Before leaving for Berlin, I bought Verizon's Global Data Feature for my phone, $25 for 100 MB of data. That's not a huge amount, depending on usage, but I knew it would be enough for me, and so it was. I had enough connections with Wi-Fi, and I don't do much online browsing, that I was fine.
Fine until the service went out yesterday. I got a "Can't connect" to the server message. Now, if you're going to get such a message, you want to be traveling with a group of tech reporters at a tech show. And several of them dove in to resolve the problem, including my friend Ed Bott who writes a column for ZDNet and has written about 25 books with Microsoft on how to use their programs. And this is a Windows Phone. And his wife -- who is on the trip -- has the exact same phone, and had the same problem, which he resolved, by changing the APN setting. (No, I don't know what it is either. He described it as, "Think of it as if the cord to your router got pulled out.) One of the other fellows is specifically an expert in mobile phones. I figured that I was pretty darn well-covered.
But...no one could resolve the problem. And again, these are tech whizzes. They tried everything. But "Can't connect" still showed up. They had no idea where the problem sat -- they thought it was probably on the German phone company end, Vodaphone, but said it could be an issue with Verizon. It doesn't matter at the moment, because it just doesn't work. And when a group of tech whiz reporters can't figure it out...it just doesn't work.
Thankfully, this happened in the evening, and tomorrow Saturday is my last day -- and during the day when I'm out will largely be nighttime in the U.S., so getting emails is not a huge concern. That's life, it happens, and I'll deal with it and Verizon when I return. It's just...well, obviously annoying. But life goes on.
The elves at the homestead are of no use, except until you consider laughing ridicule helpful.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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