Sprint

12/16/2008 5:33 pm
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As a general rule of thumb for a business, it's probably not the greatest thing in the world to call people up who have complained in the past to see if they are satisfied with their service, only to remind the customer what a bumbling set of nincompoops pissed them off in the first place.

About 9 months ago someone who spoke just enough English to memorize her script called to offer Sarah and I a joint cell plan, as we had had our own separate plans up to that point. My plan was pretty old so I didn't get many minutes by "modern" standards, phones on the same plan can call each other an unlimited amount, and it was roughly $10 dollars cheaper. I told her that sounded fine and she proceeded to ask me questions about the new plans' third line. I told her we didn't want a third line, she said it was included, and we volleyed that issue back and forth a few times, each time with me reiterating that I did not want a 3rd line if it was even one cent more than the new plan with only two lines.

A week or so later we receive our nothing special "free" phone and I activate it and do all that. I figure we can leave it plugged in behind the TV and use it when we lose our cells, or they die, or whatever.

We get our bill a month later: The phone was $30, the third line is $10 a month, and the total bill is $230. I contacted customer service and complained. There was "nothing" they could do for me. The person never made any special notes about promising me a free anything. It was completely irrelevant to them that I was misled in a conversation where there was no mistaking what I was asking. The phone wasn't supposed to be free, there was no note telling them I talked them into a free phone (why would there be), so the fact that I was told the phone/new line was free didn't matter.

At this point, however, that was just a minor annoyance compared to dealing with the $230 bill both back then, and then having a fresh set of eyes looking at it today. They trust the system at these cell phone places so fully that they don't actually take time to put thought into what is going on. Everyone I've discussed the issue with just keeps trying to explain how the bill is higher than normal because it was a prorated part month plus a month for the new plan. My old plan totaled $60 and this new plan was $60 after the third line. No one could explain to me how this was an example of prorating and not double billing and something else. What they charged was worse than double billing. Unless "prorated" means "we double the cost of your plans then add them together" I'm not the confused one in this conversation.

I really felt like the famous Verizon guy trying to walk these people through the math. Part of a month at $60 + the rest of the month at $60 should be somewhere around $60. Being charged the full value of both plans would be $120. How in the world do you reach $230, even factoring everything else ($230 - $30 phone - fees = roughly $180)? They just keep using the word "prorated" as if that explains a $120 discrepancy. Trying to work numbers with these people is like trying to explain Calculus to 5 year olds.

Adding insult to injury with the followup "were you satisfied by us doing nothing over half a year ago?" call: After once again getting no where on the math, and no credit for what I was told was free again, she told me she could cancel the third line if I wanted, but there would be a $200 termination fee. (You have 30 days from the day you agree on the phone to cancel. You don't get your first bill for more than 30 days....anyone see the problem?)

The lesson I basically knew before this, but I now know to make no exceptions for (no matter easy something seems like it should be), is that if you're contacted by anyone, trying to sell anything, just hang up. Also, that Sprint can suck it.

Ps. Just to cut off the "well, you should have seen this coming, why would they call to offer you something cheaper than you were paying them for." talk. 1) It's not all that uncommon for people to offer lower rates to good customers to keep good customers. 2) More importantly, my old contract was up soon thereafter.
face.bmpCarlos44ec - Since 1980!
12/17/2008 @ 07:59:10 AM
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I've done all of the phone carriers in the past, so far I think T mobile was easiest to work with from a customer service standpoint, AT&T were downright terrible. Verizon's folks are polite, but inept, and Sprint is too new for me to know.

From a service standpoint, I already like Sprint better- NEVER had a coverage issue yet.

