Sunday, April 22, 2018

Our first smartphones

We have never wanted smartphones.  For one thing, we didn't want to spend that much money for Internet time.  When I heard what people were paying to stay wired to the Internet constantly, I shuddered.  We neither one actually use a phone much, especially me, so about a year ago I switched us to Consumer Cellular:  $40 a month for the two of us.  However, since I DO like being wired to the Internet on the road, I'd pay $25 every couple of months for cellular coverage from ATT for my iPad.  If we went on a long trip, that $25 worth might only last a month, but otherwise it was good for two or three months.  It was all we really needed in order to stay connected while away from home.  

Unfortunately, Cellular didn't have the best coverage out here, so that caused a few problems.  Also, they only had two choices in flip phones:  I took one model, Cliff chose the other.  The reviews were horrible on both.  I figured they'd probably be OK for us, even though they did leave something to be desired.  Cliff, because he's about half deaf, had trouble hearing his phone.  He doesn't like to talk for an extended period of time because he can only make out phone conversations with his right ear; his right arm gets tired after awhile, holding the phone to his ear.  Bluetooth would probably work well for him, but he didn't want to learn how to use it.  I hope we can change that one of these days.  I think it will change his life.    

So T-mobile came up with a plan for seniors:  for two people, it's $70 monthly for unlimited Internet, with no added taxes or other charges.  Yes, that's $30 more than we paid Consumer Cellular, but we were getting pretty unhappy with them and didn't have Internet.  I know I won't be buying cell coverage on the iPad any more, so that helps make up for the higher phone bill.  After navigating on my new phone for a couple of days, I'm fairly well convinced I won't be buying another iPad when my present one dies, or if I do, it'll be a used one from Ebay.  

We bought two of the cheapest phones T-mobile had.  I like mine, but Cliff is having a rough time getting around on his.  He's never used any devices with apps, and once he opens an app, he isn't sure what to do with it; when he's done with it, I keep telling him to close his apps; he asks how, I show him.  We've repeated this process many times but it doesn't seem to stick with him.  Part of the problem, I believe, is that he just doesn't mess with it enough.  He needs to sit there and navigate to one thing and another to get familiar with it rather than hoping he'll soak it all up by osmosis.    

He can bring up the camera, but can't figure out how to take a picture.  Yes, we've been living in the stone age.  Another problem, his huge fingers.  Keeping his fingers off the screen when he's holding it is a challenge for him; his fingers look like sausages (thanks Lee J.; your description was accurate and I'm keeping it.)

The grandson came over at dinnertime to get out of the way of his wife's house-cleaning, and we started bombarding him with questions:  How do I do this?  How can I find that?  "You mean I have a flashlight on this thing?  Well I'll be damned!"  He cleared a lot of unnecessary apps off Cliff's phone and put other apps in a handier spot.  I watched and learned a few things too.  My daughter used to be stuck with this sort of task, but now the grandson lives closer, so he's elected.

I'm sure most of my readers have used smartphones for years and think I'm an idiot, but this is a whole new ball game for us.  I'm a little ahead of Cliff, thanks to my use of an iPad... not to mention the fact I've logged many more hours online in general than he has.  I wish there were a simple solution to his clumsy, big fingers.  Maybe when we receive the protective cover I ordered for his phone, it'll give him more outside edge to hold onto.  He really wants to figure it out, and I guess that's a start.  

Life is good, time is short, and learning new things is good for us, in spite of how much we hate having to do it.  



  1. I'm still learning things on my smartphone. If Cliff can't get used to using the tip of his finger, or even a fingernail, I'd suggest you get him a stylus to use like a pencil. Some cases have a slot or holder for them.

  2. I use a stylus to navigate many places on my smartphone. You can find them on Amazon for a really good price. I bought a package of 5 simple ones for less than $20.

  3. I use a stylus too. I have several because I gave away the one my daughter gave me. So I ordered a package of them off Amazon. My smartphone has a place to put it on the end.

  4. I've had a smart phone (iPhone) for about three years, and fought getting one for all the reasons that Cliff is discovering. (but I needed it for my trip to Korea in order to communicate with Alison) I dislike the virtual keyboard and am still learning about things it can do. I've read that learning new things, frustrating as it is, helps our brains! We're never too old to learn new tricks, right?

  5. The girls got Larry a thing that looked like a pin with eraser. He used it until he got used to using his finger. It cost $10 I think.

  6. learning new things is good, it's true. but too much at once can overwhelm you. i'm with cliff on the apps.

  7. You folks don't understand Cliff's problem. It's the fingers on his left hand, the hand that HOLDS the phone. It's hard for him to keep from touching the screen with those fingers, and if they are touching, nothing you do with the right hand will work.

  8. So glad you finally got your smart phones. I love mine, especially the camera. It's so easy to take pictures since I always have my phone on hand. It won't be long and the two of you will be pros!


I love comments!