Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Technological Torment

I hate my new phone! Really hate it. In a 'just don't make me use it or I might have to throw it through a window' sort of a way. Or a 'stamping my foot and pouting about the fact that other people have brilliant handsets and mine is evil and useless' thing. Even a 'I got this one because I couldn't have the one I wanted and its way worse than the one I was replacing' sort of feeling. I really, really don't like it.

In fairness I would have to point out that I am completely useless when it comes to technology. I have been known to hand my teenage daughter a new handset, still in it's box, exhorting her to 'make it work'. That said, a great many people who use mobile phones simply want them to do what they are supposed to do and look pretty whilst they are doing it. Is that so much to ask? I can do that when I am completing a task. Why can a 'cutting edge' piece of technology not do the same?

The handset under death sentence is the INQ1 It is a 3 Mobile handset, unique to them. Here is the offending article! This is a lucky fact, as many people do not have 3 contracts, and so will never have to use the awful thing. Really, it's a lucky escape! Online the picture looks nice; the spiel is convincing – multi-media communication, internet, email, push mail (which is what, exactly? Do you know?), text, phone – the list is practically endless. And the price is convincing. My contract is for twenty pounds a month with free minutes, free texts and a Gig of download (yeah – I actually have no idea how much that is – not as much as I though, we shall find out!). So I upgraded. I had been using a Sony Ericsson handset for the previous year and, whilst I loved how the phone works – icons, menus, systems, buttons – one or two buttons were dodgey and 3 Mobile in Barnstaple had made it very difficult to have it mended under warranty. Apparently replacement handsets, for use whilst yours is being mended (under warranty!) are only available when you are ten miles away with no possible opportunity of getting into Barnstaple to pick it up! And they are rude. Anyway, I really needed a new handset to prevent me going completely mad! I had wanted the iPhone. Or the Crackberry. I quite wanted to stay with 3 Mobile (their India helpline is lovely. People are very polite and perfectly sweet) I thought the INQ1 was a good compromise.

Well. It's not. Frankly. The screen is basic. Remember those old computers you see in workplaces now and again? The black screen and the green writing? Well, my handset is to the iPhone as they are to a MacBook. Useless. There are no pretty fonts, no background colours, no great icons which take you to useful menus. No apparent way to access the dictionary for predictive text (and, therefore, only slow text options if you wish to say what you actually plan to say). Basic. And that's being polite! And – which has completely infuriated me – the disc which comes with the phone is completely unintelligible and has no software for the sorting out of useless memory, visuals or menus. Certainly, you may connect with every known electronic communication service. But at what price? And if only they would explain things. Or make them pretty. Or something. Anything. Just something to delight and amuse me whilst I am trying to text (one letter at a time - slowly)

The handset, itself, feels plasticy and cheap. The buttons wobble, as though they are about to fall out of their housing at any moment and the press pad thingies are too close together to enable accurate choosing. Horrid.

The 'free' stuff is completely beyond me. I text quite a bit and phone occasionally. This month I am paying a bill of one hundred and fifty pounds. This, because that is the point at which they stop you making any more calls as it is deemed a general cut off point. I had no idea my bill had run up until I was cut off partway through a phone call! No warning. No nothing. And no real pushing of the envelope, save a few phone calls. So how have I run this bill up? And how do I make sure I don't run another huge bill up? I have come up with a plan.

Either I must go back to my previous evil handset or I am going to cry until Mr Gorgeous takes pity on me and buys me a new iPhone. It was what I wanted in the first place. I have seen a couple with my own sparkly eyes. Handled one. I love it. I crave it. Need it. And I will weep until I get it. Actually, if, in the meantime, some purveyor of iPhones is reading this and wondering where on earth they can put that extra handset they have, or who should benefit from the courtesy handset which would only need a pretty write up and grateful thanks for the handing over of. Well. You know where to find me.

And then I will burn the INQ1. And I might warm my hands over the melting plastic and cackle a bit. Because that's about the limit of its use. I bet it won't even do that properly!

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