Sunday, January 30, 2011

Verizon Needs To Stay Out of NAM

I am a very slow "texter".  Everyone I know has a I phone, android, or other phone-like device that has an extended keyboard, allowing them rapidly send text messages to me.  I however, have an old Nokia with a 12 button keyboard.  I tried, ineptly to enable the T9 anticipative text option on Saturday night.  Within a text message, I toggled "options", and found it was already on "WORD" and not "symbol" or "numeric", so not there.  In the "Tools" menu, I found a "NAM" setting, and being an idiot engineer, I toggled it, not knowing what it was, and erroneously thinking "this won't hurt anything" from NAM1 to NAM2.

I tried to text message, send photos, call voice mail, and call my dear wife, and nothing worked.  Since I am in mountainous Pennsylvania I figured it was because I was in a low signal area.  I did not attribute any of the loss of function to NAM2.  I tried to send a picture of an ostrich swallowing a bottle from a Guiness promotional poster, no less than 12 times, to my buddy Ryan.  It failed every time.  The next day, I am driving along and I saw a Verizon Wireless store.  AHA!  They'll certainly be able to explain why I get no signal and a message that says "connecting to an eternal operator" when I try to access my voice mail.  I tried it in the parking lot, and indignantly I thought "we'll see about that!" as I stomped into the store.

There was a 10 minute wait at the very busy store.  I queued, trying my best to pretend I was as polite and patient as a British citizen typically is, and I never can seem to pretend to be successfully.  Various Erlenmeyer flask shaped customer service agents helped many customers, as I silently fumed and tried again and again to send the same messages futilely.  THEN, I remembered the "NAM" setting, and wen into the menus to toggle it, as a young female technician approached, and asked politely, "what is the problem?"  I toggled the setting, went to send the same message, and viola, it worked!  Thinking me insane, the young technician, who was probably all of 21 or 22 years old, asked if she could see.  I went to show her the phone's display, and she marched off with it "I'll be over here" as she scurried away across the store.  Huh?

I followed, not wanting to lose my phone.   She had headed to the technician counter, where she asked a senior tech what the NAM1 and NAM2 settings were.   They were both perplexed.  I said "I am not old enough to have been in 'Nam, all I did was toggle the NAM1 and NAM2 setting, and the phone didn't work, so what does NAM1 and NAM2 do on a Verizon Nokia?"  The technicians stood around, shrugging.  And then the young female tech says "you should always leave it on NAM2".  HUH??

No, that was the whole problem of why I was in the store in the first place.   Had I never toggled it off NAM1, it would have worked.  Going to NAM2 disabled the phone completely.  If it had been a Alltel phone, it would have locked up and nearly self destructed - gracefully Verizon let me toggle it back without a mother-ship intervention.  I told young tech that she was wrong, and she immediately snapped back "what's your phone number and account password?!?".  'Account password'?  I have no clue.  Dr Desert Flower pays the bill online, and has not shared the 'password' with me.  Young tech demanded my driver's license.  I told her I did not want to renew my contract, or add any features, that I just want my NAM1 toggled phone back now, thanks, I'll be going.  She'd determined that I must be a phone thief, and since I'd insulted her intelligence telling her she was wrong (she really Was Wrong) she was going to confiscate my phone if I could not prove it was mine.

Driver's licensed tendered, she compared it to the address on her screen, and was satisfied that I was not a cellular thief.  Handing me back the phone, she repeated her erroneous recommendation to "leave it on NAM2", and I reiterated that "No, NAM2 was the problem, it needs to be on NAM1, thanks anyways."

Googling NAM and Verizon and Nokia, I determined that the NAM settings were where the phone stores it's identity, and should not be messed with (link here).   I also determined that my phone cannot do T9, so therefore, everyone needs to have patience with me, and know that when they text me, I cannot rapidly text them back.   It's an arduous endeavor, to send even the shortest of messages in reply.  And Verizon, you really need to stay completely out of NAM, you don't understand it, and your State College PA store doesn't know how to recommend fixes to confused customers who have ignorantly toggled the settings.

And yes, I need to get a phone with an extended keyboard, that can also send pictures to email, so I stop asking my friends to do it for me. It's annoying and inefficient for them.  I know. I know.

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