James Mayes

Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Blog: Epic fail from @VodafoneUK store reps…

In Mobile, Personal on January 17, 2013 at 10:44 am

So I picked up a new HTC One X phone late last year. I think it’s one of the best Android phones out there and I’ve been very impressed. Until recently. The screen started phasing out on me. Some wierdness with the colours, then the sizing, then finally just refusing to show anything. The phone itself is fine (proved this via feedback noises on a few different tests) just the screen. Clearly, a repair or replace is needed.

The handset came from Vodafone, about 3 months back – so pretty fresh, protected by a case the whole time and not a mark on the phone or the case. Picked it up on a contract, one of those where you pay for the airtime and data, the handset being provided “free” – meaning you have to commit to twelve or eighteen months of charges, so paying for it that way instead. Always thought that was fair enough, never had an issue.

Took the handset to my local Vodafone shop, where an interesting conversation ensued. According to two different sales assistants, my contract covers the airtime only. The phone is provided absolutely free and as such, the retailer has no responsibilities towards it and the sale of goods act does not apply. This means despite the fact its become non-functional very quickly, Vodafone don’t have to do *anything*.

They offered to take if off me and send it off to a repair centre to be fixed under HTC’s warranty, but this leaves me with two problems. Firstly, I’m now paying for airtime and data which I can’t use until they fix/replace and return the phone. Second, the HTC warranty is valid for twelve months and I have an eighteen month contract. What happens if the handset breaks in those last six months?

Vodafone suggested their insurance was the perfect solution… but this adds nigh on 50% to the monthly cost, for something which *should* be free from failure for the life of the contract offered. Of course, if I lose or smash it, I expect that to be my problem.

Here’s the final piece of amazement for me though… I challenged the sales guy on whether he thought this situation was reasonable. He stated that he didn’t think it was, but that the law let them get away with it.


Way to go, Vodafone! Rest assured, you’ll not be getting another contract out of me.

Android dialler security flaw (and quick fix)

In Gadgets, Mobile on September 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

Noticed this one courtesy of Gareth earlier today. Flew through a couple of different sites researching and finding a fix I liked, thought I’d collate the info in one place.

There’s a recently exposed flaw on Android that will allow malicious web pages to use URL commands automatically. This means a site could potentially do a number of things, including auto-dial calls and force system level commands – potentially including a factory reset.

Not all phones seem to be vulnerable – but I’m running an HTC One X with 4.0.4 on board, and mine was indeed exposed.

First up, visit this page from your device to test it. If it automatically shows the IMEI number of your device, your handset is not secure. If the dialler opens, but gives you the CHOICE of whether or not to dial, you’re fine.

A little more bouncing around found me a great fix. Erik Thauvin released a quick install called NoUSSD (available for direct download or in the Android Play Store). Install that, tiny download, it will ensure any dial action in web pages is forced to give you the choice before the phone dials.

Hope this is useful.


Blog: If Twitter can’t do Mobile, what chance do YOU have?

In Mobile, Recruitment, Social Recruiting, Twitter on July 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Having started with social, many leading edge recruiters are turning their attention to mobile now. What tech exists, should we build apps, what constitutes a good mSite, do the traffic figures really warrant it, and so on. I’m a firm believer that mobile is an essential part of a fully formed recruitment strategy and represents one of the most important channels available. People smarter than I have written about why.

Recently, I’ve been looking at a few different approaches.  I was prompted by a tweet from Joel Cheeseman last night to take a closer look at Twitter’s approach. After all, this is a spectacularly well-funded company ($1.16b at last check), with an awesome brand, competing for the top 1% talent in possibly one of the tightest markets on earth. It’s also a company for whom mobile is ABSOLUTELY key (traffic stats, third party app developers, recent acquisitions all bear this out).

I’d rather hoped to find an awesome example of how mobile can really be leveraged.  Turns out, it was remarkably disappointing. I took a look specifically at the UK end of things – a new Twitter account devoted to working for Twitter in Europe recently opened up.

They’re tweeting job links, but as you’ll see from the screenshots below (Android device), neither the job landing page nor the application process have been subjected to much in the way of mobile optimisation.

(click to enlarge, each is a separate screenshot)


Twitter have the capability to do this in-house of course, but those engineers are focussed on the core product and Twitter, like many, have chosen the option to buy a platform. No problem there.

What surprises me is that they’ve chosen a platform which seems to do nothing to recognise mobile traffic when Twitter themselves are probably more aware than anyone of the growth in mobile traffic – even more so amongst the demographic likely to be interested in working for Twitter.

We could blame the platform powering this (JobVite) – but to my mind, Twitter simply chose badly! This isn’t a JobVite product write-up – it”s a comment on Twitter’s recruiting tech strategy.

So, did I miss something here? Are Twitter guilty of an epic fail? Is there any hope for more earthly recruiters when the corporates gods of mobile platforms miss the mark so widely?

Event: State of the Browser – free ticket!

In Conference, Mobile, Software Development, Start-ups on April 26, 2012 at 8:58 am

London Web StandardsDifferent one from me today. Booked myself a ticket to this event a while back, but overlooked my daughter’s birthday tea party… clearly more important! I don’t want the ticket to go to waste though… this event will take a great look at how different browsers are being used, the impact of mobile, gaming, TV, etc. There are representatives from the major browser firms on hand too. The event is in London (Greenwich) on Saturday 28th April.

Here’s the deal:  leave a comment below. One paragraph only on where you hope the browser will be in two years time.  I’ll review at noon BST on Friday 29th April and whichever I think is the most intriguing answer gets the ticket.  If the winner wants to write up thoughts, reflections or an event summary afterwards, I’d very much like to post it up here as a Guest Slot next week, but it’s your call.

Ready…. Steady…. Go!

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