Aug 30, 2005

Stupidity sucks

3byemusik It took a millisecond to change my mood from a sense of satisfaction to stupidity. Once again I had been ripped off by 3 Sweden. The story goes something like this.

Early May I got an offer from 3 Sweden (through S/MMS I think). They told me I could try their new service 3Musik for free all the summer. After that the cost would be SEK 49/month (less than 5 Euro). Signing up was easy (of course) and instant. I immediately got a SMS that said "Hello! The content package 3Musik that You ordered has been activated. Press the 3-star on Your 3mobile and select Musik to start. Thank You for choosing 3! [my translation]". From the sales material it was clear that the summer ends August 31. After that they would start charging.

As I've reported here in A1000blog throughout the summer I have played a little bit with the service. From my initial skepticism I have come to the conclusion that 3Musik is pretty OK. But, for my personal use I don't think it's worth the money. Mainly because I don't find it useful enough. Streamed audio draws a lot of battery. Downloaded videos are choppy and of insufficient sound quality and I never found any MP3's audio. Never bothered too really look for it and all the promos turned out to be for videos and ringtunes. All of that is probaly OK if you don't have any alternatives, but I have plenty. In addition the A1000 memory where downloaded stuff is stored is very limited and it was cumbersome to move it elsewhere. In any case I was satisfied with the possibility to try out an interesting service.

So, the last couple of weeks I have had in my mind to cancel the service before the end of the month. Today I decided to sign off from 3Musik. I logged into "Mitt 3" (My 3), found "my content packages" and three packages of which the first was 3Musik. Besides it was a little checkmark indicating that I subscribed to it. I clicked the 3Musik package and came to a page that acknowledged I was cancelling. The page also asked me why I was doint it. None of the suggested reasons felt right, so I write something like "I didn't find it expensive, but not worth the money".

After pressing the "OK" button the screen looked like the image above (click for an enlargement). It translates into "Hello Richard Gatarski. Feel as home. Your cancellation has been registered. The time to note your cancellation is 30 days. After that your subscription has ended. Regards from us at 3". What!?! Are they not following the agreement? The deal was to try for the summer for free. I don't care about the lousy SEK 49. I care about not being disappointed and irritated. Furthermore, 30 days doing what? It takes only a few computer cycles (read millisecond) to start the subscription. What motivates a months waiting time for cancellation? Don't you ever think that felt "like home".

Maybe it is just a coding error in the system and they had no thoughts of activating the notice time for us "summer trials". But that does not matter. The reality is how I feel - stupid.

p.s. As I checked some facts for the above I recognized that the 3 Sweden site still regards my 3Musik subscription as active and there is no information about the 30 days notice in the initial offer which is still out there. d.s.

06:17 PM in 3's SE network, Annoyed | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Jul 30, 2005

Incomprehensible network management

Of course, getting the same price for voice and data in Denmark (see previous post) as in Sweden requires that I chose 3 Denmark as network operator. But, selecting the network is complicated on the A1000. Another instance where the Symbian system sucks.

First of all, the selection is not made in the Control panel/Connections (as I think would be more intutive). Instead it is done under Settings in the Phone application. There are three tabs there (Basic, Avail., Pref., and Known). Beats me what those mean, and on my phone the Pref. tab is dimmed.

Second, since I could not select the preferred network I had to try out other alternatives. On the Basic tab there is a button called "Find new network". To be honest, by now (a week after I came back from Denmark) I can not remember how I actually selected 3 as the network provider.

Third, to conserve battery I often turned the A1000 off. In addition to the occasional unvolontary reboots and moving between base stations, this implied that the phone had to make frequent network reqistrations. Symbian programmers knows if the A1000 first tries the last used network provider, or if it selects any available by random. In any case, I felt it necessary to check which network was registered whenever I made a call, surfed the Net or sent an e-mail.

Fourth (I have thought of bringing this up much earlier), the Network information popup screen is imposible to understand. What does "Video coverage area" mean? What is "Service provider" and how does it differ from "Operator". If explained, that information still has to be related to roaming stuff. For example, If "Service provider" is "3 DK" and "Operator" is "Telia Denmark" (or the other way around, can't remember what was displayed at location) does that mean I have to pay 3 or Telia prices?

