After a few calls to support, and a little troubleshooting on my own, I’ve concluded that my iPhone 3G is pretty much toast. It works OK until it gets warm, then the phone part blows a gasket and thinks it needs to be restored. The rest of the phone works fine when this happens, including the wifi; if I turn it off and let it cool down, it comes back like nothing ever happened.
With the new iPhone 4 out, you might think this was a wonderful excuse to upgrade… but Mrs. Fetched has been complaining about the phone bill for a while and put a preemptive kibosh on upgrading. The two small areas between the manor and the retail district where we lose signal are (for her) a reason to go back to Verizon. But smartphones on Verizon are even more expensive than on AT&T, and frankly I’d rather not have a cellphone at all than live with how Verizon cripples their not-so-smart phones.
So I’m seriously considering a more radical move: keep the ailing iPhone, remove the SIM card, and turn it into a Skype phone. The IdioTs at work block wifi access for personal equipment, but that’s what an office phone is for. There are plenty of open wifi hotspots between work and the retail district, and I really shouldn’t be on the phone in the car anyway, right?
Doing a little figuring in my head, it seems like I could probably do all the phone stuff I really need on Skype for maybe $10/month, maybe a little more. For what I’m paying to have an iPhone, a few inconveniences don’t seem all that substantial…