Categories
Technology

Technology Update

Just a quick post today as I’m busy, and it’s Wednesday now and I had forgotten I had to write something.

Mobile phone

In case you were wondering, my mobile phone is back. Well, my original mobile phone couldn’t be fixed, but it’s been replaced with an identical one. Except that this one is white (my old one was black), making it my second ever white mobile phone.

Laptop

My laptop battery has out-gassed (again). I wrote previously about how my (then) three and a half years old laptop battery expanded and needed replacing. Three and a half years on, it has happened again. I could share some photos but it looks exactly the same as previously. At seven years old, it’s not worth replacing the battery so it will have to be plugged in for it to work. But my new desktop has mostly made my laptop redundant.

Subwoofer

My surround sound system is around 13 years old now. I was at home last week and I heard a crash which I assumed came from upstairs. A few minutes later I smelt something like burnt matches. A bit of investigating found it came from my subwoofer. Taking it apart found some damage to the capacitors, the board and some insulating substance applied to the surface. Talking to a microelectronics expert, the life expectancy of electrolytic capacitors is around 13 years before they start to overheat so it’s right on trend. If I can replace them, I might be able to get it to work again, but the damage to the board (including some possibly caused by me) looks quite substantive. If I can’t fix it, I’ll be adding a new subwoofer to my Christmas wishlist.

Categories
Miscellaneous

A History of Mobile Phones

Whilst I wait for my mobile phone to be repaired/replaced, I thought I’d look back in a retrospective of all my previous phones.

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Siemens A50

Siemens A50

I got my first mobile phone on my 15th birthday. Phones didn’t do much more than phone calls/texts in those days, but I do remember it didn’t have Snake which all my Nokia-owning friends were playing [according to wikipedia this phone had Stack Attack and Balloon Shooter]. As with all good phones of that time, it had removable covers meaning you could change the look of your phone depending on how you felt. Whatever happened to removal phone covers?

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Siemens CX65

Siemens CX65

I won my next phone in a competition on the Siemens website. It probably didn’t get many entrants as in a separate competition I also won the stuffed toy mascots, a dinosaur and a ragged girl doll (these went to a charity shop several years ago). This was my first foray into phones with an unusual input method (in this case a joystick).

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LG U400

LG U400

My next phone featured a “DJ wheel” as the input method and was also my first slider phone. I can’t remember much about it now other than that the DJ wheel was entirely unnecessary and rather gimmicky.

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BlackBerry Pearl 8120

BlackBerry Pearl 8120

I had been hearing about BlackBerry phones for a while, but had always considered them too business oriented. I then came across the Pearl 8120 with its unusual double letter keyboard and its input ball (a new feature for BlackBerrys). It took a while to get used to the keyboard, but once used to it, it was much faster than the old style conventional input. I liked this phone so much that I convinced several other friends to also get BlackBerrys (although not all stayed with BlackBerry as long as I did).

BlackBerry Bold 9700

BlackBerry Bold 9700

I then moved onto a full keyboard BlackBerry, the Bold 9700 which was the first BlackBerry to feature an optical touchpad. This was a solid phone and again, after a few days of using the full keyboard, it became instinct to use and far faster than any other input method.

BlackBerry Bold 9900

BlackBerry Bold 9900

This phone was probably the pinnacle of the non-smartphone BlackBerrys. It looked sleek, it ran fast and it had the right size keyboard for fast typing. It didn’t do anything the previous phones couldn’t, but it did it all better. Unfortunately for it (and BlackBerry) the age of the smartphone was rising.

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BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry Z10

This was BlackBerry’s first attempt at a smartphone on their own BlackBerry 10 operating system. It also ran (some) Android apps, but this is probably one of my least favourite phones I’ve ever owned (the DJ wheel phone wins that one). This was the first phone I got in white. And probably the last.

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BlackBerry Priv

BlackBerry Priv

Following the events detailed last week, this is the phone I’m now back to (temporarily) using. It’s got a relatively large screen (for watching videos) and a slide out keyboard (for typing things). The best of both worlds surely? Not really, as I always forget about the slide out keyboard and typing on it never quite feels right. Practice might improve this, but the on-screen keyboard is far more accessible (but still far from perfect).

BlackBerry Key2

BlackBerry Key2

This is my favourite of the recent BlackBerrys (and in my top three phones of all time). This is also the second phone I’ve won in a competition. I was at the launch day party for this phone in London and my number got picked in the prize draw. This phone had the keyboard and it ran Android. The only downside was that having a physical keyboard meant a reduced screen size which isn’t ideal for watching videos. Oh, and it wasn’t waterproof.

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Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

Given the lack of recent BlackBerry smartphones, and my urgent need for a new phone, I was forced to move away in to the world of the Samsung Galaxy series. Its large screen makes content viewing easy, but typing on a touchscreen has never been as fast as the heady days of typing on a BlackBerry Bold. And unfortunately, unlike the original Galaxy S10 this is based on, this phone isn’t waterproof either.

