Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ten Stupid Things About My Phone

Every once in a while a Canadian just has to rant about cellphones. This one isn't even mostly about the excessive fees and charges the monopolists get out of us. It's just stuff that irritates me.

  • When it is plugged in on the charger, upon reaching the fully charged state it chirps. While this may be useful to some people, it is not useful to someone who gets in after a long day and plugs in her phone before going to bed.
  • I can't advance through several new text messages with the down arrow key. I have to hit back to get out to the message list then hit down to select the next message, then ok to see that message.
  • In order to enter a question mark in a text message I have to hit the sequence: left soft key, 3, right nav key, right nav key, 3.
  • If I close the cover on the flip phone after dispatching a text message but before confirmation that it sent, it cancels the message.
  • If I press the off button while the Message Sent! confirmation is displayed, it displays the message Sending Cancelled before turning off. The message isn't cancelled. It just says that.
  • The submenu giving me access to the alarm function is located under the Shop menu on the main screen. What does an alarm have to do with shopping?
  • It is possible to customize the nav keys to serve as shortcuts. The offered list of frequently used features includes selecting a new ring tone or changing the picture on the display. It doesn't include composing a new text message.
  • There are innocuous-looking menu options, e.g. Short Code List in the messaging menu, which launch a web browser, for which I get charged at atrocious Canadian data rates, and which I asked the phone company to disable.
  • It doesn't have any option to display the number of minutes remaining in the plan I have selected. Even if I log into the company website, they won't tell me whether my next call will be at the plan rate or at the exorbitant "you ran out of plan minutes" rate.
  • It costs me almost $50 a month just to own the thing and keep the number active, before any calls.

I wish we had Net10 or other cheap prepaid phones in Canada.

Also the CHT gauge that has been replaced, adjusted and had its probe replaced is overreading again. It's apparently something in the wiring. I think it's in league with my cellphone.

16 comments:

Ward said...

Historically, Telus and Bell had the best coverage in the boonies, so you'd be stuck with them. I haven't looked recently to see if that's still the case.

If you weren't worried about coverage in the boonies, the cheapest option for low-usage is the 7-11 Speakout pay-as-you-go-phones. The main advantage of Speakout is that the airtime you buy lasts for a year. The next advantage is that they charge a flat $0.05 for in or out text messages, and they have an text-email gateway so you can send a (short) email from your phone by sending a text message.

zb said...

While the gauge, by design, is supposed to work and is just broken, the annoying things about the cell phone seem to be part of the design and are not even broken as in: Broken meaning not working as designed.

Carl said...

Do you not have the option to use a different phone?

Here in .uk we can either buy a phone seperately from our service package (which is what I've done since I like my Nokia 9300), or pick one of a range of phones with the service package.

Big Steve said...

Get an iPhone, they are brilliant!

Kyle said...

I live in Northeast Ohio (I can see the Canada) in the United States. It always amazes me that, although we are so close, we are very different countries. I have always wondered if you had the same cellular phone companies and the such. I have an iPhone also and I love it. I didn't think I would be as excited about the iPhone as I have been. Okay, okay, I know this sounds like an endorsement for Apple or AT&T, but it truly isn't. I had strictly Samsung phones with Sprint, Cingular, then AT&T, so if you don't/can't have an iPhone I recommend an anything made by Samsung.

Sulako said...

I guess it depends on who is paying the bill. Basically, I'd suggest an iPhone for personal use, but a Blackberry for business use. With the iPhone you get a better camera, music player etc than you'd get on a Blackberry, but that's not really what the BB was designed to do. BB's are all about business, and I find them particularly effective - our parent company must have 50 people with Blackberries in our main office, and it makes instant communication easy and painless. Also, they are damn near indestructible, and mine has survived many inadvertent encounters with the hangar floor form 6 feet up - I would not suggest trying that with an iPhone. On top of that, Blackberries are hands-down better for email than any other portable solution, iPhone included. Last but not least, I went down your rant list and not one of those peeves applies to a Blackberry.

For work I use a relatively old 8703 that still runs great, and Lisa uses a Blackberry Curve as her personal phone with a pretty comprehensive voice / data plan that costs $84/month after tax. She uses the phone a lot for emails and long-distance and I have yet to see any outrageous charges as a result.

jinksto said...

Agree with Sulako on this one. The iphone is very nice but it's horribly expensive (both to buy and monthly) and I can still list 10 stupid things about mine. The biggest being that it doesn't get email pushed to it as they arrive. You have to configure your mail client to "check" your mail every 30 minutes (minimum).

I suspect that one could come up with an annoyances list like this for pretty much any phone. I mean, I really do love my iPhone but it can be immeasurably stupid at time. Like the one described here the idiot actions are almost always commercial decisions that the company is forcing on you to try and tweak more money from your account. Annoying.

