Entering the smart phone world

By Bill Taylor

It seems to me that every once in a while we must finally give in to the inevitable. Oh, we put up a good argument, stiff resistance, and spirited dissent, but eventually reality is forced upon us. That’s what is happening to me right now. You see, for a number of years my Sweetheart-for-Life and I have each had those old-fashioned flip-top cell phones – which we use as telephones to talk with folks. We don’t text, photograph, or use them to perform any other functions. Nope, we use them for only voice communications – which includes voice mailbox messages. That is now in the process of changing.

The reason is that about a month ago my eldest son gave me a smart phone for my birthday. He knew the device was compatible (if that’s the correct word) with the cell phone company we have our flip-top phones with so I could just add the new phone onto our existing account. That way we could keep our “old” phones while entering the smart phone world.

Acting on the advice of my other two sons, I took my new acquisition to the local cell phone store. I was greeted by a friendly very young man who, once I explained the situation and acknowledged my ignorance about smart phones, performed a number of functions on both my new phone and one or more in-store electronic devices. As a result my phone was “activated” with something he called a “sin” (or perhaps “sim”) card, got its own telephone number, and was added to our existing account. I must say he was very considerate of my admitted ignorance as he slowly demonstrated several “smart” features. When I got to my car I made my first, and thus far only, telephone call from my new phone – to my Sweetheart-for-Life telling her of my success.

My youngest son assisted me in my new venture by getting me a new g-mail address which was apparently necessary for the phone to function properly. He also installed the local TV weather “app” after I showed him I couldn’t find it in my search of the “app” store. The greatest help, however, came from Andy, my teenage great grandson (that’s right, teenage great grandson).

We spent Christmas with our eldest daughter and I took along my tablet and my new smart phone in hope of getting more instruction on both – and, of course also took my old reliable flip-top. Fortunately, Andy was also spending the holiday there and offered to help with my smart phone education.

Frankly, I was very impressed with his knowledge and skill set with a smart phone – particularly when he told me he was self-taught, that is, he learned everything about smart phones on his own by simply “messing around”. I was also impressed with his patience in tutoring me as he spent hours demonstrating various features and installing some programs such as getting me access to my “regular” email. Mostly, however, he had me “working” the phone under his supervision – which led to an unpleasant discovery.

My arthritis-stiffened and misshapen fingers and thumbs don’t work well with my new toy. Entries often required several attempts either because they didn’t “take” or were incorrect. After some time, we decided a stylus might help, so I tried the one from my tablet. When my keystrokes using the stylus wouldn’t register, my son-in-law, who is also very knowledgeable about such things, commented that the keypad is temperature sensitive, that is, it responds only to the touch of a warm finger or thumb to prevent inadvertent or accidental entries.

I still don’t have the thirty-something “contacts” from my flip-top because of the difficulty in keystroking the entries into my new phone. Apparently the two phones have different operating systems so electronic copying can’t be done – and so I continue to use my old phone for making calls.

Aside from the increased monthly charge to my credit card by the cell phone company, my life hasn’t been changed very much by my newest acquisition. For one thing, I don’t know how to carry it with me. My pacemaker precludes carrying it on my upper body; my front pants pockets are already occupied with other stuff; my rear pants pockets invite damage so I’m told; and, I already have one belt holster for my flip-top. And so it just sits on the kitchen counter connected to its charger awaiting my occasional feeble attempts at “messing around” with it. .

Well, I can now truthfully say I have entered the smart phone world even if I’m currently unable to take advantage of its extensive capabilities – and I doubt if I ever will. At least that’s how it seems to me.


By Bill Taylor

Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at solie1@juno.com.

Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at solie1@juno.com.