Technology and I are on a strictly need-to-know basis

Emmitt B. Feldner • forThe Review

I don’t consider myself a Luddite, but when it comes to technology, I’m nowhere near ahead of the curve.

It’s more like I’m struggling to keep from sliding down to the bottom of the back end of the curve.

Of course, I’m old enough to remember when high technology was a remote control to turn your television on or off without leaving your seat – or even just color television.

I had a friend in grade school whose father worked at the local television repair shop, so he was one of the first people I knew who had a color television.

I was at Bob’s house one Saturday afternoon shortly after they got the set when his dad decided he was going to show me how great color television was.

The only problem was, there was nothing on in color.

With only a half dozen or so over-the-air channels available – this was long before the days of cable or satellite television – all that was on this particular afternoon was old black-and-white movies, reruns of old black-andwhite television shows or sporting events, which weren’t yet televised in living color.

All I could tell Bob’s dad was “I’ll bet these would look great in color.”

Today’s technology provides a wide range of offerings, in a broad range of vivid hues, but it sometimes seems like I’m still stuck in black-and-white.

I have – and use – desktop and laptop computers, pads, tablets, a cell phone and more, but I’m probably just scratching the surface of what I can do with them.

I do use them enough that I can be lost when they don’t work.

That happened recently when my smartphone decided to cease functioning.

Like most technology, I was a few iterations behind on my smartphone – I was still on version 3 of a model that’s up to version 6 now.

I figure I’ll let them work all the bugs out before I jump into something brand new – besides, I’d rather get a little older model at little or no cost rather than waste a lot of money on the newest incarnation with more bells and whistles than I’ll ever possibly use, or understand.

My smartphone and I were doing just fine until one day, a few weekends ago, when it decided it wasn’t going to turn on.

Actually, it would get as far as the screen that showed me what brand phone I owned and then it would shut itself off.

I went to the Internet to see if there was a fix for the problem there and it turned out there were several – none of which worked when I tried them.

Some of them involved holding down several different buttons at the same time while also turning the volume up or down – or both – and I wound up nearly spraining several fingers, but the phone still wouldn’t work.

We took it to the phone store where the customer service representative – unfortunately, not the cute young lady in the television commercials – tried everything he could think of and had no greater success than I had.

At that point, he told me basically what all those web posts had told me after I’d tried all their suggestions – I was out of luck and my phone was toast.

I could buy a new phone, but since I wasn’t due for a free upgrade for another five or six months, it would cost me roughly the equivalent of a week’s takehome pay.

Politely saying ‘thanks but no thanks’ – I like to think I was polite about it, no matter what that young guy might say – I headed home with my lame phone.

Fortunately, we had several older phones that we’d hung on to, so I found one that was version three of another brand of smartphone that’s now up to version six – but still turned on and worked - and took that in to the phone store to see if they could set it up for me to use.

They were able to do it, at no charge, so I was back in the world of smart phones.

Unfortunately, I soon found out that I couldn’t download any of the apps I had on my dead smartphone, since this phone had an operating system that was several generations too old.

Somehow, I know how that feels.

But as long as it makes calls and sends and receives messages, it’ll do fine until I can replace it with a free upgrade to an outdated new smartphone.

Welcome to the roller-coaster ride that is me and technology.

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