Adventures with a dumbphone

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)!

About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Communication, Computers and Internet, Core thought, Drama, Education, Phlyarology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Adventures with a dumbphone

  1. Wibble I’m typing this on my Samsung Galaxy J3 although I think mine is the 2016 variety. When I put my new SIM card in I broke it into a too small size but managed to fit the larger piece back around it. I have bad news though – when you get yourself a Fitbit you’ll be disappointed to discover the J3 is not on the Fitbit compatible list and you may find it won’t sync! Let’s hope no-one buys you one for your birthday!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Tom says:

    Eek. I think I have one of those phones. They are friendly messages, however.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mistermuse says:

    I’m older than you and don’t have a computer science degree, but there is one thing I gathered from your post which reinforced a conviction I already had: under no circumstances, buy a dumbsmartphone. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. lindasschaub says:

    I can identify believe me … I will turn 64 in April. I hated when I rolled over my minutes and AT&T said my non-contract 2-G phone had to be upgraded to 3G by yearend as they no longer supported it. I am now using a flip phone, but had a brief foray into smartphone territory … I did not spend a lot for it, but figured for around $100.00 I could get a weather app for emergencies and that was really all I needed from this “thing” … I never got the swiping right and it dropped calls and texts (first time I tried to text … I text to friends from my computer instead) … I figured if I had an emergency and waited for it to boot up, and hope it didn’t lose the call or run out of data as it was prone to do, I’d be dead. I returned to a flip phone and am a happier person for it. https://lindaschaubblog.net/2016/08/02/tuesday-musings-7/

    Liked by 3 people

    • pendantry says:

      So far, I’m unable to see what all the fuss is about. This phone’s driving me nuts already — and I haven’t even got it started yet!

      Liked by 3 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        My sentiment exactly – not everyone has to have a flip phone like me, but I prefer it. Now you can get a flip phone in a smartphone. Sooner or later we will regress for everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I don’t know if there will be a place big enough for all of us once we go over the edge with these “smart” phones. If you believe in misery loves company, you may enjoy reading my last few WP posts on trying to make friends with a smartphone (https://wrightingmylife.com). I think we Luddites need to stick together. And no matter what, perhaps you will participate in the National Day of Unplugging this Friday, March 6th at sundown. Best of luck to you!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Love hearing your experience as I have been absolutely miserable when being forced to give up my flip phone due to “no service.” Even before then, I knew I would be dead in an emergency because it took so long to boot up.

      The “smart”phone I think knows I hate it and that’s another reason it doesn’t cooperate. All I want is to make a call. Get a call. Take a photo. Put the photo on my PC but this seems to be too darn difficult for my “smart”phone to do. I don’t text and didn’t know you could text from a PC but that’s one more thing I don’t want to learn to use.

      Hope you will support The National Day of Unplugging this Friday, March 6, 2020. And if misery loves company, read my last 2 posts on this darned dumb phone. (https://wrightingmylife.com).

      Liked by 2 people

      • pendantry says:

        The “smart”phone I think knows I hate it and that’s another reason it doesn’t cooperate.

        You really ought not to anthropomorphise machines. They don’t like it, you know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I have read your posts and laughed and agreed. I can give you the info on how to text from your computer if you would like … it works fine in the U.S. I have a few friends I text to their phones and I use it for my boss and the computer guy all the time. I looked to see the date for March 6th and it is a work day, so I can’t participate as I work from home and remote into the law firm where I work. So that is unfortunate – I looked ahead to 2021, thinking I could do it on a Saturday, but it is always the first Friday in March, so that’s too bad.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thanks for sharing your experience and following.

          Don’t give up on the National Day of Unplugging yet. Do you work all night? The National Day of Unplugging actually begins at sundown on Friday, March 6th and extends through to sundown on Saturday, March 7th. I’m all about options (another reason I don’t like being boxed into Tech’s limited boxes) so perhaps you can participate in at least part of it — on Friday night or Saturday for instance.

          Thanks for the offer to show me how to text from my PC but that is another stand I’ve taken. I simply say, “I don’t text.” However, I may take you up on it in another 10 years if for some reason no one knows how to speak English or write real words anymore. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          • lindasschaub says:

            Oh, I didn’t realize it was sundown … that is doable then … I was looking mostly for the day of the week, so Googled for next year, knowing I could do Saturday. I can do part of it at least. Yes, the texting comes in handy … I never learned how to text from the flip phone, tried it on the smartphone and lost calls. I did not think it was reliable in the least … I don’t keep my phone on since I never use it (it is for emergencies only) and it does take a while to boot up. People will forget how to communicate with one another face to face without emoticons and abbreviations … what a sad lot we are.

            Liked by 2 people

        • pendantry says:

          ok, colour me intrigued: how do you send a text from a computer?

          Liked by 1 person

          • lindasschaub says:

            Hi there – well I have been doing this for quite some time with friends, with my boss and with out computer guy. I work from home and it is easy to do – I had a brief foray into smartphone land and went back to a flip phone and don’t know how to text on it. So I will give you the link to how to do it … I use the first method which is the easiest. Are you in the U.S. though? I ask as I see how you spell “colour” … I am Canadian, transplanted over here in the States 53 years ago, and here they have no “u” so the #1 method at this link may not work. I have a friend who is as fast on texting from her phone as I am on a keyboard:
            https://mashable.com/article/text-from-laptop/

            Like

  5. Jacko says:

    Nice one Wibble… I saw a couple of years back, Suggested modern words… One of them was Meanderthal, the definition of which was “A person who walks down the street with their eyes glued to their phone”….

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Hariod Brawn says:

    I’m kinda looking forward to a WW3 in which the ‘smart’ world auto-destructs in an orgiastic AI seizure.

    Liked by 3 people

    • pendantry says:

      I know, right? Folks won’t be able to get around without their satnavs because they’ve lost the ability to read maps. Food will be scarce because the online delivery services won’t work. Almost makes me want to find out how to build a nice, friendly EMP device….

      Liked by 4 people

  7. What is the worry “Wibble”? There are many years left to make a go at this new fangled technology. Keep on working on the future as that is where the action is hiding. Go out there and find it. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. willedare says:

    Yikes! I do not think that you are missing anything. And I have great empathy for this blog post and many of the comments it has inspired. I live without any kind of cell phone, but I do love my laptop computer… and I regularly rebel against the un-asked-for upgrades and “improvements” which rarely improve my work/creative life at all. I do not want to re-learn a program/product which I have already mastered — or at least become functionally familiar with — because a company’s business model is rooted in incessant innovation aka planned obsolescence. I do, however, look forward to reading of your further adventures/discoveries/challenges with this particular phone. Thank you for writing and sharing this blog post with the rest of us.

    Liked by 4 people

    • pendantry says:

      You are very welcome, willedare. You sound like a man after my own heart: I find that many of the ‘upgrades’ this technology foists upon us all too often come with a large ‘helping’ (not) of ‘downgrade’, too…

      Many years ago I came up with this idea that humans should never be waiting for the machines; it should always be the other way around. Although, I have to admit, the Internet is pretty marvellous on the whole, one of the things that it brought with it was perpetual ‘please wait’ interludes. And this new phone is no different: I’m finding that there’s a (short but annoying) delay when I ‘tap’ an icon. And don’t get me started on the boot-up time… :/

      Liked by 3 people

    • Willedare, you could not have said it better. I totally agree with you. My PC and I are friendly (The laptop with Windows 10 is another matter). An old version of Office works just fine for me and does what I need it to do. I probably still don’t use 3/4 of the functions. The upgrades are often more complicated (taking 3 steps for what I use to do in 1). I can only view these planned obsolesences as pure greed. If you care to read my recent posts on trying to become friends with a Smartphone (https://wrightingmylife.com) perhaps you will also support The National Day of Unplugging this Friday, March 6th. Wishing you all the best in your tech adventures!

      Like

  9. charack says:

    😂 Funny! I hit 60 in January (and I’m not referring to my speedometer…80 mph is my preferred hwy speed!). Anyway, I’ve had a smartphone for several years, because I got addicted to texting. Never thought I would embrace that technology, but I prefer it now to actual phone calls. However, we don’t pay for data on our phone plan, so texting & occasional phone conversations are all I use it for….oh, and also to remind me what day or time it is. I get a week out of a full charge, though! My husband still has a flip phone. I haven’t actually spoken to him for ages….good thing we both have iMessaging on our iPads! 😝

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      Interesting that you now prefer texting to actual phone calls. I’m still finding my way around the tiny little keypad, and trying to make more use of the predictive text (without allowing it to decide what I’m going to say!). I wonder whether this predilection of yours is a common feeling?

      Like

      • charack says:

        Possibly, can I say without offending anyone – it’s a more natural thing for women…? I mostly ignore the predictive text, because it just distracts me. Most of my women friends, close to my age, have taken to texting like a duck to water. Okay, well, maybe more like a cautious duck to water, but now that we’re in, we’re loving it. My husband, on the other hand, dislikes texting with a passion, and he’ll show me these cryptic texts he gets from his friends that make me scratch my head in bewilderment. Maybe it’s just another level of communication that women are better at, because communication-in-general is our common predilection, no matter the method…?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. daryan12 says:

    I went from a fairly old phone to a brand new one over Christmas and yep, its a big step up, still not managed to transfer everything over. The only downside is that the new one was bought in Spain, which comes with the downside that it occasionally switches to Spanish and tells me what the weather is in Madrid.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Pingback: Another small elephant pile of pleasant tidbits | Wibble

  12. Dr Bob Rich says:

    As a youngster who has just achieved the magic age of 77, commiserations on entering the 21st century. Only 20 years to catch up…
    I am emailing you one of my carrier pigeons.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It seems we are fellow Luddites. I’ve also been having quite a time making friends with a Smartphone. Whether misery loves company or not (in reading my last 2 posts), you may want to join me and several others this Friday, March 6, 2020 on The National Day of Unplugging! All the best to you.

    Like

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