Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

Published:

On the radio the other day, they had people call in with the answer to "Without my phone, I couldn't … " I didn't think I had too many answers for that.

It's a cell phone, not the center of my soul. It's for phone calls and occasional text messages. It knows all the phone numbers I care about and it means I don't have to wear a watch. It even knows what day it is (which I rarely do) and the date.

The more I thought about it though, I do rely on this little piece of equipment for a lot more than that. It knows all the phone numbers because I took the time to put my 100-plus contacts in it.

Thank goodness the SIM card that holds that info travels from phone to phone when one becomes obsolete (or gets dropped in the toilet). It took forever to get all those names and numbers in there.

I used to know everybody's phone number by heart, but not now when everybody has their own. I could tell you their house phone number, but not the individual cell phone numbers of everyone in the house. And half the people don't even have a house phone anymore, so I'm really out of luck.

Since I did take the time to put all those numbers in there, now my phone can tell me who's calling. Then I can decide to answer or not. If my phone doesn't know who's calling, then it's definitely "not." Let them leave a message.

I use my phone to pay a majority of our bills. No more spending Saturday afternoons after payday writing out checks and licking envelopes.

My phone texts me when a deposit is made to our account and gives me the balance. I scroll down to whichever of our creditors is the lucky winner who gets paid this week and with a couple of pokes on the buttons, the bill is paid. Then I can go back and check the balance again. Nice doing business with ya.

My husband uses his phone the most for taking pictures. I forgot to charge mine once and used his and was shocked to see all the photos of his favorite photogenic stars -- the dogs.

I recently learned how to take the photos off our phones and turn them into real frame-able photos. Well, I learned with the help of a couple of teenagers and some more techno gadgets at the store.

There are a lot of things my phone can do that I really ought to be taking advantage of. I do use the alarm clock on weekdays, but I should also be using the calculator, calendar and address book.

If people's addresses were stored on my phone with their phone numbers, we wouldn't have to do the annual two-week search for my address book so we can send out Christmas cards.

Evidently my phone, or at least other people's phones, can do a whole lot more than that. The radio show callers came up with a ton of stuff they were using their phones for.

I knew about the flashlight mode and being able to play games, but I've never heard of Skype or FaceTime. I knew you could check the weather, go to Google and check your email, but had no idea you could go to YouTube, the Yellow Pages or eBay. People can also listen to music, use gift cards, order apps (whatever they are) and even listen to the radio.

I'm sure there are a million more things this little dynamo can do, but I'm happy to remain technologically illiterate and promise to be more careful about not dropping it in the toilet.

Copyright 2014 Laura Nethken

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