· · Telephone
· “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 ... [4 comments]
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 ... [7 comments]
· 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 ... [13 comments]
· 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.]
· 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.
· 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.
· Herewith a report on signing up for and installing Vonage ...
By Tim Bray.
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