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Well-behaved Note 2

Well-behaved Note 2

A few weeks ago, I traded in my old Note 2 for a new one due to issues with the micro SD card and not receiving phone calls. Kinda hard to have a phone that doesn’t function as a phone. It’s been right about three weeks since I traded in the other phone and everything seems to be going fine. I haven’t had any issues with the memory card and all of my phone calls appear to come through (both incoming and outgoing).

The wifi calling issues still come up. Periodically the phone disconnects from wifi calling with an invalid certificate error. Reconnecting wifi calling corrects this issue most of the time. It’s annoying. I’ve told my friends to leave me a message and I’ll call them back. When wifi calling doesn’t work, I don’t get a notice that I’ve missed a call. Leaving a message is the only reliable way to make sure I call back.

I’ve been very pleased with the camera’s responsiveness and image quality. While the larger phone size makes it harder to keep the phone still (low light pictures are prone to blurriness), I’ve still been able to compensate by taking multiple images. The G2 was so slow to focus and write an image after it was taken. The Notes’ camera is responsive and snappy. The video quality has also been very good. Now I just have to post some of the images I’ve taken.

Overall, I’m very glad that I have the Note 2 and not the Galaxy S III (which is also a nice phone). I can type on both of the screens, but the features in the Note 2 fit better with what I want to do. I’m slowly learning more about the feature set. The S Pen is something I still play with. I’ve used it for drawing and editing some images. I’ve also used it for note taking, although I can type faster than the S Pen keeps up (with worse accuracy though). I have a feeling the S Pen and it’s associated applications are something you have to figure out how (and if) they fit into how each person uses the device. There are a lot of capabilities I like theoretically but haven’t put into practice yet. Those items will end up in other blog posts.

Strange SD card behavior on the Note 2

Strange SD card behavior on the Note 2

I was dressed for the gym and went to load Zombies Run. The playlist option was missing half of the play lists. WinAmp showed only two locally saved playlists and no music. A few days ago, the phone was randomly mounting and unmounting the microSD card. The vibration notice going off on Friday morning was enough to unmount the SD card.

Tonight, the storage menu showed that there wasn’t an SD card mounted. Pressing Mount under the Storage settings didn’t do anything, removing the card and reinserting didn’t do anything. Rebooting the phone numerous times had no effect. Instead of going to the gym (no music, no zombies!), I went to Target to look for an SD card.

I purchased an inexpensive USB microSD card reader and a replacement 32 GB class 10 microSD card (just in case mine was hosed). Luckily my old card was readable by the USB reader. I backed off all of the data and then reinserted the card into the phone and voila! the storage menu mounted the card. The important thing is that I got the my photos and data off of the card.

I’ll return the new card tomorrow since my old card appears to be working fine.

Wifi calling issue on Note 2

Wifi calling issue on Note 2

Searching for articles on problems with using T-Mobile’s wifi calling on the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2 returns multiple results, including an enlightening good discussion on the XDA forum. The phone doesn’t keep a consistent connection to the wifi calling service. I get an ERR Connection Refused, invalid certificate, and other errors. Some times the phone has trouble staying on the wifi network even though the phone is sitting on my desk. This issue started two days ago.

Wifi calling problems come up periodically. There were some days when it never seemed to work properly on my G2 either. I’d get connection errors, invalid certificate errors, and times when the phone just couldn’t seem to connect to the wifi calling services. Rebooting would usually correct those issues. The G2 also suffered from the same wifi signal fluctuation: I could watch the wifi calling ready mode blue icon turn red while the phone sat on my desk.

It’s hard to trouble shoot the problem right now because the wifi network in my building is being revamped. All of the routers are being replaced and the placement density of the routers is being increased. I’ve watched the signal strength rotate in intensity with the Note 2 simply sitting on my desk. I’ve connected to two different networks (one open and one secured) and had the same issue with signal strength fading in and out. The weird thing about this problem is that it’s inconsistent. Sometimes the calling works fine. Other times, I’ve had the phone say “wifi calling ready” and tried sending a text message or calling out using my phone (or calling it) and the calls have not connected. Other times it works immediately. I can’t find any consistent factors between it.

I also tried turning off the wifi signal power saver mode that is activated on the phone by default. I did that last night and watched the phone this morning. The signal strength really got messed up after I did that. I rebooted the phone and it seems to be behaving. Go figure. I don’t understand.

When I read on the T-Mobile support forums about the dropped wifi calls, several posts said that T-Mobile has been aware of the issue on the Galaxy S3 since August and is supposed to be working on a fix (we’ll see if that happens). I should probably see if the Note 2 uses the same chipset for wifi as the S3. That would explain a lot.

T-Mo and AT&T are supposed to be releasing a OTA update for the Note 2 that will enable multitasking and multi-window use on the device “sometime soon”. Verizon has already released the update. Hopefully T-Mo’s update will include a fix for the wifi calling bug.

I have two weeks from the day I purchased the phone to return it if I choose to. This Friday is the last day I can return the Note 2 on the buyer’s remorse program. If the wifi calling issue keeps up, I’ll probably ask for a Note 2 replacement instead of going with a different phone model. The only two phones I could easily type on are the S3 or the Note 2.

