Orange are up to something…

The Orange Project

Recieved a email from Orange the other day. All it said was…

We’re creating an something. Something secret. Something big. if you’re interested, click here

This leads to a page with the following details.

On July 17, 18, and 19 we'll be working on a unique project at a secret foreign location and would love your help. You will work as part of a team constructing an amazing installation in a stunning landscape. You'll be expected to get your hands dirty – but don't worry, you don't need specialist skills, enthusiasm is enough. The whole thing will be filmed and broadcast on national television, as well as reaching an international audience on the internet.

If you'd like the chance to be selected for the casting session, which takes place on Wednesday 12 July in London, and to be part of filming this amazing experience, click on the 'next' button below.

This opportunity is available to anyone over 18. You must have a have a valid passport, be free from 16 to 20 July and be willing to pay for your travel to the casting session in London.

If you are chosen for the final project then we'll be paying for you to fly abroad to our secret (European) location and we'll put you up in a hotel. However, you'll have to pay for your travel to Gatwick Airport.

Entry form closes at midday 10 July.

And curiousity may have killed the cat, but I've signed up deciding that I can drop out at anytime if I really wanted to. Anyway, I'll have my camera to hand if I do get invited to the casting session this Wednesday. Oh and for those interested, I signed up as a self-confessed work-a-holic.

update I got my orange email today saying I was not selected for the orange project. Oh well, I'm sure it was something very naff anyway.

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Why is there no EDGE coverage in London

When I was in America. I was suprised when my little data service icon on my SPV M500, changed from G (gprs) to E (edge). Generally GPRS delivers ISDN type speeds while EDGE delivers closer to slow Cable Speeds. In actual life, I was getting about analogue modem speeds (33.6k) on GPRS and single channel ISDN speeds (64k) on EDGE. Which isn't bad, because that's about the same as I got on 3G with my Sanyo S750. But what I don't get is why there is no EDGE coverage in London? I've been around and never noticed the icon change ever. While on Cingular in America I was always on EDGE and even out here in Bristol, EDGE is available once you get closer to central Bristol. Maybe it is the 3G networks pushing out inbetween technologies like EDGE? I do kind of miss having 3G (UMTS) on my phone but having Wifi is a huge plus and I'm honestly finding more use for Wifi than 3G recently.

Talking about EDGE and America, I'm a little worried about my next Orange bill. See I didn't use the phone much for phoning but I did use the data services a lot. I was trying to arrange the @media Social venue from outside the country and needed to email back and forth. When I looked at the Cingular roaming call charges on the Orange site, it seemed to be about 10 for a meg which is a super con but I'm hoping that I never touched that 1meg limit. I mean the phone was on EDGE a lot but wasn't actually transfering any data, so it should be ok. Anyway, I'll find out within the next 2 weeks exactly how much it all come up to. I'm expecting a large one but mainly because of calls from here to the America, ironically.

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SPV E600 came yesterday, thanks Orange

Like Orange promised, the SPV E600 did come on Monday and I'm now a proud owner of one of the best little mobile phones you can get at the moment.

Poil asked for a list of my installed applications, well here you go.

  • PocketRSS 2.x (RSS reader)
  • iMov Messenger (jabber)
  • Minimo 0.14 alpha (WWW Browser)
  • Dynamo 2 (task switcher) – might remove this
  • Keypass (password keeper)
  • Betaplayer (video player)
  • Agile Messenger (jabber) – can't get it connecting over xmpp at the moment
  • VNC viewer (vnc)
  • Wififofum 2.2 (wireless scanner)
  • Wifi Tunes 0.4 (itunes browser)
  • GSPlayer 2.x (music player)

My only gripes so far have been the power button which allows you to put the M600 in standby mode as well as power off. Standby mode also stops any music which you may have been playing. Its not a big issue because GSplayer and even windows media player 10 have display off options. Another beef is the Today screen which has been hijacked by Orange for there weird menu thing. Oh and one last thing, my Bluetooth Keyboard doesn't have drivers for Windows mobile 5, so it fails to work at the moment. Otherwise I'm totally happy. Simple things like the ability to automaticly restart music after a phone call is great. You can check out all my SPV M600 pictures here. Thanks again Orange, hopefully next time I come to upgrade the process won't be so painful.

