Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Tue, Oct. 15

Column: Technology's missing link

Technology is my friend - and sometimes it's my enemy.

I'm not caught up in the latest crazes and don't know how to text, so I figured the cell phone I got back in 2003 was good enough. This resulted in unending ridicule at home.

The battery barely functioned due to leaving it on the charger way too long, and when I suggested that the battery should be replaced, I was advised the phone was so old they probably didn't make batteries like that anymore.

So I got a new phone.

"Give me the cheapest you've got," I told the sales rep. And for less than $20, plus another $40 for all the gizmos that go with it - battery chargers, a cover and the mysteriously-named Bluetooth - I was out the door.

And even though I didn't want a camera with my phone, I got one. Which leads to a recent morning in the bathroom, which is where I keep the battery charger. Just before stepping into the shower, I flipped open the phone to see if it needed a charge, and the message on the screen told me the camera was ready to go.

So I pushed the button to, I thought, turn off the camera - and instead took a picture of myself in the mirror.

It wasn't X- or R-rated, nor was it flattering. Playgirl won't be calling. But I took three more pictures before convincing myself that pushing the button to take a picture wasn't the way to turn the camera off.

The definition of insanity, we are told, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

This was bad enough. Then my bride decided to check out my new phone and stumbled upon the pictures. I've always enjoyed making other people laugh, and she was laughing so hard there were tears rolling down her cheeks. And when she said she just had to show the pictures to our children, I knew it was time to learn how to delete.

The Internet has been another of those quantum leaps. Google, sports Web sites, news Web sites, e-mail and other features have made life more convenient - and more complicated if you're not paying attention.

My idiot e-mail moment occurred several weeks ago when I got a form letter from "Larry" via one of those social networks."

Larry" wanted me to join. I ignored the first two e-mails, but the third told me it was my final chance.

"Larry must really want me in this," I thought to myself. So I sucked it up and filled out the form, not even pausing to think when I gave away my e-mail password.

Five minutes later, I had about 10 failure notices in my e-mail, meaning people I had previously corresponded with no longer used that address.

That's when the sheer idiocy of what I had done hit me right in the face.

Yep, everybody in my e-mail address book - friends, associates and people I've done serious business with but hadn't talked to in years - received an invitation from me begging them to join my social network. Worse yet, some of them had actually paid and joined the social network, something I didn't bother to do because, (a) I'm cheap; and (b) I'm not a social network kind of guy.

But this technology thing isn't all bad. I'm going to the Miner Web site to copy this column (or, if I'm feeling daring, "link" it), then I'm sending it to everyone on my e-mail list to let them know I'm an idiot and to apologize for the spam I am responsible for.

And I'm taking the next technology step with my phone, too. I'm seeing my dentist next week to get this Bluetooth thing working.

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