Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2005-11-27
  A cascade of failures
Had some errands to run last night, and as always I try to cover as much stuff as I can. In addition to picking up a truck load of pellets at Mavrick and getting a cheap refil on soda at the local Chevron (only a penny an ounce), I threw in a food stop to pick up something for dinner.

BWW Tungsten TX

While Buffalo Wild Wings is conveniently located and has pretty good food for a pretty low price (what else would you expect from a chain that is located in the same shopping center as Walmart), the choice was actually driven by something much more geeky. I wanted to try out the Tungsten Wifi on their connection. So I finish off my other chores and I pull up and order a couple of snacks, then I pull out the Tungsten and tell the wifi to connect.

nothin

Ok, try again. Zilch, nada, no radio, out of luck, give it up. sigh. With some resignation I go back up to the counter an enquire about signal. The first person doesn't even know what I'm talking about. "Wifi? Is that on the menu?" I helplessly pull out my isolated PDA and wave it around like it will magically impart understanding. Another sales droid notices my plight and comes over. "Oh ya, that internet thing. My friend is coming in later in the week to fix it, its not working." I offer to look at it myself, but they assure me the experts will have things repaired in a few days.

Now I have my Treo in another pocket, so I could simply sit down and noodle around the net with it, but the screen is so tiny in comparison to the Tungsten and besides, I use the net on my phone all the time. There's nothing new or exciting about that. Then I have a brain blast (ok, so the kids have been watching Jimmy Neutron). The Tungsten has bluetooth in addition to wifi, and the Treo has bluetooth as well. With the 1.12 update its even sanctioned to let an external device use the Treo as a gateway onto the Sprint data net. At least it is in theory, I've never actually tested it before.

So I begin the dance of the bluetooth handshake. First I turn on bluetooth on both devices, then I make the tungsten discoverable, then I tell the treo to trust the tungsten, then I let the tungsten see the treo, and then I'm ready to start setting up devices. I tell the treo to let the tungsten try and access the net, which seems like an ok thing to do; but then I run into trouble on the Tungsten. I start muddling through what looks like the lesser of three wizards, but it starts off with the unfortunate question:

Do you have a GPRS data service?
GPRS? Yuk. No of course not. It then wants me to put the phone number in on my ISP. This is not going well. I try to fool it into thinking sprintpcs is the same thing as GPRS, but its not buying it. It finally tells me to go check the web site for updates. My geek-foo has failed. I resign myself to a fate of squinting at a small screen through a rather scratched up screen protector, when the food pager/buzzer goes off to let me know my order is ready, saving me from the tech dungeon.

So now, I've got yet another task on my infinite todo list. Call up Palm and berate them for not shipping the tungsten with SprintPCS network support in their bluetooth gateway profiles. Its not like Sprint has better data service then all the GPRS vendors put together, or in fact was the first vendor out on the Treo 650. Oh, wait, yes it was. What are those guys thinking.

 
Comments:
Yeah I went to do laundry next door a week or two ago and it wasn't working then. It's a shame because between the food, beer, and WiFi Buffalo is a great hangout.
 
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