Tag Archives: phones

[Help/Technology] The Dark Side Beckons… With a Vengeance!

Alright… Most of you technologically wild folks know that the big tech shows are going on. Apple’s WWDC, E3, (I think) Computex etc… These are all industry breaking shows in which manufacturers and developers get to show off their works in progress or even finished products pending release. However… for me, things got interesting.

Almost 1 years ago, I had blogged about the iPhone 3G finally hitting all of the global carriers… yet that it was still flawed from not supporting things many basic features that even standard phones have supported for the last few years. Things like MMS (picture/video messaging), video recording, A2DP Bluetooth stereo streaming, encrypted e-mail were just some of the issues I had with the iPhone 3G being balked as the update the phone needed… Another thing later on when the iPod Touch revision came out was the support for the Nike+ system. Somehow… the iPhone missed out on that and it would basically hose any interest I had as I would love to track how much I run be it for classes or just working out. The final nail in the coffin would be that I had friends who noted iffy phone service on the iPhone via AT&T because I feel that BASIC functionality is very essential.

Yesterday and Monday’s updates on the gadget and tech blogs were quite an eye opener, however. Most of them had pointed to Apple’s new iPhone 3G [S] site and had noted that a lot of my grievances with the 3G version have been resolved. Phone calls seems to have gotten better with those who are using the leaked Developer version of the iPhone 3.0 software/firmware. The phone also has improved with things like faster processor, the addition of a compass with the GPS chips, and a few other features. The Nike+ system finally got added so it sweetens things a little bit more. Sure $200 – $300 for a phone is a bit steep… but at this moment… That’s basically the price point I am looking at for phones.

To thicken the plot… When I had left Commerce on dorm check-out on May 7th, my BlackBerry was showing I had weak T-Mobile service throughout all of Commerce. The few times I have been back in the past couple weeks, my signal has diminished to T-Mobile going to Roaming Mode on Cellular One’s backbone. This is rather crippling… The reasons for that being 1) When I am on roaming, I have asked my BlackBerry to kill my data functions to prevent roaming charges and 2) I get charged extra for taking calls while roaming. Point #1 is a killer because I have become really data centric with my BlackBerry especially when I am without my laptop. Point #2 is just murder for me as a college student, especially considering I got TONS of calls from classmates with AT&T during the day time hours with my already small minute pool.

AT&T seems to have a stranglehold for the area, as my friends have noticed. I have heard some hearsay of the Commerce area AT&T users mentioning that 3G service is unrolling soon or already present. On top of that, AT&T is killing the 2G towers in favor of the 3G revolution. Sadly, the only BlackBerry on AT&T that is 3G ready is the BlackBerry Bold and it’s not quite what I am looking for. T-Mobile’s signals are diminishing and sadly their BlackBerry devices are just rehashes of my Curve 8300 or the Pearl 8100 series. Call me odd but the fact that just about any smartphone supports Lexi-Comp, including the iPhone, is a huge impact to me as a pre-pharmacy student.

For now… I am in no rush really to convert or anything of that sort yet. I am roughly 2 weeks away from my current T-Mobile 1 year contract finally expiring and I also need to see where my own family stands as far as service goes. I know my own family is debating on if they may be switching carriers or staying and doing month-to-month with T-mobile. If they are switching, then it makes a little more of a big sell point for me to jump ship with them… If they stay, then I’ll really need to sit and talk with them.

Anyone who has insight on this… Post away and let me know!

“The Truth is Charity is a Lie” [Rant]

So… my own honor was called out today.

My own family demanded to know what happened to my Blackberry Curve. I had asked “Why? What’s up?” and got the “Oh… you could give it to one of us in the family or we could sent it to Vietnam” response. I found this odd because of a few factors:

  1. My parents and my sister don’t like smartphones. They have always made fun of me for my love of smartphones. “Why is it like a mini-computer? Isn’t that foolish from the small screen size?” They never shared my passion of being able to have life prioritized all in my finger tips.
  2. Most of the Vietnamese public has gone gone ga-ga over the iPhone so phones like Blackberries and other phones have gotten the backseat from how everyone there wants one. I’d assume my Blackberry would not be appreciated and well… It wouldn’t be cared for by someone who’d honestly kill for a good phone.

