the Life of Zim

13th July
written by dzimney

My wife and I recently switched from T-Mobile to Sprint for a couple of reasons. The first being that T-Mobile is scheduled to be consumed by AT&T and we’d rather get rid of our phones all together than go with AT&T. The second being that we just moved to Lawrence, KS and our T-Mobile service wasn’t quite as good as we’d hoped. So our first reason for the switch was in hopes of better service as Sprint’s headquarters are in Kansas City, not 45 miles away. As it turns out, Sprint service here in Lawrence is questionable. It’s been reasonably decent throughout the area, but that’s about it. The majority of the time we get about two out of four bars. We have service in more places that we had with T-Mobile, but where T-Mobile had service, the service was strong. So, I guess it’s a bit of a crap shoot either way.

With our new service, I’ve had to rework how I’ve connected Google Voice to my phone. As it turns out Sprint handles Google Voice a lot differently than T-Mobile did. Now, keep in mind, I have the option of keeping my Google Voice set up and how it connects to my mobile phone the same as I had it on T-Mobile. Essentially, I just used Google Voice as a second number that forwarded to my mobile phone and used Voice for my voice mail. The voice mail isn’t the greatest because it depends on a data connection to retrieve voicemails, but you gain Google’s transcriptions of your voicemail messages, which I think is amazing. I barely listen to voicemails any more because I just read them. Setting this up isn’t as simple as it was with T-Mobile (just a setting in the phone’s voice settings). You now have to check the proper settings in your online Google Voice settings and then call *28-XXX-XXX-XXXX (where the X’s are populated with your Voice number) from your mobile phone to redirect calls to voicemail.

But back to what you get with Sprint’s Google Voice integration…

Initially, I was a bit confused and annoyed with the integration. Somehow it just seemed like Sprint and Google’s way of disabling Google Voice calls from the phone, which they really have successfully done. However, I never really used that feature anyway, so I didn’t really care. What I did gain though, which was awesome, was the ability to have my Sprint phone number call in to my Google Chat account. Basically, when you integrate your Sprint and Google Voice accounts, you are given an option to use your mobile number as your Google Voice number. Your previous GV number is removed after 90 days if you do this (unless you pay Google $20 to keep the number, which seems reasonable to me). So, now that I have my mobile number set as my Google Voice number, if someone calls my Google Voice number which is my mobile number, it rings both my Google Chat account and my mobile phone. Why is this awesome? Well, because if I’m at my desk and have my Gmail open, I can answer the call with my computer. This is awesome for two reasons. First, because if I answer with my computer rather than my mobile phone, then the call is running through Google Voice rather than Sprint and so the call does not count against my monthly plan. It’s a free call. The second reason is that if I’m in an area that doesn’t have a good signal, such as my in-laws’ basement (where I’m currently working), I can answer a call with my computer that has a good Ethernet connection over my mobile phone that has a weak signal.

There do seem to be some quirky issues with the integration that I have yet to full figure out. For example, with the integration, my text messages are now sent through Google Voice, which is fine with me. However, having the option to have them run through my normal text messaging service on my mobile phone would be nice. Especially since Google Voice doesn’t support MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). Now it’s entirely possible this option exists, but like setting up voicemail forward (as described above) it doesn’t seem to be an easy thing to figure out.

So do I like my Sprint service better than T-Mobile? Probably not, but seeing how T-Mobile is going away, Sprint seems to fill in alright.
Do I recommend using the Sprint + Google Voice integration? I think the verdict is still out, but I’m leaning towards yes. I’m still playing around with the new set up and I wouldn’t be surprised if I change things around again. I’ve already changed the set up 2 or 3 times in the past week have had Sprint.

And for the record, in my comparison, I’m using the Nexus S 4G on Sprint and was using the Nexus S on T-Mobile.

24th February
written by dzimney

After getting Android Notifier working on my machine by installing OBEX, I installed Blueman on my Ubuntu 10.10 machine. I’m not sure why, but Blueman seems to work better with Android than Gnome Bluetooth. I like the interface of Gnome Bluetooth better than Blueman, but I could only get file transfers to run from Android to Ubuntu and not the other way around. Additionally, it’s fairly easy to change the download directory for Bluetooth file transfers to Ubuntu using Blueman. If anyone has a solution to either of these two issues, I’m all ears.

Anyway, back to Android Notifier. Once I installed Blueman, the notifier stopped working. Everything was still paired correctly and all that, but Notifier just wasn’t getting the messages. Turns out, Blueman seems to use an Indicator plugin that hijacks those notifications. Solution? Turn off the Indicator plugin. From what I can tell it doesn’t do much anyway… of course maybe I should retest sending/receiving files from my Nexus.


Right click on the Blueman icon in your Notification Area. Select Plugins. And now un-check Indicator from the list on the left side. Done.

Again, I don’t know if there are any adverse effects to turning off Indicator. But I can’t imagine it’ll break anything.

6th December
written by dzimney