Fifth (I have checked the manual), the color on the Network indicator (next to the signal strength) is confusing. I thought I would get green when I used 3 in Denmark. But, probably because I am a 3 Sweden customer I was connected to 3 Denmark which is a roaming partner and the indicator was amber (or rather orange, but that's a forbidden word I guess :-). Do you get it? I don't...

Another thing, that is not related to the operating system, is that 3 seemed to have two operator names (3 and 3DK). Quite confusing.

07:14 PM in Annoyed | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jun 28, 2005

3 Sweden upgrade mess - part II

The following actually happened yesterday, but I was too tired to blog about it before I hit the bed. By the way, the firmware I have now is:
Version: REL_51.86.13
Baseband: A1000_U_34.15.08P
Flex: USA1000H3GSER341005
AP Config: SE5058AE8W8_108

The first thing I did when I came home was to installe the upgraded version of Motorola Desktop Suite (MDS). I asked the staff in the 3 store about an MDS upgrade as they did not think of that. Upon my request a got a CD with "software customized to my new firmware".

Then I restored my backup. Two major issues here. First, the restoration reported around 15-20 failures to restore tit-and-tat. Second, the screen calibration was replaced by the backup settings. The latter meant that I for a while thought that the A1000 had freezed (nothing happened when I clicked the screen because the clicks did not hit their targets). I will not bother you with all the details and hours I spent, but in sum here is my current situation.

I have done a new master reset (security code is 000000 if you did not know that, I did'nt) and changed back to English. When doing so only two failures was reported in the re-restoration.

Two of my mods are not there anymore. The Startseite fix (changed home screen) seems not to work under the new firmware. Worse, Motorola's/3's f-ing/annoying/noicy bootup/down movies are back. I tried a lot to get rid of them because I find the extremely irritating. While I was at it I tried to changed the browser .ini file (as tipped by machman), but any changes I do are overwritten when I start the browser. 3 forces me to their portal because they want to - power!

After restoration all contacts and calendar items were back, although I got nine contact duplications on the first sync (have around 500 contats in Outlook). The ringtones were also restored, but not assigned properly.

A quick test also indicates that the phone is again locked to 3, but the quy who unlocked it promised a new unlock in case I upgraded the firmware. I will make an entry when I have tried that.

But the message accounts, Tracker and all other apps I had installed are back, including their settings. Actually, I did not belive that the restoration took care of that, but it did. At last - a good thing.

To conclude, a lot of work - and I'm not sure it was worth it. Jan Jendeby, Mr "customer relations boss" at 3 Sweden might find it informative to know that I will be thinking about him every time I shut down or start my A1000. At least until I get rid of those f-ing noicy sounds and animations. That is my current relation with him and 3 Sweden.

10:40 AM in Annoyed | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Jun 27, 2005

3 Sweden upgrade mess - part I

Upgrade letter as pdf This morning I got a (snailmail) letter from Jan Jendeby, manager of customer relations at 3 Sweden. According to the letter I am "one of the customers that made them Swedens best 3G operator". The letter continues to state that because of my contribution as a customer (note, I'm talking about a mass mailing thing, bet they don't have a clue about this blog) and to ensure that I will be able to fully use their services they invited me to upgrade my A1000. In addition they would treat me with either a Bluetooth headset or USB dongle. In Jan's letter (the customer relations guy) he adviced me to make a backup before I upgraded the software. Nice reminder, but I would have done that without his advice.

I quickly jumped on, because I'm going on vacation later on this week and would like to fix the upgrade before that. Said and done, I took the subway to their store at Kungsgatan in Stockholm.

To begin with, the Bluetooth headset had not been delivered to the stores yet, so I had to come back for it in an unspecified futere. The guy behind the counter was "sorry about that". Next, they promised to flash the phone within an hour - in reality that took almost three hours! In the store I checked that the phone worked. At the first startup I had to select a language and choosed Swedish becuase I could not remember what I had before. After calibrating the screen and specifying the time/date my upgraded A1000 seemed to work. But of course everything in it was gone, including all settings. So, I was eager to get my backup.

04:56 PM in Annoyed | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Jun 18, 2005

Best is not good

Since thursday I have spent 68 minutes, according to my A1000's log, with 3 Sweden's customer "service". While on hold 3 has been eager cross-selling upgrades and informing me that they are the "best 3G operator in Sweden" according to some mobile magazine. According to another magazine Vodafone has the best network - don't trust main stream media anoymore (yes, purposeful spelling)

The reason I contacted (first call) them more than 48 hours ago was because my data comm did not function in 2G mode. I'm on a scouting camp and wanted to blog about it ( Well, not possible without e-mail.

