Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Smart Phone - A Misnomer?

What kind did I buy?  The kind Big Cuter told me to buy.

I am too old for this.  We had rotary phones in every room in the house; Daddooooo would have a bad day and come home and run phone lines to the closets, to the other side of the bedrooms, to the basement.  Since this was frowned upon illegal considered stealing by Ma Bell, it fed his need "to get back at the man."  The rest of the family waited for the police to come and cart him away.

Once the lines were installed, using the device was a no-brainer.... or so I thought.  The Cuters, when faced with their first look at this phone were flummoxed.

Their little fingers went into the appropriate holes, but turning the dial all the way to the curved metal stopper was not at all intuitive for them.

"This is hard!"

I repeated the same thing when I first saw the Galaxy S3.

At least on the old phones, it was pretty obvious how to answer and hang up.  No so much on my new one. Big Cuter called me.... I could see his name and number on the big bright screen.  I could see the green arrow in a circle.  I could see little dots emanating from the circle and moving gently to the right, towards the End Call red circle. I poked at that green arrow.  I pressed on that green arrow.  I shook the phone and screamed at that green arrow.  The phone stopped ringing.  My kid was gone.

I managed to call him back.  He knew, without prompting, what the problem had been.  "Swipe, Mom," was the simple suggestion.  Had I not seen those dots?  Did they not cue me to move my finger gently to the right, following their path? 

No, they did not.  I thought they were pretty; I didn't think they were functional, too.

I was much happier with my old, stupid, phone.  When it died last week, I was the only one who was surprised.  The salesman in the Verizon store commiserated with me; the device was more than twenty months old, after all.  It was no surprise to him that it had lost the ability to light up or ring.  It was more than twenty months old, after all. All I could think of to say was that G'ma's yellow rotary phone is somewhere in my garage and, if I plugged it in I was certain that it would be just fine.  I kept my mouth shut.

Shaking my head, high-fiving the couple my age sharing the counter and groaning about our inability to buy another stupid phone, saving money by updating my plan.... the shopping experience was overwhelming and depressing.  I never go into those stores without a twenty-something by my side.  I'm never sure I'm asking the right questions or understanding the answers I'm given.  There are many reasons to live closer to my children; this is one of the big ones.

According to Big Cuter, my generation is afraid to play with electronics.  That is the source of my anxiety, he claims.  There's probably some truth to that; Ms Levine's kindergarteners can reboot their computers and cruise their new iPads with nary a suggestion from the adults in the room. I was frozen, staring at the screen, afraid to push something because I didn't know if I could get back to the place from which I had started. 

I can't even understand the instructions.  On-line videos suggest that I pinch the homescreens.  There is so much wrong with those three words, I don't know where to start.  Pinch? How?  What does that mean?  After much fussing, I realized that I should be setting my fingers apart on the screen and drawing them together.  That's obviously how I would pinch a fold of skin; I just never thought about doing it on a flat surface and getting the same result.  Homescreens?  Plural?  I am not Mitt Romney; I have only one home.  Apparently, my Galaxy S3 is a Republican. Who knew? 

Twenty-somethings knew.

I found the Return to Start button and my anxiety dropped.... just a little.  It became obvious that organization will be the key to efficient use of this device.  I just need to remember how to get back to where I was in order to make sense of it all.  Perhaps that's the answer to Big Cuter - I am not afraid to play, I just can't remember what I've done.  I'm old.

The pre-loaded weather app made me happy for a while.  I could tap different pieces of the picture and ... voila!.... more information appeared.  When I stopped tapping, I found the original screen fairly easily.  At that point, feeling successful, I watched some football with TBG, who was kind of lonely at the other end of Douglas.

These devices are such a time suck.

Big Cuter talked me through finding the camera, and I managed to reverse the lenses (front and back facing cameras are a part of this phone I will surely love) and take three pictures of my face.  I only wanted one.  I can't find them again, anyway. Even more startling, Android or Google or Verizon or the Phone Goddess synched my Picasa pictures to my Galaxy S3 and now my history is in my hand, whenever I want a quick peek.  It was creepy.  I didn't do anything to make it happen... at least I don't think that I did.

There seems to be a shaking thing going on, with pictures getting larger and smaller and screens moving off the the left as new ones appear from the right. I have no idea how I made that happen, but it's pretty cool when it does.  Don't get the idea that I know how to make it so.  It remains a mystery to me.

