Lost two phones in one day. Well, “lost” is a relative term. I was carrying two, one, a Nokia Lumina 1020, for its camera and for what a phone used to be used for. It had my Cricket SIM card. The other, my Nokia 520, for music, since it had a slot for a memory chip, which I appreciated since the 1020 was getting a bit full.

I’d been experimenting with Windows 10 on both these devices (I wrote “machines”, which they are–why did that seem wrong?). I doubt this had anything to do with anything. I like Windows 10 (build 10166, currently the latest) on the 520–a bit sluggish, but it’s an underpowered phone and an unfinished OS. So I decided to try it on the 1020. (Impatience had something to do with it.)

To be fair, the 1020 was having problems–“issues,” as we would say where I work–already. Bluetooth wasn’t working. I couldn’t connect it to my Band, had to use the 520 for that, and that works only where there’s wifi connection since the 520 doesn’t have a SIM, and apparently the band needs Bluetooth and internet to connect. Partly to see if it would make Bluetooth come back, and also because I was impatient, I put the 1020 on the Windows 10 mobile fast ring and got that installed. But that didn’t improve things, and in fact made things worse, I don’t remember exactly how. My wife complained my phone went straight to voicemail (at least it went to voicemail) but that may just have been my inattention.

So I set the 1020 aside, took out the SIM card, and opened the 520. It had Windows 10 build whatever on it, and was a bit sluggish, as likely from being underpowered as from the beta software. But I screwed up the SIM transfer and broke some of the connectors on the SIM card carrier trying to fix it. So now the 520 works fine, game, email, internet, music, just not as a phone.

Trying to fix things

I tried to fix the 1020 by rolling back its software, various things, I forget all the details, but including using the Nokia Windows Phone recovery tool. In short, that didn’t work. It seemed to, allowing me to restore a saved image and all, but when I got done the phone function didn’t work. I know a phone’s supposed to be a phone, and even though to me the 1020 was more a camera and a screen for Facebook and Netflix and a game machine (Pegs and Holes an obsession), I wanted to fix it, if I could.

I trolled around on the internet, found a similar problem from another phone user (on a 920 I think) that suggested an antenna might be loose (and I thought, that might explain the Bluetooth problem also) and easy to snap back together. I’m not much with a screwdriver (worse with a soldering iron). I tend to break things when I take them apart. But I thought I’d try. I went to Home Depot to get some Torx screwdrivers for those tiny star headed screws that hold these phones together, found some disassembly instructions on the internet, and took the thing more apart than I felt safe with.

1020 split open
1020, laid out on the table

Of course, as it turned out, that little adventure didn’t lead anywhere, and now the Nokia Recovery tool has trouble finding the phone at all.

So next I tried to fix the 520. I love that phone, its size and its price. And its expandable storage. And you can still get them.  But it was my working machine (not phone without the SIM), and I felt reluctant to take it apart.

What had happened to it was that I got a SIM card adapter jammed into the slot (the 520 takes a micro SIM, and my SIM from Cricket is a nano SIM–makes me think of coffee sizes at Starbucks–and I was careless). It took work to get it out, and it didn’t come out safely.

So there I was, phoneless in fact. Attentive reader of this blog will remember I had a Nokia 920 also, but that phone’s in use by another member of my small family now.

I did, eventually, order a part to replace the broken SIM carrier on the 520 (it was $2.99, including shipping from England in an envelope with a Customs declaration on it) but I fear it will require soldering, another chance to fumble.

520 part
Part for the 520, not much bigger than a dime.

Give me bad code to fix any day.


I got the 520 as an AT&T Go Phone, from the Radio Shack on the corner before it became a Sprint house. I decided to replace it–my backup phone I called it–with a Lumia 640 Go Phone, this time ordered from the Microsoft Store. I think I paid about the same in both cases, around $80. Still I knew it wouldn’t have the camera the 1020 had, not even close, so I thought I’d at least look at the used phones on Amazon. I took the risk on an unlocked 1020 priced a bit under $200, kind of a bargain. I was phoneless for a weekend, then both phones arrived on Tuesday.

Inventory:  So now I have a working 1020, a dead 1020, a 640, and a 520 which sort of works and runs the latest beta build of Window 10 mobile. I also have a Moto-E, but I’m not sure that’s actually a phone.

Finally pulled my phone number over to my Nokia, one of my Nokias, the 1020. Now I need to learn how it works as a phone, not just as a camera and internet machine. Ringtones and contacts. Yesterday I accidentally phoned a Facebook contact I had no reason to call, and didn’t know who until I hung up and looked at the history. But time passes.

