Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Microsoft Owes Me $50

I got a parking ticket today, my 2nd in recent memory (the other one was Nov. 4th). And of course, I blame Microsoft for this.

See, I had never gotten a parking ticket before November 4th. In fact, I've been parking at meters for YEARS without getting a ticket. What has changed?

My phone.

Previously, I used a Nokia 6800. This was one of the early semi-smart phones (e-mail, limited web access, and a flip-out keyboard), more phone than smart though. But still cutting-edge for its time (2003). And it had a bunch of handy features, one of which was a very simple countdown timer... that was TWO BUTTONS AWAY. That's it. 1st press quick-features, 2nd press timer. I used it when doing laundry, when cooking, and yes, when parking at a meter.

And then the phone died.

Right now, I'm using an ATT Tilt, and it is pretty much the worst phone I've ever used. It runs Windows CE, and tries to be a PDA and a phone. But it's more dumb than phone.

Everything is controlled via the stylus. There are buttons, but they are all context-sensitive. Which means that you don't necessarily know what each one will do in a given situation (and they don't all have display reminders either. It's more, press it and see what it does, and then don't press it again ever).

SO, if I want to run a timer application, I have to get out the stylus, click on the start menu, go to Applications, go to Tools, browse to the timer app, and start it. OH WAIT THERE *IS* NO TIMER APP! That's right, such complicated functionality is too much for this mini-computer. I'd have to find one on the Internet, download it to my computer, install the phone-computer interface software, and install it to the phone that way (in which case, it installs to the Applications folder UNDER APPLICATIONS. Yeah, you have to select Applications TWICE to run it). EVEN though the phone itself can browse the Internet when I'm in a hotspot, I can't install applications that way.

It's like a committee tried to come up with all the ways they could to mess with people. "How can we make our product even MORE DIFFICULT to use?"

I'm not even mad at the ticket writer, even though he clearly waited at my car for the meter to run out (based on the time on the ticket). He was just doing his job.

So I need to buy a new phone. I had been hesitating because of the expense, but at this rate I would be saving money in the long run to buy one now. Maybe the Nexus?

Phoenix had a bad day. :-(

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