Tech upgrade – Smarter phone than me!

Let me start this off by being the first to admit that I am extraordinarily late to the smart phone party.  I wanted no part of a phone with touch screen technology when they first came out because I had a feeling they would be more hassle than they were worth.  I’m not necessarily sure I was wrong about that.  In the last few years though, it seems they’ve got it all figured out and all the bugs have been ironed out. 

Next, I didn’t want to be forced to pay for more coverage than I expected to use.  A required data package seemed completely bogus to me…why couldn’t they just charge you for the data you used??  I didn’t want to pay an extra $30 per month just because my phone could do everything (and possibly more) than my computer. 

In the time since then, with each passing day, it has become inherently clear that the times were passing me by.  About 1 year ago I decided to join the smart phone bandwagon.  I started doing a little research to figure out which avenue to take – iPhone or Droid.  I’ve had iPods for years and have admired Apple’s trend-setting technological advancements.  I bugged anyone and everyone with a smart phone and asked what they liked and disliked about their phone, and whether they would buy it again knowing then what they know now.  I decided the clear choice was the iPhone.  The App Store is much more extensive than the Droid Marketplace.  Apple electronics just seem to work better and have fewer bugs and glitches than their competitors.  So my mind was made up.

I logged into my wireless online account to check my upgrade eligibility date and almost wanted to weep a little bit.  February 13th, 2012 was the date that was glaring back at me.  I could almost hear it snickering in my face just to rub it in a little.  I saw multiple generations of smart phones come and go, and just had to sit there and sulk while I angrily punched the keyboard on my old-school slider phone.  I set a countdown on my homepage.  I searched and found several cases to choose from.  And finally, it was February 13th, 2012.

Even in hard times, you gotta represent!

I had to work that day, of course.  So I ducked out of my office a little early for lunch and bolted to my local wireless provider.  I had already called in to make sure they had what I wanted in stock.  I basically walked in the door, grabbed my new iPhone 4s (because I really wanted to talk to Siri), and spiked the old one right in the middle of the store. 

I got back to my office and was like a small child on Christmas Day.  I had a new toy and all I wanted to do was play with it.  There was so much to figure out, and with that comes the necessity of re-personalizing everything.  I had to find the perfect background, figure out how to get the ringtones I wanted, and download and assign images for all of my contacts (even though I hardly get phone calls from anybody other than my mom or wife).

At first I was astonished with everything this phone can do and the ease at which you can do it all.  I couldn’t believe how intuitive and easy to use it is.  And then I sent a text message.  The keyboard kind of sucks, which I was afraid of.  I have a horrible habit of fat-fingering 3 or 4 letters at the same time.  Auto-correct has worked incredibly for me so far – no embarrassing stories of grossly inappropriate auto-corrected messages…yet!  Then I made a phone call.  Even worse.  The 2 primary uses for my cell phone are arguably the 2 most complicated and difficult tasks to navigate and perform.  (Not that they were that hard to figure out, they just aren’t as easy as everything else the phone can do.)

My wife has been eligible for an upgrade for over a year now.  She never made the switch though because her phone has been good for her needs.  Recently it has been more useful as a paperweight.  She doesn’t get text messages until hours later, and incoming calls inexplicably never go through.  Suddenly, she’ll just have a new voicemail appear out of thin air.  Needless to say, her interest in a new phone has spiked recently since I upgraded.  She’s considering getting the same phone as me so I can teach her how to use it.  Pretty sound thinking, if you ask me.  However, I think a different phone might be better suited for her if we can find one that is a little more user-friendly for those who aren’t as fluent in the language of electronics.  Any and all recommendations would be great – feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Ony of my favorite features of my iPhone are the apps.  I had a small list going of apps that I’ve wanted and that I thought would be fun/helpful.  Luckily for you, I’ll provide a short list of my favorite apps so far. 

First, naturally, is Angry Birds.  Angry Birds Seasons.  Oh, and Angry Birds Rio.  (Angry Birds Space can’t come soon enough!)  This game is too hard to put down, but perfect for killing a few spare minutes whenever you get them. 

Second came the Top Gear apps; Stunt School and Where’s Stig?  Stunt School is an impossible game based off of the crazy stunts they pull on the show.  Where’s Stig is an unoriginal spin on Where’s Waldo, only it features our favorite faceless racer.  Not familiar with Top Gear?  Shame!  You TOTALLY should be!!  (The original, British version is un-beatable.)

A friend of mine filled me in on an app that one of HIS friends created called Baby Monkey (Backwards On A Pig).  It’s as simple and outlandish as it sounds.  You control a baby monkey who is clinging to the back of a pig for dear life.  You time jumps to grab things out of mid-air and avoid obstacles.  And just TRY not to have the theme song stuck in your head for the rest of your days!

I heard about Action Movie FX one morning while listening to Bob and Tom.  If you haven’t heard about it, you should definitely check it out.  Stressed out at work?  Film a 5 second video clip and blow up your office building with a missile.  Or demolish it with a falling boulder.  Make your own disaster happen in about 2 minutes.

With my ever-growing love (and fear) of zombies, Z-Day Zombie Apocalypse Survival Simulator was definitely not something I could pass up.  It’s essentially a choose-your-own-adventure story in the form of a graphic novel.  You make choices based on your situation and see if/how long you can survive in a zombie-plagued world.

Next up was ESPN’s Scorecenter.  I HAVE to be able to keep up with sports wherever I am.  This app is perfect for almost any team of most sports you can think of.

Greatest Road might’ve been my greatest find.  As a biker, I’m always on the lookout for places and roads that would be awesome on my motorcycle.  This app gives me an excellent head start.

You can’t go wrong with a good Flashlight app.  I was always using the screen on my old cell phone to light a path in the dark for me to walk.  With the flash capability on the camera phone on my iPhone, I have an actual flashlight in my pocket at all times.  Just be careful not to draw unwanted attention with it.

And to help completely prepare myself, I had to experiment with Zombie Booth.  Know what you and/or your loved ones will look like when the outbreak occurs.  It might even help you disguise yourself if you end up stuck in a tight spot.

I’m still looking for a good guitar app, but these are a few of my favorites for now.  Again, any and all recommendations would be great, so get to typing in the comments section below!

Overall, the faults are far outweighed by the positives.  I’m still learning how to do a lot of things with my phone, but it has already proven to be an invaluable asset…even if it is the first stage of Skynet!

So much for keeping my posts “short and sweet” this year, huh?

Thank you, that is all.

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2 responses to “Tech upgrade – Smarter phone than me!

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