Saturday, January 2, 2021

I Need An App

A number of states that don't include mine are offering a free phone app to help you know how terrified you should be that you've been exposed to COVID-19. And if you have been, you can choose to take proper precautions such as isolating yourself or hiding in the closet sucking your thumb or beginning to take the precautions you hadn't bothered with before, or something. I'm not sure what I'd do with the information. I'd prefer something more immediate like a live warning system that you're about to get too close to an infected person. Something along the lines of that exploding dye packet that they put in the ransom money.

I mean, they used to do that in the olden days. They used to put big pustules or black boils on people, and if they could do that in medieval times, why can't they do it now? Now they have germy teenagers that look totally normal and although it's always a good idea to avoid those people anyway, it can't always be managed, especially if you want a pizza delivered.

I'm not terribly worried on a daily basis because I do take precautions. I assume that anyone I meet is riddled with disease. My favorites are the sneezy people who wave their hands in a friendly manner and holler that it's just a cold. Pardon me? If you have a cold, you have swapped snot with somebody in some way. You have. If you've been doing this pandemic right, you shouldn't have Sniffle One.

Because I can be exceptionally dense, I had to read several paragraphs about the app before I figured out how it works. As everyone who is not me knows, it works because it is assumed your phone is adhered to your body at all times. Apparently, that is a reasonable assumption. I'm the only person who says things like "Call me in the afternoon, I should be home by two," and I don't get how weird that sounds until I get the puzzled look.

As far as the Big Eye In The Sky is concerned, I have been sitting on my kitchen counter for days.

I also fail to remember that most people use their phones for way more than communicating with people. That's just about all I can do on mine. They say it's "smart," but that's just so as not to damage its self-esteem. Every time I try to download an app it tells me it's way too small to have such a big app shoved into it, and I should consider unloading something first, even though there's nothing in it. It's just a bulimic little piece of shit, is what it is. As a consequence I have learned to live without most of the life-simplifiers that litter our brainscape. I'll still walk a few miles to a store and find out it doesn't carry what I want and say Thanks Anyway and walk home again, and feel no sense of betrayal. Other people wave their phones in the air and get the nearest pizza paid for and dropped by drone through the sunroof while they're still driving. They check their blood pressure and then they check their portfolio and then probably their blood pressure again, and meanwhile I don't even check to see if anyone called once I get home, which is where my phone is, probably.

Nevertheless, the same people who are afraid Bill Gates wants to microchip them with a vaccine have a phone pocket sewn into their pajamas and don't think a thing of it. Everyone from the FBI to Walmart knows where they are. And I'm definitely not letting my phone go out and get sneezed on by all those other phones. I don't know where they've been.

But somebody does.

46 comments:

  1. I still have a flip-phone, and have no desire to get a "Smart" one. I use it just to talk (people give me a funny look when I say that I don't text.) and I also use it as an alarm clock. It is never on my person, but has a "home" in a central location.

    On a similar note, it seems that I will have to get a new computer soon, as my current one doesn't do things it used to, no longer even gets updates, and is slowing down. I usually have to restart it in the morning to get it to work properly. I'm really fashing about having to get used to a new operating system with a new look. Some of the things I take for granted, like internet radio, you now have to PAY for as an Apple subscription. I just hate change, even though it is inevitable, and hate it more the older I get.

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    1. I'm always late to the party, maybe not as late as you. I'm obviously sympathetic with the idea of not taking on more doodads that one eventually finds one cannot live without. Trouble is, as you point out, things don't work after a while. Or you can discover that there is no way to monitor your solar panels anymore because the system doesn't support a computer app--only a phone one. (And I think texting is way better than calling!)

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    2. If you have a Windows computer, you can still convert it to Windows 10. My work one (we supply our own) was Windows 7, and everyone told me that the free on-line upgrade to Windows 10 was no longer available. I found a site that still offered it, and against the advice of my professional computer guy, I did the online conversion. It seemed to take hours to complete, and I was afraid that it was just going to blow up and I'd have to buy a new computer (like everyone told me to do). So far, no problems with Windows 10 on my old computer. Just sayin' in case this is your situation.

