Sunday, January 07, 2007

The SIMply frustrating reality of the lost phone



Foolishly, and most irritatingly, I forgot my phone on a flight on Friday. I can picture exactly where I left it (the seat pocket) and went straight to the BA desk (picking my way carefully through the 100,000 pieces of luggage and mewling babies and parents) in the luggage claim area. After waiting best part of an hour and checking with them a few times, they told me that they had finally sent someone out to check the plane, and couldn't find it. Having recently spent 2.5 years living in Helsinki where wallets full of cash left on the street are returned, this came as a shock. But as someone said to me yesterday, this ain't Kansas, Toto.

Anyway, this little exercise has brought home to me the utter frustration caused by the most useful component of my identity being the subject of the twin tyrants of i) a physical form factor (the plastic sim card) and ii) intermediaries who control "my" identity. I had to report its loss via an internal corporate service desk, fill in a replacement SIM card form, and then hope that at some stage that intermediary connects to the Vodafone intermediary, so somebody somewhere can flick a switch somewhere that will rekindle my life.

The last couple of days have been a complete social wasteland for me (the extent to which the phone's loss is responsible is however debatable), my travel plans have been skewered and I have no insight into when I'll be back in the land of the living, or what the process is. How much easier would it be if i) I controlled my communication identity and could change it at will ii) i could access it at from any web connected device, grabbing a physical device as needed, and otherwise just using my Skype as an OK approximation of my cellphone, able to send and receive messages and calls. Hmm, will take a while I guess, and meanwhile, idiots such as me will continue making work for paper and plastic pushers the world over.

1 comment:

Jim Griffin said...

This post proved doubly interesting to me. The topic is provocative -- moving from physical to virtual authentication -- and, as you are no doubt recalling, I lost my wallet in precisely the same manner (gee, I vaguely recalled hearing something drop as I picked up my jacket while deplaning) while traveling with you from Helsinki to Berlin.

You were generous with your time and sharing your wallet until Amex effectively replaced mine (thanks to my cell phone call to Amex while in the taxi cab ride for which you paid and shoved extra money in my hand), all of which leads me to assert: If you have the choice of losing your phone or your wallet, better the latter than the former. A phone call to Amex (or presumably any card issuer) can get you money, but even a wallet won't get your SIM chip back fast!

Had you lost your Nokia TokenID network access authentication card, might that have been worse? Or better?

Regardless, here's hoping your problems are resolved as easily as were mine, and it's worth noting that an honest Finn returned my wallet to the airline, money and all, albeit a week later.