Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Call me Gadget Man

For the last three years I have had a great pda/cell phone in my Treo 600. There have been several models since the 600, but mine did all I needed it to, and still does. One of the biggest updates in recent models, though, has seen the battery become a removable item that is easily replaced. Not so the 600.

About a month ago, my Treo started having problems making and receiving phone calls. Any time I tried to make a call, or when someone tried to call me, it would go immediately into network search mode and then go back to the main screen as if nothing had happened. After an utterly fruitless call to Sprint and some web searching, I discovered that this is a sign of a dying battery. I was able to charge it up and make the problem go away until about a week ago when it resurfaced and would not go away.

Not willing to pay Palm the $169 charged to examine the phone and replace the battery (that was the closest I could pin them down), I started searching. I found several options including uBid, a site I used to frequent for window-shoping and the occasional purchase. I ended up buying an extended life battery from a site called that included the three tools (two funny shaped screwdrivers and a shim to get the case apart) for $24 plus tax and shipping. Despite coming from a website that sounds like they came up with any name they could to turn up in search engines, the battery arrived today and the Treo was immediately prepped for surgery. I am happy to say that the operation was a success, and the patient is charging peacefully, having synchronized with my PC to restore all of the data and applications. All for less than 1/5th what Palm wanted!

So now I have a Treo which will hopefully last me another 3 years, as well as the tools to replace a battery. I could store them somewhere, but by the time I need them I probably will have completely forgotten where I put them, so if anyone out there needs tools to change a Treo battery, holler at me and we can work something out. And if you own a Treo 600 that needs a new battery but you don't want to do it yourself, drop me a line and I'll be happy to save you some money like I did myself!

And while I'm on the topic of inexpensive technology, let me just say that Apple may have "brought me into the fold" with my iPod, but not to the point that I'd be willing to drop $29.99 on an AC adapter to charge it! I wasn't even willing to drop $19.99 on a car adapter for the iPod. Not to mention that I needed one for the Treo too, which would have set me back another $40. I tell ya, these companies will accessorize you to death!

Well, again I went to the web, and ended up buying an AC-to-USB adapter that will work for the iPod for $7 and a car-to-USB adapter that will work for both the Treo and the iPod for another $6. Granted, shipping them from Hong Kong brought the total up to just shy of $18, but that's still 1/5th the cost of the other adapters combined! I'm sensing a trend here...

With all the money we're saving, we could take a vacation! Hey, I think we'll do just that! Stay tuned...