Ghost phone update!

I finally got around to trying out the OBi WiFi adapter today, and while I had great difficulty getting it to connect to the network, once I did, it worked like a charm.

Then out of curiosity I tried connecting it back to my regular landline and… it was able to work just fine, and it saw no backfeed at all. Meaning it was probably just having trouble due to moisture from all the rain or something, and the OBi WiFi wasn’t necessary after all.

So, I tried out the HT502, and that was also able to work just fine, and was able to make an outgoing call via pulse dialing!

Incoming calls still don’t ring quite right because as far as I can tell there’s no way to configure it with a 30Hz ring, but setting it to 25Hz gets the clapper to vibrate enough that I could theoretically tune the bells to work well enough (just more quietly). That’ll have to wait until sometime tomorrow when I’m not likely to wake up neighbors with the sound, though.

Of course if I could get the HT502 to ring at 30Hz that would be even better… I did finally find someone selling what purports to be a standard AE90 ringer and I’ve asked them for more information (like a specific part number) to see if that’d work for me. I’m not holding my breath for a response but it’d be really cool if that ends up working.

Update: The seller got back to me and confirmed that it is an AE90 ringer at the standard 20Hz. So I’ve ordered it. Another $40 spent on this silly project, oh well! It’s fun.

Kitchen day 7, things coming together

Huge progress. All of the cabinets are in the right place, the range hood is installed in a way that DOESN’T have spikes coming up from my living room floor, and the electrician also came and finally updated my outlets to GFIs (which I’ve only been putting off for the past 8 years) while also adding the switched outlet for the under-cabinet lights.

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Warning to Xfinity Mobile customers

Xfinity doesn’t do a very good job of publicizing this but if you buy your phone through them, it’ll be carrier-locked, even though the device is paid in full up front. How nice of them. And of course they do warn you about that in easily-missed text at the bottom of one of the maze-of-information articles.

It’s easier to get the phone unlocked if you do it before porting the number, as the helpful CSR can just do it over the phone, but if you failed to, there’s still a process you can take.

Anyway, here’s information that would have been more helpful for me up front:

Back to Ting I go

When I moved back to Seattle, I was using Ting Wireless for my cellphone service. At the time their service was a bit spotty (as they were a Sprint MVNO) and in 2013 I ended up switching back to my usual standby, T-Mobile. At the time T-Mobile had a $30/month plan which covered my needs: 100 minutes per month (with additional at 10¢/minute), and enough bandwidth for my needs.

A few months ago I decided to try out Xfinity Mobile, because it was supposedly only $10/GB/month for me since I’m already an Xfinity Internet customer. (Not by choice, mind you, but that’s a separate rant.)

However, they seem to be a bit aggressive at “overestimating” my bandwidth usage (so my bill was usually more like $30/month, not actually saving me anything), and pretty much every incoming call would get dropped with a “Call failure” error. This is of course a common issue, which Xfinity refuses to acknowledge, and there are plenty of other complaints on the customer forum, all of which are unaddressed beyond platitudes of “we are working on this.” (Going back well over a year now.)

Anyway. I’ve given Xfinity more than a fair shake. Unfortunately, the $30/month plan I was on with T-Mobile is no longer available (I’d been grandfathered in for quite some time), but since 2013, Ting has improved things a lot; in particular they are now doing LTE on T-Mobile (rather than CDMA on Sprint) and given how reliable T-Mobile has always been for me in the past, and how much the folks I know on Ting have continued to sing its praises, I’m pretty optimistic that this will work out better this time around. I do suspect the price will be somewhat higher than Xfinity, but at least I’ll be able to accept incoming calls!

So, all that said, if you want to give them a try, using this referral link will get you (and me!) a $25 credit on new activations.