(part of brett's logjam.)
9 July 2007
This weekend I decided to separate out the iPhone chatter on this site and put up an iPhone-centered weblog: Nobody Wants a Styl.us. It’s up for your enjoyment now.
(The name comes from a certain phrase uttered by Steve Jobs during his iPhone keynote, later remixed into a dance track. No, really.)
8 July 2007
Here are all the phones I’ve used for more than one day:
- Nokia 8860
- Nokia 8260 (2 different ones)
- Sony Ericsson T68
- Audiovox VOX 8610
- Panasonic TX320
- Motorola C337
- LG 1010
- LG LX325
- LG 1100
- LG LX1200
- Kyocera Slider
- Nokia 3586i
- RIM Blackberry 6710
- RIM Blackberry 7230
- Motorola RAZR V3 (2 different ones)
- Motorola ROKR
- LG 5225
- Nokia 6030
- Nokia 6682 (2 of these)
- Samsung SYNC
- Samsung Wafer
- Apple iPhone
This list sadly only covers an 8 year period, and while it represents all major bands (TDMA, CDMA, GSM) on all major national U.S. carriers (AT&T Wireless, Verizon, Sprint, Nextel, T-Mobile, Cingular, Alltel, and AT&T Mobility), there are very few phones on this list that I enjoyed.
Of those 22 phone models, there were 3 I was excited to get: the original Nokia 8860, the original Moto RAZR V3, and Apple’s iPhone. The allure of the RAZR wore off after a few months of living with the software - the physical device was fine, but the software took a lot of getting used to. Power management issues were the nail in this phone’s coffin; you could put a perfectly fine battery in one of them and get only a few minutes of use. The shape and form of the RAZR remains great, however, which is why it’s still out there.
I have nothing but good things to say about the Nokia 8860, 8260, and 6030; these are all small bar phones with decent to great battery life and great reception. The 8860 was years ahead of its time (and had the price tag to match.) I loved it.
Surprisingly, the 6682 was a good smartphone (if somewhat unwieldy and cumbersome) but it had a nasty habit of rejecting SIM cards and failing in the middle of trips. It actually turned out to be one of the worst phones I’ve used for precisely this reason.
The ROKR holds the distinction of being the worst phone I’ve used. Poor interface, poor reception, poor battery life; oi. This poor, poor phone. (Maybe I got a lemon, but I don’t hear anyone raving about this phone.)
The Panasonic and LG 5225 were also good phones, and most of the rest were fair to middling: adequate tools for the job, but not something I’d say you must go out and buy. I don’t think I’ll reminisce about any of them like I do the Nokia 8860/8260s.
Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons.
First, I boxed up most of these today and am sending them off to a cell phone recycling center. It feels good to jettison the clutter.
Second, when I say that iPhone is the nicest, most well-designed phone that I’ve ever owned, you have the proper context.
3 July 2007
The iPhone may be my first phone in years I don’t hate. And it might be the first one you don’t hate, too.
24 May 2007
Yes: I’m giving Twitter another try to see if I can figure out why it’s become so damn popular. It doesn’t make much sense to me when I’m at home, but the more I’m out and about I start to seewhy folks like it. I’m also trying to understand the appeal of many other mobile doodads, but this one seems like the best place to start.
Frankly, I don’t get the appeal of a lot of the mobile services out there; I look at them and ask, “why do I need this in my life?” without ever getting a satisfactory answer. Perhaps I haven’t found the right situation to let their utility shine through.
(Or, maybe, they’re simply not useful. That remains a real possibility.)
31 December 2006
Engadget has a good overview of the AT&T/BellSouth merger, including a handy map:
30 August 2006
Seriously. I can’t make this stuff up.
(Via this photo on Flickr.)
18 January 2006
First official waste of freakin’ time on OS X! Bluetooth no longer works to connect my Mac to my phone. And after an hour, I still don’t know if the problem’s with the phone or the computer. Argh. Grrrr.
The more things change…
12 July 2005
This has been happening to me for weeks. Glad I’m not alone…
The Inquirer’s Charlie Demerjian reports Cingular customer service has admitted to a nationwide problem with their network that manifests itself by intermittently dropping incoming calls right to voicemail, and — worse — without notification of incoming voicemail, either. Apparently, they can fix the problem manually if you ring them, although they haven’t made any public statement about the supposed problem. Now, we’re wondering what percentage of this story is disinformation, which part customer service-induced frustration, and whether or not there’s any truth to it. Anybody else having problems on Cingular outside of the normal level of quality service?
