A Storm for the Next Two Years

I recently purchased the Blackberry Storm and thought I would post a review on amazon.com of my experience with the touchscreen device. And yes, I am one of those people who probably would have bought the iPhone had it been available on Verizon. But not wanting to change service providers, I did my homework and went with what I thought was the next best thing, especially with RIM’s launch of the App World. As it turns out, Verizon may be getting the iPhone after all. The bottom line of my review is that after some initial disappoint, I am now satisfied with the phone. The full text is below.  

Amazon.com Review

As merely a cell phone, the Storm would be mediocre at best. In fact, my prior LG clamshell phone was a better phone in terms of handling, use and overall experience. But the Storm was not designed to be merely a phone, and I didn’t buy it for that purpose. The Storm is a multimedia device, and after having the phone for three weeks now, I can say that I had my doubts, but am now satisfied and intend to keep the phone. I did my homework on new phones and went with the Storm once the Blackberry App World received glowing reviews within days of its launch on April 1, 2009. There is a learning curve with the Storm, but once you learn how the device works, it can be a useful and functional computer in your pocket. Many reviews complain about how buggy and slow the phone can be (and prior models and OS apparently were), but I have learned that the key to optimum performance for the Storm is managing the application memory. Close all applications properly, do an occasional battery pull (or get a free app to simulate one) and learn a few other tricks and you can have a wide-ranging multimedia device on a network faster than AT&T. Pandora is now available for free through the App World, which, as a music lover, is worth quite a bit to me. Not to mention the ability to take pictures with the Storm’s 3.2 mp camera and upload them on my Flickr account within seconds. Like I said – a multimedia device.

The instruction manual Verizon provides with the phone is virtually useless for anyone vaguely familiar with how a Blackberry works. But with an investment of time online at crackberry.com and a few other sites you too can unleash the Storm’s full potential. This is a strong touchscreen debut for RIM and the Storm will only get better with time (may I suggest a trackball/touchscreen combination).

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Reflections of London

For years now I have been trying to get myself to London to see the sites and experience one of the world’s greatest cities. In the summer of 2003 I travelled with a friend around many of the great cities of Western Europe, but London was noticeably not included as we didn’t have the time. I knew I would have to make a separate trip to visit London one day, but was unsure as to when I would be able to make it. I thought it would be a great trip to do with my wife, especially since we’re now living in New York. But every time I brought it up she had no interest in going there. If we were going to travel oversees for a vacation, it was not going to be to London, in her mind, not to mention the costs involved in a trip to London. And so it was, London beckoned me and I could not oblige. Until this past weekend.

I spent this past Saturday and most of Sunday in London cramming in as much as I possibly could. I walked a tremendous amount, even by my standards, but learned long ago that walking is the best way to see a City and feel its pulse. Having studied and worked in Manhattan for the past five years, London’s size and numbers of people didn’t faze me one bit. In fact, a few areas of London felt like New York City to me, but with an English twist. I knew prior to my visit that London was a very international city, and it was, with people from all walks of life and corners of the globe living there. From what I saw, the city also appeared relatively clean for its size, the number of people living and visiting there and its age. To be fair, however, most large cities come across as pretty unpolluted when compared to New York City. Although there is still a lot more to be seen in London, the sites I did see were impressive overall and worth the visit hands down.

On Sunday I had a chance to visit the new financial district of Canary Wharf. While it is a pain to get there given its out-of-the-way location, it was a striking place once I made it. It had a similar aura to the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, but was more modern. I can only imagine what Canary Wharf must be like during normal business hours. I’ve wondered a year ago what New York would have grown to if it was not limited to the island of Manhattan. If Manhattan was connected to Long Island somehow (say the East River didn’t exist, for example), New York may have matured much more like London, with the city developing several central business districts spread out over a good portion of land instead of simply redeveloping land on the existing island. All in all, I loved London, and if you could ever afford to live well there, it would be an exciting place to be.

This Friday I head back to dirty, rough and rugged New York – another great city and the U.S.’s only global city. I like travelling abroad, but New York is home and I’ll be ready to go back on Friday. Now I just need an excuse to get myself to Tokyo for a week.

Guernsey For The Week

No one would ever guess where in the world I have spent this past week – the Island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, between France and the United Kingdom. In fact, when I arrived to check in at JFK International Airport, I had to explain that I needed a flight through Gatwick and not Heathrow because I needed to make a connecting flight to Guernsey. “You’re going where?” came the response back from behind the ticket counter. But this European offshore tax haven is home to a good amount of financial services companies and is the reason why I am here. I didn’t know what to expect before I came to Guernsey, but I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised with what I have experienced so far. There is more going on in the main town of St. Peter Port than I thought there would be and it is quite the beautiful place on clear days. Of course, all of this pleasantness in no way means that I am ready to pick up and move here by any means, but spending a week here has been nice. I have been able to enjoy a different and unique part of the U.K. that few people have the chance to. I am off tomorrow morning to London for the weekend and then back to Switzerland for next week before returning home to my family in New York. I doubt I will ever be back here on Guernsey, but I am thankful I got to experience this out of the way, laid-back, sleepy island.

Couldn’t Ask for More

I am now the proud father of two lovely girls. Last Saturday, April 4, 2009, our second daughter was born. We named her Sydney Ming Sanchez. She was 8 pounds and 20 inches long and has a full head of hair. She is a healthy and mild mannered kid. Her crying is minimal and she is easily calmed. She is beautiful and we are happy to have her in our family. My wife is doing well, and thanks to an effective epidural, felt very little pain or discomfort during the entire labor and delivery process. Our older daughter has been better than we expected, but I doubt she realizes that this new baby is here to stay. Forever. The attention will now be evenly split between the two girls and she will have to learn to deal with that after being treated like a rock star the past two years. It will be interesting and exciting to watch them grow up together, to learn from each other and to play and fight. They are each unique individuals that will grow to be unlike anyone here on earth. They could end up being similar; they could be very different. All in all, we are proud parents and look forward to seeing what life bring us and our family.