Smart Guy

A Fool In NH Column Heading

Brendan is on vacation this week. This column originally appeared on March 15, 2012 and is included in his latest book “Best Of A F.O.O.L. In New Hampshire.”

I recently bought myself a smartphone. I decided to finally get rid of my stupidphone.

I had been reading about smartphones for a long time as well as watching more and more people using them, so I decided to join the Twenty-First Century.

I read that today’s smartphones have more technology in them then the Apollo spacecraft did when it landed on the moon in 1969. In fact, the technology of today’s smartphones is so superior that people can actually play word games on their phone with another person who is thousands of miles away. Something the astronauts could have only dreamed of.

When I went to buy my own smartphone, the salesperson told me how up-to-date the phone I was buying was, which meant it would probably be outdated in about three weeks.

After buying my smartphone and bringing it home, it took me a few hours to figure out the basics. While I was trying to navigate myself around all of the cool features, I got a phone call.

I panicked. I couldn’t figure out how to answer it, so I lost the call.

It took me about an hour to figure out how to retrieve the phone message that was left which informed me that I was supposed to be somewhere in fifteen minutes but I had forgotten all about it because I was too busy trying to figure out my new smartphone.

I felt kind of dumb.

These things should not be called smartphones, they should be called “handheld computers which you can use to make a phone call once in a blue moon.”

It is really no fun to use a smartphone to make an actual phone call. There are too many other neat ways to communicate with others without actually dialing a number. (I’m sure the term “dialing” is now an ancient term that will signal to anyone that I am over thirty.)

There is texting, which is huge nowadays. ED will soon be taking a back seat to all the new medicines and television commercials which will be needed to control the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome due to texting.

With a smartphone you don’t necessarily have to use your fingers to text. You can speak the words into a tiny microphone and it will produce your message that way. It is advised that you carefully read your spoken message before you send it since the recognition system will sometimes hear something completely different.

I recently texted my wife that “I’ll be home at eight, I am working late.” My text, which I am glad I read before I sent it out read that “I’ll be home late. I have a perky date.”

So, as you can see, it may be smart, but it certainly isn’t perfect.

I am not going to bore you by telling you all the things a smartphone can do because 1) most of them you already know and 2) I’ve had the thing for over two weeks and I still have no idea.

I must admit, trying to figure all of it out is very time consuming.

My phone has a thing called 4G, which means it is supposed to be very fast. Not everyone has 4G yet, so I am on the cutting edge. I can watch YouTube videos about cats while I am supposed to be working faster than a lot of other people I know.

There are also a lot of apps on smartphones. Apps are things that can make your phone capable of doing more stuff if you want it to. I haven’t gotten any of these extra apps yet but I plan to right after I finally become proficient in making actual phone calls with the thing.

Right now, I guess I’m pretty cool and up-to-date with my smartphone. People who actually care about these things are in awe of my latest gadget. I am taking it all in because soon they will get new smartphones and mine will seem like a dinosaur and then they won’t care about me any longer.

I’m figuring this will happen by the time you read this.

Still, it’s great to be alive in these days of technological advances such as this. To think that I can hold in my hand a tiny computer that outdoes the spacecraft in the Apollo program that sent men hundreds of thousands of miles into space, landed them on the moon and then brought them safely back home, never ceases to amaze me.

Did I tell you I can play golf on my phone as well?

Brendan Smith welcomes your comments at brendan@weirs,com. His books “The Flatlander Chronicles” and “Best of A F.O.O.L In New Hampshire” are available at his website