I recently had the absolutely delightful experience of harassing Verizon into taking my money. Yes, you read that correctly. I’d gotten tired of my 30-second battery life, and decided it was high time to get a new phone.
You’d think that they would gladly take my money, but I had to first convince them that I had permission to change the account. It turns out that the account was actually in my dad’s name, even though I was the one paying the bills. Even remotely fixing that involved several phone calls and a healthy bit of frustration.
Once that was taken care of, I learned that I been put into a new two-year contract against my will. My original contract was a one-year contract that started in August 2004 and ended in August 2005. Sometime around August 2006, a Verizon salesperson called and asked if I wanted a new contract; I said no. He put me into it anyway. I was pretty mad when I learned about that, but you’re apparently able to go into a new contract without a penalty at any time.
Despite those problems, I became the proud owner of a VX6700 smartphone on Friday evening. So, I spent all of Friday night and most of Saturday putting contacts into Outlook, which would then magically appear on my phone. I’ve never had anything that could “sync” before, and while it’s relatively simple, it’s actually rather fascinating.
In addition, the setup process for ActiveSync is relatively painless. The on-screen keyboard takes a little getting used to, but it’s useable. I still haven’t been able to get the handwriting recognition to play nicely, as I imagine it’s looking for specific strokes. Most of my handwritten letters are actually written backwards, frustrating even the best handwriting recognition.
The text messaging functionality is somewhat hidden; it takes some investigating to find the option in “Messaging” to go to Menu, Switch Accounts, Text Messages. Also, the idea that an “x” moves the program to the background instead of closing it is strange but makes sense for a smartphone. The included game “Bubble Breaker” has proven to be extremely addicting.
Most of the websites explain how to customize your Windows Mobile 5 phone involve registry hacks, so I was able to download a copy of Total Commander CE and use it to view the phone’s registry. There are various hacks, such as displaying the Wifi/Bluetooth status on the today page, speeding up the rotation, et cetra. Most experienced users will be immediately familiar with registry editing, although the cramped interface does make it a little more difficult.
After configuring the basic settings to my preferences, I went off in search of programs on the internet (other than a basic registry editor/file explorer). One of my favorite picks is Google Maps Mobile. The interface is perfect for a mobile device, and it even lets a user set start/end points, a feature not present in the desktop version. Other than that, I have been relatively satisfied with the built-in software. Instead of installing AIM Mobile, I decided to try out IM Everywhere, a Trillian 3 plugin. I am able to access all of my IM services with little or no overhead, and it even plays nice with Trillian 3’s built-in logging capabilities.