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A update on the SPV M600 query

I got it! yep and it was well worth the wait!

So a quick update on whats happening with the SPV M600 which I'm still currently trying to get. So expansys emailed me on Wednesday and said they have 9 phones in stock, would you want us to deliver it to you tomorrow. I decided against it because it would mean a change of contract and everything would have to go through expansys instead of Orange directly. This may seem stupid if I really wanted the phone that badly but actually the new contact would have cost me extra every month, therefore ignoring all the time and money I've spent with Orange for the last 3 years. So I thought I would search the London Orange Business stores for M600's. I visited the Holburn, Cheapside, Oxford Circus and Woolwich business centres multiple times this week, after getting some hot tips about the M600 being delivered to those stores. Obviously all the trips ended up in no phones. I think the closest I got to the M600 was the Woolwich store, where they sold out the evening before I phoned up.

Anyway I decided do things a little differently after reading Dan's comment about holding Orange to ransom about moving to Vodafone. I decided to call Oranges, I'm moving to another network line. And it worked out well for myself.

They agreed to keep me on my current contract but change the amount of free text messages I get every month and give me the phone for free. At the time (yesterday – Thursday) I was dismissive of the offer because I thought the phone wouldn't be in stock for another month. So agreed that Orange should call me when theres actual M600's in stock which they can deliver the next day.

I decided to keep search and phoning Orange stores looking for any left over stock of the M600, just incase (i ride past 3 of them in the mornings). But the same women who I spoke to yesterday on the phone at Orange, called me mid morring and said what I've been waiting for months. We have stock of the SPV M600 would you like me to send you one on a free upgrade? I almost started laughing, yes indeed!

So now Monday at sometime my new phone should come and I will finally have the phone I've been waiting for. I just hope Orange don't jack me around because I know Expansys have another deliver of M600's on Tuesday and I will be very tempted to just call them up, unless one of the stores gets it in first. Geez sounds like a endless loop, doesn't it? Lets just hope Orange delivers on its promise. As I have a load of applications ready to install on it.

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Orange why can I not have a strikingly compact M600?

SPV M600

Orange are simply taking the piss now. Not only do they have the phone I want in stock but they will not sell it to me because its classed as a business phone. Yeah how stupid is that? Tell me Orange what about the SPV M500, SPV M2000, 3G mobile Office card and the SPV M5000. Hummm well Orange? What adds to the insult is the fact that Orange France are selling the SPV M600 as normal and that Orange UK won't be releasing this phone out of the business tarrif till sometime in Summer at least (so I've been told). Anyway, I've bitten the bullet and bought the phone via a 3rd party. Expansys reckon they have the phone ready to go, so I've bought it from them under the understanding that I can return it within 30days if I'm not happy with it. I can also cancel the order if Orange get it before Expansys, but I very much douht it. So yeah goodbye to the Nokia N80, its a good phone but its not coming on to Orange till late May now I hear, Vodafone in May.

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Should I wait even longer or buy a mobile now?

In my overdue quest to get a new mobile phone I've started to get closer to a decision. Basicly I can even wait for the new range of Nokia Nseries phones or get a Nokia 6280 in a few weeks or even get a Orange SPV M500 for free right now.

So before going into details, my ideal list in order for the phone I want to get next.

  • 3G/GPRS access
  • Bluetooth dialup
  • 2 megapix camera
  • Hot swappable SD or MiniSD support
  • Screen resoultion of 320×240 or over
  • Mpeg4 or 3GP Video recording
  • SVG tiny support
  • Java (MDIP2.0) support
  • Media playback
  • Bluetooth 2.0 support
  • Quadband support (GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
  • USB mass storage ability
  • FM radio
  • MMC support
  • EDGE support
  • 3G video calling support

