Friday, December 31, 2010

Out With The Old...

Along with the end-of-the-year "out with the old, in with the new" theme, the same goes with some technology that Melinda has been after me to replace. My old cell phone, which has served me very well, was approaching inclusion in the Smithsonian Institute. This particular phone , which was only 5 years old (replaced when the original got wet), was actually a model at least 10 years old from what was Vicki's first cell phone. And while it excelled at what I used it for (making phone calls), it was beginning to show it's age - like most of the numbers being worn off. It was getting difficult to make calls unless you had the number pattern memorized.

So for Christmas, I've entered the 21st century when Melinda got me a "smart phone" - smarter than me, anyway! It is a Droid X and does everything but scratch my back! Of course, it has a camera, a pretty good one, that also takes video (picture of Mia enclosed). It has GPS capability, as well as Internet connectability via Verizon, and about a gazillion other things I'm still learning about. It even makes phone calls! My favorite among the "apps" is of course Google Sky, which shows a view of the stars in pretty good detail where you have the phone pointed, acting like an interactive star chart. Of course, it works clear or cloudy, even showing the sun under your feet in the middle of the night!

Another of my favorites I've found these first few days is Pandora Radio. You set up virtual radio stations by entering a favorite artist or musical genre, voting thumbs up or down for music the app thinks you would like, thus refining the users tastes. By applying your likes and dislikes to the hundreds of thousands of songs available, it develops a music list just for you that would be unlike the list for another user, even starting from the same beginning artist. Melinda found an abundance of other applications, from turning the Droid into a precision bubble level, even a flashlight, with tunable light (astronomers like the red lights, you know!). Another can be used at the store to read bar codes, giving the list price, and I believe nutritional information as well for food items.

So I think it will be great, though there is a learning curve that will take some time getting used to... I've always been a touch typist, never having typed with my thumbs on a small screen, so I can't see sending many e-mails or blog posts from the new phone, but you never know! But with navigational info, google maps, Internet access and everything else, fitting in your pocket, it is a new age!


David A. Harvey said...

Welcome to the 21st century Dean. My only nit with these phones is their size. As I get older, my eyes get worse and my thumbs get bigger - making these devices harder to utitlize. Next stop - iPad.

Shannon said...

You will stay on the phone all the time now! Smartphones are CRAZY fun. I can't figure them out either most time. And I'm with David - everything's getting smaller as we get older!

Anonymous said...

if it makes you feel any better... i'm in the tech-generation and i JUST made the switch in september!

the gps option has definitely made travelling a LOT easier!! as for pandora... i'm a! another cool app is gasbuddy, which tells you the cheapest gas in your city/area... pretty useful!