Sunday, November 15, 2009

Verizon on replacing lost Blackberries; an oddity on the engineering of Comcast cable boxes (and why they fail)

Well, here goes the saga of a lost Blackberry, one which vanished during a shopping trip. I get to the Verizon store, and find that if I want service transferred to another Blackberry, it costs almost $500, although it’s refundable if the old Blackberry shows up and the new one is returned. With the “insurance” you can get a new one at the old price but only in two days by FedEx.

Well, the Smartphone 9630 is smaller, and curiously there is no VZAccessManager CD. And Windows Vista isn’t smart enough to find it on Vzam (it does find the drivers for most new hardware). There is a card in the new box telling you to go to, and then you have to locate the right model yourself. Then comes a long download, and a multi-step remove-and-install-and-verify charges before you can finally go online on the laptop with the new Smartphone blackberry.

But one good thing, the wireless access on the Vista machine is much faster than was the big old 8830. A smaller Blackberry is easier to carry properly in-case when out and probably less likely to be lost or misplaced.

Probably the Secret Service has made sure that the president’s blackberry is easy to carry and get out without being misplaced.

Here’s another technical weirdo. I try to connect an old radio shack cordless phone, and instant a few cable channels drop off the Comcast box (not all of them, just a few less stable ones). I disconnect it and they come back. It looks like Comcast cable boxes are very sensitive to voltage changes, and this behavior may mean that a surge protector has failed.

Update: Monday

Well, the clunky old 8300 showed up tucked away deep inside the front door space of the car. So Verizon accepted the new phone (which is much better) back for a full refund, and I have to wait for 20 elapsed months to be eligible for upgrade.

Nevertheless, the new driver from works for the old Blackberry (it probably would work for President Obama's Blackberry) and it is MUCH better. It gives you usage detail and, for what it is worth, if finds more local networks, including a local business which I would not use illegally. (Okay, maybe that's a security problem; if I weren't a good guy -- more postings to come on Wireless security on my Internet security blog.) Also, the sites pull up much faster (so it's the driver, not the Blackberry itself), including Blogger sites now load fast in wireless. So I gained something from all this.

If you do buy an older Blackberry for Verizon, use the VZAM website; don't use the CD. But Windows Vista doesn't find it automatically. VZAM has separate drivers for Windows 7, which I believe it will load automatically when I get it.

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