Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Tale of the Phone

I had a phone. The same cell phone - for years. It flipped open. Didn’t take pictures. Couldn’t play music. Had no apps that I knew of. It rang and it took voice mail.

Last weekend I couldn’t find it. Looked everywhere. It had disappeared. My son asked if I’d checked my purse. I told him, yes, several times - I had just changed purses so I knew it wasn’t there. So I checked in the couch cushions where I had dumped out the old purse. Nada. Then, with a knot forming in my stomach, I went upstairs to check the purse I had been using before changing. There it was, in its little Velcro side pocket. The side pocket of the purse I had tossed in the washing machine then into the dryer.

Let’s all bow our heads and say goodbye to the cell phone -- dead, but quite clean and shiny.

I now have an iPhone. Do you know why they call it that? Because it’s smart. If it could talk, it would say, I phone. U dumb.

I’ve figured out how to answer and how to make a call. I think I could check voice mail. I managed to get on the net and went to email - made the mistake of clicking yes to “download mail.” I even maneuvered my way and was able to send a text message and learned my fingers are too big. They kept hitting the wrong letters. I could have hand delivered the message to North Carolina in the time it took me to type. But that’s okay. I’ll never find my way back there anyway.

My son is still on the “family plan” with me, so while I was at the phone store, I asked if we needed to up our unlimited call minutes. She checked. We’re on the 700 minutes free plan. Then she checked last month’s bill and found that between the two of us we’d used 657 minutes. 651 of them were his. 6 were mine. Guess to make this iPhone worthwhile I’d better learn how to use the camera.

So, folks, when you’re writing, keep in mind that not everybody instinctively knows how to use an iPhone or and iPod or an iSpy. I think that’s the realm of the young. They’re fearless. You hand them an iPhone and they’ll start poking buttons and changing settings. I, on the other hand, now wish I’d drawn out a map of the buttons I pushed to get to text messaging. I might send another one, just to up my used minutes. I’m shooting for 10 this month.
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22 comments:

  1. I love my Martin! He's the voice of the GPS in my old Nokia phone. But I've dropped him onto the floor many times and a few weeks ago, down into a lake. So far he's still fine (after one day of drying up). But if he retires, I probably will get an iPhone too.

    In Quest of Theta Magic

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  2. I have to admit I'm just a little bit jealous of your iPhone. Both my husband and my son have one and I lust after one.

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  3. I have a phone like your old one. Flips open, and you call people with it. No camera, no fancy apps, no Internet access. You may be able to text, but I'm not sure. (In the time it would take me to text, I'm sure I could just call the person.)

    I'm completely satisfied with my phone.

    But...those iPhones sure are purdy.

    Of course, if I got one, it would somehow suck all my time away, like the other shiny dadgummed newfangled things: Facebook, Twitter, ning, YouTube, blah blah blah.

    But...those iPhones sure are purdy.

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  4. Hi, Helen!

    That was a cute story, but probably not so "cute" for you, huh?

    It's also one of the reasons why a cell phone has not made it into our family's budget.

    When my twin sister got cell phones for her family, the kids ran up bills into the hundreds of dollars, not realizing how quickly the minutes could accumulate. They had a $700+ bill in the first month. Sande was stunned!

    It's definitely an expensive toy, so I'll have to wait until I absolutely must have one, before I take the plunge.

    When I do, I'm going to ask your advice, though. It sounds like you're quickly becoming an expert.

    Good luck with your new phone,
    ~Cynde
    Cynde's Got The Write Stuff

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  5. A friend raves about TomTom, which she says is a voice GPS. If I can find that, I may download it. It sounds helpful when you travel.

    Alan, my iPhone is purdy. I put a bright red cover on it. Not quite as purdy as a friend who was teaching me the iPhone this past week while we were both at a conference. She put this black and white zebra striped jewel-y thing on hers. No one will ever mistake their phone for hers.

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  6. I've found sometimes that reading about technology (for example when characters are chatting on the phone while other things are going on) can make for confusion in the writing. I've also found that blatantly ignoring the existing of cell phones, IMs and such (even twitter) makes the characters look like idiot Luddites--because, hey, the bad guys probably have cell phones and can stay in touch on the move, but your characters can't?

    But so long as the author renders it in a manner that makes sense, I am really glad to see the new technologies in use.

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  7. This had me in stiches, Helen, although I'm sure it wasn't funny when it happened. For some reason,even though I'm a techno-phobe, I'm craving an iphone. They sure are purdy.
    Karen Walker

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  8. Helen, Trials and tribulations abound in the first week but if you're like this old dog, you will learn new tricks.
    It took me a week to get my clumsy fingers to work well enough and to trust that the iPhone would correct at least half of my errors without my assistance.
    Now, after six months, you'd have to pry my iPhone from my cold, dead fingers.

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  9. You're right, writtenwyrdd, if your book is set in today's world, you have to have the current technology to make it feel real - or a reason why it's not there.

    Diane, it took me a while just to figure out how to accept the corrections iPhone was offering to my texting. And I've downloaded my first song! Woo-woo. I'm going to see if I can make it into a ring tone.

