Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The neverending quest for a cell phone

Over the weekend, my trusty little LG VX3200 said goodbye to this world. It had been doused with water last week at one point and over the course of a few days the power supply burned out, so now it won't start up anymore. This was a serious bummer, because an entire collection of phone numbers from my friends and family was trapped inside, and I had no way of getting them out.

I have actually been looking at getting a new cell phone for some time, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to buy my dream phone. It didn't have to be the very best cell phone in the world. I didn't need to watch video on demand, take pictures, or even have a custom ringtone. All I wanted in a phone was the ability to sync names and numbers from my phone to my Mac so I wouldn't lose them again. According to Apple's web site, there were a number of phones that should be able to do this with iSync, so I printed out this page and took it with me down to the Alltel store during my lunchbreak.

If you've ever been to an Alltel store in Lincoln, you know from the moment you walk in that they don't need your business. The place was packed with other customers waiting patiently for someone to help them, and a polite lady at the front door took my name and told me someone would be with me "as soon as possible." She couldn't tell me if that meant someone would help me before I was supposed to be back at work, however. What always bothers me about the Alltel stores here is that there are always plenty of Alltel employees sitting behind the computers at their desks doing things other than helping customers, particularly someone like me who had his wallet out and was ready to spend money.

Normally, I sit patiently wait around until someone is ready to help me, but today I was in a hurry and quite eager to get a working phone once again, so I drove across the street to a Radio Shack and decided to become a Sprint customer instead. Both of my friends Eric and Vivian up in Omaha were with Sprint, so I thought that joining up with them made sense. I decided to get a red Motorola RAZR V3m, since it was the same exact phone that Eric had. He's also a Mac user, so I figured that if we both had the same phone, we'd be able to figure them out together.

Unfortunately, my phone didn't quite want to sync up with my Mac like I had hoped it would. I couldn't understand why--it was a V3m, and it was supposed to be compatible with iSync both via USB and Bluetooth according to Apple's web site. I went to the Apple discussion boards to see if I could get some help, and I got this reply. According to an Apple tech document posted last Thursday, "Due to firmware differences, some Sprint-based phones manufactured by Motorola may not be recognized by iSync 2.4."

That was annoying. I signed a two-year contract and was now stuck with a phone that apparently won't sync with my Mac, despite Apple's own web site stating that it would. I'm currently digging around for a workaround, but I remember the day when the Mac was all "plug and play," and you could connect a supported device and expect it to work. I've really been looking forward to the day when I can put a couple hundred names and numbers on my phone without tapping them all in by hand. I suppose in two more years, the Apple iPhone might actually have most of the bugs worked out. Of course, by then, I'll be over thirty, a number I really don't want to have to think about just yet.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

There's another on the Sprint service. -raises hand-

onionboy said...

by the way, as official software guinea pig ... i can now report that bluetooth syncing is working like a charm.

but you still have one paw in the doghouse.

Zoe said...

Great journal, good reading. Have you tried syncing your contacts online with a free service like Mobyko? It's easier than iSync and you can save all your contacts securely with them for access online anywhere.