Saturday, April 15, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now? CAN YOU!?!?!?!

I have been assimilated, my resistance was futile, my distinctiveness has been added to their own, and no I'm not talking about the headsets we wear at Borders now. My mother surprised me with a new phone for my birthday, and so I bid a fond farewell to my old LG phone with its non-camera non-bluetooth non-cool-new-anything and welcome the shiny new trendy Motorola Razr, IE, the phone that everyone and their 5-year-old daughters have. I did not, however, get the pink one. :-(

So here's the deal; here's what you need to know. Verizon are a bunch of money-grubbing evil fucks. I only hope that the "truthful" image of the Verizon "can you hear me now" guy up there that I photoshoped accurately portrays this. I assume that the guttural ancient language he utters is that of his dark Cthulhu lord, whom he plans to unleash upon the world in a bath of blood and fury so that all may despair and "hear him now." Or at least that seems evil enough for Verizon.

The Motorola Razr is manufactured with certain capabilities, much like a CPU has certain instructions that it supports. In my story, these features involve "OBEX Object transfer," which is a fancy name for moving files between your computer and your phone by either bluetooth or a USB cable. What does Verizon do? They flash the phones with a bios that disables those capabilities, this is of course so that they can proceed to rape you with little extra charges here and there. Everyone likes to customize their phone, and since most people have a computer with access to the internet wherein you can find pictures, mp3s and MIDI files (for ringtones), who in their right mind would pay $3 for a ringtone or a wallpaper? Yeah, you wouldn't. In fact there's an old saying, perhaps from the Bard himself: "When a customer can get it for free, fuck them over by crippling their cell phone."

In addition to the file transfer stuff, the phone also doesn't support java, which means no fun little java applications from the internet for me. Instead they use something called BREW, which in and of itself is really no problem, but unlike Sun's Java 2 runtime environment which is free to use, commercial and hobbyist programmers alike have to pay something like $500 dollars for the development tools, which basically means you're not going to find many free BREW programs on the net.

I think I spent about 3 hours looking in to the problem and finding all the necessary stuff to download, but in short I re-flashed the phone's bios to an earlier version where Verizon didn't disable the features, but rather just made it look like they weren't there. Now all you have to do is tell the Motorola software that you have a version of the phone which supports the features, and it works. The software that Verizon service centers use to do things like flashing the bios and backing up phone books isn't supposed to be available to the general public, but that's why we have the internet. I hope they don't expect people to feel bad about that since, after all, they're essentially taking advantage of their customers.

Oh and major bonus points and gold pieces to Motorola for selling separately for $50 the software required to interact with your phone from your PC. I guess I'm still living in my ivory world of rainbow bridges and gumdrop skyscrapers where devices that connect to your PC come with the software you need to do it.

My phone "works" now. I've made a small image of zortnac for the phone's wallpaper and I gouged myself silly at, filling my phone wath all sorts of awesomzorz MIDI files for my ringtones. Only problem now is that I can't decide between Monkey Island or Guardian Legend or Final Fantasy or Mario, etc etc.


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