2013-05-06

Phone tribulations solved by going back 7 years!

It's Monday and the cat has decided that the sun is not warm enough. So I have to type this with a lap full of fur. The sun is shining, the temperature has reached 17C in the study and I have things to do...

Someone has made an old extension to a juke box into a modern variety with a Raspberry Pi. Mine has played music for some time with remote control over ssh from the new tablet. I still have not had a 'real application' jump into my lap yet. So I have only saved the pin out and found suitable plug connectors and stashed them 'close by'.

When I got my ZX81 and returned to Johannesburg, it took a comment by another radio amateur, that "it could not do anything real". He also said I could not do RTTY with the ZX81. It only took two months to demonstrate it to the club decoding Baudot (5 bit code). I had time in those days. These days something always seems to get in the way...

Just watching all the excitement and projects for the Raspberry Pi, I see some really sophisticated 'applications' going on. With incredible hardware comes very clever "applications". Quite a lot of them are not 'tied' to the hardware components of the tiny Linux box. The complexity of the Pi is vast compared to the simplicity of the ZX81. After all it has all the functions and features of a modern smart phone with a handset.

Then I got a new tablet. This also does not have a 'handset'. You cannot dial a number. You can send sms'. But it also cannot dial '*101#' and get the available air-time...

So I asked the 'customer support' how I could go about this...on their web site...they told me that they could not get hold of me on that number! Well! They also told me to go to the 'Virgin Menu' on my home screen and pursue the estimate from there. Then I replied to their email and I told them, I did not have a phone with a 'Virgin Menu'. Then they told me to go read the bill...Still does not help. As the bill is a historic record. Not an up to the second available air time. Ho hum.

I also did a search on their web site for 'tablet support'. Guess what? No results!

Maybe I have to write an Android app. Or write to Sir Richard...

Boet (my brother-in-law) has had a 'fancy' phone for a year or so. It has driven him mad. Switching off or going 'dark' at the most inconvenient times. It was also very soft when not using the radio...so I gave him my old Nokia. This works brilliantly. I can hear it ring from one end of the house to another...