A few months ago, my trusty old TREO died and and I knew it was time to step into some new technology. I'd had my (eye) on and iPhone for some time, but was hesitant due to the fact that I used my TREO to open the GE SUPRA MLS lockboxes here in Austin. The GE Supra lockboxes use infrared technology to open the boxes to obtain the key to show property. As a Realtor, it's pretty hard to show houses when you can't get the key to open the door, so needless to say, this is a pretty important piece of technology.
So, when the TREO died and I went to get a new phone, guess what? Very few phones are being made/sold today that have an IRDA (infrared) port. iPhone? Nope. Blackberry? Nope. Infrared is a dead technology. But thanks to GE and decisions by the powers that be with the Austin Board of Realtors (ABOR), we're stuck with it for now.
Bluetooth has made infrared obsolete.
After thinking about what kind of functionality I wanted in my phone, an iPhone was definitely going to be my choice. Only one problem, no infrared and no way to use the phone to open lockboxes. Arggggghhhh! So, I'm going to have to lug around yet another piece of hardware to do my job.
Enter the ActiveKEY. This goofy looking piece of equipment reminds me of a Fisher-Price fake cell phone. Seriously. Look at the photos. I think GE must have engineers and designers that couldn't find a job anywhere else. They have the nerve to charge me $180 bucks a year to use this piece of junk. (at least that is what ABOR charges).
So I am stuck using this ActiveKEY and I found one redeeming feature about it that made it tolerable. I could turn off the "radio" (the key uses the cell networks to update) to put the key into a deep sleep mode and the battery would last for weeks, so I could throw it in the console in my car and forget about it. With the radio off, the charge on the battery would last for weeks.
That changed 2 days ago when they "upgraded" the firmware in my ActiveKEY and removed the ability for me to turn off the radio. So now that the firmware is "upgraded" the ActiveKEY radio stays ON for 12 hours a day, constantly pinging the cell phone network. This causes several problems, 1. I now have to bring the key in from the car (or purchase one of their overpriced car charger adapter$$ ) 2. Keep it plugged in which wastes energy. 3. Every time the stupid key pings the cell network, it makes my electronics freak out. Way to go GE! 4. I'll probably forget the stupid key on the way to show property because it's no longer in my console.
I'm still upset that they have no solution for iPhone users to utilize a fob the way Blackberry users can. You would think with the number of iPhone users, this would be a top priority for GE, but they were probably using those resources on the ActiveKEY.
The real solution is to get off the ancient technology of infrared and move on to the 21st century. Infrared is dead. In the mean time, GE- Give me back the ability to turn off the radio on the ActiveKEY!
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