The Cell Phone Circus
Last week my cell phone was thick in the throes of death. The screen blacked out or started displaying old-school black lines jogging across the screen. Sometimes it wouldn't even turn on at all.
To me a phone is a phone, even when it's a smart phone, but it's made me realize how much I depend on it now.
For instance, years ago, I used to have a Rolodex (remember those) with information on all my contacts. Today, they're all on the phone. What happens if I lose my phone? All those contacts are G-O-N-E.
I keep addresses and phone numbers for my friends and family on my home computer, but not my business contacts. Plus, I still don't have them on paper, so if the computer blows, there go my personal contacts too.
The only thing I do keep on paper and never on my phone or computer are my passwords. I'm very paranoid about computer security. This is why I won't use a "master" password, nor will I ever save passwords in a digital file.
My phone takes photos. Many of the photos I use on my blog are taken from my phone. I've gotten into a good habit of emailing myself photos I plan to use for a future blog post, but lots of pictures of animals or my garden linger on my phone waiting for me to transfer them.
I had gotten anxious knowing now that I might lose them forever, but the young woman at the phone store was able to store them on the "cloud" so I could pull them back. The cloud also allowed me to see them on my home computer.
I don't trust the cloud. I just don't. Photos are not a deal breaker, but what if the cloud also saves personal documents and tax information, and someone somehow managed to pull that information from the cloud? Didn't that happen to some celebrity a few years back where all her naked photos showed up on the net?
Fortunately for the world, there are no naked photos of me on the cloud. :D
My day at the cell phone store brought other concerns. The young woman who helped me was very nice and genuinely helpful, but I couldn't help but notice how blasé she was about the cost of everything.
Oh, you'll need insurance, and a car charger, and a cover, and a screen protector. Oh, and let's not forget the $30 to upgrade your old phone to this one. But don't worry, you can just pay a monthly note.
It was like no big deal. Meanwhile my eyes were getting bigger and bigger.
I got a better phone. More memory, better camera, and a slightly larger screen. She started touting all the extras this phone had, but I wasn't interested. I use my phone for pictures, for the internet, the GPS map, and for texting Greg whenever we lose each other in a store. She looked disappointed that I wasn't impressed with the apps.
I did get the eye-roll because my phone was over five years old. I was more upset it didn't last longer. I've had three phones since cell phones came out and all three stayed with me until they died. I'm not into the latest this or that. As long as it carries out my basic needs, I'm content. Basically, it's a handheld computer. I like that.
The internet is important because Greg and I both use it a lot when we're not at home base--or when our power goes out when we are at home.
In the end, she was able to save my photos and my contacts, but neither one of us could get my email accounts to set up. My gmail account went through because, well, Google is omnipotent, but my Outlook email accounts could not. I guess it's not terrible. The only time it would be inconvenient is if I were away from home for more than a couple of days.
What a racket the cell phone industry is though. I should've invested in stock.
I saw a child the other day with a smart phone. I don't think she could've been more than five or six. My first question is, why does a child that young need a smart phone? A computer, yes. I can see the benefit in that, but not a phone. It's not like she'll ever be in a place without adult supervision.
As a dinosaur who remembers the days when our parents didn't know what we were up to for an entire day, or when I wouldn't be able to talk to my husband until he got home from his 12 hour shift, the idea of being in that much constant contact is strictly a 21st century phenomena.
Maybe not having my email accounts on my phone is a good thing. To this day, I refuse to add Facebook Messenger to my phone. Facebook is too handsy with our information. I sure as heck don't want them getting my phone information too.
Do you have a smart phone? What kind do you like? What's the most important feature for you?
And out of curiosity...what do you think is the right age to give a child a phone?
PS. If you do get a new cell phone, do yourself a favor and look for the car charger, cover, and screen protector on Amazon. I guarantee you it'll be cheaper than the phone store.