[click on link to view QuickTime video]
Last week I noticed that the mobile phone I got in June 2011 was fluctuating between zero, one, and two bars where I usually get a strong signal. I thought at first it might be a network problem, but it persisted. Unfortunately you need to have a second working phone for tech support to diagnose what is wrong. My father has a land line but there is no signal inside the house and by Saturday it was cold and blowing snow. I was dreading making a trip into town to use a pay phone. The WiFi hotspot was still working so I tried to use Skpye on the laptop and the call went through.
I am still trying to figure out the logic of when a customer writes that they can’t get calls in an email message that the action is to try to call the phone number and leave voice mail messages that can’t be accessed because the phone doesn’t work.
Anyway, they were able to restore the 30 days I had paid for on November 21 and verified that the issue was with the phone, which was 5 months beyond the warranty. So it was time to shop for a new phone.
I drove to Giant Eagle in Indiana PA Saturday afternoon. A couple months ago they had added a display for no contract wireless phones and I had considered changing carriers because buying prepaid cards there will accrue fuel discounts. I found a Samsung S390G phone that had been marked down considerably. After I bought the Motorola W418G I discovered that I was sending a lot more text messages than I anticipated. Once I got the WiFi Hotspot I was no longer using the phone to surf the web either. The QWERTY type keyboard on the Samsung phone is quite useful plus the camera and camcorder work a lot better.
One hitch though was that my circa 2006 iBook G4, much like for the first USB modem I tried, recognizes that a USB device is attached but is not compatible when I used a USB cable to try to download a photograph. For that model you could choose a Bluetooth card or an Airport card but not both and I opted for AirPort.
There was a workaround though. While I was waiting for the initial charge to complete, I had connected the Motorola and Samsung via Bluetooth to transfer my contact list. (Unfortunately that is a one at a time process but still better than retyping.) So I transferred photos and the videos to the Motorola and then used the USB cable to mount the phone as a volume and copy the files to my laptop.
Found that the new phone worked well with my WiFi hotspot for surfing the web while it was charging but that the browser uses the mobile network by default after activation. Not an economic advantage since my WiFi contract provides more bandwidth than I can use in a month, since it isn’t fast enough to view streaming video. I suppose WiFi capability could be useful to connect to a local WiFi network if you are in a location where the mobile signal is weak, like in the basement of a building.
Other good news is that the microSD card I got for my Android mini-tablet works with the new phone plus you don’t need to remove the cover to insert it. The videos I made on the tablet are not compatible for viewing on the phone though.
So I was able to avoid Black Friday madness and get a new phone at the place where I buy groceries. My father doesn’t call often but when he does he expects to get through. I think that is OK now.
I participated in Cyber Monday yesterday to order a case for the new phone and stick-on screen protectors. A third purchase was a bag of replacement squeakers to rehabilitate some of Atticus’ toys. Between Thanksgiving and setting up the new phone and the extra trip to the store on Saturday it was a tiring weekend.
The movie linked above is from the new phone, transferred via Bluetooth to the old phone then by USB cable to the laptop and run through iMovie for editing, then uploaded via WiFi from my laptop. Whew! I think I can live with that though. Knock on wood, when the iBook needs replacing it will probably be with a MacBook Air with an external CD/DVD drive.
I uploaded two of the transferred video files to Facebook last night but it took over 20 minutes for the three minute 14 Mb file, so think it will be worthwhile to rediscover how to use iMovie.