Missing the sync

Recently, I very publicly moved from Vodafone to using a Windows Mobile phone on T-Mobile because it was the only mobile internet solution available to me in the UK as a Mac user. Here's an update on how the past few months have been with T-Mobile and my Windows Mobile Phone (the MDA).

First off, T-Mobile. All in all, I've been happy with their service. The coverage does seem slightly worse than Vodafone but I haven't found it unusable. On the other hand, usability, or lack thereof, is the perfect topic to segway on to the subject of the MDA.

What can I say? Window Mobile is Windows. It's everything you hate about Windows on your mobile. So, for example, it has every feature under the sun but they (a) either don't work, or (b) don't work properly, (c) don't work some of the time or, (d) work if you can find them. In other words, it's Windows.

Now the problem is that it's Windows for a device that I truly rely on and it gets the basics all wrong. Navigating to phone options, when you can find where they're hidden in the first place, is a chore. Perhaps more importantly, though:

I can't make or receive phone calls properly.

Yep, it's a phone that fails at the very basics. Making calls and receiving calls.

For one thing, I haven't, for the life of me, figured out how to alter the number of rings it takes before the damn thing goes to voice mail. The "intelligent" default is set to three. There's also so much lag that if I press the pickup button on the second ring, chances are it will go to voicemail anyway. Needless to say, my voicemail and I have become great friends and my friends have gotten used to my calling them back.

What about making calls? Touchscreen hell! You see, the phone has a touch screen but it doesn't automatically disable itself when in a call. Due to some weird adherence to tradition or ergonomic necessities, I tend to hold the phone to my ear when I talk. Funny thing is, sometimes my ear touches the phone. Or should I say the screen, since the screen is mostly the phone. Actually, what's funnier is what touching the screen with my ear can do while in a call. Mostly, it just puts the other person on hold. Sometimes, however, I manage to put the other person on hold *and* call them back on the other line. Now that's talent!

Needless to say my conversations have become much livelier. If you ever want a phone that makes you seem inept at holding a simple conversation, this is the baby for you!

And it doesn't end there. Syncing this thing is next to impossible if you have a Mac. I purchased the Missing Sync by Mark/Space along with my phone as it promised that I could "easily connect and synchronize Pocket PCs and smartphones with your Mac". I understand now that they were using the word "easily" in its other meaning, you know, as in "fiendishly difficult". Most of the time it looks like it's connecting and then just fizzles out. Creative combinations of rebooting the computer and the phone while chanting ancient Native American rain songs does seem to help on occasion. I'm just now downloading my upgrade to version 3 of the Missing Sync to see if that will help things.

At the end of the day, using the MDA still provides me with mobile Internet on my Mac and for that I'm grateful. However, as a phone, Windows Mobile is absolutely the worst solution possible. I was almost in tears while playing a new Sony K750i the other night. I can't believe it: You can make and receive phone calls with it and you can navigate through it almost without thinking. How is this possible? Oh yes, I almost forgot, it doesn't use Windows Mobile.

Update: Fingers crossed, the version 3.0 upgrade for the Missing Sync appears to be working for me at the moment. I proceeded to sync the phone wi- oh, it just lost the connection...

Update: And again (lost connection). At least it appears to be reconnecting successfully, although I have to do it manually. I am worried though because it is giving errors on some of the photos and I have it set to remove photos from the phone once they are downloaded. I hope I don't end up losing photos.

Update: Well, it took about five syncs but I think everything is finally synced between my phone and computer again. The new version is much faster. I don't think I lost any photos although there are still some left on the phone, some of which (all?) that have also been copied into iPhoto. At this point, as long as it *eventually* works, I'm happy since that's so much better than what I had before.