NEW PHONE

You need a password to read this…

phoneAh technology! The very word makes me get hot and bothered as my mum used to say. To start with, my illustrious friends Stuart and Keith attempted the impossible, and tried to introduce me to the wonders of technology. Up until then I could understand the workings of a coat hanger and just about record something on a video machine. Well sometimes. The first lucky girl to become my wife had a great admiration for the gritty perfectly acted intelligently scripted mind shatteringly complex plotting and general state of the art entertainment that was Home and Away- and I would join her every evening at 6.30, glass of wine in hand, to catch up with the doings in Summer Bay. On one occasion we were off to Barbados for three weeks, safe in the knowledge that I had set up the video thingy to record every earth shattering moment of this intense drama. Sadly I hadn’t taken British summertime into consideration, and we came back to fifteen episodes of – oh I don’t know – something else. This tragedy still brings a lump to my throat.

But I digress. Let’s now cut to my early adventures with computers and puzzling over (as I still do) how they work, and why should they work at all. Stuart chose my first laptop for me, and soon had me sending emails and staring at my early website, with its handful of cartoons and a choice of only about three typefaces to make it look nice.

Then Keith took over. A genius I still see frequently, who is always there if I have a problem (of the computer sort I mean. He can’t cure rashes as far as I know.) he can even sort things remotely, which blows me away.

And when he’s not available, and something goes tits up as the saying goes, I get irritable, hot, and on the verge of hurling the bloody thing out of the window. Teddy being thrown out of the pram. I finally find him and within minutes I am in charge of my technological life again.

Onwards. I changed my cuddly little iPhone 5 for an iPhone 6S the other day. Now if you have a mobile phone, and I’ve heard that a lot of people do, it’s no longer a case of keeping it charged and making phone calls. It’s taking a degree in electronics, and being expected to understand every instructive reference. Loads of different codes, reference numbers and email addresses come up, with the phone refusing to do anything until all questions are answered to this little swine of a machine’s full satisfaction. Aaaaaaaaaaaagh! (Sorry, I felt the dialogue needed one of those there.)

The very kind, friendly and capable guys at the O2 shop helped me (all right they did it) to transfer all my ‘data’ from my sweet little old phone to the scary new one. All fine apart from half a dozen things, all of which involved … wait for it… passwords.

Life used to be so simple then (or has time rewritten every line) when you had a password. Mine was a special date. Now I have a two page printout of them, all cunningly disguised so the bad people can’t infiltrate my photos, phone numbers and trite writings. And this list is also on my iPad (don’t start me on that) so I have to have that with me to access what I need on my phone – because if I leave the thing I’m trying to do, the chances are I won’t find it again. Know what I mean?

So I have about 2000 passwords if you include all the variables, and if my new phone asks politely what my password is before I can get on to YouTube for example, I have to get irritable and do that getting hot thing (or ring Keith) before I can solve it.

The phone has a fantastic camera which is handy when my own fantastic camera is in a drawer somewhere at the very moment I want to take yet another photo of Jamie in a sports kit. And those photos can easily be transferred to someone else’s phone if you press AirDrop properly. We were having dinner in Spain once and Sam realised he could send a picture to a lady who was sitting a few tables away. I suggested he should go to the loo, take a photo of his bum, and AirDrop it to her. He declined because he’s more sensible than me.

Anyway, everything is working on my new glitzy phone, all is in order and, guess what…it does everything the old one does. Apart from the fact that I now have a tendency to polish its screen whenever I look at it. That will pass, as the novelty of a new gadget always does, and I will get another new one, which will probably have a batch of fab new features like – sending out a high pitched electronic beep that will shatter my wine glass when it thinks I’ve had enough, or fly up to my roof to take panoramic shots of our lovely home, or leap out of my hand in hot pursuit of a burglar who’s tried to pinch it, stunning him long enough for me to catch up, press the built-in panic button, and summon the police to the scene of the crime. After that it will call on its new app to award itself a medal for bravery. Or it could produce a sunny day for whenever the village fete happens to be on. By this time the nice people at Apple will have totally forgotten that first and foremost it was meant to be a phone, and leave that facility out completely.

So there we are. I could have just said “I’ve got a new phone” but that sort of brevity has never been my style. Ask anybody.