27 May 2011

Technology Update

Welcome back. What an exciting moment in Warren’s World of Technology!  I learned how to answer calls to my cell phone (press “Send”) and I drove with a GPS pointing the way.

Cell Phone

I’ve had cell phones for years, but they’ve always resided in my car’s glove compartment. Within minutes of acquiring a new phone, I would study the Quick Reference Guide to learn how to (1) load and charge the battery, (2) make calls (hmmm…I thought that was press “Send”) and (3) turn off the ringer. Who wants to speak with my glove compartment?

Warren’s first cell phone.
The time had come for me to not only charge the battery and make my 3 or 4 calls a year, but also receive calls. My wife, Vicki, and I were heading off for a visit to Wisconsin and I had to be prepared. 

Who Would Call Me? 
Actually, that’s who could call me? No one knows my number, not even me. Vicki finally remembered that the number was on the wireless company’s monthly invoice.

That invoice is always a jolt. We pay about the same for wireless as we do for the combined Internet, TV cable, landline and house mortgage. 

Our son, Noah, demonstrating his oratorical expertise and texting dexterity, does his best each month to approach our family plan’s maximum number of minutes, which is “unlimited.”

How Can You Live Without a Cell Phone?
Somewhat akin to having a cell phone for emergencies, I had a pager clipped to my belt for years, initially at the request of a supervisor. On the rare occasion when I received a page, the vibration was superior to an EKG for testing my heart. Worse, I received so few pages, I could never remember which button stopped the buzz and which lit up or deleted the message. Guess what happened. 
That embarrassment didn’t compare to when I finally told the communications folks that I didn’t need the pager, turn it off, only to be told that my pager had been turned off months earlier.

Repressing my Luddite leanings, I shared the driving to and from Wisconsin using Vicki’s GPS. We went with the American-accented lady on the “to” leg. (My daughter calls her “Gwen”; I don’t know her that well.) My ear eventually adapted to her rapid delivery. Still, it was a relief when she went for coffee during a 400-plus mile stretch.

Driving back, we went British, which was slower and easier to follow. That was due in part to the British lady’s expectation that when she said, “Turn here,” I would indeed turn here. She wasted no words identifying the road as the American felt obligated to do. Who needs all that information anyway?

Overall I was impressed by the errorless instructions on back-country roads and, immensely so, by the database of pizza places within a few miles of our location. 

Wrap Up

Considering the driving I do since retiring, I can’t justify buying a GPS for myself unless I’m practicing a British or Australian accent or learning one of the other languages.

My recharged cell phone is recovering comfortably in the glove compartment. I’m thinking about learning to text, though I’d probably benefit from a phone with a different keypad. Noah and Vicki used an LG vx9100 for quite a while. Noah's finally wore out. He thought about a smartphone -- now that’s what I need! -- but went with an LG Octane.

Does British texting differ from American texting? How different could LOL be? Would CUL be TT for Ta-Ta? Maybe I'll learn.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll write again in about a week.

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