I didn’t get along with communication technologies today. At all.
First, I had a conference call to take while out and about – for that, I had received a presentation that was supposed to be discussed during the call in the e-mail, so I went to a cafÃ© and searched for a WLAN. No dice.
No problem, I thought, I’ll use my phone as a modem. Except that I didn’t have the USB cable with me – which wouldn’t have been a problem had Bluetooth worked, but the Bluetooth on my laptop had just died. Great. I didn’t have time for reboots, so I took the conference call without the PowerPoint at hand.
Outside. In the rain. Why? Because the handsfree headsets are inherently incapable of filtering out the music playing at the cafe.
Sometime after the call, I needed to make another call so I whip out my phone – only to find out it had died. It was dead – dead dead. No life whatsoever. There was plenty of juice left in the battery. Even a hard reset didn’t do anything, so my 4-month-old lovely N82 has now officially died. And let me tell you, it’s suddenly not so lovely at all when it’s dead. A glorified useless paperweight, that’s what. (Tomorrow we’ll find out how many weeks it’ll take for Nokia to replace it under warranty..)
Anyhow, I still had to make a call or at least send an SMS. So I walked over to the Kamppi Center – surely there’s a WLAN there I can connect to and use Skype or whatever to get things done. And I did find several, though only one of them was open: Welho WLAN. After connecting, I found out you need to pay to use it. The below screenshots are in Finnish, but here’s how it worked (i.e. didn’t):
Payment with a credit card or via the Finnish bank payment systems. Good enough for me:
Input your information.. basic stuff, so far so good. One euro per hour – expensive, but I needed a connection so what the heck.
Only when you get to select the payment method, there is no option to pay with a credit card after all! Hmph. So I select Sampo, my bank.
And here’s what I get for that:
Oh damn it! I don’t know whether to blame Sampo (who have been doing some braindead web banking “upgrades”) or Welho’s WLAN portal.
But the end result was that I was left with a dead cellphone, completely disconnected in the promised land of high tech and cellphones. I still needed to make an important call, however, as I was going to meet my wife “somewhere” downtown. And of course there are no ancient things like phonebooths anymore – luckily a store clerk was kind enough to borrow his phone for a short call and at least that part worked out sort of ok.
All this brought up several thoughts about communication. One of the topmost ones is that people, myself including, rely way too much on cellphones compared to how reliable they actually are. In just a few short hours I had to do without one, I was a) annoyed and inconvenienced because I couldn’t get stuff done and access the ‘net and b) bored for not having anything to do on the bus ride home. It could’ve been much worse.
The second main thought is that why can’t things ever work when you really need them to?
Third, all cafes and shopping malls etc ought to have open, free WLAN access points.
Oh, and high-end cellphones should last more than 4 months.