New Precious: Samsung Galaxy Note 2

New Precious: Samsung Galaxy Note 2

I was bad. Couldn’t resist the precious. Told one of my friends at work about the Note 2. We’ve both been talking about replacing our trusty Android phones. It’s funny how all you have to do is mention quad-core, lots of usable RAM for applications, and 64 GB microSD support, and suddenly someone is keenly interested in the phone. 🙂

We both went to the T-Mobile store after work and are now the happy owners of Samsung Galaxy Note 2s. We sat over dinner and played with our new shinies. Oh my, this phone is spiffy!

Too much temptation…

Too much temptation…

And I could not resist. I have had a T-Mobile G2 for almost two years now. It’s been a solid little phone with a good keyboard and Android 2.3. For the past few months, I’ve been getting notices from T-Mobile that I’m eligible for a phone upgrade. Nothing has really interested me, except for the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Note 2. They are both lovely devices on paper but neither one has a physical keyboard. (There is nothing more frustrating tome than trying to type on an iPhone screen.)

The Note 2 is affectionately called a “Phablet,” a strange lovechild of a phone and a tablet. The screen on this phone is 5.5″. It’s quite the monster and dwarves most of my other friend’s phones. The G2 with the heavy-duty case I use is like a small brick. I’ve been intrigued by the size (either love it or hate it, according to reviews) and also that the phone has a styles (S pen) that uses technologies developed by Wacon. Very very interesting. But would the phone be too big or feel awkward? Could I stand typing on the screen?

One of my friends from work and I went to the T-Mobile store during lunch to check out the S3 and Note 2. I was very impressed with the device. It felt so light. The G2 seemed a brick. The Note 2 did fit in my back pocket and was incredibly responsive. So fast (quad cores will do that). Really lovely device.

T-Mobile is having a sale on the Samsung phones this weekend. Oh my. I shall be so very tempted.

Happy Dance!

Happy Dance!

After many hours of searching and trying software, I have a unicode text reader/editor called AnyView on my cell phone that is capable of opening the artifact list for! WHEE!!

This might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but for a linux-based mobile phone with only 8 MB of RAM to open a 600k+ text file is no small feat. Every other piece of software I’ve tested could not open the entire file. Nor could it search it. So this is really good news.

Finally! I don’t have to worry about carrying the Zaurus if I can look through the list on the phone. Woohoo! Even has a search =) So we’re set if we are in a museum and need to look something up but aren’t allowed to carry big bags with us. (Museums in the US usually won’t let you take a backpack into the viewing area, nor will they let you take a computer…) So this is a work around. =)

Happy dance! Happy dance!

Ming arrived!

Ming arrived!

An-ti-ci-pa-tion… I’ve been waiting for a bloody week. And today, my precious has arrived!

For over a year I have been lusting after the Motorola Ming A1200. The Ming is a quad-band GSM phone, so it works in analog and digital frequencies both here and in Europe. The 2MP camera also doubles as a camcorder. The Ming runs linux (Motorola’s customized version of Monta Vista Linux) and has J2ME Java environment. There are hundreds of programs available for the phone. It only has 8 MB of internal memory — a major drawback to an otherwise great phone.

I got to fondle the Ming for the first time at CompUSA. They had the new, unlocked handset. The black backing on the phone feels like brushed metal velvet. Very nice. Translucent cover with the ear piece in the Motorola logo. Snazzy. Even better? It is very reminiscent of a Star Trek Communicator. Perfect geek wear.

Last summer when I was looking at phones, the Ming wasn’t readily available in the U.S. except through importers. As cute as the little linux-based phone is, I was not willing to stay with the only GSM provider in the area (AT&T). I have been using Verizon, but lately the call quality at home and at work has been atrocious. Not just for me, but for other people people at my office who use Verizon. I had originally switched from AT&T because of the company’s business practises and because of the poor voice quality. Now Verizon’s call and signal quality was going downhill.

I’ve been looking to switch providers for about three months. I settled on T-Mobile, a GSM provider with roaming coverage in Knoxville (on AT&T’s network, ironically). After five or six hours on the phone with the T-Mobile reps (and about as many hours online), I decided that their service would be idea because I could improve my cell phone plan from 900 to 1000 minutes and still have my data plan, too. Best of all, I would lower my monthly bill by almost half.

I found a Ming on Amazon for $125! A steal considering the regular price is $299-599. I ordered it immediately. And it arrived today! My precious! Geek in heaven. Yup. That’s me.

I spend much of today finding things for it, including a T-Mobile prepaid card so I can try the service out without signing a two year contract. Slipped the sim card into the phone, registered the sim, and was able to make calls immediately. Yay phone! International text messages work (didn’t work at all on Verizon’s CDMA service — pure shite that).

I love unlocked phones. Why be stuck with one provider when you have a phone you really like and use it on any supported network? So now I have a neat phone with $25 worth of prepaid minutes. We will see how things go! I should probably post pictures of the phone. Or would that be over the top?