I had intended to give it to my cousin Sol, ’cause his Sony Ericsson P910a had not been to kind to him with dropping text messages and other. I like being charitable to Sol, because to me… He’s not just my cousin, but he’s one of the closest friends to me. So on mentioning my intentions of giving Sol my old Blackberry Curve 8310 so he could have a decent phone…

Apparently, thinking that Sol is like blood was bad form. My family decided to remind me that even cousins, aunts, and uncles can’t be trusted and the schism they had with my uncle and aunt back in the day… I have told them that Sol and I have been friends through thick and thin… but that got me into the “You’re a foolish idiot” mess.

Maybe I was from my past covered in the sins of my foolish choices… Maybe I still am from the fact I am willing to climb mountains to become a full fledged pharmacy student. Maybe I am a fool for being so kind to a world that has had enough mercy to let me live. Maybe I am an even bigger fool to give my own life even if it meant that my friend could live just another day… In my opinion, I owe this world a big favor and I haven’t paid my dues so I don’t mind this “foolish” path. I know that this path is one that only a beggar would choose… but for me, it absolves me of my flaws from the past. It makes me happy that I have to fight hard to go further, because that is how life is to be!

So the ultimate result… Comparisons to peers I can “never surpass” and I will never succeed to anything. My charity is “misguided” and it will get me “killed”. That ended on the sour note of “Charity is a lie… it doesn’t lead to anything good”. Maybe that’s a cynical view of life… but for me… I believe that sometimes charity is the one sign that I haven’t given up on this cruel and ugly world.

Mark my words and maybe my grave… Charity is something I believe in and Sol will get my Blackberry! I will not die with the name of “Faithbreaker”.

Bravo T-Mobile and Hooray for Me!

Almost a year ago… family had asked me to switch from at&t Wireless (formerly Cingular) to T-Mobile so they wouldn’t have to waste minutes on calling me. When I tried to do the switch, my credit was simply not good enough to snag my own line without a ridiculously huge deposit. I was devastated and at&t hiking rates on me was making me rather sick. It didn’t help that I was also recovering out of debt so my dinged up credit record wasn’t helping at all. So family stuck in and had said “Use one of our names and get your own line.” Which I did and I joined their ranks with T-Mobile…

However… This past December, family had said “You need to get your own line with T-Mobile, if you can’t… have fun losing your phone number”. That was something I couldn’t have happen as my phone is now my second life line other than the web. I had to get T-Mobile to do a “change of responsibility” to my account under my family’s name and see if I could get one in mine. They informed me that my account under their name had a full discount upgrade available and that by transferring responsibility to me, I would more than likely lose that and have to wait 30 days for a “partial upgrade discount”. I just decided to bite the bullet and see if my credit was able to pass me. Fortunate for me… My credit seems to have healed enough to qualify me for my own line. I decided to do the change of responsibility to ease my family’s burden of supporting me and I just went with knowing that I probably lost my upgrade.

However… Today, on trying to pay my dissapearing final bill over the phone with T-Mobile… I found an interesting revelation from my dialogue with the representative:

Zero: I wanted to know how long before my account is able to do a full discount upgrade? I had heard from a few reps in-store and over the phone that I would more than likely lose it and start from square one.

Rep: Actually Zero, your account seems to have gotten that upgrade discount transferred! Did you have a question over that?

Zero: Is it a full discount? The reason I ask is because I am rather excited for the Blackberry Curve 8900 coming to T-Mobile on 2/11/09.

Rep: I am showing it is a full device discount should you decide to do a 2 year agreement. I will say that I am glad you’re excited about the Curve 8900 coming to T-Mobile and I hope that we hear from you again when the time comes for you when you do choose to get the new 8900!

