Thursday, September 21, 2017

Phoning It In

I was upgraded to a smart phone about two years ago.

It’s a nice little phone, I suppose.  It can surf the web.  It can tell me the weather.  It can send and receive texts, which is why my family insisted on me obtaining this device in the first place, as my children will not actually speak on the telephone unless there is no conceivable alternative up to and including not communicating at all.  It can, after a fashion, take photographs, though honestly a tiny elf with a colored pencil set would probably do a better job.  It makes a decent bookmark in a pinch.

If you try hard enough, it will actually function as a telephone.

This is kind of an afterthought among smart phone designers.  You can tell because smart phones are very poorly designed as phones.  They are really small tablet computers that will grudgingly make phone calls if you insist on it.  I suspect that the designers put that function in out of a sense of contractual obligation and are just waiting for everyone currently over 40 to die so they can phase the function out entirely.

It doesn’t really do apps, because it has less memory than I do.

I’m not sure why this is so, since one of the things I purchased with the phone was a small microchip that had flibbertygib-bits of memory so I could put things there and have plenty left over for other things such as apps.  This, it turns out, was not the case.  I’ve tried putting apps on it, but eventually I take them off because they don’t really work on my phone.

I’m surprisingly okay with this, as I don’t really do apps either.  Kim insists that I would do apps if I had a phone that could, but then this seems like putting the cart before the horse.  Can you even make horse/cart metaphors with smart phone technology?

Apparently so.

Two years is, I am told, an eternity in the smart phone world.  My phone is a veritable antique!  A museum piece!  There are phones being given away to indigent people in third world countries that could out-perform my phone even with their screens removed! 

So my task these days – or one of them, as there is never any shortage of tasks in this world – is to find and purchase a new phone.

I cannot tell you how dispiriting this process is.

Kim does not understand this, as she is a technology sort of person and enjoys nothing more than upgrading to a new gizmo that does More, Better, Faster, More Effectively, and With Greater Force.  If Kim were in this situation she would have had every phone on the market analyzed, rated, categorized, and ranked by now, and the new phone would already be in her pocket.  All technological progress made in our household can be directly attributed to her, as if it were left to me we'd probably still be writing letters longhand.  She'd have this problem solved.

Me?  I’m still working up the energy to look at the web site.

On my desktop.

My cell provider does make this a bit easier by limiting the number of phones that will actually work on their system to about a dozen models.  I like my provider, as they have a plan that costs very little, works pretty well, gives me everything I need, and actually refunds the difference between what I use and what I pay for.  In two years I have never failed to get money back.  And I can make calls from home, which is better than any other cell phone provider I have ever had.  So I will likely stick to one of those dozen models.

But which one?

They’re all Shiny.  They’re all no doubt an improvement over what I have, for certain values of improvement that don’t include comfort or familiarity and do include the ability to perform tasks that I have lived this long without ever asking a device to perform before.  They all promise everything and they may well deliver for all I know.

There are times when I am tempted just to get rid of the phone and be done with it.  But then my children would have no way to communicate with me. 

So I press on.


LucyInDisguise said...

For a long as I can remember having a cell phone, I have used a flip phone.

Until 3 weeks ago.

My life went to hell in the new iPhone 6S Plus brick that my employer sent me. This thing should be mounted on no fewer than 10 wheels, have a steering wheel, and require a special license just to turn it on.

I want my flip phone back. At least I could use it to make phone calls.

And, while I'm at it, Get Off My Lawn.


David said...

I had a flip phone until two years ago when it was clear that unless I started texting (which is more of a nuisance than it's worth on a flip phone) I would never be able to contact my own children at any distance. So I switched. It's not bad. But it's not comfortable.

Remember when they used to make phones smaller? That was back when they were phones, though.

Now I'm always worried that I'll hit the wrong icon and end up nuking Moscow or something. Sigh.

LucyInDisguise said...

This monster is 3.5" wide x 7" long (I just measured it ...) and weighs almost as much as my semi. I have to put all calls on speaker because there is no comfortable way in which to put this thing up against my ear.

I'll let my Air Force Buddies know that you have that Nuclear App™ that they lost when they upgraded their OS.


David said...

3.5x7? That's not a phone, that's a billboard!

I don't know - if I have the Nuclear App, does that mean der Sturmtrumper no longer has access? This has possibilities...

LucyInDisguise said...

I rest my case.

(Mostly 'cause I'm tired of carrying the thing around!)