The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

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There’s no “I” in iPhone

There is also no "I" in iPod, iPad, mini-iPad, iPod Touch, iPod Shuffle or iTunes. However, there is an "I" in the sentence "I am a baby boomer and perhaps you really can't teach an old dog new tricks." For some reason, I have been unable to jump on the whole "i" paraphernalia bandwagon. I simply cannot get into iStuff.

On December 16, my "new every two" cell phone contract will come up for renewal. Of course they no longer call it "new every two." That sales campaign doesn't exist any longer, but I have been with Verizon for a very long time (my first phone was a flip phone the size of a bread box) and that is how I still refer to it. Whatever it's called now, the premise is I get to choose a new phone at a very discounted rate. That day cannot come soon enough.

My daughters did their best to drag me into iWorld. A year and a half ago, they lured me to the mall and then pushed me into the Verizon store during a weak moment. They pried my LG EnV out of my hands and told the salesman to transfer all my information onto an iPhone. The only choice I had in the matter was whether I wanted black or white.

I adored my LG EnV. I loved the fact that it was like having a tiny, compact version of a laptop. I enjoyed flipping up the cover and seeing my mini-keyboard. It wasn't a touch screen; it had actual keys that my thumbs could press at a rapid rate. I was in my happiest cell phone era when I had that EnV. When my contract came up for renewal, I ignored it. I was ready to hold onto that Clemson orange EnV for life.

But my daughters demanded I step into the present. They assured me I would easily learn how to maneuver the new phone. Here I am 18 months later and I still haven't used three quarters of the features on this phone. I think I have six songs loaded on it, but I never play them. I do have a camera roll filled with pictures and I know how to attach them to text messages and send them to Facebook, so I guess I learned some things.

For some reason, this iPhone that is supposed to be able to do anything, short of curing cancer, can no longer seem to hold a charge. I leave the house in the morning with the battery at 100%, but at the end of the workday I have to slip it onto the car charger for the ride home. In six more months, this phone will serve as a backup alarm clock just as my EnV does now. Or I may just take that EnV back to Verizon for reactivation.

I would probably actually enjoy an iPad. I watch friends slide and tap their fingers over it, smiling at the ease in which they can surf. My grandson can pull up a game in a matter of seconds and he just turned three. But as a freelance writer, I am dependent on the attributes of a laptop. I need a real keyboard for my fingers to fly across as my muse works its wonders. 

The time has come for an upgrade. Four years ago I purchased an Acer netbook. It has served me well. My columns, articles, stories and novel beginnings are all stored safely. I can check my email and post Facebook status updates. But this trusty netbook has developed a seriously annoying problem - my screen is red. I can make it go away if I press and prod over the screen for about ten minutes. It's like acupuncture for electronics trying to find just the right spot that jars the screen back to normal. Sometimes it lasts for an hour, other times a minute. I have accepted the fact that everyone on my screen appears to suffer from rosacea.

But an iPad is not in my future. It will be a laptop or ultrabook. Luckily, my company offers employees a discount program through Dell and the ability to download Miscrosoft Office for a song and a dance (aka handling fee).  It's time to take the plunge once I determine if I want a 15R or a 14Z (or some similar combination of letters and numbers). The bigger question is Windows 8 or 7. I have heard 8 is a nightmare, but you have to pay a premium to stay with 7. Go figure - new and improved costs less.

Two Christmases ago, my daughter asked for an iPod Nano. I discovered that I had enough points on my credit card rewards program to get one for free - well, if you call $30,000 in spending free. The point is I was able to grant my girl her Christmas wish.
After transferring all her music to the new device, she bestowed her old iPod on me along with a $25 iTunes gift card. Two years later, a balance of $7.56.

To this day, I still have no idea what an iPod Shuffle is or how it works. Don't know, don't care.

I try my best to be a modern woman, but old habits die hard. I prefer listening to live radio, I can't watch a show that's been DVR'd and my fingers create some very embarrassing texts as they fumble over touch screen keyboards. Can I download an app for iMemories?

Cindy Phillips is a columnist for The Mountain Times. She can be reached directly at