everyone hates getting a new cell phone

13Aug06

you all are bored to tears with me whining about how i have a new phone all the time, and i don’t blame you. no one wants to hear it. instead i’d like to relay a little experience about why i complain about it so much. to illustrate let me tell you about a few recent experiences.

ryan was lucky enough to be one of the first people i know to get an ev-do wireless data card for his macbook pro. the day after getting it ryan and i are walking downtown and he basically says admits that when he was a windows user, he didn’t understand what the mac fuss was about. they seemed inferior and stupid. but now that he’s used one, he sees they aren’t inferior, just actually easy to use. he compares “installing” his new ev-do card on the mac to how it would go on the pc. mac: insert card. mac says “oh hey do you want to use that new card you just inserted?” yes. “cool. do you want to connect now?” yes. you’re online. pc: oh hey, you just put a new card in me, what the hell is this thing?” install software on included disk. learn it’s out of date. go to card manufacturer’s site. download and install drivers. go to carrier site download and install connection software. reconfigure everything again. try to connect. learn there’s some change you have to make first. make change. connect. pray.

today i bought an airport express to extend the range of my wi-fi network throughout my flat. setup was as follows: plug in airport express. fire up airport setup assistant. pick airport. say i want to use an existing network. say i want to extend my network. click done. this shit is easy right? that’s what apple does, they turn confusing computers into consumer friendly devices. people who know english and not geek-ese can use them, typically with a minimum of button presses.

now compare that to my experience setting up a phone yesterday. this particular phone was a motorola but the experience is the same for many phones. when you do not buy your phone from a carrier, they come “unlocked” this means if you want to use things like web browsing or picture messaging you have to configure them yourself. now some companies like nokia or sony ericsson have a nice simple website where you can go and click a few buttons, then viola, a magical message is sent to your phone and everything’s set. but not motorola. instead i had to search online until i found this post where some poor sap who’s been through this shite wrote it all down (settings to configure unlocked motorola (razr, krzr, rizr, etc) for t-mobile) – i have done this myself before too, i know what a pain this step is. then enter each and every bit of this crap manually. then pray, only to find out that after entering you still have to select what you’ve entered and set it as defaults. then pray again.

does it strike anyone but me as fucked up that it’s easier to configure a computer. a computer that does a whole lot more and is significantly more complicated, than it is to configure a cell phone? no wonder people fear their phones. no wonder people tend to shy away from “advanced” features like picture messaging. you know what. i hope apple does come out with a cell phone. just so they can show all these screw offs what user friendly really means.

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One Response to “everyone hates getting a new cell phone”

  1. You have yourself a point. But if you’re with T-Mobile (and you must be to have that Sidekick), there’s a handy site that can configure 99% of phones for ya automagically.

    http://tmobileus.wdsglobal.com/phonefirst

    It’s insane that you would ever *have* to do it manually. Reminds me of the dial up days when you needed the phone number of your ISP, username and password to log-in. Now with WiFi and DHCP you just open your laptop and open FireFox.


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