New toy.

My £20 Simpleton Special phone has been unwell for some time and has finally died so I have been forced to buy a new one. I had planned to stick to the £20 range again but then I thought ‘No. There is money in the bank, tomorrow is pay day, I’ll throw caution to the wind and spend and be damned. I’m going to raise the phone budget to £50 this time.’

Well, as you can imagine, this is new territory for me. Surprisingly new territory. In the end I spent £45 on something with many, many buttons. It looks like this.

I don’t know why anyone buys a phone direct from the manufacturer. They are all cheaper elsewhere. It makes no sense but then not much does these days.

So anyway, this one was advertised as having bluetooth and I had already decided to make sure that was off and stayed off. I am not having a Borg implant stuck to the side of my head unless it has a laser in it, and I am old enough to remember what we used to do with people who went around talking to themselves.

It didn’t say it had internet when I bought it, but I wasn’t bothered about internet. It has a proper keyboard which means I don’t have to press every button five bloody times to get each letter, which was a big selling point. Also a big screen, easier to see. It does have internet though. It has a special button to link me to Farcebook and all the rest and it links to my Wifi so I can browse blogs on the bog (Yeah. Picture it. Ha!). I have no intention of bothering to link it to Farcebook and as it’s pay-as-you-go I won’t make much, if any, use of it as mobile internet. Still, I have it if I ever get the urge.

The camera is tiny, as usual, and I have yet to test it fully. One improvement over previous phones with cameras I have owned is that this one links to the computer as a virtual drive. Just like plugging in a USB stick. The cable is even included and it’ll charge up while it’s plugged in. The other phones wanted all kinds of weird connection stuff and there never seemed any point using their cameras because it was just too much hassle to get the photos off them. This one – easy. I am a big fan of easy. The camera also allows you to turn off the flash (damn me, it has flash too!) and you can turn off the clicking sound. So I won’t get pounced on by pitchfork-wielding villagers if I take a photo in the street. I will need to get a micro-SD card if I find the camera useful, but they are everywhere now.

The keyboard buttons are small but shaped so that great clompy fingers can manage to press only one at a time. It’s a QWERTY so I can prod buttons faster than on a normal phone although much slower than on a proper-sized keyboard. The greatest part is that I don’t have to repeatedly tap the ‘1’ key to get things like commas and apostrophes and question marks, go past the one I want, swear, delete, try again, stop too soon, swear, delete, try again… with this one I can just call up a symbol table.

The temperature/weather aspect is free but useless unless you live in London. There doesn’t seem to be any way to tell it you live elsewhere in the UK.

Ringtones – it is missing my favourite ‘normal sixties phone’ option but I haven’t had that on the last three phones either. A bit of retro would go down well here.

I’ll run it on my old SIM card but set it up to test on the SIM that it came with. Predictably, there were texts from Vodafone as soon as I turned it on, one saying ‘You have no credit’ which arrived before even the nimblest fingers could possibly have typed in a credit code. Your customers a chance give here, Voda.

There was also a text saying I was signed up to lottery number updates and I had to text ‘stop’ to make them stop. I didn’t because this SIM is just for testing the phone. Then I had a message saying ‘you have received a premium rate text but don’t have enough credit to download it. Please top up your credit’.

Well I’m not gonna. This text was listed as ‘nine hours ago’ when it arrived. That’s eight hours before I bought the phone. It is almost certainly a scammer sending to lists of phone numbers and looking for a response. Sending ‘stop’ tells the scammer it’s a live line and he’ll sell it to other scammers who will paste it with junk.

I will send ‘stop’ just before I take out the SIM and file it forever in the box. Let that scammer sell a dud. With a bit of luck he’ll sell a whole load of them to the Mafia which will save the British justice system the trouble of letting him off without a horse’s head in his bed and Tesco burgers in his freezer. If you buy a new phone always do this. Use the SIM it arrives with, let the scam text appear, text back ‘stop’ so he knows the line is live, take out that SIM and never use it again. A replacement will cost you 99p if you don’t already have an old one. We can’t do anything about the scammers but the people they sell those numbers to, oh, they can do plenty.

Many years ago, my brother had a BlackBerry supplied by his work. He does defence secret Q-style stuff, he won’t even tell me what it is but he has a number that airport security have to phone if they want to examine his laptop. Apparently it’s a recorded message saying ‘Fuck off’.

I did like the look of the Blackberry but I wasn’t so keen on the price and it’s still too high. Now it seems there are quite a few low-end (well, low for those less mean than me) phones that are pretty much Blackberries with the street cred taken out.

