Friday, November 06, 2009

Accident Prone?

My traffic accident this morning all started with the funky colors appearing on my cell phone screen.

Yup, another accident caused by a cell phone, though this one is a little more convoluted than the usual. About a month ago the gorgeous display on my cell phone went wonky. Images looked solarized and there would often be flickering bands of color across the screen. As fun as it is to own a psychedelic freak-out phone, I'd rather have normal colors and images, thenkyewveddymuch. HTC (the manufacturer) recommends on their site to perform a hard reset to fix this problem.

Blech, that means losing everything I've installed, including the custom pain-in-the-ass theme I've had since I first messed with the phone. Well, if I had to reset it back to factory specs, I figured I might as well upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5 at the same time. Since there was no official ROM of WM 6.5, I had to use a "cooked" ROM from the HTC Fuze community. I opted for one that also had the newer, slicker TouchFlo 3D 2, the pretty UI that sold me on the Fuze in the first place. I grabbed a beta version that a nice ROM chef had cooked up and went through the lengthy process of installing it on my phone.

It was sweet, too. The interface looked great, WM 6.5 had some nice new features and updates. I was enjoying it for a while. Then, I noticed that I wasn't getting notifications from calendar items or text messages. Well, that could be a problem since I rely on my phone both as my schedule-keeper and a communication device. I ran into a few other bugs with the cooked ROM that eventually made me realize that it just wasn't ready for prime time. Also, the hard reset hadn't fixed the color problems.

I knew that I'd have to restore to factory settings if I wanted to fix the color problem via the ridiculously expensive warranty I opted for the phone. Shoulders slumped in defeat, I went about reinstalling the old ROM. Well, not quite. HTC had released an updated ROM for WM 6.1 one with a couple of features I wanted, such as FM Radio and means to program the useless PTT button. Since it was official, I could still get the phone repaired under warranty. If possible, restoring the phone was even more of a pain in the neck than putting on the cooked ROM.

BUT! I had the FM Radio. Little did I know that it wouldn't work without a wired handsfree set. Apparently, that acted as the radio's antanna. I just so happened to have one, though, so I decided to head out this morning with the handsfree and try out the radio. I got it going in the car before I started driving, all safe-like. However, the darn thing could only pick up one station. Meanwhile, my car stereo picks up more stations than I have presets. WTH? I figured it was because of my location, so as I drove, I'd click the channel surf button every once in a while.

I continued doing this until I reached the Manassas intersection on 28 near the CVS. As I looked down to see what station, if any, the surfing had landed me, the car ahead slammed on his brakes. We had just barely started to move with the traffic, so I couldn't have ramped up to more than 5 MPH. I was going too fast to avoid bumping him, though.


Luckily, he and I had the presence of mind to pull into the CVS parking lot rather than ruin thousands of other people's days by sitting in the middle of the road. Neither of us were hurt, thank goodness. His (already damaged) bumper had two bolt-shaped dents in it where my license plate pressed into it. I mentally crossed my fingers that he would be willing to overlook it and we could keep the insurance out of the situation. No luck. He insisted on exchanging information and told me he'd call them after he got situated in the morning.


He seemed like a level-headed fella. He said his concern was that the bumper had been pressed in beneath the outer facade and might require work. My concern is that my premiums will go up, I'll lose any safe driving discount I may have had, and an accident will be on my insurance record.


Meanwhile, the graceful curve of my front end is now marred by the license plate bolts being driven deeper into the bumper.

What a great way to start the day.