No mobile signal on EE? Use EE WiFi Calling

Mobile phone on wooden desk
Photo by Tyler Lastovich (via Pexels)

When I moved to Crail a couple of months ago, I quickly ran into a problem: I don’t have good mobile phone reception in my house. I’m on EE.

After making a couple of calls standing out on the road, I knew that I needed to find a better solution.

While searching online to see if I could buy some kind of mobile signal extender, I discovered that EE offers WiFi Calling.

A bit like Skype Calling, EE WiFi Calling uses your broadband connection to route calls to the EE network. So you can make phone calls or send and receive text messages even if you don’t have a phone signal.

There are a couple of caveats, though:

  • It only works if you are on an EE pay monthly plan (not pay as you go, yet).
  • You need a compatible phone.

Find out more about how to use EE WiFi Calling and which handsets support it.

If you’re on an EE monthly contract and your phone supports it, I wholeheartedly recommend switching on EE WiFi Calling.

When I have a good signal my phone uses the EE network, but as soon as I don’t then my phone automatically switches to using WiFi to route calls and text messages. And as I’m also a BT customer, I can use BT WiFi to use any of the 5 million WiFi hotspots around the UK. Bonus!

Twilight for Android: stop your mobile device keeping you awake at night!

Twilight reduces your display's blue light emission.
Twilight reduces your display’s blue light emission.

When I blogged about f.lux the other day, which is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS, I meant to mention an equivalent application for Android. But I forgot, so here’s a post all to itself.

This week I’ve started using Twilight by Urbandroid Team after a recommendation from someone on Twitter. So far I’m really impressed.

In the past I’ve used two other applications, first Night Filter by Digipom before I moved to F-lux Screen Dim for Android, but I was never entirely satisfied with either, to be honest. I had to manually run each in the evening and because I could never quite get the colours quite right for me I ended up hardly using them at all as I found them distracting.

Like f.lux for the PC, Twilight runs in the background, automatically dimming the screen around sunset. The colour is subtle: peachy like f.lux, rather than burgundy like Screen Dim, for example.

If you’re looking for a screen dimmer to enable you to read more comfortably in the dark, then I thoroughly recommend Twilight.

Twilight is available on Google Play.

Changing the phone number on your SIM card with a Sony Ericsson K800i

Sony Ericsson K800i
Sony Ericsson K800i

A few weeks ago I moved my mobile phone contract from O2 to T-Mobile/EE at the Carphone Warehouse. It was the first time that I’d ever moved networks since I first got a mobile phone in 2001 or 2002, and the process was very simple. I wanted to keep my old number so this is what I did:

  1. Contact O2 to ask for a PAC. I did it online using their live chat facility.
  2. Buy new mobile phone contact.
  3. Phone customer service on new network (T-Mobile) and tell them the PAC.
  4. Wait 24-48 hours for the old number to transfer over to the new SIM card.

However, I discovered that the SIM card was still reporting the ‘temporary’ T-Mobile number rather than my original number, and it turns out that Android doesn’t provide a way to edit the number stored on the SIM card.

After a couple of hours of searching on Google, I ordered an old Sony Ericsson K800i phone on eBay as it turns out that this device does allow you to edit the number stored on the SIM card. It arrived a few days ago, as did a micro-to-SIM card adapter and today I popped the SIM card out of my new Google Nexus 4 and edited the number on the SIM.

Here’s what I did on the Sony Ericsson K800i:

  1. Contacts
  2. Options
  3. Special numbers
  4. My numbers
  5. Select your main number, it may be called something like “My mobile” or “Line 1” or similar, and press Edit
  6. Enter your new number, e.g. +447123456789
  7. Save

And it worked: Android now reports my original number. I’ve done the same for Jane’s phone too, as she moved from O2 to T-Mobile a few months earlier and experienced the same issues.

Jane has a Samsung Galaxy Ace running Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread) and it would appear that on this phone/operating system it is essential to make sure the date and time are set correctly otherwise it won’t connect to the internet and will report a “no connection” error.

I’m posting this in case it helps anyone else. Oh, and does anyone else need a third-hand Sony Ericsson K800i?

Mobile attitudes–how many apps do you have installed?

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In this month’s .net magazine there is an interesting article about Mobile attitudes that focuses on who is accessing the Web via mobile devices and why.

