Failed by my technology on the way to Prague

We took MIR TV to Prague over the weekend. It’s a super city — steeped history, stunning architecture, friendly people.

We met some smart folk and we captured some good footage. That’s ANOTHER 3 hours of video to edit!

I had quite a lot of people querying why they heard more or less nothing from me via Twitter (I’m at ew4n) during the weekend. The answer is simple. I trusted in my technology and it spectacularly failed, before I’d even arrived in Prague.

If I’m Twittering, I prefer to do that via two mediums: iPhone Tweetie Client or Blackberry GoogleTalk Client hooked directly into ‘Pingdotfm’, the user-gateway name for the service has been continually offline for days. It’s super when it works. I just type in a sentence as though I’m chatting via the excellent Blackberry GoogleTalk client and … woosh, my message is echoing across tons of services in seconds.

But that’s not been working for some reason. So my fall back plan? Tweetie. I expected to do a few Twitpics, a few updates now and again and so on.

But no.

Here’s what went wrong.

I stayed in a hotel at Heathrow the night before we were due to depart. Instead of the Yotel, I picked the Sofitel which is actually *at* Terminal 5. It’s nice and new and efficient. I placed my fully-powered Blackberry and fully-powered iPhone 3G next to my bed, set both alarms for 05:45 and went to sleep. I said I’d meet Dan and Ben for breakfast airside at about 06:30. Plenty of time.

At 04:20 I woke up suddenly and saw the time. No bother. There was time for maybe one more REM cycle. At 6:40 I glanced at the hotel clock, just to check the time.

And then I started effing and blinding. Oh the language that came out of my mouth.

I’d turned to my devices to query why the alarms had not worked — or HOW I’d slept through them. Arse, arse and thrice arse.

The answer? Well, there’s next to no signal in this hotel — for SOME reason. Perhaps it was the area my room was located in? My Blackberry had NO power left, my iPhone was displaying the ‘power me up please’ screen. As I cursed my rubbish technology — I was *depending on it* — I swapped to the other fully charged Blackberry that I’d brought with me. That worked. No such luck for the iPhone.

And of course I hadn’t brought a charger. Instead I’d brought a camera and all the gubbins that you need to film reasonably professional in a European city. No space for ANOTHER charger.

What happened to erase the power on both of my handsets in about 6 hours?

Simple. Because there was SOMETIMES mobile service but generally NO mobile service in my room, both handsets spent 6 hours doing this:

* Logging on to the network
* Trying to setup 3G services
* Oh no, no 3G services available
* Falling back to 2G
* Oops lost signal
* Hunt for signal
* Found the signal again; logging on
* Logged on

.. and repeat.

The net result being they’d sat and drained themselves. Completely.

Come on. How *annoying*.

I should have put both of them in ‘airplane’ mode.

I had a fully powered Blackberry, thanks to the spare battery I brought along. I *should* have brought my iPhone charger. Fat lot of use it’d have been whilst I was walking the streets of Prague though.

I think I need a Proporta.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

18 replies on “Failed by my technology on the way to Prague”

Did think you'd been quiet! :)Yup nothing seems to eat a battery like when it is trying to find a signal! A more sensible idea maybe would be for the phone to have say 'x' number of attempts and then stop! Still hope you had an enjoyable trip! 🙂


That'll learn you for sleeping in a lead-lined bunker.

I do like the idea of Mr Belt & (pinstriped) Braces lining everything up on the bedside table (possibly aligned to Newbury on a wee non-slip mat). Lying down, getting up again to check for the 3rd time that yes, the wee alarm icon is still up and that it's for 5:45am tomorrow, not the day after.

Oh to have had an audio of the 6:40 moment of realisation.

One question: does this hotel not offer a wakeup call? Or bedside alarm clocks?

I like to spread my technology bets…plus if the hotel fails to wake me and I miss my flight, I can raise merry hell and probably get a voucher for a free night's stay in a suite or somefink.

Whereas if it's a coverage issue, well, I don't fancy your chances with Voda CS: “You made me miss my flight because your coverage didn't make it into my hotel room. Gimme gimme gimme!”

Question is: will you ever rely on a mobile device again for something like waking up for a flight?

In this instance, it was coverage. It could just as easily have been an OS crash.

That's why I only take devices which charge via micro-USB. Only need one charger / plug it in to a laptop.

For future reference, the BlackBerry will still sounds its alarm even if it's powered off. If you have a Storm or a Bold, you can put them in to “Bedside” mode – that way they show the clock and sound the alarm but they don't connect to the network.

I'm sure you can buy an App from the Apple App Store for $3.99 to do it to…

i thought blackberries used Standard USB cables to charge with, are you telling me you could not get a loan of a USB cable, or that you did not have one?
The wierd iPhone connector i can forgive, you could never find one of them in an airport 😉

I was traveling ultra light Mike! I had to carry all the camera stuff — and for simplicity, I wanted to carry it all as hand luggage. So no space for anything else! I think I'll get a proporta!

I was traveling ultra light Mike! I had to carry all the camera stuff — and for simplicity, I wanted to carry it all as hand luggage. So no space for anything else! I think I'll get a proporta!

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