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tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

zmcnulty posted:

Softbank has server-side image resizing for email anyway (and it's on by default), so at least someone @softbank.ne.jp should be OK.

Too bad I can count my SoftBank friends on one hand...

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harperdc
Jul 24, 2007



took the dive, bought an iPhone 4 and what's pretty much the standard Softbank plan (White Plan plus their data packages plus the iPhone voice mail)...holy poo poo that was an expensive phone to buy.

they also said you can't MNP from Softbank pre-paid to post-paid because they use different phone numbers. Path of least resistance (meaning not having to tell my supervisor/Japanese contacts I got a new number in three months) led me to this decision.

at least the monthly bill is a little cheaper than the equivalent would be in the U.S. Jeez.

Sheep
Jul 24, 2003


harperdc posted:

they also said you can't MNP from Softbank pre-paid to post-paid because they use different phone numbers.

I'm pretty sure MNP was only setup to allow transitions between carriers. As long as you're staying with the same carrier, I don't think they're obligated to let you keep the number.

Don't quote me on that but that's what I remember from the PR blitz that occurred when MNP was being put into action.

tyblazitar
Oct 29, 2009

WILL AMOUNT TO NOTHING IN LIFE.

So does anyone know if you can put a SIM in an Infobar A01? I can't find any info on it online, but I really want to use it when I return from Japan too (don't really know if it's worth it if I'm only gonna use it for ~10 months).

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

If anyone else out there is suffering with a lovely Android keyboard, try the ATOK keyboard. It's pricey at 1500 yen, but it is amazing. It supports a keitai keyboard in Japanese and a normal keyboard in English, or keitai in both, or normal for both. The touch recognition is better than the normal Samsung keyboard I have despite smaller keys, and the key layout/punctuation are much more usable.

peanut
Sep 9, 2007

CENSORSHIP ROCKS


Lord oh lordy I went to Docomo today and they had an Aquos with a 3D camera and a 3D screen. It had Katamari Damacy pre-installed which should be amazing if you can get used to the controls.
My husband chose a less fancy Aquos, probably because it was the smallest of the smartphones. It has a wireless charger which is kind of spooky.
We tried the voice recognition but so far it only works for Japanese. (EX "Sgt. Pepper" became "saikin dekita.") If there's an English setting we'll find it, but English pronounciation is so variable we're not expecting too much.

On the other hand, I looked up AT&T prepaid plans for my US trip and everything was ugly and stupid. Just gonna ask Softbank if they have a roaming special rate, or if a foreign SIM will work in my model. I'll suck it up for a short vacation but 3 weeks is too long to pay regular roaming.

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


My friend's new Droid phone can create a Wifi hotspot, which I'd never heard of and is super badass. A guy at my Japanese class yesterday with a US iPhone 4 (which he can't get a SIM for) was saying the iPhone can do it too, and the guy with a Japanese iPhone 4 tried and couldn't find it in the menus. A quick Google just confirmed that the feature isn't available in Japan (unless you jailbreak). I was already thinking of getting one of those stand-alone docomo deals that creates a hotspot already so I could have internet on my personal computer/iPad at school, so now I'm leaning towards just getting a drat Droid after all. Why you so lovely, Apple products in Japan?

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Pompous Rhombus posted:

Why you so lovely, Apple products in Japan?

Softbank doesn't want people sucking up data.

Docomo has a separate pakehoudai plan that they apply if you start using tethering. It simply replaces the normal data plan and has a higher cap.

Edit: My Galaxy S2 just crapped out on me. I don't know if it's been too hot and it overheated or what, but despite showing a signal, I have zero network access.

Edit 2: Sigh. http://japanese.engadget.com/2011/08/16/sp/

tarepanda fucked around with this message at Aug 16, 2011 around 06:38

Kenishi
Nov 18, 2010


tarepanda posted:

Softbank doesn't want people sucking up data.

Docomo has a separate pakehoudai plan that they apply if you start using tethering. It simply replaces the normal data plan and has a higher cap.

