PigPog Articles

We’ve not written any new articles for a long, long time. I noticed the other day that a lot of them are a bit broken, anyway – they’ve lost all their formatting. Since we’ve not done anything with them for so long, we’ve decided to archive them off. They still exist, but they’re hiding under Features now, where they can stop trying to look like a significant part of the site.

The further adventures of Bluetooth

(Following on from my previous mindless witterings about our new mobiles and Bluetooth.)

To go a step further with this whole Bluetooth thing, i bought a Belkin Bluetooth USB Adapter. Setting it all up wasn’t quite as easy as linking the mobiles to the Palms, but not too tricky either. There’s a few fairly detailed explanations out there on setting up the Palm side of things, but quite a bit of it turned out to be unnecessary with PalmOS 5 on the Tungsten. The only problem is that it won’t all coexist nicely with Windows XP’s Internet Connection Sharing. You can share the dial up connection out to your LAN, or out to your Bluetooth LAN, but not to both at once. Palm VNC works reasonably well for remote controlling the PC, but does tend to crash a bit too often. Hotsyncing over Bluetooth seems to work pretty nicely, so long as the connection is good. I can also keep my Outlook Contacts sync’d with my phone, so all the numbers are automatically available. Add a number into my Palm, and it’ll make it’s way into the phone soon enough.

We also bought Nokia Bluetooth headsets for the phones. They’re pretty good, but with a few problems. If you leave them switched on, they’re too easy to accidentally dial with in your pocket, and they seem to block the Palm from using the phone (presumably can only cope with one Bluetooth connection at once). If they’re kept switched off, they take a bit too long to get switched on and connected to answer a call. With so little feedback, they’re a bit tricky to operate too – do you need a short press or a long press to answer a call, etc? And there’s no way to tell how much battery power they have left until they run out. If the tiny power button was just replaced with a small switch, they’re be a lot easier to work with – you’d be able to tell if they were on or off, and turning them on would be much easier. It’s not bad, but it’s a bit more fiddly than it should be, really. Still, it’s a small price to pay for the ability to walk around with only a seven centimetre long tag stuck to your ear to signify that you’re on the phone, not just some raving lunatic wandering the streets looking for someone who’ll listen to you about the truth behind snooker.

New Mobile Phones

We’ve been pondering new mobiles for a while. We’ve both had Nokia 5210s for over a year now, and Sam‘s not enjoyed the experience. She likes her phones a bit bigger. I’ve quite liked it, but after having a Palm Tungsten T for quite a while, and now a Tungsten T3, the idea of bluetooth has a strong appeal.

Orange’s web site has been very variable. Sometimes nothing’s in stock. Sometimes there’s a choice of two phones with bluetooth for free. Sometimes, the same phones are there, but they want lots of money for them. £100 for a phone that was free the day before. That sort of variable. So we’ve been keeping an eye on it. They finally got the choice of the two phones we’d been looking at in stock, and both for free – the Nokia 6310i, and the Sony Ericsson 610

We decided to actually go to the Orange shop in the Broadmarsh Centre in Nottingham, though, to actually see the phones, and hopefull find a nice friendly sales person to do all the annoying work of digging out SIM card numbers, and calling Orange to do the swapover for us.

After being somewhat shocked by how pleasantly quiet the centre was, we found the Orance shop, and were helped by a very pleasant and knowlegable assistant (Cain, i think). Rather than dive into the upgrade, he started by working out what was wrong with the plan we were on, and what we were paying for that we didn’t need, and saving us a bit of money, which is always nice. We settled on the Nokia 6310i – not as flash, but a bit chunkier, and with good comms and battery life, closer to what we really wanted out of a phone. We both have decent digital cameras already, so a camera in a phone isn’t too exciting, and the big colour screen isn’t so important when you’ve got a Palm that you’ll be doing any actual browsing on.

The changeover was all done nice and easily. The real surprise came at home, though. I’d expected to be able to cope with setting up the bluetooth side of things, with a bit of effort – after all, i’m supposed to be fairly technical. I wasn’t so sure about the whole GPRS side of things, though – i didn’t really know anything much about it. What actually happened, though, was that i told the Palm to look for a friend. It found the Nokia. Entered the same code on each to verify, and they were paired. Opened Palm’s Phone Link program, and told it what i’d just bought. It asked if i wanted to use GPRS. I did, so, slightly nervously, i said so. It said it was done. I opened the web browser. It connected.

It was that easy.

I’ve had this nice image in my mind for a while about Bluetooth, and how easy it should be. Somehow, though, i expected the reality to disappoint me. It was nice when it didn’t.

The little Nokia headsets that we bought at the same time (half price with the phones) were no more difficult, and although the quality isn’t perfect, they’re not bad, and very pocketable.

Range? The headset starts to break up when you leave the room the phone is in. The Palm stays connected at least two rooms away – not tested far enough away to lose the connection yet. Tonight, we turned on the TV, wondered what we were watching, and i connected to BBC’s web site to see what it was and find out more about it, all without taking the phone out of my bag.

The only other complication was that when Sam tried to connect to GPRS on her phone, it said it wasn’t allowed to. I called Orange, they tapped a few keys, and a SIM update arrived a little while later that cured the problem.

I guess the unpleasant bit may come when we get the first bill with all that GPRS usage on it – that stuff don’t come cheap…