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Hello Yourself, Moto

06/09/06

  10:10:24 pm, by Nimble   , 733 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

Hello Yourself, Moto

For Dena's birthday, we took the plunge into mobile phonedom.

There have been a few times out on the road where my poor wife has had car troubles, or we've crossed wires, or what have you, so I took her off on the Sunday to get a mobile.

(That, and I think I've finally overcome the association of cell phones with years of being woken up at three in the morning being sworn at by people on rigs needing technical support. Oof, not fun times.)

I got her a black Motorola RAZR, and myself a V317. They had a special on Bluetooth headsets, so we got those, too. Dana Green at the booth at South Centre took care of us very well.

The present came in useful almost immediately. My mother packed up the rest of the house and I drove her up to the airport, with Dena following in the PPE. Once we got up to the airport, Dena lost us behind some pedestrians and couldn't find us again. Talk about timely :)

We're on the plan where we can phone each other as much as we want, which is about all we're planning to do :) (I do hope that Rogers doesn't abuse us terribly; they've been good to us in other ways so far.)

As to the phones, the "iTap" feature, which is supposed to be a semi-predictive helper for entering text messages, got in the way far more than it helped. If you're not typing in a word that they automatically suggest, you end up having to switch keys and enter more than if you'd just done it raw. One thing that would have helped is, say, hitting the down key to say "make a different suggestion" (it only ever makes one, it seems). At the very least, allowing you to enter other letters normally (e.g. hitting 2 twice for b) instead of cursoring to the letter combinations (Bd? Be? Bf?) would be nice.

For as long as it takes to enter text messages, there is at least a "quick notes" section, which lets you send pre-made/custom-made text messages, so if you send the same long message often, you don't have to re-type it.

The voice dialing feature takes a while to get right. Recording is the first frustration: it asks you to repeat what you said multiple times, and as often as not, makes you try again from scratch. Once it's in there, though, it works not badly, as long as you give it that little bit of time to start up to start recognizing your voice. On mine, I say "Get me Dena", and indeed it does.

When setting up your phone entries, it can also be worth making them truly speed dial. By default, it seems that it adds them as 1003#, 1004#, and it seems that you need to type them in that way to get a shortcut. If you go in and shorten them to "3" or "4", then you can actually just hold down the 3 or the 4 for a couple of seconds, and have it dial the number. There are some odd restrictions, though: it seems that it needs to transfer the number from the SIM card (the tiny digital camera-esque card you put in up top) to the phone's own memory in order to do this. There were a few other spots where we encountered this SIM card/phone memory split.

Sending the little multimedia messages is useless. Well, there's a fee for picking them up, which if you're just sending an animated "Where are you?", is... retarded :)

There's an MP3 feature on mine which I've yet to take advantage of. It really seems to be just an odd software add-on, though. The music player hangs out in the same added software section as the games.

I haven't played much with the ring tones yet. Vibrate mode works quite well, though I definitely find I don't always feel it when the phone's sitting in my pocket.

Dena has been trying out the Bluetooth headphone and has really been enjoying playing with it. The voice dial works from the headset, as well as answering, and though the sound is a little choppy, you can hold a pretty normal conversation on it.

Dena seems pretty enchanted with the phone, which makes me oodles happy, and it's really been helping out with the after-work planning, so overall, I'm pretty pleased.

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