Saturday, July 28, 2018


I woke up excited today. First - it's only 24 hours till I fly to Croatia and spend a week with all my kids and grandkids and attend the wedding of the family member who declines to be named; second - because it's raining. 

But on with business...

Do you own a smart phone? Of course you do. 

I don't, and I've  been dithering for months about whether to get one. This is my (tiny) phone

except that for a couple of years the screen has been cracked and mended with sellotape. I hate the thing because the buttons are tiny and I have chunky fingers. I am a normal size, and not fat, despite my chubby feet (as seen on the last post), and I have lost weight since that pic of me on a previous one where I am on my slackline. But my fingers are twice the width of my friends' and this makes accurate texting a torturous exercise. So I email people or ring them, when everyone else is Whatsapping or messaging or whatever.

One reason I don't lash out on a smartphone is because I am not convinced that the texting will be any easier. The other reason is expense. The third reason is that I don't want to be one of those people who is always checking their phone, one of those people who walk down the street looking at their phone and not at the trees.  

So far, everyone I know has encouraged me to get up to date and buy one. But recently a smart-phone-owning friend said there were downsides. 'Do you want to be contactable 24/7 by anyone at all?' she said. 'Even by people who send annoying emails that need attending to, but which you don't want to have on your mind until you sort them out?'

There have been only three occasions when I regretted not having a smartphone. One was when an important person I was going to meet (who did not have my phone number) emailed me a date and time and I was away from my iPad and laptop, which meant I missed meeting her. The second time was when I was waiting outside Denver airport for Wendy to pick me up and there was a huge delay and I needed to contact her. I tried my iPad but the wifi didn't work outside the building. I asked a woman nearby if I could use her phone to message Wendy. The English accent must have swung it because she was very sweet and said yes. The third time was when I was visiting Isaac at the Google office and Google emailed me a digital invitation with one of those square barcode thingies (what are they called?) that I had to use to check in at reception. Was I going to have to take my iPad in so I could check in and enter the Google portals? Of course it would not occur to the Google office that a visitor might not have the wherewithal.

Tomorrow I will check in at Manchester airport with my passport and my printed boarding pass. Soon, they won't be doing printed boarding passes. In ten years EVERYONE will have to have a smartphone or be locked out of the world. But right now, Brits have more basic worries, worries at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy.  After Brexit will we be surviving on tins of chick peas we keep in the shed? 

That sounds like another blog post, and I have more important things to do - these glittery turquoise toenails have got to go. Pedicure or no pedicure, I'm going back to classic red.


Anonymous said...

My smartphone is first and foremost an ever-ready camera, as well as an alarm clock, portable address book and diary - which I completely rely on.

It’s handy for keeping in touch in real time - with my admittedly smallish circle of friends - and easy to step off WhatsApp groups set up by more extroverted others.

I also use it when travelling without my iPad - to check out favourite blogs (yours), the Guardian - and Kindle works perfectly. I have read whole novels on it.

It is hardly ever used as a phone, not least because the sound is turned off.

I love mine with a vengeance - it offers utility, connection and entertainment.

Don’t listen to the naysayers!

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you! all good fodder for decision making.
I forgot to say in the blog post that having an ever ready camera is probably the most appealing thing about owning a smartphone. Having said that - I love my camera because it has a viewfinder which helps enormously in bright sunny weather.

Phoebe said...

I totally agree with th first comment. You worry that the phone will own you rather than vice-versa, but you can control that both mentally and by changing the settings back and forth. Re chubby fingers: you can switch the orientation of the phone to enlarge the keys or you can use the dictation feature which was so helpful when I had a hand injury. Maybe you love your camera but I find being able to take (and text and mail) pictures - and videos - totally wonderful. This doesn't apply to you but being able to read the newspaper or download a book to my phone is tremendously convenient, I can take it out and start reading while waiting for the bus or on the subway platform. The latter is not intended to spark a discussion of physical book/dedicated e-reader/iPad/phone: the phone is a very much appreciated and useful "and" not an "or."

As I jokingly said to a lovely cousin of mine whose concerns are similar to yours, "please get a smartphone, I promise I won't lose respect for you!" 😊😊

marmee said...

Hi there! I agree with so much in the foregoing comments...I fought tooth and nail against having a smartphone for years and then a situation arose where my husband was in a country where only whatsapp was reliable and that was only possible on a smartphone so very reluctantly I went over to the other side. And I have never looked back! I do not do emails on my phone, I turn off the sound for all notifications except for those nearest and dearest and the cameras on these new phones are just weirdly good! AND I do my lists on my phone : all my lists and they are always with me whether it is the library book list, the shopping list or my to do list!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing quite like having a full size keyboard under your fingers - which is why I read your blog on my (windows) phone and then have opened it on my (windows) laptop to reply. My (windows) phone communicates with my laptop through the magic of the wondernet so all the photos I take on it appear on my laptop for me to edit but I can equally attach them to wats ap messages on my phone - all truly wonderous to me. I don't know about other smart phones but I can dictate my text messages and my phone can read them out to me! (not that I leave that function on as it can be embarrassing in company) I use the notes list to record useful information and take photos of all manner of things as an aide memoire - eg my car registration number outside Aldi! I haven't so far had to use one of those square bar code things but our son has his bus pass on his phone - he also does all his banking from his phone, something I have great reservations about - I don't even do it from my laptop - only our computer on a landline such is my paranoia about getting hacked. When ever we are out and about I navigate using a "Here maps" ap - which shows our position on the road and traffic conditions thereabouts - it will also speak the route to me satnav style which I have used once when driving somewhere new in the dark - though generally I am a paper maps person. As to doing email on the phone - short replies eg acknowledgements and so forth I do, longer ones - back to the full size keyboard. If you are already using an ipad I would think an iPhone would be the next step - my husband (steam age dinosaur ) moved to an ipone protesting loudly - the easiest step from one similar to your current one because they use the same operating system although he is now moving to a larger one having found the smaller iPhone still too small for his fingers. What ever you do there will be a learning curve. Hope its not too hot in Croatia and that you are all having a splendid time. Jenetta

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you Jenetta. I am home from the heat now and revving up to blog very soon. xx