Monday, March 8, 2010

(empo-tuulwey) The last part of the corporate transition - I leave the rotary club

If you saw my post from last Wednesday (the first post about my cubicle move), you may have seen this statement at the end:

There's one more part of the transition that needs to take place, however. I'll probably share that with you when it happens. And when I do, Louis Gray will make a brief appearance. Stay tuned.

And I didn't even tell anyone, even Louis Gray, what I was talking about. But now it can be told.

Motorola, my former employer, just turned off service on my first-generation Motorola Q cell phone.

Inasmuch as I haven't worked for Motorola in almost a year, they certainly had the right to do so. As part of the transition when my division was sold, Motorola continued to pay certain cell phone bills until they could be transitioned to the new company. However, for a variety of reasons, I am not eligible for a corporate cell phone at this time, so this phone was scheduled for shutoff. It took a while to actually get it shut off, but that has now happened.

I originally obtained this cell phone in October 2006 - yes, this was truly a first generation Motorola Q cell phone. At the time, it was a very good solution for corporate productivity, allowing one to synchronize with the corporate e-mail system, view documents, and the like.

Just a month after receiving the phone, I made a valuable contribution to the wider cellphone community. At the time I was writing a technical blog (the Ontario Technoblog), and I wrote a post that solved a problem that I was having with the sound on my Motorola Q phone. The problem:

[T]oday I wanted to listen to the sound from my MIDIs and my mp3, but no sound came out.

I tried playing the video that I made at work, but no sound came out from there, either.

Figuring that this might just be a Windows Media Player problem, I tried turning on the sound in Bubble Breaker. No sound there.

As a fourth test, I retested the alarm feature. Got sounds on the alarm, so it sounded more and more like some type of OS issue.

After finding this tip at, I discovered that this was a hardware setting - namely, the earpiece volume setting on the jog dial button, which I had inadvertently turned down to 0. I turned it back up, and everything was fine. So I wrote the blog post about it, and last I checked, I had received about three dozen "thank you" messages for posting this tip. (There may be more, but posts to that blog are now moderated via an old Ontario Emperor e-mail account, and I may have some moderation requests sitting in that account which I haven't read yet.)

So I continued to use my Motorola Q phone, not only for email, but for a limited amount of web access via services such as Slandr, fftogo, and the mobile version of Foursquare. This admittedly worked, but it wasn't all that sexy. Fast-forward to December 2008, when Daniel Pritchett wrote a guest post on Louis Gray's blog to which I responded:

Daniel, you have some good points, but they don't go far enough.

Don't assume that everyone has an iPhone or equivalent. My mobile surfing is done on a first generation Motorola Q running the equivalent of Internet Explorer 4.

If I were on my phone right now, I wouldn't be able to add a Disqus comment to this post. In fact, I couldn't even surf to FriendFeed and leave a comment there - Benjamin Golub had to create a special site called fftogo to allow me to comment in FriendFeed.

Now some of this will be taken care of in the next couple of years as the older phones break down and are replaced, but it's still something to keep in mind.

Gray, who is well-known as an early adopter, eventually joined in on the conversation:

Ontario, given this is an early adopter blog speaking to a tech-savvy audience, we have high expectations for our readers. That you surf with the equivalent of IE 4 is something I don't want you telling anybody else, as it reflects badly on the site and my fellow writers. Promise you won't reveal this again.

Subsequent to this (although I can't find the link), Gray made a reference to my "8 bit rotary phone."

And he was right. Even in late 2008, Motorola had already come out with a new generation of the Q, and Windows Mobile phones in general were becoming more and more passe. Today, even Motorola puts its emphasis on Android rather than Windows Mobile.

Now, under ordinary circumstances, I would have upgraded my corporate phone in October 2008, and Motorola would have provided me with a new phone. However, as it turns out, October 2008 was the very month that Motorola announced its intent to sell our division. Therefore, all things such as phone upgrades were put on hold, awaiting either government approval of the sale, in which case the new owner would deal with my phone request, or government rejection of the sale, in which case it would be Motorola's concern.

So now it's March 2010, and my corporate Motorola Q phone service was just turned off, effectively serving as the end of my Motorola decade. (I guess that means that I have to put my batwings into a cave or something.) But as I advance to a 2010 phone (note: I won't be getting an iPhone, and probably won't even be getting a top-level smartphone at all), I can certainly look upon the 3 1/2 years of service that I got out of this phone. Most of the photographs that have appeared in my blogs over the last 3 1/2 years were taken on this phone, and all of the Foursquare checkins and fftogo posts were posted from this phone. (Not all of the Slandr posts came from this phone; sometimes I'd use Slandr from my laptop simply for its retweet capability.) Add Google Maps and a few other applications, in addition to the Motorola applications that were on the phone, and it was a pretty useful device.

As of now, it's just an alarm clock. But it's good at that.
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