One thing I will miss about the old dead phone. I was doing well on the built-in Bejewelled game. This new phone has no games.

It does have YouTube and blogs though. Although that might only apply at home – YouTube could wipe out PAYG credit!

This is not an endorsement nor even a fair review. I bought the phone less than 7 hours ago and have only had time to play around a little. The coming days will test its true mettle.

And possibly my finger control.


22 thoughts on “New toy.

  1. Meant to send this yesterday:

    The Americans With No Abilities Act

    President Barack Obama and the Democratic Senate are considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

    “Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,” said California Sen. Barbara Boxer. “We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability (POI) to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing.”

    In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons with No Ability (63 percent).

    Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million mid-level positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

    Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability (POI) into middle-management positions, and give a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

    Finally, the Americans With No Abilities Act contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, “Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?”

    “As a non-abled person, I can’t be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,” said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Mich., due to her inability to remember righty tighty, lefty loosey. “This new law should be real good for people like me. I’ll finally have job security.” With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Said Sen. Dick Durbin: “As a senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so


    • You know, it’s getting harder and harder to spot the parodies these days. This isn’t too far from the reality of modern politics – in fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find a few politicians reading it and thinking it’s a good idea.


  2. Customised ringtones are easy. Download and install Audacity, a super freeware music editor. Load your tune or sound effect, pick about 30 seconds which will do the job, make it a new file, export it as an mp3 and Bluetooth it to your phone. Tell the phone to use it as whatever and Robert’s your mother’s brother.


  3. I stupidly got a Blackberry for work and it was so difficult use! It’s sad to admit this but I use an Iphone. Simple easy.

    I also play Bejewelled. I paid for it and I play it on all my devices. It lives in the cloud so I play the same continuing game. Almost at level 100. How sad is that. Get a life goes nowhere close.

    Great blogging Leggie by the way.


  4. I find my smartphone useful to moderate comments when I’m out and about. Although it doesn’t have a keyboard as such, it uses a touch-screen with a virtual keyboard and is plenty big enough for me to use easily.

    Welcome to the 21st Century 😉


  5. I’ll never forget the first time one of my friends showed up at my door with one of those blinking bluelight contraptions wrapped around his earlobe, talking to someone else. The old Kinks tune ‘Muswell Hillbillies’ popped right into my head:

    “They’re trying to build a computerised community, but they’ll never make a Zombie out of me”

    It took all the self control I possessed not to punch him in the nose.

    I’m not a Luddite of any sort, far from it. I actually consider myself somewhat of an early adopter. I still know a few DOS commands. But when you boil it all down, it’s still just text, sounds and pictures on an Orwellian telescreen.

    I thought of throwing away my computer after he’d left – the technology revolution had gone Too God Damned Far.

    I’ve never owned a cellphone and my computer still runs on Windows ME. As a result I’m persona non-grata with YouTube and that hurts. I’m also blacklisted from DISQUS but, as we all know, DISQUS SUCKS anyway.

    As a carpenter, the last thing I need is a cellphone in my toolbelt to interrupt my train of thought. A solar-powered hand calculator yes, but a phone, no way Jose.

    On projects with a public interface you wouldn’t believe how much time is already spent answering the question “Whatcha’ building there, fella?” in regular human interaction mode.

    I once calculated how much time I wasted talking to the general public on one particular 9-month long remodel endeavor – eight full working days, I tell ya’.


    • I got as far as XP and stopped. The laptop has Vista and it’s not as good as XP.

      It once occurred to me that those people who naturally go around muttering to themselves could avoid being dragged off to the shrink just by having a little blue light in one ear… I think there might be a niche market there. Also for posers who either can’t afford the gadget or who have no friends. They could pretend to be in continuous conversation.

      As for me, I will only be interested if it is fitted with a laser such that a quick rotation of the head can cut a hole in a door.


      • I’m in the market for a good used desktop with XP. I hear that you can make it ‘look’ like Windows ME. That’ll get me back on YouTube – I dearly miss that. DISQUS will still SUCK.

        BTW I see that Haringey is near the aforementioned Muswell Hill. And the Kinks wrote that song in 1971. Talk about prescience.


  6. XX Many years ago, my brother XX


    You mean there are MORE of you out there!!!???

    The world looks better every day. 😉


  7. I have spare micro SD cards I can send you if you email me an address to send to. Postage is free if I put it in my out tray…


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