Wow — you mean my iPhone, and AT&T cell phone service, could actually work again!

Wow! If I get a new iPhone, buy a new device for $150, and pay an additional $240 a year, my AT&T cell phone service could actually work.



The AT&T MicroCell -- what I need in order to talk on the phone at home
The AT&T MicroCell -- what I need in order to talk on the phone at home

I visited the AT&T store today. The sales rep, a friendly lad who knows his phones and probably shaves once a month whether he needs it or not, showed me their remarkable new product, the AT&T 3G MicroCell.

“This is like having a cell phone tower in your house,” said the sales rep. “You’re guaranteed five bars. Guaranteed.”

This sounded pretty good, since I’ve grown accustomed to one bar, or two, or frequently “no service.”

But I used to get five bars all the time. In fact, a couple of years ago, we did away the the normal land line. We did this for three reasons.

1. The bill was enormous.
2. Nobody ever used it to call out.
3. Nobody ever used it to call in.
4. I had an awesome, new, 1st generation, 2G, iPhone.  Great phone. Very expensive. With visual voicemail. Very handy.
5. The reception in our house was pretty damn good.

The iPhone 2G -- the one I have now, that works when Im out and about
The iPhone 2G -- the one I have now, that works when I'm "out and about"

However, my original, 2G iPhone won’t work with the new AT&T MicroCell. I’ll need an upgrade for that.

I plan to upgrade anyway, eventually — but the current phone works fine and we don’t get 3G service here anyway. So I was going to wait until my town — Salisbury, NC — got 3G service before spending money on a phone that used it.

I learned today that my wife and daughter, who have newer phones, would get excellent service, from home, with the new MicroCell.

“Their phones phones will be great, but you’ll still get lousy service in your house,” the sales rep said. “Cell phones just don’t work that great in your house. They do better when you’re out and about. Unless you have the MicroCell.”

the iPhone 3G, what I need (and want) so that I can get a signal at my house -- again
the iPhone 3G, what I now need (and want) so that I can get a signal at my house -- again

The service used to be equally good or bad in the house or out and about.

Is this a conspiracy? Does AT&T know where we live and intentionally blot out service at our residence — so we’ll get a home phone again, or buy the Microcell?

Are they blotting out everybody’s house, so everybody has to buy extra equipment to use their phones at home?

Seems like it to me.

I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t get good cell phone service at home.

Also — with the MicroCell, your minutes — while connected to it — are unlimited.

So here’s the AT&T recommendation: Spend $150 for the MicroCell, $20 a month for the MicroCell service, and get a new phone that will access the MicroCell. Then, I’ll be able to talk from my home, with good reception.

Why has the service degraded so?

“They’ve been working on the towers for the past year,” said the guy in the store. “Preparing for 3G.”

Here’s my question. If all this extra cost is required in order to make calls from home that don’t get dropped, and receive calls from people who dial my number — then what are the other minutes for? You know, those 3,000 minutes a month I’m currently buying?

What are those minutes, chopped liver?

I guess they are.

Full Moon 1

full moon1

Originally uploaded by smpost

Just before dark. Going for a walk in the nature preserve behind Catawba.

The full moon is way bigger than it looks in this iPhone pic.

The streetlights seemed way smaller than they look here.

iDrama (iPhone in the toilet)


Without exploring the sequence or kinesiology of the event itself, suffice it to say that I dropped my iPhone in the toilet.

For the record:  the water was clean.

Thanks to a superhuman adrenalin rush; (similar to lifting a car in order to save a life) my hand seized it from the bowl in a flash.

I immediately dried it with a towel and hit it hard with the hair dryer.  Yet, despite the fact that it was only immersed for a split second, water continued to ooze through its pores.

The iPhone did not work, but it clung to life.  It produced a blank white screen.  It had a mind of its own.  Turning it on or off had no effect. It turned itself on – blank and white for a few seconds – and then turned itself off.

If you were to frantically call Applecare, or the AT&T store,  or search Google – all of which  I did – you would learn that dropping the iPhone in the toilet is not uncommon. People do it every day.

What is uncommon is that the iPhone survives the trauma and lives to serve another day.  Mine did, and the guys at the store were surprised.  In fact, they said it was the first non-fatal iToilet story they had heard.

If you talk to anybody who knows anything about dropping cell phones in water, they’ll tell you to take out the battery, immediately, and put the phone in a bowl of rice.  With iPhone, you can’t remove the battery – which is why the iRecovery is so rare.

So – I put the phone in a dish and covered it with brown rice (much healthier than white).

Periodically, the iPhone turned itself on and the rice dish produced a soft glow.  At first, each time this happened, I seized the phone and took a look. White and blank.  The sick device was clearly fighting for it’s life.

After a couple of hours, the normal iPhone screen appeared.  I got pretty happy, thinking it had recovered – but it had not.  It acted funny, did not respond to my fingered instructions.  Would not turn on or off according to my schedule.  And there was so sound.  No phone.  No music.

My iPhone had a rough night.  Every few hours, lying there in the dark bedroom, it awoke and stirred, shining a sickly white cloud of light upon the ceiling, filling the room with its feverish, sporadic glow. After a few seconds, it would go back to sleep.

The next morning, it felt better.  It began to work.  It allowed me to make a few phone calls.  Except that it would turn itself on.  Every few minutes.  On its own schedule.  Throughout the day.  The next night, it was sick again.  It tossed and turned, coughed and slept.

After two days of fits and seizures, it normalized.  Now, it’s fine.  That was about a month ago.  I have four months to go before I’m eligible for an upgrade — if I want to spend a lot more money (which I don’t).

My children have all destroyed cell phones in a variety of ways.  Dropping them in the yard, in rain.  Losing them in snow. Dropping them on the hardwood floor, repeatedly.  My wife’s phone slipped from her pocket into the dishwasher.  It came out clean, but never worked again.  I’ve never had a lot of patience with this carelessness.  I never lost or dropped mine.  Now I have.