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    3. I bought a smart phone by mistake because the picture looked the same as the old phone. I talk and text and am not above taking a photo( not selfie) tho I prefer my camera. It sends me notifications all the time trying to lure me into inter webs or mailboxes but I am firm. My computer tho, a 2011 model, more and more often refuses to do my bidding.

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    4. Ed, I have a MAC, which I love. I used to have a Microsoft computer, but it kept getting viruses, and I practically had my computer guy on a retainer. My Mac has been relatively problem-free, but it is coming to the end of its life. (Aren't we all?) I can't upgrade and I don't get updates. It's not even a matter of money; I just hate the way things become obsolete in just a few years. It's wasteful both in an environmental sense and in a time-consuming sense, as I will undoubtedly have to spend time setting it up, and re-configuring it to suit my needs. I'd really rather be reading a book.

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    5. Also, you probably don't appreciate feeling like an idiot, at our age. That's a factor. I don't care for learning new things I didn't think I needed to learn. And that's fine, but it is true these things do age out, and we need to occasionally upgrade. We do have a good place to recycle the elements of our computers etc....

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    6. Flip phone here too, and still use a landline whenever possible, though my wife took a step into the ghastly future and got an iPhone. Still, she doesn't do anything modern with it beyond checking the weather forecast and counting the steps she's taken. I don't encourage her to do any more than that. I intend to hold out until I am told that without a smartphone I will be allowed no more water, food or oxygen. I expect that will be soon.

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  2. Hahaha!! Love the people afraid of Bill Gates microchipping ‘em having a phone pocket sewn in their PJs! Oh darn it, if I begin quoting I’ll just be retyping your entire piece Murr. Very much enjoyed the read, and like mimi above, I TOO DO NOT HAVE A SMART PHONE. I have a nifty blue flip-phone, but earlier this year T-Mobile told me they no longer supported it’s Mesozoic 3G technology. Gasp, I’m left with my landline!

    BTW, in September 2020 I was infected with Covid-19 after a 5 day stay in the hospital for a kidney operation. I was called by my PCP (a lovely 30 year old Indian woman) who told me she wanted to talk face-to-face and kept acting confused when I insisted my Panasonic landline DIDN’T HAVE A SCREEN ON IT. And just a week ago, I stopped in my local bakery, the young woman at the register told me it was down, so I’d have to pay with my phone. I said “I can’t do that” and she said “We get that all the time from the older people, YES—you can.” I said “NO—I can’t, I don’t own a smartphone.” She looked at me like I had just begun speaking in tongues. God I talk too much! Have a great weekend Murr :^)

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    1. Oh, man, Dug...you get that, too? I have a "smart" phone. I don't let it take on the characteristics of a smart phone. It is so old that it doesn't have a chip in it. I have never subscribed to a data service, so it operates as an unsmart phone - in addition to which, I had my provider turn "off" texting capability in 2007 and have never rued having done so.

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    2. Cop Car, I, too, had my service provider turn off my texting capabilities. I was getting too many texts from businesses trying to sell me something... the texts which I HAD TO PAY FOR! Whenever a business asks me my for my phone number, especially as I'm paying in cash, I ask them why they need it. They act befuddled and say something about keeping track of my purchases for when I need to buy more. I tell them that I am a very organized person and can keep track of what I like and don't like myself, thankyouverymuch. I never give out my phone number or e-mail address just because someone asks.

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    3. ApacheDug, sorry about your unexpectedly prolonged hospital stay! I hope you're in the pink again. And man--all I can say is my commenters sure skew old!

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    4. Murr thanks and why can't I stop laughing!

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  3. Gee, I'm part of your telecom tribe, Murr. I DO have a smartphone, simply because T-Mobile no longer could provide service on my old phone when I traveled to Canada. But my "legacy" service plan includes no data (other than via WiFi), and I use the phone perhaps once a week. I've texted twice, ever, just to understand how to do it (although by now I've forgotten), and the phone's turned off unless I need to use it to call long-distance or when I'm away from my land line at home and I urgently need to call someone.

    It's funny when someone calls our home phone expecting my husband, for instance, and I answer, instead. Many younger folks don't understand the concept of a "household" phone, so they think they've reached a wrong number when the voice doesn't match the person they expected. And one B&B where I left a message requesting a reservation seemed to ignore me for several days; calling back, I discovered they'd texted my confirmation TO MY LAND LINE.

    There's one whole area in Columbus, Ohio, where I can't park on the street: instead of parking meters, there's now a payment system run only via smartphone. With no data via cellular my service, I'd be unable to pay and my car would be towed. Seems discriminatory, somehow.

    On the plus side, I pay $10/year for my cell service. (Yes, per YEAR.) That's a lot left over to spend on important things, such as CHOCOLATE.

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    1. Somehow, those stores that provide no contact grocery pickup service expect us to text them when we arrive. Oh, sure, folks - we are all infected with the bug.

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    2. We have a landline strictly for our alarm system, and basically share our flip-phone. I, too, have people befuddled when they are calling Paul and I answer. (I've learned to answer the phone in a deeper register.) Paul DOES have a flip-phone, but only turns it on when we are not together, in case of emergency. Both of us hate talking on the phone, but he especially.

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    3. Where's that I Hate Boomers dude? He's missing out.

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  4. Kindred souls. My phone is not always with me and is not always turned on. Which suits me just fine. It doesn't suit some other people but it is my phone, not theirs.

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    1. It reminds me of a great line from Seinfeld. Someone was telling him that they sent numerous voice-mails to him with no response. "Ah," he replied, "I see what the problem is. You think that I have voice-mail for your convenience." Then he frowned and shook his head.

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    2. Seinfeld is a crank of the first order. I'm not saying that's a bad thing.

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    3. My forgetting to take my cell with me is legend in our family - as is my forgetting to turn it on (sometimes for days at a time). As Seinfeld had it, I've always thought that I paid for phone service for my convenience. I got along fine, for years, without owning a phone. When I had a landline, I felt no requirement to answer it just because it rang. (I've the same attitude toward answering the doorbell.)

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  5. Hmmmm, as one of the few people in my peer group who is still working, I have had to adapt or be left in the dust by the young'uns. Years ago, I somehow latched onto a 'legacy' phone plan that gives me unlimited talk & data. While it costs $120/month, as an independent contractor I claim it (legitimately) as a business expense. While taking several business trips a few years ago, I turned on the GPS tracker-thing, so if I got murdered in a strange city, my partner would know where to start looking for the body. And I've left it on because it now it helps me remember where I was two days ago. ("Did I pick up peanut butter at Trader Joe's 2 days ago, or was that last week?") And anyway, at my age I have no secrets about where I go or when...
    While I prefer talking on the phone, I have to go along with texting when people half my age want to buy a house. (I did draw the line last year, when one buyer wanted to make an offer on a condo via text...I had to gently explain to her that the Statute of Frauds doctrine in real estate does not exactly encompass text messages like "give U $575K 4 it"....)
    Another thing I don't do is that QR code in lieu of a boarding pass for flying. I see people scanning their phones instead of showing a paper boarding pass, and I'm convinced that if I tried to do so myself, the darn phone would choose that moment to run out of juice and die.
    And yes, we have been known to order dinner from the phone while driving in the car and then racing home in time to meet the delivery.....
    Is all this hyper-connectedness really necessary? Probably not. I sometimes long for the days when one would have to come back home to 'listen to the answering machine' -- it seems so leisurely, so peaceful! But I suspect that even after I eventually retire, I will continue to buy into some of this madness simply so that I can stay in touch with younger friends.....

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    1. I'm trying to walk a middle line, cognizant of the convenience and wonder of the new things, and aware of what I might be losing--which is helpful because once you go over you no longer remember what you've lost. It's not a clear road. But you have completely cracked me up and I KNOW I love that.

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    2. $120/mo? It's stories like this that scare people away from these hand-held wifi-enabled mini-computers!

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  6. I like my smartphone which I rarely use as a phone. I consider that learning all the new tech. is the equivalent of learning a new language and that it keeps my brain working. That's my excuse.

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    1. I use my blog for that. Jury's out on whether it's still working.

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    2. Definitely still working.

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  7. I think the states have to opt into that program? Whatever the case, I don't think Hawaii has. Generally speaking I do carry my cellphone with me to most places. LOL

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    1. I believe I just read today that Oregon was saying Whoa Nellie on the COVID app, which is available prematurely. We haven't tested it, or something.

