Phone Blues

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Phone Blues

Some mobile phones.

Smart phones are the best things since sliced bread, aren't they? Well, I don't buy sliced bread and I hate my smart phone. I bought it after I lost a previous mobile phone, but I didn't rush into the purchase. I looked at the reports in the consumer magazine Which about affordable smart phones and made a short list. Next, I went to a shop in my town and bought one of the phones on my list – a Samsung Galaxy J3.

I quickly regretted my decision, because it was so easy to press the wrong buttons. I once managed to call the emergency services by mistake. I also failed to reply to ordinary phone calls. At first, I prodded, rather than swiped but it took me a while to realise that I needed to swipe the green phone icon on the screen that opened when a phone call came in.

As for persuading it to log onto the internet, I tried. We have a BT Internet connection in our house, so I entered a username and password and, for a while, I thought I had succeeded. However, my phone now tells me it isn't on a network. I found a screen that offered help in using your smart phone on the internet, if you entered the make and model. When I tried this, it just told me that I wasn't on the internet! How useful is that?

I can easily be written off as a little old woman who doesn't understand technology. However my son says 'If you don't understand your phone, it's not that you're stupid, it's that it's not well designed.' I certainly can't describe my phone as 'user friendly'. I'm contemplating chucking it in a drawer somewhere and getting a phone that only claims to make calls and send texts.

However, there is another question about mobile phones that interests me. Are they making us more nervous? When I was a teenager (back in the sixties) I went on a couple of holidays organised by the Youth Hostel Association. My parents knew where I was going and I probably promised to ring them when I found a phone box (remember those?) Otherwise, they left me to cope on my own. These days, when everyone has a mobile phone, and you want to contact a relative, you become nervous if you ring the right number and get no reply. Is the phone's battery flat? Is your relative in a place where there is no network? Or has there been an accident? I'm not suggesting we all bin our phones, but perhaps we should stop thinking of them as the answer to life, the universe and everything.

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23.12.19 Front Page

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