Six calls, 55 hours, and a lot of frustration later they managed to enable the service I'm paying for.

At no time they apologized or offered any compensation. Nor did they monitor my error ticket. If 3 Sweden is supposed to be best, I wonder how good the other two (Vodafone and Tele2) are...

02:23 PM in 3's SE network, Annoyed | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apr 18, 2005

Sad stick

The design of the buttons on the A1000 is a sad story. In a previous posting I commented about how slippery the joystick, or navigation button, is. Or, as I should rather write, was. A couple of days ago I found that the joystick button was gone. A search in a number of forums indicated that I had a real problem. Not only in the sense that spare buttons are impossible to buy. In addition some people had to pay for the repair - around 50 Euros. In other words - this particular button regularly falls off and neither Motorola nor 3 cares enough about how that affects their customers.

Well, a quick check in a 3 store gave the following. The phone must be sent to a repair shop. Intstalling a new button will take a week. Is it the year 2005? I am supposed to be without a phone for seven days because they "are currently out of phones to lend away". Forget that!

I will live on without the button. And, by the way, the joystick works better now. Maybe the phone will get contaminated by pocket dust and lint. We will find out...

04:50 PM in Annoyed | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Apr 02, 2005

Updated the Desktop Suite

I purchased a PC-card to my laptop that handles USB 2 (as well as Firewire) because my laptop only did USB 1.0. But my Motorola was not recognized so I decided to update the Motorola Desktop Suite (MDS). It is available as a zip-file from the Motocoder web site. First I unininstalled the version that I had, then installed the new. The new version made my A1000 recognized. In addition I got a handy little shortcut icon for direct access to the C and D drives on the A1000.

But, as forum participants have pointed out, there was not any speed improvement for transferring files, e.g. MP3's. So I am stilled forced to do it the Transflash way. The really annoying thing, though, is what happened when I synched the next time. Becuase I checked the log (which I normally do not do) I found that a deleted calendar item (on the PC) was added from the entry left on the A1000. Furthermore, about six or seven contacts (of about 400) were duplicated.

I read somewhere that Microsoft and Symbian recently made an agreement about exchanging synching secrets - maybe that will make the MDS more useful.

11:44 PM in Annoyed, Synch | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Mar 14, 2005

What's blocking my podcast

The reason my podcast isn't launched yet is simple - I can't create MP3's on my A1000. It's really annoying that this great machine can't record MP3 files. So far I've been experimenting with the .AMR-files that the voice recorder generates. But they sound terrible. Plus, I have not found a convenient way to convert those files into MP3.

Possibly I'll start with a AMR-podcast. The coming week will tell (sic!)...

12:15 AM in Annoyed, Podcasting | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mar 13, 2005

Crappy camera

Right after I got my A1000 I realized that the camera was, to put it mildly, lousy. I was hoping to leave my Ixus at home, but that hasn´t worked out. As a matter of fact, one of the sales reps in a 3 store said that the A1000 had one of the best cameras. Of course, he knew nothing about cameras.

I have prepared some pics taken with my A1000 and an NEC e616v to show the difference. The e616v has a VGA (640x480) resolution, but takes better pictures. But I haven't found the time to design the comparison - perhaps in the future.

Meanwhile, today I found a thread in 3G Forum where quite a few users have reached similar conclusions as I. From my point of view the camera in the A1000 is useless. It is extremely grainy indoors, needs to be more or less mounted on a tripod, clicks before it actually takes the picture and the colors can hardly be called colors. Guess I have to live with that, because the A1000 has so many benefits that balances the camera deficiencies.

11:51 PM in Annoyed | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Feb 22, 2005

Shaky subway surf

I'm on my way home and checking out the (3 Sweden)signal quality. In one word shaky! Over a year ago I was used to check email and surf (GSM GPRS) throughout the Stockholm subway. Nomore. In comparison 3G sucks. Data access is more exception than a rule. And voice calls are regularly dropped between stations, especially underground. Baaad!

07:00 PM in Annoyed, Network quality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack