mobile phone

Customer Service & PR 101: Vodaphone attempts to silence disgruntled customer?

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Whoever is in the right, Vodaphone you know that the last thing you should be seen doing is leaning on a customer on the Net.

As if we need further proof of the commercial sector encroaching on the right to free speech, we have an interesting story from India.  Perhaps a sad indictment of todays business where they view the net and its billions of users with greedy eyes, wanting the attention drawn to their products but not wanting you to put your opinion forward unless it favours them.

Vodaphone is alleged by a customer (Dhaval Valia) to have sent a take down notice ordering removal of Facebook comments in regards to his unhappiness at the service Vodaphone provides.  What Vodaphone did not count on (and maybe shows ignorance on their part) is that the story would hit the web and expose even more people to the incident (certainly more so than the Facebook users who saw the customer’s complaint)

Vodaphone has released a statement with a slightly different take on the matter:

we have a situation with one of our customers, despite several efforts on our part. Owing to certain unusual and improper dealings and communications by the customer, especially with our women employees, we were forced to take legal advice in this matter. We do not wish to comment any further in this regard.


However its alleged on the part of Dhaval Valia that Vodaphone has accessed private conversations on Facebook as well as engaginng in:

Hacking, tapping and tracking the customer’s Internet activity is a criminal offence and Vodafone, prima facie, seems to have done exactly that. What’s even more grave is that they have passed this information to a third party, their legal agency, without my prior consent or approval…

and ends with:

..arm-twisting consumers into submitting to their faulty and misleading ways and thus acting against the rights of consumers

So is this a case of “arm twisting” to remove comments which Vodaphone doesn’t approve of?  The takedown notice had a time limit of 48 hours, but unfortunately I’d say it’s rather too late.

Don’t want less than favourable comments Vodaphone? Here’s a tip for you, make sure your customer is satisfied.  In todays connected world the one thing you don’t do is try to silence someone in a public forum – that’s Customer Service & PR 101, a fact that after recent stories about footballers and super-injunctions I am surprised you didn’t realize.

I think now Vodaphone has more damage control on its hands than merely a few Tweets or Wall posting.

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on

Blair & Clinton show you how to “really” help the developing nations – “let there be Mobiles!”

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This article has two facets, one is the very serious issue that is hunger, poverty and hardship suffered by women in developing nations and the other being the privileged lifestyle that Cherie Blair and Hilary Clinton enjoy which I suggest is not only out of touch with what the majority of us experience as life, but maybe, I suggest out of reality.

So how do you help people in a country where day-to-day life is a struggle?  How do you even start to comprehend the issue when for many in the developing countries the challenge is finding enough to eat to keep their family alive? Well to me, it appears that in-between shopping trips and coffee mornings, Blair and Clinton have the answer.  Yes, what charities and organisations have tried to tackle for years our Tech Twins B&C have solved.

The answer? Give them mobile phones of course!

At first when I saw a one line mention of this on another site, I thought it a joke.  I conducted the usual google search waiting for the punchline and after a little digging around,  found to my horror that this is all too true and there won’t be any punchline.

So with the brave new mobile world that B&C are going to introduce to the women of developing nations, one has to wonder what the reasoning is behind this great idea of theirs.

The BBC has this to say about the subject and I can’t help thinking that it’s a tongue in cheek dig at the pair who I don’t believe have ever experienced poverty in any form.

Nearly half a million people, described by the UN as “the poorest of the poor”, will soon be able to make mobile calls.


One of the arguments put forward into justifying this “scheme” is that there will be possibly be an emergency number for healthcare, but then in places which the UN describes as:

…located in hunger ‘hotspots’ where chronic hunger is widespread, often accompanied by a high prevalence of disease, lack of access to medical care, and a severe lack of infrastructure

One has to wonder who would respond to an emergency call anyway and if the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support a phone call whats the point?

Then there’s the issue of cost, if you are reading this thinking the “lucky” recipients are going to get free calls, think again.  There’s tariffs for the people who get a B&C Mobile (albeit allegedly cheaper),  so whilst the developing nations are entering this brave new world of technological empowerment, there’s a price to be paid?

The other question would be, what mobiles are going to be given away?  If I was suspicious minded I could think that this “scheme” is a great way for countries to keep old tech out of landfill by packaging them off to developing countries under the guise of charity, that way they are the recipients problem and its their soil which will get polluted when the phone finally expires.  Taking that one step further maybe the Gates Foundation could get involved and dump all the unsold Kin’s on them? or maybe if/when Windows Mobile 7 fails to sell, they can pump that platform into developing countries and claim the “new” Windows mobile platform as a success?

Can anyone clarify if the developing world are going to be sent brand new phones, or merely keeping our old junk out of landfill?

After B&C have got mobile phones sorted, whats next? Gucci handbags?

Heres part of Techwatch’s report:

The mobile phone industry is unsurprisingly behind the scheme, as it represents a financial opportunity to the tune of $13 billion for them.


Or how about the Inquirer?

The scheme has the backing of the mobile phone industry, which obviously intends to make an estimated $13 billion if they pull it off.


Lets help the people less fortunate than ourselves, but let’s do it properly.

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

HTC Desire HD to hit the UK in September?

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Rumours are abound that September will see the launch of the HTC Desire HD in the UK.  Based on the same processor as the Desire and shipping with Android 2.2, the Desire HD is rumoured to come with HD video capture (720p) and an 8 megapixel camera.

The announcement (and reveal) of the Desire HD could be made at an HTC event on September 15th which was reported on Engadget, where they say:

Time to get our guessing caps on as HTC has announced it’ll be hosting a little shindig in London in the middle of next month.

It is rightly reported that Windows 7 mobile is due to get its release around October and maybe this event in London will be “showcasing” Microsoft’s latest attempt to break the Mobile Market to the extent of Apple or Android.  Best of luck Microsoft,  since I’ve seen more reports of what isn’t part of Windows Mobile 7 rather than what is and I struggle to see how Windows 7 Mobile will be anything more than yet another costly mistake to shareholders.  Microsoft is after all coming off the back of the disastrous Kin even forgetting the fact that when it arrives it has two giant mobile platforms to take on.


If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

PhoneWars 2010 – Android / Apple / Microsoft

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The Kin has already been thrown on it, will Windows Mobile 7 suffer the same fate? Is the competitions against it overwhelming or is that a moot point since people do not see Microsoft products as desirable?

Who could have predicted that the mighty brick of a phone shoved into cars so many years ago would not only develop into an almost essential day-to-day device, but also cover such a diverse range of tasks – from “traditional” to just about everything else that can be performed on your desktop. Phone calls have become a rather secondary feature to the mobile phone which now seems to handle every aspect of your personal/work life.

So lets look at PhoneWars 2010.  I successfully predicted the flop of Microsoft’s Kin, championed the now hideously popular HTC and went on record (with my colleagues at work) that Twitter would be the next big thing on both the desktop and mobiles.  I feel suitably qualified to write this article (or at least lucky enough in my predictions)

The current market – No desire for Microsoft?

Lets start with Apple and its iPhone.  Whilst I do not use Apple products myself, those that I know who do are very happy with their experiences, so it is with interest that I watch the iPhone 4 saga with interest.

I don’t need to remind people of the already widely reported news of the alleged dropped calls and signal issues of the iPhone 4 and since its been covered in-depth so many times, we will skip on to the solution offered by Apple.  It was reported at an Apple press conference on Friday 16th July that a free “bumper” would be offered for all Iphone 4’s which would solve the signal issues reported by users.  Amongst many other things, Steve Jobs was reported to say:

We love our users. We try hard to surprise and delight them. We work our asses off and have a fun time doing it.

Lets hope this satisfies the customers, Apple has built itself a kingdom and for this one issue to turn the iPhone 4 into what some have described as “Apples Vista” would be rather damaging to the future customer base which is already being eyed up by an increasingly popular Android platform.

So why would I, as a FOSS advocate (amongst other things) want Apple to appease disgruntled customers when I should be using this opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of an Android phone?

The answer is quite simple and goes back a few years to my early comments on this blog.  Diversity.  I said many years ago (and many times since) that despite what some may imply, I do not wish to see the total dominance of any platform or product, FOSS or proprietary.  I think proprietary feeds off FOSS and vice versa with the end result being greater choice for the user and better quality applications.  The same would go for the mobile market, I feel a complete dominance of Android would in the long term be damaging and I would like to see a more balanced deployment of platforms.  Users of the smart phones will mostly be accessing the same online apps, communicating with each other with “traditional” protocols, so the platform of their choice is mostly academic (unless you bought into the Kin!)

With one platform casuality this year already (Kin) I have to wonder what the market will be like come Xmas this year.  With Microsoft rumoured to be releasing Windows Mobile 7 in the autumn, will this change the game for the current hunger for both Apple and Android based products?  In my opinion no.  I think the Kin, coupled with the plethora of established apps for both Apple and Android will mean Windows Mobile 7 will not get a look in and will settle for the “scraps off the table”.  I said before of Microsoft, too little too late and one only has to look how Microsoft were pimping Kin until the bitter end to see that a press release from Microsoft  does not necessarily reflect what users are actually thinking (and I often find myself thinking of this when I see Microsoft PR).  Mysteries of Windows Mobile 7 aside, I don’t see a flock of developers to the platform and in todays 3rd party app driven market, I think a fundamental feature is already going to be absent on release day of Microsoft’s offering and that’s forgetting those burned (like me) by previous Win Mob versions, those who saw the Kin fiasco and those who have seen the Windows Mobile 7 in action making comments such as:

Except for gaming, it is ‘game over’ for Microsoft in the consumer market….It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge

This was said by analyst Mark Anderson, the writer of Strategic News Service and he’s not alone.    Notably Mozilla is taking a “wait and see” attitude with Windows Mobile 7 with this comment in respect of Firefox having a version deployed to it:

If Microsoft releases a native development kit for Windows Phone 7, we will consider developing Fennec on the Windows platform again.

and also states that development for existing Windows Mobile versions:

Firefox has stopped development for Windows Mobile indefinitely. Thank you to our contributors for their continued support and feedback

You can read a previous Openbytes article on that here. Which I think is a good indicator of current developers feelings in respect of Windows Mobile 7 and if the developers of one of the most popular 3rd party apps on the planet are less than enthusiastic, what about the rest?

Who will be the victor?

I don’t believe Microsoft have a winner on their hands with Windows Mobile 7, I think they are entering a mature market with yet another “new” product at a time when there are already two massively popular platforms fighting for dominance.  I would worry about the apparent lack of developer interest in the platform (and please correct me if I’m wrong there) and think that Microsoft has missed the boat again, this time maybe instead of trying to imply people were wrong about Vista or trying to tell people that the Kin was a good idea, this particular market has slipped through their fingers.  And no bad thing.  We’ve seen what happens when Microsoft has dominance in a market, I personally didn’t like what I saw.  If Apple (or Android) do in fact end up the victor, lets give them a shot at “top dog” instead.  What reward did Windows users get from Microsoft after XP finally became a mature product? Vista.  And still the Zune is offered to a market that flocked to the iPod.  Bing is offered to a market which already sees Google as a household name and IE is seeing a battle for rating as Firefox, Chrome and a plethora of others battle for your usage.

What mobile market share scraps can Microsoft catch from the table of mobile users? – Like I say, Im predicting another failure for Microsoft.

If I was to lay money on the future of the mobile market (certainly for the foreseeable future) I’d go with 50% Apple, 40% Android and 10% others.  Of course “others” would include the Blackberry.

I have gone from a mobilephobic to someone who couldn’t envisage life without a soppy piece of plastic and metal in my pocket.  Many will say that the phone wars (in respect of Windows Mobile 7) won’t begin, I disagree and I think by Xmas this year we will have a good idea of the direction its going.  Kin was the first casualty this year, which just shows how little a timeframe you have to make or break a platform.  If Windows Mobile fails to grasp the imagination of both customers and developers then whilst it will probably be dragged out longer than the Kin, the signs of Windows Mobile death will be obvious come the end of December.

Finally, I’ll end on this.  Putting all the issues mentioned aside, Microsoft seems to have failed to grasp the idea of “status” or “fashion” in the same way as Apple or Android.  Whilst some will dismiss this as superficial, one must consider that a large section of the market buys/mod’s phone for this very purpose.  How many “trendy” people do you know see a Microsoft product sticking out of their back pocket as something desirable? – I’ll let you answer that one.

Goblin – , , Twitter

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Marvin v1.3.0 – Android app of the week!

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Marvin on the HTC Desire, a spectrum in your pocket. Oh the memories! Best of all the app is free!

Driving home from London on Friday at 8pm is not a chore for me.  It’s at this time the tech hour is broadcast on LBC 97.3 and no matter how bad the traffic, it’s always a great journey home hearing the producers mostly concentrate on proprietary software whilst trying to avoid any questions from the phone-in that involve copyright issues, lest they find themselves in hot water.  Its a hoot.

I have to give LBC some credit here, since they have an app of the week feature, which I thought would be a good for Openbytes.  Unlike LBC though, I don’t have an iPhone, so it will only be Android apps covered.

Those readers whose beards are showing the first signs of greying (or indeed have completely succumbed) will remember the ZX Spectrum 48/128 range of computers, the glory days of loading software from tape, loading screens, multi-load and unexplained crashes….good times.  It seems a little ironic then that for many users who eventually found themselves on a PC, they would still be experiencing unexplained crashes for some time to come (until they discovered Linux) as Windows users get their fair share.

Marvin is a free ZX Spectrum emulator for phones running Android.  Currently in v1.3, the package can be found in the market place and better still, its free!  Marvin offers emulation of both the 48k and the 128k Spectrum, so lets look at how well it performs that task.

For the purposes of this review I am running Android on an HTC Desire which is a phone I have a great love for.  My affair with HTC started with the Hero and saw me upgrading to the Desire well before I was entitled to a free upgrade from my service provider – a cost I consider to be more than fair for such a great phone.  I wont elaborate on my praise of the HTC since this review is about Marvin.

The download is small and within seconds I was booting into that all too familiar “Sinclair Research LTD”.  Marvin offers itself for operation in both horizontal and vertical positions on the Desire.  The former displaying the Spectrum keyboard (yes, the beloved rubber keyed delight) and the later in joystick mode where you can use the touch screen to control movement via an emulation of the Kempston Interface (or a selection of other joystick options such as Cursor or Sinclair)

The menu system (accessed by the “menu” button on the Desire) is really self-explanatory and gives the option to reset into the 48k mode or the 128k.

Marvin handles the following file formats for spectrum files: .z80, .sna, .tap, .tzx and also allows them to be played within a .zip.  For those looking for the true Spectrum experience, .tap files can be loaded at a variety of speeds depending on how patient you are.  Whilst all these features alone would be great, Marvin manages to bring another surprise out of the bag…

Marvin’s killer feature, is the ability (from within the package) to connect to the World of Spectrum website, opening up a massive catalogue of software, which except for titles where there is a copyright issue or no permission, are able to be accessed/downloaded from within Marvin.  Should you be interested in Spectrum emulation on the desktop, you can visit the World of Spectrum here.  It’s a great site and a fantastic resource for your Spectrum needs!

Outrun - At the time these Spectrum graphics blew me away! Now my Spectrum fits in my pocket thanks to Marvin and Android!

Since Marvin has been awarded “app of the week” I think it goes without saying that its a great app.  Emulation is accurate in both speed and sound emulation.  For me Marvin brings back happy computing memories of years gone by with the World of Spectrum integration meaning that I have a massive library of software at my fingertips.

Today’s game player may never remember a time where the “save game” feature was rare and Marvin provides a very handy “save snapshot” option which will effectively dump the spectrum memory to a file, allowing you to continue your game where you left it.

Kempston emulation worked well, although I am not keen on the touch screen of modern smart  phones.

I suppose this highlighted the only flaw in Marvin and is the fault of HTC itself, not Marvin. It can sometimes challenging to play a game with a touch screen virtual keyboard and I would prefer a “solid keyboard” to the touch screen affair that HTC provides.  If only the HTC released a phone with the same size screen as the Desire and a pull out mini-keyboard……

Marvin comes highly recommended to any ex-Spectrum user and whilst the younger generation may not appreciate the gfx of an old 8bit machine, oldies will be in tears as they remember happy computing times with a “Spectrum in your pocket” – thanks to Marvin!

If you are interested in Spectrum emulation on the desktop (and emulation in general) you should check out the Openbytes feature on Puppy Arcade 8.

The homepage/blog for Marvin can be found here and of course you can get Marvin from the marketplace.

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

Microsoft Mobile Strategy – Clear as mud?

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It would be of little surprise if I voiced my horrific experience of Windows mobile as I often cite it as a reason I will never have a Microsoft based phone again.  I think its safe to say that even the people who didn’t suffer it on a mobile device would have read the numerous complaints and bad press about it.  That was then, although it did take Steve Ballmer a considerable amount of time to finally be reported as saying:

Microsoft screwed up with Windows Mobile….

going on to say:

….This will not happen again.

You can read a report on that here although I cannot help but feel we have heard this all before.  “It will be better next time”?

That in itself wouldn’t be so bad, but forgetting some had to suffer the OS itself we also had the Microsoft Advocates telling us we had it all wrong (in the best of cases) and from the more dubious Microsoft faithful that we were merely liars and Microsoft haters.  I hoped that when Ballmer made the confession of sorts those Microsoft faithful would make an apology.  We didn’t get it of course, since they are far too busy doing the same thing with the latest product Microsoft is wanting to sell.  This is the issue here, whenever you see “zealot”, “hater” or similar, keep in mind that it could be because there is no counter argument and its merely an exercise in trying to deflect toxic comments away.  We saw it with Vista and we all know how that story played out.

I have often said that Microsoft is currently firing numerous projects in all directions, shooting in the dark if you will in the hope that it hits on success with one of them.  Look recently at the article I wrote on the Kin, and its the mobile strategy of Microsoft which I want to look at today.

Where are we today?

So we’ve moved on from Windows Mobile and today we are consuming Apple and Android based phones with a veracious demand, equalled only by the amount of applications developed for the platforms.  I think that the key to a successful mobile product it todays market is a diverse catalogue of 3rd party apps and (at least) perceived complete customization and personalization of the phone for the consumer.  Todays world seems to have (in many cases) the mobile phone being a creative expression of its owner, be it ringtones, wallpapers or anything else.  The article on the Kin posed the question that firstly a phone allegedly designed for a social generation seemed to lack some key features, but also to me the personalization of what was touted as being a “social phone” was not part of its feature.  The Kin also brought up the issue that it was another OS that Microsoft had developed for the market and it doesn’t appear to offer support for either the upcoming new Windows mobile platform nor the older version either.

The Microsoft product catalogue is now adding a another member (albeit in eventually two different versions), this time under the name Windows Embedded Handheld.  As is the way with Microsoft products, it’s not immediately clear what it is, what it does, who it is for or why, but as I’ve said many times in the past I think Microsoft believes if they can make something sound impressive people will believe it is, this was never more evident when we saw the early promotion of Windows 7, where we had some very fancy sounding names for what were essentially old features that already had 3rd party alternatives or in some cases already existed natively in Windows.

So back on topic Windows Embedded Handheld is Microsoft’s latest offering which is apparently designed for devices which could be such as shelf stacker’s in supermarkets to log stock.  Sound ok so far?  Well yes, lets forget about yet another mobile platform (to add to Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Mobile 7 , Kin’s OS and to a lesser extent the platform Zune runs on) and just consider that true to form with Microsoft, its not as straight forward as all that.

