v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Vacation: Technology Fails!

myWind IT App
Before I go ahead and talk a bit about mobile access while abroad, I thought I would start off with the technology fails of the trip.  Some were completely avoidable, and some, not so much. I guess first I will tackle the issue of power.

The last time I vacationed I only vacationed with one device: my smartphone.  It was also a non-connected phone so the battery lasted a long time.  Thus, I only needed one power plug.  This time, since I have misplaced my converted, I only saw it fit to buy one replacement, not multiple.  How many could I possibly need?  Well, it turns out quite a few.  Since we both brought our phones, and iPads, and I brought my old 3G with me for music, I should have really bought more than one wall plug adapter for power. Maybe I should have also gotten ones that had multiple USB outlets because that's what was really needed.

When we were traveling by car this wasn't much of an issue  because I did bring a couple of cigarette power adaptors with me, so power wasn't a big deal. But, when we didn't have a rental car, the power really became an issue!  This bring me back to my second #fail of the trip: the batter on the Nexus 4.  At home I really don't think about it too much because I can plug in the car, at the office and at home. I've gotten in the habit of carrying my power plug with me, so that isn't an issue, but abroad, when we were out for 12-16 hours a day, that battery sure did show its true capacity!  I have to say, I really love android on the phone, and I am not sure how I could go back to iOS (in it's current simple state) for my smartphone needs, but there is one thing that is great about iPhones: Mophie Juice Packs that are in the shape of a case. Sure, you can buy a power brick backup and lug it with you, but how convenient is it when you want to pull out your phone to check where you are, take photos, and play some ingress? ;-)

The next thing that was  kind of a disappointment was  GPRS in Greece. Seriously?  Back when I was last in Greece they were actually ahead of the mobile telephony game.  I was expecting 3G at my grandmothers and up in the mountains, but all I got was GPRS...yeah, the thing that was cutting edge ten years ago.  Sure, I got 3G in the cities, but not where I was staying, even in the outskirts of Athens I was getting EDGE!  When we went to Mont Parnasse (a casino at the top of Mount Parnassos) to see the view of Athens, we had no mobile coverage.  Major #fail.

The slow GPRS and EDGE at certain places made it a necessity to seek out wifi in Greece.  Unlike the Netherlands (which had wicked fast wifi!), the Wifi at cafes in Greece was slooooow.  Sure, you could check out many text pages, get some map directions, and post a blog post in a somewhat reasonable amount of time, but uploading backups of your images to Flickr was a fool's errand. We were able to upload 10 images in 1 hour to flickr, and that ate up our battery (which wasn't stelar to begin with).

The last fail was that I needed a Tax ID to create account for Wind's  (Italy) android App.  Now, in Italy, maybe because of organized crime or something, in order to get a pre-paid SIM card you need to provide a Tax ID number (codice fiscale).  I was lucky enough to find a telecom employee who sold me a Wind SIM without one (even though I had one from an online generator). Of course I did have to show my passport and they needed a photocopy of it, but that's normal.  Then, when I download the Wind App for my phone (free), I see that I need an account.  OK, in order to create an account, I need my TaxID number.  Well... if I've already gotten a SIM card, don't you have my TaxID number? Can't I just tell you my phone number and create an account?  That's just plain silly on the part of the company.  I would have liked to have seen my usage while in Italy, and benefit from any promos that they had, but I guess I couldn't do it.

All things considered, there weren't that many technology fails during this trip.  Next time around: More  power adapters, and one or two external batteries to take with us!

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