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Cell Phones for a Unix-head, part 1

*** Warning: I rip quite a few companies a new one in this blog post, due to this post’s content, I recommend that no one reads it ****

I’ll be honest, I hate telephones.  I cannot begin to express my loathing of speaking on the telephone and immediate disdain for anyone wishing to speak via phone for a non-critical issue requiring response when IM, Text, and email are perfectly available.  In-person meetings are even worse, but that’s another story.

By trade, I’m a server administrator and software engineer, and I’m a big time UNIX-head.  The core philosophy of “Keep it simple, stupid” seems to run counter to everything mobile in nature, especially smartphones.  But alas, I need something that will sync to an Exchange server (multiple actually, albeit I could be wishing for a gravy-train never come there), and preferably link up against my Astaro ISG at home.

Unfortunately the iPhone fits the bill.  None of the Androids work 3G on AT&T’s network (thank you guys, can’t tell you how much I appreciate you idiots deciding to pull an Apple and be the only kid on the block with a puke-green turtleneck), and I’m tired of Windows Mobile.  This leaves Blackberries, which get canceled out by the insane costs involved (and the fact that the Enterprise Server at work is for managers only), and the iPhone.

Fortunately, I can use the iPhone to link up against my Astaro box, it has an SSH client, and every little app on planet earth that every idiot who thinks he can half-program made in order to get rich quick only to realize reality late one night before grabbing a bottle of booze and going back to web design.

There’s more so keep reading after the break!

And I guess it IS UNIX too at its heart.  FreeBSD Servers with the GNU Toolset, on top of the Mach microkernel.  The interface isn’t UNIX, but I’d prefer not to have to play “beat the clock” at punching in “answer –line 0 –output /dev/dsp” whenever I get a phone call (if you know UNIX, you’ll get that).

So what are the iPhone’s truly redeeming points?  …well I’m drawing a blank.  Nothing redeeming, just “less suck” than all the rest.  It has Exchange, it can tie into my home network, and if I’m lucky the iTunes/DAAP system I have on my NAS will allow me to stream my media remotely, which would be great, now I can annoy my coworkers with my massive collection of extremely annoying music and videos.

The simple interface will be kind of nice.  Windows Mobile units have too complicated of an interface.  Go here, now there, now hold down on the PTT button while tracing the original US constitution in braille, standing on your head, and singing the Canadian national anthem, just to turn on GPS after putting into battery saving mode because I decided not to drag the heavy-water fission reactor along with it and it has to run on batteries.

Digressing, one button does one thing is nice.  I know it was made for Managers and not-technie people, but the fact of the matter is it cleans up rather nice.  There’s no shame in liking simple stuff if you’re a techie.  At least that’s what I tell myself every night after I get about 3/4 of a fifth of whiskey in me while staring at pictures of girls I like to think of as my girlfriends.

Downsides?  Of course.  Apple just HAD to get their phones working on data and voice at the same time.  Now I don’t have an excuse to ignore phone calls from various individuals wanting tech support when they should be emailing me.  The thing looks horrible too, and its probably more delicate than my hand after the time it slipped when I was moving servers and got torn up on all the jagged sheet metal (super-glue* is your friend kids, who needs health-care when some rubbing alcohol and super-glue*, you’re back on the job in 5 minutes time).  I can see it now, I have to choose between a 150-pound $100,000 SAN unit and my $200 iPhone one day, I think we know which one is going to get hosed.  Not to mention I’ll be digging glass out of my leg for a few hours at least.

And of course, its locked down.  Which isn’t too big of a deal anymore.  One click jail-breaks if I decide to do it (which I may not, depending on if there’s an app I want or not).

Assuming it stays in one piece for a few years (which will be a miracle in and of itself), this should be an entertaining series of events.

I haven’t gotten the device yet, and this is only part 1 of my experience with the iPhone, so its probably about time to start taking bets about how long its going to be before I get fed up with the thing and pull a Daniel Tosh (I’ll actually turn mine on though most likely, but yes, I know, Apple’s styling is bad enough to elicit a toss across the room).  I also have you all know, I have a history of chucking pieces of technology across the room, and at each other (this is why I buy Logitech peripherals, they stand up to abuse….a LOT of abuse).

I’ll keep mental notes to post more stuff as I walk into the cell phone dealership tomorrow, taking my life in my hands, as I battle my way through the onslaught of salesmen and high-school dropouts, praying I don’t encounter anyone I know when I commit the dreaded words “get me an iPhone” and battling my way through the endless amount of invariable sell-ups.

* There’s a special type of medical grade super-glue.  Regular super-glue produces formaldehyde when it comes into contact with the moisture of your skin, which is a carcinogen, and worth avoiding.  I take no responsibility for your cancer.