Saturday, May 14, 2016

Does a Smartphone Make You Smart?

     B finally got a smartphone yesterday. She spent about an hour on the (land line) phone with Verizon setting it up. This exercise made me appreciate two things about my lovely partner. First, I wasn't aware that she commanded such an extensive vocabulary of four letter words.

     However, I'm not so sure of her aptitude in biology. I'm pretty sure that a few of the things she was suggesting, quite urgently and vociferously, are illegal in some states. Others are just downright anatomically impossible. For example, a head is way to large to fit ... up there.

     However, she persevered and is now a member of the smartphone-carrying public. I have to admire her persistence. I also have to give credit to the woman on the other end of the phone. Whatever you say about Verizon, it has good, level-headed, patient phone representatives.

     I don't want to brag, but I've had a smartphone for several years now. My only problem is that I thought a smartphone would make me smart. Instead, it seems, you have to be smart to use a smartphone. And I'm not so smart.

     For example, I do use my smartphone to make telephone calls. But I have to admit, I like our land line better. You get a better connection and can actually understand what the other person is saying. I hope that, whoever is elected president this year, they keep that red phone connected to a land line, rather than switching to over to a smartphone. Otherwise, the new president might call up Putin and say, "Obama is gone!" And Putin will think he or she said, "We're dropping the bomb!"

     I also sometimes use my smartphone to take pictures. But I much prefer my Canon digital camera. True, it's yet another thing to carry around. But I find it's easier to use, has more features, and takes clearer, brighter photographs.

     Of course, the big benefit of a smartphone is that you can access the internet. So you're in the car, or out to dinner, and someone mentions Muldova, and quick ... you can look up and see exactly what and where Muldova is. But again, I personally find that behavior kind of superfluous ... people constantly interrupting a pleasant conversation to check their smartphone to answer a trivia question. When I access the internet, it's usually in the service of an article or email or something like that and I use my desktop or my laptop to google whatever it is I need to know.

     I have used my smartphone to download and listen to podcasts. But I just don't have the time to do a lot of that. I do use the smartphone to text -- not because I'm particularly fond of texting, but because it's pretty much the only way my Millennial children will talk to me. But, actually, B could text on her old phone. You don't need a smartphone to text.

     I also have a problem keeping my phone charged; and I don't always carry it with me. I simply have not developed the lifestyle where a smartphone is attached to my body all the time. As I tell my kids: if they text me or leave me a message on my smartphone, I guarantee a 48-hour turnaround.

     They smile at me indulgently when I say this, confirming in their minds that they are cool, hip Millennials and I'm just an old fogey baby boomer. That's okay with me. It makes them feel good, and as their father I like to help my kids feel good.

     Anyway, B and I went to dinner last night. We both ordered a salad. I asked her, casually, peering over my menu, "What's the difference between ice cream and gelato?" A minute later I looked up again. There she was on her smartphone ... ready with the answer.

19 comments:

Kailani said...

funny post. I went from railing about cell phones (what, about 5-10 years ago?) to being the lady who looks up the name of tv shows or films that a particular actor or actress is in, if no one in the group conversation can remember. My newish iPhone 6s takes better photos than my last digital camera took, and I can fire them off to family or post on Facebook pronto. I stay on Facebook because I'd never see grandkids photos if I didn't. I like getting the latest on the weather and sports on the phone. I charge it every night by my bed, because it's my alarm clock now, and I could get rid of that nasty blue-lit old digital alarm clock. It's a new world, and I'm just living in it. Even at my ripe old age of nearly mid 60's. LOL

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

I'm still debting wit to do nd which smartphone to buy.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

And from all the misspellings above you can see I need help.

Cindi said...

My advice: better master the smartphone (we only use iPhones).
Our new complex is completely governed by iPhones.
That's how we secure and manage the home, contact security, monitor utilities yada, yada, yada. Set up appointments, answer requests, video connect to humans....it goes on and on.
iPads/iPhones are used to service your car, place restaurant orders, pay bills, design living rooms........the northeast is way behind the times. Should you move into a new, state of the art community, prepare to answer to robots.

Good luck!

DJan said...

I love my iPhone, I'm not ashamed to say it. I use it for pictures now and mostly leave my camera at home. I look up things at the drop of a hat, and have my pictures in the cloud so they show up on all my devices. Not bad for a septuagenarian without any tech-savvy children, I'd say. :-)

Barbara said...

Haha. I love it. I too have to use texting to talk with my children and grandson. I don't have my landline anymore but I agree, the sound was better. And the camera, I straddle back and forth. My primary reason for having a smart phone was the camera. I found myself without my cool pix so many times and now, with the smartphone, I'm always ready. Of course, there is a user problem. I forget I have that capability.

Anonymous said...

Forty-eight-hour turnaround is fabulous!

Being addicted to neither photography nor telephony, I have a smartphone - but - do not subscribe to a data service. I just want to be able to carry a few files (mostly Excel) with me to look up data concerning my own life. I rarely look to see if I've missed a call or voicemail. The last time I checked, my average usage was 11 minutes per month. (I've had the same phone since February 2007.)
Cop Car

Denise said...

