Posts

Texting Shakespeare Plays to Get Revenge

Edd Joseph has trolling skills. After he got ripped off by someone when trying to buy a PS3 controller on Gumtree, he decided to get revenge. To do this, he started sending Shakespeare plays to the errant seller by text message.

You see, you can paste all of the text of a Shakespeare play – Hamlet, depending on the edition, has over 30,000 words – in a single text message. When you send that message, it gets split into 160 character chunks. So the recipient gets 1,143 text messages. That’s quite annoying.

So far, Edd has texted 22 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays, and plans to continue, until he gets his money back, or until he gets that PS3 controller he paid for. I guess that, after that, he’ll fall back on some other public domain texts. I recommend Henry James; his novel The Ambassadors is over 922,000 characters, or 5,765 texts.

Share this article:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Why You Can’t Trust EE or T-Mobile in the UK (and Other Telecom Companies)

Since my move to England, I’ve had far too many problems with my mobile phone service. It started when I switch to EE (Everything Everywhere) and found that my iPhone was bleeding data. This resolved eventually, though EE didn’t help me very much.

The day I bought my mobile phone contract, I asked about temporary 3G access for my Mac. When I moved from a temporary apartment to a permanent one, I needed to have internet access while I waited for my broadband to be activated. The salesperson recommended that I buy a T-Mobile USB stick with 3 GB data, good for three months. He said it was a current offer, and might not last long, so I should buy it right away. I asked if it was compatible with OS X, and he said it was. So I spent £30 for the package.

Turns out, he was wrong. I tried to set it up a couple of days ago, and it froze my Mac often, as well as disrupting Bluetooth (my trackpad and keyboard are wireless). So I removed it, and went to the EE store to ask for a refund. To my surprise, I was pretty much laughed out of the store. Since it was more than 14 days after I bought it – even though it doesn’t work – the response in the store was, essentially, “too bad for you.”

Contacting EE, then T-Mobile customer support, they confirmed that, even though the device doesn’t work as I was told, there’s no way I can get a refund. So that’s £30 lost for a piece of crap that doesn’t work. I don’t know if I should fault the salesperson; he might simply have assumed that it would work with OS X correctly. The box has no compatibility information, but the T-Mobile website says it’s compatible with 10.7; that is, the version of OS X that is two years old. T-Mobile can’t be bothered getting the software updated to make it work.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve found that mobile phone companies and ISPs generally lie about their services here: about bandwidth, pricing, so-called “unlimited” data or call packages and more. It seems that consumers have very little power in this country; or rather that the telecom companies act with impunity saying pretty much what they want with no control. I’m disappointed, and miss the relative simplicity (and lower prices) that I was accustomed to in France. In all my years using the internet and mobile phones in France, I never had as many problems as I have had here in less than two months.

Oh, and the broadband? It was supposed to be set up by June 3; it’s now the 4th, and it’s not on yet…

Update: A Twitter follower pointed out that the Sale of Goods Act says that I should be entitled to a refund. I’ll go back to the shop when I get some time and bring this up. But I don’t feel that I should have to waste this much time because of deceptive sales practices. I’m really surprised that EE/T-Mobile care so little about their customers. These problems have just made me want to go elsewhere.

Share this article:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Why Is it So Hard to Find a DECT Telephone with a Headphone Jack?

I need a new telephone for my home office, and I really like using headphones when I talk, so I can type while talking with clients, and so I don’t have to hold the phone in my hand and keep my arm raised at other times. I live in France, and there are essentially two brands of telephones available: Siemens (Gigaset) and Philips. (There are many other brands, but they only sell the most basic telephones.)

After doing some research, the only phone I could find that has the ability to connect a headset is the Gigaset SL400. It has a mini USB jack, which you can use to transfer data, and which also allows you to connect a headset. I bought this phone, and bought a mini USB > 3.5 mm adapter, but I get no sound out of my headphones. (I’ve contacted Siemens’ support, which is supposed to get back to me, but the call-center person I talked to didn’t even understand what I wanted to do.) The SL400 does have Bluetooth, but I hate Bluetooth earpieces, and the connection takes several seconds, which is annoying.

I like this phone a lot, but I want a DECT phone that allows me to connect headphones, period. I’m surprised that this seems to be rare, at least in Europe. One friend in the US has an older Motorola phone with a headphone jack, but Motorola sells very few phones here.

It’s odd that you are expected to hold a phone like this in your hand, while all mobile phones come with hands-free kits. This is especially the case for people who use these phones in offices, and may need to use their hands while talking, as I often do when working with clients on the phone.

So, any suggestions? Has anyone found a phone like this?

Share this article:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn