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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Outshone By a Phone

The more I find out about this ‘Google phone‘ I’ve had for the past couple of months, the more impressed I am.

With the phone. But not with myself. Because each new feature I uncover leads me down a path where I find out that I’m not quite as smart or creative as I think I am. Worse, I’m not even keeping pace with the phone. It’s a sad day in a man’s life when some piddly little thing in his pants pocket can outthink him on a daily basis.

(Oh, who am I kidding? That’s every day in a man’s life. But we’re talking about phones here.)

” It’s a sad day in a man’s life when some piddly little thing in his pants pocket can outthink him on a daily basis.”

Take today, for instance. This afternoon, I found something in the phone’s shiny software that I’d previously thought was a bug, or a glaring omission. Turns out, I was just looking in the wrong place. And now that I know better, I’m not smart enough to properly take advantage of the feature that was there all along. I’ll explain.

At least for the moment, the only Googly Android phone that’s available in my neck of the hemisphere is from T-Mobile. The same T-Mobile that offers a ‘Fave Five‘ feature, where five numbers that you call most often are free to call, or billed at a lower rate, or get you airline points or Starbucks bucks or something. Maybe calling those people makes donations in your name to the local orphan leper whale charity; I don’t know. It’s not like I actually read my customer agreement.

Anyway, I filled in a couple of my five — because, let’s face it, how many numbers do I really call on a regular basis that haven’t already blocked me or screen me out? I’ve got my house, my wife’s cell, and maybe a pizza joint number in there. And the pizza place only answers my calls if I use a pay phone, so they don’t know it’s me. Man, you send one pizza back because the pepperonis are asymmetrical, and these people hold a grudge, like, forever. Sheesh.

So when I was filling in my partial ‘Fave Five‘ — does that make it a ‘Fave Four‘, or maybe a ‘Treasured Three‘? — I thought about customizing each one a bit. The little selector gadget lets you pick an icon for each number, so I did that. And then I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I could assign a different ringtone to each? That might be fun.

I looked on the menu for a Fave Five ringtone selector. Nothing.

I checked the preferences. No ringtones.

I looked for properties, options and submenus. Mostly, I came up empty. Where I didn’t come up empty, I still came up with no ringtone selector. Nothing.

I was, frankly, a bit concerned about this. Not because I really needed the phone to blare Our House when I got a call from home, or Ball and Chain when the missus rings from her mobile.

(Heaven knows I certainly don’t need the latter to happen when she’s within hearing distance. I get into enough damned trouble as it is.

Plus, she’s not a big Social Distortion fan. I’m sure that wouldn’t help things much.)

Rather, I was just miffed that my fancy new piece of hardware seemingly didn’t have a feature that I’ve seen on other phones for years now. Why on earth, I thought, wouldn’t I be able to set a unique ringtone for my favorite few numbers?

Well, it’s because, as I finally discovered this afternoon, I can instead set a unique ringtone for every single freaking number that I’ve ever called, or that has ever called my phone. Every single contact in the address book has a ringtone option. That’s not a lot of people, but it’s sure as hell too many for me to bother setting different options for. I wouldn’t even know how to begin with some of those people, anyway. What would you want to hear when your accountant calls? Or your boss? Or your mother-in-law?

More to the point, what would you want to hear that wouldn’t get you audited, fired or divorced the next time your phone rings in the wrong company? See? Not so easy now, is it, Senor Smartypants?

So I’ve finally faced the facts. This phone, gleaming example of cutting-edge technology that it is, is simply too smart for me. If there’s something it doesn’t do, then that just means that it really does do it, and I’m too dumb to figure out how to ask it nicely in just the proper way. Maybe I should start sending the phone to my office every morning, and handle its calls, instead of the other way around. That might be a more effective use of our respective talents and abilities.

Except I don’t take messages very well. And I always forget to give them to the person when I see them. So that’s not going to work very well, either.

Maybe I’ll send the phone to work and switch places with the keychain, instead. With a little practice, maybe I could at least do it’s job.

Permalink  |  2 Comments



2 Responses to “Outshone By a Phone”

  1. kerry says:

    i’d be more than happy to take your phone off your hands. not that i need a fancy schmancy phone like that. i don’t even like talking on the phone, to be honest. but i do love phones that have all those gadgety things.

  2. Charlie says:

    Well, I’d send over the phone, Kerry, but then what electronic gizmo would I wrestle with? The laptop? The TiVo? Our vacuum cleaner?

    No, thanks. It’s bad enough that a fancy new smartphone is brainier than I am. But when I start losing battles of wits with the toaster oven, I’m in deep trouble.

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