While we were on vacation in Utah my cell phone disappeared. “Oh,” you might think, “That’s a shame. Good thing it was just a cell phone.” The problem is it was not just a cell phone. That little black brick was our family’s Mobile Command Center. Since 2006 I’ve used it and its older brother before it to keep track of and control nearly every aspect of our family’s lives.
I’m currently using my sister’s old Razor and although it’s very cute and I’m really grateful to borrow it, it’s missing a few of the things that I’ve come to feel are necessary in a Mobile Family Command Center. Here is a partial list:
-Auto-sync calendaring connecting my phone calendar with my home calendar and Dan’s work, phone and home calendars
-A complete list of every contact I may ever need with their phone numbers and addresses included that auto-syncs over the air waves as soon as I update it
-Documents and spreadsheets of just about any piece of information I could want
-All kinds of applications that do all kinds of things I don’t really need but have learned to depend on.
-Cool personal ringtones for all my family members and friends
-A slide-out qwerty keyboard for text messaging
Don’t forget the fact that I feel kind of violated that someone is walking around with pictures and video of my kids I don’t have backups for, all of my recipes, emails and a lot of personal information.
When we realized it was really gone, like gone gone, like obvious-someone-had-pocketed-it gone, Dan sent out a command to do a remote wipe of all my data from the phone. We got a message back saying the wipe was successful when someone turned the phone on at about 4:30am the morning after it disappeared so that gives me comfort.
Now I’ve got my Razor and a paper calendar that I’m madly filling in with all my info from outlook and I feel so old-school. Remember this? At that point I had just begun my dive into techno-mom-dom. I’m really quite dependent now and I’m actively seeking a new phone.
The PR people from Verizon asked me a while ago if I wanted to try out a few of their smart phones and possibly review them. Now that I’m actually considering which phone to buy I think that’s a great idea so for the next several weeks I’ll be trying out some cool new devices and if I find anything worth telling, I’ll let you know.
My breached Command Center was an HTC Touch Pro from Verizon running Windows Mobile. In our area we get much better reception with Verizon than our friends who have other providers. The customer service has always been decent and most of our family members use Verizon so calls to them are free.
I have to say I was not uber impressed with the customer service we got when I lost my phone. For one thing, they could not perform a remote data wipe or track the phone’s GPS. For another, the guy at the call center told me that if the phone were turned in, they had no system in place for finding me and returning it based on the phone’s serial number. Through further investigation I found out that this was false. A kid named Dean in the West Valley store told me that they always do their best to get returned phones back to their rightful owners.
They were also unable to reactivate my service to my new/used phone until the following day because we had already deactivated, reactivated and deactivated the stolen phone that day and there is a hard-coded limit on the number of times you can do that. Apparently no supervisor has the power to override this so I was phoneless on vacation for a full day. I know, WAAAH, right? Still, it seemed strange to me and no one could give a good explanation as to why the policy was in place.
Still, we’re fairly loyal to Verizon and to phones that can play nice with Outlook. So, I’m on the hunt. Any suggestions?