Smartphone, Android, Touchscreen, Internet - for someone who has never owned any of these on a phone, this is a quite scary and exciting adventure.
First I had to get internet, I can't use my old simcard with it. Then I charged the phone. When I bought the small package, elegant black box with silver sweeping letters, I was surprised and amazed. It's so small for such a huge device - huge as in lots of features.
I was even more surprised when I opened it. The phone was almost as big as the box but it was so thin and light. First I was afraid to hold it. Even though I had seen it in the shop, owning it is a different experience.
The clear charging light battery already amazed me, it was so bright. When it was finally full (barely took a few hours, wow) and I had my new Internet Sim-card from Vodafone, I opened the back. Quite easy and against other comments the back is very robust. Putting in the Sim-card was easy, too, didn't even have to take out the battery. Closing worked great. The hooks clicked with a nice firm grip and in the end the back is very smooth.
Now turning it on. OMG. Nice first opening screen, wonderful graphics. Then there is my screen. It looks so awesome. I had seen HTCs and Iphones but this was just amazing. And such a big screen. I did the jeans pocket test and works perfectly.
Then I tried to make a call. Working with the keys needs some work, yes, but it was better and easier than I thought. (better than on my Ipod touch). But then I pressed the wrong button and the call menu was gone.
But I was still on the line of the service center. I freaked a bit, tried to get back to where I can end the call. I usually consider myself a computer, technology etc geek, a small one, but the smartphone first impression literally took my breath away. I finally realized how to get back to the call menu by swiping down the top where there was a red phone sign.
This really is a device for the future. I'm looking forward to exploring it in detail.
In my last post I compared prices online. There are two online shops that offer the Galaxy SII for 399€; Amazon and a few others are 20 € more expensive but don't have shipping costs.
Amazon is the only online retailer that I really trust. Only once did I buy a laptop with T-online. Buying my flatscreen with Amazon was a huge decision but when prices are hundreds of Euro cheaper, you just have to give in. Usually I prefer to go to shops and wait for offers. A huge problem for me is that I'm only in Berlin for a short time, so I can't wait too long for shipping.
When looking back on Amazon, the price is at 465€ and only other partner firms sell it for 419€ there. This rules out Amazon for me - and due to lack of trust online retailers in general.
My subjective and biased view on shops: I can pick up the product right away, no waiting. I get service when buying but most importantly when something is wrong - bringing the device back and receiving a new one takes only minutes. In case there is a hardware problem later in my 2-year warrenty time, they take care of all the hassle with sending, repairing etc.
For me this is worth paying a few Euro more, however, not extensively more. When being so close to the buying experience. I really need to be careful not to rush into the shop and just buy anything only to own it.
Luckily, I found the cheapest offer today at my Media Markt in Berlin. 399€! I really didn't expect that. Cheaper than online retailers! Perfect. So I stood there in the market, thought about it, well, and after this whole process, I'm sure, I want it, I got it. I own a Samsung Galaxy SII now. Amazing.
The service was great, they offered me some insurance which I declined and they already had all my details saved because I shopped there before. The seller was friendly and I enjoyed having a quick chat while getting the phone. And the best: In the shop I was also able to buy some extras. A silicon case for example. I think I will also look into screen covers online.
Today is full of suprises: The box in which the Galaxy S2 came was tiny. My old phones always had boxes about three times the size. Anyway, it's all too exciting. I will unpack it now and see what it's like.
All of my phones so far I have bought in conjunction with a contract. As my phones tend to be top-range and quite new, I often have to pay 100-200 € on top of that. Way back this was the way to go. Now times have changed. My own contract is too cheap and you don't get nice deals when you just renew it.
I would have considered getting a new contract but unfortunately I'm travelling in different countries too much, a few months in England, a few months in Germany. Very inconvenient.
I still went to Vodafone (in Germany that's the best connection and I like their service after 10 years of experience in my family). My Dad has a contract without a phone and pays 80 € per month. He said he is fine to renew his contract but Vodafone says they won't give him the Samsung Galaxy SII I chose, because he doesn't want an internet flat. He wouldn't use it and for me it would be worthless. That's really frustrating.
Then I tried with my mothers contract but it's the same deal. We played through all the possibilities but it's no good.
I even started looking at new contracts for many networks. Vodafone has nice student offers but either I have to pay about 250-300€ extra still or my contract will be about 30€ a month. I know I can get cheaper contracts without a phone, with internet and texts for only 10 € or tops 15€, so as a student who isn't even in the country most times anything more is unmanagable.
Christmas offers from T-Mobile and Vodafone offer the phone much cheaper now, for 65 € for example, but only with their overpriced tariffs. 3 years ago I could call Vodafone and landline for free for only 20€. Now, 30€ for a contract is probably reasonable including internet if it would include the phone completely. Groupon.de has such an offer for the SII. Only 19.95€ for the phone. But that is only Telecom and I really don't want to switch. Also I have to pay at least another 10 pounds in England for the network services that I will want to have there too.
A friend told me nowawdays you just go to Amazon or MediaMarkt to buy the phone seperately. So I guess I will have to do that now and get a cheap contract. I calculated it all together and buying the SII for about 400 is still cheaper with a 10€ contract than paying 30€ for 24 months (which I can't even use completely yet).
Endline: a smartphone makes you very mobile but the network industry doesn't provide good international, flexible offers yet.
Next week is Christmas and I want to give myself a treat. Christmas wouldn't be as exciting without knowing you get something as awesome as a smartphone. I'm not even sure that I can wait that long. I'm very impatient now that I know I want the Samsung Galaxy SII.
