My mobile telephonic device, she is busted. This makes me sad.

This little fella says it better than I ever could... Image:

This little fella says it better than I ever could…

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time, either. I was just stepping onto the train that would carry me on the first leg of my journey home (well, to my parents’ home, really) for the weekend when I discovered that my phone had decided enough was enough. It was a strange moment for me. I haven’t been mobile-phoneless for about fifteen years – which is scary, when you think about it – and, of course, the trains I took both ended up running late (this is Ireland, after all), which delayed my arrival. For the first time in a very long time, I was unable to contact anyone to let them know. I could send no texts, receive no texts, make no calls.Β For four hours, nobody I knew could speak to me. It was weird. If aliens had chosen that moment to appear out of the clouds and abduct me, my family would never have known. If I had been inspired in that moment to tap out a particularly beautiful text message to a loved one, it would have had to go unsent. Truly, it was a tragedy of the technological age.

As well as my train-journeying, I was supposed to be meeting some old schoolfriends over the weekend. Naturally, then, I needed my phone in order to make plans, change plans, break plans, or whatever. ‘Typical,’ I fumed, raging at my phone’s tiny screen. ‘You work fine for months on end when I don’t really, truth be told, need you; just when you become indispensable, you decide to go belly-up!’ Somewhere in there is an important life lesson, even if I haven’t quite separated it out from all the crimson fury just yet. I was surprised at the depth of my own anger, to be honest. It seems silly that a small lump of plastic and glass could have such an effect on me, but there you are. It did.



And so, of course, my phone will have to be replaced. But the question is: what with?

So far into my telephonic life, I have resisted the lure of the smartphone. I have no need for such a device, I tell myself; all I want from a phone is the ability to make and take calls, and to send and receive text messages. I don’t want a phone which can run my life for me (despite the fact that I have trouble running it myself, sometimes), which is smarter than I am, or which is able to tell me what the weather is like in Kuala Lumpur at the drop of a hat. I am a troglodyte, and I want my phone to match. The phone I had – the one which has just broken – was a pretty ordinary model, but it did have a touchscreen, upon which its functionality depended; this touchscreen is the part which is now broken, which renders the whole thing useless. (This doesn’t sound all that smart, to me.) The phone I had before this one was a standard Nokia ‘brick’ – pretty much indestructible, easily able to survive being dropped down stairs or sat on for prolonged periods or being stored carelessly in a pocket – and I had it for about six years, without a problem. I was persuaded to ‘upgrade’ to the slightly fancier model less than a year ago, and now I find myself in my current predicament. In a way, this is entirely as it should be. Show me something sparkly and technological, and I bet I’ll have it broken (accidentally, of course) before the day is out.

It’s a strange situation, this. When I come to replace my broken phone, I am pretty sure that I will have to go with a smartphone. Phones are pretty much all morphing into mini computers, these days; it’s not easy to get a phone that just does phone-stuff, and none of the Personal Assistant-stuff. However, the ‘smarter’ a phone is, the more vulnerable it is, don’t you think? The more likely it is to break, or throw a hissy-fit, or be stolen, or sat on (because its flashy ultra-slim case is impossible to see, and it’s too light to make any sort of impression in your pocket, leading you to forget it’s even there at all); the more moving parts it has, the more likely it is to give you a nervous breakdown, is my philosophy. So, truly, the least smart thing I could do is purchase myself a smartphone.

I have a feeling that’s exactly what I’ll be doing, though. I won’t have a choice in the matter. It’ll be a case of ‘go smart, or go home.’

So, today will be about bowing to the inevitable, and spending uncomfortable amounts of money on something at which I will squint, and mumble, and swear under my breath for months to come. Occasionally, perhaps, I will make a call on it or send a message, though this remains to be seen. In a way it’s sad that my new phone will be a piece of technology more powerful than the rocket which brought men to the moon; I will probably use it for scheduling the time at which I get out of bed in the morning and for throwing irritable feathered things at stupid porcine things. I just hope I get slightly more than a year out of it, or there will be trouble…

This is more like it! Image:

This is more like it!

