Tag Archive: phones

Nov 17

WTF, Ymobile?

Picture 9I changed carriers at the beginning of the summer, moving from DoCoMo to Ymobile. I had been planning on stretching out my phone for another year, but it was on its last legs of usefulness. And then, Ymobile was having a promotion and I happened to stumble across it. Even after paying 30,000 yen for a new phone (a Nexus 6—I fucking love it) and ~16,000 yen to get released from my auto-renewed DoCoMo contract, I calculated that I’d save 99,000 yen or so over the next two years. Good deal.

One of the things that came with the deal: 3 data-only uSIM cards that I could request and use. I got the first one back in August and gave my old phone to my mother-in-law with the SIM in it so that she could use LINE (her phone doesn’t have internet). Last week, I decided to get the other two uSIMs I’m entitled to so that I don’t need to do it in a pinch later. My mother is visiting early next year, and it would be nice for her to have a working device. Also, my backup phone needs a SIM.

So, I went to the local Ymobile shop on Friday, since I was out in that area. One thing that’s nice about Ymobile is that I don’t have to take a number and wait 90 minutes to see someone like I did with DoCoMo. The downside is that the clerks are less knowledgeable about anything beyond their most basic offerings, so doing something like getting my uSIMs can take longer than it should. There is also no one in the shop for them to escalate questions to.

After some initial confusion, my clerk walked me through the registration process for the SIMs, and I signed for them on the screen of his tablet. He hit the submit button and… rejected. Weird, since I’d already done this process a few months ago for the first uSIM. He excused himself for a moment to pick up a flip-phone and call someone. He managed to get someone on the line, spoke for a couple of minutes and hung up.

Apparently, they wouldn’t tell him why I couldn’t have my cards. Not couldn’t mind you. Wouldn’t. At least that’s my interpretation of it. The wording he used was, roughly translated, something like: “They won’t teach me, so I can’t teach you why you can’t have them.” (The Japanese word for teach is frequently used in the context of telling information. For instance, people “teach” their phone numbers to each other. So that particular wording isn’t as weird as it looks.) But he used “おしえません” (“didn’t teach”) as opposed to something ending with “できません” or some variation thereof (can’t do), and he did it repeatedly. My Japanese is not great so I checked by confirming: “You can’t tell me because they didn’t tell you.” and he agreed. Well, I could be wrong. The upshot in either case: I couldn’t get my SIMs and no one would tell me why.

Worse, the clerks couldn’t even tell me what my next step should be. I asked if I could come back in three days, and maybe they’d have it sorted by then. “Not likely,” was the answer I got. One of the other clerks pointed out a couple of times that maybe I should switch to AU or another company that had more support for foreigners. I pointed out that a) changing providers would cost me money, since I had a contract with Ymobile, and b) I have already paid for the uSIM cards, and their own material (right there on the desk; I was pointing to it) entitled me to those uSIMS. I asked if they had a supervisor, department head, or other boss we could escalate the matter to. Apparently, the only point of contact they had was the number my clerk had already called.

Then the other clerk suggested I come back in December. I asked why that would change things, and they couldn’t answer me. I also pointed out again that these SIMs were paid for (and were sitting right in front of me) and while I was willing to wait a couple of days for them to figure something out, waiting two weeks for something I paid for five months ago was a bit ridiculous. Throughout all this, I was as polite as possible. Aware that I’m not very good at hiding my irritation, I made a point of apologizing to the clerks and explaining that I was wasn’t annoyed with them, but with the system that allowed something like this to happen.

So, in the end, after spending 90+ minutes in the shop, I had to leave empty handed.

Next course of action is to phone the customer service line… or rather get someone to help me call the customer service line, since my Japanese falls completely to pieces on the phone (especially since I can’t easily use the phone to look up words I don’t understand while I’m talking on it).

Still happy with my phone, but seriously annoyed with Ymobile’s ridiculous customer service.

Jul 01

Phone Restore Nightmare

So I recently had my Galaxy Note serviced, as you may recall. I got it back today with the USB port all fixed up and a clean factory wipe.Picture 5-Edit-2

I’d been really careful before I took it in: I’d done a nandroid backup, and as a pro user of Titanium Backup, I’d also backed up all my apps, data, and system settings.

 

My first mistake was that Titanium Backup, by default, saves its backups to the SD card, which, in a modern phone like the Galaxy Note, means the internal SD card. The one that gets wiped when you do a factory reset. Luckily, I’d had it backing up all my data to dropbox. However, I didn’t realize this, and so my first restore attempt ended up being screwed by the fact that /titanium_backup directory I was restoring from was the one from my HTC Magic.

Whoops.

Reboot, wipe, start again.

 

The second attempt was to restore the nandroid backup I took the day before I took the phone into the shop. It died at restoring data, leaving the phone with most of the apps installed, but very crashy.

Reboot, wipe, (reflash root), start again.

 

For the third attempt, I went for using the Titanium Backup feature that restores from the nandroid backup. It jammed at 4% complete.

Fourth attempt: copied the backup of the backup from dropbox (where TB was thankfully saving them for me every night). Jammed at 0%.

Maybe because I hadn’t…

Reboot, wipe, start again

 

Fifth attempt: before booting up again, I made an attempt to install ONLY the data part of the nandroid backup. Failed again.

Reboot, wipe, start again

 

Sixth attempt: Titanium Backup restore. This time restoring missing apps first, then system data.

Okay, this worked, I think. I’ve had to tweak a few things. My launcher was restored, but the lock screen was still the default, as were my security settings. Also, some DoCoMo apps that I froze or uninstalled are still on the phone, and I’m having to remove them by trial and error again.

 

Lesson learned: do a double nandroid backup and a CRC file check or something to make sure it’s not corrupted.

Jun 24

A Week? What?

So I’ve been banished from my beloved (and over-taxed) Galaxy Note for a week while the USB port gets repaired, and I’m having to put up with the loaner phone, a Sharp Aqueos (SH-04E). Aside from the POTA of having to spend a couple of hours just to get the basics set up to my taste (two Gmail accounts, both with 2-step auth, while on the road being the first hurdle), I need to handle it with kid gloves or I end up buying the goddamned thing.Sharp Aqueos

When I return it, DoCoMo will inspect it for scratches on the frame (I very nearly put one on it today when it slid out of my shirt pocket), damage to the USB port, and moisture exposure. While I hadn’t been intending to toss my loaner phone around like a baseball, I am a little miffed because they didn’t even give me a case for it!

 

I was lucky that the Note was accepted for service. It’s still within its warranty period, but I’d rooted it, and I spent part of Sunday unrooting the device and resetting the flash counter to 0. Even with a factory wipe on top of that, I was a little nervous about being found out.

I was actually more nervous, though, about the fact that Japan is bloody humid and I’ve known those moisture stickers they have on phones these days to trigger just by being in my pocket on a muggy August day (happened to a battery I had). Also about the fact that I dropped it twice this month and put some serious scratches on it. Yeah, it fell on the corners where my case doesn’t protect it if it’s open.

 

So yeah, basically just disappointed that I have to wait a week to get it back. Last time I had a hardware issue, they just replaced the phone, but I guess that stocks are getting depleted.