Posts tagged “wireless”.

Blame AT&T

August 27th, 2009

Amanda Fortini, writing for Salon.com, finds a good reason to complain about her “evil iPhone”:

The calls that go straight to voice mail, though, are the worst byproducts of the [AT&T] network’s weakness. Those messages pool silently, while the iPhone never deigns to give a signal or beep of any kind to indicate that they’re idling in your mailbox…If the phone was previously allowing voice mail messages to pool, now it seemed to be holding them for ransom. Even when it has service, messages don’t come through, and then later show up all at once, as though the iPhone has finally decided it’s in the mood to release them. Last week, all of my contacts in the address book vanished before inexplicably reappearing. The phone is worse than an orchid; it’s a high-maintenance techno-girlfriend whose demands are inscrutable and impossible to meet.

Fortini complains about the touch-screen typing and the auto-correct feature, too, both of which I’ve become used to and – over time – have come to enjoy. I like how the keyboard changes depending on how you’re holding the iPhone.

She also complains about how easily the screen cracks after you drop it, which seems like complaining about your car’s crumpled hood after you rear-end someone. I have my own first-hand experience with Fortini’s “fault,” and I know where the blame rests: squarely with me.

But the AT&T network (lack of) service and the voicemails not appearing until hours or days later – that’s got to stop. At first, I thought it was the piss-poor service in my apartment. One side of the apartment, and the upstairs, gets decent reception. But move into the dining room or the kitchen and you cross some sadistic border where cell service is completely missing. It’s like my rooms are made of Superman-grade lead.

It’s only natural that the iPhone receives some backlash. It’s becoming so popular, and selling so well, that problems start to become a statistical guarantee. The more people use something, the more it goes wrong. Think about when the iPod become super popular and then, predictably, started to attract critics.

Some of the iPhone’s problems are legit. The problems, however, are not with the phone itself. Mostly, I blame AT&T. It’s their network that sucks, and it’s their voicemail that fails to come through.

Get even the most basic aspects of the phone wrong – you know, the calling at the messages and whatnot – and the whole device seems to be tainted. I don’t believe that’s the case. I love the apps and the iPod and the fun the iPhone provides. It’s just that I also find myself cursing when Twitterific gives me a “timed out” message, or the Facebook app loads at dial-up speeds. That’s the fault of the network.

“Don’t blame the phone,” I tell my friends. “Blame AT&T.”

Take back the beep

July 30th, 2009

[An open letter to AT&T rep Mark Siegel in response to David Pogue's "Take Back the Beep" campaign. I sent this in an e-mail to Mr. Siegel at 6:57 p.m. today.]

takebackthebeep

Mr. Siegel,

As an iPhone user, I’m lucky. My voicemail greeting does not burden a caller with an inanely-long “after the beep” message. I realize I’m one of the lucky few, however, because I face this message every time I call someone else.

It has to stop. And not just because of the cost to consumers.

I realize that AT&T needs to make money, and while I wag my finger in shame at using a tactic like the beep message, I understand. I work at a financial institution, and we’re all about using little things, here and there, to draw in more income.

What’s annoying is that it wastes my time. And time, sir, is something I can’t get back.

Like Mr. Pogue mentioned in his article, the basics of leaving a voicemail – which have been with us since the dawn of the answering machine – are known to everyone but the Amish and the corrupt. In fact, many voicemail greetings created by users include the words “you know what to do after the beep” or “leave a message after the beep.” Adding extra instructions without a user’s consent is time wasted.

We’re not long for this Earth, Mr. Siegel. You, or me, or your communications professor from college could go at any time. We live in strange times, after all, and one never knows when the mortality clock could stop ticking. It could happen as I type this. Ever heard of ball lightning?

Anyway, the point is – please let us users decide how much of our friends’ and family’s time to waste. What do you say? Instead of sitting and listening to a laughably-didactic woman tell me I can “page” (is this 1996?) the person on the other end, I just want to leave a message without being accosted by the recorded message. Right?

Right.

Dave Lawrence
AT&T Customer
Jackson, MI

PS: Fix your service. Half my apartment gets a mediocre reception, while the other half has none at all.

Getting your Newton eMate wireless

May 11th, 2009

ematewireless

Mark Hoekstra describes how to get a Newton eMate 300 connected to a wireless network over at Geek Technique.

Why? “Well, impress your friends!” he says.

Hoekstra uses a WaveLAN Orinoco Silver network card, Newton Connection Utilities, a custom-made serial cable, a few package files, and a driver to get his eMate running on a wifi network. He takes plenty of pictures and goes into detail through the whole process.

Almost as cool? Using his Mac SE as a media center monitor. Hoekstra loses points for throwing Windows on that beautiful machine, however.

One of these days I’ll attempt the wireless eMate project. But for now, Hoekstra’s breakdown should give you a good head-start.

Blinking Airport Base Station says ‘give me new firmware’

August 23rd, 2008

And I tell it to go screw itself.

My Airport Extreme Base Station has been blinking amber for three days now. It’s blinking because, as you can see above, it’s wanting me to download the updated firmware and Airport Utility software.

You know what? Tough luck.

After all the trouble this base station’s firmware has given me, and now that it’s finally working right, I’m not going to let a little blinking yellow light stop me.

NewtVid: Wireless Newton demo

June 3rd, 2008

I like how the creator uses the Newton to speak with the audience. Also a cool demo of the wifi capabilities of the MessagePad 2000 – complete with Apple sticker.

I’ll tackle the wifi project when I nab a 2100 sometime this summer, but in the meantime you can learn how to send a fax with your Newton.

Sunday project: AirPort on a G3 iBook clamshell

March 2nd, 2008

The subject.

[NOTE: I forgot to add this, but I'm running OS X 10.2.8 - just in case the network stuff doesn't look familiar.]

I love my G3 iBook. I bought it right before my Route 66 trip because (a) I was nervous about taking my then-new G4 and (b) the thing is built for road-warriors and students. It’s the toughest laptop I’ve ever seen, and I knew if I took it all the way across the country, it would survive in a pinch.

And it did, both on the Route trip and the Seattle trip. But one drawback was its lack of wireless connectivity. I underestimated the number of hotels – even run-down ones – that have wireless internet these days. One night, in Needles, California, I drove to three different hotels looking for an ethernet connection, never finding one (which is one reason why the Route updates didn’t come as often as I wanted).

Now that’s all over with. I grabbed an AirPort card off eBay for a reasonable price, and took today to actually install the thing. More… »