First thing I always do: check amazon!
It's 414 Euro for Germany and £389.00 in Britain as I'm staying in England right now. Why not compare across borders if possible.
Luckily it's cheaper in Germany. Why lucky?
I feel much safer buying something in Germany due to the fact that we have a minimum of 2 years warrenty on everything by law. In England it's often only 1 year - not good. I know Samsung and other large brands offer a 2-year service themselves but I would hate to go through the hassle.
Another reason to not buy it in England: last year, I purchased an Iphone for a friend at the Apple shop in town. It was much cheaper - for some reason intial prices are much lower in England, so looking is worth it. But in the end my friend only kept it for a few months as he wasn't able to run updates or use the IOS with vodafone. You don't have these problems with Android - I would hope. Still, it's a lesson I've learned.
Also, if I would have to get it repaired and I'm not in England at the moment, what do I do then? There are just too many open questions. However, if it had been majorly cheaper, I would have considered buying it abroad.
People seem very happy with the Sense of the HTCs - I played with it from friends and was very impressed, too. Reviews also seemed to prefer this skin above all others. On the other hand, I don't know HTC that well whereas I had good experiences with Samsung phones.
I know they improved the battery for the XE but I heard many complaints about the predecessor concerning this. Three of my friends who have an HTC are content but they are all women and don't know much about the other choices. Not trying to make this a sexuality-based decision but the design of the HTC seems to be very female oriented. The Galaxys just seem a bit more in my direction.
From a conversation on facebook, I realised and was confirmed by Twitter entries that the Nexus is similar to the Iphone 4S full of glitches that are sure to be resolved fairly quickly. I also feel more comfortable with a sophisticated, proven version. Then the 4.65 screen of the Nexus - I think even that's too big for me; I do work my phones with one hand quite often. Everything feels a bit safer with SII - the physical button for example as I've never had a touch screen phone before. It's hard to trust in that right away.
The worst of the Nexus is still the camera. My cousin has the SII and was stunned by its performance camera-wise. It intrigued me. He also said the overal performance compared to earlier smartphones he's had is purely amazing. The Nexus is leading on tables now but I haven't heard similar statements about it from reviewers. The SII is simply outstanding which is maybe not the best way to go for a smartphone; however, it has ALL the features I want, so it seems like a perfect choice for me.
Samsung Galaxy SII is the cheapest one and as a student I have to look at that too. The HTC Sensation XE is available for 475 Euro and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for about 529 Euro. The SII I can get for 399 Euro and maybe even cheaper when looking more into it.
A huge thing for me as well: you can get the SII in white and as most people will either already have the black SII or buy the Nexus for Christmas, I might have the advantage of standing out a bit with that one. Decision made, I think. And it feels good. Now I'm excited and want to buy it.
So there are three phones left in my bowl.
1. Samsung Galaxy SII
2. Samsung Galaxy Nexus
3. HTC Sensation XE
I undertook some closer research, read articles on Chip.de, Cnet, and connect Magazine/Website and followed some general discussions with videos, articles and Twitter.
- The Galaxy SII is already half a year old but it was leading the phone tables for a very long time. This must speak for its quality
- The Nexus really scores with its features, the biggest screen of those three and the cool curved style.
- The XE is actually the most attractive because of its Beats Audio sound profile as music capabilities was one of my top priorities.
Closer look at the Sensation XE: The resolution is slightly better than the SII but not as good as the Nexus (Amoled wins in any case, though). Other downsides here: it's memory is only 4 GB big and despite the 16GB SD-Card that comes with it, I prefer the included 16 GB in case I need to top up later. Quite likely with those awesome cameras. (http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/mobile-phones/htc-sensation-xe-with-beats-audio-review-50005202/)
Everyone thinks the Nexus is a good deal. Best resolution of them all, the notification LED is nice. Slight problem for me is that they marked down the quality of the appearance. The Galaxy SII did a much better job there and it's also lighter than the new one. Surprisingly the Amoled technology is not "as" good as the SII's - either you get clear Amoled or dotted HD - strange. Also, the SII's CPU is the same; I would have expected more here. More tiny downsides: no USB function, no SD-slot. (http://www.connect.de/ratgeber/kampf-um-die-smartphone-krone-1218095,287.html)
It's a shame the Nexus doesn't completely convince me. The XE seems like a really good deal but the Galaxy SII so far is exactly in the middle of both phones. Tests in Connect show top web capabilities, memory is huge, sound is amazing and battery life top range. The only downside: it's older, CPU not as strong as the XE's and it doesn't have an HD screen.
I need to think about this some more, also drawing on other people's comments.
To decide which 3 phones I wan't to have a closer look at, I compared the specifics of all phones, read some overal reviews on Connect.de and Chip.de and also ruled out what works least for me due to a variety of reasons.
1. that has to go: Nokia Lumia 800
- I'm not so convinced by the design. It looks like a lot of surface doesn't belong to the screen and despite the round edges I get the feeling that it is squared and too accurate. But that's a completely personal view. Then it only has a single core, even though tests say it's sufficient. No card slot is another minus. Missing front camera, although I quite fancy the Carl Zeiss in the back which I liked in my Nokia N96. However, my experiences with Nokia cameras are that their quality gets worse over the years and eventually stops working altogether. Lastly, the app numbers are not convincing yet and Connect say the music is bound to the use of a software. Too much that doesn't go along my consideration specifics.
