The Benefits of New Technology?

Harry Pope is having his doubts

I bought a new phone five months ago. No big deal to most, but as a 66 year old infant technophobe I am still learning how to drive it.

Tesco had an advert in the Daily Mail, £12.50 per month for a Samsung variety called a G3. I was assured by friends who understand these phones that it would be a good choice, well perhaps they would care to explain to me how to download an app? My old non-internet phone worked fine, but if someone calls me now, I have no idea how to retrieve lost calls, let alone messages. Yes, (speaking slowly), I know that YOU might understand, but just because I am now a registered old-age pensioner it doesn’t follow that I am competent in this area.

Now we come to coverage. I used to be able to sit in my living room and receive calls. Not any more, it usually goes to voice mail, and the person calling seems to think that it’s my fault that the phone won’t work. No, (slowly again), if it rang, I would answer it.

I have done the right things. I have purchased a protective back cover, so when I inevitably drop the new phone there will be less damage. So far only one drop, the internet stopped working. After shouting at the phone, I tried turning it off, leaving it for ten seconds, and then turn on again. Hooray, it worked. Bet that never occurred to you twenty-somethings. Hah, you still have a lot to learn from us oldies.

I also bought a peel-off front cover, so when I inevitably scratch the screen it won’t be a disaster. But talking of screen, why do I have to scroll my digit finger from the green icon to answer a call. Why can’t I just touch it? Progress I suppose.

I have a limited number of monthly minutes, and went over just once. But why don’t they credit you with the unused time carrying over to the next month. That would be much fairer. I certainly didn’t take the phone with me when travelling abroad. There’s a nasty trap to fall into called roaming. Yes, I know it’s possible to turn off that roaming facility, but who can REALLY tell that it’s off until the huge bill arrives.

We went away for the night a few weeks ago, not far away, so I set the phone’s alarm for 7.30 the next morning. I thought I had turned it off successfully, but it went off for the next week every day at the co-incidentally same time until the wife got so cross she made me show it to someone who understands these things and they demonstrated which stop button to activate. No, I wasn’t embarrassed, I am too far gone for that.

There was something on breakfast TV today about a better phone called a 4G. Supposed to have wider national coverage apparently. Bet they haven’t tried it in my front room.

Now to tell you about my television.

I replaced it two years ago, instead of one of those huge sticky-out ones I now have a 26” or so, and I love my old VCR. That’s a video for anyone under 30. I also have a DVD player, but that won’t work while the video is plugged into the back. The new telly has inbuilt Freeview, but this facility has proved beyond the ability of three friends, all technically brilliant by their own admission, but all completely incompetent when it comes to my new telly receiving programmes by this method. I have to rely on my old Freesat box, but of course there are some great stations on Freeview that are currently denied to me.

Each time someone tells me that they know how to tune in a telly, they volunteer to sort my system out. After three hours they put it back to how it was, in the meantime fractured our relationship by their frustration. You see, as friends, they want to help me. As knowing more than me, they prove their incompetence.

So, through this column, may I invite a complete stranger to come round to my flat for a couple of hours, and sort out my phone and my telly system. Please. Your sanity may not survive, be warned.

In the next month, I will be purchasing a SatNav for the first time. That should be interesting.