Spring Forward: Techno Thoughts

This morning I wandered around the house setting various clocks and appliances to Daylight Savings Time. There are two types of electronics in the house: those that reset themselves (clock Clockradio, computer, cable box, cell phone, Kindle) and those that don’t (microwave, wall clocks, older clock radios). I even have one clock that’s programmed to reset itself on the wrong dates (manufactured shortly before the cycle changed a few years ago). I’m one of those people who actually like DST, because it means several months of driving home from work in daylight, but I’m always surprised by how many timepieces a person who does not wear a watch has scattered around her house.

I took a step—make that a leap—into the twenty-first century about a month ago, when I finally bought myself a smart phone. I’d carried simple little talk/text phones, powered by an annual payment to Tracfone, in my purse for years, on the theory that I spend too much time driving to be without one. Last fall when my car stalled at an intersection at twilight I discovered just how much trouble it was to call AAA on that little phone (and even more when my car started ten minutes later and I had to call them back and cancel). There must be an app for that, I thought.

So last month, with my annual renewal with Tracfone drawing near, I made up my mind to buy a new phone. I don’t make a lot of calls or send a lot of texts; I had App Envy. I wanted one of those marvelous little computers my friends (and seemingly everyone on the planet) carry around in their purses and pockets. After considerable time spent researching on line and bothering my friends (What phone do you have? What carrier? Show me how the darn thing works), I walked into the Verizon store a few blocks from my house expecting to come away with a great big iPhone.

Two hours later I walked out with a great big LG V10 android phone (I have now been sucked into the Googleverse, with a new Gmail account and Chrome replacing the faltering Internet Explorer on my PC), and a very vague idea of how to use it. A month later, I’ve only scratched the surface, but I’m really enjoying it. Last night I even took it in the bedroom with me and answered a couple of emails. I know that sounds perfectly normal to many people, but it’s a real change of pace for me.

The phone is clearly smarter (or at least more technically adept) than I am, and it keeps old phone 2surprising me. After a week or ten days, it started sending me (not terribly accurate) notifications of how long it would take me to get to work. I’ve just discovered the Timeline in Google maps that shows me exactly where I’ve been every day since I bought the phone, which, at this point at least, is entertaining. When the battery usage shot up, I discovered that it’s important not to leave the Chrome app running. I don’t know what it was looking for out there in cyberspace, but it was sure using a lot of battery power to do it.

Being one of those people who actually do read the instructions, I found the user’s manual for the V10 on line and downloaded the PDF file to my computer. It’s over 200 pages long (30 pages fall under the title “Safety”—that’s worse than the side effects on pharmaceutical ads, and I have not read them), and parts of it have actually been quite helpful. I’ve been back to see the (extremely helpful) Verizon salesman twice. (”You’re doing great,” he says, politely refraining from adding “for an old lady.”)

I’ve learned how to download apps (for my bank, my auto insurance, and of course AAA), how to use (some) widgets, and even how to dictate text messages and emails (now I know where all those hilarious auto-correct jokes come from). I’ve made a few calls and exchanged text messages with a friend (heaven help me, I even read one at a stop light—I’m turning into one of those people). I’ve received two spam calls, neither of which I answered. I’ve learned that I have to charge the phone every morning.

Next step, the calendar and memo functions. One of these days, I’ll be as dependent on my phone as everyone else.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lark Brennan
    Mar 14, 2016 @ 09:52:23

    It was inevitable, Kay. Smartphones are taking over communications. Even my 90 year old parents have one–that they have no idea how to use. Now you can post hourly selfies on FB, Twitter and Instagram–or not. 🙂



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