2. one that's out - HTC Evo 3D
- the Connect Magazine tested it and even though it seems like a good deal, the ranking shows that it's only second best. The 3D features are too new for my liking and the tests have shown that it's still in its baby shoes. The Evo is better than the old Sensation in some features, but I think I can get a better deal with models that get top rated.
3. now it gets more difficult: Samsung Galaxy Note
- as appealing as this huge screen is, I'm not looking for an Ipad. Otherwise this would have been my number one because it has everything I want, from design to uniqueness and full technological features. Following Samsung's world tour with the Note was also exciting and I really wish the screen wasn't so big. I already struggle with the decisions in 4.3-4.65 screen area when I think about going out or trying to use it in lectures unnoticed.
4. the last one might come as a surprise: Iphone 4S
- the news are full with complaints about system errors. It seems that they rushed the new IOS a bit too much and use this now as a testdrive until they release the Iphone 5 next year. The manufacturing seems to be top, but for me the smaller screen is a big issue. It looks tiny when you played with an HTC before. Buying an apple product also means committing to apple on a broader range. I thought about doing this because the idea in general appeals to me, however, it is a long-term investment that I cannot afford at the moment. It's a shame because Apple in general brings out top, high-tech and innvoative products. Everyone seems to love the metal and glas frame of the iphone. Honestly, I prefer lighter and scratch-free plastic if it doesn't look cheap.
Other downsides: no exchangeable battery, not much new that appeals to me in the new 4S, I'm not a fan of itunes, it works if I need to use it but I prefer simple drag & drop features.
OS5 really seems to be a hit when it's working. I still feel a bit restricted with apple software, but then I have only tried for a short time with friend's phones. All in all, the price and all these things make me say no to Apple - at least for now.
This leaves me with my three top choices: Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and HTC Sensation XE . I will explain next time why they specifically appeal to me.
This is a list of phones that I kept a close eye on. Next time I will rule out most of them unfortunately but that doesn't mean they are not great phones that I would like to have - maybe one each day would be nice. No, I don't consider buying them for mostly personal preference reasons. I still want to grant them the presence they deserve - because they all got me excited at some point.
Samsung Galaxy SII - Android 2.3 - 4.3 Amoled display - 480x800 normal resolution - 1.2 Gh dualcore - long lasting leader in tests - white version available - 415 Euro
Samsung Nexus - Android 4.0 - 4.65 Amoled display - 1280 x 720 highest resolution - 1.2 dualcore processor 529 Euro
IPhone 4S - IOS 5 - 3.5 TFT display - great resolution - secret dual core - 629 Euro
Samsung Galaxy Note - Android 2.3 - 5.3 display 1.280 x 800 great resolution - 508 Euro
HTC EVO 3D - Android 2.3 - 4.3 display - 3D qualities - 419 Euro
HTC Sensation XE - Android 2.3 - 4.3 display - 1.5 Gh dualcore 475 Euro
Nokia Lumia 800 - Windows Phone 7.5 Mango - 3.7 display - normal resolution - 1.4 single-core OLED Clear Black technology - 499 Euro
I need to be organised, have a focussed idea of what benefits I can get, but also how useful that would be on a day-to-day basis.
That's why I consider my needs first:
1. Use of my old phone (Nokia N96 - I know, old)
- music player, camera, alarm clock, navigiation (non-internet maps), calling - tried calendar, text message also doesn't really work for me on the system.
- play good music
- have a fantastic camera
- navigation, maps
- useable calendar functionality
- convenient text messaging services (or messengers)
- enough battery life to do this (N96 lasts for about 3-4 days without charging on daily use)
- OS System that I like
- Stunning design
- Original features
- fast internet (H+)
- Fast system (over 1.2 dual-core)
- large display (want to read e-books on it)
- good mail services
- something special that makes it a bit different from what everyone else has
I'm also sure that during my evaluation process, I will find some features most appealing even though I won't even use them in the end. Consumerist approach - it sounds good, so it must be good. I'll try to keep a semi-subjective view when considering the options but I know it will be hard.
90 % of these choices included out of date phones or easily breakable laptops. Nowadays, I spend weeks searching the web, looking at tables, specifics (luckily I know quite a bit about the newest technology) and in the last instance I ask someone in a shop, just to confirm my evaluation.
So this is what I will do in order to decide what phone is best for me:
1. Decide how to narrow down the choices
- Research objectives
- What I need
- What I want
- Compare 3 Options
- Pro and cons
- Tests, Tables and Opinions
- Options with contract / without contract
- Shops and their services
- Delivery options
So, I did it. I got into the consumer market research project and from this week on I will be writing about my complete research, all my evaluations and decisions.
This means you will get some more posts in the next 4 weeks. I love it already.
One question to start off with:
What smartphone do you have, do you like, or would you desperately want to possess? (Iphones included)
And maybe what are you reasons?
Green Friend Request
„It’s a pleasure to meet you,“ said the guy over the booming new Jennifer Lopez Lambada-remix and put a kiss on her forehand.
“He was in the climbing society last year as well,” Rachel told them. “How’ve you been? Tyler – isn’t it?”
“I’ve been great, yeah. How about you?”
Rachel and Tyler kept chatting on the way to the bar. Amelie tugged her arm under Stella’s as they followed. Her eyes were fixed on his short ginger hair, styled to spikes in the centre. At the crowded bar she switched her attention to the dancers. The floor was on a higher platform opposite the bar. When Amelie turned to check on Rachel, Tyler grinned at her. She smiled back.
Once they had drinks, too, she and Stella went to a lounge table, whilst Rachel disappeared on the dancing stage.