Edit: My Galaxy S2 just crapped out on me. I don't know if it's been too hot and it overheated or what, but despite showing a signal, I have zero network access.

Edit 2: Sigh. http://japanese.engadget.com/2011/08/16/sp/

I'm still a little mind boggled by the packethoudai and the tethering thing. Unless you are using a specific Docomo based app which will let Docomo know "Hey! I'm tethering here!" I can't see how they would know what you are using the data for that goes through the phone. Tethering data, assuming you have a rooted & reflashed droid, should just look the same as any phone data I think.

I still haven't decided on what to do about SIM card only or get a new phone with Docomo though. Interac has told me that apparently the carriers won't let you get a more pricey phone with them because they are afraid you will leave; or something like that. They've also told us/claimed that they can't aid in phone set up because privacy laws in japan forbid them from even assisting in phone set. I find this somewhat amusing since when I was here as a student, the university had student helpers who helped set up our phone accounts. So I'm somewhat wondering if its not just a scheme to get us all to use this third party phone contract set up group, in order to get a phone. Company is called Mcall, or something like that, and they go through softbank.

Out of curiosity; are there any third party consumer based cell phone coverage maps for the providers in Japan? I am curious to see how well each company covers my region of Japan.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Kenishi posted:

I'm still a little mind boggled by the packethoudai and the tethering thing. Unless you are using a specific Docomo based app which will let Docomo know "Hey! I'm tethering here!" I can't see how they would know what you are using the data for that goes through the phone. Tethering data, assuming you have a rooted & reflashed droid, should just look the same as any phone data I think.

That's kind of the point. Rooting etc. isn't as big here as it is in America. Most Japanese people aren't going to go root their phone (if they even know it's possible) for free internet. I mean, we're talking about a people who are (generally truthfully) stereotyped as being so addicted to the rules that they queued up after the Tohoku Earthquake.

I've never heard of what Interac is telling you. Maybe if you had a tourist or a one-year visa, but even then, I dunno.

The helping with a phone contract is bullshit.

It's a scheme.

Softbank really owns the foreigner market hard, which is one reason I really don't want to go with them.

I don't know about third-party maps, but I've found that the first-party detailed maps are pretty accurate. In my experience, I've never not had coverage with au or docomo (so far) no matter where I went (excepting obvious places like subway tunnels) whereas softbank friends have had intermittent reception/slow e-mails on mountains or at my apartment. YMMV etc.

Kenishi
Nov 18, 2010


tarepanda posted:

That's kind of the point. Rooting etc. isn't as big here as it is in America. Most Japanese people aren't going to go root their phone (if they even know it's possible) for free internet. I mean, we're talking about a people who are (generally truthfully) stereotyped as being so addicted to the rules that they queued up after the Tohoku Earthquake.
Ah okay, that makes sense on the tethering thing. I know the Japanese are obsessive rule followers (see 2m cross walks w/ lights and no cars to see at all...they just wait), so I guess I can see why they have the tethering thing.

quote:

I've never heard of what Interac is telling you. Maybe if you had a tourist or a one-year visa, but even then, I dunno.

The helping with a phone contract is bullshit.

It's a scheme.

Softbank really owns the foreigner market hard, which is one reason I really don't want to go with them.

I don't know about third-party maps, but I've found that the first-party detailed maps are pretty accurate. In my experience, I've never not had coverage with au or docomo (so far) no matter where I went (excepting obvious places like subway tunnels) whereas softbank friends have had intermittent reception/slow e-mails on mountains or at my apartment. YMMV etc.
See thats EXACTLY what I've been thinking too because I never seemed to have much issue with getting a phone last time. Also because you MUST register with a credit card and/or bank account, I think that is enough "security" for not having to worry on remainder of phone cost. I'm on a 1 year work visa though, but I know Docomo has a 1 year contract type pay off for their phones; if you get a phone, because its on their website when you check out price on phones.

The whole thing wreaks of a scheme between the 3rd party and maybe this area or whatever. The company charges a 1500yen fee a month on the account for using their service and what not. Also the only phones they offer are 16/32GB Iphone 4s and the really cheap clamshell phones that softbank sells for like 10000yen. I too feel the same way about the foreigner market thing as well. Also the fact that very few Japanese use softbank as well always kind of bugged me.

I'm pretty sold on getting Docomo, but I would like to have an English speaking staff member help with account set up and with answering questions. I never checked at the Yodobashi I got my last phone at, to see if they had English staff for Docomo there or not. I just know Softbank had it. Its just loving annoying that the whole dam thing sounds like a loving cop out on Interac's part with "privacy law," especially when they will get my phone number and email anyway, they have seen my passport, and have even helped in setting up a bank account. loving stupid.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

If you can get to Akihabara, they should have English-speaking staff there.

caberham
Mar 18, 2009

So I'm back up in the game
Running things to keep my swing
Letting all the people know
That I'm back to run the show


peanut posted:

On the other hand, I looked up AT&T prepaid plans for my US trip and everything was ugly and stupid. Just gonna ask Softbank if they have a roaming special rate, or if a foreign SIM will work in my model. I'll suck it up for a short vacation but 3 weeks is too long to pay regular roaming.

I recently did a 3 week trans ammmmerrrrika trip and did a bit of browsing too. The best mobile internet package is to buy a t mobile hotspot and their one month pre paid. For 40 bucks 5gb. Then buy a sim card with 1200 minutes/text for 25 dollars. So easy face book updates by text too! Dont have that in hong kong At and t is ridiculously retarded and sometimes their sim is incompatible with sone 3G phones. The stores won't even let you demo a sim card to see if everything works. JUST GOT TO TAKE A CHANCE! Dumbass.

Two set backs, buying the hotspot device (its unlocked at least), and t mobile while cheap, it does suck for the smaller cities. Phoenix airport? Nope. 2 hours off Chicago? Nope. Monterey bay? Nope. In a free way?

But who cares, cant get cell reception in subways and underground any ways At least there are lots of wifi spots you can get easily in the states unlike Japan

caberham fucked around with this message at Aug 16, 2011 around 13:59

peanut
Sep 9, 2007

CENSORSHIP ROCKS


I don't have a smartphone anyway, just wanna txt friends and then call them when I get lost on the way to their house. Will check into T Mobile for SIM cards, thx.

LyonsLions
Oct 10, 2008


peanut posted:

I don't have a smartphone anyway, just wanna txt friends and then call them when I get lost on the way to their house. Will check into T Mobile for SIM cards, thx.

If all you want to do is call and text, you can get a simple prepaid phone at Best Buy or Target for like $19.95 and just put minutes on it every time you go home. I got a T Mobile one and it was $30 for a ton of minutes that I couldn't even use up in 3 weeks, and it's nice to have the same number every time I go back, with all my friends' information already in it.

Kenishi posted:

Also the fact that very few Japanese use softbank as well always kind of bugged me.

You certainly have some interesting ideas. Softbank wouldn't be one of the biggest phone companies in Japan if Japanese people didn't use it.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

LyonsLions posted:

If all you want to do is call and text, you can get a simple prepaid phone at Best Buy or Target for like $19.95 and just put minutes on it every time you go home. I got a T Mobile one and it was $30 for a ton of minutes that I couldn't even use up in 3 weeks, and it's nice to have the same number every time I go back, with all my friends' information already in it.

I always use my Japanese phone because I like having access to my e-mail.


LyonsLions posted:

You certainly have some interesting ideas. Softbank wouldn't be one of the biggest phone companies in Japan if Japanese people didn't use it.

Third of three is certainly "one of the biggest," but...

Nobody's saying that Japanese people don't use it, but that it's the company of choice for foreigners.

harperdc
Jul 24, 2007



tarepanda posted:

Nobody's saying that Japanese people don't use it, but that it's the company of choice for foreigners.

the JETs I've met around here fall into one of two camps: Softbank because of the iPhone, or au because it gets the best reception in Nagasaki. Haven't seen any foreigners using a non-Apple phone on Softbank yet.