Next phone?

Who knows what’s next? I’m still hoping they’ll fix my current phone and return it to me. If I have to get a replacement again, I’ll probably get the same again or something similar. For now at least anyway. It looks like there could be a new BlackBerry on the way

Categories
Life event

Lightning Strikes Twice

I was planning to write the first part of this post at some point, but the second part is not what I wanted to write…


Back in January, I was out walking near Stonehenge in some fairly heavy rain. I had my waterproof jacket and trousers on and was feeling nice and dry. I stopped to took the occasional photo on my mobile, but otherwise it stayed in my trouser pocket, underneath my waterproof trousers.

When I got back to my hotel, I noticed the phone battery was low (not surprising since I’d had the GPS on all day), so I put it on to charge whilst I went off for a shower. When I returned, it had got itself stuck in a loop where it was turning on, coming up with some problem and then restarting again. It was also having problems charging and whatever I did, I couldn’t get it to start up again.

I do have mobile phone insurance which I have had to use once before. For a long time I was considering cancelling it as I hadn’t used it for so long, but fortunately I hadn’t gotten round to it yet. Unfortunately though, my BlackBerry Key2 wasn’t saveable, and even more unfortunately, as a non-mainstream phone, they couldn’t send me a direct replacement. I chose the cash replacement option and went off to get a more up to date Samsung S10 Lite.


Fast forward to this week, and on Monday I was heading home from work. Shortly before I got off the train, there was a very heavy downpour of rain which showed no signs of stopping (and didn’t for a couple of hours). Having learnt from my previous experience, I put my phone into the pocket of my waterproof jacket and didn’t think any further about it (although you can probably see where this is going…)

I was using my phone all evening, and it was only shortly before bed when I noticed that there was some condensation around the camera lenses. I turned the phone off and put it in a bag of rice to get the water out (as recommended on the internet).

The next morning I returned to my phone, and yes, it had worked and was now dried out. Unfortunately, it also wouldn’t turn back on again. I do wonder whether it would still work if I’d just left it on, or whether it would eventually have stopped working anyway as the insides dried out.

Either way, I’m glad that I still have the mobile phone insurance. After not needing it for over 5 years, I’ve now used it twice in eight months. Are mobile phones more susceptible to water damage now? Is the rain worse than it used to be? Am I just outside more? Whatever the answer, I’m back to the olden mobile phone-less days* until I find out whether my phone can be repaired or needs to be replaced again.

(*I am using an old phone temporarily, but I’m not planning to actually install any apps on it as it is, hopefully, just temporary.)

Categories
Pondering

Back in the olden days

Over 4 years ago, I wrote a blog post speculating what people did before they had mobile phones. Well, this week I’ve been finding out…

On Sunday evening, my phone had an argument with the floor and it came out of the fight looking like this:
IMG_2004_crop
(Don’t worry, the floor came out undamaged.)

I’ve been without a mobile phone for 5 days now whilst it’s off being fixed, and here are the things I would normally have done using my phone:

Phone calls/text messages This is obviously the main one. I’m not a prolific caller/texter but it is a problem when I can’t. Alternative: None (excluding using the phone at work)

Emails Although I can still read emails on my laptop, I have to go get them, rather than have them delivered to me. Alternative: Computer

Social networking Again, it can be done on a laptop, but not as convenient or accessible on the move. Alternative: Computer

Mapping It’s much easier to find a location when you check where you are and where you’re trying to get to. Not as big a problem in central London but it is more annoying in the suburbs. Alternative: Planning ahead and reading directions/signs (where available)

Bus/train times I often use my phone to tell me when the next bus is due to arrive at a bus stop or to let me know if there is any disruption on the trains. Alternative: Waiting around for ages at the bus stop/station

Alarm clock This was the hardest one to find a substitute for as I couldn’t think of anything that would do this, and obviously I need to be up in time for work. Eventually I remembered my fitbit one has built in alarm functionality. Alternative: My fitbit

Random searching/thoughts Those random thoughts/questions that just pop into your head that you have to look up or you’ll forget them. Probably not the most essential of missing items. Alternative: None

Shopping list I often make notes on my phone of what I need to buy when I head to the supermarket. Alternative: Pen and paper

Weather Do I need to take a raincoat to work or not? Alternative: Paying attention to the weather section on TV

Games I like to play Sudoku on my phone before bed. Just one of those things I like to do. Alternative: None (without buying a puzzle book)

I’m sure there are lots of other things I use my phone for, but ironically without my phone I’m unable to check. Most of the activities do have alternatives, but it is more the convenience of accessing things when I need to that is the most annoying factor, and the thing I miss most. Hopefully it’ll be back soon.

Have I missed anything? I’ve definitely not included taking photos, but mainly because I don’t often do that on my phone.