My Treo is killing me. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that I am quite the Treo-vangelist. Just a few days ago, Joni Blecher spat at me, "If you could marry that thing, you would!" Ridiculous. There's no place on it for a ring.
But lately, I've been having a falling-out with my little betrothed:
- In phone mode, it likes to spew random DTMF tones when I use the keypad--such as when I'm accessing voicemail. You never know whose extension you're going to get. Kind of a cool bar game, but not really.
- It constantly drops calls, accompanied by the Network Search advisory, when I have five bars' worth of signal! Other times, it won't let me answer calls.
- Under anything less than the lights from a Stones tour, the camera goes into this funky, blue aurora-borealis mode, starved for light. I think it was calibrated for use on the surface of the sun.
- Oh, and did I mention it spontaneously reboots more often than a Windows 3.1 box?
And this from the only Treo I've owned that I haven't dropped on the ground a hundred times.
But, like a bed wetter, I kept my troubles a secret until I realized that I have a lot of company. Over at Treocentral.com, the boards are rife with fellow sufferers, and many of them are on Sprint like I am. Hmmm...
I called Sprint PCS support, and a guy named George told me to take my Treo to one of the company's stores, where the folks in the red polo shirts would conduct some tests on my Treo's radio section. (I find it hard to believe that my little neighborhood Sprint store is equipped to diagnose the RF section of a digital transceiver, but I'll bite.) That's next week's chore.
Sprint 'cannot guarantee that your phone will work in an office building, in your home, or when in a moving car.' Are you kidding me?
But in the midst of that conversation, George informed me (reading from boilerplate) that Sprint "cannot guarantee that your phone will work in an office building, in your home, or when in a moving car." Are you kidding me? Who is this service designed for, the Amish? "Never a dropped call whilst thee is standing outdoors in a flat plain, scything wheat."
(Oh, in the interest of full disclosure, I didn't pay for my Treo or any of the others I had prior to this one--and that won't stop me from gnawing off the hand that feeds me if facts warrant.)
Back to basics?
A cell phone that just does calls? We received passionate e-mail from a reader imploring the cell phone companies to make more phones that are just that--phones. Not PDAs, Web browsers, e-mail clients, game consoles, IM terminals, digital photo albums, or anything else that isn't directly related to moving your mandible. And I quote:
"What I want is a phone that always works as a telephone. This means multiband and multiprotocol and always capable of roaming to the best signal in any given area. I despise being someplace where I am getting static and Donald Duck speech quality (if any) and seeing people who are obviously on other carriers holding normal conversations. The overriding consideration is a phone that works everywhere, anywhere, all the time. Dare I say it: It is connectivity, stupid! I don't give a damn for games, cameras, e-mail, and other forms of so-called entertainment."
Once you get used to having Web, e-mail, PDA, and phone functions integrated in one device, going back to a basic phone seems quaint.
My Treo headaches aside, I personally can't imagine going back to a dumb phone (though the Cell Phone Diva
certainly can). Once you get used to having Web, e-mail, PDA, and phone functions integrated in one device, you never forget to carry it; going back to a basic phone seems quaint. It's the same reason I just cashed in my Canon S50
camera for the tiny Canon SD10
: for me, the most important feature of any personal tech device is its portability. With a separate phone and PDA, I was always leaving one behind. But maybe I'm weird. I'd be interested to hear why you haven't gone with a smart phone yet.
What is Sony smoking?
Not satisfied with the mess it made with Pressplay, Sony just launched another music download service, Sony Connect. And while Eliot Van Buskirk seems to find promise in it, it just sticks in my craw.
For one thing, Sony Connect will offer tunes in ATRAC3 format--a codec best known for powering the MiniDisc format. Being a longtime user of MiniDisc in both personal and professional capacities, I don't think ATRAC3 is the prettiest colt in the stable; it's rather brittle and square sounding to my ear. But more importantly, the last thing the world needs now is another proprietary audio codec just to hear a song.
The other thing that made my jaw hang slack was the fact that Sony Connect pretty much requires everything be done through its SonicStage software--yes, that SonicStage, the same dorky app bundled with CLIEs.
Finally, Sony imagines us putting down our elegant iPods for a new generation of so-called HiMD MiniDisc players. Sorry, I don't see it. When it comes to industrial design, Sony had better get used to the view ahead being Steve Jobs's ass.
Sony has the most incredible string of homers and largely invented the consumer electronics industry, but I have to wonder if the company just doesn't get the new era of interoperability. MiniDisc, Memory Stick, Open MG (ironically, a closed technology), MicroMV, and SonicStage are all evidence that it doesn't. I won't even bring up BetaMax.
So, how many balkanized music platforms can you stomach? At what point does it get so confusing, you just go back to stealing songs?