Monthly Archives: August 2013

A STEEP LEARNING CURVE: A new computer and “smart” phone

It has been weeks since I last posted.  But I have just spent the last month working in a learning curve that Sir Edmund Hillary would love.  I have always considered myself a person who could learn new things, but this past month has been a bear….

I stepped into the world of MAC, when I replaced my ancient HP notebook with a Macbook Pro.  My family had all switched years ago, and were wildly enthused that I finally took the plunge.  My beloved mouse was replaced by a touchpad, any shortcuts I had memorized were now useless, and I was now expected to use touchscreens. 

I am one of those people who have a problem with touch devices; they pretend I don’t exist. I can’t tell you how often I’ve stood at ATM machine, touching the screen as the machine laughs histerically and a mechanical voice sneers, “Oh Please!.”    My body has a strange electrical field of its own which means I negate the charges on digital watches, and particularly in winter when the air is dry, I can walk across a carpet and generate a big enough static charge that you’ll not only feel it, but SEE it, when I touch things. I have to be very careful to make sure I touch another surface.  I  before I touch people in winter, and I have turned off a TV set just by touching it…. For a long time no matter how many fingers I used, how hard or in what direction I swiped, the MAC kept saying “Whaaat?”.  When it did respond, the images went flying all over the page, and I couldn’t BEGIN to find the cursor.

Passwords.  Look, I know they are a great security measure, but when I’m the only person in the house; and the only one to use my computer, it drives me wild that I need multiple passwords just to start using my machine.  I spent WEEKS fighting the password battle with my MAC; it said I was using the wrong passwords, and the MAC store had to keep resetting the machine. 

WIFI.  Another great concept.  I bought my own router, installed it, and it worked just fine with my HP.  The MAC said, “Seriously?”, and ignored my machine.  Back to the MAC store.  They said I needed to contact the router’s manufacturer.  $29 and nearly two hours later CISCO’s help desk helped me reset the router(it needed a software update), my MACbook, AND the HP.

My Verizon flip phone started having trouble charging in April, and Verizon informed me that I’d either have to buy a new phone–and a 2 year contract–or wait until June when my  contract was up.  Incidentally they said it was worthless as a trade-in.  Two weeks ago, the flip phone started ignoring the efforts of the charger, so I had to keep taking out the battery and rub it to make it take a charge.  Then one Sunday morning the phone didn’t charge, and when I picked up the charger to see why, the charger fell apart in my hands, and said, “I’m done here”. 

With the demise of my phone, I decided to buy the simplest smart phone I could find.  Yep.  My new  phone was a (shudder) touch phone, but that wasn’t the biggest ordeal.  It came with minimal information about its function, including how to make a stinking phone call, and it has taken me 3 days to make it produce a ringtone when I call it, and set up voice mail.  I found plenty of reviews of the phone on Youtube–all singing the praises of the simplicity of the unit– but evidently everyone assumed the phone was self-explanatory.  I’ve wasted more time on gooogle, finding out how to do anything on this phone.  The setup menu said all I had to do was go to the Nokia site for more information, but the phone couldn’t open the site.  There I sat, with the phone in one hand as I hunted for instructions on the internet.

The idea of technology was to make life simpler, but honestly, there are days I long for the simplicity of two tin cans and some string…