After a week of playing with it, I've managed to upload my music library, although I can't figure out where it is hiding. You'd think there'd be an icon lurking at the top or the bottom of one of my home screens, but if it's there, I don't see it.  I have a few dozen other questions to pose to the helpful staff at the Verizon store; I'm on my way there right now.

I'm bringing a pad and pencil.  I'm going to take notes which I can access with my fingers, my eyes, and my brain..... no power cords or wireless connections or USB jacks required.


  1. A similar upgrade is in my near future. I am not thrilled.

  2. Once you get the hang of it, it will come as second nature. You are just having to retrain yourself. I couldn't live without my iPhone. I carry it everywhere.

    Laughing at the rotary phone. I hated those even as a kid. What a pain in the butt dialing. Now you can just pickup your smart phone and tell Siri, "dial home". Or whatever. I can even do voice commands in my car; so I'm paying attention to the road.

    You're a quick learner and I know you will have this down pat soon. Off to Disney World tomorrow for ten days.

    Megan xxx

  3. Ah, Megan.... your confidence may well be misplaced... I'm still overwhelmed :( Have fun with Mickey and the gang; we'll miss you here in the comments.

    Maybe we can have a Galaxy S3 Support Group, Sharon? I've never needed a book club, but I'm feeling the need for others exploring the same idea right now. How sad that that idea is a smart phone. I feel dumb :(


  4. Like you, I missed several calls when I first had my Android. Pushing on the phone icon seemed like the appropriate motion, why on earth would one swipe? The GPS and access to the web while mobile is worth owning the phone. I haven't put much of my life on it, no music or photos. I did have photos, but an an attempt to delete one deleted all. I'm going to have go ask the Verizon people about how to do a single delete.

  5. I too couldn't live without my iPhone. It's my other computer that I take everywhere. Our granddaughter learned how to use it when she was 18 months old. The tiny grandson, only 1 yr, has used my iPhone. Not exactly as I want him to, but he doesn't mind making mistakes and trying again. My first iPhone is over 3 yrs old and still going strong for my husband who took it when I got my iPhone 4. Apple products really are the best.

  6. Allison, at least you could find the photos! I'm still searching for my music; the store was closed when I drove by after the gym this morning.

    Little Cuter has drunk the Apple Kool Aid, dkzody, and she agrees with you. Being a PC at home, I stayed away. I love my phone... I just can't use it :)

  7. AB, coming in one more time before I leave on vacation. I know you are not going to get another phone, but do keep this in mind for future purchases. If you purchase from Apple, they have free training classes via the Genius Bar. They are totally worth it.

  8. ROFL, AB! I'll have to stick with my prepaid Verizon phone since I can't afford the monthly fee of the others, but even that one is a mystery to me. It may not be a smartphone, but it is still too smart for me.

  9. OMG, I know, FG! Isn't she dang FuNNy!? Her depiction of "pinching" is absolutely hysterical...selfishly, I sometimes wish we were privvy to an occasional vlog where we could actually see her describe this stuff in action. HiLaRiOuS!!! She'd probably be an overnight internet sen$ation!!! :D

    A/B: Be patient & have an open mind...You will learn this stuff the more you play with it. Just experiment & don't be afraid how to ask how to navigate your gadgets. You will be a pro in no time...think of it as a toy...that's really all they are. Unfortunately though, they can suck oodles of your TIME & attention! (If you're like me & sometimes don't budget your use wisely.)

    We too have fallen in LOVE with Apple soon as our contract is up next spring, we're switching to Verizon & getting I-PHONES. Their products are so user friendly & reliable.

    Experiment with apps too, you can always load them, try them & then delete or keep if you find them useful. Don't be afraid you're gonna screw anything up...just have fun with the possibilities of how it can enhance your life. (or waste even MORE of your time! LoL)

    Lots are free & I use my phone for things I love like Geocaching,'s cool!

    Have fun & let us know what you love about your new will be like an appendage in no time & you'll wonder how you could live without it!!!

    (Sorry if there's too many run-on sentences in my posts. That's why I rarely respond...there is such thing as adult ADHD...I've been its poster child ALL MY LIFE!)

    ENJoY & Have a great day! <3

  10. Geocaching.... did that in Marin and loved it... but electronics on the trail? I don't know about that... my phone as a GPS...perhaps... not too many run on sentences, Liz.... just look at all these dots :)

    I am thinking of a vlog... thanks for the encouragement <3


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