Based on research by MRM London, they group mobile Web users into one of four camps:

  1. Rookie – tend to be older, watch less TV, listen to less radio and surf the Web less than others. They tend to have around 9 apps installed on their smartphone, if they indeed have a smartphone.
  2. Rationalist – generally between 25-45, they are happy to use the Web on their mobile device but are very selective about what they access. They have a general lack of understanding about what extra value their mobile access can offer them.
  3. Everyday – mostly under 35, these are heavy mobile Web users who understand the value that mobile Web offers, but they would generally prefer to be sat in front of their desktop PC/Mac or laptop.
  4. Restless – for this demographic, mostly under 34, the mobile Web is an integral part of their everyday life. They understand what value mobile usage brings, and they consume a lot of media, not just online but TV, radio, magazines, etc.

Western

Something that struck me about the article was how Western these categories are. I wonder what differences there would be if this study was extended worldwide. How about mobile users in Africa or China or India, for example?

Mobile Web is just going to get bigger, user base will be larger and more and more developers will need to think about their mobile strategy more than they do now.

How many apps do you have installed?

The article talked about the number of apps that users tend to have installed. I guess the implication was that the more confident the mobile user about what they do online the more applications they would have installed.

I suspect (I hope) that HTML5 will change all of that as more mobile browsers become more capable of running complex Web apps that these app downloads will move to becoming simply website/web app URL bookmarks.

Anyway, it reckoned that the average user has 20 apps installed, of which they use less than half; rookies have only 9 installed, and those labelled restless have 42.

I’ve recently spent a lot of time on my mobile phone (stuck in bed for days after damaging my back, other blog post soon), and have just uninstalled the apps that I don’t use in order to free up memory and speed up my HTC HD2 running Windows Mobile 6.5.

What I have installed

Here’s what I now have installed (in not particular order), which are the apps that I actually use. This doesn’t include default apps that came bundled with the HTC HD2.

  1. Opera Mobile 10
  2. Spb Mobile Shell 3.5 (replacement user-interface)
  3. Spb Wallet (password safe)
  4. BBC News
  5. Nitrogen (MP3 player)
  6. SimpleAct QuickMark (QR code scanner)
  7. Mobipocket Reader (eBook reader for .mobi format)
  8. CoPilot Live 8 (GPS)
  9. Leaf GPS Dashboard (GPS toolkit)
  10. Panoramic moTweets (Twitter client)
  11. Microsoft Office Mobile 2010
  12. JAM Software TreeSize Mobile
  13. MSN Weather
  14. Gmail (Java app)
  15. SKTools (Registry editor, free-up RAM, temp file cleaner tools, etc.)

How many apps do you have installed on your smartphone? Do you use them all?

The app ideas on The Apprentice were rubbish… how hard can it be?

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I’ve just finished watching the second episode of the current series (series 7) of The Apprentice on BBC 1 during which the challenge was for the two teams to design, launch and promote their own mobile phone app[lication].

The boys created a border-line racist app with annoying voices. The girls an app with annoying sounds.

If I’d been on The Apprentice I’m sure I could have come up with better ideas. In fact, I’m going to prove it by blogging my ideas live. Right now. Watch:

  • IDEA #1: Often you’ll be out and about with your phone. Maybe you’re running late, perhaps for an interview or a meeting. Maybe you’re just tired. Why not create a mobile phone app that’s also a bike, so you can just sit on it and it will allow you to pedal yourself to your destination!

Genius! See how easy that was?

  • IDEA #2: An app that makes the most out of the accelerometer (motion sensor) built into a lot of mobile devices these days. So it’s an app that helps you tie your tie. You first attach your mobile phone to the end of your tie, using bulldog clips or elastic bands or something, then the app talks you through tying a tie: “That bit over and then under and then through…”

Wow! I’m on a roll.

  • IDEA #3: Jane and I like our toast to be different levels of cooked-ness. Jane likes hers to be very brown, I like mine to be borderline hot-bread. How about an app that you run, tell it what colour brown you’d like your toast to be, then you pop your phone into the toaster (beside your slice of bread) and it will play an alarm when your toast has reached the right level of brown. Obviously it would need to use the camera for that.

Practical! Although, I suspect like a lot of apps that’s one that will not be used very often. Presumably because it would help educate folks about how long bread needs to be in the toaster until it reaches their ideal state.

  • IDEA #4: How about an app that you run when you’re standing next to a busy road. The interface would be nice and simple. First you enter your average walking speed in (metres per hour or fathoms per second), then you press a “check now!” button which activates your device’s in-built camera which you point first one direction and then the next, pausing for a minimum of 7 seconds each direction. Then… and this is the really clever bit… the app will play an alert of your choosing (from the three available: a horn; the sound of a gibbon slurping ice cream; or the same horn, but played in French) so you know when it’s safe to cross the road.

I imagine that that’s the kind of app that could save lives.

See! Not a single idea there that involves racist stereotypes or annoying sounds.