Thursday, 21 July 2016

time for an upgrade

Google killed my phone.  Apparently it is a known bug affecting early Android models.  All sorts of Google services that I don't use, understand or want kept trying to update themselves, draining the battery in the process.  The phone, left fully charged when I went to bed, would be completely flat by morning.  Even when I had switched it off before going to bed.  The analysis of battery use showed eighty-five per cent going on Google services.  It began to eat all my data allowance as well, until the other day for the first time ever I got a text warning me that with several days to go to the end of the month I had used eighty per cent of my monthly package.

Mobile phone battery life has been a thorny subject since the mobile was invented, but I don't use my phone to stream YouTube clips, play online games, update social media or listen to music.  I exchange the odd text, keep tabs on my emails if I'm out for the day, very occasionally ring somebody if I'm meeting them, and receive incoming calls so infrequently that the last time I had one I couldn't remember what kind of swipe I had to make on the touch screen to pick the call up. I would like to be able to use the internet on the go, to answer odd questions like What is a mesa landscape, which I wondered as I walked around the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition, but the old phone did not want to tell me in any reasonable timescale.

The Systems Administrator initially advised me to turn off my location unless I needed it, saying that GPS was a notorious drain on the battery.  I did, while suspecting that this was not the root of the problem since I used to be able to have the GPS on.  Then the SA actually looked at the phone, consulted Google, and pronounced that unwanted Google functions were the issue.  Unfortunately the phone was so old by mobile standards (which is to say at least three years) that the online guides to disabling unwanted Google features didn't even cover my model.  The SA, taking an educated best guess, managed to uninstal or disable the unwanted battery eaters.  The fix lasted all of ten days before they reinstalled and reactivated themselves, and once again the battery was drained dry overnight as if visited by some mobile phone feeding vampire.

A phone whose battery will not last the day, even assuming you had time to charge it fully before going out after it had completely discharged itself overnight, is no use at all.  After the requisite period of huffing and puffing about systems developers (probably young people) who couldn't leave well alone but were overloading and pestering middle aged people's phones to death, I resigned myself to getting a new phone.  The Systems Administrator kindly spent some time wading through reviews in order to be able to tell me which phone I wanted.  I have no interest in telephones.  I want it to work.  End of.  The SA informed me that what I wanted was a Samsung Galaxy J5, and the only decision I had to make was whether I wanted it in a black or gold case.

The young woman in the shop was extremely nice and efficient and did not make me feel as though I had asked to have a paper bag on my head as she changed over the SIM card, synchronised the contacts, and changed my monthly payment to a new (lower) figure for twice as much data as I had before.  The Systems Administrator has with any luck managed to set the new phone so that it will not automatically synch its contacts with my laptop like the last one did without being asked to (I do not need the email addresses of every club booking secretary and mail order plant supplier I have ever had dealings with plus the entire music society committee on my mobile telephone, thank you Google.  Just the phone numbers of those friends who have my mobile number will be quite sufficient).  I spent a happy half afternoon playing with the phone, at the end of which I had checked I knew how to answer incoming calls, had deleted approximately a hundred unwanted contacts, and was equipped with antivirus plus apps for The Guardian, National Rail Enquiries, Sudoku Daily, the AA, the Art Fund, and Wittertainment.  My location is marked by a piece of battenberg cake.

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