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2024: A Smartphone Odyssey

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Tip o’ the hat to Arthur C. Clarke for the subject line inspiration.

Earlier today I called a friend of mine to chat and he was busy so we arranged for him to call me later when he wasn’t busy.

I get the call later and pull my phone out of my pocket to answer. I unlock the screen and all I get is a green field of static. There is no way to answer the phone. Or turn the phone off. Or do anything else.

Eventually the phone stops ringing. I try holding the on / off button to get the phone to turn off. I try plugging it in to the charger. I try connecting it to my computer via USB. I do everything short of sacrificing a live pizza to the tech gods.

I must face it. My smartphone has reached the end of it’s life.

I hop in the car and drive to the Verizon store up the street, hoping that they may be able to perform some arcane ritual to restore my smartphone back to life. Regrettably they can do no such thing. The options are sending the phone off for a week (possibly longer) to see if it can be repaired, or buy a new phone.

Since there was no guarantee that sending it off would result in a positive resolution, I opted for getting a new phone. The rep showed me the wall of phones and went through the options for each model. I finally settled on another Samsung. My previous Samsung phones have done well so I figured go with a known quantity.

Then comes the process of getting credit for turning in my old phone to get a new one. According to the rep they had just rolled out a new incentive plan two days prior allowing customers to turn in their old phone and get $125 off a new one. I still owed some money on the old phone so the rebate was taken off that.

It took quite a while to do the transaction to process my return and getting the rebate for my old phone. The rep hadn’t done any of these rebates yet, so he was on the line with Verizon tech support learning how to process the refund. Fortunately, I am a patient man. I think it would have tried the patience of people less patient than me.

Then we get to buying my new phone. The rep said the plan I’m currently on is no longer supported and I had to upgrade to a new plan. Why am I not surprised? Of course, the new plan, along with monthly payments for the new phone, are increasing my monthly bill.

It also turns out that I have to buy a charger (and any other accessories) since the smartphone world is now concerned about packaging waste and the environment. Putting a charger (or earphones or USB cord) now makes the packages to big and heavy so now you have to buy the charger separately. Which comes in its own packaging. I must not be understanding how this helps the environment. Maybe the smartphone companies are taking the extra money they make from selling chargers and putting it towards environmental causes.

After finally getting the phone purchased (well, a down payment, with monthly payments until I’m dead) it was time to transfer all my stuff from my old phone to the new one. Last time I did this a few years ago, it was a painful process of having to send all my contacts and other information one item at a time over bluetooth from phone to phone. Now they have an app to make transferring all your stuff to the new phone so much easier. Easier, but time-consuming. The first half of the data transfer took about twenty minutes but then it picked up considerably and got the second half of the data much more quickly.

So, two and a half hours later, I was the proud owner of a brand-new bouncing baby smartphone. And it’s purple. Caliwandalous!

If you’d like to support my efforts, why not buy me a chocolate chip cookie through my Ko-Fi page?

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