By bblfish on Aug 11, 2008
It is five years now that I have not had a cell phone. I was hoping the iPhone would change that soon. But I just find the limitations imposed on these devices unacceptable. The latest such restriction: "thou shalt not use the iPhone as a modem to connect your computer to the internet". (see Christian Fauré's article in French). As a result Apple pulled the Netshare app, described by a recent WIRED article, from its iStore. I hear rumors that one can get this to work by hacking (illegally) one's iPhone, but why should I break the law? That would just be a way for me to pour energy into a system that I don't own. I have not become a Linux hacker to give up my rights that easily.
Why do they have this rule? In France for €50 a month, you get "unlimited service" with a small print restriction to no more than half a gigabyte per month of download bandwidth. Using your laptop to connect to a 3G phone would, unless you are very careful to close all applications that consume bandwidth, probably use up that limited space very quickly anyway. It can take an hour for Skype to use up 50MB of bandwidth I noticed. Perhaps that is why this rule is there. But that just indicates to me that 3G really is not ready for prime time yet.
Oops. I lied. I did get a cell phone I remember now, when I was in the US in May. For $15 I got a throwaway cell phone from Virgin Mobile. The price was right, and it saved me money making phone calls, and saved me wasting time looking for coin operated phones. Plus of course there were no roaming charges, as it was a US phone. And with Skype, I could just forward my calls to that phone, so I did not even have to give anyone a new phone number that would soon be out of date. Some people from Europe showing off their iPhones had some hefty roaming bills later when returning home. I even discovered that to change your SIM card in the US for such a phone could cost you $50! A sim card was more expensive than a cell phone!! Sound like Europe in the Middle Ages to me. Wherever you go you would have to pay some baron a fee for crossing his land. Security not guaranteed.