It’s reported that there will be two versions the first reported to be best thought of as an updated version of Windows Mobile 6.5 for business and then it will follow with a second later in the year which will be based from Windows Embedded Handheld 7.

Great stuff?, another two platforms and I expect people would be more confused if Microsoft merely had a simple release since clarity doesn’t seem to be the Microsoft way.  Just look towards the take-away style menu of Windows 7 or Microsoft’s office application?  Its this first “new” implementation of Windows Embedded Handheld going to be Microsoft’s last stab at getting some money out of Winmob 6.5 at the expense of the end user who may purchase it now?  To me that would see the case, although with the 2nd version coming later this year based on Windows Mobile 7 technology, you may find yourself a guinea pig on a brand spanking new Windows platform.  One only has to cast ones mind back a few years to Vista to remember how that felt.

Cnet are reporting that Microsoft will be offering a “migration path” (yep we remember those) but it still seems in the case of XP, users are not particularly keen on treading it since they don’t want to pay the troll who lives under the bridge for passage.  Cnet had this to say on the subject:

Microsoft has promised some “migration path” between the current Windows Mobile 6.5 and that software, but isn’t giving details.

Which should come as no surprise to anyone.

Ina Fried, a writer who I not only have much respect for but find her work very interesting goes on to say:

All of these different operating systems create a headache for Microsoft watchers and maybe for some businesses trying to figure out where to spend their time.

To which I add (as this comment was said in the context of business) its exactly the same for the home consumer, Microsoft does seem to love it’s complex menu of options for a single package.

The future of Microsoft on mobile devices

Of course in the meantime, we are awaiting this new Windows Mobile platform.  Although who the “we” is, is anyones guess as Apple and Android phones increase in popularity daily.  Regular readers of this site will remember me often saying (in respect of Microsoft) “too little too late”.  I said it when they tried to jump on the iPod fever with the Zune, I said it when they tried to have some of Google’s success with Bing.  I recently said it when they tried to “be cool with the kids” with the Kin and I am saying it now in respect of Microsoft’s entire strategy:

Microsoft, your mobile strategy is a mess.  You are throwing concepts/idea’s against established and respected brands, your reputation proceeds you and whilst you may have the funds to keep the ideas coming, it is your investors and your global reputation that will continue to suffer.

That’s just the opinions of (me) a writer in my small part of cyberspace, but since I am potentially a customer, isn’t it about time Microsoft starts getting a little direction to try to win back (and in an honest way) the consumer who is as disappointed as they are confused with Microsoft’s product range?  I am sure detractors would like to claim that I am a “hater” so I never intend to buy Microsoft products, so to them I would ask, please correct anything in this article you feel is wrong.  I would welcome such correction.

I could have it all wrong, if I have I would love to hear your views, but lets take a look at how the impending Windows Mobile is being seen by other potential consumers over here.

I think the fact that it’s even a question being asked is an indicator of how WM in general will be more or less overlooked by the consumer once there are all those versions to wade through…


I’m somewhat reserving judgmental on WP7 since there is very little known about it, but suffice to say not everyone is jumping up and down happily and waiting for this thing to come out. Sure, Microsoft finally gave us something after all these years and it looks half-decent to pretty, but for me personally, I can’t imagine how I could have been less underwhelmed by the announcement. There is nothing ‘Microsoft’ or even totally unique about WP7, it’s just a slight evolution of the social network OS paradigm we’ve seen before from the competition in the last two or three years.

or how about the writer of the article, who talks about Photon screenshots says:

As far as I can tell, they just look like WM6.5 with a new layer of paint on top….

But then anyone who read the numerous articles about Vista/7 will be no stranger to the allegation of “lipstick on a pig”.

