Stupid Phones

On the weekend, I attended a funeral far out in the rural area of southern Manitoba. My wife put her cell-phone in my hand as I was departing, saying “Take my cell-phone in case you need to make a call…”. I think that’s code for “so I can keep track of you”, but I slid it into my pocket.

A couple of hours later, I was stopped by police for not having a front licence plate. My wife usually operates the vehicle since I am usually in the North so afterwards I tried making a call to her to discuss the matter. I could not figure out how to make a call with it. My wife had shown me how to “unlock” the phone but not how to make a call. I guess she thought it was too obvious. I could not figure it out and drove on.

After returning to Winnipeg where I dropped off a passenger, I tried again to phone home. At the funeral I had asked a young lady if she knew how to turn off the phone so that it would not ring during the service. She did it in a couple of seconds. When I tried to wake the phone up, I could not find the “power” button or any other button that looked like it might boot things up. I madly pushed every button I could find and the thing finally lit up. I have no idea which key or combination I pressed to wake it up…

There was a green button to make a call. I had pushed it before, thinking that would “take the phone off the hook” so I could dial. This time I dialled the number and then pushed the green button. This time it worked.

Well, I guess that “feature” phone is a big improvement over the first phones that were the size of a brick with buttons all over, in that there were fewer buttons, but it still was not very smart. I find it sad that in this day we need to RTFM to get something to work right away. PCs aren’t that way and neither are smartphones from what I have seen. The feature phone seemed stupid to me.

I think this year I will buy something “smart” but it may not be a phone.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Stupid Phones

  1. Al Coholic says:

    And this coming from the guy who knows all about the technology?


  2. Well, the world is constantly producing new customers. I would think there would be a competitive advantage in making things “user-friendly”. I could sort of tell that a green phone meant starting a call but I had no clue how to turn the thing on. What’s with that? It could be that the thing wakes up when any button is pushed and it just took long to boot. Even clunky old PCs “beep” to let you know they are awake. I imagine with an hour of practice, I would have no problem with it, but is that the best they can do? It looks like the intention is to make it as easy to use as a calculator but it still is not until you RTFM or experiment.

    Then there was the one-stick-does-everything I needed to wipe my windows and wash them… It was behind the steering wheel so I could not learn to use it while driving. That might be a safety issue but so is being able to see out the windows… No kidding. One stick washed and wiped two windows with multiple modes:fast, slow, intermittent, auto … I could get no feedback to know what setting it was in because I could not see the stick. This was in a luxury car.

  3. JairJy says:

    Actually depends of the person using the smartphone. There are people so used to modern interfaces that can know how to use this type of devices in a matter of seconds.

  4. Richard Chapman says:

    You’re not alone Robert.

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