Monday, 30 December 2013

Technophobia – of sorts!

One day last week, Boxing Day to be precise, I wanted to copy a photo from my mobile phone onto the computer and discovered that the cable for performing this operation would not attach itself to my phone. On closer examination it was obvious that there was a design fault here: the port for the connector to go into was rectangular, a proper parallelogram, while the connector itself was a trapezium – top and bottom parallel but with the sides sloping inwards. As a result there was a clear (but only on really close examination) right and wrong way to put the connector in. I was aware of this, of course, well, the right and wrong way aspect of it although I hadn’t gone into the geometry of it. Clearly, all the occasions when the connector had been put in wrongly and needed to be corrected had messed up the port. Bother and double bother!!! 

All of this meant that not only could I not copy the photo onto my computer but I would be unable to recharge the battery on my phone; the same cable was used for this. We checked other cables with the same connector – same result – no connection. We checked the cable in other devices; it worked. Minor panic ensued. There was little point in going to a mobile phone shop as it was Boxing Day; if they were still open by the time I got there, they would undoubtedly be more interested in selling new phones than in my complaint. Online searches revealed that other people had come across the same problem. Bother and double bother again! 

I was rather annoyed, to say the least. I have grown quite fond of this little phone which has a mini keyboard and does all sorts of Smartphone stuff. My daughter got involved and suggested checking to see if my phone’s sim card would fit into the “liberated” iPhone which the eldest grandchild had just abandoned. This involved taking the phone to pieces, removing battery and sim card and so on. 

Now, this was all getting technical and my latent technophobia was resurrected. Suddenly I was transported back into the person who used to sit in IT training sessions as a teacher being introduced to some new aspect of technology which we were to use in our everyday teaching life. The person “presenting” the new technological wizardry always went at superfast speed – naturally, as he/she worked with this stuff all day, every day. I was regularly left behind at step 5 while the presentation had moved in to step 26. Everyone else appeared to be up to speed and I was left harrumphing and declaring that I wanted to go back to simple word processing, pleeeease!!!!!! Ah, the forgotten joys of in-service training! 

By the end of Boxing Day I was resigned to the fact that I was going to move on to an iPhone, even though this involved getting a new sim card; the other one was the wrong size. Oh, my goodness, I was going to have go through all sorts of rigmarole in order to keep my current phone number. More technophobia! 

In the midst of all this I remembered that I needed to retrieve all my contact numbers from my failing phone. This was when I discovered that the phone no longer recognised that it had a sim card at all. And the battery was pretty soon on 0%. Great! 

Then I decided to make the necessary phone call to my mobile service provider to get a PAC code in order to retain my current phone number. I sat and listened to music interspersed with an announcement telling me, “Your call is in a queue. You will be connected as soon as an operator is available.” Once again, great! 

Eventually I got through, gave my name and mobile number and found that the person I was talking to could find NO record of my phone number. PANIC!!! Had my sim card been corrupted and erased everything? No, I was through to contract phones, not pay as you go. So I was transferred .... onto another queue and more music! 

When I finally spoke to the correct person, I explained the problem but she wanted to go through some security details. What was the password for my phone? Password? Password! Really? Did my phone have a password? So we tried another tack. How much credit remained on my phone? About £12, I thought. Not precise enough! So we went back to the password guessing game and eventually I got it right: phew, just in time! So now she would text me a PAC code. Oh, no, she couldn’t because my phone was dead! Could she email it to me? No, they don’t do that! So she broke some rules and told it to me over the phone. Problem solved – well, at least that bit of the problem! 

Despite my occasional minor attacks of technophobia, I asked Father Christmas to give me an iPad mini this year. And he delivered! With some coordinated present giving going on as well – iPad mini case from one offspring, iTunes card from the other! I have been playing with my new toy and am learning new skills. It has also been extremely useful in the phoneless days I have been going through because I have been able to receive messages from iPhones belonging to other members of the family. Any of my friends who have tried to send text messages to my mobile, however, must think I have just given up on them! 

Anyway, today I went into Manchester to meet a friend and took the opportunity to pop into my mobile provider’s shop to see if they could offer a solution to my contacts list problem. Apparently they can, or at least they hope they can. When I receive my new sim card, in a few days’ time, I need to take it and my old card into the mobile shop. They hope to be able to copy the list from one sim card to the other. I told my young friend about this. He was amazed. Despite being of the technophile generation, he did not know that such sim card reader machines existed and that they could do things like that. No wonder, he commented that governments can spy on all our emails and mobile phone conversations and pretty soon our innermost thoughts! 

He’ll be a technophobe before we know it!

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