Well, not having much success…

I have been using a Vodafone USB 3G stick with my Sony VAIO UX1XN with some success now. However downside is that it sticks out the side and I do worry it might break off (which would be annoying).

I do have a T-Mobile phone and a 3G data plan with them, which allows me to use my phone as a modem. This has worked fine on my Mac, but I decided it would be good to use it with my UX1XN.

However I not having much sucess.

I first tried the Nokia N series software, which required about 100MB of stuff to be downloaded…

This eventually installed, and after I had paired with my Nokia N95, I expected things to go smoothly.

However it failed to make a connection as it said that the modem was being used by another application.

This unhelpful error was because the modem drivers needed resinstalling and the help unhelpfully said that, but didn’t say how to do it!

So after a few attempts, I gave up and used System Restore to rid myself of the Nokia software.

I then tried the standard Nokia software (which also works with N series phones) and alas everytime I tried to to get a connection, the Bluetooth software would case a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).

Using Windows Me I would get BSOD all the time, with Windows XP it was quite a rare occurence. On Windows Vista on the UX1XN I get them all the time, I keep having Windows Me flashbacks.

After a couple of attempts, I decided to use the VAIO Update feature to see what new drivers  were available.

So have spent the best part of a day, downloading updates and installing them. The automatic updates took their time, but there were a bundle of non-automatic updates, most of which consisted of:

Download update

Uninstall software

Restart

Install new software

Restart

It wouldn’t be so bad, but Windows Vista on the UX1XN takes an age to start up.

Getting there, final update being installed, will try Nokia software again!

LG Viewty growing on me…

My T-Mobile LG Viewty is growing on me.

Okay this is no replacement for Apple’s iPhone, but the more I use it and the more I get use to the touch interface, the more I quite like it.

Where I think it is starting to win me over, especially over Nokia phones such as the N73 and the N95 is on text entry input, especially when in landscape mode.

In landscape mode when browsing I have a full QWERTY keyboard which makes typing entries into Twitter or Jaiku so much easier than trying to use T9 on a numerical keyboard.

There are still a few downsides, it still crashes on me for example. I don’t like how to scroll down in webpages – on menus you use the dial on the camera lens, but on the browser the dial on the lens works as a zoom function! The touch interface is nowhere near as good as the iPhone (or the iPod touch) but is still quite nice once you get use to it.

I even managed to upload a photograph to Flickr today, not using Shozu, but the mobile Flickr interface – thought this won’t work if you use Vodafone.

Overall I am growing to like this phone.

Guten Tag

So there I was in Starbucks drinking a coffee and I thought to myself, oh I can use the T-Mobile hotspot. Before either I didn’t have a T-Mobile account or as happened before I didn’t have my username and password with me.

Well since I got a new LG Viewty I as part of my deal got free access at T-Mobile hotspots.

So I got connected without issue and started to surf, coffee on tap, I was good to go.

Cafe

However Google got really confused. For some reason it assumed (I guess from my IP address) that I was in Germany and defaulted to google.de over my preferred google.co.uk.

Of course T-Mobile has German origins, but even I was surprised that their hotspots in the UK in the American chain of Starbucks use a German IP address.

Photo source.

Silver or Black

After my personal mobile phone gave up the ghost I decided it was time to get a new phone. I have a Nokia N73 through work though so haven’t been entirely phoneless. But I need a phone for personal use.

I discounted the iPhone almost immediately, in the main as a) the phone was expensive at £269; b) the phone plans were expensive with the cheapest one at £35 per month; c) you can’t use the iPhone as a Bluetooth modem which means that I couldn’t use it with my laptop; and finally d) it uses EDGE and not 3G which means that even if I could use it as a modem it would be very slow and internet on the phone would be slow.

I quite like the Nokia N73, but I have one of those and I don’t really want two!

I did consider the N95, but with rumours of an N96 and wanting something with a slightly better battery life, I decided to go with a different phone.

After much thought and looking, I decided to go with the LG Viewty. I went with T-Mobile as they are one of the few UK mobile phone service providers which allow you to use the phone as a modem with your laptop and I wanted that over a separate USB 3G Modem.

Alas when I went into the shop they were out of stock. So I ordered online, only to make a mistake with my bank details so when they made the charge to the card it was refused! After phoning and correcting the mistake I found out that the phone was now out of stock, but would be back in stock soon.

Ten days later I get an e-mail saying that the black one would be back in stock soon, but the silver model was available now.

Silver, I didn’t know it was available in silver.

A quick internet search revealed that the silver model was newer, hmm, choices, silver now or black later.

Well after thinking about it for a couple of minutes I decided to go with the silver model. Phoned T-Mobile to let them know, when they told me…

“the black one is back in stock”

Aaarrrgh, silver or black, silver or black.

Decisions.

Choices.

In the end I decided with the silver one, as it was newer.

Silver LG Viewty

Hopefully it may arrive today, but it should be here by Monday. Only problem I have is I will need to get another memory card format as it uses Micro SD whereas my other phones have or use Mini SD or Memory Stick Duo.

Which 3G USB Modem?

I have been thinking for a while about getting a 3G USB Modem.

My preference is to use a Bluetooth connection to my phone and use that as a modem, however this is very heavy on battery life for both the phone and the laptop and I am thinking that a USB modem will have less impact on the laptop and (obviously) no impact on the phone’s battery life.

I don’t want a card solution as I use different computers, some have CF slots, come have PC Card slots and another uses ExpressCard, so a card solution will be too limiting.

I am not overly happy with having a dongle hanging off my computer, but it is better than no internet connection.

So which one do I go for?

My initial choice was “3” which has the cheapest solution at £10 per month, however they do have a 1GB limit and will charge if you go over that limit.  £15 gives you a 3GB allowance.

Speeds are suppose to be in the 2.8Mbps range, but that’s not the case across the whole country.

Having used Vodafone before and get very annoyed with their content control and the complexity of having to pay to turn it off, I am not keen on using Vodafone. Also at £25+VAT per month they are the most expensive. However at 7.2Mbps they are the fastest. Though that speed is not available around me, so is less inticing.

I am coming around to T-Mobile which is around £20 per month now. However it does appear to be the slowest of the lot. It has one advantage that the service also includes free access to T-Mobile wifi hotspots.

Still thinking.