Archive for December 19, 2009

Phoning it in

December 19, 2009 2 comments

Whoa, has it really been two days without a post?  Sorry.  I was busy with writing and running errands.  None of my errands yesterday really turned out well, except my trip to the phone store.

I write about the future and high technology and all that, but I’m not really anywhere near the cutting edge myself, in part because as a writer I can’t afford to keep current.  So I’ve been way behind the curve on cell phones.  I’ve been using a pretty simple Nokia phone, the kind that looked sorta like a Classic-Trek hand phaser.  It didn’t have a very advanced screen or much in the way of features, not even the camera function that’s become ubiquitous in phones.    Now, I was on a prepaid card plan — I had to spend $25 every three months, or I lost whatever saved-up minutes I’d accumulated.  I’ve been diligent about refilling the phone for a while now, but since I rarely used the thing, it meant I’d built up over 280 dollars of saved-up calling time.  And I decided it was getting ridiculous.  There was no way I was ever going to use the phone heavily enough to eat up that saved time; I was basically just pouring money into a hole.  And with money so tight for me right now, I didn’t want to risk being unable to make my payment on time and lose nearly 300 bucks into the aether.

So I went to the dealer and explained the situation, and the clerk told me what I was hoping he’d tell me: that I could get that saved-up money credited to a new calling plan and thereby get months’ worth of free phone service, plus a more modern phone in the bargain.   I had a moment of hesitation when I realized it would mean paying considerably more per month after the credit runs out, but I decided to go with it anyway.  Hopefully by that time, I’ll be more solvent, but in the short term I really need to save whatever money I can.  And at least all that accumulated credit is working for me now instead of just sitting there.

And I think the phone will be worth it.  It’s got features that I’m sure a lot of you have come to consider routine, but for me it’s all kind of amazing to have all this in a package even more compact than my old phone.  It’s a phone, complete with speakerphone (a function my old phone lacked).  It’s a camera, both still and video (though I don’t think there’s any way of downloading its pictures to my computer, which I don’t think uses this “Bluetooth” whatsis).  It’s a GPS mapping gizmo.  It’s an MP3 player (or will be once I can afford to buy the necessary memory chip, headphones, and USB cable so I can copy my CD collection onto my computer and thence the phone).  It’s got Tetris, Breakout, and Ms. Pac-Man preinstalled.  It has a built-in Yellow Pages lookup, though I think that might be something requiring registration first.  It can record audio — I’m not sure of the duration, but maybe I can use it to dictate writing notes to myself.  So all in all, it has a lot of features I’ve wanted to have but thought I’d need to buy separate devices for.  So maybe that’ll be worth $39.99 a month once my credit runs out.  And for the next seven months, it’s free.  I even got the phone free out the door, not even a free-after-rebate deal.  (They had one of those, a sort of iPhone knockoff, but it would’ve been too much of a future shock to go from my primitive tin-can-on-a-string to that in one step.  Plus it had a touch screen that would’ve required me to buy a case to keep it in.  At least this phone’s buttons lock when you slide it closed.)

The problem is, I can’t get the battery to charge.  Something must be wrong with the battery or the charger.  I’m going to have to take it back in when I can and get that taken care of.  Which would let me ask some questions about its features.

I do hope it’s worth it.  I do hope I can afford it when the time comes.  But it’s nice to have now.

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