I’m 60 next month.
For years, I’ve survived using an old Samsung ‘brick’ phone (does phone calls and texts, cost me a mere fiver!). I’ve even used it to enable ‘two factor authentication’ on several of the facilities I use. I’ve avoided so-called ‘smartphones’ in the same way as I avoid the folks walking down the street with their eyes glued to their own, as though nothing and no-one else exists.
Recently, my eldest brother upgraded his dumbphone. He was kind enough to gift me his cast-off one. I’m not entirely sure of his motives for doing so… perhaps he thinks he’s encouraging me to leave the twentieth century and move on into the twenty-first?
Anyway… here begins the tale of my experiences with this new-fangled technology, one that, so I understand from listening to that old-fangled ‘radio’ thing this morning, is being ‘adopted’ by those as young as seven. (At this point my heart weeps for the future.)
I’m 60 next month (did I already mention that? The mind wanders.) Long in the tooth. I have a computer science degree under my belt though, so I’m not too daunted.
The first hurdle was to discover what model my ‘new’ phone is. It’s black. Totally black: a Hotblack Desiato kind of black, which particularly worries me as Mr Desiato was known as being in the band ‘Disaster Area’: the name itself portends doom. And it has grey symbols on it, which, while not exactly black, are still reminiscent of another Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meme:
It’s the wild colour scheme that freaks me,” said Zaphod whose love affair with this ship had lasted almost three minutes into the flight, “Every time you try to operate on of these weird black controls that are labelled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up black to let you know you’ve done it. What is this? Some kind of galactic hyperhearse?
One of the grey legends on this phone says (in bold, friendly letters) ‘SAMSUNG’. So I at least know the manufacturer now. But the model? I press one of the (black on black) buttons on the side, cunningly labelled with no helpful label whatsoever… this starts the phone up.
And then, in small, friendly letters, it says ‘Enter PIN’. I don’t know what the PIN is, so I email my bro, and he promptly calls me back (on my brick) and tells me what the code is. While I have him on the hook, I ask him what the model of the phone is, and he tells me it’s a ‘Galaxy J3’ (more on that, later!).
So… now I need a SIM (I know that much, at least). I go online and talk to an O2 guru (since that’s the telecom provider that powers my brick) and ask for a SIM for my new phone. Sorted!
The next day (that’s today) the new SIM arrives. It’s cunningly packaged in a palimpsest: a ‘standard’ SIM encloses a ‘micro’ SIM that encloses a ‘nano’ SIM. I don’t know which of these I need. I go online again. “What SIM do I need for a Samsung Galaxy J3?” I ask Google. It helpfully responds with two videos: one of these talks about the ‘2016’ J3 (in which the SIM lies under the battery), the other talks about the ‘2017’ model (which has ‘trays’ in the side of the phone that are accessed by use of a pin — a different kind of pin, this one, a physical pin that one needs to press into tiny slots in the side. Oh, I forgot to mention that before: my brother mentioned that I’d need to do this. I spent ages peering at the sides of the phone looking for holes that this pin might fit, but I couldn’t find them. My brother came to the rescue once again, pointing out that I’d need to take the phone out of its case to see them.
Are you still here? Have you lost the will to live? I almost have, if I’m honest…. I haven’t even got the phone working yet and the stupid hurdles I’ve had to pass seem to have just begun.
There’s not just one tiny pinhole in the side of this phone (which is, apparently, the 2017 model because the SIM doesn’t, so my bro informs me, go under the battery) — there are TWO. And because this is the kind of thing one only does once, my bro can’t recall into which of the two I need to put the SIM. Girding my loins (and removing my glasses so that I can at least have a chance of seeing what the hell I’m doing — I’m becoming increasingly shortsighted as time goes on) I bite the bullet and strim O2’s SIM down to a ‘nano’ size, hoping that will fit into the slot in one or the other of the tiny trays in the side of the phone that the little pin unlocks. Qapla’! I’ve successfully inserted the SIM….
Now the phone has another friendly message: ‘SIM network unlock PIN’, it says.
And that’s where I’m currently stuck.
More to follow (if I have the strength)!