Unboxing the Mobile Phone

One of the great pleasures of the 21st century digital age has to be unboxing your mobile phone. Even that word, unboxing is new and Microsoft Word wasn’t happy at all about me using it!

Yes, enough of that old mobile that cost me £20 on eBay, time to move into the 21st century with a new smart phone! Well, not a brand new one, a used one, again courtesy of eBay.

I did fancy an iPhone but did I really want to pay over £250 for a mobile phone? What if I lost it? What if I dropped it in the sea on holiday? That’s a big enough deal with my old phone but if my expensive phone was lost or ruined I’d be in shock. Of course, I could get it insured but that would mean more expense.

Anyway, after some research I decided on a Motorola G4, a nice looking phone that brought me into the modern smartphone era with a cash outlay considerably less than that of an iPhone.

The phone duly arrived and excited as I was, I managed to stay calm, relax and have a brew before opening the box. That turned out to be something of a struggle as the box was shipped in a sort of insulated plastic wrap which defied my initial attempts to unwrap it but I persevered and armed with a sharp knife and a pair of scissors, my new phone was eventually revealed.

First thing was to open the back of the phone and insert my SIM card. Now that presented a small problem because no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get the back off that phone. OK I said to myself, calm down. Have another brew and read the instructions again. When I say instructions, what I actually mean is the little slip of paper with a couple of diagrams on it. Technology today just doesn’t come with instructions; you’re lucky if you get a link to some online help site. Anyway after glancing through the instruction slip again, I had another go at removing the back of the phone, once again without success.

I had another bash using a knife and although the phone remained in one piece I was lucky not to cut myself to pieces. Well, next step, the brief instruction slip mentioned a link to a YouTube video showing me how easy it was to get the back off. So, iPad at the ready, I typed in the link and there we had the official Motorola video.

In the video the guy unboxes his phone, turns it over and easily pops the back off. Arghhh! Why couldn’t I do that? I tried a number of other videos and in every one the presenter easily popped off the back. I wasn’t happy! Wait a minute, the back of those phones wasn’t quite the same as mine; did I have the wrong model? No, mine was definitely the G4 and the pictures in my instructions matched the pictures in the video so what was wrong?

Anther hour went by, breakfast came and went. Liz had a go and the back still wouldn’t budge. There was an area round the side that seemed pliable and there I could get my fingernail in and push the back off. Wait a minute! What was this? The phone had a sort of gel surround on! I  struggled to get that off but eventually it peeled away and the actual back of the phone was finally revealed. Next, I popped off the back off the phone just like in the video! Happy days.

Right! Next step. The phone was well charged up so it was time to slot in the SIM card. It took quite a while to find the SIM card slot but eventually I discovered it. The thing is, the slot looked too small for a SIM card. What’s all this guff about a micro SIM card? What the heck is a micro SIM card?

It turns out that these days some phones use a micro or even a nano SIM card. OK, time to call up my service provider, in this case Virgin Media, and ask for a micro SIM. Anyway, three days later my micro SIM card appeared in the post and I slotted it successfully into the mobile. A quick chat with Virgin and I was up and running, or so I thought. The new SIM will be ‘live’ in the next hour the nice lady at Virgin told me, or it could even be 24 hours. Funny how they never mentioned 72 hours but yes, 72 hours and several phone calls later to Virgin Media and my new phone and micro SIM were finally up and running.

Since then, a whole new world of digital communications has appeared before me on my new smartphone. I can now sit down in my favourite restaurants and bars and ‘check in’ as they say on Facebook and other social media sites.

On my first day at work with my new phone I slipped it out of my pocket and took a sneaky glance – not to show off of course – just to check everything was OK, and was surprised to find an update from Google to advise me where my car was parked and for how long! OK, I knew where it was and roughly how long it had been there but there it was in black and white on Google. Technology, wow . .


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What would life be like without your mobile?

It’s funny how mobile phones have literally changed the world. In fact It’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t have them. Off the top of my head I really don’t know what the last mobile free year was and to find out I’ve had to do a google search. The first mobile phone service started in 1983 in, well, where else? The USA. It wasn’t until 1992 that the UK had consumer mobile phones on sale. I remember buying one of the very first ones round about then, it was a motorola personal phone which was a pretty big device and seemed to use its charge up pretty quickly.

The first text message was sent in 1992 and the first camera phone appeared in 2000 with picture messaging available from 2002.

MobileI love my mobile. It isn’t a smart phone but it does everything I need it to do. It has wi-fi which I hardly ever use. It has a camera which is a must on any phone that I buy but when it comes down to it, I don’t really take many snapshots with it. Certain things about mobiles are annoying though and here are a couple of the main ones.

Queuing up at a supermarket till and the woman in front is just about to pay then she decides to answer the mobile phone ringing in her pocket. Is it a vital call? Is it of major importance? No, it’s her mate calling up for a chit chat but all of us in the queue have to wait while she carries on chatting as if she has all the time in the world. I’m at the point of saying “We’re all wanting to pay and get off home!” when someone behind me shouts “We’re all wanting to pay and get off home! Put that f***ing phone down!” The lady appears shocked to hear this but we are all highly fed up of her, including the supermarket till lady.

