Wednesday, 27 March 2013

late arrivals for the twenty-first century ball

I'm feeling my way with the new phone.  The first time it rang I failed to answer it, because I had not read or else forgotten the section of the manual that said that I had to not just touch the green icon of a phone on the screen, or tap it, but drag it sideways.  The whole routine of dragging my finger across the screen to confirm that I want it to wake up again, every time it goes into energy saving mode, has caused me some difficulties, and I think I have made one or two silent calls to contacts by mistake, through hitting dial on the contacts screen without meaning to.  That would explain why I got a call this morning from a friend who doesn't normally ring me for a chat.  They kept their end of the conversation up with aplomb, but afterwards I began to suspect that the reason they'd rung had been to find out the source of an incoming call from an unknown number.

Mind you, I think making false calls must be easily done with a touch screen.  I found I had a voicemail, that turned out to be four minutes and thirty-three seconds not of silence but of rustling, with the odd clonking noise as if a mug were being put down on a desk.  The on-line instruction book had very little to say about voicemails, since they are provided by O2 and not Samsung, and it took some time to discover by trial and error that in order to delete the voicemail I apparently had to listen to the end, before it would give me the option to Press 3 to delete.

I don't understand why a couple of outgoing texts seem to have stuck in draft instead of sending. The first time I sent a second, with apologies in case the first had already arrived.  The second one formed the tail end of an exchange of courtesies about tickets for a friend's upcoming concert, and I left it.  It will be interesting to see whether the entry in the messages summary next to that name suddenly stops saying Draft in red, and puts in the first few words of the message like the ones I know did send.

I managed to work out how to turn the phone to silent mode very early on.  The former colleague I saw yesterday was mildly impressed that I'd already cracked that one.  Before getting the phone I had vague ideas of downloading ringtones, and was considering the relative merits of the Pink Panther theme and the one from the 1970s TV version of Lord Peter Wimsey with Ian Carmichael, but the reality is that I don't want it to make a noise at all.  I have got it on vibrate, so that I know when it does something, and left on a surface like the hall table to act as a soundboard it makes a subdued but powerful buzzing noise.

Unfortunately I haven't yet found a setting that will let me silence it entirely for e-mails, and only buzz for texts, or incoming calls (not that I expect to get many of those).  It is rather disappointing to hear it buzz, and find not a text from a friend, but an automatic e-mail from Blogspot warning that another irritating marketing message has been appended under the guise of a comment.  That or Fidelity suggesting that now is the time to think about getting back into equities (because they want to flog ISAs at the end of the tax year, after the market has gone up a thousand points. Telling me to get into equities when the index was at 5,300 would have been much more useful). Indeed, it is still rather peculiar to have access to e-mails on the move, and part of me feels it spoils the surprise of getting home and seeing what has arrived in the course of the day, like looking through the morning's post.  I said as much to my friend yesterday, who laughed, and welcomed me to the twenty-first century.

I tried the map twice yesterday.  The first time I was using some free Wi-Fi (I think) in a branch of Costa Coffee, and the map didn't quite seem to work, since it opened centred on my house and not the City, and failed to add more detail as I tried to zoom in, instead expanding the overview map of London which simply became blurrier without adding any street names.  The second time at Liverpool Street using my tiny data allowance (I think) it opened beautifully, pin-pointing me at once to Bishopsgate, and adding information as I closed in until it showed every individual platform.

I still haven't cracked the camera, so haven't tried to read one of those QR codes.  The first time I ever saw one was by the jade vine in the Cambridge Botanic Gardens, and I thought then what a brilliant idea it was, except that I didn't have a device capable of reading it.  Nowadays they put them on cereal packets.  As an inveterate cereal packet reader I suppose that could give breakfast an extra high tech frisson.

All in all it's just as well I got the new phone when I did.  If I'd left it much longer, until I was even older and phones yet more complicated, I doubt I'd ever have got it to work at all.

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