LyonsLions
Oct 10, 2008


Still not sure why foreigners using it makes it a bad company? Is it so other foreigners won't want to call you or something?

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

LyonsLions posted:

Still not sure why foreigners using it makes it a bad company? Is it so other foreigners won't want to call you or something?

It's not a bad company. It's that I don't want to be "following the foreigner herd" or whatever. HIPSTER FOREIGNERS REPRESENT.

That and I have zero interest in the iPhone.

And yeah, the idea of people not calling me is amazing. It's always foreigners that call me at 10, 11 at night. "hey man, do you want to com--" "NO."

I'm a grumpy ex-pat foreigner-hating hermit, I know.

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



Tata Docomo has like 40 million subscribers, all foreigners. So be careful, an authentic Japanese person may think you're a foreigner by association. Don't want anyone making that mistake.

edit: whoops, numbers were outdated, apparently they're adding like 8 million a month.

zmcnulty fucked around with this message at Aug 17, 2011 around 04:15

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

zmcnulty posted:

Tata Docomo has like 40 million subscribers, all foreigners. So be careful, an authentic Japanese person may think you're a foreigner by association. Don't want anyone making that mistake.

edit: whoops, numbers were outdated, apparently they're adding like 8 million a month.

India, yeah. Totally.

It's not "being thought of as a foreigner" that bothers me, it's "following a herd of foreigners because they're foreign" that bothers me. Almost every new ALT here signs up with Softbank because another foreigner they know is with softbank and that whole herd mentality bothers me. Oh, a foreigner found a restaurant? Suddenly all the foreigners go there and only there! Oh, a foreigner found a bowling alley? Suddenly all the foreigners go there! It's boring and I don't want to be a part of that herd.

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



I won't go into the social dynamics of clusters of foreigners living in isolated parts of the country, but that "herd mentality" is actually beneficial for SoftBank users. If SoftBank has a plan and handset the person wants at a price point they can afford, and they can call/SMS their friends from 1AM to 9PM for free, why wouldn't they go for it? The coverage itself isn't dramatically shittier than Docomo or KDDI. And I don't see either of them offering similar benefits for in-network usage. Am I missing something? This has nothing to do with being foreign, btw, since it's not like Softbank has plans specifically set aside for gaijins.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

zmcnulty posted:

This has nothing to do with being foreign

It does for me. I've been saying over and over that it's just me. I don't want to be a part of the foreign herd. We've been having a stupid fight over my personal idiosyncracy. :P

(Barely related, but it irritates me when people want me to get an iPhone because Softbank has it and all that stuff will be free -- well, I'm sorry, but it's all "free" to me anyway since I have unlimited data. Big deal.)

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



edit: seems you already said that, so whoops! nevermind.

zmcnulty fucked around with this message at Aug 17, 2011 around 05:57

Rekka
Feb 1, 2004

oh god, it's.... THE DOOOO!

zmcnulty posted:

edit: seems you already said that, so whoops! nevermind.

A LOT of Japanese own iphones now. If they own iphones they must be using softbank. Of course most Japanese will own two phones, one dumb phone and one smartphone.

Ara
Oct 18, 2003





I use Softbank because my prepaid phone is 1500/month with unlimited mails, and I'm not aware of anything comparably cheap through the other companies. I literally did not know a single foreigner when I picked it out. People living in "foreigner herds" tend to only hang around for a year or two and not speak any Japanese, so I doubt many will have any motivation to figure stuff out on their own.

tyblazitar
Oct 29, 2009

WILL AMOUNT TO NOTHING IN LIFE.

Speaking of Softbank prepaid, is it possible to reactivate an expired account? My account expired in december or january, but since it says my number would be reserved for 360 days after expiry, and active again if I bought a new card, I bought one yesterday. And sure enough, I can receive mails no problem, but it seems I can't send any, despite the account information line telling me I have 2976 yen in my account. So did I just pay for receiving stuff on the same mail/number, or is something wrong?

