I’ve been a loyal customer of Cricket for more than a decade. I’ve been monogamous by their side since their very inception after getting burned badly years ago by VoiceStream Wireless (also known throughout the industry as The cock-stain of wireless companies”). VoiceStream and a busted-ass Jamie Lee Curtis were joined together in an unholy union and offered a free weekends” type of contract. If you ever bothered to look closely at the fine print, the free weekends” weren’t free anymore after you exceeded so many minutes. Even when I handled my wireless minutes as I normally did where I avoided any use whatsoever during the week, I always ended up using it almost continuously all weekend. This ended up being a $700.00 dollar bill for a single month (the inflation adjustment in relation to 2013 dollars is close to $1500.00)(citation needed) and I was so appalled by this deception that I swore off the sneaky bullshit minute/contract system forever. Ironically, this bridge being burned coincided with Cricket appearing as an option, born from the hopes and dreams of the poor to become the Taco Bell of wireless providers. They even copied the Taco Bell code of ethics of being cheap, occasionally reliable, and carry a fifty/fifty chance of getting food poisoning”.
It’s been quite a slow progression with technology with my dear Cricket. They seem to be literally years behind everybody else in wireless towers, hardware, and software. The most expensive smartphones that they sell in large quantities are refurbished phones from other carriers several years previous. The archaic and laggy service paired with the ancient technology and memory capacity has always been an embarrassing handicap. On my last Cricket Samsung, I was only able to have two apps and they functioned poorly most of the time. I was never able to play Draw Something with my friends and send them countless dick drawings with the word they had to guess written underneath that big veiny multicolored bastard. It made me feel as though my frugality had cheated me into not being able to share my unique brand of humor with all of my closest friends. Last year, I got the brand new Huwai Mercury, which was actually a well -made phone that surprisingly worked well with the service. I really enjoyed using it for two months until it got halfway dropped six inches and exploded in a ball of flames that would make Michael Bay blush. I tried in desperation to get a replacement screen, and it ended up becoming a two month waiting game of getting jerked around by a Cricket retailer, and I eventually gave up on getting a replacement Mercury.
Last Christmas, tired of hearing my constant complaining of having such crappy tech, I was given a slightly used monster HTC EVO phone with a killer camera and processor that was only used as some guy’s booty phone”. The carrier was Sprint, and they would not let me activate the phone until the account had been resolved or something. I even had a Sprint representative on the inside and they still could not get the clearance to activate it. The adulterous bootymonger that it previously belonged to still owed on the initial contract or something, and my personal theory is that I think he was unable to pay it with all the multiple paternity tests he had to undergo.
So there I was, with a piece of dumpster quality Cricket phone and a badass monster Sprint phone that was being used as a paperweight. My cheap-ass MacGyvering gears started turning to try to come up with a solution, and soon I started to entertain the idea of getting the impressive phone flashed to operate with Cricket service. I did a moderate amount of research and found a good local company that assured me the phone model was compatible and that they had the most up-to-date flashing software for it. I sat on the plan for a couple days, and then I decided to just go for it, because a forty dollar lottery ticket sounded like a better idea than dropping $500.00 on yet another outdated Cricket phone. At this wireless store, they were very friendly, knowledgeable, and very professional. Immediately upon entering, they pulled the EVO apart with the precision of baby surgeons and quickly started the reprogramming process. It only took around twenty minutes and I was good to go. After getting it back, I immediately started to second guess myself when they also handed me a very long and detailed SHIT YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER, EVER DO WITH THIS PHONE!” list. The phone now basically became a time-bomb, because even making minute changes to the system would instantly render it back to its original state as a paperweight, and flag me instantly to the Sprint Police as a criminal mastermind. The most important commandment that could never be broken: The main operating system, under no circumstances, shall ever be updated. And the phone constantly regenerates texts and reminders every twenty minute that IT DESPERATELY NEEDS AN UPDATE!, and on occasion, automatically tries to be a sneaky little bastard and update itself on its own, using its own sentient capabilities. It’s a truly aggravating game of making sure that it never gets a chance to grow up, like a Bonsai Kitten. If I accidentally end up updating it, at the bottom of the long “Not To Do” list it tells me that I can go and fuck myself, and bring them back the phone back with forty bucks so they can do it all over again.
They never explained these pitfalls to me up front, and even though I’ve done my best to make lemonade with these weird new restrictions, there’s even more bizarre shit that a flashed phone does that nobody really talks about. I offer this as a warning and a user’s guide to the rest of you cheapskates, so that you may determine if this really is the most appropriate course of action for you.
(Hint: It’s not).