18 March 2005
The new V3 Razr is really shiny, but there was all this pesky Cingular branding on it that just didn’t sit well with me. So, I decided to put my buddy icon on the outer flip and remove all the Cingular icons from the main menu.
Taking the logo off the front:
- create your replacement graphic file (96x80x8 gif).
- download and install p2kman: http://anton.tbg.ru/files/p2kman.zip
- unzip program
- plug in the v3 via USB cable. open the flip.
- install the drivers in the drv directory.
- start p2kman.
- backup the files in the system folder.
- cl.gif is your target. replace it with your new graphic.
Once the connection is established with the phone, replacing the branded icons is pretty easy. Grab some replacement files and drop them in the system folder.
And there you have it.
17 March 2005
New, shiny phone! You know what that means - time to hack the photos.
23 February 2005
A little old, but appropriate given the recent news stories — Hacker breaches T-Mobile systems, reads US Secret Service email:
The government is handling the case well away from the spotlight. The US Secret Service, which played the dual role of investigator and victim in the drama, said Tuesday it couldn’t comment on Jacobsen because the agency doesn’t discuss ongoing cases - a claim that’s perhaps undermined by the 19 other Operation Firewall defendants discussed in a Secret Service press release last fall. Jacobsen’s prosecutor, assistant US attorney Wesley Hsu, also declined to comment. “I can’t talk about it,” Hsu said simply. Jacobsen’s lawyer didn’t return a phone call.
T-Mobile, which apparently knew of the intrusions by July of last year, has not issued any public warning. Under California’s anti-identity theft law “SB1386,” the company is obliged to notify any California customers of a security breach in which their personally identifiable information is “reasonably believed to have been” compromised. That notification must be made in “the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay,” but may be postponed if a law enforcement agency determines that the disclosure would compromise an investigation.
7 January 2005
23 December 2004
We cannot, in all good conscience, publish a buyers guide recommending that you buy new handsets as gifts for loved ones (or even yourself) without recommending what to do with the old models. If the phone being replaced is new enough, you can always sell it off or hand it down to a deserving friend or family member who could use a newer model. However at some point in the hand-me-down chain, there is an old phone that is either going to collect dust in a drawer, or worse, wind up in the trash. It’s these phones that we’re after.
29 November 2004
Want to feel old? A survey of a middle, high school, and college students in South Korea found that over two-thirds of students there rarely or never use email and supposedly young people are starting to think of email as something overly formal that you use only for business purposes or to communicate with your less tech savvy parents or grandparents who are still stuck in the Nineties (when email was king). For them it’s all about text and instant messaging, and by comparison, even email seems like an incredibly slow way to communicate. Do they even have postal service in Korea anymore?
23 November 2004
27 October 2004
Cingular today announced that its planned acquisition of AT&T Wireless was executed this morning, officially creating the new largest wireless carrier in the country, with 46 million customers. The deal has received all necessary government approval. As a first step for customers, Cingular will now start opening access to both GSM networks to all customers without roaming charges, and allow unlimited mobile-to-mobile calls to any Cingular or AT&T Wireless customer. Customers of both companies will be able to continue using their current phones, rate plans and features, without any interruption. Cingular will soon start communicating additional transition information to customers through advertising and direct communications channels.
12 August 2004
It’s a bit counterintuitive to a lot of the projects people are launching out there, but for what it is, it’s much cleverer (and potentially much more aesthetically pleasing, depending on your tastes) than any wallpaper that blocks cellphone signals. Slather on a coat of DefendAir Radio Shield paint and you’ll filter out radio frequencies between 100MHz to 2GHz (unfortunately that includes TV and AM/FM radio bands, but haven’t you switched to cable and satellite radio yet, anyway?), just like that. It’s just too bad they couldn’t get another 400MHz of filtration up top, then they could wipe out WiFi, BlueTooth, WiMax, cordless phones, and loads of other stuff in the 2GHz range. Oh, and don’t forget, Martha says: multiple coats for even color tones and a better Farraday cage.
2 July 2004
I especially like the “broadcast silence” option.