From a business standpoint (we do data/telemetry devices and other tech stuff) they're all easy to work with unless your customer wants between 1-6 accounts. more than 6? Happy Day! (These are folks in different roles than customer service and kiosk kids- these are National Account Reps)
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Carlos44ec messed with this at 12/17/2008 7:59:38 am
question_mark.gifDylan (Guest)
12/17/2008 @ 10:28:55 AM
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Jeremy, I'm sorry to hear about the problems with Sprint. In light of how much they charged you, I would seriously recommend that you check out a website called http://www.fixmycellbill.com by a company called Validas. You can find out for free if you're one of the eight in ten wireless customers paying more than you need to.

I was able to save around $230 annually off my Verizon Wireless bill using Validas which impressed me so much that I actually took a job with the company. Validas is rapidly gaining a reputation as the preeminent advocate for the wireless customer. Check out a feature about Validas on The Big Idea with CNBC's Donny Deutsch at http://www.cnbc.com/id/22782456/.

To give a brief rundown of how it works, Validas analyzes your uploaded online cell bill to determine how much money you could be saving. Up to this point everything is free. If you choose, Validas provides a highly detailed and personalized cell bill adjustment report that, for five bucks, is emailed to your wireless provider in industry specific format so you can actually implement Validas's cash saving changes to your plan. If Validas can save you more than $5 on your bill (the average customer currently saves $482 annually through Validas), this obviously provides a cost effective remedy for reducing cellular expenses.

Good luck on lowering your Sprint bill.

Dylan
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - No one's gay for Moleman
12/17/2008 @ 11:04:21 AM
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Wow, that was fast. I have no real problem with the bill normal bill per se, just being misled with the 3rd line, and overcharged on the one bill. Even then, it was water under the bridge until the Sprint rep called to ask if I was satisfied with their "no-solution solution." I don't know what Validas really does but I don't feel I'm entitled to anything special and I'm pretty much dead set against the "tips and tricks" sect of our society that range from you being a pain in the ass to what is essentially fraud/shoplifting. Yes, Sprint has a number you can call up to ten times a month to report a dropped call, and they'll credit you a dollar no questions asked. You know what though? Dropped calls are inevitable, and they are very few and far between anyway, so I wouldn't call that number even if I did have a dropped call, let alone 10 times on the 29th of every month.

Though, I'm not sure why I'm responding to pseudo-spam. You forgot to add that "this is a great site" and "you'll be back often"

Edit: Also, I'm pretty skeptical that the "average" savings is $40 a month, given the fact that id guess that 70% of the populations plan is not a whole lot more than $40, and I doubt Validas finds these people an equivalent $5-20 a month plan. At least lead with numbers that are somewhat plausible.
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Jeremy perfected this 4 times, last at 12/17/2008 11:30:50 am
2887.gifAlex - 3618 Posts
12/17/2008 @ 01:17:16 PM
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I don't trust Sprint at all. Over the past couple months I've used their website to change my add ons a couple of times and I always quadruple check over a period of a couple days to make sure everything got updated like it was supposed to. You should've sent them a letter in writing to try and resolve the issue, or even email. The name of the game seems to be put your dumbest most inexperienced employees on phone support and tell them to stall and deflect as much as possible.

That Validas thing sounds like kind of a good idea, if you're too inept/lazy to figure out what a good plan would be for you by yourself. And there's also the inevitable "Validas told me to change my plan from 300 minutes to 200 minutes and then the next month I used 1000 minutes and so I'm going to sue Validas".
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
12/17/2008 @ 01:59:13 PM
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I tried phone and online support back in the day. We did get a $60 credit, though I don't think they conceded anything, I think she just wanted me to end the conversation. She ended up just closing the chat window on me when I kept asked why only $60 and for her to walk though what I was actually charged for.