EDIT: Turns out I can make calls, just not send any mails.

tyblazitar fucked around with this message at Aug 19, 2011 around 06:53

Ara
Oct 18, 2003





tyblazitar posted:

Speaking of Softbank prepaid, is it possible to reactivate an expired account? My account expired in december or january, but since it says my number would be reserved for 360 days after expiry, and active again if I bought a new card, I bought one yesterday. And sure enough, I can receive mails no problem, but it seems I can't send any, despite the account information line telling me I have 2976 yen in my account. So did I just pay for receiving stuff on the same mail/number, or is something wrong?

EDIT: Turns out I can make calls, just not send any mails.

If you've got 2976 in your account, you haven't activated the monthly "mail service" thing for 300 yen. Call up 1400 and activate mail service.

tyblazitar
Oct 29, 2009

WILL AMOUNT TO NOTHING IN LIFE.

Ah, that's right! Thanks!

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


Been trying to find out (online) what a Galaxy S II at Docomo will set me back, but no luck. Planning on paying for it installments over 2 years, with an unlimited data plan. I heard they'll also come after you with the 1man+ data charge if you use your phone to suck down a bunch of data over the wifi tethering/personal hotspot thing, but don't care too much about email/light web browsing, anyone heard anything about this?

Sheep
Jul 24, 2003


I use my Docomo HT-03A exclusively for PDAnet so I can use the internet at work, and while the connection is like 1992 dialup levels of terrible, it "works" and I've never been charged any more than the base services I signed up for (cheapest phone plan plus business packehodai whatever). So unless they have some thing on the Galaxy that reports back to them that you're tethering or you're using absolutely tons of data you should be fine. All I really do is browse the forums with images blocked, so aside from things I can't really stop like Windows Updates I don't really transfer all that much, and I've been fine for like a year and a half.

As for figuring out how much it's going to cost you, it's possible to find out how much it's gonna cost you online, but it's way less of a pain in the rear end to go into a store and outright ask the staff what it's gonna set you back.

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


Thanks, I went out and got the Galaxy S II this morning, and am now posting from my tethered connection at home. This beats standing outside someone's house in my neighborhood and stealing Wifi, for sure. Rapes the hell out of the battery, although if I'm using it for my Macbook I can at least plug it in to the USB port to power the phone.

For the record: it set me back a bit under 9,000/month with the phone payments spread out over 2 years, unlimited data, and a whopping 55 minutes of talk time per month. They threw in a free 16GB micro SD card as well.

I got company coming today and just got a big package from home to unpack, so I'll probably wait until I'm on the train to Saga tomorrow evening to dick around with apps and stuff. Any suggestions?

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Be aware that they might find out that you're tethering without permission and give you a huge bill. I had a friend who rooted his iPhone and did tons of tethering, ended up with an absurd bill from Softbank. I guess technically there's no way to tell, but when you're transferring that amount of data then they can get a good idea. He tried to fight it but made no progress and in the end just gave up and paid the fee. Never tried to tether again.

Probably an isolated experience but be aware that it can happen.

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


Original_Z posted:

Be aware that they might find out that you're tethering without permission and give you a huge bill. I had a friend who rooted his iPhone and did tons of tethering, ended up with an absurd bill from Softbank. I guess technically there's no way to tell, but when you're transferring that amount of data then they can get a good idea. He tried to fight it but made no progress and in the end just gave up and paid the fee. Never tried to tether again.

Probably an isolated experience but be aware that it can happen.

Well yeah, that's Softbank and he jailbroke. They specifically lock that function out of the iPhone so that you can't tether. The tethering functionality is built in to the Galaxy.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Docomo, unlike Softbank, has a tethering unlimited data plan.

dtb
Feb 1, 2011

I like to traveling world and take pictures of.

