Friday, February 10, 2006

Audiovox SMT5600 Smartphone

I finally took the plunge today, and got my smartphone.

SMT 5600

The phone itself is great. It’s got a good form factor—very comfortable to hold in your hands, and the ergonomics are good. I do have some problems with the operating system, though; the major annoyance is the way it handles reminders. On all of my previous PocketPC devices (and in Outlook, if you use that for your email), when you get a reminder about a meeting, task item, etc., you have the option of Snoozing it. You can choose how long to “snooze” it—that is, how long Outlook will wait before reminding you again—and pick something that makes sense, based on what you’ll be doing for the next little while. But with the Smartphone operating system—specifically, the Smartphone 2003 Second Edition operating system, which is what I have; I’m led to believe the next version of Smartphone is better—you don’t have any options. It is pre-programmed to snooze for about 2 minutes, and then it reminds you again. If your appointment is in a couple of hours, you can either get reminded every two minutes for a couple of hours, or dismiss it altogether, and hope that you remember.

I’m also not 100% sure which profiles put it on vibrate, instead of ring, etc. And, as a weird little bonus, whenever I get left a voice mail—which is fairly often, right now, because I keep leaving myself “test messages”—the phone not only lets me know that I have a voice mail, but Rogers sends me a text message, which also informs me that I have a voice mail. This is unnecessary for two reasons:

  1. Since the text message isn’t needed, I’m just wasting a text message—which costs me money. Or... will cost me money; right now, I have the first month free or something.
  2. I currently have two different pieces of music that play, to notify me when I have a voice mail, and to notify me when I have a text message. When I get both at the same time, they both play at the same time. And, unlike every other phone I’ve ever had, they play the whole song, regardless of what you do. For my voice mail notification, I found a MIDI file of the Pink Panther theme, and for my text message theme I found a MIDI file of the James Bond theme, which I shortened to just the relevant part. So when I get a voice mail, Rogers also sends me a text message, and then I get the Pink Panther theme and the James Bond theme both playing at the same time, over top of each other. Also, the Pink Panther theme is about two minutes long, and my phone plays the whole two minute theme. So, when I did a test voice mail this morning, it played; and it continued to play, even as I called the voice mail service to get my voice mail. All the time I was getting my voice mail, I could hear the Pink Panther theme playing away in the background.


But don’t let the complaints put a negative spin on this; I’m happy with the phone. As an example of a nice feature it’s got, it can play Windows Media files for ringtones. On my old cell phone, I had a MIDI file of Soul Bossa Nova—better known as the theme from Austin Powers—but on my new one, I have a recording of the actual Soul Bossa Nova. (And, if I can find it, I’ll hopefully get a real copy of the James Bond theme, instead of a MIDI file.)

And, also on the plus side, it comes with a camera. So, for example, I can show you that some ass-face switched the cord on my phone at work, and gave me one that’s all crinkly and hard to use, like this:



Or, I can show you the notice which someone posted on the fridge at work, which I find rather funny:



(Incidentally, it took me forever to get that picture of the sign on the fridge, because I felt like an idiot taking a picture of the fridge. So I had to keep making excuses to go into the kitchen, until I found a time when nobody else was there, and was able to take it by myself.)

So, for the most part I’m very happy with the new phone. I’ll just have to learn how to use it the way Microsoft wants me to use it, rather than using it how I want to use it.

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