“You should go and dance with them,” shouted Stella in her ear.
“Why?” she asked with a questioning look.
“Because he so liked you.”
“What?” She pulled a grimace. “No, he’s with Rachel.”
“Believe me, he likes you.”
Amelie felt the corners of her mouth widen. She turned and grinned towards the dancing crowd. And there was his face again – Tyler returning her smile. She was glad the flashing lights hid her reddening cheeks.
“Told you,” Stella said leaning on her shoulder.
Tyler – in his casual right-left rocking next to the crazy moving Rachel – stretched out his arm towards them, opening his palm.
“There you go.” Stella pushed her slightly in the back, but Amelie fought her off and turned her back on Tyler.
“I said I can’t.” She leaned closer towards her, the back pressed into the leather bench. “It’s only been a few weeks since Billy.”
“Exactly. You should get back out there.”
“I will. After I finished my assignments.”
“Don’t mention assignments today.”
“You’re right.” She took her drink and held it high. “To Lady’s night.”
Stella took hers and cheered: “To lady’s night.”
The next day Amelie didn’t feel very capable of anything. She hadn’t had enough drinks for a hangover, but the taste in her mouth and the lack of energy proved that there was still alcohol in her system. Even so, she had to meet up with her course mate Becky to go to the library. After two hours in the boiling and noisy workspace, she had barely written anything about the depiction of sexuality in Middle English poetry. It was time for a break. They went for a belated lunch and bought some food at the nearby Spar.
“Are you alright? You look like something’s up.”
“No, I’m fine.”
Becky followed her to the cashier’s line.
“I feel a little awkward, probably had too much alcohol last night.”
“Any particular reason?”
Amelie raised a smile. “No, not really.” She put her Tuna-Mayo sandwich on the counter and took a bag of crisps from the side hangers. “Well, there was this guy, but he went off with Rachel, a friend of mine.”
“That sucks.” Becky moved up to pay her noodle salad.
Amelie went around the cashiers to the exit. The door opened from the other side. She stepped back and froze. Tyler stopped, too, keeping hold of the door.
“Oh, hi,” he said.
“Hey, how are you doing?” She didn’t need to ask. His ginger hair was all fuzzy and his lazy outfit with the training pants looked as if he wasn’t quite out of bed yet.
He groaned in response. “Got a little headache, but I guess I’m alright.”
Becky had finished paying and looked at the two.
“Well, I’ll see you around,” said Amelie.
“Yeah, see you.” He disappeared in the shop.
Back home, Amelie wrote her daily blog entry and for the first time that day writing became easy.
Coincidence or Chance
11.04pm, Thu 17/03/11, published by Amelicious
Labels: chance, coincidence, love, dating
I wonder how people get together anyway.
Is it pure chance or rather coincidence?
Some people are supposedly meant for each other, which would presuppose a set plan, or not? I mean some encounters are so strange that pure chance can hardly be it, right? It must be destiny. I just don’t get why so many coincidences turn out completely meaningless.
Just yesterday I had one of those encounters. At first, at least. I went out with my girls to celebrate. In the club my friend Rachel introduced me to this guy who was not simply cute, but gave me this feeling. You know what I mean. Our eyes seemed to be sticking together. The whole evening he glimpsed to where I was. I must have imagined it, for he went off with Rachel.
Now, the real mystery came upon me today during my lunch break. I bumped into Tyler in a shop. And worse, there was this awkwardness in the air. Is that really just a stupid coincidence or is there more to it than chance?
She sighed after hitting the publish button. She didn’t count on anyone reading it. Her visitor counter was merely at 871 and she didn’t even have ten friends, only two of them commenting regularly. Still she really hoped to hear someone else’s thoughts on this.
The rest of the evening she spent reading Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Fin” for her second essay on the depiction of African-Americans in 19th century American literature. Before going to bed, she checked Facebook and was surprised to see a red encircled 1 in the top left corner. Not the usual notification or message button, but the friend request one. She clicked on the red spot and the drop-down window showed a picture of a guy hanging on a rope at a cliff, shooting a grimace into the camera. The name said Tyler “Bing” Bening.
Out of habit, her mouse hovered over the “Accept” button. Quickly she pushed the mouse away. She remembered the new blog post that automatically sent a note to her Twitter and from there got published on her Facebook profile. She went back to her blog, cursing herself for using real names, and changed his into Jason and Rachel into Julie. On Facebook, she deleted the Twitter note about the post.
She didn’t like accepting him, but she was curious about what he had to say. Maybe their coincidental encounter meant something after all.
Only a few minutes after she had pressed “Accept”, the Facebook chat window popped up alongside the familiar clicking noise.
Tyler “Bing” Bening
hey, how r u doing?
Tyler “Bing” Bening
did u survive the day then
Tyler “Bing” Bening
yeah, just about
wht did u do?
Tyler “Bing” Bening
sleeping mostly and watching TV you?
tried to study and write my essay
Tyler “Bing” Bening
sounds like fun
oh it was, never had more
Tyler “Bing” Bening
im sure u did fine
what makes u think that?
Tyler “Bing” Bening
I don’t know. cause ur great maybe
Amelie hid her eyes under one hand. She hesitated, her fingers over the keyboard.
maybe you’d fancy going for coffee or something sometimes
She grinned into her shoulder.
yeah why not
Tyler “Bing” Bening
For a while, nothing came.
Tyler “Bing” Bening
you free tomorrow
I’ll be busy with my work during the day, but maybe later
Tyler “Bing” Bening
how about 7-8
Tyler “Bing” Bening
where do u wanna go?
