13 October 2021

Smartphone

Being around our Ian for any length of time, you realise how important his smartphone is to him. It is like an extension of his being.

Let me tell you some of the things I witnessed this past weekend. He used the smartphone as an oven timer. He used it to take and send photographs. He used it to listen to music. He used it to pay for the parking of my car - The Clintmobile. He used it for online banking purposes and to check the weather. He used it to book and pay for theatre tickets. He used it as a spirit level. He used it to order a taxi. And would you believe it - he even used it as a telephone!

As I said on Monday, he has an electric Mini Cooper and as it will only cover 120 miles on a single charge, he needs to locate and use charging points quite regularly. The smartphone points him to where there are available charging points - not just their locations but whether or not other people are currently using them. Of course, he also uses the smartphone to pay for these charging sessions.

He is so adept with the phone, so comfortable with it and the services it can provide to facilitate and lubricate a busy modern life. In contrast, I have never possessed any sort of mobile phone and for example I have never sent a single text message in my life. If I go out into the world, I am happily uncontactable - be it on a country  walk or a car journey. If I go to the supermarket, Shirley cannot phone me up and tell me to get the soap powder or toilet rolls she forgot to mention.

In this sense, Ian and I are worlds apart. I  have just never felt a pressing need for a smartphone and think to myself - well I have got this far in my life without one, why bother now? I notice how obsessed millions of other people are with them. They are checking them all the time - no doubt looking at Facebook, Instagram or other social media. To me it all seems so alien and I just wouldn't wish to be hooked like that.

Nonetheless I recognise that for Ian and millions of other users, the smartphone is a vital tool both socially and for work purposes. If I felt I needed one then I would get one though I would have a lot to learn and I rather fear that my frankfurter fingers would be too big for the slippery touchscreen.

Increasingly, I notice that businesses and even governmental organisations will often assume that everybody is in possession of a smartphone. That wrong assumption will sometimes hinder or obstruct those of us who don't have them. It's a kind of discrimination born out of  ignorance and it can be pretty infuriating.

35 comments:

  1. I imagine that if you got a smartphone, you'd use yours very much the way Gregg does. That is, he uses it primarily for texting and phone calls. He occasionally uses the camera or googles something (say he's at work and needs to know more about some sort of aquarium fish for a customer). Sometimes if he's bored and waiting somewhere he might pull up a news website. That's about it! He's not on any social media at all and has zero interest in it. You won't see him walking around looking at his phone all day! It's just a tool he uses for a few basic conveniences.

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    1. I might use it to order a bag of Greggs' sausage rolls.

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  2. So, when's it going to be delivered?

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  3. Increasingly people will be disadvantaged by not having internet access and mobile phones. It is already happening, and fast.

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    1. I enjoy using the internet at home on my computer. Do I really need to have it on a phone too?

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  4. I use mine too much for photos and have become dependent on several of the apps: locked notes to keep my important phone numbers, cards and vaccine card, transportation apps like Uber, MTA(New York trains), Alaska Air, etc. I worry about what I would do not having access to some of that info--but would manage. Unlike many, unless I'm using it, my phone lives in the charger or in my purse, not in my hand or pocket. So, I use it much less than many.

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    1. How did people get by without them? I can tell you because I still do!

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  5. Here's a cautionary tale: A friend of ours refused to get a computer decades ago. He said he had no desire. And he never got one. But here's the thing- he is a hermit, lives in isolation and he is very intelligent and now he is practically homebound by illnesses and injury and I KNOW that if he had access to the internet, his life would be incredibly richer. But that ship has sailed. He'll never, ever get a computer or learn to use one because he was stubborn and didn't think he needed one. Forget the smart phone thing. He tried- he got one, and he had no idea how to use it and was too proud to ask for instruction. And when he had a stroke, instead of being able to reach to his bedside to get it and call for help, it took him many hours to crawl to his phone (land line) and figure out how to knock it off the hook, and call for help.
    Here's the thing- if you are so afraid that you are going to become addicted to a smart phone, you are missing out on all of the advantages of having one. Are you really that weak, Mr. P.? You couldn't have one and use it for a few very important things and not become a slave to it?
    This is just my viewpoint. Whether you ever get a cell phone or not, it makes no difference to me.

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    1. A salutary tale but not worrying enough to send me out to buy a smartphone. I have seen how Shirley's smartphone now occupies a lot of her downtime when it never used to. She has had it for the last four years.

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  6. I'm with you when it comes to phones. However, I feel as if I'm being pushed into a corner. A time will come when many of the things we do will only be done by phone!

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    1. I can see that day getting closer too.

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  7. Before COVID, I used to walk parts of the Camino de Santiago every year. My backpack had to weigh no more than 7.5 kilos. I valued my phone because it was light and would do so many things, especially taking photos and uploading them onto my blog in the evening. It was a torch (for locating the hostel loo at night) and it was useful for finding my way around strange towns. Finally, I carried several e-books on it so that I was never without reading matter. It will come into its own again in 2022 I hope. Should I buy the latest model?

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    1. Yes. I can see how it would have been a boon on those walks Margaret. I hope you get back to the pilgrimage as planned.

