Friday, October 19, 2007

Telecom is not my friend

I have been thinking of late that I need a new mobile phone. I currently run 3 phones, mine on account and the children's on pre pay. As I am at the top of the food chain you would expect that I had the bestest most swishiest phone, this of course is not the case, the children's phones are far superior and more robust. I always fear when people call me on the mobile as I have to yell extremely loudly so they can hear me, and of course clients will always ring when I'm in the supermarket.

Last week number one daughter dropped her phone down the toilet and even after extensive drying out it refuses to play, so I have had to acquire a new phone for myself so I can pass on the old one. (I do still have the phone prior to that one in full working order, but as it is of a slim brick shape it is just NOT acceptable)

I decided to take up the current Telecom offer of a free hand piece (choice of 2 models) when you sign up for a particular contract, and as one of the phones is red I was even more tempted. Making this decision obviously involved a few phone calls to Telecom on the 123 number. Telecom now have voice recognition software on their customer service lines. The first time you hear it it is amusing, by the 4th time the novelty has worn off and screaming fuk fuk fuk at the robot voice only produces the answer, "I'm sorry, is that a billing enquiry you have?"

However, I duly managed to find out all the information I wanted, that is how to get the free hand piece and get out of the contract at a later date without being penalised, thank you Sam 610966.

So said phone duly arrived and I was very happy at it's sleek red shinyness. My girlfriend was happy because she could call me and hear what I was saying, number one daughter was happy as she had a replacement phone imminent, number two daughter was gutted.

Now my main use of a mobile phone is texting. This is how parents of this century keep communication open with their children, and yes I do the "dinner is ready" text on a regular basis. That one amuses me greatly as it is like one of those silent dog whistles, a mere push of a button and there is a sudden flurry of activity from upstairs. However, as I am old school wherever possible I spell words fully and correctly, and use correct grammer and punctuation. To do this I use predictive text. This is where it all starts to go sour.

I spent the first evening getting the phone all set up how I like it then started texting, but within a short space of time I got very very frustrated. Every time I tried putting in punctuation, you know simple things like a full stop, numbers would come up. Trying to toggle to fix it would just freeze the phone which meant I then had to pull it apart and take the battery out to re start it. I won't even start on what happened when I tried to put an apostrophe in. Finally realising that screaming fuk fuk fuk at it very loudly wasn't going to fix it I decided to take it into a Telecom shop.

The next day I trotted off to the Telecom store downstairs and started to explain the problem to the pimply yoof in the store, his first response was "I don't use predictive text so I don't know how it works". are a customer service representative, and you don't know your product? I then fired up the old phone and gave him a quick demo on the old and new technology. He then proceeded to have a play on the new phone, managed to freeze it up and had to pull it apart to re start it, then informed me that he couldn't help me as I'd bought the phone from the call centre so would have to go back to them, but he did think it would have to be replaced. Soooooo back to the voice recognition software. By this time I knew the robots questions off by heart but I found that if you pre-empt it with your responses you get the same answer as screaming fuk fuk fuk at it.

I finally got to talk with a real person and started to explain the whole problem, which was a mission, but as soon as I said that pimply yoof thought it would need to be replaced they were quite happy to get that process going. Phew. I thought this might also be a good time to also bring up the point that the website advertises this phone as having downloadable ringtones and wallpapers, but when you go to the ring tone section of the Telecom website the phone is not listed. It was not a good point to make.

I was told quite cheerfully that "you download the ringtones from your phone, you don't use the website". Yes I said, but the phone connects to the internet to get the tone, "yes" was the response, and the internet site it connects to is the Telecom one, "yes" again was the response. So again I said that the phone wasn't listed in drop down box on the ringtone section of the website. The response to that was "but you use your phone to download ringtones". I gave up after that as it was turning into the "song that never ends" and I could feel another fuk fuk fuk coming on.

So a couple of days pass and new phone MK2 arrives. I decided to be very clever and learn bluetooth so I could transfer over my phonebook, all a great success and I even managed to remember which was old phone and which was new phone. I then decided to start texting. Not a good move.

Now the new phone is the same brand as my previous phone, but in 2 years vast amounts of software modification have taken place, and in some cases newer is not better especially the modifications/additions to predictive text. The replacement phone doesn't freeze and require dismantling, but it still has punctuation issues, and texting the word "can't" is a major drama. I can only surmise that even though the software has been "improved" it has also been dumbed down to the language of the text generation who have no idea what punctuation let alone what an apostrophe is.

I am not happy, but the lesson learnt is never to purchase a phone without fully playing with it first, even if it is a brand you are familiar with.

I think I may go ring Telecom again now to ask about the ringtones......


laughykate said...

And then there's teaching your phone words in predictive text. Supposedly your phone is supposed to remember the words you teach it. Mine does - except swear words - every time a coconut - if I am suffering from a bout of Tourette's text - I always have to s.p.e.l.l. t.h.o.s.e w.o.r.ds o.u.t a.g.a.i.n. Drives me insane.

Mrs Smith said...

I am so lucky. Mine handles punctuation with aplomb, AND it remembers the swear words I have taught it. Which are many.

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