Track Tales

New Phone

February 2nd, 2010 by Conductor

So I bought a new cell phone, and ditched Sprint for AT&T.

What did I buy you ask?

My new phone

Yeah, I know. It's a Blackberry. The irony is not lost on me.

I bought it through Newegg for $0.

They had a special where the phone was free with a 2 year contract. Much easier than dealing with the rebate  AT&T was offering.

So far it’s been pretty good, although it did force me to upgrade my wireless network setup at home.
“Say what now?” you ask? Yeah. It seems that my old Netgear WG602 AP simply will not accept a MAC address that starts with  F into the approved MAC list. Works fine with MAC filtering off and encryption on or with all of it off, but I wanted the MAC encryption as well.  The Mk I version of the WG602 that I have seems to be the only one afflicted with the issue, as subsequent revisions seem to work fine. Yay. So I went off in search of a new AP, which revealed that AP’s are still egregiously over priced compared to the cost of a wireless router. I’ve stayed away from the latter because I don’t like the single point of failure.

However, my old RP614  (v1) router has been showing signs of it’s age recently, and I’d been wanting to get a unit with Gigabit Ethernet anyway to go with my home LAN.  Finding a wired only gigabit router wasn’t really going well (at least in the price range I wanted to be in), so I dug deeper.

What I wound up with is the Netgear WNDR3700, which has proved pretty nice so far.  I didn’t know it at the time it had been included in a CPU Magazine Networking roundup.  (I’ll add links to the reviews that helped me decide later.)

I’ll put the WG602 back into service as a secondary AP to get better 802.11b/g coverage in the house, as it still works fine outside the odd MAC address issue.

Posted in Communications | 1 Comment »

Ok. I think it’s time.

November 9th, 2009 by Conductor

While it still works, the battery life and coverage on my venerable Sony CM-Z100 Cell phone make it pretty much useless to actually take anywhere. Plus, for some reason call forwarding is disabled on my plan.

So I checked the Sprint website to make sure I’m not in contract or anything…

“Sprint Subscriber Agreement: Expired on 06/12/1999”

Yeah, looks like I’m clear on the contract thing.

Oh, here’s ye olde cell phone, BTW:

Yes, I've had it for 10 years...

Yes, I've had it for 10 years...

So now the questions are what to replace it with and on which carrier.

T-Mobile’s out right off the bat. They don’t work indoors.
Verizon’s a possibility, but I don’t care for their nickel & dime pricing for everything. Their Wireless broadband is good, but their phone selection and feature lockdown practices are a huge turnoff.

AT&T I’m familiar with, but their 3G network is abysmal where I work, and their wireless broadband is good but not cheap.

Sticking with Sprint is an option, but their phone selection’s also pretty bad, and they’re also pretty bad in terms of locking down/out features on phones. Their coverage at my job is not very good either, despite being CDMA like Verizon. It’s all about the cell towers, I suppose.

Complicating issues somewhat is the main reason I’ve held onto the old phone for so long. The form factor. The Z100 fits in my hand, pocket, backpack and the little pouch on my cue holder just about perfectly. I want to get something that fits as well if not better. I also love the scroll wheel on it, which has been superseded by trackballs, buttons and scroll pads, none of which I’ve found to be very good on the phones I’ve tried.

As you can tell, I’m very picky about what I want from a cell phone.

Flip phones are out. I just don’t like them – never have, although that one they tried making look like the Star Trek:TOS communicator was a cool idea that came too soon.

Candy bar phones are closer to what I want but too narrow and long.

Don’t particularly want a slider phone either.  I’ve played with a few, but they don’t go far enough.

Ironically,  the only things that come close for me are Blackberries. The Curve, and to a lesser extent the Bold.

The ironic part is that I hate… no, I despise the always reachable concept that the Blackberry embodies all too well.

It’s contributed in the worst way to the idea that being reachable 24/7  is a good idea for people.

It isn’t; it just allows businesses to squeeze more work out of their employees, often without compensation.  Not that all businesses would abuse their employees loyalties like that, but the temptation to milk productivity for no monetary cost has to be a powerful one, and a practice one could all to easily fall into.

Downtime is critical, possibly moreso than ever now that it’s so easy to just keep working until you can’t focus or fall asleep.

But enough ranting about bad business practices, I need a new cell phone.


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