On my BlackBerry 9000 Bold diary of crashes and misdemeanors

Hobbes, you must know by now that my crackberry addiction (1, 2 and 3) keeps me off Nokias, Samsungs, SonyEricssons and Motorolas (well, in this case is just Motorola who keeps me away from Motorola), but since I am a bit mad at RIM trying to play cat and mouse with the wrong crowd (BB Storm for the iPhone-lovers and the Pearl 8220 for the SonyEricsson lovers of the world). You already have a niche product! Don’t lose focus just to increase turnover!

Anyway, since RIM doesn’t want to come up with updates to fix the Bold… I will just tell you what my potty Bold tells me…

I think I was wrong. Battery life after update has dropped substancially to about 12h stand-by time  (aprox 1h30 on calls.) As I said yesterday, the Bold came up from the update with full-on 3G signal. As I commented in the past, using the 3G+2G signal option will drain your battery completely before you can say “Perhaps an iPho…”

I changed it over to “2G only” and regardless of that the full battery didn’t last 12h.

I am trying with a spare battery I’ve got. Just in case.

I received yesterday an email informing me that a software update for the Bold was available. I downloaded it (it only works with Internet Explorer…), backed up everything on the phone (we’ve been down that road before, losing all the info) and went for the 30min-long update.

It might just be me, but my Bold seems… I don’t know, happier? Full-on 3G signal (never seen at home before), perceived longer battery life and speed.

As always, I have no idea why it happens, but since I had to deal with it at least 9 times in the last three months, I’ll tell you anyway. The battery runs out specially fast, but the worse is when I go to bed. I lay down, switch the Bold off and, when I wake up and try to turn it on… nothing happens. For some reason the battery is completely worn off to 0%. I have to recharge it completely and even then it takes about 5 minutes to respond. With the battery completely drained, when the Bold gets back to life, even the time on the mobile was reset to 0:00 (and that goes without saying that, if you are in a hurry… you are screwed because it will take you about an hour to fully charge it).

Since it seems I cannot surprise you any more, I thought of bringing this one up when you tried to browse the internet: “Input System Error. The System is being restarted”. You will have noticed that nothing was being restarted for a few minutes and only when you took the SIM card out and put it back in I started working (although the specially long time it took me to restart freaked you out again, didn’t it?). Continue reading


On Vodafone and how to live off a brand name and nothing else

Calvin Ltd. has had a small business account with Vodafone for a few years now. We tried first with Virgin, then T-Mobile but they proved pretty deficient in terms of service and signal coverage, so in the classical crowd wisdom, we signed up with Vodafone. Surely a mammoth of telecommunications would know how to do business and treat its customers, surely…

Few years have gone by, and the amount of problems we have had to deal with has been so extensive and bizarre (from having to challenge a £17,000 charge that wasn’t ours to four new 8310 BlackBerry Curves in 2 months), that  I finally decided to write another diary, similar to the one I have been keeping on my BB Bold.

So please, enjoy and do not doubt to join in, as no matter how much time, effort and money I waste dealing with them, they never call back, apologise or explain what happened. We are playing the better the devil you know that the devil you don’t, but quite frankly, we are really tired of sending complaints to Vodafone.

Enjoy our misery:

(38) September 1, 2009
It has been a while since I had to spent longer on the phone to Vodafone than with my wife, mother and old friends together. But today I received the bills for July and September. For some unknown reason, they stopped (again) to send the call breakdown. We have been down this road before, so if I can gather enough strength tomorrow morning, I will call them before going to work.

(37) April 16th, 2009 at 9:34am
I finally got the patience to personally deal with Vodafone’s incompetence. I called customer services and it took me 13′ to get to speak to a human being (the usual “lines are busy”, I wonder how bad it is for normal customers, not business customers). I explained to Tracy, from Team 18 the situation with the USB Modem invoice and that I had been told last month that it wouldn’t happen again, but that it HAD happened again. She disappeared again for 3 minutes.

When she came back she said that she didn’t know what had happened, she apologised for the inconvenience and blamed the “brand new system”.

