Saturday, May 31, 2008

More about that age thing

What I'm reading: Hit Parade, by Lawrence Block

What I'm writing: Chapter Three -- again or still, depending on what I decide.

Yesterday, only half on a whim, I decided to get a new cell phone. I never wanted to be totally connected. As a matter of fact, time away from the phone and the internet can be golden, so most of the time my cell isn't even on. I use it 95% for long distance calls because they're free, which is because I never come close to using my minutes. Mine roll over, but I roll off almost as many as I add each month. And I find people who are texting all the time to be rude. I was at a writer's conference banquet, and during the keynote, people at my table were busy texting. (I hope not each other!). But, I got a phone that is connected to the Internet, and as far as I'm concerned, with all the stuff it does, it ought to at least do the laundry or make coffee, but I guess I didn't go high-end enough. I stuck to a mid-range phone. On sale. With rebate. It does have a nifty qwerty keyboard in case I want to be rude the next time I'm at a banquet.

Trying to decipher the 40 page "quick start" guide (Making A Call was on page 10!) made me feel more than tech-challenged. Finding where to plug the charger was enough of a setback. How was I supposed to see that slot when it has a cover on it? And testing the dreaded texting feature. I could get it to fill in the "To" field, but nothing I did seemed to move the cursor into the box to write the message. The instructions and the on-line tutorial (like, since when do you have to go on line to learn how to use a PHONE?) simply said, 'fill in the "To" field, then type your message. HELLO. There's another step in there. Eventually, like all those monkeys typing Shakespeare, I hit the right button. Probably won't be able to do it ever again.

Then I thought I'd try to give my husband his own private ringtone so I wouldn't have to check the display if I was driving. Nothing in the quick start mentioned it. Nothing in the tutorial mentioned it. I downloaded the 350+ page manual and found the instructions on page 76. I followed them (after finding out they invented an OK button that nothing else mentioned), and they didn't work. To prove I wasn't totally inept, I did manage to follow the steps to add speed dial numbers (and why do they call it dialing?)
Then I tried another feature -- Voice. I Pressed a button and told it to call someone. Lo and behold, it DID. Scary.

I finally found the list of ringtones in the phone and picked one. I dutifully registered my new purchase. They sent me a temporary password as a text message to my phone! This after I had to type my email four times. Of course, my phone was off, and in another room. If I told the computer I couldn't access my phone, the message said they'd snail mail me my password. What's wrong with email? I mean, I was on line doing all this stuff. So, I get the phone, find the message, type in the password (no cut and paste from a phone to a computer), and then the next computer screen tells me to change the password before I can access my new account. I do, and my reward for this is a Free Ringtone. Woo Woo.

Accessing the ring tone means installing some new software, which, error messages to the contrary, seems to work, so I look at my choices for ring tones. I chose the Songs Everyone Knows list. There were 45 songs on the list. I recognized 7 of them by title. Could probably hum about 4. Nothing like feeling old and out of touch.
I think I'll continue my policy of not giving anyone my cell phone number. I'm not sure I could figure out how to answer it before it rolls to voice mail, and I KNOW I haven't figured that one out yet.

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