computer personal

Preston And AT&T Give Each Other The Finger

I made the jump the last day before Verizon stopped offering unlimited data plans. The delay for switching to Verizon was not lack of motivation–AT&T service has always paled to Verizon in Arizona and is nearly nonexistent at my summer home–but in desperate procrastination of dealing with the migration process. My longest conversation (highly abbreviated) with AT&T on the matter took about an hour and was so traumatizing that I can’t see myself ever returning. As far as I’m concerned AT&T is dead and buried:

Coverage map showing AT&T's miraculous ability to provide "Best" service without operational towers.


Me: I’m not happy with my AT&T service and would like to cancel my service plan.

Customer Service Representative: I’m sorry to hear that, sir. May I ask why?

Me: I’m in an area with about 1-bar service about half the time, no 3G data (EDGE only), and constant dropped calls. I’m not really getting “service” per se.

Rep: I’m very sorry to hear that. We can cancel your plan for $<huge fee>.

Me: Well… I really don’t think that’s entirely fair. The issue isn’t really that I don’t WANT service, but AT&T isn’t providing what I’m already paying for. I’m paying about $100/month for unlimited 3G data, <list of other features>, and I only get a few of them some of the time. Check the coverage map.

Rep: Yes, sir! I can see you live in a “Best Coverage” area. That is very good!

Me: 1-bar signal 50% of the time, no 3G and dropped calls the other 50% is “Best Coverage”?

Rep: The map shows we have multiple towers in the area! You should be getting great service according to the map.

Me: I understand what the map says; I’ve seen it many times, trust me. The issue is not just me, though. No one else with AT&T seems to get usable service here, either.

Rep: I’m very sorry to hear that, sir. One of the towers is not operational. That may have something to do with it. Would you like us to send out an engineer to test your hardware?

Me: Wait… what? First, my hardware is fine. It works fine in <other cities with service>. No one else’s phone works well here on AT&T’s network, either. Second, if you’re dispatching an engineer wouldn’t it make sense to fix the tower instead? …You know, the NOT OPERATIONAL one that is currently providing “Best Coverage”?

Rep: Unfortunately we cannot do that, sir.

Me: It doesn’t make sense to charge me for a service you just admitted you can’t provide. I understand I’m under contract and don’t dispute that, but AT&T has obligations, too, and if AT&T can’t meet them it isn’t right to punish the customer.

Rep: Unfortunately, sir, it is your fault for choosing to live in an area without good service coverage.

Me: ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS??? I checked your goddamn map before, during and after moving here, and the fucking thing says “BEST COVERAGE” despite having a non-operational tower. I’ve been here for some time now and it’s never been any better.

Rep: Yes, sir! Coverage in that area is strong. Would you like us to send out an engineering to test your equipment?


Rep: Like I said, sir, it is AT&T’s policy to charge cancellation fees according to your contract. We cannot even consider overriding them in such a strong service area.

Me: <Infuriated abrupt disconnect.>

So, I’m now staring at a ridiculous cancelation bill. On the bright side, though, I sold my old AT&T iPhone the next week via eBay for over $200, which not only covered the new Verizon hardware cost but activation fees as well. I’m not getting great 4G on my Mifi (which was disclosed though), but at least I’m getting ok 3G and voice service on my iPhone for about the same price. AT&T? Please.


How To Make Original iPhone Sim Work In iPhone 3G

I live in the U.S. and upgraded from the original iPhone to an iPhone 3G. If you simply put your old SIM into the 3G, however, you will only be able to use EDGE, and the phone will not use the 3G network. When purchasing a 3G model, multiple Apple sales representatives advised me that I would need to either keep each SIM in the phone with which it shipped and call AT&T to swap the phone numbers, or order a new SIM card for my existing number.

Problem: AT&T won’t switch the phone numbers since each phone is still obligated to its own, separate 2-year contract, and ordering a new SIM will cost you $25.

Solution: I physically went to an AT&T store and explained the issue. The sales rep just had to perform some voodoo in his computer system to enable 3G for the original iPhone SIM so it could be used in the new model and access 3G services. This allows AT&T to avoid having to modify any contracts while allowing you to upgrade to an iPhone 3G and use 3G services.



iPhone Developers May Now Speak… Almost

Apple announced this morning that the NDA preventing developers from holding open development discussions will be lifted. While details of the new agreement are not yet available, we are already beginning to see changes in the iPhone development landscape. Details on the first Phoenix iPhone Developer Group meeting will be announced tomorrow morning on the OpenRain blog!

Publishers are also rejoicing, as many have been effectively sitting on completed books in anticipation of today. iPhone SDK Development by The Pragmatic Programmers is already available for immediate electronic download, and an O’Reilly representative has informed me that O’Reilly Media has just released iPhone Forensics.

It begins.


My iPhone 2.0 Upgrade Not Reactivating

It seems like there’s some sort of service outages with the iTunes store related to users upgrading to the iPhone 2.0 firmware. The firmware download and upgrade process seems to have upgrade fine, but mine is stuck on the please-connect-to-itunes screen. All I can do right now is view the IMEI and ICCID, and make emergency calls.

Update: After 4 continuous hours of having it plugged in, it finally reactivated and synced. PITA, but the new apps are hot!!!


Five Major Apple Design Irritants


My software development firm–OpenRain in Arizona–spends buckets of money on your products. Stuff works pretty well in general, but you really need to address these issues. Really.

  1. PowerBook, MacBook and MacBook Pro power supply cables invariably rip. Not only that, but it’s always at the same freaking places. The MackBook/Pro power supplies are better than the PowerBook ones, but still don’t last more than a couple years of real-world use. The issue is at the endpoints of the laptop end of the cable that get bent constantly from travel and being wrapped sharply when the electric outlet is on the wrong side of the laptop. I really love the small and agile design, but the cables need to last at least 4 years without tearing.
  2. Laptops still run hot. Phoenix summer get hotter than 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and I have gotten physically burned by the MacBook Pros when wearing shorts. Product such as the iLap are amusing, but should not be necessary. Getting physically hurt by a computer is a problem.
  3. Keyboard are not ergonomic. The latest iteration of post-modern laptop-style bluetooth keyboards are great to look at, but absolutely horrid on the wrists. No one at the office really likes them in practice, and we’ve had to revert to the Microsoft Natural series of keyboards when have been around f-o-r-e-v-a-r but Apple hasn’t responded to. I’m 100% confident you could build a swanky, highly usable bluetooth keyboard that puts the Naturals to shame.
  4. iPhone copy/paste support. It’ll be an awesome design accomplishment when we no longer need this, but you haven’t gotten there yet, sorry, and everyone else agrees. Add copy/paste support (if only in key areas) to iPhone.
  5. iPhone needs to support dvorak. Yeah yeah…. I know I’m in the minority on this and am sneaking it in, but I spend a lot of money with you guys, and having to use QWERTY just for the iPhone is driving me insane. Add the freaking layout please.




Cool Daily Links

  • :: Google search meets Apple’s “Cover Flow” for the web. Smells hot to me.Â
  • iPhone SDK Gets Interface Builder :: Now it’s actually fun to learn about native iPhone application development.
  • Upcoming Free iPhone Development Webcast
  • :: You need to buy your random cables from these folks. I started using them last year and couldn’t be more pleased with the price and quality of the CAT 6, DVI and FireWire cables. Shipping isn’t free, but it’s reasonable, and if you wait until you have $100 in needs before placing an order, well worth it.