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  8. I’m completely immersed in the smartphone world, as I’m still working (a one person shop) and that’s the way of it. I look forward to the day when I can throw that effer in the pond and walk away smiling. Until then, I get (in exchange for frustration and lack of quiet) the ability to do my work from anywhere. I once placed an order w h a vendor while drinking cocktails next to the pool on a cruise ship!! Been to Cabo many times because it gave me the freedom to do so. The pandemic has isolated me from my only grandchild, so the smartphone has allowed me to stay more connected to his parental units for photos, videos, etc. That said, I’m still looking forward to throwing that effer in the pond one day.

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    1. Most people report the ability to do business with a phone is a deficit, so it's nice to hear you say it lets you go to Cabo (and work!).

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  9. A phone pocket sewn into pyjamas is a step too far in my opinion. My phone sits quietly on my table most of the time, I take it out with me when I go, in case I fall and need to call for help. I haven't downloaded any of the million and one available apps, since I managed just fine before they were even a vague idea in someone's mind.

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    1. I am now confidently asserting my audience averages above sixty.

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  10. I love your writing and your observations. You do know how to turn a phrase! But I cannot understand people's resistance to smart phones. These are actually little hand-held wifi-enabled mini computers that can also make phone calls and take pictures. Get something like the Moto G Power with lots of storage capacity, typically less than $200. You can access all your email accounts. The Google Voice app is so handy! Just tap the microphone and ask "who are the Kansas City Chiefs playing on Sunday?". Or "how old is Fritz Mondale?" Or "what time does Pet Supermarket open today?" In fact, I read this article on my smartphone. No need to download a bunch of apps. If you want to visit a website, just type the URL (http address) into Google and you'll get there. It's a super handy device for quickly accessing information without having to sit down at a desk with a big screen and keyboard. You don't have to use it as a phone if you don't want to. It will be able to access wi-fi whether you subscribe to a phone service or not. I have used mine while travelling out of the US to places where my phone carrier doesn't operate, but as long as I was in a hotel, restaurant, or bus that had wi-fi the tiny computer functioned perfectly. I was also able to make "phone" calls without actually having phone service thanks to WhatsApp. If you DO want to also use it as a typical mobile phone, Tracfone offers relatively inexpensive yearly plan.

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    1. Oh, Jackie, there are two types of people: 1) those who think "...without having to sit down at a desk with a big screen and keyboard." and 2) those who think "...getting to sit down at a desk with a big screen and keyboard."

      Most cell phones these days are twice or three times as large as mine because people don't want to deal with tiny letters/numbers and tiny screens. At least my first personal computer was advertised honestly as "luggable". I don't consider most phones small enough to be lugged around, so I prefer sitting at big screen & keyboard for activities beyond placing a phone call.

      I agree with you about Murr's writing and observations. You have quite a way with words, yourself! ; )

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    2. Gee, my bulimic phone is a Moto G. Hmm. Sometimes it just up and tells me I'm running out of storage space without me even trying to do anything with it. And there's NOTHING IN THERE.

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    3. Hmmm. You can go to Settings / Storage to see how much capacity your phone has. Moto G has maybe only 8 GB and no SD slot? G Power, on the other hand, has 64 (or 128) GB ROM plus a slot for auxiliary (microSD) storage. I know this sounds like a bunch of computerese jargon. All I'm saying is that, in my opinion, there are a lot of factors to consider when buying a phone, but storage capacity should probably be near the top

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    4. Do you have File Manager on your phone? If yes, you may be able to easily identify and discard accumulated "detritus"

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  11. Late to the party again. I have that covid app, but don't know how it works. One good thing about easy group communication is that I found out there was a King Eider in the east bay on Friday. Sometimes something good comes out of all this connectivity.

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  12. OK, I think THIS is the cell phone for me!
    https://www.wired.com/story/justine-haupt-rotary-phone/

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  13. minimanderly - If your love is classical music, I think you should be able to stream it 24/7 gratis at www.allclassical.org and click Listen Now.

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    1. Thanks, John, but actually it's jazz. Fortunately, my husband (who recently purchased a newer MAC this year) showed me that I could access my favorite jazz stream (WRTI.org out of Temple University) through the WIFI and into the AppleTV in our livingroom. So I am MUCH relieved that my parrots and I can listen to jazz anytime we want to!

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