Do Apple or providers of phones with Android have anything to worry about from Microsoft’s mobile offerings?  I don’t think so.  Want proof?  Find an ex-Windows Mobile user and ask them if they would consider going back.  Ask the person who is after an Android or the Apple customer.  Its hard to see how Microsoft will ever make an inroad here again and I find myself repeating….too little too late.  The question is, how much longer can Microsoft afford to “shoot in the dark” with the hope of striking on a product that the masses want?

What is Microsoft’s mobile devices strategy?

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

Trial – A mobilephobics view of Android (complimented with the HTC Hero)

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My beloved HTC Hero (or as T-Mobile calls it, the G2) A great device that coupled with Android has made Windows Mobile a distant memory.

Mobilephobia, can that be a word?  It certainly described my view of mobile phones in the past.  I never liked the idea of being contactable where-ever I was and the “advantages” such a having Net access on, proved to be rather a let down.  So I continued my dislike of phones.

There are two words  in relation to phones and fear, one being Nomophobia – which is the fear of being out of touch (the opposite of me) and the other telephonophobia – the fear of all phones.  For the purposes of this article I will use my term of Mobilphobia.

Those of you who read Openbytes a few years ago will remember my shocking experiences of Windows Mobile, which whilst I should say “complimented with” the MDA Mail, I think its far more accurate to say “slapped together with”  The experience was awful, constant crashes, unresponsive system, lack of any real functionality.  I could go on, I wont.  This article is in regards to my Andoid and HTC experience which has completely changed my view of mobile phones (and indeed mobile surfing et al)

The Android operating system is based on Linux (as if you didn’t know) and that was evident from the moment I booted it up.  Smooth, fast operation and rock solid stability.  This is not a review of Android per say and more to list what I consider essential, decent apps for it.

Can IRC work on a mobile phone?

Simple answer, yes.  One of the measuring sticks as to how useful the phone would be to me was the facility to use IRC.  Last year I bought a Netbook specifically to take away on holiday and keep up with my online presence, however I was looking for something a little less large.

Ive tried a few IRC apps for the HTC Hero and the award for the best one would be DaraIRC which is currently in version 1.1.0, simple and effective.  Android happily lets IRC run in the background whilst I get on the other things.  The only thing Dara lacks is the ability to set your password automatically for registered nicks and unfortunately upon login have to use the “/msg nickserv identify” command. Dara does log chat either nor will it allow copy and paste, but hey this is a mobile app and keeping it simple is probably for the best.   Small issues though for a fantastic, FREE client.

You can visit DaraIRC homepage here:

Mobile Blogging?

After my sucess with IRC, I had little doubt that I would run into difficulties with updating Openbytes via the mobile.  Wordpress offered the software (free) that allows you to post to your blog.  Its simple clean interface allows control over your WordPress account without having to do it via a browser.  One word of warning though, when your posts are in draft form on your mobile they are only stored locally.  I would like to see an option to upload them prior to publishing (or maybe Ive missed that option on the WordPress software)

You can get the software here:

Twitter – Tweeting on the go?

Peep is the default package that was bundled with Android on the HTC.  I won’t bore you with a review of something so simple, but it does its job well and integrates with Android perfectly to tell me when new Tweets arrive in.

RSS? – No problem!

Keeping ontop of my RSS feeds was simple with PureRSS, it can be set to update at regular intervals and I am alerted to new posts in the same way as new tweets or new emails.


I won’t continue on as this is not so much a review but more of my thoughts on a subject which Ive had strong opinions on in the past (Mobile phone computing)  Whilst my Winmob experience probably prevented me from getting excited about it in the past, Android and the HTC has changed all that.  I can now be productive on a mobile and whilst the touch screen is not the best keyboard in the world for me, I’m getting used to it and am certainly productive if Im on the train or wanting to keep up my online presence whilst on the move.

The HTC/Android will certainly be taking the place of the Netbook when I go away on holiday this year and whilst I am sure most (if not all) of what I’ve said is “old news” for the regular and devoted mobile phone users, you have to understand that I paid no real interest in the market after my experiences of Windows Mobile.

Goblin –