My husband will not own a smart phone and I think he's afraid of them, but does acknowledge that someone in the party needs one, esp for traveling. I love Google maps, won't have a GPS to save me since one lead me into unpaved roads in northern GA (I really love GA) and I was looking around for banjos! I have purposely neglected to show him pics of the extended family kids because he refuses to do Facebook and that's SO easy, you can use your first and middle name if you don't want to be "found" my former students. Facebook is what you make it and if you want to be in touch with your children and grandchildren, you have to do what they do and keep in touch. I also have a Twitter account but my son is a football coach and I want to follow him and his inspirational quotes. I don't tweet. It's all what you make of it!

Olga Hebert said...

I have a smart phone without a data plan. I can use if for internet access of my wireless or anywhere that has wireless but I mostly use it for texting, the little phoning I do, and picture taking. I very often forget to have it with me. I set it up with bluetooth in the car for hands free use, but on the rare occasion it might ring, it scares me so much I am likely to have an accident as I so easily forget how to activate it and just end up yelling "Hello? Hello?" at the radio.

Rian said...

I too love my iPhone! It's the only thing I need to carry these days... except maybe my driver's licence (and it will probably have an app for that one day). Sending pics and texting with kids and grandkids gets the most use, but I do love to have all that info at my fingertips with google. The only part I hardly use is the phone part. I'm not much for talking on the phone... so texting is a godsend. And as much as I use it, my grandkids are constantly showing me something new it can do.

Jono said...

I don't have one yet because 1) they don't work everywhere where I would be using one 2) they are really expensive to own and operate 3)The sound quality is rarely good enough to understand 4) I have no intention of being available to everyone all the time 5) I don't NEED one. Maybe someday, but not this week.

Anonymous said...

We are ancient people here we don't own a cell phone, we find it terribly intrusive..We went to see the new Captain America - Civil War movie, some yahoo tried to use his phone only 5 people in the huge imax theater my hubs of near 42 years said please leave buddy boy, we are here to watch a good movie not to listen to you talk to your sweetie pie, he did not stop and the previews were coming up I jumped up and got an usher and he was ushered out of the whole movie, thanks to goodness for that..You pay for seats specifically now and we were not about to listen to this man googly gaga over his sweeties pie, if it was a doctor for a lung or heart transplant that is a real reason to have a phone attached at the hip or belt or wherever else they put their phones..We don't go to many movies as yahoos ruin the shows, but this one was in the early afternoon and few people went a Friday, the movie was excellent but it would have been ruined if that fellow would have continued to use his huge phone..bah humbug to inconsiderate cell phone users I say!

Barbara - said...

I don't have a land line and only use my smart phone. It has better hearing quality than the landline. I take pictures, I text with kis who live far away and go yo school and also work full time. If I waited for a call or email I would be Sol. It's also my GPS. It plays music. It sends me email. And yes, it's the current incarnation of " I don't know, look it up". I also have hotel APS, gift cards loaded onto an app, and I use the notepad and calendar functions instead of paper.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! With SMART in the title you know I had to read this ;-) And I agree with you, having a smart phone doesn't automatically make a person smart at all. Have you seen that video of people talking or texting on their smartphone and then just walk into a ditch? In some ways a smartphone makes people clueless. BUT...I do have to say I'm getting into the texting myself and LOVE some of the apps. Whenever we are on a road trip I can check YELP and find wonderful little out-of-the way places to eat. There are a few other great things like maps and GPS that are really handy. And as for not being able to "hear" your cellphone --I hate to tell you this but it is probably your ears. When I got my hearing aids that connect wirelessly to my iphone so that I can take and receive calls in-my-ears (clear as a bell) it changed my attitude about cellphones. It's NOT the connect :-) ~Kathy

gigihawaii said...

I have a flip phone which I use for emergency roadside assistance when I am in the car. No need for a smart phone at all.

Tom Sightings said...

Interesting that some people are totally connected; others don't feel they need a smartphone. I, as usual, am in the middle. I find the phone convenient at times, but still insist that the phone (as well as my computer) should serve as a tool for my convenience, not that I have to be at the service of the phone, usually for someone else's convenience.

Anyway, Kathy, I guess B has a hearing issue, too, because she has the same problem. So why can we both hear just fine on the land line?

Madeline Kasian said...

I enjoy technology, HOWEVER, I find my smart phone to be annoying most of the time.Siri doesn't like me, and the keyboard is too small and so is the screen! I enjoy being able to text friends, and to take photos, the biggest use I have for my phone is MUSIC..I LOVE music and play it most of the day, at dinner, sent to a good speaker system through bluetooth, and so the various streaming venues are what I use the phone for, the most. I don't like how much it COSTS to keep a smart phone, that's for sure, and if it weren't for music,could probably do just fine with a flip phone (do they even make them anymore?) Actually,My Dad is on limited income and living in a retirement village, and somehow has a free phone as a senior benefit from? an AARP or government program????

Dick Klade said...

To no one's surprise, the smart person in our household has the smartphone. I have a basic cell phone, principally for emergency use. I have, however, used my cell to call home to find out which aisle the tartar sauce might be in at the supermarket. Just two days ago, I got a call from home and couldn't figure out how to answer it! We made some practice runs when I returned, and I think I've got the answering process down now. Some folks just are meant to progress slowly into the high-tech world.

Nathan said...

Personally, I think that smart phones are gradually causing us to become less intelligent. It is fantastic that all the information we could ever want is there on a whim, but really it is causing us to retain less knowledge. We don't need to remember it because it's so readily accessible whenever we need it again!