Tyler “Bing” Bening
u like the font?
Tyler “Bing” Bening
you know where it is
Yeah near the hospital
Tyler “Bing” Bening
i’ll meet you there at 7?
okay, 7 at the font
Tyler “Bing” Bening
Amelie didn’t sleep well that night. It just didn’t seem real. On the way to The Font, she also worried about what Rachel would say to her going out with him, but Rachel didn’t pick up the phone. Then again, they were only meeting for a drink, what was wrong about that?
Tyler was waiting at the door, hands in his pocket, the ginger hair styled and not messy anymore. Looking at his smile, every step she came closer seemed to make her smaller.
“Good evening,” he said and took her hand again, touching it with his lips.
“Hi.” She evaded his piercing green eyes and only breathed out when he led the way inside.
At the bar, she ordered a coke and to her surprise he got the same and even paid.
They approached an empty couch in the back of the pub. “You’re not getting a beer?” she asked.
“No.” He just smiled.
They sat down, both leaning on the armrests. Amelie took a sip.
“How are your assignments going?”
“Better today. I don’t think I can use anything I did yesterday, though.”
“I just felt awful. Not like a real hangover, but similar.”
He laughed. “Well, I did have a hangover.”
“I could tell.”
His smile vanished as he nodded and bit his lip: “I’m sorry that I went off with Rachel. I don’t know what got into me. I’m not even into her.”
Amelie thought about yesterday. She had been a little jealous then, she knew that now. But the feeling was gone.
She liked how easy their conversation became. They talked about her essays; he told her how he started working in the Outdoor shop and later their topics got more and more personal. At one point, he got a text from his mother and bitched about her being all motherish and over the top. She could relate and told him about her Dad, who never let her walk home from school until one day she freaked out. It was still sometimes annoying when he called to check on her too often.
Hours passed and then Tyler had to go to the toilet. When he came back, he sat down close to the middle. Amelie noticed and leaned away from her armrest, the legs folded into his direction.
“You know you have the prettiest eyes.”
She blushed. “Thanks.”
When she lifted her head back up, their eyes locked. Her pulse began to accelerate. She couldn’t move. He on the other hand leaned slightly forward. Amelie raged inside, still motionless on the outside. His head came another inch forward. She joined his attempt and their lips met. A soft kiss. A second later they retreated. A huge weight seemed to fall off. Tyler looked relaxed, too, the shoulders lower and a wide grin shining across his face.
“Oh dear. This is a pretty cute couple, you are,” said a guy stumbling closer, falling into a seat at their table. “You look pretty, you two.” He carried an almost empty glass of beer and his eyelids kept falling down separately.
“What do you want?” asked Tyler.
“Why do I want something?”
“Because you came to our table?!”
“Don’t be so rude, buddy.” Amelie grinned into her hand, but Tyler seemed annoyed. “You like her?”
“No, I just pretend to like her.”
“That’s mean, you know, pretending to like someone.”
Amelie avoided looking at the guy. “You like ginger, eh?” he asked her anyway.
She didn’t answer.
“Just leave her alone, okay.”
“I’m not doing anything. Why are you so mean?”
“Please, just leave.”
“You’re sending me away? That is so mean.”
“I’m telling you, back off.”
To Tyler’s surprise, he got up. Instead of leaving, he came around the table and leaned over to Amelie. She kept her back to him, looking into Tyler’s raised eyebrows.
The guy whispered to her “Don’t take ginger, be a binger” and sniggered.
Tyler jumped up and hit him spot on. The guy flew backwards to the ground, his glass shattered on the floor. Hands clutching to his face, he whimpered. Others came to the scene, the barkeeper shouting.
Amelie was shocked. She followed Tyler outside, as he pushed his way past the spectators.
Back in her room, Amelie dropped onto her bed and moaned. Her thoughts still relived the evening.
Her phone rang.
Reluctantly, she pushed the green button on her screen.
“Amelie, hey, how are you? I’m sorry I didn’t call you back. Thursday I just had an awful hangover and then Kat dragged me out again, so I was pretty much useless all day today.”
“That’s okay,” Amelie said.
“Is everything alright with you?”
“Yeah, just a long day.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be done with your assignments in no time. Listen, I just read your blog and I’m so sorry. Had I known you liked Tyler, I wouldn’t have tried anything, really. When I read it, I felt like such a sleazy slut.”
“Rachel, please don’t. It was okay, really.”
“No wait. I think you were actually lucky I hit on him. To be fair, I’m surprised he went with me, because he couldn’t stop talking about you.” Amelie’s attention rose abruptly. “I mean I was pretty pissed then, but I still remember that it was more than weird. He knew things about you, it was so creepy. First he said he was glad you broke up with Billy. I mean that was only a few weeks ago and I sure didn’t tell him that. But it got worse. He knew that you went out with Jamie for Valentine’s Day and even that we had a fight just after that. How did he know all that stuff?”
Amelie stared at her ceiling, lying flat on the bed. The light of the little nightstand lamp appeared to fade.
“Amelie, you still there?”
“Yes, yes. I’m just ... I don’t know.”
“Anyway, this guy is weird. I left him at the club, but you and Stella had disappeared.”
“What? He told me he went away with you.”
“But I didn’t – wait, he told you? When?”
“Rachel, I feel so stupid.” She put her free hand on her forehead.
“Why, what happened?”
“He added me on Facebook yesterday and I went out with him. We even kissed.”
“Oh my God, Amelie, that guy is not sane, you really should stay away from him.”
