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Auckland, New Zealand
Smurf sized geeky person with a penchant for IT, gaming, music and books. Half of industrial duo 'the craze jones'. Loves data, learning new things, teaching new things and being enthusiastic.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Trying New Things

A while back I looked into getting Lasik because contact lenses were uncomfortable after a few hours due to dry eye, and glasses are just impractical when walking dogs in the rain or going to the gym. It took me ten years to pluck up the courage as I'm a bit sqeamish with eyes, but eventually off I trotted to the eye clinic with my loan offer all sorted for the fees so that I can do things quickly before chickening out. I get the eye checks done and find out that the only part of me that isn't too fat is my corneas. They are both too thin for Lasik and there's nothing I can do, there are no alternatives, I just have to live with being a speccy four eyes. ARRGGHHH... Fast forward a few months..{{{wibble wobble fast forward hands thing}}}.. I'm reading a magazine a few weeks ago and I read about something called Ortho-K. It's been around for a while apparently but no-one I've spoken to has heard of it. Why does no-one know about it? It's freaking awesome! Ortho-K: contact lenses you wear at night that correct your cornea so that during the day you don't need to wear glasses or contact lenses. And NO SURGERY REQUIRED! It's cheaper than Lasik but is of course more high maintenance. With Lasik you get it done and that's it. With Ortho-K you need to keep wearing the lenses at night to make sure your cornea is the right shape in the morning for clear vision. In New Zealand, Lasik costs $5800 to get both eyes done, Ortho-K costs $940 the first week when you get the lenses and fitting, then you have 3-4 follow up visits at around $200 each throughout the first year, all up it works out at around $1700. On Thursday I had my lens fitting and Friday morning I could see! When you're young apparently you get awesome vision after the first night, when you're an old fuddy duddy like me, it can take a few nights. I've noticed a gradual improvement over the past few days. The lenses are not the most comfortable thing to wear, but as you're asleep most of the time you're wearing them it's not normally an issue, and the first night was definitely the worst, by the third night (last night) they weren't too bad. If you've never worn lenses it will probably be quite unpleasant initially. In the morning you have to apply liquid tears to free up the lens as it suctions itself to the cornea over night (it's supposed to). Once it's freed up and moving, you have a little orange tool that you use to get it out of the eye - it comes out with a popping sound. :) For the first few minutes things are blurry, and then you realise you can see the pattern on the curtains on the other side of the house - RESULT! Driving to work without glasses or lenses made me feel as though I was back in my early 20's. It's so nice driving without the discomfort of lenses or the peripheral limits of glasses. My sight wasn't 100% perfect, but I could see road signs clearly a long way down the road. 8.30am on Friday was the first night follow up, and the sight test showed an improvement of 2 points, from a -3 to -1, plus the astigatism was also improved by 2/3rds. The legal limit for driving without glasses in NZ is -1.5. The optician gave me some -1.5 soft lenses for the evening as I'm pretty picky about having good vision for driving and your cornea does start to reset over the day, so by bedtime you're not as clear as first thing in the morning. The eyes should continue improving each night to get better and better vision, with longer last effects, some people report having improved sight for 2 days at a time, only needing to wear their overnight lenses on alternatte days. I will find out at the follow up next week just how much improvement we get over a week. It was fantastic going to Taste of Auckland without glasses or lenses, and even better was a really challenging hike on today around Waiheke Island unencumbered by glasses or lenses. If you're thinking of giving these a try, I went to OPSM at 185-187 Queen Street, Level 1.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Shiny Has Shipped

The new phone has shipped overnight. If the US postal service gets a shifty on, it could arrive next week and the queue of people wanting to check it out before I leave MBIE will not be disappointed. I have turned into an excited Tigger! Bounce, bounce, bounce.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

New Shiny - Nexus 5 32GB in Black

I've needed a new phone for a while now. My first edition HTC Desire from a gazillion years ago is starting to get quite battered and its second battery is now starting to fail, prompting me to finally give up and buy a new phone.

The problem I have with buying a new phone is researching them; I always end up finding something amazing that isn't yet available, which means a new phone never ends up being purchased. This time though my research wish list item from earlier this year was the Nexus 5, and given that my HTC Desire is due for retirement I have decided to stick to my guns, not look at any new shinies that are coming out in the next few months. I have closed my eyes to the Phone Arena phone compare tool - it will not taunt me with the pretty 50tetragigamegabyte camera phones covered in bling that would make a magpie envious.

So, having decided to actually buy a new phone, it's time to research prices.

As you probably know, this little gem of a phone isn't yet released in NZ. Pah! No problem. It's available on the Google Play store for US$399(32GB) or US$349(16GB).

Purchasing Stage 1 - Go to Google Play Store. Denied. You can only buy a device from the Google Play store if you live in the States. Google tells you to 'go away because we don't want your money you horrible foreigner'. I tried setting up through a US proxy but none of the buy now buttons would work - tried several different proxies, all to no avail. Nevermind, it doesn't really matter that I can't buy it on Google Play as they've sold out and there's a 2-3 week delay. Maybe that's why the buy now button doesn't work. Hmmm....

Purchasing Stage 2 - See if an NZ based company has managed to bypass the Google Play defences and get their mitts on the shiny lovelies. Only one so far, Parallel Imported. They are selling the 16GB Nexus 5 for $769 with a delivery estimate of 7-10 days. Ouch. Considering the 16GB version is US$349 retail on the Google Play store (which works out at NZ$425 on today) that's quite a mark up. I'm paying NZ$120 for shipping, that still would only work out at $545 if I could just get the damn Google Play store to work - ah well.... So after taking delivery costs into account, they are marking up over $200 on each phone - I suggest haggling with them if you have the urge to be annoying - I did consider it as I do enjoy a good bout of annoyingness, but decided that 7-10 days was too long to wait.

Purchasing Stage 3 - Look on Amazonwho very helpfully bill you in NZ dollars so you can see how much it's costing you complete with postage. Here I find a 32GB Black version (sold out on Google Play) for US$499, with shipping it came to NZ$749.

So for $20 less than PI I have the 32GB version and it's being shipped directly to me. Would have still preferred to pay US$100 less as those of us in Non-US countries could do with a bit of a break on the high prices, but things are what they are and I doubt they will change before my HTC Desire dies completely.

Below is a picture of new Shiny - image provided by the internets. I will post a review and more pictures when it arrives. I am now off to dance around like a crazy person who is a little bit excited about a new shiny, and then I will go onto the Zagg page to buy all the protection my new lovely needs.