If you were constantly changing plans, wouldn't you also constantly be extending your contract?
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wendy.gifWendy - 163 Posts
12/19/2008 @ 08:01:34 PM
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I've actually been really happy with Sprint the whole time I've been with them EXCEPT when it comes to changing the name on the account. An ex-boyfriend of mine set it up for me as a Xmas present in college, and it's taken until LAST WEEK to get the name on the caller ID changed. Scandalous!
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wendy.gifWendy
12/19/2008 @ 08:02:16 PM
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PS - Jeremy have you tried going to the Sprint store? Sometimes you have better luck in person
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - What the F@#$ am I being arrested fo?
12/19/2008 @ 08:12:19 PM
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most of the stores are franchises, so they have more incentive to keep you happy.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
07/20/2009 @ 04:04:54 PM
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So yesterday Sarah and I went to Best Buy to try out a Palm Pre. We both really liked it, and considered getting two. (Upon further review I think I'm going to wait for the HTC Hero, cause I want a phone running Android with a MicroSD Slot and Flash Support.) In order to get a pre you have to get one of the quite expensive "Simply Everything" type plans. We pay a total of $80 now, and the family plans that work with the Pre start at $129.99. I contacted Sprint to inquire if there was a way to get out of the third line we never wanted. We're month to month on the other two lines, so it's almost not even asking that much of a favor, we'll renew Sarah's line, with is month to moth right now, for 2 years, if we can drop the 3rd line. No dice. $200 to drop the line. (Keep in mind, I'm not waxing hypothetical here, we'd go to Best Buy and Sarah would have the Pre in her hands tonight, if Sprint played ball.)

Once again, I spelled out for them in numbers, the fact that they are giving up 6 months of $40-50 in favor of 6 months of $10. Nope, $200 to cancel. In fact, I was informed that if we upgraded it would be $20 for the 3rd line with the new plan.

So, rather than taking 129.99 from now until Feb 2010, and locking in said $129.99 for 2 years, they're going to stand pat with the $80 they get from us, and, come February, we'll be free to walk to whomever has the coolest phone. I didn't think it would be this hard to wriggle out of something, given the fact that I was lied to about it in the first place, and it's undeniably in their interest to "hear me out" on this. We're talking about an age of "the customer is always right" consumerism where you can eat 90% of a meal and get your money back, and can return rusty Pots and pans you brought 10 years ago to Shopko. I guess that's the drawback of letting powerless script readers be the go-between.

Somehow, I don't find it that shocking that Sprint Customers are leaving them in "unless something changes we'll have to go bankrupt" numbers.
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Jeremy edited this at 07/20/2009 4:09:21 pm
newalex.jpgAlex - 3618 Posts
07/20/2009 @ 04:22:53 PM
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That's why you do what the 2 comments above yours say and go to the store
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Broadcast in stunning 1080i
07/20/2009 @ 04:34:00 PM
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Well, we don't want to go somewhere and waste our time if there's no way out of it. (Also, there'd be another semi small hurdle if I was to stick with my Treo for now.)
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - "If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style."
07/28/2009 @ 06:23:49 PM
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I have a palm treo, but the only thing that would have made me happier is the HTC.

Also, don't go to a place like best buy or a mall kiosk and expect intelligent service. Call the people directly (using the intra-webs thing to find the customer service numbers) and talk to a rep who might know a thing or two. Kiosk or store reps are franchised representatives that get spotty training.

In case you were wondering, the Carl Tower has been up and running for more than ten years now.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
07/29/2009 @ 09:49:25 AM
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Well, thanks for your advice to go visit a store, and the follow up advice to avoid the store and call Sprint directly. (Which is what we were doing.)

This matter is now (hopefully) behind us. Sarah wrote an email basically telling them how stupid it was to piss off two customers of a combined 11 years by refusing to allow us to upgrade, thus costing them $50 a month. That email apparently got though to someone who was allowed to use their brain and he called us and settled everything. There was lots of run around after the fact with people confusing what needed to be done though, so hopefully it all works out in the end.

I won't be at all surprised when we get a bill for 2 3 line family plans, and a $200 fee for "canceling" the one early, despite us being billed for it.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
07/29/2009 @ 09:52:42 AM
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Oh, the funniest part of all this is that yesterday I got a call from sprint because someone saw that we only had two lines on our family plan, and they wanted to know if we were interested in adding a third line.
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - You had me at "Hello"
07/29/2009 @ 04:21:02 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 09:49:25 AM
Well, thanks for your advice to go visit a store, and the follow up advice to avoid the store and call Sprint directly.


