

Amazing!    This little guy does everything and more that all that old stuff did!

With all that techno-change switching things around, the bottom line dollar-wise is that we’re paying $150 a month for what was costing us (and not working nearly as well) almost $300 bucks.

That makes me happy considering I double as the family budget tracker.  And I can finally get rid of that stupid looking satellite that’s cluttering up the yard.  Maybe I’ll turn it into a bird bath or something semi-useful…

What prompted these radical changes, you might ask?  (Even if you don’t, I am going to tell you….)

Well, it was the direct result of AT&T, with whom we’ve done business for the past decade, literally more than doubling our cell bills the past two months straight, claiming we talk too much.  Which was interesting, considering we didn’t talk any more in August than we did in June, May, or April, for that matter.  And we mostly talked to each other, which was unlimited or so they said…

My theory is that we had too good of a deal at $60 a month for 2 phones, so AT&T thought they’d just get rid of us and get some new customers signed on for higher priced service.  And it worked.

Now, for years, I’d resisted getting texting or anything else that would have upped the cost of the phones.  When we first got them, they were just personal phones anyway, mostly a way for me to locate BB when he wandered off at Super Wal-Mart and I was left wondering where in the heck he was.  Or to call him in for supper (he seems to conveniently disappear at supper time, maybe it’s my cooking??)

In other words, they were initially a luxury, not a necessity.

So we just plugged along using old technology for the past several years because it was cheap and easy to do it.  But now that we both rely on our cell service for our livelihoods, it seemed more necessary to modernize.

And AT&T just gave me the boot in the rear I needed to get it done.  Once I ditched AT&T, it just seemed like the natural thing to do to get rid of all of the other obsolete junk that was costing us a small fortune at the same time.

Now that we’re “connected” like the rest of modern humans, we’re wondering why we resisted it all for so long.  It’s kinda fun!


9 thoughts on “Dragged Straight Into the Age of Modern Technology… Why Did We Resist Anyway?

  1. I have been with US Cellular for over 15 years and while I have listened to most of my friends complain about their AT$T service, (I put the dollar sign in that on purpose) I have never had a reason to complain about US Cellular. I think you will be happy. One point to think about is having a business plan with them. Your phones will be cheaper of sometimes free. I think their are other benifits as well. I am curious about your “hot spot”. I take it that is also your home phone line as well. What do you do for satalitte TV now?

  2. Oh yeah, we got the phones cheap and free (3 of them) as I’m pretty frugal (BB says cheap) but yes, the difference in coverage and service is already making AT&T look sickly.

    The hotspot is just a little gadget about the size of a credit card (or slightly smaller and thicker) that plugs into an outlet, and it puts out wireless internet for up to 5 phones, tablets, computers, etc. That means we got rid of not only the satellite, but also the old Balkin wireless network hassles.

    We initially set it up with 5 gigs per month, but will probably up it to 10 if we go over. The nice part is that anything over the 5 gigs is $10 per gig, and there are no penalties and no slowdowns. (Unlike Wildblue which throttled everything on top of being extremely unreliable.)

    We have direct TV on satellite, which is also sort of iffy when bad weather hits but we’re too far out to get cable. We do pick up some local channels via the old fashioned antenna too for local news…

    My biggest beef with TV these days is the switch to digital. In the “old days” of analog tv, you might get a poor signal, but you could usually make out enough info to follow the weather when there was a tornado warning out. With the digital, it just goes dead and here we are with no info at the worst moments… not a big step forward IMO

  3. Wildblue is a joke. It’s what we’ve got, since this place gets passed by for anything good like cable lines or natural gas. But! There’s a half-finished cell tower (AT&T, even..haha) going up not a mile down the road from our house, so maybe we’ll be able to do what you guys did and down-size on the old crappy equipment.

  4. I hope you can! Wildblue is OK when there is no other option, but it isn’t good by any standards. Have you had to sweep the snow out of your dish yet? I always enjoyed that with the TV dish…. NOT!!! 😀

  5. My Brother bought this little digital box and small antenna at a farm show for about $150 for local TV.He is able to get twice as many channels and from far aways as 130 miles with this little box. He uses it along with his satelite. Works great.

  6. I think we inherited one of those with our house, which we’re in the process of remodeling so it’s a big mess right now. Once we get the house back together maybe we can dig it up and give it a try.

  7. Hi Sue! We have one of the little hotspots too…I told Dave it was one of the best things he has ever bought. We can use laptops while we’re traveling, sometimes you can’t get good wi-fi connections at some places, we pretty much stay connected wherever we are. We haven’t gone over our 5GB yet, but came close when I was helping my parents in Texas, and Dave was on the road, so he would call and have me look up information for him (my Mom is out in the country, so no internet). It works great. It is right up there with the microwave in being something you don’t want to be without. Take care!

    • I love ours, but I put it to the test the first month and used 11 gigs! Now that I know what it takes to max it out, I think we’ll get along fine. And yeah, I’d never go back to satellite, that’s just not an option after using this hot spot.

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