The pain of the upgrade

If you want to feel like Maxwell Not-so-Smart, get a new cellular phone.

The new generation of phones comes with more gizmos and bells and whistles than Inspector Gadget: digital cameras, video cameras, pagers, music players, electronic games, calculators, alarm clocks, date books, e-mail delivery systems, voicemail, news tickers, download devices, text messengers.

You can even make telephone calls. Fancy that.

But first you have to figure out how to use the phone.

I got one of these new-fangled phones, and I hope to master it real soon, perhaps by the time it's obsolete. So far, I can make phone calls and hear my voicemail. I managed to set a simple ringtone that doesn't involve a full electronic orchestra and 14 rap stars I've never heard of. I've even snapped a few photographs, mostly of my own finger, though I don't know what to do with the pictures now that I've stored them.

Beyond that, I can't make heads or tails of the danged thing.

The phone came with an instruction manual. It's divided into two 80-page sections, one in English and one in Spanish. I might as well read the Spanish section, for all the good the directions do me.

I run across entries like this: "A phone theme is a group of image and sound files that you can apply to your phone. Most themes include a wallpaper image, a screen image, and ring tone. Your phone may come with some themes, and you can download more."

No matter how many times I read that paragraph (and I'm up to 237 times now), it still makes no sense to me. The only "theme" that comes to mind when I use my phone is the ominous one from the movie "Jaws," as the shark of updated technology swims my direction.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. I'd asked for a simple phone, but my wife couldn't find anybody to sell her one. Apparently, all the phones come with all the features now, whether we like it or not. You can say, "I don't need a video camera," but har-har, you've got one, right there in your phone.

The only reason I submitted to an upgrade at all was so I could get a phone that fit in my pocket. My friends had these folding "flip phones," and I saw the convenience of not having to wear your phone holstered like a revolver.

My old phone didn't fold. It didn't do much of anything. It was just a phone, the size and shape of a stick of butter, only heavier. It came in handy on those occasions when I was out of the house and my kids were scattered all over town and calling me for transportation. Otherwise, it sat on the kitchen counter, waiting for me to remember to take it somewhere.

The new phone's a big improvement, though it, too, spends most of its time on the kitchen counter. When I do remember to take it with me, it fits in my pants pocket, which is more convenient despite the unsightly "thigh bulge." I don't have to wear a belt to pack a phone.

When the new phone starts ringing and vibrating, I twist and shout and dig in my pants until I extract the phone, usually just as the screen says "1 Call Missed." If I push the right combination of buttons, it might tell me who called or whether they left a message.

Or, I'll take a picture of my thumb.

1 comment:

Life without Clots said...

Hey Steve,
Sadly, it was obsolete before you walked out of the store.