Mobile Telecommunication for a Flat Earth

The first things that I need to get across are 1)  I am a technophile, more to the point I love gadgets, I have a very real need for new things to play with on a regular basis.  2)  My mobile phone network of choice is Orange, not for any special reason, it’s just that that’s the one I landed on.  3)  My contract is due for renewal in July and I’m in the market for an upgrade.

While trying not to deviate from the righteous path of rant into the dark fields of viral marketing Nokia’s new N97 has me Greasy excited.

It would need to really, considering the last Nokia product I owned was a Gen 1 N95 which was so flaky I nearly ate it.  While in the bath. I eventually had a hissy fit with it in Blockbuster car park, took the battery out and refused to put it back in.  It was at this point I vowed I would never own another Nokia product.

But seriously God-damn that’s one awesome looking gadget!

So any way, I’m thinking woot!  awesome new toy just around the corner, let’s have a look at it  on the Orange website.  Hmm, not on the phones coming soon page, strange you’d think they’d have made more of a fuss about such an important product.  So I checked The Feed (Faux corporate blog), one entry, answered with possibly the most insulting, patronising answer a marketing drone could muster. Not the type of coverage you’d expect for a device being hailed as the next big step in mobile technology.

Finally, feeling defeated I turned to google for my answers.  The answer I found has left me disappointed, and will probably lead to my changing my service provider.  Among its many features the N97 has integrated 3G Skype support, meaning it would allow owners to talk for an unlimited amount of time for free, anywhere in the world.  This is no doubt making many mobile service operators tremble as should it catch on it would ultimately negate international call charges.

Using orange as an example, to call Australia using an Orange mobile phone costs a whopping 49 pence per minute!  Any where in the rest of the world other than the US, Australia or Europe costs almost a pound a minute.   At the moment therefore calling abroad from a mobile would only ever be a final option.  Using a Voice over Internet Protocol such as Skype however places all locations under one price-band.  zero pence per minute.  That’s only short term as well.  Should this trend continue, as VoIP phones become more main stream we will eventually see all call charges for become a thing of the past.

This doesn’t really relate to me at the moment.  There is no-one I really need to call livng overseas who I really need to talk to, VoIP isn’t yet so popular that I can abandon regular calling.  That isn’t and should never be the point though.  My point is that a company who I Choose to patronise is refusing to provide me with a product I want, and am willing to pay for because it cannot dictate to me the way the product will be used.

2nd Hand Games [Waffle-o-tron]

Recently HMV announced that it was to start accepting used games as store credit against any of the items in in the shop, and if you wade throught the extended marketdrone-speak in the MCV article you’ll notice a stunning and somewhat amazing thing; they talk about reselling games in their fancy new oh-so-achingly modern stores but they ever once use the words ‘second hand’ or ‘used’.

As a society I think we’ve become used to doublespeak and the depredations of marketing predators, but are we so vain that we have to revert shady words like ‘pre-owned’ to justify ourselves? Pretty much everyone I know never refers to games as anything except ‘pre-owned’ in this context, myself included. Despite the glaring semantic problem that the phrase pre-owned evokes, it just seems dishonest.

But ’tis not just us proles! The whole damn videogaming establishment is up to it, even in an article complaining about them Mr. David Braben himself shows that he is infected with this terrible meme. Mr. Braben’s abject hatred for us consumers has been well documented in his insistance on forcing the great satan of Lenslok upon us poor Spectrum owners, so maybe he is part of this terrible conspircy to protect us from feeling like a herd of filthy unwashed cockerneys buying our soiled chimneysweep jackets from stalls on Portobello Road.

Back to the point! HMV is staring to sell second hand games and Mr. David Braben thinks this is bad because it stuffs up sales figures. Maybe that’s true, but I have learned one thing in my years of gaming; nobody buys the good games anyway, see Beyond Good and Evil, Psychonauts, Terra Nova and Limbo of the Lost.
Maybe not that last one.