1 July 2004
Not that it does anyone over here in the USA any good, but Orange officially announced their new high-speed 3G wireless network in the UK. Right now it’s data only, which means the only way to use it is with a laptop and the approproiate 3G wireless laptop card (in this case, Merlin’s U530, pictured at right) and it won’t be cheap, but you should be able to get up to 384 Kbps, which is about the same as a sluggish DSL connection, but world’s better than what we can get here in the States. The first 3G cellphones that’ll work with the new network should be out from LG and Sony Ericsson later this year.
22 June 2004
In the coming year, you’ll see cell phones that are cleverly disguised in watches, bracelets, jacket lapels, backpacks — any imaginable place that will make gabbing a fashion statement (see accompanying Photo Essay for examples of several wearable devices discussed here). In the past year, European and Asian consumers have had a taste of wrist watches, pendants, and powder cases — all doubling as cell phones. Such wearable devices already account for between 1% and 5% of all cell phones sold worldwide, says analyst Michael King of consultancy Gartner. U.S. consumers, always behind the Old World in most things wireless, have been left out.
Now that’s changing. Wearable cell phones will start making their way into the U.S. over the next 12 months — and by 2007, 20% of U.S. cell-phone users will likely be donning haute couture phones, says King.
15 June 2004
Via Boing Boing — Shag Phones:
As with all societal change, it tends to happen imperceptibly. And then you look back and remember how life was different.
I heard someone (honest) talking about their “shag phone” the other day. He was a married man having an affair with a lady who was also married. It seems that one of the first heady rituals of the affair was to purchase a “his and her” pair of Pre-pay shag phones.
Only they knew each other’s number, so when the phone rang, they could answer in an appropriately passionate way. While much the same effect could be achieved with caller recognition (assuming they were mobile literate), there was more than just a romantic gesture involved with this behaviour.
Technology still can’t hide your phone bill from a suspicious spouse. And it can’t hide your amour’s frequently dialed number from prying eyes. Better to get a pair pre-pay phones with no incriminating phone bills or records. A small example of how the mobile is impacting on 21st century life.
27 May 2004
Supporters say the reforms will make wireless carriers more accountable by forcing them to do a better job explaining rates to customers and to provide better service. In one of the biggest changes, dissatisfied consumers will have the right to cancel their wireless service within 30 days of signing a contract.
Other key reforms include: Requiring all rates, taxes and other services terms to be clearly posted on the Internet; requiring all key contract terms to be listed in 10-point type so vital information isn’t written in fine print; requiring carriers to list the address and toll-free number of regulators to make it easier for customers to file complaints.
The reforms’ opponents, led by wireless carriers, contend the rules will create new layers of bureaucracy and impose new costs that will be passed on to consumers. The industry has estimated the price increases triggered by the rules could range from $4 to $17 per month.
8 May 2004
7 May 2004
Cell phones remain high on the list of the most complained about industries in the United States for the second consecutive year, according to 2003 data released today by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB).
While the number of cell phone complaints processed by U.S. BBBs decreased from 21,534 complaints in 2002 to 18,323 in 2003, only one other type of business, automobile dealers, generated more complaints (23,729).
6 May 2004
The FCC yesterday approved an entirely new type of cellular device designed exclusively for a Coca-Cola promotion to take place this summer. The device, which is shaped like a soda can, includes a specialized GSM cellular phone and a GPS location-tracking device. According to a reliable source at Coca-Cola, winners in the giveway will find the device in a 12 pack of Coca-Cola cans. One of three buttons connects the winner with a company representative, who will explain that the person has won a Chevrolet Equinox SUV. Pressing a different button activates the GPS beacon, which sends the winner’s location to the company, which will then deliver the prize to the winner’s location. Australian marketing company Momentum Worldwide developed the device for Coca-Cola.
17 April 2004
12 April 2004
Bystanders rated mobile-phone conversations as dramatically more noticeable, intrusive, and annoying than conversations conducted face-to-face. While volume was an issue, hearing only half a discussion also seemed to up the irritation factor.
7 April 2004
Consumers Union is asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate and take action to stop the practice by many cell phone companies of artificially locking� wireless handsets, which prevents consumers from using their cell phones when they change cell phone companies.
