On Purchasing a Smartphone

“I’m an eejit, Ted.”

How many times did Father Dougal McGuire exclaim that in Father Ted?

No, don’t tell me. It may be something like, “Quick, Watson, the needle!” A line that Sherlock Holmes never ever said, yet everyone thinks he did.

Still, I felt a bit like Dougal today. Not without reason, mind you. But still entirely Dougal-like.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I was giving some thought toward acquiring a mobile phone. And even as late as this morning, I still wasn’t entirely sure, but then something pushed me over the hump, but that’s not relevant to my tale.

I went out on my lunch break, purchased a phone, took it back to the office, and there it sat for about two hours. Soon, I had all of the things I needed to do for the day done, and I unpacked the phone and started to set it up.

And when I powered on the phone, I was utterly stymied.

I saw the time and the date. I saw two icons on the screen. And I had absolutely no idea what to do.

The instruction manual, which I had started to read before doing anything, was of absolutely no help. The instructions were, basically, “Power up the phone, follow the prompts to activate.”

Perhaps I had to activate the phone online? I logged into the website in the manual, I followed the instructions until I had to enter the serial number, and then it told me the serial number was incorrect. But, that’s what the sticker said! I disassembled the phone. That’s what was inside the phone, too!

The website gave me a phone number to call. I called it.

First, I tried the voice-response system. Then it disconnected me.

I called back. I got a woman on the phone.

And we talked for half an hour. No matter what I did, the phone would not do anything but stare at me. Blank screen, save for two icons. One was a locking icon, the other a volume icon. I touched either, and the phone would vibrate slightly.

“Touch the phone icon,” she said.

“There is no phone icon on the screen,” I said. “There are no icons at all that do anything. Just the time. And a lock icon. And, I guess, a volume icon.”

The woman suggested that I power down the phone and turn it back on. I did this. Nothing.

The woman suggested that I charge the battery more. I plugged in the battery charger.

For what it’s worth, she had no idea what the problem was.

She transferred me to Technical Support.

The phone disconnected.

Suffering from intense frustration, I decided to put my Google-fu powers to good use.

And I discovered what I was supposed to do.

I had to put my finger on the lock icon and drag it to the right, across the screen.


This was only an hour after I’d turned on the phone for the first time. Of course dragging the lock icon across the screen makes sense. Why wouldn’t I think of that?

Naturally, I felt like Dougal — a total eejit.

Two minutes later, though, I had a mobile phone that worked.

I’ve spent my evening doing things with the phone. It’s an Android phone, so I’ve added some apps — Opera Mini and WordPress for Android. I’ve configured the e-mail client in the phone so it can work with my e-mail account. I’ve logged into Twitter and Facebook with it. I’ve tried a couple of different wallpapers; currently, I have the Grey Havens from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy as my wallpaper. And I’ve also tried the camera, though that was mainly so I could figure out where images should go on the memory card.

The next thing, I think, is to try out the music player. But that can wait for the weekend. And I need to find out if I can use a stylus with the touchscreen; my fingertips are a little bit for such iddy-biddy on-screen buttons. 🙂

Otherwise, it really is quite cool.

I have a smartphone! 🙂

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