Archives for posts with tag: Mobile phone

I have appalling mobile reception in the west of Ireland. I use my mobile phone a lot. I work from home. It’s not a great combination. Having to wander around the house looking for an extra half a bar of signal when you really want to be in front of your laptop is unproductive. Thankfully, I had a Vodafone Sure Signal box to boost the mobile signal. Until it broke, with Vodafone no longer supporting it and no longer selling the boxes. Yay!

I have been asking Vodafone when they’re bringing in Wifi calling for about 18 months, at least. Wifi calling lets you piggy back on your wifi signal to make mobile calls. The infrastructure provider Eir has had it for ages. Every time I phoned or tweeted Vodafone the rep either didn’t know or said it was on the list but couldn’t give a date. Aargh!

I tweeted Vodafone again about it recently, and some kindly soul – not associated Vodafone at all – saw the tweet and said that Vodafone had actually been providing it for ages, at least for iOS phones, which I have. Well, would you believe it, it’s just a setting in your phone and takes 10 seconds to do. Found it, and now have blissfully clear mobile calls from the home. Hello 21st century!

Pity Vodafone Ireland isn’t a bit more joined up. According to this kindly soul, about half of Ireland’s mobile subscribers can use wifi calling to take and make calls, but maybe 1% know about it.

Make that 1.00001% :-).

I’m sure you’ve seen the picture of the adapted Maslow’s hierarchy triangle with wifi and internet added at the bottom. It makes me smile when I look at it.

Back in the late 90’s in Ireland there were vast pockets of no or poor signal, rendering mobiles useless. This was especially noticeable when you left the city for the country.

These days the mobile providers claim coverage in the 90’s per cent. That has to be by population, concentrated in the cities as they are, rather than by geography. In 2018, in the west of Ireland, there are still large swathes of land where you can’t use your mobile. One of them is my house, in fact it’s most of my small town, what you might call a village in the UK. Now I think of it, there are plenty of offices in central London too where you can’t get a signal…

Vodafone can tell you my area has poor coverage, which is why I’ve used their Sure Signal box, plugged into my landline modem, to boost our mobile to a belligerent 5 bars. Lovely.

Except that the box has stopped working, is no longer sold or supported, with no substitute technology solution in the offing.

Which brings me back to Maslow’s pyramid. I work from home a lot, and use my mobile phone a lot, or I used too…

The Bum Call, otherwise known as the Butt Call by our North American friends, is that call you didn’t mean to make, when your phone shoved in your back jeans pocket feels pressure on one of its key keys – see what I did there? – and accidentally calls someone. It’s a mild annoyance.

Sometimes your bum call is the last person you spoke to.┬áSometimes it’s a completely random person, and you wonder what fidgeting and contortion combination you made as you sat that would cause your phone to navigate through a phone book, select a person and call them. Amazing.

True story: when I worked in Dublin as head of marketing of a software company I would occasionally answer the switchboard number if it was ringing out. On this occasion, I answered a bum call from a guy I had just been in a somewhat strained meeting with and he was bitching – about me! – on the phone to his mate in the car, for about 10 minutes. How cool is that! It’s the kind of frank, unguarded feedback we almost never get.

Then again, if you’re a pay-as-you-go customer and you’re only as good as your phone credit, the bum call costs you money as well as being annoying. As my son said to me the other day: ‘I accidentally bum-called Adam and it cost me a euro.’ That’s a big deal when you top up at 10 euro a time.

The bum call is a bit like the bum note in music. Surprising, unexpected, unwanted, annoying.


The other day I went into my home office before┬ástarting work and noticed that one of my apps required an update before it would work. I think I was checking in for a flight. Anyway, I’m a bit lazy with updating apps, so I decided to update all 20-something apps that needed updating at the same time.

I plugged the phone into my computer and starting work, thinking nothing of it. Ten minutes later I get a message from my phone company that I have used up 80% of my monthly data allowance, and I might want to keep an eye on it…I did, I never exceed my data allowance.

Then I realised that – d’oh – I wasn’t connected to my home network wirelessly. The night before I was low on battery and, not wanting the battery to give up the ghost before the alarm went off, I switched off the wireless and the bluetooth.

Call me old fashioned but I would have thought that a genuinely smart smartphone would go through the following process in about 4 milliseconds:

  • Do you know what, this guy’s downloading a ton of stuff, he’s not connected to the wireless and his wifi is not switched on
  • Location accuracy isn’t great without wireless but I can tell from his GPS location that he’s at home, which is odd
  • I’m going to send him a quick message to let him know that he might want to activate his wifi and connect to his wireless to save on data charges…

Those kinds of situations where the phone never forgets but the human does…it’s not that much to ask, is it?