I was avoiding getting a smart phone with email capabilities and decent Internet connectivity for a long time. The reason for that is simple. I don’t want to make myself accessible anywhere and anytime to everybody.
24/7/365 Any-Time / Any-Where Availability Curse
If you respond to any communication almost immediately regardless of the day of the week, time of the day and where you are at the moment, people will get used to it and act weird, if you suddenly change that habit and not respond as quickly as they expected. They might think that something is wrong with you or that they did something to upset you. But the only reason why you did not respond this one time was simply that you decided to take a time-out from your day to day business and personal life.
Making you accessible 24/7 is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it is good that you keep updated of things where ever you go and in almost real-time, at the same time makes this also very difficult to get your mind of things and to relax or to take a step back and re-evaluate your current place in your and your family’s life.
Interesting Facts about Taking Time Off
You take your mobile device on vacation for emergencies, but who are you trying to fool? Especially when you start a break, the mind will not be on that new “break'” / “vacation” mode. Even if you traveled half way around the earth and find yourself in a location that is very different to what you are used to, does the mind not let go of things that it is used to do and processes during all the previous months before you started your break.
A new environment helps, but what is needed is time, time that is not spend on anything associated with what your mind kept occupied before you got there. I cannot point to the source, but I heart one time that it takes about 2-3 days to one week for the mind to let go. Only at that point is it necessary for the body and mind truly to relax and to re-charge your batteries. I think it was a German study. It was definitely not something that I read while I was in the United States. That same study stated that this is the reason why a worker should have at least once per year 2 weeks of vacation in one piece, instead of taking a day or two off here and there.
One week to be able to really to let go (= waste) and the second week to really re-fill your batteries and relax, release accumulated stress and pressure and prepare the body as well as the mind for another year of bombardment with stress.
Germans have more vacation than Americans. I think it is still at least 20 days per year, but typically somewhere between 25 and 30 days for most people. Maybe I read this stuff in a document that explained, why it was (and hopefully still is) required by law that an intern or employee of the age of under 25 years to take two weeks of his (I think mandatory 25 days) vacation in one piece, every year and that the HR department of the company where the young person is employed has to monitor and ensure that this is actually being done.
Making the Switch
Anyhow, I gave in to the pressure put on by myself mostly and got myself a new mobile phone with high-speed Internet access (3G) capabilities and Email support. I made the resolution that I won’t change my habits too much when it comes to responding to people’s emails to not give them the impression that I painted in elaborate visually descriptive worlds in the previous paragraphs.
I am a fan of Nokia. I had some other phones by other providers like Motorola and Samsung in between, but always had issues with them that I never had with my Nokia’s. Nokia phone used to be user friendly and easy to use without spending much time trying or worse, reading the manual. It had usually good to excellent reception and above-standard battery life.
The phone that I used all the previous years was a Nokia 6101. I went to a conference once and forgot the phone charger. I was horrified, because I knew that I need to use my cell phone constantly while I was at the conference and after (for the networking events and to hook up with people).
The conference was 3 days; I arrived one day before the show. You know what? The phone lasted to the last day. I only turned it off when I was going to bed and switched it back on the next morning. I was talking to people on the phone for hours and made/received dozens of calls. When I am not at a conference, the battery of the phone lasts easily 2 weeks and more. I never opened the user manual of the phone and was always able to do with it what I wanted without extensive searches and trying of all possible options available in the phone to find the one that I actually wanted to use. The option was usually always there and ready to use, when I intended to use it.
So instead of a fancy iPhone or Blackberry, I decided for a Nokia. The E71x to be exact.
Nokia E71x Review – Conclusion: HANDS OFF!
This phone did not work nor feel like a Nokia phone early on.
Transferring Contacts between Sim-Card & Phone One-by-One
The first shock I got was when I stored my contacts on my Nokia 6101 to my Sim-card (all at once, via an option that was easy to find, that I don’t even know out of my head, where it can be found exactly), put it temporarily into my new Nokia (which came with a new AT&T Sim-card) and could not find the option to load all contacts from the Sim into the phone. I found out how to copy a single contact and how to either show contacts stored in the phone, on the Sim or both.
I gave up and opened the user manual. I quickly found the section that I was looking for, which to my surprise only describes what I was doing already myself, copy a single contact at the time. No mention of how to copy all contact to or from the Sim card. Don’t ask, I still have not found that option, but it also does not matter. I don’t have that phone anymore. But more to that in a little bit.
I had about 130-140 contacts that I kept in my old phone and needed to transfer to the new one. I did so one by one (which was time consuming, because not just because I had to do it one at a time, and for every phone number for a contact individually also, but because the option to initiate the copy was the most farthest away from when you opened the options sub menu for a contact in the detail page. There was also no short-cut to jump to the option, so I had to use the arrow keys to get there. 5 or 6 clicks, if I remember correctly…. every time, because it did not remember my previous choices of course.
(Short) Battery Life Time – A Crack Addict of the Power Charger
Next thing I noticed was that the phone went off entirely after less than 3 days, even though I just charged the whole thing completely. It sucked the whole thing empty within less than a week. I used the phone (to copy the contacts, configure some settings, browsing the web for 30 minutes and reading some emails) 2-3 hours at the most. The rest of the time the phone was on stand-by. I did not change the default power savings options, but assumed that it does not run on full power all the time as the factory default setting. I didn’t check, but this is also not necessary anymore, because I don’t have the phone anymore either.
