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When I finally broke down and bought a smart phone, one of my colleagues said that I was likely the last person in Malaysia to get one. That might be overstatement, but not by much. Malaysia in general, and Kuala Lumpur in particular, prides itself of being up to date. Smart phones hit the market barely days after they were unveiled in the States and now have a 70% market share countrywide. That translates to an estimated 95% in the big city. The price, as you will see below, was ridiculous. And Christmas was coming.

I bowed to the inevitable when my boss insisted that he get in touch with me through What’s App. He gets a hundred emails a day and claims reads none of them (I think that too is overstatement for I know for a fact he responds to the important ones). I can’t function in this position without his signing on for the initiatives I am pushing, so I got the phone. Turns out I love it, and the What’s App is great. I immediately got on and immediately got connected to what the boss wanted. Turns out the principal of the school in Bario, Sarawak where the largest CSR project is being built, also uses What’s App and she started sending me pictures of the hostel being built. I send them on to the CEO. He thinks I’m the man.

My next download was the Kindle App. Pam and I are big Kindle users, and having the App on my phone means I am never without my books. Sitting on the bus while my car was being fixed (next post) I could keep up with my reading on all the courses I was taking this term. The phone came in particularly handy when I got sick and had to do my course work flat on my flat staring up at the ceiling. Someone on the OISE course I was taking (next post) raved of her success with a smartphone app for BlackBoard. OISE uses Blackboard. I downloaded the app in seconds, found the OISE site in minutes, and was happily trolling through and responding to my cohort’s posts within the hour. All flat on my back. There is no doubt that this smart phone saved that course for me.

I know you are thinking this kind of service doesn’t come cheap, right? It has been the cost that kept me from buying all these years. So, I just refused the service; I’ll just take the phone. Who needs service when we have Wi-Fi at work and a hub at home; Starbucks is wired, as is MacDonald’s and most shopping malls. We pay nothing for internet service, and aside from a driving GPS, never miss it either. Pam was so impressed she went out and got her own. To my delight, there she was chatting to our daughter through Skype on her smart phone the other day. Don’t you be giving us none of that old dog nonsense. We’ve got tricks.

Oh yeah, the cost. Well each phone was 300 and we got matching black and white Azus Zen 4s, so that came to 600. Ringgit. That translates to 200 Canadian for two smart phones, all in. This is about 170 American, including tax. For two smart phones. Merry Asian Christmas everyone!

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