My Cell Phone Becomes Useful February 24, 2013Posted by Peter Varhol in Software platforms.
Tags: cell phone, US Cellular
Since cell phones are actually computers these days, this title is slightly misleading. But I am done having to work around the limitations of my old and flawed device. This started a couple of days ago. Actually, it started much longer ago. My old HTC Merge, a US Cellular phone, had a very limited ability to actually make and receive calls at my home, in southern New Hampshire. I generally couldn’t make calls from most places in the house, and when I could, it indicated that the phone was roaming.
But my problem was that the phone stopped making or accepting calls at all. Instead, I got a message indicating that the phone was tethered to no network. Almost three hours on technical support over two days with US Cellular led to a belief on their part that it was due to a switch on a nearby Sprint network. I was asked on multiple occasions how long I had been outside of the local coverage area (not at all).
I finally hoped that a new phone would solve my problem. The salesman at the local US Cellular store took one look at my Merge and said that it was a problem with the phone; specifically that the antenna wasn’t working properly. I came away half an hour later with a new Motorola Electrify 2, running Ice Cream Sandwich. It works so much better, it’s not even funny.
There are a few things that I learned here. First, don’t trust technical support, even if they sound like they know what your problem is. Try to confirm independently. Had I not contacted a separate support group through Twitter who offered me different advice, it would not have occurred to me to get a new phone.
Second, if things with your gadget or software don’t seem right, they probably aren’t. In retrospect, the old phone never worked properly within my local coverage area, and I should have recognized that. I was fooled into thinking that roaming was my normal mode of operation, because it is when I travel, and even when at home I’m at the edge of the local coverage area.
Last, don’t accept substandard performance from your gadgets. They are better than that today.