Carlos44ec Wrote - 12/19/2008 @ 08:12:19 PM
most of the stores are franchises, so they have more incentive to keep you happy.


The comment was made before I went through hell with a franchise store (AT&T) and got what I wanted after speaking with their corporate help line.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
07/29/2009 @ 04:27:09 PM
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Yeah, I didn't want to rip into you and Wendy for trying to help, after Alex got snooty about your answers that is, but anything we needed done was going to have to be done by Sprint HQ, the 17 year old at the Sprint store might be sympathetic but he's not going to be able to do jack squat, even if he wanted to.

Edit: Also, for Best Buy in particular, they just sell everything, so the flip side of that is they know nothing. There's far too many technicalities with the plans for them to know the particulars. The girl that showed us the pre the first time admitted she had no idea how to use it, but then told us a bunch of stuff about the plans, and it all turned out to be almost completely incorrect. (It's hard to hold it against them, cause there's so much info out there, that in a lot of ways is almost intentionally confusing, but you should probably know that the Sprint "Everything" plans means "Everything" TV/Nav/etc is NOT extra monthly charges.)
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Jeremy messed with this at 07/29/2009 4:32:48 pm
vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - What the F@#$ am I being arrested fo?
07/30/2009 @ 11:30:59 AM
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Feel free to rip away. Alex seems to always exude snoot.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?
09/03/2009 @ 04:28:06 PM
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So the HTC Hero is officially a Sprint phone, and is due out next month, so it's advice time. It supports up to a 32gb microSd card. 32gb cards don't exist yet, and would probably be as much as the phone if they did. 16gb cards are the highest, which means they have the premium. They go for around $50, while 8's go for around $20, if not a bit less than. The phone comes with a 2mb card, but I'd fill that in the first afternoon.

So, I'm thinking I should go with the 8 for a while. If some day I've got enough stuff on there that I can't live without by that time the 128 gig micro sd cards will be $50 and the 16 will be $10 and the 32 will be $25. Right?

By the way, have we ever discussed how ridiculous microSd cards are? Ive never seen one, but I can see their tiny size compared to regular sd cards*, whose size I still find sort of unreal given the amount of data. I really feel like this is one of those areas of technology that go under appreciated. We were in high school when an 8gb hard drive was a Sci-Fi number, and would have been $1000+, now 8 gigs fits on a chip the size of your pinky nail while costing less than a meal for two.

*Edit:I guess I was looking at an adapter that was longer than usual, but they still look to be about half the size.**

**Edit again: I guess that second picture wasn't to scale, so I correct my correction. They are indeed way tiny, even compared to an SD card, smaller than 1/4 the size.***

*** And a tad under half the thickness, which makes them just barely over 10% of the volume of an SD card. Craziness!
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Jeremy messed with this 4 times, last at 09/03/2009 4:48:56 pm
2887.gifAlex - 3618 Posts
09/03/2009 @ 05:23:47 PM
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Word of caution, I bought a 8gb microSD card for my phone to hold music mainly. But either the speed of the card/bus/cpu is ridiculously slow or the music player software on my phone blows, because it was totally unresponsive when I told it to play all and randomize. So I can only put about 4gbs worth of music on my 8gb card. I'm guessing it's mostly due to crappy software, but just because the phone "supports" a 32gb card, that doesn't mean the phone supports a 32gb card.

Anyway, I'd agree with going for the 8gb card for now.

Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 04:28:06 PM
By the way, have we ever discussed how ridiculous microSd cards are?


http://www.nutcan.com/blog.php?content_id=1102&subject=2009_bad_year_or_worst_year_ever

Alex Wrote - 01/24/2009 @ 05:27:28 PM
I've decided that auto companies are in trouble, because back in the day that was probably the "thing" to spend some extra money on, but now it's electronics. I channeled my inner vulture today and descended upon Circuit City, picked up a micro usb data cable, 8 GB micro sd memory card, and some headphones for my new phone. Remember when I spent like $70 on a mini sd 512mb card 4 years ago, and then today I spent $45 on a chip that has 16x (yes, I know, not exactly) the capacity and is half the size?
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Alex perfected this at 09/03/2009 5:24:15 pm
vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
09/04/2009 @ 08:43:46 AM
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I just looked at the phone and one thing jumped out at me- that angled but of the bottom. Not a fan. Also, I see in the specs that device control is the ball and enter button. No touch screen? Or is it?
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Pie Racist
09/04/2009 @ 09:24:49 AM
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That's the European model, which I kind of liked, our version won't have the chin though, they also put a big ass battery in it, which is hopefully a nice change of pace from Sarah's "you can't be away from an outlet/usb-port for more than 3 hours" Palm Pre.

It's a multitouch screen.

http://www.new-cell-phones.org/sprint-hero-new-sprint-cell-phones.html
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reign_of_fire_150.jpgMicah - I'm flippin' burgers / you at Kinko's straight flippin' copies
09/04/2009 @ 09:37:05 AM
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If it can't do this I don't want it:

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/story?id=8187394&page=1

The app automatically locates your iPhone and then finds all registered sex offenders in a giant radius and plots them on a map.

Great for parties!!!!!!!!!
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Always thinking of, but never about, the children.
09/04/2009 @ 09:47:45 AM
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It probably has that, that would be a pretty trivial app to write, I'm not sure why it's so popular, other than Apple people's continued dedication to proving to the world they have more money than sense.
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
09/04/2009 @ 10:06:54 AM
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You don't know why it's so popular? Sex offenders are near you! The law gives you the right to know where they are!!!!

This is only something I would want if I had kids. Then your darned right I would want that app.
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - "Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else."
09/04/2009 @ 10:13:00 AM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 09:24:49 AM
That's the European model


Aha, I do like it! Wait, it's only $180 with a 2 year? That's cheap; so that either means it's less-cool than my Palm Treo 800w, or they just made better component choices... either way, very nice. My upgrade option is coming up in October.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
09/04/2009 @ 10:25:09 AM
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I think they just know they have to compete with the iPhone, and for that matter, get people back to Sprint. It outdoes the iPhone 3gs in a lot of ways. Multitasking is a biggy. You don't know how much you miss being able to have multiple browsers open, and swap between active programs, until you use Sarah's pre for a while, and then go back to your old one app at a time phone where you've got to re-find your webpage every time you leave it to go check a text message.

It also has a 5mp camera that actually does some focusing and has a bigger battery you can actually change.

The processor in the 3gs is a little better, but otherwise everything else stacks up. (GPS, Compass, Wifi)

The features sprint throws in with their Everything Plans are pretty cool to, but I have no idea what the iPhone users get. Sarah can actually watch the NFL Network on her phone, and it's only a couple seconds behind what's actually on. It's not super high quality or anything, but it would be watchable in a pinch, and certainly better than nothing in the car. Turn-by-turn Audio navigation is also included, so throw away that Tom Tom, cause you don't need that dinosaur.
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reign_of_fire.jpgMicah - Bring down the Beast!!!
09/04/2009 @ 10:42:36 AM
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Yeah but can you turn it into a lightsaber like my iphone....bet not.

Suck it Palm
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Pie Racist
09/04/2009 @ 10:45:48 AM
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Yeah, it has a lightsaber app. It's gone uninstalled to this point.
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
09/04/2009 @ 11:49:05 AM
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Micah Wrote - Today @ 10:42:36 AM
Yeah but can you turn it into a lightsaber like my iphone....bet not. Suck it Palm


iPod touch helps me out there, I could just duct-tape it to my palm.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - The pig says "My wife is a slut?"
09/04/2009 @ 12:28:07 PM
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Like the Flight of the Conchords' camera phone?
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