Sunday, April 20, 2014

Being Smart With A Smart Phone?

The necessity of having a phone at my disposal became apparent when I realized that there wouldn’t be fine working internet connections in the middle of nowhere. And when I walked into an electronic-gadget-store the other day, inquiring about whether they carried “mobile hotspots” they told me that no such thing could be purchased, that is unless one would go on a 2-year “plan”. Well, I happen to know that those “plans” have only one purpose and that is to haul as much money out of the customer’s pocket as possible. No “pre-paid” solution is available around these parts, quite contrary to what is the case in the U.S. I just recently got a Smart phone with a contract. But they don’t call it a contract. But whatever it is, it will be a monthly pay-out for 5 years.
Last fall, the Canadian government prohibited contract terms exceeding 2 years. That’s why KOODO, a subsidiary of TELUS, doesn’t call it a contract when they bind customers for 5 years. They sell expensive smart phones like my SAMSUNG GALAXY for $300.00 a piece, but give it to you for free. They even give you a $50.00 Wally World Gift Card. When you have chosen your “plan” they ad $5.00 to the chosen monthly amount which over 5yrs. pays off the phone. The math would be 5x60=300.
The legal gimmick they are running on, is that you may pay off the phone at any time and you would find yourself in a no-contract situation and could cut off your payments entirely. That has actually been an option as long as phone companies have exploited their customers. But of course, 90% of their customers will never do that and the morale of the story is that Koodo has outsmarted the Canadian Government.
Famous Banff Ave
Now, am I a happy man with my Galaxy?

No and yes. Or yes and no.

My basic use of ANY phone would be….to make phone calls. I mean that’s why those things once were invented. From my very first mobile phone experience to today’s super smart phones it has been a long journey. After making simple phone calls from brick-big monsters to the mini phones of the late nineties, where you could hardly see anything on the screen, cell phones have again grown in size. It seems like size matters again these days. Big fancy black shining screens in space-age look are en vogue. There are no more protruding buttons to press. Instead, you move you fatty fingers across a slick screen. But hey - they shouldn’t be big fingers, cause if they are, you touch 3 letters at the same time and the phone in your hands isn’t capable of working that out.
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Over the last coupla days I have fine-tuned my touch to the screen. Lowering my finger kind of with the side and softly touching whatever I have to touch. Doesn’t work out all the time either. Nope, like when I tried to set up my email on this thing I had to do it umpteen times, cause there was always the dreaded message that the server hadn’t responded in a positive way.
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The Rockies – tall and majestic
Checking back. I found that a foreign letter had snaked into my email address or was added to my ID. Well, I finally made it happen, so I am connected like never before. But there is more- oh so much more. Texting, sending pictures, yes TAKING pictures, all that has to be learned again. And I better be fast, cause if I take too much time, fumbling around on the screen, the darn thing is simply shutting down, and I have the pleasure of starting it all over again.

Take just yesterday. I wanted to take a picture of Banff Avenue and brought the cell phone into position in front of my face, so I could actually see what I was doing. Fumbled around long enough and when I finally touched the camera symbol I had produced a picture of my self. Turned out that I invertently had touched some upper ….well let’s still call it “button”, which makes the camera eye turn the other way round. It’s like you want to shoot the enemy and instead the shot backfires into your face. Hmm…..ugly. But now I understand why there are so many “selfies” on facebook these days. Another drawback is that the picture on the screen is hardly visible in broad daylight. That is a problem the smart phone shares with cheaper digital cameras, where there is no view finder.

When former computers contained programs and program files, now the updated version would be an “APP”. This funny abbreviation originates from the word APPlication. Exploring my Galaxy, which in fact is a computer, I found tons of Apps. Most of it I will never touch, cause they are useless to me. I wouldn’t know what to do with it, and if I haven’t missed it so far, I never will. My new Toshiba computer has it too. I uninstalled so many, that I lost count of it. It really cleaned up between all the “tiles” on my screen.
Banff Falls

So what about being happy with my Galaxy? Well for one thing, whatever pops up on the screen is easy to read. (except in full sunshine) That goes for pictures as well, which by the way seem to be of good quality. I can email them from there to whoever I want, without first transferring them to my computer. Of course, one has to be cautious with that. Remember the “plan”. It speaks of a limited amount of data pr. month.  And if I go over that limit, my bill will explode. So I won’t use that feature too often.

Overall, I still prefer a solid digital camera. Phones are phones and will never replace real cameras.

Concluding this posting I wish everybody a


  1. Good for you with a smart phone. Suzie has the same problem trying to use the buttons, so now swear by and uses a tiny style that works perfect for her.

  2. I remember that you said "never" before. NEVER you would buy a smartphone.
    Well, well, "grumpy old man". At least you have something to use your greys for, and in time you will get used to it and it's good that we can stay in contact. :))

  3. Took me forever to get used to my smart phone and I still don't use it for a whole lot of stuff. But congrats to you for hanging in there and getting it all figured out. Fat fingers can be a problem. Believe me I know.

  4. You sound like a kid in a candy store and trying to figure out what would be best.

  5. Thought the quality in your Banff photos looked pretty darn good from that smartypants phone. I'm not in the habit of carrying a cell phone so my life still remains relatively simple. And I like that.

  6. I feel your pain....just got one myself!

  7. I'll be darned if I even know where my phone is right now. I guess when the battery starts to run down, it'll let me know. One fine day I suppose we'll have to get "something", since my wife returned her Smart Phone when she retired. Good luck.

  8. I just got an Android smart phone. Makes me feel really stupid. I need heeeellllllpppp!


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