Backstory: Cell Phones

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I have issues with cell phones– both the phones themselves and the carriers that pawn them on us. I’m never happy with what I have. The size, battery life, reception, syncing what have you. It all eventually becomes an issue. And my house in West Philly is in some weird signal zone, since its impossible to keep a phone call over 20 min without getting dropped. They just drop, even with a nearly full signal. Sprint, Nextel, Verizon, Tmobile… they drop. Heh, just to catch up (for myself), and to see it in front of my own face– here is a run down of my cell phone history.

  • 1995 – Get Sprint Spectrum Phone w/ special Govt deal thru the University of Maryland. Works well in MD.
  • 1997 – In Philly, I’m forced to migrate to Sprint PCS, somehow they think my account is a Business account. I will never be quite able to convince them otherwise.
  • 2000 – Working at UPenn, ISC gives me a Nextel to use as a personal phone if I keep it with me all the time. For the next three years I keep my Sprint phone but never use it.
  • 2003 – I get a T-Mobile account with two SE 610s. Enjoy shortlived BT bliss with my Mac and the 610. Cancel my Sprint account.
  • 2003 – 10 Days Later: Return the SE 610s and cancel the T-Mobile (within the 2 week grace period). The reception is so bad in West Philly I can believe it. Call Sprint and beg to have my existing account reactivated. They do it.
  • 2003 – Feeling depressed at having to be back on Sprint, so I pick up 2 new SCP-8100 camera phones.
  • 2004 Feb – Can’t take Sprint any more, and I want a BlackBerry again. I recall that Nextel service was good at my house, so I get the Nextel BB 7510, which is also a Nextel Phone. I use the number portability to transfer my existing Sprint number over. I do this all on the web, it works well and I now have the 7510.
  • 2004 Aug – My wife will be away for a month, and wants internet access. I’m deciding between a Sprint or Verizon Aircard. After talking to some friends and researching (and wondering why I’m even considering Sprint), I get an new Verizon air card.
  • 2004 Aug – At Scranton, the aircard is great- but the Sprint phone my wife still has sucks bad. I go back to Verizon and move her number over to a new Verizon phone. They have a deal on some nice Samsungs: it’s $30 and I get one free, so I add another phone on, for me to play with.
  • Currently – Now I use the BB primarily, and have been taking the Verizon Samsung when I want to travel light. My wife if ecstatic with the Verizon aircard and phone. I’m paying my last Sprint bill this month.

Am I happy? Not really. The BB is too big, but I really need the email and keyboard that it provides. I guess there is no getting around that fact, and the fact that I need something large enough to physically type on. The BB has great cell phone reception, and is not too hard to talk on. The PTT is great. It will do for the next year, or at least until I see someone with the new SideKick 2.