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  10. Wow, that's quite a jump in technology!! I had to laugh at this, as I didn't even have a flip phone until this year. Would love to move up to in iPhone. Have fun! :)

    --Lisa
    http://authorlisalogan.blogspot.com

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  11. Had to chuckle about the clean & shiny phone! I dropped mine in water once, but it still works.

    While I do not have an I-Phone (I'm happy with caller ID & voice mail!) my husband has an I-Touch and is SO proficient with it. His is full ove movies, music, his artwork and tons of apps.

    You will figure it out! And then you will love it!

    L. Diane Wolfe
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
    www.spunkonastick.net
    www.thecircleoffriends.net

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  12. Lisa & Diane, I needed a cell phone, even if I don't use it all that often. I decided to move to the iPhone because it was on sale.

    I suspect I will indeed love it - if I can find time to mess with it and figure it out.

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  13. I am a positive Neanderthal when it comes to phones. I have a flip phone from Nokia. It’s most advance feature is a camera that I never use. I use it to speak with my wife occasionally, that’s about it.

    In terms of a calling plan….I don’t have one. I got annoyed at 15 dollars in fees and taxes that made my 40 dollar plan a 55 dollar plan. So, I went to T-mobile and signed up for a Pre-paid plan. Works great. The cost is about 10 cents per minute. That’s it. No excise fees, no City of North Bend Fee, No 7 different kinds of taxes I never heard of or understand. Just the onetime cost of the minutes.
    Now, Helen, I want you to bury your nose in that user’s manual and report back to us with all the new tricks you’ve learned.

    Best Regards, Galen
    GalenKindley.com

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  14. I am a positive Neanderthal when it comes to phones. I have a flip phone from Nokia. It’s most advance feature is a camera that I never use. I use it to speak with my wife occasionally, that’s about it.

    In terms of a calling plan….I don’t have one. I got annoyed at 15 dollars in fees and taxes that made my 40 dollar plan a 55 dollar plan. So, I went to T-mobile and signed up for a Pre-paid plan. Works great. The cost is about 10 cents per minute. That’s it. No excise fees, no City of North Bend Fee, No 7 different kinds of taxes I never heard of or understand. Just the onetime cost of the minutes.
    Now, Helen, I want you to bury your nose in that user’s manual and report back to us with all the new tricks you’ve learned.

    Best Regards, Galen
    GalenKindley.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Galen, considering how little I use my phone, I should be on your T-mobile pre-paid phone!

    If I can figure it out, I will report back to you. I downloaded one song and I keep listening to it over and over and smiling 'cause I figured out how to do it. I better download some more before I go nuts.

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  16. I understand what you're saying, Helen. I'm a bit of a dinosaur in the technology world. I learned my trade, drafting, on a board and was dragged into the AutoCad world kicking and screaming! I still don't have a cell phone and use my wife's when necessary (it doesn't flip up, take pics, go on the internet, or make the coffee...)

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  17. No coffee! That's the main reason I got an iPhone. It not only makes coffee, it adds the cream and sweetener.

    Ha! If it did that, I would've gotten it loooong ago.

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  18. *snork* "I phone U dumb."

    I don't have an iPhone, I do know how to use my razor--the phone, sort of. My 14 year old? 20 minutes he knew it all. Of course, he thinks he knows it all anyway, so why was I surprised. I can use the camera, zoom it, video it, AND text message. I would so rather use a key board. My son goes through 750 text messages in nuthin' flat. I think I've sent 4 so far and two were to him.

    My sister was down last weekend and had a new iPhone and trying to figure it out. Manuel open on her lap, occsionally looking to me for help--don't look at me, I have more gadgets than I need on mine and still don't use them all. Son came in: "whacha trying figure out Auntie?" She tells him, he takes the phone fiddles with it a few minutes and say, "see, push this and then this one and it does that..."

    He doesn't have an iphone either...

    Gadgets, mom zero, son genius.

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  19. Sia, does your son do long distance tech support?

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  20. Sorry to hear about the old cell phone. Congrats on the iPhone. I've had one for about six months and I hate to admit it: I love it!

    My brother-in-law likes to joke he has the Internet in his pocket with his phone.

    While I use it to keep connected with Twitter, e-mail, etc., I used it to help with my literacy tutoring in the spring. Since the seven-year-olds seemed more excited by technology, I created flash cards (with an app) to help them learn "wall words."

    The camera (even on my regular 3G phone) is great. I use it to send funny photos to family. I used it the other day to alert my realtor of a potential problem at a home we are purchasing.

    Enjoy.

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  21. Hi, Helen. I decided to get an iPhone when they announced the $99 one. Then I found out about the additional $30/ month AT&T data fee and kissed that notion goodbye.

    Once you get comfy with it, I'd love to hear your take on how it does as an ebook reader.

    Enjoy your iPhone. I really do think they are great, but I can't handle the fees.
    ~jon

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  22. Good gracious, Stacy. You're going to have to give me lessons. You've downloaded (and used) an app and you can take pictures of something other than your thumb.

    Wait a minute, Jon. You're thinking I can learn how to download a book on it? Hmm.

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