Friday, August 6, 2010

Mr. Watson, Come Here

I've taken to keeping my cell phone, excuse me, my smartphone, in a holster case so that I don't have to constantly look at it and be reminded of what a simp I am in comparison to it. I can browse the web, check my home email accounts, catch up with friends on Facebook, assuming I had any, take pictures, text (I write hip stuff, like 'ru gr8?' and still don't get invited to the cool kids' lunch table), get the weather from the far reaches of the globe and the scores from the latest sporting events from around the world.....

And my smartphone makes phone calls and, sometimes, I'm in the area when it does! It's very exciting, seriously, and highly deserving of that exclamation point. I have a touchy (the manufacturer probably prefers the word 'sensitve') phone housing that activates its voice dialing program at the slightest provocation on my part. I can be walking someplace and hear a tiny, little voice, not unlike Sally Who trying to get Horton's attention (but very metallic and slightly middle European accented), repeatedly requesting I 'say a command.' I'm not sure how I trigger this program so, not surprisingly, I'm not good at getting it to stop. I think it gives up and I'm grateful because I already know I'll never learn.

I tangle most often with the hands free voice dialing on the phone while I'm in the car. So much is made about distracted driving and programs like hands free voice dialing are designed for us high-roller big shot smartphone guys (so I missed a couple of meetings, sue me). I have the blue something that sits on the visor and when activated (I sound like the brochure, eh?) connects to the phone (and a little blue light on the phone winks at me, 'Hello Sailor!') and a second button allows me to find a blank space on the FM radio band to park the low power FM transmitter in the phone. I've recently downloaded an app (look at me talking this trash!) that reads my voice mail and texts aloud. And like so much else on the phone I have zero clue as to how it works, but I bet it's great.

You will not be surprised to learn that I know a LOT more about the playing of music stuff on my phone than the phone stuff. I have a huge amount of digital storage and could use it for files from work, I suppose, but why? Instead I have record libraries, as well as Pandora and its music genome project and a music service called Slacker of which I'm very fond. You might remember my enthusiasm for Sirius Radio some time ago (pre-XM radio merger)? An unending escalation of subscription rates and the continued association with marginal music minds as hosts were my two incentives to end our association.

From space, I look like a 21st Century Schizoid Man behind the wheel unless, or until, the phone part of my smartphone rings and I start slapping the visor and punching the buttons on the front of the phone. Sometimes I get lucky and connect with the caller. Sometimes the caller gets lucky and has to talk to the voice mail. If this has happened to you, my apologies. I have NO idea of how that works and no hope I'll ever learn so if you've left a message on my phone, it's still there and will be until the day they place it in upper pocket of my suit jacket and close the lid. When that happens, as you walk past the cemetery you may hear a voice crying out like Ezekiel, 'say a command'. I'm thinking, "Mr Watson, Bring a shovel. Now."

-bill kenny

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