“It looks like it.”
Rachel didn’t leave her until she had given her all the details of the disturbing things that had slipped Tyler’s tongue that night. She thought about friends who might have told him, but she remembered that on Facebook they only had Rachel in common.
Suddenly she had an idea. She went on Facebook, typed Tyler’s name into the search bar on the top and went to his profile. She looked at the latest status updates. One from Thursday 11.13pm said simply “Finally”. Right after she’d accepted his friend request. She went to her own profile and looked at her status updates from the last few weeks. She’d written about Billy, of course, but there was nothing about the Valentine’s date. She found some complains about Rachel, though she never mentioned her name. How did he know about Jamie? Maybe a friend had told him, but why? She hadn’t told many people.
Her eyes widened as she saw the Blogger shortcut on her bookmark toolbar. She’d written about it in her blog and about Rachel, too. And now the rest Rachel had told her made sense as well. She quickly opened her blog and looked at the comments to her new post.
Two comments, one from her best follower Alicia and an anonymous one.
I hope it still works out between you and the guy. Maybe he just wanted to make you jealous by pretending to like your friend.
Looks like bad luck last night. But you never know, sometimes luck can turn around.
After reading the comments, she sank back into her hard wooden chair. Could it be that her best reader was really Tyler? Or did he read, but never commented? Both options were concerning.
Immediately, she wrote Tyler a message, saying that the evening was nice, but she didn’t feel that they should go out again. She knew he would try to argue, but she was determined to turn him down, until she could delete him from her friend’s list. Secondly, she changed her Facebook account settings, so that only friends could read what she wrote. She damned herself for not having done that earlier. Lastly, she posted her Friday entry.
Dumb gets dumber
1.29am, Sat 18/03/11, published by Amelicious
Labels: safety, online, privacy, internet, caution
Regrets have one advantage. You’ve learned something.
I just went through a hard lesson on online privacy. I feel so stupid, maybe I should get the crown of dumbness or something. So many people say concerning things about internet security, but did I ever listen?
Do you wonder who actually reads your blog? Or your Facebook status updates? Facebook is a network for friends, but most people share private thoughts, private pictures and what not with how many people? There’s not much private as long as you put it on the internet.
I won’t go into detail what happened to me – see, I’m making progress. I still have to say that I regret putting so much personal stuff on my blog. The question is, how much is actually okay? I guess you need the right balance to keep readers interested and at the same time to protect your private life. My Facebook is only for friends now and I will be much more careful who I invite or accept. After all, employers check social media websites nowadays, someone even got fired for bitching about his work. I feel that we need to be more aware of how we lay ourselves bare on the internet.
This is why I will change my blog, switch the URL and use an avatar from now on to protect myself from unwanted interferences with my private life. Thank you for following me until now. Eventually chance will bring us back together in the Bloggosphere.
For some time now I have been wondering why writing the story seems so hard. Well, I'm only at the beginning but still. Then I heard from fellow students that they are doing character sketches and I thought to myself: Nahno, why are you not doing this? You're perfectly capable of having some sense.
Yes, I think it's one of the most sensible things to do as a writer. What do you think? Are you using character sketches?
I started doing one for my main character. Of course I had thought a lot about his character already, where he is from, when he was born, why he is studying in England and not in America. I decided what his main character traits would be and how he would deal with some difficult situations. Well, I thought it's enough, but then I figured it wasn't.
Well, when I was looking for dialogue for Felix, my main character, I always felt that I have to think really hard about what he would say compared to what I said. I just wasn't completely into his character yet.
So, now I did a character sketch and it does help. For some reason I felt that he would most likely study something like architecture but I was never really sure why? It had to be something smart, something where you can physically influence the world So, I invited an architect graduate over to tell me about the life of an architect and how students are like.
The way in which my imagined character fit to general architect students was amazing. Apparently they are all obsessed and have an underlying indisposition. Exactly what I wanted.
So now I have answered hundreds of random questions about my character, about him and from his point of view and I think I know him so much better now.
What are you experiences with characters? How do you make them cohesive?
Everyone is more,
from goal to goal.
out of me
Where is mine,
where am I,
what's this anyway.
out of me
A tree, a lake,
Diving through the sun.
out of me
Blue, red, yellow -
pink, fluffy lights
swirl through thoughts
and cloud my sight.
out of me
You got him,
he got her,
get to sin with sensibility.
out of me
going everywhere I wanna be,
if this envy didn't follow me.
Out of me!
Writers face many problems. We're such a poor folk - never happy, always alone, miserable to the bone.
And the worst of all, these prejudices are not even true.
One thing is true, though. We're working hard on our stories, push ourselves and fight against gratuitous emotional outbreaks when things don't go the way we want them to. Characters can be even meaner than the prejudiced folk, making us change whole story lines or central themes. And still we're like mothers, loving our children no matter what.
How much research do you do for your stories?
Research starts by looking at how much time the main character needs to walk down a street and how much conversation can fit into that temporal range. Sometimes you're absolutely busy with something else, you have no time whatsoever to think about your story, but your mind forces you to switch your concentration and do mental research. For example at the supermarket cashiers.
Then there is what we normally perceive of as research - looking into books, talking to scientists and asking skilled friends. For my novel project, I'm in a bit of a mess because of the amount of research that I feel is needed to make it as good as possible. There's the scientific bit about parallel worlds, not an easy subject. Then the meteorological details for the tornadoes (partly even as close as characters in the other world) and not to forget smaller but nonetheless important information about characters.
