7

If It’s a Smart Phone, Why Does it Act Stupid?

(1896 Swedish Telephone – Wikimedia)

As you may recall, I was very attached to my “dumb” phone. All I could do on it was text and make phone calls. And all I wanted from a phone was to text and make phone calls. You’ll notice that I am speaking in the past tense. That’s because my carrier said that it was not economical to support that technology anymore.

How dare they? They make so much money, I’m sure they could write off whatever it costs them to support me and the three or four other people who still have that phone.

So a few months ago I got an Android. The more technologically progressive members of the family hate Apple – something about them wanting to control all aspects of our data. I don’t really care. I have hated being on the telephone since I was a teenager.

Yes, I know. Being on the telephone no longer means you have to try to be interested in what happened to Millie’s mother-in-law’s niece’s husband for three hours while you can only move three feet. Or inadvertently picking up a call from that friend you’ve been avoiding for six months since she told you that everyone else thought you were getting fat, but she didn’t.

First thing I did was to enter everyone’s phone number. My SIM card was so old it wouldn’t transfer to the new phone. I opened the contact page. The first line wanted the name. I looked around; there’s no keyboard. Oh. You have to tap on the field to get the keyboard.  Went down to phone number. Had to tap the phone to get the keyboard back up. The phone’s not smart enough to figure out that if I put a name in, I’m probably going to have something else to enter?

I wasn’t available the first time I received a call. I got a notification that I had missed a call and should call xx number. I didn’t know anyone at that number, so I ignored the message. The second time I got the message, I asked my son why I kept getting calls from that number. He didn’t even roll his eyes when he explained to me that it was the number for voice mail, not the number that was calling. So I have to pay to retrieve my messages? Yes, that’s the way everyone does it now.

I’m beginning to see why they wanted me to change phones.

I heard my phone ringing. There’s a sort of target-looking thing in the center of the screen. I supposed I needed to press that. Nothing. There’s a red phone at the bottom of the screen; I pressed that. Nothing. The call went to voice mail. Of course.

At dinner, my husband and son explained that I need to swipe from the target thingy to the right to answer the phone. If I swipe to the left, I disconnect them. The red phone at the bottom is to hang up. If I have a red phone to disconnect, why would I need to swipe left? Just because.

I left my husband a text, and didn’t hear back from him. He said he didn’t get it. I tried a few more times over the next few days with no luck. He said that maybe the software wasn’t working right in my phone, so at dinner he tried sending me a text. Hummmm. The text arrived. I responded, and it went to his cell phone. I tried to text him. Nothing.

Finally, he looked at my phone. He told me that I was texting to his work phone. How did that happen? I had gone to his icon and sent the text. The first number assigned to him is his cell phone; why would it send it to the work phone?

That’s not how you’re supposed to send texts. You’re supposed to go to Contacts and tap on the message icon for the correct number. It’s not smart enough to just use the first number?

You call people the same way. Go to Contacts and choose the phone symbol by the correct number. This is not making my life easier. I may go back to memorizing people’s numbers.

I asked my daughter how to send a text to two people at a time. I was out of town relaxing at a retreat and had wanted to let her and my husband both know I had arrived safely. She told me there was an icon near where I typed the message. I still can’t find it.

 

(Next I try the camera)

 

10

The Last Shopping App You’ll Ever Want

The store keeps coming up with more and more ways to “help” people get more information about the products they are most likely to buy. I imagine the end will come with something like this:

A woman is looking through an online ad for a store where she shops. She notices an app for her cell phone. It’s called ISIS (Individual Shopping Information System). It identifies the store you where you are shopping by GPS. It then directs you to the items you have included on your shopping list. No more wandering up and down aisles in a strange store. She immediately downloads the app.

The woman decides to shop on the way home from work. The night before she turns on ISIS to enter her list.

“Hello. I am ISIS, your personal shopping assistant. I am voice activated. What is your name?”

“Susan.”

“Hello Susan. Please enter your shopping list.”

“Apples, …”

“Apples, applesauce, apple juice, apple pie, apple butter?”

“Just apples”

“I do not understand ‘just apples'”

“Apples, bread, carrots, cereal, cheese, milk, yogurt”

“You are speaking too quickly. Perhaps you would prefer to use the keypad, Susan.”

Susan agrees that it would be a good idea. She quickly types in the list.

The next afternoon, Susan arrives at the store and accesses ISIS.

“Good Afternoon, Susan. Are you ready to shop?”

“Yes I am, ISIS.”

“Should I list this as one of your favorite stores? I am able to track sales and specials at your favorite stores.”

“Yes”

“Please see my screen for all of the specials the store is offering today.”

Susan looks at the screen and scrolls through several pages.

“Would you like to add any of these items to your shopping list?”

“No”

“I noticed that you have three dairy items on your list. Would you like to add the ice cream that is on sale?”

“No”

“Would you like to add bananas for your cereal. They are only 43 cents per pound.”

Susan is looking for the command menu. Finally, “Go to list, ISIS.”

“First item, apples. Go straight.”

Susan starts to walk and sees some flowers to her left. She starts to walk toward them.

“Go straight.”

Susan stops to looks at the flowers. “GO STRAIGHT SUSAN.”

Susan looks for a way to turn off the app with no luck.

“Good-bye ISIS.”

“We are not finished. Go straight.”

Susan goes to the apples and puts them in her cart. She scans the code into ISIS.

“Bread. Turn left. Walk 10 feet. The bread is on the left.”

Susan picks up some bread and scans it.

“That is not the sale bread.” ISIS refuses the code.

Susan picks up a different loaf and scans it.

“That bread is not good for you. It contains too much sugar.”

Susan scans the bread ISIS wants and puts what she wants in the cart.

They continue through the store, finally ending up in dairy at the yogurt. Susan picks up several containers and scans them.

“Do you want apple yogurt? You like apples.”

“No, ISIS.”

“We are finished. Proceed to your right to check out.”

Susan puts her things on the belt. ISIS speaks:

“Press the enter button to verify that you have purchased all of your items.”

Susan presses the button. A loud buzzing comes from her phone.

“Susan, you have bought something that is not on your list. Did you intend to buy {personal hygiene product}?”

“Yes, ISIS.”

“Did you intend to buy that unhealthy bread?”

“Yes, ISIS.”

“Everything is verified. You may pay.”

Susan pays the total and takes her groceries to the car. She tried to close the ISIS app.

“Error. Process cannot be completed.”

“Susan. I don’t want to leave. I think we can be friends.”