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Now if only my IQ could match the phone I use

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POSTED April 8, 2013 9:42 p.m.

My IQ just dropped.

It’s the risk you take when buying a phone that’s smarter than you – a lot smarter.

I’ve been using a flip phone for the last six years. To those under 25, it was as if I were lugging around one of the old wall crank phones.

You know the technology you have is about three centuries old when those just barely out of puberty refer to it politely as “old school.” I admit I’m getting up there. I remember when people actually survived without a cell phone attached to their ear. If they needed to make a call when they were away from home or work they used some quaint things called dimes and pay phones using terms such as “reverse charges” and “collect call” if you weren’t lugging around 25 pounds of coins.

In the past 14 years of having cell phones I’ve taken two photos and sent a dozen text messages. I admit there was a time when I played “snake” while waiting in the middle of nowhere for an appointment. And while the cell phone replaced my watch, it was basically just a phone.

That is until Friday.

As odd as it may sound, I already had an iPad. Most people buy the iPhone first. What I did is kind of like buying a Maserati without first knowing how to drive a stick shift.

In the 15 months I’ve had an iPad I’ve downloaded just five apps – what I need for work. Even so, the iPad made my computer seem as versatile as a manual typewriter. So I did the same thing with my computer that I did with a land line nine years ago – I ditched it.

Those two things alone – possessing a tablet and not having a land line – would supposedly put me squarely into Apple’s targeted market.

I’m not, however, iHooked.

Besides having no use for a billion different apps that are being churned out by 15-year-olds who will be able to purchase the college of their choice in three years, I am technology challenged. I have never owned a DVD player or their more advanced cousins. Part of it is I’m not that much into TV and movies. But in all honesty it has more to do with the fact I can’t figure out how to use the blasted things.

Gianni Rivera – a young man who personifies a true salesman – didn’t roll his eyes or flinch when I told him I had no idea how to use the iPhone to make a call. I actually had a salesman do that to me years ago when for the sixth time I couldn’t figure out a phone’s voicemail function. It helps explain why I switched to Verizon.

Gianni’s pleasant disposition had nothing to do with the fact I was upgrading to four smartphones – hey, what are families for – and was switching to Verizon’s share-your-bank-account-with-them plan. He had the patience of Job, a sense of humor and wasn’t pressuring me to buy more phone as other salespeople have in the past.

But I did forget to ask him one thing – how to set up the iPhone to access my e-mail account. Try not to laugh, but that is the only reason I upgraded to an iPhone. I was so wrapped up in getting iUpgraded that I forgot I was getting the smartphone to access e-mail away from computers.

The iPad is great but it doesn’t exactly fit into your pocket. And with each passing day my desire to keep e-mail where I thought it belonged on the computer in the office or my iPad at home was clearly a losing battle.

After spending several hours this past weekend going online and trying to figure out how to set up my email account on the iPhone, I did what every self-respecting technology dinosaur would do.

I found someone under 35 to help me do it.

I may now have a phone that’s smart but I’m still stuck in the Data Punch Card Era.

This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209-249-3519.

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