Technology and I have been having a bit of a battle in recent weeks.
It started about 8 weeks ago when my phone (a Nokia Lumia 1020 running Windows 8.1) decided to get screwy. The screen started flashing like a strobe light, and the phone played through my entire collection of ringtones before turning off. Turning it back on, I discovered that the battery life, which had been fully charged, was now at a measly 5%.
I shut it down, booted it back up, and discovered the battery life was now at 2%. So I turned off the screen, plugged it into my work computer and just left it, praying that no one would call me and possibly get a dropped connection. By the end of the day, it had charged back up to just under 80%.
But within the drive home (about 45 minutes) it had discharged down to 5% again. This time, fortunately, it didn’t go absolutely crazy like it had done earlier in the day.
So I decided that it was time to use my backup phone, a Lumia 635. I took out my sim, put it into the 635, turned it on and got it ready to work. It was at 75% charge, so I figured it would at least get me through the evening (a Friday, fortunately), but a single call was cut short after 20 minutes. It was dead. I put it on the charger and left it overnight.
In the morning, it was charged to 100%. An hour later, without using the phone at all, it was down to 25%. RUH ROH RAGGY!
Looks like I needed to get a new phone. But I used my only available upgrade on my plan for one of the other lines. Crap!
So, off I truck to AT&T, because Lumia also makes the 640 Go Phone, which is $29.99 to buy outright.
Nope… out of stock, and they are not getting anymore. But a store in another city in another state had six of them. An hours drive and I would have one. But I didn’t want to drive all that way right at that minute.
So off I go down the street to Walmart. They always have a mess of Lumias on hand.
Nope. They are out of stock. They will be getting some in about 6 to 8 weeks. But the store in the same city as the AT&T store has 6 of them.
So, it looked like I was going to have to drive to another state to get a new phone.
An hour later, I am standing in the AT&T store in the other town, in the other state, and they are looking at me like I have three heads because I am asking for a phone that they seem to have never heard of or seen before. Yes, their system shows that they have 6 in stock, but they can’t find them anywhere in their backroom.
Fine. whatever. Will just go to Walmart. They have six of them.
“We have six of the Blu Win Jrs in pink. No Lumias at all. They should be here in 6 to 8 weeks. But the store in City B has 6 of them.” City B is an hour north of where I live, and two hours north of where I am currently standing.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
So, I am driving home, my phone constantly being charged with the car charger, when my sister calls on her sons phone. Her phone, also a 635, has died. Not just gone dead from no battery, but with a solid blue screen and a frowny face on it.
This can’t be good.
So I go to her house, and look at her phone. Yeah, this is not good in any way under the sun.
So we decide to take the trip up to City B to get two of the 6 phones they have.
An hour later, we each have a Kyocera Hydro Air, because that Walmart also did not have the Lumia 640. “But it looks like we will be getting some in about 3 months.”
By the time we get home, it’s dark. I am tired from all the driving, and all I want is a working phone.
So I tear open one of the Kyoceras and discover that the sim cards are not the same. Are you kidding me? AT&T is long closed by now!
So, I follow the instructions for calling AT&T that are given inside the packaging. It specifically says to call the number from the cellphone before setting up the phone with a new number. I get a message that says I can’t call that number from this phone, and to dial 611 instead. So I hang up, call 611, and get a message that says I can’t call this number from this phone and to call the exact 800 number I had tried to call in the first place.
So I grab my landline phone (yes, I still have one of those) and I call the 800 number. AT&Ts answering system requires you to talk to it. Punching numbers into the keypad does nothing. It asks what number I am calling about so I say my cellphone number. It then asks me what number I am calling about. So I say my cellphone number again. It then asks me what number I am calling about.
This happened five times before I was so pissed off that I yelled 1-800-FUCK-YOU! and turned off the phone. (That should be a joy to anyone who listens to that recorded call!)
So, it’s now near midnight. I have a Lumia 635 that doesn’t hold a charge worth a damn, and my sister has a Lumia 635 that doesn’t want to work at all. She had to get home because she had to work in the morning, so I decided to just say screw it.
I took apart her phone, took the sim card and battery and placed them on my desk. I then took my phone apart and took the sim card and battery out and placed the battery into her phone and the sim card into a drawer. I then took her phone and threw it into the same drawer in my desk. I installed her sim and battery into my phone, booted it up, reset it back to factory, then signed into her account and got her a working phone.
After she left, I took my sim card out of the drawer and placed it back into my Lumia 1020, set it up to charge and went to bed.
The next morning, I took my Lumia 1020 off the charger, grabbed the Kyocera, drove to AT&T, explained what had happened the day before, and asked for a proper sim card for the Kyocera.
Five minutes later, I am out the door with a new, working Android phone.
Now, I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablet, operating Android. I like it much more than I like my iPad, so I use it much more often than the iPad. So I know a little bit about the Android operating system.
But I have never used it as a phone before, so I had to play around with it a little to learn how it works. What a bloody nightmare! Even iPhones aren’t THAT hard to make a call on (they just sound like complete shit when you do make a call. Never did understand why they were called phones when that functionality was always it’s weakest part.)
I spent a week with the Kyocera. Phone calls sounded fine, but making them or answering them was a lot more involved than my Lumia. Performance wise, the phone was okay, but the speaker on this thing was just atrocious. No matter how soft or loud the volume, the speaker made any ringtone sound like someone was slaughtering a wild pig in the middle of a raging tornado. So I figured I would just put it on vibrate. The vibrate function is so minimal, that I missed two calls because I never felt or heard the vibration.
At the end of the week, exactly one week after my Lumia 1020 had it’s freak out, I picked it up off my desk to put it away into a drawer when I accidentally hit the power button and the screen came on. I slid up the lock screen and looked at the power level. It was full. I opened the Flashlight app and it said I had 99% battery life (I have never seen it say 100% even after charging overnight and checking the next morning while still plugged in.)
I figured the phone was just messing with me. There was no way I could have a full charge after it sitting on my desk for a week. So I put it back on my desk rather than put it away. I wanted to see what happened in the morning.
The next morning, I picked up the phone, turned it on, and was now being told by the flashlight app that I had 98% battery life.
Now I had a decision to make – Do I go to AT&T, have them give me another sim card for my Lumia, ditch the Kyocera, and pray that I don’t have a repeat of the events from the week before, or do I keep using the god-awful Kyocera and forget about ever using my Lumia ever again?
Twenty minutes later, I am walking out of AT&T with my Lumia up and running and ready to make phone calls again. It has been working fine ever since.
But here is where it gets weirder. Remember my sisters Lumia that had the frowny face on it? That evening, I was researching whether or not anyone else had had the flashing screen/ringtone playlist issue on their 1020, when I came across a post asking what the frowny face screen meant. Most of the replies to the post told this person that the phone was toast and to just give up and get a new phone, but the very last reply asked if the poster had ever tried to use the Nokia Software Recovery Tool on the phone.
A-WHU?! A recovery tool?
So I searched for it, and sure enough, Microsoft has created the Nokia Software Recovery Tool, which I immediately downloaded and installed onto my desktop. Once it was finished, I took my sisters phone out of the drawer, plugged it into my computer and followed the instructions from the tool. About 15 minutes later, her phone was up and running again. Of course, it still had my bad battery in it, but it was running again.
So I managed to actually fix a phone, and accidentally get another phone working just by letting it sit for a week.
But that would not be the end of my technology problems. It was just the beginning.