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  8. In Canada they want us to show our QR code on the phones to prove our V status. Well, lots of us don't have smart phones.

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    1. That's a good example of false assumptions about smartphone ownership in high places.

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  9. I use my ohone very frequently in similar ways to Ian and as my computer is now a hand-me-down lap top which has to be permanently charging, with a tangle of cables every where, I find the phone a lot more convenient for most tasks.
    I, too, resisted the smart phone but my kids bought me one a few years back and I find it one of the most useful tools I own.

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    1. One of the most useful tools I own is an electric screwdriver.

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  10. For me, my iphone has become a convenience but not an addiction. I keep in touch with my Mum and my sister, my sister-in-law in Yorkshire and several friends who rather send text messages than emails. I still prefer emails, as I don't like typing on the tiny touch screen; it is so much slower than when I can use a proper keyboard. For instance, reading other blogs and commenting is something I never use my phone for.
    In daily life, I purchase train tickets and look up train times on my phone; very useful when (as happens frequently) a connection can't be reached because of a delay.
    I also use the camera a lot - almost all pictures on my blog were taken that way.
    As for social media, I am neither on facebook nor instagram or tiktok etc.; this blogging platform is enough for me.
    My iphone is strictly private; for business, I do not have a mobile phone. If my clients need to reach me, they can do so via landline and email while I am at work.

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    1. You seem to a have a healthy relationship with your phone. It hasn't taken you over like a ghostly spirit.

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  11. My Daughter passes on her phones to us when she upgrades which happens often as they like to keep all these junkies wanting to be top of the game. Mine lays in the bottom of my bag usually on the rare occasion I need to use it, it is out of juice, lol
    Tom Grandson has his superglued to his hand a lot like your son I imagine.
    I don't like the way we can be tracked with them so most of the time I turn it off.
    That's just my paranoid self coming out there, lol
    But there are uses for them. When Tom was in Hospital it was useful for us to be able to contact each other.
    Briony
    x

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    1. There have been a few times when I thought a smartphone would have been handy but I got by anyway.

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  12. At one time I vowed that I would never use a mobile 'phone however, after being the sole witness to a car crash on a quiet country road, I realised that there are occasions when a 'phone is useful.
    I now have one that I use as a camera primarily and used to take it with me on holiday in order to keep in touch with family and check for flight delays or emergencies etc.
    P uses his only to make calls and send texts. Otherwise his is switched off and generally on the kitchen shelf!

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    1. Your phones do not seem vital to the way you live JayCee.

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  13. You are a different generation YP! Think back to your younger days and the things that you had access to and used regularly. Some things probably completely befuddled your parents or might have even caused their disapproval.
    I have a smart phone but rarely use it - in fact I've rarely made a phone call. It does have a good camera so I use it for photographs - that's if I can remember where I last left it! I've let the battery run down again, so it's charging by my computer as I type this.
    At least you've embraced using a computer, setting up a blog, posting your photos, so you're not a complete Luddite! You are part way there to a smart phone and smart household!

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    1. Before I get a smartphone I think I need a smart suit, smart shoes, a smart shirt and a smart tie. Then I will be a smartalec.

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  14. You can buy a stylus to use with smartphones, YP. It's used to tap out letters for text or phone numbers not stored in the phone - so no problem that your Frankfurter fingers will be too cumbersome.

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    1. Where do you think I should store the stylus Carol?...On second thoughts, please don't tell me!

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    2. Tut, tut YP - there's a special aperture in the top of the phone which it plugs into, and you just leave it there!

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    3. Have you got one in your aperture?

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    4. A stylus in the aperture on my phone? Yes I have, that's how I was able to tell you about them!

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  15. I was like you you until about 2 years ago. I couldn't see why people were so addicted to their phones. However, having got one, I now see the advantage of them. I can't say that I'm on it all the time but I do check it regularly as it helps me keep in touch with different people all through the day. It's really like a pocket laptop and I can look up things or pay for things online, incl parking tickets or shopping, take photos, look up recipes, even use it as a phone. My bank even made me go over to using it as a card reader to access my account. I'm sure if you got one you would actually find it very useful particularly if you're out on one of your lonesome walks and get taken ill. You could also use the maps to show you where you are if lost or look up the history of an place as you pass by. Dont dismiss it but have another think about it.

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    1. What is their carbon footprint re. manufacture, replacement and constant recharging? When added up millions of times, they represent a huge drain on the planet's finite resources.

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  16. I'll readily admit I'm addicted to my phone. However, I live in a rural area with slow and often unreliable internet, so being able to do things on a phone signal is convenient and sometimes necessary. Also, with no access to a landline anymore, we need a mobile phone unless we want to be totally cut off from the world. Like your son, I use it in a variety of ways: email, texting, checking weather, Googling things, etc. I even use it to read books through my library's digital app.

    But, to each their own...

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  17. I had similar reservations and didn't get one for a long time but I finally realized that the time was coming when I would need one just to interact with others around me. They really are just a personal computer with phone capabilities and I use it similar to Ian now. But I use the PC downstairs much less in direct proportion. I also make it a point not to use it when I am listening to others or doing something with my family.

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