New Ways of Posting

OK, so Thomo has got a new phone, one that makes it possible to enter blog posts easily and directly from the phone. Of course I have no idea of what the effect of this will be over time, we are still just playing with it at the moment.

I suspect that there may be more short posts as I see things as now it is easier than ever to post from the phone.

For those that are technically minded or gadget junkies like me, the phone is a shiney new Samsung Galaxy S.

iPhone Test 2

OK, so last weekend I had a play with it again. After my first test session with the iPhone I was more pleased with this period. Looking at the phone critically the User Interface is not as easy to use as, say, Nokia’s even with the tired old Symbian S60 running it. For example, fat thumbed people with a thousand contacts will find it difficult to move through the contacts, rather than being able to just start typing the contact’s name and have the phone find them for you.

Having said that, the tactile nature of the iPhone encourages one to keep touching it and this is its strength. Because it is fun to use, you keep looking for things to use it for.

One problem I did have was that as I attempted to connect to the WiFi network at Thomo’s Hole, each time I tried to connect the iPhone caused the network to reset and reboot. I know it was the iPhone as I systematically tested everything else that accessed the network. Not sure why that happened.

Oh well, more playing next weekend – at the moment the SIM card is back in the trusty Nokia E71 as I am away on a business trip and need the extra uptime.

I Had an iPhone and I Liked It … Not!

I had the chance to use an iPhone for a couple of days recently, something I looked forward to with a certain degree of relish. I parked my Nokia E71, took the SIM card out and put it in the iPhone. I will admit, it was a 3G 8 gig iPhone so not the latest phone but most of the features I was using have not really changed a great deal between then and now.

I gave it a good workout – having downloaded some music to it so I could use it as an iPod and a phone.

What didn’t I like then?

I didn’t like the short battery life – especially whilst listening to music. A couple of phone calls, a few text messages and a little bit of boogie and it was time to charge the battery again.

I was frustrated as well when I transferred my contacts from Outlook. Using the iTunes software, I synched my contacts from my laptop to the iPhone. Unfortunately, as I had a backup of my contacts (an Archive under Contacts) in Outlook, I ended up with two of every contact as iTunes synched all the contact address-books in Outlook rather than asking which one you wanted to synch.

Whilst the screen was easier to read than the E71 (it is over twice the size after all), and the input was fairly intuitive, it was impossible for me to hold the iPhone and answer an SMS one-handed, something that I can do fairly easily with the E71 and let’s face it, when you are driving and answering SMS messages, you should at least have one hand on the steering wheel ((OK, so I don’t drive and text but you get the message – so many times walking around the city I have one hand free whilst the other is carrying something and being able to write SMS messages one handed is an advantage)).

It was heavy. Considerably heavier than my E71.

To be fair, I know I will try it again next weekend and make sure I give it a good workout but on the basis of the last test, when my phone is up for renewal later this year it is looking like the Nokia N9000 (or is that N900?) if that is available then, or perhaps a Blackberry, or even a Nokia N97 or Samsung Omnia. I must admit to having a soft spot for Samsung as my mum is still using the Samsung I bought 4 years ago in Saudi Arabia and it still goes 4 days between battery charging and has the clearest display I have ever seen.

Mongolian Public Telephones

Public Phones in Ulaanbaatar - click for closer look
A girl uses a public phone outside my office

Mongolian Currency (MNT – Mongolia – Tugriks) has two decimal places. However, due to it devaluing over the years, it no longer has any cents (decimal) equivalents. The smallest denomination in circulation is 10 tugriks and that is a note (it is also worth less than 1 cent US currency) . There are no coins in use.   The lack of coins raises some interesting problems, such has how do you have a coin-operated laundry, public telephones and the like without coins? How do you start a football match – toss a note? I have seen the same thing in Cambodia where coins were not in use. There, there was a big market for telephone cards. Here, in true Mongolian fashion, an alternative solution is in use.   Throughout Ulaanbaatar there are many folks standing with a wireless phone. These attach to a (I believe) CDMA network and these operators provide the public with access to the telephone system. See the image below. You give the operator 200 tugrik and you get to talk on the phone. There are also calling cards available in Ulaanbaatar, especially for overseas calling, but nothing beats a public telephone, especially when the temperature falls.