I will say that the outstanding customer service that T-Mobile has is the reason I don’t want to change providers. The “Death Star” had failed to even answer simple questions with the amount of zeal that T-Mobile has. I am glad that my upgrade didn’t vanish and it just shows how much I am glad to be with T-Mobile.

Zero needs your help! Help me pick a new phone!

The Zero Corporate Communicator is due for an upgrade… My AT&T Tilt has taken quite the beating from me. For 7 months of loyal service, being subject to my drunken rages every now and then, but also being hacked to fit my needs… I am amazed it has last me 7 months. I mean with respect to things… Check out my phone chronology! (Disclaimer: Times are approximate…)

10/2004 – 10/2005: Nokia 3120 (1 Year)
10/2005 – 1/2006: Motorola RAZR V3 (3 Months)
1/2006 – 3/2006: Motorola SLVR L6 (2 Months)
3/2006 – 5/2006: Motorola MPx 220 (2 Months)
5/2006 – 7/2006: Sony Ericsson T637 (2 Months)
7/2006 – 10/2006: Motorola SLVR L7 Unbranded without iTunes (3 Months)
10/2006 – 1/2007: HTC Wizard as a T-mobile USA MDA (3 Months)
1/2007 – 5/2007: Nokia E62 (4 Months)
5/2007 – 10/2007: Palm Treo 680 (4 Months)
10/2007 – 4/2008: DUAL PHONES – Sony Ericsson P990i AND Sony Ericsson w300i (6 Months)
4/2008 – Present [12/2/2008] – HTC Kaiser as an AT&T Tilt 8925 (7 months onward…)

Lately, my phone is going through issues… The slider mechanism is getting loose, unless I lock it in the angular position if I somewhat slack with the screen angle. I am going through a RAM leak issue that my phones go through… So something like the phone’s alarm or an event reminder will lock up or even crash my phone. I have to reboot the phone every other day now rather than every 4 days to keep the phone functional. The worst part… I have tried almost EVERY cooked and stock OEM HTC TyTN II ROM possible to flash into my phone in hopes of having a functional phone that was stable since the maladies happened… But alas… even a bare stripped out BASE ROM that is on the original HTC TyTN II without the garbage still has my phone crashing and locking up.

So yeah… I have been looking at new phones. At the moment, I am eligible through T-Mobile to enjoy the same deals as new users from being eligible for an upgrade as long as I do the 2 year hitch. However, should I choose to hop back to the Death Star and be subject to their funny taxes, rollover minutes and etc… I’d have to wait until around until June of 2009. Time is not of the essence, yet… Unless my phone just purely becomes dysfunctional that it is unstable. I do need a smartphone, as the ability to see my calendar of events and keep my contacts at ready access. Messaging is highly important to me as I do a lot of mobile contact when voice is not an option. Internet plans are being considered, as e-mail and instant messages are my alternative lifelines other than texting and voice calls.

Here’s the line-up… so far that is:

BlackBerry Bold (To be unlocked…)
BlackBerry Javelin (aka 8900 Curve) [Unfortunately no official link yet, link from Boy Genius Report]
Nokia XpressMusic 5800 (The wicked touch screen music phone)
Palm Centro (Unlocked from Palm)
HTC/T-Mobile G1 by Google

My common themes seem to be phones with physical keyboards that are exposed, the only exceptions being the G1 and the Nokia Xpress Music 5800. The G1 has a slider keyboard like my Tilt, while the Nokia has a soft keyboard and it does support written input via stylus.

The issue of billing is not too bad… cause at the moment, I pay $70 for my current plan after taxes and such. However should I go with any device with the optional net plan (for the G1, the net plan is MANDATORY), the price totals out at $80. So it’s about 1 take out meal a month less. Not a big deal, cause I don’t have much time for that anyways. The only pressing issue would really be the $35 activation fee and the device prices.

