Archive for Monday, July 20, 2015

Smart phone purchase leaves operator feeling dumb

July 20, 2015

I have retreated from my original entrenched position — I have purchased a smart phone. That was something I said I would never do, but times have changed.

However, my knowledge of electronic gizmos hasn’t. Here’s the deal: I have a smart phone, but unfortunately, it has a dumb operator.

I have had a flip-top phone for years. I remember when I got it, the phone was part of the “Now” network. It has since degenerated to a “Then” phone that could be operated by a dinosaur like me. To me a cell phone is a tool to be used when necessary, not an entertainment center. I can assure you that I’ll never be one of the folks who has a phone in my hand 24 hours a day.

I’m certainly not a member of the electronic generation. Yes, I use computers, but my skills are limited. I can do what I know, but I’m not anxious to learn new skills such as word processing. Research and e-mails are good enough for me.

Retiring my old flip top phone was like losing a friend. The phone has been with me for years. I even had it with me when I was in the hospital. In many ways it was a security blanket. I remember being overjoyed when I could use the fingers on my right hand to dial a number. The phone was with me through a lot of meetings and trips. But I guess I’ll get used to the new world of smart phones.

Maybe I’ve just been overwhelmed by all the phone can do. One of my challenges is mastering the touch screen. My fingers aren’t that agile and the so-called keys are smaller. I am happy to report that I have been able to make calls. Well, sometimes it has taken me several attempts. My problem is that my fingers hit two or three keys, and then I have to search for the delete key.

Now my old phone was much more user-friendly. If I got a call, I simply pushed the “talk” button. Now you have to slide a nameless gizmo over to talk. Sometimes it doesn’t slide for me, but I have fairly well mastered that skill. I still have trouble hanging up – I have been told to tap a key. Well, I don’t tap all that well, and it takes me several attempts. Again I am improving, but I have a ways to go.

I really believe my main problems is with the “nervous” key board. You accidentally drag your hand and you end up lost in “computer land.”

One promise I plan to make is not to begin texting. I did send a text to my son-in-law on the third try, but I certainly don’t plan to be a regular text sender. Obviously texting and driving don’t mix, and I really dislike seeing people texting during a meeting. When I was a substitute teacher I used to tell students that there was nothing so important that they had to pass along to friends during class. Do you remember the last time you saw a teenager without a phone in their hand?

Yes, I’m sure I’ll become slightly proficient with my smart phone. I know it is going to take a long time and lots of practice. I understand that smart phones have lots of capabilities and you can even have a conversation with “Siri,” which amazes me. Maybe with enough practice I can take another small step into the electronic world. But, then, don’t bet on it.

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