August 1, 2007

I have a cell phone.
I have a cell phone I require for work.
I have a cell phone I require for work that suddenly stopped working today.

Do I sound like I’m whining? Of course I am, but, me not being the most savvy techie dude in the world, I can’t figure out why: a) this is happening, and b) this is happening suddenly.

When you work from your home for a virtual company as I do, you come to depend on two things: 1) your ability to email, and 2) your ability to make phone calls. Because I prefer not to publish my home phone as my work number, it’s critical that my cell phone work at all hours of the day.

My problems started about a month ago. Every now and then, I’d lose the ability to receive calls and call out. I’d dial a number but nothing would happen – I’d either get a simple “call ended” message (strange, I thought, that a call can end before it had even begun, but that’s modern technology for you), or I’d get this weird “channel not available” message, which sounded as if my direct line to the Shirley MacLaine otherworld had somehow been terminated. The problem would usually go away after a few hours. Frustrating for a time perhaps, but manageable, nothing earth-shattering.

Today, however, was bad. I’d flip open my phone and see a fairly healthy two or three bars, but then, as if by magic, the bars would start disappearing one after another until there were none, then a disappearance of the “Cingular” network identifier. And it would happen over and over. So, two calls to AT&T (the new Cingular), a visit to the local AT&T store and an updated SIM card later, and I’m still having the same problems. So what to do? It can’t, after all, be that complicated – either the problem lies with: a) the phone, b) AT&T’s network, or c) the location (i.e., my house).

Now before you go and say, ‘TGWS, just replace your phone, dude’ let me tell you this: Yesterday we replaced our 20x30x1 paper-style central air duct filter with a brand-spankin’ new electro-static Electra Silver Anti-Microbial Electrostatic Air Filter, advertised as the “Permanent high-tech filter, Space-age roll-formed aluminum” alternative to traditional paper filters (the latter, BTW, the Israelis [more on them later] told me “were shit”.

So, here’s what I’m thinking: yesterday my cell phone was working fine. Today it’s not. What’s the only difference? The Electra Silver Anti-Micobial Electrostatic Air Filter we installed yesterday. I mean, what if this space-age roll formed aluminum fliter has sabotaged my cell reception in the house? Could that be possible? And how best to test?

The Israelis might know. Who are the Israelis? Two guys from this company called “The Rejunenators”, whose sole purpose in life is to show up at people’s houses to remove mold and mildew from central air systems. I like them a lot, even though I can barely understand them when they talk. The two guys that came here yesterday for our annual servicing were here last year, and they’re no-nonsense, take it or leave it guys. They both wear these silver Star of David chains around their necks and work like hell, multi-tasking to the max. It was the head guy who recommends to me the Electra Silver Anti-Microbial Electrostatic Air Filter, the other guy who points to my old filter and says matter-of-factly, “those things are shit.” So, I buy it. But now I’m not sure if my cell phone not working right the day after the install of my new electrostatic air filter is a mere coincidence or not.

I’m afraid to ask the Israelis.

What a marvelous and technologically-advanced age we live in.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comments Off on Cellular Hellular
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