Do you remember the first phone you had? The ridiculous weight of it? The little (or not so little) antenna perched on the top? Yes. These are fond memories. I was in Form 6. Everyone else had had a mobile for at least a year and a half before me. It was a Nokia and I was a Snake pro. A text message was 50 cents, and we sent tacky quotes or jokes. But times quickly changed. I got a new Nokia in Upper 6. It had a colour screen and the Snake game was still good. It was a water-resistant phone, so I talked in the rain whenever I could. I can attest to the fact that this phone is indestructible. Roll down a flight of stairs? It’s fine. Sit on it? Good to go. Eventually, I changed the case to a (cheap) black one then decided to upgrade.

When I started UWI, I got a random Motorola. I never liked the clam-shell business. It had a colour screen though, and for a short while the novelty of learning a different mobile OS overshadowed the fact I much preferred Nokias. (Of course, it wasn’t mainstream to call the software phones ran on “OS” back then, which says a lot about how far mobile communications technology has come.) Around that time, cameras on phones were beginning to become trendy. One would send pictures via MMS. It was a good phone. Then, one day, at approximately 5 pm, the phone slid out of my sweater’s pocket and into a waiting, full mop bucket in the female restroom of first floor Natural Sciences building. I remember looking at my reflection in the mirror and wondering if I was the sort of person who was crazy enough to put her hand in that bucket. Sadly, I am. The phone was toast, and I remember feeling ridiculously sour. Tech withdrawal is real, even if your tech is low-end.

I ended up getting a black Moto Slvr. Perhaps my favourite thing about that phone was the aluminium case. A thing of beauty, it was. I had that phone for a long time. I left UWI, and started working in the Eric Williams’ Medical Sciences Complex and had Love and Attention as my ringtone for maybe 2 years. The day the first sign of trouble came was a sad one; it stopped showing the name or number of persons who sent me an SMS. I knew better than to wait around for that problem to metastasize. What I bought thereafter, I simply cannot recall. There’s a fuzzy period until I got my Nokia E63. It was a lovely navy blue that many mistook for a pretty BlackBerry (an insult, if I ever heard one).

In true Nokia fashion, it was quite sturdy and touted as a business phone. This meant that if you didn’t download some interesting themes, your phone would look VERY BORING. It was an absolute nightmare. Heaven forbid you had to plug your phone into your computer to transfer some media to or from your SD card. The theme would lift because it was saved on the SD card, and you would be reminded of how much aesthetics can make or break a mobile experience.

After 2 years, I grew antsy. It was time for graduation; it was time for a touch screen phone. I remember when the thought first occurred to me. I was seeing my uber-techie friends fiddling with their HTC phones. They spoke of Android and a land of milk and honey. But did I really want to wallow in this awesomeness 24/7? Could I handle such awesomeness? Was I ready? No one ever really knows this answer before they step over to the touch screen. It is a leap of faith. The day I unsubscribed from the Ovi Store, I felt like I was crazy. But buying my first Android was the best thing I ever did. The HTC Desire Z… as heavy as, beautiful, wonderful, and Android. HTC Sense was the sort of thing dreams were made of. I ran from the keyboard to the touch screen the way toddlers take hurried steps to their parents’ waiting arms.

Previously, I would have told all who would listen of the wonders of the HTC mobile. It was sturdy. It was lovely-looking. HTC Sense running over Android was like having a generous layer of your favourite cheese added to the perfect burger. Awesome. I really loved it. Here comes the reality check. Friends, if you drop any (smart)phone several times, for 2 years, without a protective case of some sort, your phone will behave accordingly. Can you imagine your phone not recognizing your SD card? I’ve tried gentle tapping, removing and replacing, fiddling with the battery (I was getting desperate), and I even spoke to it a couple times in a kind voice. Nothing. I handed the device over to Mr Right and started looking for a new phone… albeit, on a budget.

It’s been a month since I bought a Samsung Galaxy S II phone. As an HTC lover, the only fact more scandalous than that purchase is the price I paid: a paltry $1400TT. That’s roughly $220USD or £140. One would think that I would be overjoyed at this sweep, but every now and again I find myself thinking back to my old friend, my Desire Z. That “Sync All” widget and trackpad. That notification light. I never believed I could nitpick over something so seemingly insignificant as a a little LED. To the HTC Android owners out there, buy a case. It doesn’t make your phone any less awesome, it just makes you smart. The old fella had the worst battery life ever, and cost a whole thousand more than its replacement, but it was faithful and beautiful. I really appreciated the HTC’s affinity for UI aesthetics.

How am I liking my SII, you ask? I’ve come to accept the lack of notification light. It was really difficult at first, but I’m over it now. I can have a ton of apps open all at once and switch between them with ease, yet that’s really the perks of ICS OS and newer/ more powerful hardware. I use Swype now, so much so, that I robotically try swyping on other phones by default. Also, my phone is delightfully light. Once I tossed that default widget with the tacky font for the time, and customized the screens, I settled in.

So, Mr. Chou, if you are reading this post, think about me. I’d love to come back to the warm embrace of a beautiful HTC Android phone. You know, something with a sweet UI, and a decent battery life (mutually exclusive, I know) and maybe not heavy enough to double as a weapon. As a matter of fact, if it could make me breakfast just the way I like it, that would be super too =)

Warm Regards,

HTC Customer with ridiculous expectations

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Pourqoui Pas?

When you’ve had a lot of disappointments and almosts in your life, there’s a tendency to see Murphy’s Law as the rule rather than the exception. But what are dreams, where do they come from? What makes us think “why?” rather than, “why not?” And so what if Murphy’s Law became as commonplace as gravity, should one stop dreaming altogether?

I have always dreamed of living in France for at least 2 months. I’d daydream of having a wonderful string of sensible, beautiful, poetic French roll off my tongue with a local. I would politely ask someone I knew for a few weeks if I could use tu or if they preferred vous. They would comment that my French was indeed improving nicely and I was easy to understand. And perhaps, most of all, I would meet the real me.

What does that mean? Am I a French-speaker trapped in an English-speaker’s body? No. I simply mean that I’ve always known that the process of pursuing this dream would be a critical journey in my life. The problem with Murphy’s Law and gravity is that one sets a dream’s due date as “20 years from today” (“today” being any day you dare to skim through your hopes and wishes). The other causes you to sag. And both keep your feet planted firmly on the ground of reality, whatever that is, with clipped wings.

A month ago, I signed up for Beginner’s French class. 1A, where they assume you know nothing but probably love wine and cheese. See, I always thought I would do it when I was “older” and “settled in life.” I’m twice as old as the 13 years when I last studied French formally. I’m thoroughly settled on the fact that my life isn’t going to hand me anything on a platter. So the only question left was, “Why not?”

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