I have a Phone Curse

Alright, we all know there are very serious issues and concerns facing our world today, so what I’m writing about here has very little to do with those important subjects.  Acknowledged.  It’s minutia.  Fine, it’ micro-minutia.  Yes, Bubba uses multi-syllabic words, on occasion.

I believe I have a “phone curse.”

I must have done something wrong in my past life, like run over someone’s smart phone with my truck (not that I owned one, but in my past life I probably did), because for the life of me, getting a new phone has been far more difficult than it should be.  Let me share with you my “phone drama” for the past year or more… In case you’re up late can’t sleep, and ran out of sleeping pills – maybe my post will help with that.  For fans of drama, I’ll keep the geek tech dialed down a bit, and focus more on the drama.

Stock Photo: HTC Tytn II

The drama began a few years back on a hot summer day in Texas…with the death of one of our smart phones, an HTC Tytn II.  Actually, I don’t remember if it was during the summer, or if it was hot, but it was in Texas.  I had bought two matching phones (guilt perhaps- If I got one, my wife should, too!), and the motherboard died in the one my wife used.  They were used, from Ebay, so I was batting with a 50% success rate.  Good? Bad?  Who knows?

So, since my wife was basically content with the HTC, and specifically enjoyed the ‘real’ qwerty keypad, I handed mine over to her– she still uses it today, no matter how I hint that she should get a new phone.  Do all geek husbands do this, or is it just me?  Well, now I’m back to my older generation HTC T-Mobile SDA, a usable phone, but I needed (fine, wanted) something new.

T-Mobile SDA (photo via Engadget)

So, I bought the Nokia 5530 from Costco online.  Don’t recall how I chose this phone, I guess it was a good price, and was unlocked, had 20 games pre-installed.  That’s all I knew.  Nice touchscreen phone, but it was buggy and froze too often, so after one exchange, I decided not to keep it.  Strike one (that’s a baseball analogy, for you non-sports fans).  Back to window shopping.   It’s around this time that @womworldnokia found me on Twitter, and I got on their list to try out new phones for 2 weeks at a time.  Hey, a geek’s dream, right (hey, don’t laugh, I have other dreams… somewhere)?  I’ll have new phones to try out, and not have to buy a new phone for a while. Sorry, Womworld, hope you don’t feel used… So, from this point onward, I became more interested in Nokias mainly because I had a chance to use many of them.

Nokia 5530 (stock photo)

So, we moved to Thailand in mid 2010, without a decent phone to use, except for my old SDA.  My father was nice enough to send a care package, which included an older, simple ‘feature’ Samsung phone, in mint condition.  Hey, I had an ipod touch, so a simple phone for calls and texting would be a nice complement.  Well, that phone was only a dual band phone (geek alert) – basically it wasn’t compatible with the Thai mobile carriers.  Pop the SIM card in, nothing happens.  Strike two.

After reviewing so many Nokias, I came to learn about some nice, slightly older model ones, like the N82.  It had a very good 5 MP camera, so I found and bought one off of Ebay from a dude in California (that’s what they call ’em there).  He shipped it to my parents’ home in Texas, and my parents then shipped it here to Thailand.  Oh, due to the fact that the US Postal Service charges an arm and a leg for a tracking number for international shipping, my father decided to ship without it.  That was October, 2010. It’s April, 2011.  No phone.  Strike three.

Nokia N82, never touched it... (stock photo)

I think I need to use something other than a baseball analogy, since baseball only has 3 strikes and you’re out.  Onto strike four:  Instead of having a phone shipped from the US (you see, I’m smart enough to learn a lesson), I decided to buy a used Nokia 8800 (beautifully made phone) from a UK Ebay dealer that ships internationally for a reasonable price.  Well, after trying it out for a week or so, I noticed some things that weren’t “right.”

Nokia 8800, the curse continues.. (stock photo)

First, the previous owner had information and photos still on the phone!  Nice pictures of attractive people, but that’s another story.  I tried to reset the phone, but I could not override the previous owner’s password, so I had to erase the data manually.  Then I noticed that the backlighting on the keypad was uneven, and being an obsessive geek, I just couldn’t live with that… Fortunately the dealer had a refund policy, so I returned it and got my money back, even my shipping costs.  Oh, by the way, I chose that phone because I saw it in one of them car chase flicks.  Can’t recall the movie (maybe Transporter), just remember the bad guy used it.  Geeks like bad guy phones…

Nokia 6710..the last straw... (stock photo)

Dude, I’m having serious bad luck.  It gets better (worse that is).  I bought another Nokia, the 6710 Navigator, which has built in GPS and OVI maps, a very nice feature in many newer Nokias.  This was an older model, so I was saving money but getting the same nice maps software.  You see the word “Navigator” on the phone below the screen?  Supposedly when you slide your finger along that edge, the map screen zooms in and out (in photo viewer also), cool for a non-touch screen phone.  However, after the purchase, I found online that this phone had a notorious hardware problem with that zoom feature, so now I had buyer’s remorse.  I didn’t want it now!  Luckily (or just the curse at work), the seller contacted me that the phone was broken when he did a final test before shipping, so he gave me a refund.  Sigh, I give up.

I’m thinking that I should not try my luck for a while, and wait for the curse to run its course, like a virus.  Perhaps it’s a lesson that I should appreciate the things you already have, and not obsess over things you don’t really need.





5 thoughts on “I have a Phone Curse

    1. Hey Erik,

      If you’re looking at the N97 and similar price range, I’d recommend the Symbian ^3 operating system in the newest generation of Nokia smartphones. The N97, N97mini, E71, E72, etc. run on the older S60 platform, and I, and many others feel that S^3 is superior. These newer phones include: C6-01, C7, N8 and E7, and the soon to be released E6 and X7. Of these, the C6-01 (not regular “C6” with slideout keybd, that’s an S60 phone), is the least expensive, has an awesome Clear Black Display, and has the free navigation and maps. What’s nice about the S^3 phones, is that they all have pentaband 3G frequencies, which means in the US they will work on both ATT and Tmobile 3G networks.
      Use http://www.gsmarena.com and click on Nokia on the left menu, and you’ll see the phones listed in order of release date, and their spec sheets are very detailed.
      Also, for any phone, be sure to google “issues problems with Nokia ###” to see if any common problems are mentioned in user forums. OFten the tech reviewers won’t encounter these issues since ‘we’ test new phones basically.
      I hope that helps you to get to know Nokia phones a bit better. Oh, if you’re into photography, get the N8. Best camera on a phone, by far. 😉

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