The BlackBerry devices may be fun, but the Bold, for example is only available in the US as a locked AT&T phone and I would have to spend a little extra coin to get it unlocked for use. The Javelin is not known if it’s coming to T-Mobile USA, but there is already an AT&T unit under testing. For either the Bold or Javelin, this is probably the most expensive route ranging from sniping one off of craiglist at $450+ before any unlocking services.

The Palm is a rather nice and pint sized little smartphone and at roughly $300 unlocked from Palm is a great deal. The sad selection of white only is a little sobering… Though the final issue is compatibility with the T-Mobile mobile web… I am highly considering mobile web, so it puts the Centro on a very thin edge. The Nokia XpressMusic 5800 ($500+) is also on that same thin edge with the mobile web compatibility… Though the XpressMusic is more media centric rather than a corporate looking communicator.

The T-Mobile G1 is probably the underdog of them all… Priced at $180 with a 2 year renewal, fully Linux and open source, and quickly becoming versatile. It’s made by HTC, so I am not too afraid of build issues. Sure, it looks a little caddish and far from corporate professional… But to know that it can basically give me near remote control over my own site is damn near staggering, especially when there are times I’d kill to blog something but only to find that I have to pay for a wireless LAN at Starbucks for an hour I may not use entirely.

I digress…

If anyone has an opinion, feel free to comment and let me know! If you have a recommendation, tell me your reasoning why! Any reasonable insight is welcome and encouraged!

Google May Have Android eDrama – Editorial

A few days ago, I stumbled upon [H]ardOCP talking about a “front page” article saying that Google may have inadvertently pushed some Android developers to the iPhone SDK… This is rather an ironic tale of karmic shock as about a year ago, there were some whispers in the grapevine that Google was proposing to OpenMoko prospective programmers with a rather gutsy move to say “Come to our project, cause we are Google after all! We have tons of capital and our project is more financially stable.” So naturally, most programmers do want a buck for their efforts and most basically said “bye” to the OpenMoko Project and hopped on the Google Android bandwagon. In the midst of all the hub-bub of Google vs. OpenMoko, the Apple iPhone crowd was rather disappointed that their shiny $500+ toy had no clean API layer to play with like Windows Mobile or PalmOS. They managed to juryrig their own method of installing applications onto “jailbroken” iPhones by apps like iPwn or WinPwn to free the phone’s certification of applications in a means of giving the device a gray zone to play in. Of course, the problem with that was Apple’s coders releasing new firmware builds for the iPhone would render these “jailbroken” iPhones into paperweights unless the unofficial teams such as the “iPhone Dev Team” found ways to circumvent Apple’s check-sums. That somewhat changed with the iPhone 2.0 software release and the offical push of the iPhone Software Development Kit (or SDK for short).

Let’s delve into the background of the 2 “major” projects…

The Android project (in my observation) almost is a deceptive concept of “open source” as depending on how you rank with Google, you get certain layers of access with Android. What do I mean? Like if you’re an amateur coder who wants to make an application for fun, you would have basic access to the API. Now… let’s say you did something like won the “Google Summer of Code” competition or you are dumping millions of dollars to Google’s Android venture, naturally, you get premium access to the newest SDK builds and even API access to even control device functions. That could get some users who have slaved hours on Google’s Android project pissed! This is really the pressing concern from the article highlighted by AppleInsider, actually. Imagine that you and a few friends of yours make a killer app that just requires you to know the exact pressure sensitivity readings of the touch screen for an Android phone, but the caveat is none of your “staff” are big name commercial people or Summer of Code winners… This could be the one failing crux to your masterpiece to ever find completion. However, someone who won the Summer of Code competition may have an all access pass to all functions of the phone and could create a killer app that could rival yours. End result: Your team loses out on a chance to monetize on your killer app, yet your competitor gets a chance to dominate the market. Could you imagine the frustration to know your competitor’s app would be up for sale in Google’s Android App Shop for $2.99 a download while you’re going “If only Google let us access code on touch screen sensitivity…” with your friends?