I now use Softbank because they have the iPhone, that's the only reason. Before that I had au because they had a student discount 10 years ago.

Before Softbank was Softbank, it was Vodafone. From what I could tell, most all the non-American foreigners signed up for it because they knew Vodafone and by default became Softbank customers. My understanding was you could text message other Vodafone users anywhere in the world. I would think that played more in to Softbank being the 'foreigner network' that anything else, that and the iPhone

Ganguro King
Jul 26, 2007


Speaking of the iPhone, it looks like it is finally getting early earthquake warnings in iOS 5:

http://9to5mac.com/2011/08/21/ios-5...e-iphone-users/

Kenishi
Nov 18, 2010


So an update on some of my adventures with getting a sim card. To recap, I brought my Samsung galaxy s (aka captivate at at&t) with me from the states and had it similar unlocked, it was able to see both the softbank and docomo networks when I got here.

On wed. I went to a biccamera to see about a similar card for it. I was told that only docomo stores could sell similar cards so I trekked over to one. My first big mistake was never asking if docomo would give me the access point name info so I could connect the data network up. I only discovered this after 3 hours of talking to the rep in training. During this time I went from having packethoudai and spmode to houdai and moperu and finally to just regular old talk on the phone.

I got frustrated eventually and just said give me a new phone but they were out and I reserved the white galaxy s 2. Next day I decided having no net for a whole week till the phone came was BS and hopped on the shinkansen and went to Akiba, now I have a nice Black Galaxy S 2 and a form of net.

Lesson learned, similar cards only good for talking phone. I suspect if I had tracked down a wifi point I might have been able to get the access point info and simply plugged it in but I don't know. I also learned that store reps know next to nothing when it comes to actual questions. She had to call someone or go in the back every time I asked a question. I'm sure after that ordeal they never want to se a white person come in again.

Out of curiosity, does anybody else find that the galaxy s 2 charges reaaaaaally freaking slow if not at all, plugged into the computer? And only a little faster if plugged into the wall. I'm using a AC adapter with a USB port on it to charge my phone via USB and I'm just wondering if the USB to FOMA connectors might be faster or something.

Does anybody know if there are any stores that sell something like a skinomi skin protector for the galaxy s 2? Yodobashi surprisingly didn't have anything like it, least what I saw.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Apps I recommend for the S2:

ATOK keyboard
This keyboard, its layout, options, dictionary, everything are worth the 1500 yen. It never crashes, unlike the crappy Samsung keyboard, which crashed multiple times a day for me.

????QR???
This lets you write up your contact information and generates QR codes for people to scan. You can make codes for all three companies and add/remove information from your profile easily. Beats bumping phones for IR, especially if you don't have it.

tarepanda fucked around with this message at Sep 4, 2011 around 07:01

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Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


Kenishi posted:

Out of curiosity, does anybody else find that the galaxy s 2 charges reaaaaaally freaking slow if not at all, plugged into the computer? And only a little faster if plugged into the wall. I'm using a AC adapter with a USB port on it to charge my phone via USB and I'm just wondering if the USB to FOMA connectors might be faster or something.

Does anybody know if there are any stores that sell something like a skinomi skin protector for the galaxy s 2? Yodobashi surprisingly didn't have anything like it, least what I saw.

Mine seems to charge fine, although a lot of days at work it basically goes from charger at home to school, where it then gets plugged into the USB of my laptop all day while I tether.

I really ought to buy a screen protector for mine, not terribly worried about the back. I'm thinking of maybe gluing some kind of homebrew mount to the camera so I can use filters/possibly attach an accessory lens.

Vignette owns, it's the only Android App I've paid for yet. The camera on the S2 does a surprisingly decent job on its own though.


Dog Run by ethics_gradient, on Flickr


The Sea Dog by ethics_gradient, on Flickr


I'll say it "Good Day" when you include the requisite second "d". by ethics_gradient, on Flickr

Pompous Rhombus fucked around with this message at Sep 5, 2011 around 00:23

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