Mobile malarkey

Lets Talk Magazine, Post on 19th February, 2013

“New” technology. Some of us embrace it while others turn their backs on it. Our county ambassadors Rachel Banham (Suffolk) and Derek James (Norfolk) reach for their mobiles – well, Rachel does.

Rachel writes:

Isn’t it amazing that we can now speak to people on the other side of the world at the touch of a button? That we can take pictures and record sound and video – all on our phones?

I’ve been slow at getting to grips with technology. I haven’t tweeted and don’t know whether I ever will. But I wouldn’t be without my mobile.It was Mr B who suggested getting a more sophisticated model, and also taking up a monthly tariff instead of my preferred and longstanding pay-as-you-go arrangement, but this nifty little device was soon invaluable to me.

 Suddenly I could access emails while I was out and about rather than waiting until I logged on to my computer each evening, I could surf the internet while I was away from home, and I could still keep in touch with family and friends by making phone calls and sending text messages.

My sister is a dab-hand at text-speak – shortening words so that she can fit even more information into a message. She and I, along with Mr B, clubbed together to buy my mum a new mobile phone for Christmas. But if you call her don’t expect a ‘hello’ greeting.

Her preferred method of answering is “Just a minute, I’ll put you on loudspeaker”, so that she can chat without holding the phone too close to her head. Mr B has also entered the technological age, but you need to be a mind-reader to reach him via his mobile.

He has had his current model for more than two years and will not part with it, even though it only worked properly for a few weeks. Some of it is the faulty phone. Some of it is human error. He has sent me numerous texts that weren’t meant for me. I’ve lost count of the amount of times his phone has dialled my number on its own – or so he says – so I hear his voice, but he’s speaking to someone else.

It doesn’t make a ringing noise if he has a call, there’s just a little light that flashes. That’s great if you happen to be looking at the phone at the time, but not so good if you’re not. And the loudspeaker function doesn’t work either, so he has to connect a set of earphones before he answers it – otherwise he can’t hear the person on the other end of the line. Many a call has been ‘missed’ as he struggles to unravel the knotted cable and plug the cord in.

When he does answer his mobile phone, I know I have technology to thank for it. And a good dose of telepathy too.

Derek writes:

It lurks at the bottom of my briefcase. A constant reminder of a world which holds no interest for me whatsoever. A while ago now it was given to me by my wife when she got herself a new one.

“There,” she said. “You can have my old mobile phone and we can keep in touch with each other at all times.” So there it sits in my case. My link with the world of new technology. Mind you – I never switch it on.

The last time I used it was when I went on a trip to Africa last year. It took me ages to text: Arrived safe and sound. Weather v hot. LoL. ‘Message not sent’ came the reply. So I kept waving the phone at the sky and pressing the send button.

Eventually my wife replied to say she had received the same message ten times. A couple of days later I managed to find a proper telephone kiosk to call home from.

I can see how mobile phones can be very useful and are a lifeline for some people, but I really don’t want one. And as for tweeting – what is the point? All it does is seem to upset people. What makes people want to send messages, often offensive ones, on twitter. Why bother?

As far as I am concerned social networking is nodding to someone in the street – streets which are full of people who appear to be attached to mobile phone – either talking or texting.

I saw a chap with two mobile phones, one clamped to each ear, the other day. And he was running across the road at the same time. Why?

I realise I am a lucky man because I have a wife who is far more high-tech than I ever will be and knows how to use a mobile phone, sending pictures and all that malarkey. Mind you, I did buy her a Blackberry for Christmas because I overheard her tell someone she would like one.

“Would you like me to explain how it works,” asked the man in the shop.

“Not really” I replied. “It’s a present.”

She took one look at it and said: “It’s such a shame you are not more high-tech because I really can’t figure how this works.” It was returned to the shop within a couple of days – and exchanged for a cashmere cardigan. That’s more like it.

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Lets Talk Magazine (writer)

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