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so what have we learned?

Well, I've made all the arrangements to ship back the Palm.

The other night I got this "radio reset error," and could no longer connect to the wireless network. I phoned Palm and played the "do this, do that" game for a bit. Turns out it's busted. Their recommendation: return to sender.

So that's what I'm doing. This is the second time the radio stopped working. The first, it somehow magically repaired itself. I'd like to hope that that might happen again, but the 30 day return clock is ticking down and I don't think it's worth the risk. I'm cancelling my subscription too, hoping that I haven't exceeded the 150k transfer limit so that I don't get nailed for the $200 cancellation fee.

So, what have we learned from this experience?

  • GPRS is slow and crappy (not to mention incredibly expensive). I kind of knew this already. I didn't realize that GPRS connections are like modem connections. They go down when the device goes into sleep mode and it takes time to bring them back up again. This seriously limits the usefulness of GPRS wireless internet devices.
  • I don't think Rogers gives wireless customers POP3 and SMTP accounts. At least, I couldn't find anything that would tell me how to set up email. This is pretty stupid. Free POP3 accounts are hard to come by and SMTP open relays are a disappearing breed. They give you a complimentary "Rogers wireless desktop" account with the minimum $25 GPRS account, though, which I guess is nice. It sits on your PC desktop and sends mail etc. from Outlook or whatever to your handheld. This will work, I guess, unless I go on vacation and ITS or lightning or something reboots my machine (this happened on my cross-country adventure). I knew I wasn't going to get RIM-type email, but I was kind of hoping for some sort of email access...
  • They say you can get ICQ, AIM and MSN on the web page, but that's a lie. There's a free beta of the really crappy Palm ICQ client you can download. The AIM client for Palm costs $25. There is no Palm MSN client. If I held onto the thing, I'd probably go with Verichat, which is both a client ($25 registration fee) and a proxy service ($20/year) so that your IM session stays active when your GPRS connection goes down. Kind of sucks, but given the nature of GPRS, this struck me as the best solution. There's also a couple Jabber clients, which could work. One's a dead open source project and the other is $15 trialware. I thought about taking the poor Palm IM client showing up as a programming project (setting up a proxy server like Verichat using gaimlib as a back-end)... Needless to say, I'm not going to bother.
  • The Rogers web store sucks ass. Product info is out of date or innaccurate. The site is slow and is frequently inaccessible. The backend programming is horrible--they didn't bother to escape quotation marks in user entry forms, for example. If I do this again, I'm definitly going through a brick and mortar retailer of some sort. Makes returns easier, too.

That's all I can think of for now. This whole experience has been a tad... disappointing. I kind of knew I was setting myself up for a fall (always happens when I try to go for bargains), but I didn't think it would suck this hard. At least I'll be better-informed next time. If there is a next time...


matt writes:


Sorry to hear that the wireless thing didn't pan out.

It happens I suppose.

Hopefully you'll get away without incurring some nasty idiot fee (I wonder if we'll ever get away from those...).

Should hold out for one of those mini-handheld-pc things that Woz is putting out.

Sure, there's no phone, but it sounds more in line with what you want to do anyhow... pick up a cheap cell to do the job it's supposed to if you need it...

Submitted 2004-06-23 17:59:08

flying squirrel writes:

Well, WoZNet still has a way to go... I'd be happy enough with a Sony Clie and ubiquitous WiFi. Unfortunately, WiFi is still far from ubiquitous.

I might try this little adventure again, but I think it'll be after I settle into a house and figure out what my budget looks like.

Submitted 2004-06-23 18:46:53

1 writes:

Happy Birthday. Another year gone huh?

Submitted 2004-06-24 22:16:48

flying squirrel writes:

That much closer to my lonely death, yes.

Submitted 2004-06-24 22:19:49

SideKick writes:

That would be today right?
Yes, I remember now, exactly 6 months before/after Chrstmas. ^_^

Enjoy the day...I can't remember what I did on mine.

Submitted 2004-06-25 05:17:32

matt writes:

Hey, I'll even try the on time birthday wish! :-)


Submitted 2004-06-25 14:01:43

tinkerer writes:

I'll pitch in with the belated wishes. :> Busy summer, I'm even going to be late with my own birthday--jr. has two tournament games that day in B.C. I'm hoping that she plays really well but that we lose, 'cause if we don't make the playoffs we'll get an extra day on our trip to see the sights in Vancouver. (As much as I like the kids and parents on this team--and I do!--the fact is as a team itself we pretty much suck...so I might as well hope for what little vacation I'll get this year, as this team has cost too much for me to afford any other. Sigh.)

And Squirrel, didn't you know that on the day you die every oak tree in North America will observe a moment of silence?

Submitted 2004-06-25 22:37:17

flying squirrel writes:

Thanks for the happy birthdays. I didn't do anything, really.

Tink, good luck with the sucking, I guess... A day in Vancouver is nice. I hope jr. has fun. :)

Awfully nice of those oak trees...

Submitted 2004-06-26 13:24:56

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