# Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Dragged, kicking and screaming into the modern age!

Are we the only ones?

Neither of us own a mobile 'phone. We never had, and hopefully never will. I know, everyone tells how useful they are, and how owning one doesn't make you subserviant to it honest, but we're not convinced.

However, before the Boss went into hospital to have Chaya Devoira, we were offered a mobile to borrow for the (what was expected to be) couple of days that she would be there. The way things worked out, we still have it, and yes, it has been useful.

Being gadget mad, and technologically minded, the first thing I did when we were lent it was to fiddle with it until I had discovered all of the menus and options. Despite knowing nothing about the subject, I quickly worked out what text messages were, and how to read and delete them. The one thing that totally baffled me was how to send one. I got as far as where you type it, but couldn't persuade the mobile to type what I wanted, and not what it wanted me to say. It seemed to have its own idea about what I should be typing, and with all due respect to its opnion, I rarely agreed! So that was that. We used it for calls, and got the occasional text, but nothing more.

And then, the Luddite struck back!

My dear wife has never been one for technology. She insists on making cakes by hand, instead of using the electric mixer. She insists on chopping garlic by hand instead of using the garlic/herb chopper, and so on. It came as a surprise to me to discover that she had worked out how to send a text. I didn't even know she knew what they were! During her most recent (and hopefully last) stay in Pendlebury hospital (before we were transferred to London), she spent some time fiddling, and worked it out.

Well, that was it. She has sent enough texts in the past couple of weeks to require several telecommunications companies to upgrade their networks, due to the excessive traffic! I don't mind as it has been a huge boost for her, keeping in touch with her friends and accessing some of the services that people have offered.

But through it all, I never worked it out. On the one hand, I felt a bit cheated that my Luddite wife had worked out something that I, the modest and self-effacing computer genius (well, maybe not that modest!) hadn't managed. On the other hand, it gave me a weird sort of satisfaction, knowing that I wasn't subservient to the stupid device!

All that changed yesterday...

When we arrived at Yolanda's late on motzei Shabbos, she handed me a spare mobile, and insisted that I keep it while we are here. This was very kind of her, although I wasn't too sure what I was going to do with it!

We were sitting on the ward yesterday, and I decided to have a look at the mobile she lent me. I had a quick tinker, and lo and behold, managed to send a text! Yup, my very first text message ever. It went a long way, all the way from my seat to the mobile phone sitting next to the Boss, about six inches away! I acted innocent, as though I had no idea what was going on, and was amused by her expression when she realised that the text had come from me.

It turns out that mobiles have a function that predicts what you are about to type, and completes the word for you. The mobile we had borrowed initially had this turned on, which is why I couldn't work out how to send a text. The mobile was incorrectly predicting what I wanted to type. Maybe I'm weird or something :-)

Anyway, it seems that Yolanda had the same problem with it as me, and had Jon switch the functon off. This is why I was able to send a text on her mobile. I sent another one to the Boss later, this time with a picture - even she hadn't worked out how to do that yet!

So, now I'm a texting expert. I have sent four texts now. The last two came about because I got a text as I was walking down the hospital corridor to go back to Yol and Jon's last night. The Boss had remembered something she wanted to ask me, and didn't think she could catch me up. I managed to receive it, and send a reply before reaching the London Eye, which is about halfway between the hospital and the tube station. I was proud of myself. We exchanged one more each way before I was plunged into the textless underworld of the Tube.

So, I finally caught up with the rest of the world. This knowledge will stand me in great stead for the next couple of days, until we give back Yolanda's spare mobile!

I wonder what will be the next step in our exploration into the modern world? Maybe we'll get a fax machine... nah, too modern!

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