Old Phone Conspires Against Self

To borrow some language from the nuclear power industry, a few “events” occurred this weekend which finally tipped the scales causing this techie to finally stop dragging his feet and get a smartphone, already.

I was running a Sony Ericsson T616 from AT&T (on the Cingular Network) and for what it is, it’s been quite useful. I’ve been using bluetooth to sync my calendar with iSync, it holds some of my contacts, allows me to SMS and take “hilariously bad” photos. All in all, it’s quite functional and I have few complaints. But there is more and more that I’m needing to do with this phone and it has become dangerous to leave the office for long periods of time.

Here was the weekend list:

  • Before I leave my apartment I attempt to load up 2 episodes of This American Life and one DJ set onto my Creative MuVo mp3 player and they don’t fit. (of course, this phone does not have an mp3 player) The 2nd episode of This American Life (and my subway commute back home) is left behind.
  • Our web servers are monitored by software that sends SMS messages to our engineers and me. I got a few messages and with them, warnings that my internal memory was almost full (despite keeping my inbox clean)
  • One of our servers lost http service and while I was able to receive a phone call about it and SMS the unix commands to one of our engineers for implementing, I would have been much better off just opening a shell on a smartphone and logging in myself

With a week vacation coming up it seemed as though the forces were conspiring to unravel my digital lifestyle. Something had to be done.

Monday morning I decided to take a walk past a few train stops on the way to my office. Along the way, I happened upon a Radio Shack and talked to a very helpful salesperson. We discovered that I could give my current provider the finger and end up getting the same amount of minutes AND all-you-can-eat internet and data from Sprint for about the same price I was paying with Cingular. Of course, I’ve always liked Sprint but had to drop them when I moved to NYC because they apparently didn’t have towers in my neighborhood. That’s all cleared up now so we’re back, with a brand new Treo 700p.

Apparently, these have been pretty popular because this was the last one they had in stock (no demos on the floor and they haven’t even been able to keep one for the employees to power up and play with). At first, even the “new customer” discount doesn’t seem to be enough until you get the phone home and start playing with it. It is a damned nice phone.

It only took an hour to load up:

  • iTunes skin for pTunes (sold separately for $5 but a must-have)
  • >1GB of music on the 2GB SD card (sold separately but for a good price)
  • All contacts and calendar events via Mark/Space “The Missing Sync for PalmOS 5” ($40, completely worth the price)

A few minutes later I was out the door for a meeting with the actual address of where I was going with a map, some music to listen to on the way, and a qwerty keyboard for writing notes and emails.

First impressions are: This phone will survive the attack of the forthcoming iPhone. More details to follow.

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