Regular readers will be aware that my relationship with mobile phones has been somewhat complicated. Phones get bought for some ridiculously cheap price, and last a few months before deciding being regularly dropped out of my pocket from my bike and doused in a puddle overnight is not for them and they run away, disappear, get stolen or simply give up the ghost. Since January, my phone has been the last survivor of this sorry crew, an ancient nokia with a partially non-functioning keypad (I could basically only send one text message – ‘OK, thx’ – which actually covers a surprisingly large number of eventualities) which meant I could only ring numbers which had rung me or if I got someone else to text them to me.
All this was marvellous for my call credit but was getting a tiny bit impractical given I was about to go up to Edinburgh to help organise a giant mass rally of cyclists. So yesterday, being in Bigtown, I nipped into the phone shop to pick up another doomed cheapie. Unfortunately, the one I’d bought the last time (which at least had a radio so I could listen to something on the bike) was no longer there, but on the pay as you go racks I noticed that I could get a touch screen Android phone for – well, not all that much money, although not quite dropping-in-puddles money either. I had a vision. I could tweet on it! I could check my email! I could blog on it and take fancy pictures and be just like one of the cool kids. And maybe, if it was useful enough, I might just hang on to it and not leave it behind somewhere random, or drop it, or generally mistreat it long enough for it to be worth it.
So I bought it. I even got ten quid off because I was ‘upgrading’ my mobile – although the salesman’s face when I explained to him how he needed to go about making a call from my old phone to activate the upgrade offer was a picture. He very kindly set up the date and time for me and I took it off to a cafe to try and work out how to use it. I discovered that a tiny little touchscreen keyboard is no good for anyone with fingers bigger than a five year old, and that I suffer from age-related gadget-learning degeneration. I’m still not entirely sure what my phone is actually doing half the time – it’s taken to wolf whistling at me at random intervals – and I’m fairly sure that I’m going to need a different tarrif if I’m actually going to use the thing for tweet. After spending more time backspacing than typing I gave up on the keyboard and went back to the texting numberpad instead (there is a voice entry module but given the amount of swearing involved when a piece of technology doesn’t do what I want, I think I’ll pass on that one). I’d love to claim that this blog post was written on the phone but that would be a lie as you can tell because it’s more than three words long and is spelt more or less correctly. However I have managed to send a couple of tweets from it with only a minimum of swearing. And I count that as being hip or hop or whatever the word is with the modern young people of today.