On the upside, it might make checking my online life (swiftly growing more interesting than my real-life life) a bit easier, and I’ll certainly be able to keep you all apprised of any impending alien abductions.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends, stress-free and technologically unchallenged, and that you’re fresh and ready for a new week. Happy Monday!

12 thoughts on “Techno-Twittery

  1. Kate Curtis

    Up until two months ago I had a fairly ancient mobile phone, flip top, sans touch screen. The one I have now has all the bells and whistles and it’s so excessive for the job of calling and texting that I feel a little guilty having it. But I *really* like it. The phone camera takes better photo than our *actual* camera, there’s this notebook so I can jot notes or story ideas should they occur to me when pen-and-paperless. The calendar would probably be great for all of your deadlines and comps. There’s an app that allows you to add special effects on your photographs so that they look like paintings or sketches. I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this phone contains – and this is the base model. It’s a computer in my palm. I’m quite used to having phones for years before they seize up, so I’m *really* hoping this phone lasts more than a year!

    I’m not on my phone constantly but I do feel slightly panicked without it, ‘But what if you’re abducted by aliens and I have to call someone!’ kind of thinking. The wonders of modern technology… πŸ™‚

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      I’m sure I’ll be delighted (eventually!) by all the fabulous features of whatever new phone I get; I think part of me just resents the fact that I am being ‘forced’ to become ever more reliant on technology. My current phone (RIP) had a lot of vital information on it – story ideas, calendar dates, etc. – all of which is now lost to me, and I *know* I should have backed it all up, but still. The more of myself I put into a piece of technology, the more I stand to lose when (not if) it fails. Phones and what they can do these days are wonderful, there’s no doubt, but I wish the option of getting a basic, no-frills model was still open. I really feel like I’m being squeezed into accepting all this newfangledness, and I don’t like it! *thumps stick on porch and yells at kids to ‘git awf mah property!*

      *sigh* I suppose I should just get with the program, really. πŸ™‚

  2. Maurice A. Barry

    I’d be lost without my smartphone. In my house (which includes my wife and 4 kids currently aged 16, 18, 20 and 22) there are 6 smartphones. Four are Android-based and two are iPhone 4S models.
    Yeah–the phone bill is kind of steep but I judge it worth every penny. Here’s why:
    1-many of the routine communications (meet-ups/meal calls/late call ins and such) are much better handled through the types of communications that only smartphones can do.
    2-handling social networking is so much better on those devices; check-ins are much quicker so you waste less time.
    3-They are invaluable for routine research: map directions, phone number look-ups, on-the-fly checks of which restaurant is best, price comparisons, definitions of unfamiiar terms… The list is loooonnnnngggggggg!
    4-If you go with Android 4 or better (4.1, 4.2 or 4.3) or iPhone 4S or better your data connection can be shared as a mobile hotspot. If, then, you find yourself anywhere without Wi-Fi then your phone can become your hotspot.
    5-Evernote. My life-saver. πŸ™‚
    If you are looking here is what I recommend:
    1-Samsung Galaxy S4 (It is android based)
    2-Apple iPhone 5 ( and I advise you to wait a few weeks–get a burner to tide you over if you have to–as there may be a 5 S coming out that will be worth waiting for)
    My preference would be the android (it is what I have, but wife has an iPhone which she loves) but that is just because it meets my own special needs better (and it has a larger screen, something my 52 year old eyes appreciates). You should really go in and hound the heck out of the vendor and play with the two of them to see which one you would prefer–you’ll likely have it 2.5 to 3 years so take your time. Do NOT go for an older, cheaper model (android 2 or iphone 4) as you will be sorry later when you discover just what a new, fast smartphone can really do.

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Wow! Thanks, Maurice. I really appreciate all this information. I was thinking of a Samsung Galaxy, funnily enough – my brother has one, and I can (just about) navigate its menu without my brain leaping out my ears in terror. He recommended the S4, too, and so does my husband (a guru in all things techie, a bit like yourself!)

