Tuesday 19 August 2008

Another nerdy moment

Thanks, eBay.

My 'good enough' phone died. It didn't cost much - I bought it as 'refurbished' which actually just meant a scruffy box. It had Edge - fast enough Internet access to be usable for most purposes, even uploading the odd photo to my blog. It had Wi-Fi. But it seemed half-finished. Even really, really basic stuff like entering text had horrible quirks. I couldn't use capitals with T9 text entry; editing text would occasionally mangle it. Synchronising my address book was fine but the calendar wasn't. I won't name the manufacturer or model, because I think it's an aberration. But in any case, it's turned up its virtual toes and is going back to the store for a refund.

I had hoped it would fill the gap left by my ancient and now defunct Wi-Fi phone, and do enough of the stuff my old Windows Mobile used to do that I wouldn't be too sad. No chance.

So I confess I rather fancied an iPhone, but not on an ordinand's salary. I nearly bought a PDA - with canny buying through Quidco or Expansys a decent one comes in at around £100. I toyed with various smartphones, but on proviso they had to be network-independent. But I found I was eithergoing to pay the same £100-ish for something that didn't do all the jobs I had in mind or nearer £400 for something that did.

So for about £30 I bought a used version of my old, quirky, cumbersome phone. I re-installed SBSH Facade to improve the interface, I re-installed Olivetree Bible Reader (free software, free versions including ASV and NET Bible, paid-for NRSV). And by the magic of synchronisation, everything else including my address book, tasks and my OneNote Mobile database of notes, recordings and photos reappeared.

I'm not expecting this one to last for years. We had two the same before (ahhhhhh...) and both died of the same thing - the mini-USB port broke meaning they couldn't be charged. No doubt that will happen again. But for now, I'm typing this on my £150 eBay laptop which is plugged in to my £30 eBay Windows Mobile phone, which curiously doubles up as a DAB radio so that I can take BBC7 with me. I pay on average £5 a month for calls and the occasional browse on-the-move. Technology on a budget. And just think what I'm doing for the environment ;)

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It's great to get comments - a good way to encourage, challenge and help me! Thank you. Jeremy