So first up why not the SPV M500 now? I've always liked this device, since the first day I saw one my students with one about 2 years ago but… Well you see its got no 3G only GPRS access. Not even EDGE which would be useful when I go to America or parts of Europe. The problem seem to be that the PocketPC and Windows Mobile range seems to be lacking 3G(UMTS) because the American operators are obsessed with EVDO not UMTS. So there not making many devices which support 3G at this moment. Ok that aside, its runs on PocketPC like my HP Ipaq 5550 but on the positive side the form factor is small enough to fit nicely into my pocket. But then again its exactly like my Ipaq which makes having both a pointless idea. So, oh well say good bye to that mobile. Also for the same reasons, all the SPV range is not suited to me, as they have no 3g or are too much like my ipaq. I was thinking about getting the M500 and simply swapping my sim card in and out of the Sanyo S750 when I need 3G, but its not practical, so on with the next phone…

Nokia 6280

Next phone is the Nokia 6280. Now I saw this phone when I was browsing around the orange store the other day. And its pretty damm sweet. Most of the things I want are in place, even EDGE/USB2 and high rez screen support. Its odd because I only came across this phone because the sales people in MPC kept telling me that the Nokia N70 has a better screen resoultion than the Nokia 6880 which it does not! So why don't I buy this one? Well theres something about the Series 40 operating system which means it won't run Symbian applications. Which means I'll have to run only Java applications. This is ok, but I would like to have Opera and a decent Jabber client on my phone, instead of relying on my ipaq each time. Also this phone feels like a phone which looks like it will be eclipsed by the Nokia NSeries phones (N71, N80, N90, etc). People who read my blog regularly will know I love the Nokia N90 but can not justify the stupid price which it sells at. I've also been thinking its actually too heavy and I'm not a fan of flip phones. I actually prefer Slide phones like my Sanyo S750. What else puts me off the Nokia 6820? well video recording at QCIF resoultion and only to 3GP format not Mpeg4. Specially when you compare it to the Nokia N80.

Nokia N80

And I'm really warming to the N80 now, even more so that the N90. I mean it seems to have everything I need plus the price seems to be about the same as the Nokia 6280. So it should cost between 50-100 pounds on Orange when it finally comes out. Which looks like March now. However maybe its worth it for wireless on a phone. Certainly if Skype and Wifi become a real alternative as Ben suggests. Either way, the Wifi, universial plug n play (geez I hope you can easily turn it on and off) and the 3 megapix camera all seem to be future proof enough for me. I just need to wait or hope the SPV range adds 3G to its smaller range.

Interestingly Infosync has a run down of the top 5 Orange phones.

Why oh why is there no 3G on this new device? Oh yes I remember, because there only interested in a american audience. EVDO and EDGE versions but no 3G anywhere to be seen. Shame because I would instantly buy this phone. i-mate Jamin

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I kind of wish the Orange RSS buttons would die

If you have not seen the huge debate about the RSS Orange buttons for Windows Vista and IE7, go check it out.

I do agree with Jane in this statement.

The choice of what icon to use is challenging because it should be universally symbolic, but today there is no single icon for that represents feed. Instead there’s a variety of mostly orange rectangles with the words “XML”, “RSS”, “ATOM”, “FEED”, or “Subscribe.”

and it sounds like the Microsoft RSS team really is starting to get the i18n (internationalisation) message loud and clear.

Our goal is to make sure that the icon is something that is understandable by all of our users: novice, advanced, developer, business, international, etc. These are the principles that we are using when selecting an icon:

3. It avoids the use of text. Icons that have text do not generally work well for a global audience. For example, an icon with the text “FEED” may be cryptic to users whose primary language is non-Latin based. Text is very important to support an icon (in tool-tips or accompanying text). In English, we will be using the verb “subscribe” fairly widely whenever text is appropriate.

But I dont think there quite there with the 5 orange icons jane is presenting on the same entry. We have opted for the Orange RSS button on all our language sites across the BBC Worldservice now. There was lots of talk about changing this, for example BBC persian has the orange button which might be better written in Persian like the rest of the navigation side bar? But if you look out on to the web, you rarely find such examples to follow. I'll be interested to see what else Jane and the Microsoft RSS team come up with in the future, but I do wish the orange aspect would die away. I see RSS as more a red thing than Orange now.

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