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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Stupid Smart Phone!

We were returning from a Memorial Day picnic when I checked my cell phone to see if I'd received a text from a friend about his release from the hospital, but I got the no coverage symbol.  We were on the twisty local roads (It's a law in Virginia; roads are not allowed to be straight, let alone run in a grid.), so I waited to try again in a few miles.  No coverage.  We turned into our neighborhood -- nope.  Into our house where I know very well we get a signal.  Nope. 

Down I tripped to the AT&T store.  The clerk told me it was just the sim chip, easily replaced, but I've whined about that phone for five years.  I took this as a sign from the Universe to replace it. 

When was the last time you tried to pick out a phone?  It’s like shoes.  You can select what you think you’ll like, but you never really know if they're a good fit until it’s too late to return ‘em.  Besides that, you can’t get something simple any more that's decent.  They’re all Smart Phones now.  There’s no escaping them.  Those damn phones will fly and diaper a baby.  I finally eeny-meeny-miny-moed and decided on an Android model. 

They synced up my numbers using my g-mail address to store my information.  At least, that’s what I understood the clerk to say.  I "joined" g-mail when it was in Beta phase (remember when you needed an invitation?), and I never, ever use it.  However, if it made the phone guy happy, who was I to argue?  My goal was to get a working phone and get out of the store. 

When I got home, I discovered that besides transferring phone numbers, g-mail brought the corresponding e-mail addresses came along for the ride.  I have a pay-as-you-go plan, so I do not use my phone for e-mail. In any case, because of my cheap-o plan, I would have to connect to wi-fi for e-mail, and if I’m doing that, I may as well us my i-pod or my Surface Pro.  It’s not that I don't like techie devices; it’s that I like them too much.  I have so many, I don’t need to pay the phone charges for internet coverage.  I average about $10.00 a month in phone fees, and I’m happy with that, thank you very much.  I deleted the e-mail addresses, consolidated entries with both land-line and cell phone numbers and generally organized my phone book. 

The phone has three screens (mandatory:  woe be to you if you try to delete one), and you slide from one to the other.  That's fine because I can keep my five essential icons isolated there. home screen simple.  Now I won’t mistakenly hit the internet button like I was always doing on my old phone.  There are also 1,000 icons that show up when you hit the icon icon (no, one of those is an adjective), but all I use on that screen is the "settings" icon.  Really, other than that and my home screen, I'd happily delete everything.  

Anyway, at this point, I plugged her in and charged her up.  After five minutes I heard a little harp trill.  Who knows what important missives had been sent to me while my other phone was down?  I ran to check.  There was a message from AT&T welcoming me to my new phone.  Did they think this would warm my heart?  They were wrong.

Five minutes later, I heard another harp trill.  I ran over.  Nothing

Five minutes later, another  riff.  Run, run, run.  Yup, it was a delayed message from our friend -- with whom I’d already spoken -- saying he was home and fine.  

Another riff.  Run, run, run.  Nothing.

Another one.  Run, run, run.  Nothing.  

Every five or six minutes there was a riff and nothing there!  I could not figure it out.  After an hour of alerting trills and the ensuing jogging, I called the store. The clerk led me from one icon to the next trying to figure out why my phone was alerting me.  Eventually we tried the g-mail settings.  The alarm was g-plus pinging me for public notices and postings.  Every     single     one.  If I had to listen to that -- even if I CARED -- I would slam that phone against the wall within three hours!  It took 15 minutes, but together we finally figured out how to disengage the phone from g-plus. 

I sat down and ran through the settings, disabling several other functions.  I made sure the app icon wasn’t going to deliver things to my phone like a cat bringing a dead mouse to the doorstep.  I moved a few things and deleted a few others.

Yes, I bought a Smart Phone, but with a little time and effort, I was able to dumb it down.