· Technology
 · · Telephone

Numbers · “Dad, why do you have two phones?” asked the 11-year-old. While that’s ex­ces­sive, it’s dwarfed by the num­ber of num­bers I’m jug­gling. And one of them is in Clatskanie, and I had to write about ’em so I could drop that name. Clatskanie, my fin­gers just love typ­ing it ...
A Sip of the Future · That “Sip” should prop­er­ly be SIP, Ses­sion Ini­ti­a­tion Pro­to­col, which in the­o­ry has been on the point of en­abling In­ter­net Tele­pho­ny for some years now. And in prac­tice maybe it re­al­ly is, be­cause I got it kind of work­ing to­day ...
Teleregression · When I moved in­to my cur­rent of­fice a while back, it came with shared In­ter­net and no phone. So, I got my­self a Von­age ac­count and, with that and my cell­phone, I thought I’d be OK. Wrong ...
SavaJe Shakedown · At Ja­va One, I pur­chased the “conference gadget”, a SavaJe Jasper S20. Since it sup­ports most of Ja­va SE, I thought I’d check out whether a com­pe­tent Ja­va de­vel­op­er who knows noth­ing about mo­bile is­sues could make it do any­thing in­ter­est­ing. It’s kin­da cute, and it’s an OK phone on my lo­cal GSM net­work. How­ev­er, the soft­ware de­vel­op­ment pack runs on­ly on Win­dows. It’s got a cam­era and shoots video, but when I plugged the USB in­to my Mac, the Mac said “unable to use that disk” and then crashed a few sec­onds lat­er. I have nev­er had a USB de­vice fail like this on any com­put­er be­fore. Al­so, the phone’s pref­er­ences menus are lame and lim­it­ed, so on the screen, I can’t keep the net­work op­er­a­tor name from over-writing the Date/Time dis­play. Fi­nal­ly, my net­work provider re­quires some slight­ly odd GPRS set­tings (e.g. fun­ny DNS port num­ber­s) and the phone doesn’t have a way to set those, so I can’t con­nec­t. I re­port­ed this on the SavaJe de­vel­op­er fo­rum­s, and some badly-programmed bot pre­tend­ing to be a “SavaJe Devel­op­er Ser­vices Engineer” mind­less­ly point­ed me at the di­rec­tions to the phone’s GPRS set­up screen, when I’d specif­i­cal­ly stat­ed that that screen didn’t do what I need­ed. SavaJe might turn out to be a good idea, but they’re do­ing their best to cov­er that up. [Up­date: As of some­time over the week­end, an ac­tu­al hu­man seems to be hav­ing a look at the sit­u­a­tion, over at the SavaJe de­vel­op­er fo­rums. So let’s see...] [Up­date: Got a nice email from Lar­ry Kaye, Man­ag­er of Devel­op­er Ser­vices over at SavaJe. Very to-the-point; yes, they know about most of my is­sues, are work­ing on them. That’s all any­one can ask for in a bleeding-edge developer-release pro­duc­t. Will re­port fur­ther.]
Telephone Pain · Dave Shea ex­plains the painful choic­es fac­ing Cana­di­ans who’d like a bet­ter phone. I am in ex­act­ly the same boat, ex­cept for I’m near the end of my ser­vice con­tract with Telus and when it laps­es I am so out of there. By the way, if you get a GSM phone they’ll try to sell you one that’s locked so that when you’re in Europe you can’t put in that SIM card you bought in a grub­by Brus­sels store­fron­t; but I have it from re­li­able sources that most re­tail­ers will un­lock it for a few bucks in cash mon­ey un­der the coun­ter. Espe­cial­ly if you make it clear that the al­ter­na­tive is you walk out.
Garden Walls · There’s a re­mark­able piece by Rus­sell Beat­tie from last week, talk­ing about the busi­ness mod­el Vo­da­phone is try­ing to build around its 3G mo­bile ser­vices. I’ve seen this movie be­fore, and what they’re try­ing to do prob­a­bly won’t work, and that’s a good thing, be­cause there’s a bet­ter way ...
New Spam Flavour! · When I picked up my phone this morn­ing it beeped “text mes­sage waiting” at me. Two in fac­t, which, run to­geth­er said: Stock Buy­ers Alert: Tick­er: XXXX|Current: $0.051 - 194.1% in­crease on 11/08/04. De­tail­s: New­ly list­ed. High Growth Po­ten­tial. Large em­pha­sis on Rent-to-own pro­gram with high re­turn on lease in­vest­ments. Let’s see, here we have a pen­ny stock (i.e., usu­al­ly a scam) based on rent-to-own (i.e., ex­ploit­ing poor peo­ple), tout­ed in a new spam flavour. What’s not to like? So, in a probably-futile at­tempt to nip this new evil in the bud, I called the tele­phone com­pa­ny to com­plain, and the friend­ly, help­ful la­dy knew all about it. “The one about the stock­s? Me too.” It turns out that ba­si­cal­ly ev­ery­body in their net­work got it, they hadn’t fig­ured it out, they were work­ing on it. If I could cue doom­ful impending-peril mu­sic at this point, I would.
Vonage: Strike One · I was sched­uled for a phone call with a VIP to­day, and when he got on the line (my of­fice Von­age phone), it was un­us­able, multi-second de­lays on each voice round-trip. Damnably, I didn’t have my cell­phone with me, so we had to resched­ule. I called up Von­age, had to punch through two lev­els of slow menu (could be worse I sup­pose) to get to the tech sup­port queue where I wait­ed for five min­utes lis­ten­ing to vasty echo­ing si­lence to talk to some­one who put me on the tech sup­port queue (“I thought this was tech support?” “No, I’m a general-purpose ser­vice representative.”) Which picked up af­ter on­ly a minute or two, and he made a vague at­tempt to blame my ISP and said he’d sent a cou­ple of down­loads to the phone that should ad­dress the prob­lem. So, if it’s a known prob­lem with a known fix, why don’t I al­ready have it? I don’t have to do this kind of thing for ei­ther my land-lines or mo­bile. All in al­l, I’ve been fair­ly hap­py with Von­age so far, but much more of this could sour the re­la­tion­ship quick­ly.
VoIP · Here­with a re­port on sign­ing up for and in­stalling Von­age ...
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
Random image, linked to its containing fragment

By .

I am an employee
of Amazon.com, but
the opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.