I don't know why my character has to be an architecture student and not something else I'm more familiar with, but that's okay. Felix wants to study this, so I let him. Like children, I told you. So now I just have to figure out how to become a skilled architect, physicist, meteorologist and sci-fi writer in about three months which is my personal deadline for having written the whole thing. (Next to third year Uni stress.)
Wish me luck and I hope you writer's life is easier.
PS: I'm not complaining here. I love it. I just wish I could stop time.
Recently I talked about my new novel plan - the Sci-Fi/Fantasy story about a journey to a parallel world. For this I had to research quite a bit of physics to be sure about the possibilities of parallel worlds. At the Book Fair there was a stall from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. I figured why not ask them about my ideas - best thing you can do - just ask people and don't be shy. They were more than willing to be helpful.
I also decided to take part in their LHC@Home project. This is a connection from your laptop to their system. You get tips on how to make your computer more efficient and in return they sometimes use some of your capacity to calculate some theories - millions of computers together are more powerful than one large computer. You should really check this out.
I also finally found the deeper meaning in my story. While writing a proposal for the Dissertation this novel will be part of, I had the idea to include some of my recent, quite innovative discussions in the story. After some training sessions about sexuality, forms of life and understandings of society, I was slightly confused and had to make up my mind about a few issues that seemed a bit outstanding - non-conformational. Where would be a better place to explore the difference of these ideas as in a parallel world's society?
I hope this will be something new, something at least I haven't read before.
This week I have attended the Frankfurt Book Fair on several days. On the facebook and twitter pages of PepperBooks you could also read what I experienced as it happened.
Do you go to book fairs? Do you think it is necessary?
After being on my mission to find as many ideas, networks or partners for the new publishing company PepperBooks, I have to admit that the Book Fair was anything I imagined and more.
The two freshly delivered books in my bag, I wandered around the vast buildings and halls, looked at thousands of stalls and was amazed. The first day was pretty much wasted trying to grasp all of it. I still managed to promote our literature website buchbesprechung.de a bit, talking to publishers and authors.
Later the week I got to organize some things for PepperBooks. For someone starting in the business, the Book Fair is THE place to be. You get useful information on various events and more help from different organizations. Everyone was very friendly - a wonderful atmosphere. I managed to connect to book wholesalers who thought our books looked promising and added some contacts to our friend's list.
If you like books, this is where you find people like you. Some make books out of granite, some don't care about the investment into their cook books as long as it follows their strict and inventive guidelines.
I'm just a little annoyed that I didn't have time to see everything. However, I was surprised by the presentation of this year's guest of honour - Iceland. Wonderful country - great literary world despite its size.
I'm really going crazy traveling this week so much, it's like all around the world in two days. Yesterday I went three hours to London fro 1 to 3 am, then a place to near Hamburg plus another bus to Hamburg City Centre for an inspiring training session. Now I'm in Berlin preparing for the Frankfurt Book Fair, where I will go on to on Tuesday. So, I will make it short today, as there will be more posts on publishing and Frankfurt Book Fair and other things over the coming week.
See you soon,
Unfortunately, the Smartphone Offense is still one or two weeks from now. This means that this week, I can tell you a bit about the creative side of my summer: Planning a new novel.
I'm in my third year at University now and for the Creative Writing dissertation of a BA course you have to make a Portfolio, which is nothing else than a coherent creative piece of writing of about 7000 words plus a reflective commentary of 3000 words.
It's the first time that we have a larger piece that can actually contain a bit more than a short story. On the other hand, it's still not enough to hand in a novel - bummer.
I still want this project to be a major piece of work that should end in a novel. One option is for example to just hand in the introduction to the novel (which I wouldn't wanna do, actually). I'm still contemplating how to use the 7000 words with different pieces of the novel I have in mind.
I guess I should just tell you what I came up with now. Like so many times, I got my inspiration from a dream. I love jotting down the outline of dreams and coming back to them later to use them for my writing. They are always so vivid and ... well, scary sometimes, but good material. This time I was on the run with a group of people, an older guy, a girl and someone else I think. We were driving a truck and tried to follow some guidelines to get somewhere. Suddenly there was a lightening and we had disappeared from that place - at high speed and turned up in another world.
In my mind I knew there were also some background issues. Long story short - I'm writing a novel about parallel worlds, menacing and intelligent storms and scientist apprehensions about gaining unheard-of knowledge and insights. I had to study the universe in depth to understand all the cosmic settings and the theories surrounding parallel worlds. Finally I know what Black Holes are supposed to be and what Einstein's formula is all about. If it weren't for the novel idea, I would have never gotton so much into Sci-Fi to absolutely enjoy it.
I'll tell you more about the novel/portfolio piece once I have more information. I still need to decide on a few details.
Where are you getting your ideas from? And what are you working on right now?
To work as a publisher means in the first place handling all the different stages of making the books. That can be disappointing and exhausting, but also exciting.
Luckily, there are and were no problems in the team - I've never felt so much part of something. In a way social life and work gets mixed up, when we had sandwich parties on Thursdays, fun promotion events and trips to Berlin underground musicians.
Then there is outside communication:
For the first book, a marketing idea consisted of getting confectionists to help us with a recipe for "Harald"- the chocolate-bean-chocolate cake, the main protagonist of the children's picture book. We got two recipes, one for Harald and one for cupcakes, for the kids to bake.
Here you can be lucky or not. For our second book we employeda wonderful illustrator who almost feels part of the team. She quickly adjusted to our ideas, made different cover versions, combined the best ideas and even adjusted minor things in no time. This makes work easy and fun.