It was then, 18′ down the phone call when I asked her whether sending the invoice had been a mistake and the £14.15 were still outstanding. Silence. She rushed to say that the £14.15 were still outstanding (and due on March 31, by the way) but rushed to say that “as a goodwill gesture” they would credit our account with that amount.

“It won’t happen again”, she said, and I requested written confirmation. She asked for our email (what type of business doesn’t keep the email of their business customers?) and said that she would email it. I hope nothing. Continue reading

On why I think Twitter, Facebook and other so called social sites are not for me

Am I opposed to Twitter? I love things that new technology does, the other night in Top Gear (of all places!) I discovered an iPhone app called Grindr where logged-on gay people can track where other logged-on guys are (and how close, thanks to master Twit Stephen Fry). But I have chosen not to be involved in Facebook and specially Twitter because I can’t fit it in in my life.

A couple of weeks ago I dislocated the right clavicle from the sternum (don’t ask) and ended up two weeks at home with the arm on a sling. It was a good time to take some unexpected time off and I decided to streamline my life.

Due to privacy issues, I was never a fan of social sites (probably that’s why I write this blog under a pseudonym). I’ve decided that one of the principles I am going to be running my life is that if I am going to add something, I have to decide what I am going to stop doing. So if I am going to add the time required to sending and receiving Twitter then I have to decide what I am going to stop doing. I have not been able to identify anything that I consider less important than Twitter, so it just simply didn’t make the cut.

Now, if you use Twitter and use it effectively [Pingol, do you?] fantastic. But there are a lot of things that I categorise like that where I decided not to do those simply because I don’t want to add something more to my plate and I can’t find something that I reasonably want to unplug.


On how not to run a bank, don’t trust Barclays online banking to work every day

There was a time when if your competition made a fool of themselves, you would storm in and get their customers. Market mistakes translated into a drop in market share.

But that was in the old days, my friend. We have reached such a level of mediocrity, that not only businesses don’t learn from their own mistakes, but neither take advantage to learn from their competitors’.

Paraphrasing Peter Griffin, what grinds my gears today is not other than Barclays online banking. Expecting some cheques to be charged today, I have been trying to unsuccessfully log on since this morning at 8am. With the usual routine (HSBC), I’ve tried with all computers, operative systems and internet browsers at home and I couldn’t log in. I gave up and went for a short run to check on the newly born lambs that pepper our backyard. Continue reading

On how not to run a bank, don’t trust HSBC online banking to work every day

Hobbes, I think I have already mention it before, but it beggars believe the sub-standard online service that HSBC offers.

I cannot handle banking staff at any branch of any bank (someone told once that Barclays trains their staff not to make decisions, not to think, I cannot say it is true, but surely is very close). Yesterday I spent 1h getting £10,000 from my Lloyds account to my HSBC account.

I had to go to a Lloyds branch, but the more they could give me was £5,000. I paid in the amount in a HSBC branch, where after over 10 minutes queuing, the icing was the clerk at the window telling 7 times (another customer and me counted them) to a customer who obviously didn’t understand English and wanted to pay in £700. “You need to write the amount” (on the pay in slip). Continue reading

On Ryanair’s hell on near earth, mobiles on board

Oh dear! The end is near. Last April I wrote a post on the European Comission clearing the way for mobile phone calls on air (On flying misery, and the death of the last mobile-free remnant). Well, serious airlines like Air France-KLM, TAP and BMI have been running trials on the idea, but the FT reports today that the flying coaches of Ryanair are going to be the first fleet to be fully equipped with it (Ryanair opens skies to mobile phones).

 The other day, on the 148 to Victoria, an African man was shouting so loudly on the phone, that it was a poem to see the other passengers’ eyes opening and closing with his words… even the driver had to use the speakers to tell him to be quieter, but of course he couldn’t hear him. Continue reading

On doing yourself an expensive favour, avoid the new BlackBerry 8900 Curve

You know I am not a huge fan of the Blackberry 9000 Bold, but as a BB addict, I must confess that it grows in you. So many problems with it that in the end, if you are old school and grew up with Windows 2000 or Me, the random problems become a part of you.

Anyway, this afternoon I got the new Blackberry 8900 Curve, I think it also goes by the name of Javelin. At first, I thought of it as just an 8310 with a new fascia. Wrong, it is more than that.

Continue reading