HTC Desire: WANT!!

I realise I haven’t written anything here in a while but I thought recent developments warranted a post.  Basically my mobile phone contract with Vodafone is up for renewal.  My contract expires at the end of May and I’m already into my "eligible for upgrade" period.

I have decided on a phone. I want an Android phone. I simply MUST have an HTC Desire. So much that I already want to start writing apps for it!

Things looked good at the start of April when it was available on T-Mobile for £15/month and £129 up front for 24 months.  This came with 300 minutes, unlimited texts (they say 300 but you get a choice of flexible booster free and mine would go on unlimited texts)  and "unlimited" (1GB) data.  This is much better than what I’m currently paying Vodafone £30 a month for!!

Unfortunately while the plan is still available on T-Mobile the price of the phone was hiked to £191 fairly quickly.  It’s still a very competitive contract, and still better than what Vodafone were offering, but I was already nervous about taking out a contract on a network known (to me) mostly for shit signal, based partly on my experience with them about 6 years ago, so I went to do more research.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching the best deals from all networks (except O2 who don’t stock it yet, but I’ve found ways round that) from at least a dozen retailers.  Really it would be a waste if I kept this information to myself and didn’t share what I’d found out with the world (or the 3 random people who happen to stumble on this blog over the next year and probably don’t even speak English).

Anyway, to got a long story short(er), I’m going to post a summary of what I’ve found over the next couple of days. Keep your eyes peeled.

What’re you lookin’ at?

Well I thought it was interesting so here’s the top 10 posts on nerd. by number of views (based on the last 500 page hits courtesy of Statcounter.com).

  1. Review: Why the Netgear WG311 v3 Sucks (72)
    Slightly dodgy network card that Netgear don’t seem that fussed about fixing.

    Bad on XP, it got worse on Vista (see number 4).

  2. Playing iPod Video on Your TV (45)
    Seems to be a lot of people looking for instructions for the iPod Classic. Here’s a tip: sell it.
  3. Server application unavailable: installing IIS on .NET 2.0 (44)
    Seems to be a common problem. Sadly Microsoft’s error message is about as relevant as ever.
  4. Installing Vista (AKA More Netgear WG311 Misery) (31)
    Even more messed up. Thank goodness for Linksys!
  5. Thunderbird/Outlook/Google Calendar Integration (25)
    How to integrate your Thunderbird calendar at home with your Outlook in work, via Google Calendar.
  6. Orange Answerphone (Voicemail) Number for PAYG (23)
    Such a simple problem. Who knew it would be so hard to find?
  7. Stop Monitor.exe Hogging CPU (20)
    Why can’t people just give you a standard installation instead of trying to do everything for you? Help sounds good, until their useful tools start killing your PC.
  8. How to run IIS Web Server in Windows XP Home (20)
    Microsoft’s official line is it can’t be done, but it’s not that tricky.
  9. Making Firefox Scroll With Syanptics TouchPad (19)
    Discovering the solution to making Firefox scroll on my Acer Aspire laptop.
  10. NAS or Home Server (17)
    I deliberate over whether I can justify spending the extra to build or buy a home server before eventually deciding that a Linkstation Live will meet my needs for less than half the price.

£169 iPhone Still £169 Too Expensive

O2 have slashed the cost of owning the Apple iPhone (8GB model only). It’s down from £269 to £169. The same deal is also available at the Carphone Warehouse. Good news I’m sure, but you’d still have to be mad to pay a penny for the damn thing on top of the £35 × 18 = £630 of a minimum contract when you can get Nokia’s N95 8GB (which I have been seriously coveting for months) for “free” at that price (then again, without any kind of data plan that’s extortionate too).

Maybe if my N73 breaks I’ll consider upgrading, but since I’m spending a tenner a month on pay-as-you-go I can’t really justify jumping to £35/month for the N95 8GB or to £44 a month for an iPhone.  Maybe if I hold out long enough…

Orange Answerphone (Voicemail) Number for PAYG

My phone, a Nokia N73, came on an O2 contract but I’ve switched to Orange. Unfortunately that means that when I press the voicemail button the phone dials 901 (O2’s number).
I couldn’t figure out what the Orange voicemail number was which was a bit of a pain. Luckily I found it quickly.

A few minutes googling revealed it to be 123. This seems to work for Pay As You Go and contract customers alike.

Christmas Present from Orange?

A couple of months back I switched to Pay as you Go on Orange. This is my first time on a pre-pay mobile phone plan so I’m new to this lark. Anyway I just received a text that said:

Hi from Orange. You now have 60 free minutes to call your friends and family. This can be used to any network or landline within the UK at anytime. Enjoy.

My immediate reaction was concern that they’d given me talk time as a reward instead ofmy 300 texts for topping up by £10 in the month ending 12th December. I phoned 453 to confirm the message was genuine as it came from +447973100610 and not “Orange” or something similar (O2’s messages always had “O2” in the From field).

According to 453 I have 278 messages left to use by midnight on 10th January so that’s about right, but I also have “60 minutes of free calls to phones in the UK” to be used by midnight on 13th December 2008.

Nice one, but why?

I can only assume it’s a Christmas present of sorts, since there’s been no explanation in the text or at 453, and all bundle-related information seems to have dropped off the “My Account” section of their web site altogether. Since I refuse to pay 25p to talk to some muppet at Orange’s call centre unless I absolutely, no other choice, end of the world have to, and they refuse to answer account-related questions by email, I suppose it’ll have to remain a mystery.

Update: 17th December 2007

I’ve just received a text which seems to go some way to explaining the above.

From: Orange
Thanks for topping up. You have won 60 free minutes of talk time for 12 months. We will send yo ua text in the next few days and then they will be ready to use.

That’s handy since I’ve already used 8 of them!