Saturday, September 24, 2011

Here’s why I love my new smartphone (take that, George Clooney)


This is the new phone I got recently; I’ve been pretty pleased with it, it’s not just smart, it’s smart looking.  The receiver shows the date & time, and it can be programmed to work as an alarm clock.  Oh and the base isn’t just an answering machine, it’s a speakerphone too. 

(It even came with a spare phone & charger that I can set anywhere in my house because only the main unit needs plugged into a phone jack.)   But I think my favorite feature is the ‘no texting’ function—you have to talk into it.

Y’see, last week a little secret of mine was exposed, and since then I’ve gotten my share of teasing remarks about it.  I was going to let the matter drop, but then yesterday I eagerly read an interview with George Clooney (and I only say eagerly as we’re both in the ‘61 Club and this is George & mine’s year for hitting the big 5-0).  He has a few months on me, so what life experiences or pearls of wisdom was he ready to share that can help me prepare for this half-century milestone?

“By the time you hit 50, you know who your friends are.”  (Er…okay, that makes sense.)

“I began subscribing to AARP magazine and it’s surprising to see some of the people I know.”   (George I’ve been on the fence about this!  Okay, what else??)

George is 50“I still love a good prank.  My friends used to change my outgoing phone message all the time. This was the old days, when you had a phone machine. They would change the message to something horrible and there was nothing I could do to change it back. That was always brilliant."   

“The old days”?   You mean before cellphones and voice mail?  George I’ll have you know I’m not a total Dodo bird just yet, I have a cellphone too!  I just don’t like carrying it around with me 24-7.  And truth be told, I’m a lot more inclined to check my messages when I come home from work and see that flashing red light on my machine—that damn cellphone could be hiding anywhere!

Anyway, getting back to my secret--it began last Friday at the office; we had a major system installation planned for the weekend and one of my coworkers suggested that the project manager send a text message to everyone’s cellphone when they were ready for us analysts to report for duty.   So a ‘test-text’ was sent out & what followed was a flurry of email responses:

Erin:  Got it.

Steve: Got it, thanks!

Candace:  Got it too. 

Mia: Got it! 

Jamie: Got it. 

Kathy: Holla, got it. 

Gwen:  Thanks, got it.

Me:  um...I don’t have my cellphone. 


Me:  It’s at home, I think I left it in the glove compartment of my car.


Me:  Or on my dresser.  I don’t think it can send or get texts anyway. 


Me:  OKAY, I don’t know how to text!  Shoot me, I’m an old man!

Kathy:  Doug, you’re funny.

And that’s my big secret—I HAVE NEVER SENT A TEXT MESSAGE.  I’M NOT ABOUT TO EITHER, I TYPE ENOUGH ALREADY!  I know that recent polls show 40% of us prefer texting over talking, but what secrets of the universe need to be shared so immediately that they can’t wait to be read in an email?   Look, if someone needs to talk to me THAT badly, then they’ll have to do just that—talk! 

sitting on the basement steps to talk on the phone...

Now if you really want to talk about phones in the ‘old days’, here’s me in 1979 trying to get some privacy on the basement stairs; that damn cord only stretched so far!

Okay, I know this is much ado about nothing, but from what I gather it’s no worse than half of the text-messages flying over my head right now as I type this:  “WHT R U UP 2”  “NOTHNG, WHT ABT U”  “NOTHNG”

I will say one thing about the whole texting phenomenon that I find fascinating; my 6 year old niece Sophie has been practicing her ‘text typing’ since the age of 4, as if it was part of the natural process, like learning to walk.  Last summer I watched her holding a Hanna Montana makeup compact with both hands and deftly tapping it’s lid with her thumbs--when I said “Honey what are you doing?”  she said “Uncle Doug let me finish this thought first.”  (I’m not joking!)  .        .        .

When I showed Sophie my cellphone (with it’s little hideaway keyboard) and confided to her I’ve never texted anyone and didn’t even know how, she looked at me like she’d just seen a ghost.   When (& if) I’m ready to learn, I’m sure she’ll show me how.


  1. Doug, time to join the 21st Century, my friend. If I can get into texting then so can you. Granted, I am a Twitter addict which is really texting to the masses on 140-character max messages. Trust me, it isn't all that bad. :)

  2. Martin I don't tweet either, but I email, IM, Facebook and blog-I converted all my CDs to mp3 files, and the last dozen books I've bought were all e-books. I'm about as 21st century as I can get, I have to draw the line SOMEWHERE or else I'm going to turn Amish & give it all up! :)

  3. Hi Doug - I just discovered that my2-year-old fan upstairs has a remote control. Been impressed all week long by that. I've never used a cell phone. Never sent a text (um, except on Soph's hanna montana compact mirror). And been meaning to ask you what an "app" is. Criminy, I think you're a rocket scientist.

  4. Shawn, too funny about the fan--I have a model just like yours & probably use that remote more than the one for my tv!

    As for apps, I'd be happy to show you some (on my Nook tablet) but trust me, you're not missing anything... :)

  5. Your niece is too cute. Love how you end this post:

    "When (& if) I’m ready to learn, I’m sure she’ll show me how."

    Awesome. :)

  6. Thanks Chelly! And yes, my little niece is a 16 year old trapped in a 6 year old body :)

  7. I finally took the plunge and got a smartphone a couple of weeks ago. I got a Samsung Infuse. I haven't used it for texting yet but I will admit I can see why people get addicted to them so quickly, and it's easy to figure out and use. Mostly I've been using it to access my email while on my way to a Meetup event, or to play Angry Birds (I highly recommend this game--VERY addictive!) However, I will never resort to dumbing down my text conversations and using abbreviations like everyone else.

    I agree with Chelly-your niece is a doll!

  8. Pam, I had to look your phone up, that's a sharp model--I simply don't use my cellphone enough to warrant such an upgrade (but I do have a tablet with 'Angry Birds' as one of the apps, and I agree--it's TOO addicting) Anyway, thank you for your feedback here AND the sweet words about my niece!

  9. My kids don't believe me when I tell them of the time everyone was not available 24/7. My son (11) is at least as good with his smart phone as I am with mine.

  10. Iikka that's impressive, but what I find really surprising is that your 11 year old has his own smartphone!

  11. Texting.. Never thought I could get into it. I'm not really.. but when it's all of my friends preferred communication of choice, I reluctantly got on board.

    I hate where technology has brought us in someways. Cells are great, and have got me out of a jam or two.. but remember when we didn't have them? We seemed to get along just fine. Everything moves so much faster now, things were so much more laid back and slower, even as recently as the early 90's.

    I can't move on over to the smart phones just yet (too expensive for my taste) and I threaten to ditch my cell a few times a year.. a statement which garners gasps from anyone within earshot.

    I may evolve a bit more, and upgrade my phone someday.. but I won't like it! LOL

  12. Hey Darrin, thanks for sharing--well, I'm sure I'll be texting sooner or later; like you said, that's how your friends prefer communicating these days and more & more, I'm hearing the same thing. Anyway, I can totally relate to the love/hate thing with technology; for example, it seems like half my job is spent reading & responding to emails, and I can remember my first year or two in the office when IT DIDNT EXIST. Oh waitaminute... I just got inspired for a future blog--thanks man! :)

  13. Doug, everyone in Finland has a smart phone. It's the law.

    Greetings from Hong Kong!

    Ross... Whatever happened to that guy?!?

  14. Iikka, are you serious? It's the LAW? Well, greetings from America (man you get around!) and as for Ross--good question, I miss that guy!

  15. Well, it's not in the legislation, so I guess it isn't really a law...


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