5) Picture Messaging Is No Longer Simple Or Normal:
If you’re anything like me, when bored on a Saturday night (and after several drinks) you may feel the urge to snap a quick shot of your Oh Long Johnson and hit send:All” to quickly give your entire contacts list a wonderful and thoughtful present. Now you can no longer happily flash folks with your flashed phone en masse like you did in the good old days. It can’t handle that daunting task with the shaky internet and service connection. It might get delivered to a few lucky recipients, but a demand of that size will crash the operating system faster than that one time you mixed Volkswagen with Mad Dog. On the flip side, receiving dong pics from your buddies is equally as frustrating, as you get sent five separate download now” buttons for a single picture and it takes about twenty tries to finally get the first one to open. So for the time being, please refrain from sending me any silly or stupid picture messages, as I will most likely not get them or just get pissed and delete the download buttons, only after hunting you down and downloading my fists into your face.
But at least normal texting is ok, right??
4) Regular Text Messaging Will Make You Look Like A Crazy Person:
Even with simple and basic text messaging, there’s not a whole lot of coding information involved. Normal text messages are 150 characters long and are sent and received within seconds like its freakish alien technology from Star Trek. But it’s not anything new by any means. Phone texting was a technology that was developed back in World War II, and while it should have been used to track enemy troop movements and relay sensitive information back to the top brass, the soldiers mostly used it to send each other stupid stuff like WAR SUKS ASS LOL. WISH MY BFF JILL WUZ HERE”. With your newfangled flashed phone, be prepared to be hated by your friends while at the same time worrying them by appearing as though you are multitasking by texting and having a seizure at the same time. Texts don’t go out, some go out normally, and some decide to go all Rain Man and resend themselves fifteen times. It makes you look like you have a wicked case of Tourette’s when you send something important like LOL I LEFT TOILET SEAT DOWN N PEED!” ten times in the span of three seconds. For some reason, people stop talking to you, all the while you are clueless to how much your phone is making you appear as though are behaving like a total asshole (more than normally).
3) You Can’t Update Jack Shit:
The prime directive Never Must Thou Ever Updateth Thy Phone, Lest Ye Be Damned” rule is in play at all times, but this also applies to the Cricket software that is in a constant fight to the death with the Sprint software, which I envision looking a lot like the end of Karate Kid II. All of the icons and programs are from 2001 or so, and even by trying to go around them and get the newer stuff by downloading Play from Google is a waste of time that will only give your phone a case of constant and confused constipation. Google Play is on my phone, but it doesn’t exist yet to my operating system, and it’s basically a piece of software which ends up creating a time-travel paradox. It’s in a state of confusion from the apps that have arrived from the future and will do anything in its power to try to restore its current universe back to the universe from 2001. You must be very careful when you update any apps, because it gets really picky with stuff it will allow to apply, and when it finally does, you won’t be able to find them since it will still use the program names and icons from a decade ago.
2) You Get A Chance To Relive The 300-Baud Modem Days:
I remember the good old days of the dial-up modem to get online with Prodigy and angrily post on bulletin boards, fighting with other Prodigy folk about important stuff like Guns N’ Roses, long before those guys eventually became the best window washers in California. The wait times were intense, and it made crazy noises and completely tied the phone line up. We were really backwoods back in those depressingly ancient days, and everyone was ghetto and had phones that had to be plugged into the wall. But fear not! You can relive these nostalgic memories by flashing your phone with Cricket service! Your steroid-laden processor and memory card have an internet connection that is too slow to even be able to play an ascii version of Hangman. I know I’m rather critical of things, and I was pretty hard on Cricket internet before, but it was light years better than the flashed version. Have you ever duct-taped two sea turtles together and then set them down on asphalt? Because this exactly as fast it goes. As an experiment, I loaded YouTube and queued up one of my favorite music videos last night. The video is 4 ½ minutes long, and it took 43.5 minutes to watch it from start to finish. That’s a helluva lot of stops and starts, I counted a total of 52 times. It’s best to just write off using the internet on your flashed phone for good, because it’s faster and easier to update your Facebook status by honking out binary code with your car horn.
1) It Does Not Function As A Phone Unless You Open Seventeen Sub-Menus To Set It To The I Am A Phone” Setting:
As soon as I got my phone in my hot little hands, I immediately tested all of the basic functions. I could make outgoing calls. I could text, and receive texts. However, I could not receive picture messages, nor could I send them. Most obnoxiously, I could not receive incoming calls. I asked the people at the cellular store why it wasn’t working as a phone, and they calmly explained that I had to turn the internet off. And they played it off like it was a simple and easy thing to do, even if you have to switch between them four hundred times a day. They were a little dishonest about that, though. In order to shut off the 3G” (which is quite a stretch in description), you have to open a bunch of menus to disable the phone internet connection, and when done, reverse to turn it back on (which cripples your phone from being a phone). I’ve missed so many calls in the last month, I got a condolence card from some of my friends who have just assumed I’ve been dead for weeks. There’s just no way to simplify the process by making an icon or widget directly function as an on/off switch, and if they’ve made one as an app, it would take around a week for you to download.
I’ve learned my lesson, that’s for sure. Sometimes, the cheapest route is not always the best one. Phone flashing is still a technique that has a long way to go before it actually becomes useful by completely wiping the original factory presets completely from the phone storage. Until then, quit being such a cheap bastard and stop trying to pretend you are James Dean.