May 27th, 2006


cell phone user interface

Shortly after we arrived in New Zealand, I picked up a mobile phone for me (Amy already had one from the last time she was here). It's a prepaid phone, so I only pay for what I use and I pretty much only ever use text messaging (20 cents to send a message). So far this has cost me a grand total of about $2.50 per month, and I started with $15 free credit.

When I got the phone, I picked up the one that was pretty much bottom of the barrel (Motorola C118). I don't care about 95% of the crap they shove into phones these days, so I don't want to pay for extras I don't use.

Anyway, I just now composed a message to Amy with a couple of addresses of places she wanted me to look up. This took me a few minutes to type into the phone using the ever so ergonomic keypad text input. Now, usually when you send a message you hit Done, the phone says "Send now?", you press Yes, then it confirms that the message has been sent with a little gratuitous animation. Not this time. It asked "Send now?", I pressed Yes, then it immediately said "Outbox full" and returned me to the phonebook. Huh? What outbox? Why is it full? Did it send my message, or not?

I poked through the phone menus, which is a bit like looking for a poorly labeled box in a room where you can only peer through the tiny keyhole in the door, and found the text message outbox. Sure enough, it had 20 entries, every message that I've sent with the phone since I got it. I had no idea that it was storing text messages that I had already sent. 20 messages must be the limit for its tiny little brain. The message that I just tried to send wasn't there, so I concluded that it had not been sent.

I cleared the outbox, composed the message once again (taking another few minutes because of the detailed info in it), and this time sent it successfully. I included a couple of extra unkind words about my phone, too, for good measure.

Amy just wrote back and wondered why I had sent the info twice, and why was my phone stupid? She'll read this later.