This is why cell phone companies irritate me

I finally got around to upgrading to new cell phone and plan. Sprint, Samsung M520, SERO plan — nothing fancy. The phone isn’t even quite as awful as I had been expecting.

But, as suspected, adding on a Phone-As-Modem (PAM) data plan (to enable internet access from my laptop and N810) was a nightmare. In fact, because — well, I’ll spare you 40 minutes of various excuses from customer service — it ends up being “impossible” to add. So even though my phone supports it, and I’m grudgingly willing to fork over an extra $40/month ($960 for the term of my contract), Sprint’s billing system won’t take my money. Wooooonderful.

I suppose I could look at other cellular providers… But I have little faith that I’ll find better results elsewhere, or be able to do so without a week-long migraine. Perhaps AT&T and the rumored second-coming of the Jesus Phone will provide salvation. I still have concerns about Ma Bell’s less-than-immaculate hands, but this feels more and more like a strategy game… Jump there, hope the rest of the industry moves, and then jump somewhere else.

Oh well. At least for all my troubles I’ll have a slightly better cell phone with a nifty ringer for the next two years.

Apples and Orangeness

Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron” came out today (*checks clock* err, yesterday) — congrads to the Ubuntu community on the release! I just finished installing it under VMWare Fusion on my MacBook, and will upgrade my home and work Ubuntu desktops this weekend.

Installation was painless. I didn’t even need to edit xorg.conf and specify my monitor’s horizontal refresh rate! 🙂 Video, sound, and networking all worked. I must grumble a little bit, though, that the installer still can’t automagically detect the keyboard type, and instead presents a list with a zillion obscure variants (with a default selected). Maybe it’s just not possible… I remember how installers of yore used to do the same thing for mice (“Serial mouse? Bus Mouse? PS/2 protocol, or Logitech?”, etc.), but that all seems to Just Work now. Selecting my physical location is also slightly annoying; it might be neat to do a GeoIP lookup to guess… Anyway, both just small nitpicks.

One thing I am a little confused about is what (if any?) VMWare stuff needs to be done. In the past, the usual process was to install the guest OS, and then install VMWare Tools to get various things working. Now it seems like the Ubuntu installer has already done some of that… At least, it gave me vmware-specific video and mouse packages. But the desktop doesn’t resize when the VMWare window is resized, and VMWare’s Forums seem to have some arguments going on (hi Al!) in regards to their Tools stuff not working on Hardy and a perceived lack of support. So, I don’t know what’s up with that. Things seem to be working well enough that I’ll just use it as-is for a while, and then check back later when other people figure it out. Or maybe I’ll lazyblog about it, and hope someone comments. 🙂

P.S. Love the Heron artwork!