A squared said...

It costs me almost $50 a month just to own the thing and keep the number active, before any calls.

Hmmm, I read that to mean that whatever airtime plan you have is *on top* of the $50. If that is the case, I can only say wow! Is that typical in Canada? I'm not that up on cell service rates, esp in Canada. My only point of reference is my aervice, for which I pay $36/mo + tax, so almost $40. I have a very basic phone, so it was "free" at signup, (no initialization fee, just a 2 year service commitment) and that includes something like 300 minutes of airtime, free long distance and free roaming. Texts and data are extra, but I don't use either. Mine isn't the least expensive around, I chose this particular company because it has the best coverage in remote parts of Alaska. I'm not posting this to gloat or rub you nose in it, I'm just astonished at how different your service is than mine. Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding something.

Rhonda said...

My first reaction is yikes, but then I also remembered that for most cel plans that I know of, minutes included only counts minutes used in your "home" area. And, well, if there's one thing we know about Aviatrix, it's that she's never in her home area :-)

Ward said...

The US has it way better for data plans and for "local calling area." We have a phone from Sprint that we use on our frequent trips to the US and calls anywhere in the US are considered local. Unlimited data on the phone (actually, a Treo) is only $15/month, so we can get email (can check as often as we want), surf for information, use Google Maps (they have a client for the Palm), whatever.

Ward said...

I forgot to say that although it'd be more money, Aviatrix might be able to get a US phone and get a Canada/US calling plan. Sprint phones roam on the Telus/Bell CDMA network, so you get good coverage up here.

Anonymous said...

Survey says: Canada has the third most expensive cellphone rates in the world.

Too few cellphone providers, none of which are willing to upset their own profitability. And a candy-ass government not willing to upset their golden goose.

After fighting tooth&nail against it for years, and dragging their feet, we finally have cellphone number portability. I switch providers every 3 years (we also have long contract periods). You can get a new BB for $149 by switching providers, or pay $325 if you get the "loyal customer hardware upgrade plan".

OK, you got me started.....

A Squared said...

Rhonda said: then I also remembered that for most cel plans that I know of, minutes included only counts minutes used in your "home" area.

I'm not sure that is true, at least in the US. As I said in my earlier comment, I'm not an expert on cell packages, but it was my understanding that unlimited free roaming had become a fairly standard feature. meaning that my 450 minutes(not 300 like i previously said) are good wherever I go in the US, not just within my provider's service area. I'm under the impression that is the norm, not the exception.

Skinny said...

Agree with Sulako...the BB is just terrific as a work horse. I put it off for soooooo long just because at first I hated the idea of being available to everyone all the time. But after giving in a couple years ago I can say it's the best thing ever. Sometimes I just click "mark unread" and leave the emails for later...just to be sure people aren't expecting me to reply at 11pm. But functionally....I have very few complaints about how the BB operates. It's all business, doesn't do many stupid things, and is so darn customizable I can't help but admit I was wrong in sticking with my old school "phone". And the BB messenger beats the tar out of texting when staying in touch with close friends.

Big Steve said...

Jinksto says that the iPhone doesn't get push email but that isn't true. If you use me.com or yahoo, it will get push email. Also, in the UK at least, all data is free, whether by edge or two major WiFi chains. My colleagues with Blackberrys are jealous of my iPhone....

SwL_Wildcat said...

I'm no expert on cellular pricing, and I don't play one on TV either. If you consider the area of Canada that has cellular coverage vs. the population I think it's quite amazing. According to the last census in 2008 the Canadian population was about 33 Million. That is about the same as the metropolitan areas of New York (19 Million), and Los Angeles (13 Million) combined. Never mind the rest of those 2 states, or the other 48 states. Then you consider the cost of the equipment and resources required to service such a vast area as Canada... A small country in Europe could service the whole country with less than the number of towers required to service 1/4 of Alberta, and they have a huge subscriber base so lower pricing. I have a Palm Treo 700 sometingorother only because they have an external antenna jack & I have boosters for them in all my trucks. It's an OK phone, and I like the day timer function. I use about 2200 to 2500 minutes a month with Telus and I curse every dropped call on a daily basis. My usual bill is about $450 - $500 per month, which also includes all the data I transfer with my air card. The old analog system was SO much better for actually using the phone. They went digital so everyone could send texts and emails etc, but they lost a lot of the great features of the analog system. My analogy would be analog is like HF radio – It might be a bit choppy but you get better range, vs. Digital – UHF. Nice and clear IF you can get out. Your $50 a month is partially going towards slapping up more towers so we will get better and better coverage in more and more remote areas.