Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Personal Journey in Technology

For years and years, I never felt the need for a mobile phone of any kind.  What would I have to say to anyone on the planet that could not wait until I was home.
I certainly never overheard a conversation on a cell phone in a public place that did not sound as though it was considerably less than urgent.

Then we got stuck at an airport after a weather-related flight cancellation and I noticed that those who were whipping out their cells phones were at a distinct advantage over those few of us (basically Mike and me) who were searching for a public phone to make the needed arrangements.

A few years later, when we started to travel to Florida for the winters, I decided to get a phone for travel purposes.  I had seen an ad in the AARP magazine for Consumer Cellular.  At the time is a free phone and $10 per month for a very basic service.  I called them.  They informed me that they could not send me a phone because there was no service in my area.  I tried to explain that I did not really need service in my area, I wanted it for travel.  I got switched over to a supervisor.

I explained that I wanted the phone for our time in Florida.  We had had some problems with the phone systems in rental houses, and of course there was the travel time itself.  It was about emergencies.  "Oh, you have an address in Florida?"  I thought I was getting somewhere.  I gave the address of the rental.
"Oh, but that is not your credit card address.  We can't send you a phone there and we can't send a phone to your home address because there is no service there."  Seriously?

It took some negotiations,but I finally received my little clamshell phone that allowed me to make and receive phone calls once I realized it had to be turned on and if I could remember to keep it charged.

A few years later, Mike decided to get a phone for himself.  By this time the basic clamshell was about $35, but it had a little camera and rudimentary texting capability--a real upgrade.  Also by this time, even though there is still no service in our area, it was not a hassle to convince the company to sell us a phone--I assume some corporate shake-up and a new business strategy.

Last summer,  I learned to text.  This was a necessity brought on by the need to keep family updated about Mike's condition.  We had the standard telephone dial setup.  That means 3-4 would drop down when you hit the key and you scrolled down to the letter you wanted and selected it.  It was a laborious process--far more so than those flying thumbs I see other people using.

So then I took the trip with my grandkids.  I could not find my phone the whole time I was gone--thought I must have left it at home.  I could not find it anywhere when I got home.  I needed to get a new phone and I caved to peer and grandchildren pressure and ordered a "smart" phone.

Then, of course, I found my old phone safely tucked away in the secret compartment of my travel bag--even though I thought I had completely emptied it at least five times over the two weeks we were gone.

I bought a Motorola G from Consumer Cellular for about $150.  It arrived yesterday and befuddled me for most of the day.  It was all about getting it hooked up to wifi--something my granddaughter does successfully every time she visits.  I finally left it alone and went and got a pedicure where I sat in one of those back massage chairs.  Ah, all was well when I got home and I got right onto the wifi and could start playing a bit with my phone.

Like my dryer, something new that I really didn't need, but there you have it.  So I am sure it doesn't do the things of an iPhone or more expensive Androids, but it will keep me busy for a while.

You still cannot call me though--no cell service here.


  1. Sometimes it really is best to just walk away for awhile and your pedicure sounds like the perfect distraction! Glad you have it working -- now this means you have to go somewhere!

  2. I'm glad you figured out, perhaps there is hope for me too someday. My contract is over in October so I suspect I'll have to convert.

    Your statement about remembering to turn it on and keep it charged is my biggest problem.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts on the passing of my aunt.

  3. Well, have fun with that smart phone. Being connected to Wi-Fi is great.

  4. Very interesting to read about your new cell phone! It will take some time to get used to it. We have problems with ours too. We only get reception at home when we are upstairs! We just got my husband a new laptop with windows 8. Now that's his current mystery to unravel.

  5. No cell service. I am amazed that there are still areas without cell service, because I see those ugly towers everywhere.

  6. Don't worry about not using the phone for actual voice calling. We who have smart phones almost never TALK on them. :-)

  7. Hmmm. I just clicked publish and my comment disappeared. Shall I try again, and this time copy it before I click publish.

    I am amazed that you still don't have cellular service in your area. I thought you live fairly close to Burlington.

    I had to laugh reading your post, our tech journeys are almost mirror images, with the exception I have only sent one text message in my life--an ill fated attempt by our company to keep the honchos supplied with minute by minute updates from the factory floor as though the fate of the planet hinged on them knowing the exact moment a test failed.

    We even have Consumer Cellular, through AAA. I think on average the two of us use about 100 minutes of the several thousand that our plan has grown into all on it own with no additional price. I have the senior citizen model...I love it, no camera, no data, big numbers, big keys, and a loud ringer. I have no idea if I can text on it or not.

    Every once in a while the smart phone bug bites, but I can't justify the price of a data plan. My son laughs at me.

  8. Just think of all the brain cells you'll grow learning this new electronic gadget!

  9. Have not been able to comment on this post. Will try again. Who knew getting you toes played with improves your electronic savvy. May have to give it a try.

  10. We also have Consumer Cellular. I have an iPhone for calling and texting and emailing and camera. My husband has the cheapest phone, for texting. He's pretty fast with the tap-tap-tapping. I think he likes to text because he's not a talker.

  11. It is hard, I find, to be using common sense, and balancing that with keeping up with technology. sigh.


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