The only reason wireless companies install these locks is to try and hang onto their customers by effectively holding their phone hostage, said Chris Murray, legislative counsel for Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. While the locks take different forms with different technologies, they all have the same effect — putting another roadblock to competition in the wireless market.
Eliminating the artificial locks also will have a positive impact on the environment, as Americans discard millions of useful phones each year, equaling 65,000 tons of trash that includes toxic materials such as arsenic, mercury and lead.
6 April 2004
1 April 2004
“Cell phone? It’s a hand grenade!”
10 March 2004
5 March 2004
Verizon Wireless and Verizon Airfone yesterday announced a new service for Verizon Wireless customers who travel frequently by plane. The $10/month service lets customers forward their Verizon Wireless phone number to their at-seat phone on board any of the more than 2,000 planes served by Verizon Airfone. The service also reduces the in-flight call cost to just $0.10 per minute (normally $3.99 to set up plus $3.99 per minute).
26 February 2004
25 February 2004
17 February 2004
ATLANTA - February 17, 2004 — Cingular Wireless LLC, a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) and BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), announced today an agreement to acquire AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE), creating the premier wireless carrier in the United States. Today, the combined company would have 46 million customers and one of the most advanced digital networks in the U.S., with spectrum in 49 states and coverage in 97 of the top 100 markets. The combined 2003 annual revenues of the two companies would have exceeded $32 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement approved by the boards of directors of Cingular and AT&T Wireless, shareholders of AT&T Wireless will receive $15 cash per common share or approximately $41 billion. The acquisition, which is subject to the approvals of AT&T Wireless shareholders and federal regulatory authorities, and to other customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed as soon as late 2004.
16 February 2004
10 February 2004
Getting transferred from one automated message to another while stuck in a company’s convoluted telephone system is enough to make even the most unflappable individual’s blood boil.
A solution that may prevent violence against handsets comes in the form of a new software program designed to detect callers’ frustration and transfer them to a human operator.
The system works by analyzing not only what callers say, but also how they say it. Callers get transferred if they start to spit out expletives or if they simply sound angry.
Sometime in the 1950s, various governments realized that you could eavesdrop on data-processing information from over a hundred feet away, through walls, with a radio receiver. In the U.S., this was called TEMPEST, and preventing TEMPEST emissions in radios, encryption gear, computers, etc., was a massive military program. Civilian computers are not TEMPEST shielded, and every once in a while you see a demonstration where someone eavesdrops on a CRT from 50 feet away.
Soon it will get easier.
Bluetooth is a short-range radio communcations protocol that lets pieces of computer hardware communicate with each other. It’s an eavesdropper’s dream. Eavesdrop from up to 300 feet away with normal equipment, and probably a lot further if you try. Eavesdrop on the CRT and a lot more. Listen as a computer communicates with a scanner, printer, or wireless LAN. Listen as a keyboard communicates with a computer. (Whose password do you want to capture today?) Is anyone developing a Bluetooth-enabled smart card reader?
What amazes me is the dearth of information about the security of this protocol. I’m sure someone has thought about it, a team designed some security into Bluetooth, and that those designers believe it to be secure. But has anyone reputable examined the protocol? Is the implementation known to be correct? Are there any programming errors? If Bluetooth is secure, it will be the first time ever that a major protocol has been released without any security flaws. I’m not optimistic.
And what about privacy? Bluetooth devices regularly broadcast a unique ID. Can that be used to track someone’s movements?
The stampede towards Bluetooth continues unawares. Expect all sorts of vulnerabilities, patches, workarounds, spin control, and the like. And treat Bluetooth as a broadcast protocol, because that’s what it is.
29 January 2004
German-owned cellphone group T-Mobile is to sell its 50% stake in UK mobile phone joint venture Virgin Mobile, paving the way for a flotation.
The Deutsche-Telekom arm will surrender its Virgin Mobile holding to Virgin Group, ending a long-running legal row between the two partners.
20 January 2004
Cingular Wireless has made a formal all-cash offer to acquire AT&T Wireless in a deal that would create the nation’s largest cell phone carrier, according to sources close to the deal.
26 November 2003
In the season of portability, donate your old phone:
The DONATE A PHONE program recycles used wireless phones to help the environment and raise funds for a variety of charities. Most phones are resold as economical alternatives to new phones. The rest are safely recycled in accordance with all applicable U.S. environmental regulations.