March 28, 2007 09:07 – 09:07

Words to live by? More like words for a cell phone to die by.

My cell phone’s 1 year warranty ran out about a month ago. Therefore, it stands to reason that my cell phone itself was due to die. Right?

Right on schedule, during the past week, it has been responding badly to attempts to charge it. Its charger has never been exactly cooperative. I would connect it, and sometimes it would say CHARGING forever. Less often, it would nicely get all charged up. Still other times, nothing at all would happen. Once, after presumably charging all night, it woke up the next morning saying LOW BATTERY.


So, after those desperate appeals for attention, yesterday, it decided to become shrill. Yes. My Motorola E815 has gone from being nice to being a high maintenance bitch. Or bastard. You take your choice.

I pushed the power button, and it rewarded me with a lovely blue screen (taking a lesson from Microsoft, I guess) with white writing that said cryptically: BOOTLOADER USB INIT. It didn’t progress any further than that, and it wouldn’t respond to any buttons at all. This is a cell phone’s equivalent of saying “If you don’t know what you did, I’m not going to tell you. It’s too late to apologize.”


I tried the usual tricks of removing the battery, yelling selected four-letter words meaning defecation and copulation, reciting the number 666 backwards, and eating a piece of fruitcake. Nothing worked, except for the fruitcake, which contains prunes, among other things. My mother makes the only good fruitcake in the world. And, it not only tastes good, but it does wonders for your digestive system. I digress.

I googled the meaningful phrase BOOTLOADER USB INIT and quickly discovered that this is a Motorolan phrase that means “You’re screwed.”

I found several pieces of valuable advice, however, suggesting how to recover from this nasty little message:

  1. Remove the battery and put it back in. Been there, done that.
  2. Remove the battery, bang the phone on the desk three times, reinsert the battery. I tried this, and it didn’t work. I can only assume that I have the wrong kind of desk. Or, maybe wrapping it in a chamois before banging it was coddling it too much.
  3. Assume that the phone got wet, remove the battery, and dry the phone with a hair dryer. The phone’s hair is now quite dry, but the screen is still blue.
  4. Since heat didn’t work, try cold, and stick the phone (sans battery) into the freezer. The phone still appeared to be stone cold dead. In addition, I’m pretty sure the phone was beginning to feel a bit like Goldilocks (too hot, too cold), and was becoming impatient for “just right.”
  5. Take it to Verizon and have them re-flash it. I tried flashing it myself last night, but I’m guessing that they mean something entirely different. I think the phone turned a little red in addition to the blue. Or, maybe it was green. Either way, it didn’t help. It didn’t do much for the neighbors, either. Taking it to Verizon would have been my next step, had #6 not worked.
  6. Remove the battery and leave the phone under a vent all night long.

#6 seems to have worked. Maybe it really did get too humidified? Or, maybe it’s just the passage of time. Maybe the phone had all night to consider what had been done to it, and it decided to relent, at least for now. “I’ve been banged on a desk, had my battery repeatedly inserted and removed, heated up with a hair dryer, stuck in a freezer, and flashed by a guy in his 50s. Maybe I’d better reconsider this new high maintenance personality thing.”

In any event, as of 90 minutes ago, the phone booted up properly. My new-every-two doesn’t kick in until 11/25/2007, so I’m hoping the E815 lasts until then. Note to self: let this be the last Motorola anything I ever buy.

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