Apple’s iPhone SDK is much in the same spirit like Google, an illusion of open source, but I feel they have mitigated drama by allowing all users certain levels of access. There’s the “Free” SDK which is just basic tools to build and test apps for personal use. But to get your name out there… Apple wants you to pony up $99 for a Basic Developer license which gives you the right to distribute your app to other iPhones via WiFi and also sell/give your app away at the iTunes App store. Should you sell your app, you do get 70% of the revenue. Then there’s the “Enterprise” license for $299 which allows you the power to make in-house corporate apps for the iPhone, like a trippy app that monitors and plays with your custom ECU for a tuner shop or other endless things your corporation wants to use the iPhone for. This license in particular is recommended for firms employing 500 people or more.

In my opinion, Apple’s rules are a little more concrete than the undefined access rules that Google has imposed on it’s users… We’ll have to sit and see how things brew down. The fact that Google’s been dawdling with producing a real and hard phone is making their time slip, while Apple and even OpenMoko have live phones to play with! Sure, Google has a deal with HTC to have a phone created as well as make it so that users with HTC phones can do a firmware update to have Android operational on their phones… Add to this that they are trying to fight between T-Mobile USA and Sprint|Nextel as official providers… You have a concept that may simply have trouble breaking the market in a solid fashion. I guess in a sense I am saying… Google better give everyone an “eHug” and get their crap straight or come up with a better strategy quickly unless they want to let Apple take more limelight from them..

[Preview] Google’s iPhone Killer Project May Be Dying…

Apparently, even though Google’s Android project drama with weasling away OpenMoko devs and other Lin-phones has been good and well… Google may be in quite the tizzy internally.

Unfortunately, I have work soon, so I’ll have to dissect this argument later tonight.

I have quite the musing on it…

Idea: Getting an Office Phone for the Blog?

I have been debating on the idea of making an office phone line for this blog. This ends up being a sweet thing, as I can pass out the phone number to the public and have them call at their desire. The best part is I can close the phone for the day and just send it all to voice mail to catch up later. This way, it leaves me an open line when I want, but the ability to keep my normal phone from being called at late or odd hours. The cost is pretty much free and that’s the reason that I am playing with the idea.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Mobile Phone Crossroads, We Meet Again.

Call me odd or a phone maniac… but I love mobile phones. Ever since engineers found ways to pack a wallop of technologies into a small shell, it’s no wonder why people are almost replacing their laptops with these devices. Though I will admit that in the early days, the devices were not the prettiest looking shells or operating systems.

I had my taste of smart phone ownership with a Motorola MPx220 and I can say it was quite possibly one of the most horrid examples of a “smart phone” ever to be experienced. The lack of being able to free up RAM from killing applications and Motorola’s poor expertise back then with Windows Mobile were the things that just made for a poor quality device. At the time, Windows Mobile 2003 was just terribly limited with growth and freedom. It had me desiring more out of a more “intelligent” phone.

I would eventually step into a T-Mobile MDA (Windows Mobile 2005) which I would unlock myself to use on Cingular/AT&T. Windows Mobile 5 was leaps and bounds ahead of the game, but there were “limitations” with this device as well. By default, the device is alright though it could use significantly better things to improve its usefulness. The only problem to increase the device’s productivity? Well, two issues:

  1. Productivity suites cost money. The best of the suites that I got to try on my friend’s device were the SPB Software programs. These programs re-skin the Today screen of a Pocket PC device to display information in a more intuitive manner. But to get a good suite for a Windows Mobile 6 device that does not have HTC’s touchFLO interface on it, you’d have to spend almost $100 for a great set-up of the SPB Mobile Shell ($29.99), Pocket Plus ($29.99), Diary ($19.99), and Phone Suite ($19.99). Granted, this argument can be nulled out with any HTC device that has the HTC touchFLO interface which does the same as those programs, but is built into the phone at no cost to the end user.
  2. Additional RAM is required from running these instances of productivity suites. Back when I had my MDA and had a “tricked out” Today screen, my phone was not running at its best… So I had to remedy that with overclocking the processor from its stock speed of 195 mHz to a 220 mHz. The only thing was the crippling the device was the limited amount of RAM. I dare to say that on devices like the T-Mobile Wing or HTC Herald, running productivity suites would just diminish the device from being a “great” Pocket PC. For devices like the AT&T 8525/HTC TyTN, AT&T Tilt/HTC Kaiser (or TyTN2), or the HTC Athena, this may have minimal impact and nulls that argument. (Any owners of these devices, feel free to correct me.)

