Monday, June 11, 2012

Address Book Blues and I Hate Cellphones

Jetty Dreams
Cellphone holder

A little rant for today.

I decided to get a slightly more modern cellphone on the weekend. You need to know that I am one of those curmudgeons who only uses a cell sparingly and only for making actual phone calls--short ones like "I'm going to be late".

I'm also really cheap and I hate the ridiculous fees charged by the local incumbent telcos for voice and data plans and refuse to be taken by them. This means that I only buy older tech and use a pay-as-you-go "plan" to keep it configured on their networks. My old Motorola V120c, new in October 2001, likely one of the oldest cellphones in existence still in working order, is holding less battery charge lately. And since the 60 day air-time top-up was due, I figured time for a new one.

I had done my homework: all the pay-as-you-go plans out there rely on you forgetting to top-up and therefore losing your accumulated minutes. "Oh gee, too bad, boo hoo! - say those a-holes at Rogers and Bell.

I had discovered that 7-Eleven sells phones, mostly Nokia, and SIMs that connect to the Rogers network. Their pay-as-you-go plans expire after a full year, so you don't have to remember to top-up so often. Seemed like the least expensive solution. I wanted to be able to sync my Mac's address book to this phone so I made sure to select a model with Bluetooth, the Nokia 2720 Fold, a new model in September 2009.

If you're a well-read Mac person you may be groaning inwardly now. Yeah, I have since discovered that Address Book sync'ing on the Mac is problematic, older phones aren't supported, and the coup de grace: Apple has completely removed syncing suport from Lion, the latest OS.

Luckily, I'm still running Snow Leopard, I was able to figure out how to hack one of the newer phone-plugins to fool iSync into accepting my 2720 and sync to it. if I want to upgrade to Lion, I can get temporary relief by copying and my DIY plugin over to it after the install.

But this took all of Sunday and most of today. Plus I've learned one of the critical reasons why Apple sells so many iPhones: the Nokia phone is one of the most exasperating devices ever created. I have become really adept at removing the rear cover and extracting the battery. That's the way you get the phone's attention in a number of use cases.

For example: fire up the FM radio and listen to it for 5 to 10 minutes. The phone's user interface becomes completely unresponsive. Pull battery, wait a few minutes, replace, reboot.

Tinker with Bluetooth software -- pull battery, etc., etc.

Oh. My. Fecking. Gawd.

I've also learned that I'm somewhat clairvoyant. I can see quite clearly that this phone is going to die by being submerged far out in Lake Ontario at some point in the future. Maybe then I'll overcome my extreme frugality and get an iPhone.


Unknown said...

Don't get an iPhone - because that is their very reason to make it so hard for you. If you reward them, you will only encourage them...

Bruce Walker said...

I agree that it's bad to reward them for this clever manipulation, but what are my alternatives? Cellphones are only getting worse. Androids are as whacked-out as cellphones. I'm afraid the iPhone is about my only viable option -- besides going phone-less. Trust me, I'd rather do that. But phone booths have all but disappeared, so I'm left without any other choice.