And I’m finally done with my one-time beautiful flip phone I’ve had for almost 10 years.
WP_20150412_08_44_00_Pro (2)R
It wasn’t my first mobile phone, but it was my second, and was so much more beautiful than the old one. Blue, almost glowing, compact. I often thought it would be good for throwing, though I didn’t. Dropped it a few times. Wore it in a small camera holster on my belt at my waist, so it was always with me when I was out of the house. Alas. One more down.

I tried my Homeopathic Pill Timer app, never mind why. It works, if not perfectly, but the UI confuses the developer. And, uncertain who needs it, I’ve not pulled it from the store but have hidden it. You can still get it from here, but that’s it, for now. One problem with it is the imprecise timing of notifications, at least in WP8. There’s a window of about a minute as I recall. That was almost enough to stop me from working on it in the first place, but I wanted to get something done, a DVLUP challenge, a free phone, fame, ignominy, no fortune.

There are all kinds of timers, stopwatches, etc., in the store. I haven’t tried any of them. I thought I’d do a special purpose one, a particular use case, and see what happened, go through the process, get it into the store. I’d never done something like that before, got something out where people I didn’t know could see it, try it out, etc. Anyway, I thought it was a simple thing, in concept if not execution.

But if you want a simple, practical, beautifully simple health-care device, you can’t beat the weekly pill box. It doesn’t alert you when you need it, but its presence is reminder enough. Can’t remember if you’ve taken your blood pressure pill today? Look at the box. Is today’s slot empty? Done. Of course you have to know what day it is. But between the time you need to take something every day, and the time you can’t keep track, it fills an important function, far better than any electronic device. (I use mine mostly for vitamins.)

Actually I have four smart phones, not just the 520, 920, and 1020. On Black Friday I walked to the corner Radio Shack (will it still be there this morning?) and bought a moto-e for $50. I was curious to see how it worked. So far it’s another phone not used as a phone, but it has one thing none of my Windows phones have, a Nook app. That’s it. It’s my Nook reader.

A year ago I’d not yet owned a smart phone. Cell phones, sure, a couple since a fire scared us a decade or so ago, but I was a bit slow to commit. I wanted a Windows phone (no need to explain why, it was just good sense)–later, more specifically, a Nokia–but my provider, Sprint, was also slow to commit. So I waited and studied and read up on the API etc. I went to Build twice, 2013 and 2014, expecting I might get one thrust upon me, no more decision dithering, but no luck there. I did get the Surface Pro I’m using to write this, and an Xbox One that looks cute on my desk upstairs, but no new phone. At the 2014 Build I used a paper printout of a barcode to get into the Xamarin after hours party, lugging my Xbox in a cloth bag I’d brought for the occasion.

Now I own three Nokia phones, a 520, a 1020, and a 920. Here’s how it happened. After Build I had to decide what to do with the $500 credit at the Microsoft store we’d been given to see if we could make our own decisions. I liked the extremism of the 41 megapixel camera in the 1020, but there were other possibilities, like a nice Asus 8″ with a Wacom pen, or the possibility of buying something for someone else. So I bought a 520 as a GoPhone at the corner Radio Shack (yes, really, I can see it from my porch).

I bought the 520 because I wanted to try developing something on it, and it was cheap and available, but it’s actually a nice device. I can’t say it either is or is not a nice phone, since I don’t use it that way–I don’t make or get calls much, and I haven’t yet given up my Sprint flip phone–but it’s light, cheap enough to assuage worry, plays 2048 quite nicely, and hooks up to my USB port to test stuff. This was in April, shortly after Build.

Towards the end of the month, just before I had finally to decide what to do with my Microsoft Store credit, I attended a DVLUP Day event at the Nokia San Diego office up the street from my day job. The date coincided with the Microsoft acquisition, which affect the tone slightly, but there was a lot to learn, and the promise of a free phone for all attendees who got an app into the Windows Phone store quickly enough (the ending date waffled a little, or my knowledge of it did). Anyway, the event convinced me to go with the 1020 instead of some other bauble, like that 8″ Asus.

The 1020 is a great device. I chose it for the camera, and use it that way, but it has a phone number, and I can get my email facebook and twitter when I’m not at home now, which may have changed my life a little. But, still, it’s mostly for development, I say here.

The Nokia event was a great challenge, because it got me to go through all the steps with my practice app, which, however simple and specialized, is now in the store. And, after a while (the turmoil of the acquisition?) another phone, a white 920, arrived in the mail, another nice phone, and more than I expected.

So that’s it. Later, development tales.