I went swimming in a nearby river with my middle daughter, and I brought along my trusty Treo in case of emergencies. Of course, it's not waterproof, so I double-bagged it in Ziplocs.

Turns out they're not waterproof. I took it apart, dried it out, and used it for two days, when it stopped working altogether.

My wife upgraded me to a Samsung Galaxy S. On our AT&T network, it's called a Captivate. Very nice phone! But no keyboard. So I exchanged it for a Motorola Backflip, saving $155 in the bargain.

Biggest mistake ever.

It required me to accept Motorola's licensing for "Motoblur", even though there was no way to read the license. There was no way to bypass it.

Then it required me to create a new account for the Motoblur service. Again, no way around.

Then it took over the entire Backflip. The home page was crowded with social networking apps that I really didn't want. I use my phone as an organizer! Removing the widgets was no problem, but Motoblur was still there, running in the background, checking my GPS location regularly and sucking down my battery and CPU.

It also invaded all my PDA apps. I couldn't just access my Google Contacts; I had to add my Google account to Motoblur, and then use the Motoblur Contacts. Same sort of nonsense for Calendar.

I thought perhaps the issues would be resolved with an upgrade. The Backflip runs Android OS 1.5, which is truly ancient. The guy at the AT&T store said there was an upgrade to 2.1. I checked, and there wasn't; Motorola has already missed their own deadline for 2.1 twice. And they don't seem interested in releasing 2.2, which is supposed to by smaller, faster, and more capable.

Add on the weak CPU, the tiny screen, and the cheap-feeling keys, and I was holding a disaster.

I went back to the store and said I'd made a terrible mistake, and asked for a Captivate. They still had my old phone, and it even remembered me! They said that tomorrow it would've been erased and sent for refurbishing.

I'm much happier now that I know the $155 was worth it. Although I still won't have any speed-dial buttons, perhaps Swype input will partially make up for that.

Now all I need is outstanding calendar and grocery shopping apps. Or at least some that don't suck.