Why is it that when a vital call is required in a TV soap, the soap star in question has left their mobile behind or is out of battery or even just doesn’t bother to answer? Soap writers just can’t get their heads round mobiles! They are just a plot busting device so what do they do? Characters leave them behind, run out of battery or just plain ignore their phones. Sorry, that just doesn’t happen in real life. Take a look around you in any public place. People are glued to their mobiles!

Anyway, just to finish, here’s my favourite mobile story. Many years ago when I was working as a bus driver in Warrington, I was at the wheel of my bus but had got stuck in a queue of traffic just as we were approaching Warrington bus station. I picked up one of my fellow drivers who had nipped out on his break and popped into the shops. We were talking about a nutter who travelled on our buses and chatted to all the drivers. Now some nutters are pretty nice people when you get to know them but some are the bane of a bus driver’s life! I didn’t really care for this particular guy so I tended not to let him on my bus if I could help it. By coincidence we saw the same guy just then, walking along towards the bus station and my friend said, “go on, pick him up.” Well we were stuck in a traffic queue going nowhere so I opened the doors and let him on. I don’t quite remember how this nutter looked but he did have a kind of Lara Croft thing strapped to his leg.

“What is that?” I asked him.

“That’s me mobile phone,” he said and pulled out a big 1990s style mobile.

“I love it,” he said. “You can have loads of fun with it.”

“Fun? In what way?”

“Well,” he said, “watch this.”

Now in the next lane there was a tatty old builders van with a mobile number painted on the rear doors and behind it was a very smart Jaguar driven by a very posh chap wearing a suit and tie.

The nutter dialled the builders number and when the call was answered said something like this;

“That bloody van of yours is a disgrace! I’m sat behind you in the traffic and your engine fumes are bloody choking me! Get that great heap off the bloody road!” Then he cut the builder off.

Nothing happened for a moment then the builder, a man with a physique not unlike that of the incredible hulk, squeezed himself out of his van and walked back to the Jaguar.

Just then the lights changed and we drove off. I’ve always wondered what happened next but if you ever get a phone call like that in Warrington check that there isn’t a guy with a mobile phone strapped to his leg in something like Lara Croft’s dagger sheath nearby!

 

Competitions and Getting Even With Your Brother.

I’ve always been one for competitions and in my younger days I was always clipping a coupon from a newspaper or magazine and trying to win something or other. I once won a Thunderbirds water pistol from the 1970’s comic TV21, which my brother then broke, thus commencing a lifetime of sibling squabbles and differences.

competitions and getting even with your brother

image courtesy MorgueFile.

I noticed in my inbox today an email from the Daily Express inviting me to compete for a brand new Fiat. Now a Fiat isn’t my favourite car or even on my want list but hey, I’m not going to turn down a free one!

When I clicked on the link a box appeared telling me I so far had nil entries but to in order to build up entries I had to ‘like’ various options. The first link offered me a new iPhone. Fair enough I thought, I can like that easily, but as I progressed further, sucked in, in the way some web sites suck you in, I saw that they wanted my name, address, mobile phone number, email address, gender, marital status, inside leg measurement and so on. Competitions just aren’t what they used to be are they? I used to enter a whole lot of motor racing competitions because not only do I know my motor racing onions but I also used to have a big stack of racing annuals and reference books in order to look up the answers.

Answer this simple question to win a trip to next year’s Monaco Grand Prix! Who won the Monaco grand Prix in 1955? Easy peasy, run upstairs, get out my F1 statistics book and look it up-  yes it was Maurice Trintignant driving a Ferrari! How long did that take? Well, running upstairs, -say, one minute. Finding the right book -five minutes. Skimming through to the appropriate page -one minute. Running back down stairs -one minute, total time elapsed; eight minutes! Then complete the caption, there was always a caption, I always use shell petrol because . . .and then it’s off to the post box and sit and wait for my tickets, which incidentally went, most unfairly, to some other lucky person who usually resided in Kent, or Luton, or somewhere else down south!

The fact is that to answer the question above (which, until I looked it up, I actually thought was Juan Manuel Fangio) I did what everybody else does these days, I clicked onto google and I had the answer in 0.38 seconds.( Incidentally, Fangio took pole position but retired from the race.) Yes, competitions these days are more like a lottery. Sometimes they don’t even ask a question they just ask for your e-mail address, then condemn you to an inbox full of spam for the next ten years, all in return for the remote possibility of winning a new car or an iPad or some other delectable delight that you have set your heart on but is just too expensive.

Anyway, going back to the Fiat competition, I ‘liked’ the iPhone link, filled out my life story and so got five entries into the Fiat competition. I hope I won’t get too many nuisance calls about the iPhone. Well, come to think of it, I doubt if I will actually get any as I entered my brother’s mobile phone number into the box! Well, serves him right if he thinks I’ve forgotten about that water pistol!


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