I bought an iPhone three weeks ago. It was no impulse buy: I had been pondering Apple's much-hyped mobile for some time, fully aware of its handful of significant faults.
But I went ahead, thinking that such a delight to use would soon prompt me to ignore its foibles.
How right I was. The iPhone is a delight to use. It's the first modern mobile phone I've had that is truly intuitive to use. But its strength is all the other functions - from internet browsing to email, from music player (iPod) to photo slide show. The screen is superb: we watched the hit BBC comedy Outnumbered on the BBC iPlayer on the iPhone last night and were wowed by the quality.
What about the foibles? The camera isn't as bad as I feared: in good light it takes nice photos. But it should be better than 2 megapixels. The lack of a flash is a real limitation but I can live with that.
Texting remains a challenge because of the tiny keypad, but I have got better at typing on the iPhone. I wouldn't want to write a long blog post on the device, though, which is a shame given its online strengths. And that is the joy of the iPhone. For the first time, I'm using the internet and email on my phone. The iPhone has made it a pleasure to check where a hotel or restaurant is via Safari - none of those tedious attempts to reach and use Google Maps on the Sony Ericsson K800i and the BlackBerry.
Nice phone, shame about the phone network...
So the iPhone has proved one of my better buys. I wish I could say the same about O2, the only mobile phone network that offers the device in Britain. Perhaps I was unlucky: a trainee in O2's High Wycombe store sold me the phone. But I had little idea how much havoc she would cause by getting my first name and surname the wrong way round on the O2 computer. When I phoned O2 customer services to point out the mistake, I was amazed to be told to fax my driving licence to them as proof of my true identity. The jobsworth told me that I had to go through this hassle to protect my own identity. After all, she claimed dubiously, Skinner Robert was an entirely plausible name.
Really? The fact that I bought the phone with a bank account in my correct name, and the credit check was in my real name, underlines the stupidity of this demand.
It gets worse. I got an email from someone called Heha Chawla from O2 telling me:
"I understand that you've faxed a letter and document for name change. However, we don't have any time scale when your name will be change on our system. "
So, O2 gets your name wrong, but has absolutely no idea when they might correct this howler. Meantime, their system has no record of you. Marvellous.
(Beside this triumph of customer service, O2's very patchy 3G coverage compared with Vodafone pales into insignificance!)
UPDATE, 24 November
It got worse still - and then better. I got a further email from O2 telling me that I shouldn't have been told to fax my driving licence, but had to post it. I replied I would write to Ronan Dunne, O2's UK chief executive if the company didn't take responsibility for the mistake and put it right without any action from me. I finally spoke to a helpful person called Jennifer Matthews who agreed it was O2's mistake and would put it right.