My latest obsession: BlackBerry themes

I had to stop in at the local Verizon Wireless store and have them upgrade the software on my phone (which they did for free, awesome) before I could successfully download and install themes.

Warning: These things are like potato chips or tattoos – you can’t install just one. And they are free! Seriously, does it get any better? A theme for every occasion, mood, holiday, or event! They aren’t even eating up much space at all on the phone. Ah, bliss! 

Just let me add one plea to those amazing souls who make these themes: Please make the icons on the home screen customizable. No matter how much I love a theme, if the home screen icons are static (and they aren’t the “right” icons) I delete the theme and keep hunting. Awesome animation tricks on these icons is not enough to sway me, either. For the record, these are the important home screen icons, in this order: Messages, Address Book, Browser, Call Log, Media, and Calendar. If you have more spots than that, Memopad and Tasks are next. Also, we need more Halloween themes (without Hello Kitty). Haunted house images are best, with icons that look like Jack O’ Lanterns. And thanks across the board for creating these wonderful things. It feels like Christmas morning when I find a really amazing one! 

For the uninitiated (to either BlackBerry phones or themes for them), let me first extend my condolences and urge you to take the plunge. They don’t call them “Crackberries” for nothing. Yes, any addiction can get ugly, but aside from sore thumbs and less sleep, this one’s pretty easy to live with.

To explain the theme obsession, think back to when you were a kid with your favorite toy. For the girls, it was probably Barbie, but why did we like Barbie? For the clothes. For the boys, how about those Matchbox cars? You wanted more than one, right? Yeah, that’s it – now you understand. No one wants to wear the same outfit every day, and neither should your phone.   

Alas, with most things that bring bliss, there’s a downside, as I mentioned briefly earlier. My BB has rendered me sleep-deprived by infecting me with Theme Obsession Acquisition Disorder (TOAD) combined with “Smart Phone Thumb Syndrome”. Factor in my OCPD (which kicks in hyper folder organizing compulsions) and you have someone who should have gone to sleep at 11 pm scrolling and clicking away past midnight, no matter how aching her thumb pads and joints are. On the other hand, I now have seriously kick-butt themes and a newly “pimped out” phone! This device is bucking for the “Best Thing I Ever Spent Money On” award…. I’m considering being buried with it.

Hey, if they can do knee and hip replacements, can thumbs be far off?

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Things that make you go, "Hmm…." (Fake Flat Screen TVs)

I first heard about this on the radio, and then (being the militant researcher I am) looked it up to get the actual facts. I found the story in the Oakland Tribune, written by Jason Sweeney. This story is from August 7, 2009. 

Apparently, on Wednesday, August 5, 2009, the whistle was blown on Anthony Myles, a 52-year-old from Richmond, in San Leandro, California because someone was suspicious of him trying to sell a 37” Sony flat screen TV out of his car. The box in the car had a Best Buy sticker stating it was priced at $1,949. The bargain price? $100 bucks. Great deal, huh? Except that it might be stolen, which is why the concerned citizen grabbed his proverbial whistle. 

The police stopped Myles and arrested him for driving on a suspended license. Someone must have recalled the tip about a guy in a 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass possibly selling stolen goods, and when they searched the car, they found out what was actually in the official-looking box: an oven door, covered with flat screen TV decals! The box had installation instructions, cables, and all the proper packaging materials of a new TV. His story to potential customers? He had bought it at a flea market for $60. 

Myles was attempting to sell the oven door in the parking lot of the San Lorenzo Wal-Mart, at 15555 Hesperian Blvd. According to reporter Jason Sweeney, the San Leandro police Lt. Pete Ballew referred to the scam as a variation of the old “rocks in a box” trick. Lt. Ballew called the man’s effort “ingenious”. In today’s economy, many of us are eager for bargains, and common sense can get lax – but go ahead and be suspicious when a guy tries to sell you a box out of his car; you’ve been warned! 

In Sweeny’s story, Lt. Ballew said, “If you think you’re getting something for nothing, you’re probably getting nothing for something.” He also said you should call the police if you suspect someone is attempting to sell you fake merchandise.

Personally, I had quite a good snicker over this story. I also feel a little better about the collective IQ of humanity, that Mr. Myles hadn’t yet managed to sell his oven door. Now we know where the slang, “dumb as a box of rocks” comes from: that’s what you’d call someone stupid enough to fall for the flea market pitch! Still, points for cleverness must be awarded to Myles for his presentation.