Monday, September 24, 2012


待てず (matezu) - Unable to wait

I've been eyeing the newest iPhone since before I had even left Japan. Rumors at the time suggested it would be released in the summer and I figured it would be worth the wait. Since I was moving back in mid-June, I needed something to tide me over and so bought a Virgin Mobile prepaid phone. It has got to be one of the worst pieces of electronics I've owned in my life, but somehow I managed to get by.

Fast forward three months and Apple formally announces the iPhone 5. I put my preorder in less than 12 hours after it became available, but was somehow still late to the party. Apparently preorders were even crazier than in the past and demand massively outstripped supply to the point where Apple was pushing back their expected shipping dates within an hour of taking orders. I was expecting a bit of a wait, which would have been ok, until Sept 19th when I got an email from AT&T saying it would take 14-21 business days for my phone to ship.

Waiting another month was not on my list of acceptable outcomes, so I started looking at backup plans. Since I don't have classes on Fridays, I thought it might be worth taking a shot at lining up at one of the stores on launch day to try and snag a phone. I wasn't willing to camp out overnight or anything like that, but a quick conversation with a sales guy at the AT&T store left me thinking I could have a pretty good shot if I showed up two or three hours before the stores opened up. It just so happened that my prepaid month on my old phone expired the day before the iPhone launch, so I decided to try my luck.

To give myself the best odds possible, I decided to avoid the Apple crazy student masses in Berkeley and head up to the AT&T in Richmond instead. Between BART and my bike, I figured I could get there in about 30 min, which sounded pretty reasonable. I cut my Thursday evening at Bar of the Week early and went to bed around midnight so I could get up early the next day. I woke up a little earlier than planned and was out of the house by 5:15am.


It was still dark out and I had the streets to myself, so I made it to the store simple enough. I rolled up at about 5:45 and was pleased to see only a dozen or so people waiting in line already. I figured my odds were looking pretty good.


It was pretty chilly out but I was wearing plenty of layers. I hunkered down in line, knocked out some homework, worked on my resume, and waited. I kept busy and the time passed fairly quickly. Finally, just as the sun broke over the Berkeley Hills to the East, store employees came out and started taking orders.


As it happened, I nabbed their last 16gb model in black, so I guess I timed everything pretty perfectly. I have to say, it is one good looking phone. This is my first smartphone so I'm still getting used to it, but it is head and shoulders above everything else I've ever owned. Did I mention it's gorgeous?

IMG_7199 IMG_7201 IMG_7204

I have no idea how it stacks up against the 4s, so I'm not much of a reference for people who were on the fence, but I absolutely love it. I'm still getting used to it myself and have almost certainly only scratched the surface of what it can do, but I can see a long and happy relationship ahead.

September has been a phenomenal month in tech for me. My new Lenovo ultrabook arrived a few weeks ago and now the iPhone. AT&T was running a special on Jawbone Jamboxes for 35% off and I convinced them to toss in another 10% off, offsetting sales tax, so I picked one up too. Then, at a Haas event Friday night, I won one of Amazon's new Kindles in a raffle. I think a tablet is pretty much the only thing left that I could realistically upgrade at this point (going full frame on the camera isn't in my poor student budget, sadly). For a guy who loves tech stuff as much as I do, this is about as good as it gets!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Room at the Haastel

住宅 (juutaku) - Residence

I've been out here for roughly two months already and my parents keep bugging me for pictures, so here we go.

I'm living in a house with five other first year Haas MBA students. The MBAs who had been living here before it dubbed it the Haastel, a name which we have decided to keep. My room is the only one on the first floor and clearly used to be a dining room (hence the awesome chandelier).
A room at the Haastel I love how big it is. I love how it is full of windows that let in tons of light. I love that it has no closets, so I don't feel bad about having two clothes racks, two shoe racks, and a set of shelves to hold my clothes. I love that there is enough wall space to hang the bits of art I collected while travelling around Asia. I love how I can stash my bike in here. I love that it's the only bedroom on the first floor, which means that the bathroom down here is (usually) all mine.

I don't love how cold at gets at night (lots of windows means little insulation). I don't love that it's right next to the stairs that my five roommates tromp down. I don't love that it's right next to the front door, so you everyone come and go. I don't love that it is right next to the living room, so you can hear it whenever people watch TV. I don't love the huge rent bill.
A room at the Haastel A room at the Haastel
I've filled the room with an assortment of Ikea furniture. It was my first time living in an unfurnished place, but I think I did a pretty good job with it. I'd like a better desk, but it doesn't fit my poor grad student budget. There's currently a black leather couch residing in here as we wait for our living room to get cleaned that I'd love to keep permanently, but such things will have to wait until I start getting paid again.

I wasn't sure what I thought of the space when I first moved in, but I've grown quite fond of it. It's starting to feel a little homey.