Other things can be a bit tricky, especially if your illustrator is also friends with the author and sees the project as a freetime fun thing. It's a balancing act between getting the necessary changes done and not coming across as a mean publisher who wants to destroy the original ideas behind the project. I would say there are some aspects a publisher just knows better about selling the final edition. Still, our goal was to suit the book and the author more than just making profit - being an alternative to popular publishers.
Last: the printing agency
I'm so glad we had an understanding printing agency. Otherwise, we would have been lost. There are so many things you have to learn about printing and without their help and support we could have messed up bad and be utterly disappointed with the results. (well, we don't have the books yet, but I'm confident)
Now we know how to
- layout the printing file,
- what format it has to be,
- what pdf x-3 is,
- that ICC profile are a hassle,
- what book sizes are better than others,
- which fonts are totally stupid,
- how to use a ftp server,
- which paper is suitable,
- the difference between CMYK and RGB,
- and all the other choices you have to make before your job can be done.
In the next few weeks, I might take part in a smartphone customers insights survey, which would mean that I will blog frequently about choosing, buying and using a smartphone. More daily news on my new tumblr.
It's still quite hard to believe that I spend my summer starting a publishing company in Germany. After applying at an amazing online literature magazine called "www.buchbesprechung.de" (alternative German for book review), they asked me to get involved in their second project - the publishing company: PepperBooks.
So this is me all summer:
I would say the fact that I am studying creative writing helped a lot with the books that we were planning to publish. I read several books on publishing companies, strategies and layouting. Meanwhile I edited the books to the best of my knowledge, trying to highlight the fantastical atmosphere for the children and of course working greatly on grammar and punctuation. Luckily, the author of the two books is an academic and quite skilled with the rules - only one minor problem: the author had fallen for the wide belief that a soup of exclamation marks makes up rich ingredients(!).
Editing someone elses work in a business kind of way made me struggle. There are so many sides you have to consider and be aware of. It's hard to fall into the habit of thinking about it as your own work, but it's not. You have to edit in a way that still sounds like and suits the original author. At the same time - at least in my case - I had some deeper knowledge about the needs of stories, the crucial elements and the common "mistakes" from my course.
In the end I think I managed to get good results that both pleased the author and maximized the readability of the stories. As this was my first work as a proper Editor, though, I think I tended to be more legere with things - I guess it's natural to be a bit self-critical. As a writer myself I had to take back my own desires and ideas and keep telling myself: this is not my work, I just want what is there to be a little more clear/perfect&rounded up.
We'll see how it sells.
Did you ever edit someone elses work? Next time I'm gonna talk about co-operation and managing.
Hello my friends,
so this was a long summer for me. How was yours? What did you do? I wonder who travelled the most or the farthest.
|Baltic Sea - by Susan Petzold|
Oh, and then I went to the Baltic sea and slept on the beach - yes, we had a blanket - yes, it was still freezing - no, we didn't sleep that much. From 4am on, it was more a matter of walking around and getting warm ideas than sleeping. But hey, the day was wonderful - warm, sunny, the beach was amazing and I loved the waves. (For your information: I planned to go to the sea for 4 years and never managed due to various reasons. So this was fantastic.)
So this was the best of my summer experience.
|Summer is over|
Now back to literature, the arts of writing, the experience of being a writer. All those lovely things that I didn't have to miss over the summer, even though I didn't have time to share it on here.
Yes, I didn't share it on here yet - BUT I will do so in the next couple of weeks. I will tell you about my work experience at a publishers in Germany, how I managed handling difficult illustrators, awesome and helpful Czech printing companies and layouting a whole novel. Not to forget my personal work: my new novel is getting along nicely and I definitely need to get a progress counter on here. Updates and the whole story so far to come in the next few weeks, so be prepared ...
BY THE WAY - nice to be back and have you all back.
Happy summer everyone!
Today I have sort of sad news. I'm gonna need a summer break for a few weeks, because I'm going away, different trips for the next month or so. Unfortunately, I can't always provide internet and I don't want someone to expect a post unnecessarily.
So, this means I will see you back sometime in August and I'm sure you're gonna have a lot to tell yourself then.
See you soon,
Do you get ideas from your dreams?
And if so, are they whole stories or do you just include part of it in your writing?
I very much like my dreams, they can be more fantastic than any book I've ever read and this is why I try to keep a dream diary. My best ideas came up through my dreams.
Just yesterday, I had this amazing dream. Right before I felt the morning come closer into my conscious, I realized that I need to remember everything quick so I can note it down. Once you waited more than a few seconds with your eyes open, most of it will be gone. This dream was so vivid and quite interesting, that I decided to use it for my next book (as I was looking for ideas anyway).
This can really be a problem.
Expressing anger should be easy, most would say, because you can let everything out. Well, for me it's not.
I struggle to be angry with someone, just because I don't like the feeling, I despise swear words, insults and the like. Of course sometimes, when something really ugly and despicable happens, there is no way you can not be full of hatred and fury. Apparently, I can - staying calm in the least imaginable situation.
So now I want to know how you cope with anger. For my writing I can't just have characters who refuse to be angry. This is why I need real experiences about coping mechanisms. Do you scream, do you throw things? Maybe there is something that I can try for a change. Sometimes I wish I could be like the cheerleading coach in Glee. She is awful, but at least she let's it all out.
I heard writing letters and expressing all the anger there shall help. Maybe I try that, too.
I'm really curious about what you do, even though I don't wish anyone the need to be furious.