For my entire adult life, my main source of income has involved working with IBM mainframe computers - these used to be the big ones that took up lots of space; they still allow thousands of users simultaneous access to programs and data. There are users on some of these systems 24/7/365.
I've had various jobs including programmer, analyst, system support, database administrator, and more. Because of the need for round-the-clock access, I have almost always been "on call". Some places I worked had a rotating schedule, other places it was based on which application or database I was supporting.
My most recent, full-time, "real job" was for a consulting firm where there were many technicians, each of us with a beeper originally, or more recently a mobile phone. Since we often need to speak with each other, the most recent cell phones used there were on the Nextel network - we could push a button and talk to each other in time of crisis.
When I left that job, I got a gig as a support technician for a former client. They had someone on staff who could also support the platform, but needed additional support as he often traveled out of the country. So, I got myself a cell phone of my very own - something until then I had never cared about.
I got my phone through Verizon; there was a store front in my town within walking distance, and friends worked for the company - so why not help keep them employed!
All was fine until the first time my client called me on the cell phone while I was at home. The service kept dropping ("can you hear me now?") and I finally called the client back from my land line (and I also gave them that number, just in case!)
Two years later, and long after that contract ended, I was hired by my current employer. This was, of course, another "on call" 24/7 assignment. On my way to my first meeting with the actual clients, I called my employer at the site. Just as we were finishing the call, didn't the line drop!
My Verizon 2-year commitment was up soon thereafter, and since I had never had a problem with the Nextel network, which by then was owned by Sprint, I went and got me a new contract, new phone, and was now a Nextel user once again.
Forward to 2012
Sprint announces they are dropping the entire Nextel network, and all users have to transition to at least the Sprint 3G. This needs to be done by, I think, next February, so they've given us all fair warning.
First thing I did was check out the web site showing strength of service at my then Boston area home - Sprint looked OK. Next, even before purchasing my new place in AZ, I did the same. Nextel was stronger by one bar at the new place, but Sprint was OK here, too.
I decided I would wait until my September billing cycle to make the upgrade as I knew a new phone would be in my future (the old one wasn't supported, naturally).
Because I am a photographer, I didn't choose my new phone for any reason other than it had the best camera (IMHO). My old phone did include a camera, and in a pinch it could be used, just don't try to see the picture any larger than about 3" x 2". Here's one of the best pics I ever got with it.
It does have a certain interesting quality, if you like the out of focus thing for all of your pics.
My new phone is an iPhone 4S. First app I personally installed after leaving the Sprint store was Instagram (I later found out that Facebook bought them that same day!)
I'm having a blast using my new toy. Here's some of my latest shots. I hope you enjoy!