Why did I give up the MDA? A vital function for any phone I own is that is must be able to be a reliable alarm clock for me. After a few occasions where the MDA would lock up from RAM issues, I had let it go. I would try Nokia’s Symbian S60 smartphone interface and lack of touch made the experience feel so disconnected, though the phone features were dead on reliable. Palm’s tired out Garnet OS would make for a great experience, but with limitations on using the phone properly with T-Mobile would have me seeking to trade out the phone for something more along the lines of a Sony Ericsson device.

I love my P990i, don’t get me wrong. Quite possibly one of the best phones I have EVER owned and I do stand by that statement. It’s a dead reliable phone and even has a touch screen interface with a keyboard. Sony Ericsson has made me a fan for life and I will continue to recommend their devices to people seeking a fun alternative to bland domestic phones while trying to avoid high prices world phone imports. I have played with the P1i and it just feels like it has lost its sense of identity from the lack of a keypad flip. The failing of the P-series currently is the devices have a memory leak after awhile and reclaiming the RAM can only do so much before the phone needs a reboot. Something that reminded me of my old MDA when the memory leak was so bad that the device needed a reboot. It was a shame that Sony Ericsson’s delay of the P990i’s release only made it a device that was just too late to make a big splash in the ocean of smart phones and PDA phones.

This leads me to a debate of what I should consider stepping into later on. With my site up and having my own mail server, getting push e-mail will be a service that I will definitely be considering. Web use is more an optional thing, but would not hurt which makes wi-fi a great option to look for. GPS is a nice thing to have as I have had moments where I thought to myself “Why don’t I have GPS?” Productivity is a big thing as it would make a “smart phone” pointless if it is not productive. So what options does that leave me?

I know some of my open source friends would say “Why not Open Moko?” My response is just I don’t have much time to be mucking with my phone’s innards. With the eve of Google’s Android and the Open Moko team not making a fast enough push to make it a viable platform, it has left me a bit sour on considering it. I don’t much like Android either as it seems to push a guise of “open source” but with an influence of “Google is your new god” somewhat makes me a little uneasy like it is a false sense of freedom. (My buddy JJNova has shown me some things that even make me a bit distrustful of Google as well.)

BlackBerry devices currently are a bit limited on features depending on which path you follow. T-Mobile USA is getting a BlackBerry Pearl update with wi-fi in February after their Suncom merger, but it will lack GPS. Then there’s the case of the Blackberry Curves for T-Mobile and AT&T. T-Mobile’s version has wi-fi, but lacks GPS. AT&T’s is the opposite with having GPS and lacking wi-fi. While Research in Motion (RiM) has said the FCC is limiting what they can and cannot put into their devices… They supposedly have a new device in the works. If the new device can combine wi-fi and GPS, RiM may just win me over. Now, if they can make their net browsing just as good as their mail system… it may be serious heat for the Windows Mobile crowd.

Windows Mobile would return me to a device I am “familiar” with. The only issue is that syncing in Linux with Windows Mobile is a rather difficult matter to resolve. To be with a device of this caliber, I’d have to muck about just to make a back-up of my contacts on a Windows XP machine. So a sacrifice of freedom all in the name of smartly backing up my phone book… An odd sacrifice if anything. Going BlackBerry still runs into this issue as well, so it is “lose-lose” to a sense.

If anyone wants to throw some insight to help me with my future decision, it would be much appreciated.