      That’s settled me, then. I’ll be going for a Samsung Galaxy (budget permitting!) – but keep your eyes peeled for blogs or Tweets about how I haven’t a blind notion about what I’m doing with it, and how I’m completely out of my depth! πŸ˜€

      I’m sure it will transform my life. Perhaps you’ll even see me reading books on it… Not! πŸ™‚

      1. Maurice A. Barry

        It will take time, but not as much as you think. The twitter app is great although ‘hard core’ twitterers (I am not one) go with 3rd arty apps such as tweet deck. I like the official one from twitter just fine. The wordpress app is excellent for reading and moderating but I do not like it for composing. Evernote–essential!!!! Gmail is great on android and makes ‘contacts’ pleasant. Just make all your contacts gmail ones and everything is portable. I love podcasts so Beyondpod is something I could not do without. Swiftkey, which replaces the built-in keyboard (I am a lousy typist) is great as it reads your blog or social networking to get your language usage. I’d also upgrade the data package a bit. Most vendors start with 512 MB per month which is a bit skimpy. I’d go for at least twice that. Presently at the moment I have a package for 6 GB per month which is overkill but what the heck,

      2. SJ O'Hart Post author

        Okay, I need a dictionary just to understand your comment! πŸ˜€

        I went for a Samsung Galaxy in the end, but sadly not as fancy a model as I’d hoped to get. My budget just couldn’t stretch far enough to get the very high-end model. Hopefully the one I got will do – at least for now.

        I have no idea about apps, but I will keep this comment handy when I go looking for things to download! Thanks so much, Maurice. I really do appreciate your time and expertise. πŸ™‚ I’ll try not to waste all your effort!

  3. Margaret Grant

    I used to carry a small cell phone and an iPod for music, calendar, podcasts, reading. To have everything in one little machine, my iPhone, and not to be dependent on wifi, now, does make more sense. It does not replace your brain. Think Otterbox, though. You won’t regret it.

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Thanks, Margaret. I really am from the Stone Age when it comes to technology. πŸ™‚ I’ve never heard of Otterbox, but I’ll look it up now. Here’s hoping my new Samsung Galaxy will take me far! I’ve just received my first call on it and I wasn’t even able to answer the phone, so that doesn’t bode well… πŸ˜€

  4. anna3101

    Yeah yeah!! Go for Samsung Galaxy! I have Note II model and I’m so much in love with it. Just like Kate said – you can make fab photos (actually, they are even better than those I make with a camera), and then you can make all kinds of special effects with just the pressing of one button. You can draw on it πŸ™‚ And use it for the Internet, and word games, and listening to nice music, and watching good films and – most important of all! – read ebooks. My Samsung is forever dying and in need of recharging, poor thing, exactly because of that πŸ™‚ I read on it non-stop. I can recommend you a couple of really good apps πŸ™‚ Actually, I was going to write a post about it anyways πŸ™‚

    However, there is a big “but” – there is too much pre-installed stuff. I’m a bit like you in that respect. In a phone (or any other gadget) I want only what I need, and nothing more than that. And while I do need to read books and listen to music, I definitely do not need access to Facebook or google play or Cloud or a thousand other useless features that are pre-installed and you can’t get rid of them!! It was driving me mad. Luckily, I found a way to get root access and I have – finally! – deleted everything the producer thought I would find necessary, urggh. If you are not afraid of accidentally getting rid of some system apps, that’s the way to go πŸ˜‰

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Yeah – I know (for once!) what you mean! My phone has a load of stuff on it that I’ll never need. But I don’t think I’ll be messing around with roots, or accessing them, in case I accidentally set something on fire. It wouldn’t be beyond me.

      I did get a Galaxy, but it’s not a fancy, flash model. It seems a lot more basic than the one you have. In comparison to what I had before, though, it’s Deep Thought itself! πŸ™‚


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