I would compare the battery life-span of this Nokia with the Motorola Flip-phone that I used to have for a short while in the year 2000 (no, not the “Razor”, that wasn’t even around at this time). The phone practically hung on the charger whenever I was not on the road. I had a charger at home and the office and knew that I would be screwed, if I would forget taking it with me, if I had to leave town for more than 24 hours.
This was the main reason why I ditched that Motorola as soon as I could.
Internet Access – Watching Videos on the Phone – Disappointing at Best
I was able to access the Internet via the phone and checked out YouTube and tried to watch some videos. It did not work properly. I don’t know if the connection was bad = AT&T’s fault or if it was the phone.
The pre-installed video application, which pulled various videos using the build-in Real Player to access them was working somewhat. It also lagged in several cases, which interrupted the continuous play back of the videos.
Again, in this case might AT&T had to be blamed and not Nokia. I just mentioned it, because I did of course add to my overall experience. Being able to access interactive multi-media content with the phone was one of the more enjoyable features coming with a smart phone where I really looked forward to.
Email Access – Black Hole – No Sync or Recovery – BEWARES!
I found quickly the build in tool Xpress, which was the only one that had something remotely to do with accessing emails from existing email accounts via POP3 or IMAP. I use Google Hosted (Gmail basically) and needed to access it via POP3.
The application allowed me to do that, including the HTTPS secure connection via different ports and authentication for incoming as well as outgoing mails. The option that I could not find was the flag to “Leave Messages on the Server”.
The email access on the phone was of course only intended as supplement, complimentary to the email client on my desktop computer. Well, since it had no setting to control this behavior, I wrongly assumed that it must always leave the messages on the server to prevent people from accidentally enabling this option. Well, it actually deletes messages after it downloaded them. Furthermore it also does not keep all messages. It only stores the last couple dozen or so and deletes messages beyond that figure (don’t remember the exact number, but it was 50 or 100 at the most). It also deleted the messages that were not read yet.
Luckily for me, Gmail is setup to not delete messages, but archive them, so I did not lose emails entirely. I can still access them via the Gmail web interface. However, I cannot download them to my email client, because I have not found a way yet to reset the download/delete flag for individual or a group of email messages in Gmail. I can reset it for all emails that I have, 150,000+ of them, but I did not want to download all emails since 10+ years ago again to my computer, because I have 99.99999% of those already. But that is a different story. I posted (once again) at the Gmail support group/forum, but Google did not care about this issue when I pointed it out (in a different scenario) in the year 2007 and probably does not care more about it today.
Syncing (Everything) with a Desktop Computer (or Not)
I hoped to be able to sync at least what I got with the PC somehow. So I went and download the Nokia PC Suite software, connected the phone via USB with the computer (not via Bluetooth, which is also an option, because I did not want to take any chances) and ran the synchronization tool.
It downloaded my contacts from the phone to Outlook. It also downloaded my SMS messages that I received with the phone to somewhere. There was no sign of the email messages downloaded by the Xpress application though. I also could not find the option to access them somehow. I even couldn’t find a way to access the file system and get the (probably binary) file where the application stores the data to my PC for analysis and possible recovery.
The Wrong Phone in Every Respect – for Anybody
I called AT&T tech support and tried to find out if I missed something here and learn about a way to recover and synchronize the downloaded emails somehow with my desktop email client. The technical support lady was very knowledgeable, I could tell. She was no douche-bag like some of those reps who don’t know anything beyond what’s scripted for them in the support manual.
No, there is no way and other things that I might want to do with the phone are also not possible with this Nokia phone, which does not follow any standard nor uses any standard software or operating system, no Windows Mobile and also no Android as far as I can tell. The phone was obviously a bad choice, it was not only falling short on what my needs are, it also falls short on what I would expect from a Nokia regarding the fundamental functionality to expect from a mobile phone.
Now I am Getting a Frickn’ iPhone Anyway
I went to the AT&T store yesterday and returned it. I was thinking about getting a Blackberry, but then decided for a number of reasons for the iPhone 3Gs with 16 GB memory. I did not get the 32GB one, which is too expensive, but the 16 GB one wasn’t on stock due to high demand. I will get the new phone next week or latest the week after that and use in the meantime my good old Nokia 6101, which was re-activated by AT&T for now.
Conclusion for the Nokia E71x Mobile Phone
If you planned to get this new Nokia phone and still do so, then I think that you did not read the previous paragraphs of this post. You might skim it too quickly and didn’t get my message clearly. DON”T BUY THIS PHONE. It is not just the wrong phone for my personal needs, but obviously also the wrong phone for ANYBODIES needs. It is simply a bad phone. It sucks and Nokia should be ashamed to ever have put some crap like this on the market. Quality assurance at Nokia must have had time of or a gun at their heads or something like that. I don’t know how else to explain how this junk ever got to show the name Nokia with everything that name represents to anybody outside the Nokia research laps itself.
One might think that a competitor replaced the phone with some junk to harm the Nokia brand name. Yeah, this could have been the case, if I had bought the phone off eBay.com from some dubious seller in Asia, but I got the phone directly and brand new (not refurbished) from AT&T directly. So the conspiracy theory can be thrown out of the windows right there.
One might say that I might don’t have enough problems with technology at the moment and just needed another one of those to keep me occupied. Well, if you know me personally or read some of my older posts from end of last year etc. then you know that this statement was sarcasm pure. 😐
Carsten aka Roy/SAC