01 June 2005

New mobile phone

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I'd had a visit to a dentist and an eye specialist. Both of these people are in Townsville, a city about 4 hours' drive from where I live. Eric and I drove there on Monday morning, and we stayed two nights, doing some shopping on Tuesday morning. I managed to find all sorts of odd items that I couldn't find closer to home, and I also managed to not spend huge sums of money. (Several times when we make these medical trips I end up buying something expensive, like a new car... but not this time.) I did, however, get a new mobile phone. Mine was 7 years old and didn't have a USB connector to enable me to use it as a modem with a computer that doesn't have a serial port (like the laptop I'm using for travel); nor did it have outgoing SMS message capability, which I've been finding the occasional need for over the last year. Because I travel a lot in areas where the only mobile phone connection is CDMA, my choice of service provider is limited to one: Telstra. So, upon finding a Telstra store, I popped in for a chat. I was not surprised to discover that explaining my internet requirements was a challenge. The phone store staff (several of them) kept assuming I wanted to get email (or view websites) on the phone itself, despite my repeated statements that I did not want to do that -- I wanted to use the phone to connect my computer to the internet, just as I would connect it to a fixed phone line at home. Eventually I was able to extract enough information to choose a phone that would do what I wanted, despite the best efforts of the helpful staff. Fortunately the rest of the process was easy: switching my phone number from the old handset to the new one. They didn't have the required USB cable in stock, but they did order it for delivery to my home address. As soon as it arrives, I'll see if I can get it all working.