Like I have nothing else going on in my life, I couldn't convince Jeff Bezos to release a Kindle 3 (which I am sure he is developing) as an answer to Apple's latest salvo - the iPad. Not being an Apple person, even I ordered one. And, shamelessly admit I appreciate the touch screen and the easier interaction with the Kindle store and even all of Amazon. Hello! Jeff! What's the down size in letting all your Kindle user's have access the your entire Amazon store when they shop for books. After all, you already have their account information. Remind me, to discuss this next time we meet for drinks, I'll get my people to call your people. (Sounds good doesn't it.) But I digress.
This makes me sound so tech-savy. Actually, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to use (and enjoy) a Kindle or iPad. If you haven't tried them, I highly recommend either. I think back to my Aunt Kat, who worked for "the phone company" - Southern Bell a/k/a Bellsouth - for 40 plus years. Her technical achievement was a Princess style phone in the 60's. Back then that was way cool - and it was pink!
And, my mother has graduated to a cell phone. My DH, my brother, and I insisted that she get one since she would get in her car and take off to unknown places, sometimes with little notice to us. The thoughts of the possible consequences of her little jaunts were painful. After all, I have the reputation for losing her (See Nov. 17, 2010).
"Mama, here it is." "Oh," as she looks at it, not wanting to touch it. "You just dial the number, just like would on a regular phone, then you press 'Send'". I look at her and smile. She just looks at me. "Mama, try to call my cell phone, you know that number." "Now?" "Uh, yeah, that's the idea." "OK, I just mash these buttons?" (Down here we do not "press" buttons - we "mash" them.) She carefully "mashes" each button like the device is going to detonate in her hand. Then she just holds it to her ear. "Did you hit 'Send'?" "No." "Well, remember, you have to hit that button before the call will go through." She then presses the send button , the call goes through, and my phone rings. I answer it and she sees that the call has been successful. I show her how to end the call. I make the executive decision not to go into to "Speed Dial" - why complicate this. I do remind her that she can dial "911" when she needs help. I must say, I am fairly proud of myself.
That night I call my brother, let him know that I think I have successfully brought her into the 20th century, and give him her number. When I tell my DH, he immediately asks if I have entered all our numbers into her address books, set up her speed dial, ect. "No, we are taking this one small step at a time. She was traumatized enough."
The next day, she comes in my office throughly frustrated. "I have been trying to call you on this dad blamed thing and I dial the number then it cuts off every time." "Show me," I ask. Then she proceeds to dial my number and press the "On" button which promptly powers off the phone. The next 5 minutes are spent trying to explain why those who created cell phones insisted on a "send" button. Needless to say, the phone was rarely, if ever used.
Then, I saw an ad for the Jitterbug phone - developed for the more "mature" adult. This device deserves a Nobel prize - in fact two - one for science and one for peace. Large buttons, ten numbers pre-programmed in, enlarged screen, no "send" button, it asks "Do you want to call? Yes", and the best part - if Mom doesn't know what to do, she simply "mashes" one button to call the operator. Then he/she in clear English will politely address Mom by name and ask how they can help. If Mom wants to call me, then the call in automatically put through. Like an old time operator at your service. And it is reasonably priced, but I can assure you, I would pay more for the service.
And the funny thing is, this phone a big hit with Mom's friends. Many have them and brag about them to those poor souls who don't. They have no desire for fancy phones that play games and store thousands numbers. They don't use the cell phone to call friends. For them, it is an utilitarian item, a necessary evil. They only have them because their children insist they have one.
Now, if we can only get her to remember to take it with her.