Thursday, 27 January 2011

3 Mobile - The Saga Comes To An End (Almost a Definitive Review)

Since November, and since getting my HTC Desire, I have been using 3 Mobile as my phone network. I used to be on Vodafone, but swapped to 3 as they had the best deal on contract phones, for example, the Desire.
People always said that 3 Mobile were terrible. I never knew just how terrible, as nobody had ever really said why they were so bad - Just that 'they were'. Well, as I found out personally, they suck because you can't get signal anywhere. At home, in a semi-built up area, (ie., not in the middle of the country) there was no service at all. Not even enough to make emergency calls. There was so little signal, in fact, that I couldn't send or receive texts, and my phone didn't know which time zone it was in. That's bad, especially in 2011. 3's website claimed my postcode had full indoor and outdoor signal for everything.
So I called 3 up. I was diverted to an Indian call centre, much the same as I was for Xbox Customer Support.
Initially, I was asked to remove/replace the SIM, turn the phone off/on etc., the usual business. After this had no effect, I had to wait for a call from their engineers. A few days later, I got the call. The claimed the mast was broken, and it was under repairs.
They asked me if I could get signal in other areas, as it could be the phone that was broken. I told them I could in about 50% of places, very rarely would I get signal indoors. They were still adamant that it was in fact my handset which was the issue, so I had to put my 3 SIM card into another phone. It still had no signal.

Anyway, to cut a long and boring story short, I am now about to cancel a 24 month contract while I'm only 3 months in. But I have to send the phone back to them because it was free. I am very surprised they allowed me to cancel at all. When I first got it I had to sign a sheet saying if anything went wrong they wouldn't help me at all, this included terrible reception.

However, one good thing I will say about 3, is that their customer services are very good. They called me back, like they said they would, and called me every time they said they changed something asking if it had made a difference to the signal. It never did, and they said the signal in my area should be fixed, so I don't know if they actually tweaked stuff or just said it.
But, the people I spoke to knew what they were talking about, all spoke English well and were very helpful. When phoning Xbox I soon got sick of saying my surname using the phonetic alphabet. So, well done there, 3. They probably were so good because I'm their only customer.

So I will be returning to ye olde D500. It will be a bittersweet reunion, as it doesn't do anything. It's just a phone. Even though the Android OS is noticeably becoming less responsive and is degrading by the week, at least it can do things.

So, until June, I will get a SIM only monthly thing and use 'Uncle Sam(sung)'. Then, in June, I will get an iPhone 5, hopefully. If not, an iPhone 4. It will be a good day.
Until then... It's going to be a dark 5 months of disconnectivity. I can't take pictures of Cat Milk, Deli Crépes, or silly things and put them in the Dropbox or Photobucket.
But, I will have signal, so if I happen to be indoors and need an ambulance, I can get one.

Goodbye, 3 Mobile. It's been a troubled three months.
Goodbye, Android. Father Time didn't take to you too kindly, did he?
Goodbye, Mobile Tubes. You will be missed, until next time.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Definitive Review of 2010

Well, there it goes. 2010 shuffles off to the graveyard of previous annums. It's been alright, I s'pose.
In future years, I'll look back at 2010 and think: That was the year that the Double Rainbow guy happened, a parrot sang Bodies by Drowning Pool, I started university and Buckethead had a bad back. That didn't stop him though, because he still battled on like a soldier to release 11 albums.
Politics took a turn for the worse, as Julian Assange and WikilLeaks were targeted strategically by the governments of the world. To no avail, however, because it made them look worse when they made up excuses for shutting things down.
BP lost an oil rig, but nothing was really done about it after the Daily Mail got bored of calling it an outrage and waste of our license fee. I bet the situation is no better than it was before.
A few billion pounds has gone missing between the cusions of the sofa in 10 Downing Street, the guy in charge now doesn't like people so he's putting prices up for almost everything in his power.
V for Vendetta is becoming the future. The majority of people are controlled by the media and only have a memory as long as the 30-minute news program they are watching. After it finishes, they probably know less than they did before it started.
Overall, not a good year for politics, I don't think.

Music in 2010 was, for the most part, horrendous. Justin Beiber is popular, the Kings of Leon have lost the funk, Rammellzee died, Ronnie James Dio died, Jedward didn't die.
On the plus, Buckethead carted out some smoo wedges. 11, in fact, ranging from collabrations to insane solo messes, and then back to the start with a nice melodic tribute album to Michael Jackson, Captain EO's Voyage. Serj Tankian's second album was OK. It wasn't as good as Elect the Dead, but it was still pretty good. Poets of the Fall cotinued to be amazing with their fourth album, Twilight Theater. It follows a similar path to the others in that there isn't a bad song on it, and it also contained War, part of the Soundtrack to Alan Wake.

Films have been good. Not new ones made in 2010, but old ones I've got from LoveFilm. Into the Wild was incredible, Moon was good, The Last King of Scotland was gritty, Blood Diamond was deep, and quite an obvious inspiration for Far Cry 2. The Hurt Locker was inspiring, but was a very American film.
On the other hand, Avatar and Batman Begins both sucked, and were a waste of a rental and a waste of £1.995.

Games have been possibly the best pocket of entertainment this year. Some good things have graced the Box in the last 12 months. Dead Rising 2, Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood (ACII was actually 2009, but I only just got it). The previously mentioned Alan Wake was brilliant. One of the best storylines in a game since either Condemned 1 and 2 or Fahrenheit. Fallout New Vegas came out, and although I haven't played it yet, I know it will be good.

TV this year was average. The IT Crowd season 4 was disappointing, but still very good compared to regular listings. My purchase of all seasons of Peep Show made up for this year's shortcomings, as well as season 7 being just as good as the others. I had a massive binge on seasons 1-3 of Prison Break, and they were pant-wettingly exciting, despite it getting a bit silly in parts. The Pacific also looks very good, but I haven't seen that either.

So. All in all, 2010 was a bit average. The highlights balanced out with the... lowlights (?).
Semi-teed, semi-smoo. Could have been worse, I s'pose.