Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

Smartphones: blessing or curse?

Electicity pylons along the River Aare

One day my son paid us a visit.

“Look dad, I have got a new phone.” Of course, my son would not say “look mum” in this case, as mum was still happy with her hand-me-down mobile phone, the third in a row of hand-me-downs from dad.

“I thought you had an iPhone” answered dad.

“No, not any more, I did not like the typing pad. I now have an Android.”

Listening to this conversation I had to look at my son carefully. No, he did not resemble ET. He had an Android telephone. My son continued.

“Hey dad, have you seen this app, it’s free?”

I was now completely lost. They were speaking a foreign language which I had not yet learnt. They have apps and androids. Their telephones did not ring any more, or play a simple tune, they spoke, they vibrated, they hummed and buzzed. They were alive.

I was on a learning curve at the time, although I did not dare to intervene in this hyper-technical conversation between two communication experts. I decided to wait for a quiet moment with dad or son to ask my silly questions.

In the meanwhile I spared a few thoughts for the senior members of the human society. How do they find their way in this new system? I do not think they do, unless they have telecommunication experts in the family, as I do. Mr. Swiss is quite good at explaining, he knows just how it all works. Unfortunately he is more interested in showing me what he knows than how it all works. He explains it all with the mobile in his hand at a distance (I am not allowed to touch it) and this all in our house language of Swiss German. I suppose it is called distance learning.

Now and again I travel into town by our local train. On the return journey from the main station, I might have to wait, so I take a seat. The seat is often shared with members of the younger generation, teenagers taking the train home after school. In my younger years we would have a conversation talking about newest fashions or music. This is a thing of the past. A few of these younger commuters are sort of swaying to the music they hear through the ear plug attached to their cell phone. Those not listening are looking at their smartphone. Some are flicking over pages from Internet showing a selection of newest fashion models, perhaps they have logged into their Facebook side, or perhaps they are talking with a colleague per telephone, of course with live visual communication.

One day, my hand-me-down normal average mobile telephone was broken. It was not working. “No problem” said Mr. Swiss and the worse happened, he had bought a new iPhone of the newer generation and gave me is older iPhone.

“Ah” I said.

“You can have it, it is quite easy to operate. Look”. I did not dare to interrupt and after about half an hour he found I now knew how it worked. To be quite honest, I found it quite a good idea. I saw myself waiting for the train and doing what the others did. I now belonged; I was no longer an outsider. I could play with my touch screen, even surf and write messages. Of course, I had to learn all this.

It was then that I received an e-mail from the Swiss Telecommunications congratulating me on my new phone (they already knew?) and telling me that I would have to pay more for this super modern new service. I could discuss with them online, or pay a visit to their local shop. Mr. Swiss told me it would cost more, although he had the minimum. He was not the surfer type with the phone. He actually used it to call people and receive calls.

The next day armed with my new hand-me-down super-duper iPhone (type 3) I paid a visit to the office in town. After a conversation with the young man I decided why be satisfied with a hand-me-down type 3, when for an all-inclusive price I could have it all. Free local telephone calls, free surfing and tons of apps – no problem. I now belonged, I was in the smartphone telecommunications network. Naturally a type 3 iPhone was no longer what I wanted, so I organised the type 4. A type 5 is now available, but I do not like the shape, so at the moment I remain with type 4.

I returned home and Mr. Swiss asked how it went.

“You can have your hand-me-down type 3, I now have a type 4.”

There were a few moments of speechlessness and then the technical questions began. Of course my capacity for loading photos was not so much as Mr. Swiss I did not even think of asking at the shop, but no problem. I have all my photos in Flickr. Flickr have an app, just upload it onto the phone. I do not take so many photos with my phone, as I always take my camera when I go anywhere.

Last week-end my son visited again with another new Android phone. Each time I see him he has a new phone. Now I could join in the conversation, although I actually started the conversation.

“What is the difference between the Android and the iPhone” was my super intelligent question. Before Mr. Swiss could begin to answer, my son filled me in on the details. It is a matter of using iTunes/Apple. My son uses Google on his Android. It seems I could import all my contacts from Facebook into an Android: with Apple that it not possible. I have approximately 900 contacts in Facebook and only really know only about 10% personally. I decided this would not be an advantage. After further discussion, I remain with my iPhone 4.

So, have you noticed? I can now discuss like all the in people that have a smartphone. In the meanwhile I have got myself a mini iPad. I have become an iPerson. I even now play online games on my iPhone while waiting for the local train. I belong.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

Daily Prompt: Goals

When you started your blog, did you set any goals? Have you achieved them? Have they changed at all?


Van der Sar ready for action

Did someone mention goals? Now here is my all-time favourite goalie, the Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Saar in goal for Manchester Utd. I took the photo from the TV, that is why the quality is not so good. The match was Manchester Utd. against Chelsea in the UEFA Cup Final 2008. Manchester won, but it was penalties at the end. With such a perfect goalie of course they won.

This was a few years ago, and Van der Saar is no longer the young active goalie he was, but you must admit he is a good looker.

I am sure he was glad that his team scored enough goals, but I have scored enough in my blogging history? To be quite honest I never had any goals. I started blogging about ten years ago and I did not even know what I was doing. It reminded me of school. The teacher would give you a subject and you wrote an essay. Sometimes the subjects were boring, sometimes they were ok, and if you were in the right mood you even got somewhere with it. I did have two essays in print in our school magazine, and still have the original magazines today.

Over the years you had a family, went to work and there was really no time for blogging. I do not even think that the word existed as such when my children were between nappies and doing homework. I actually only really discovered blogging through learning the purpose of a computer. Mr. Swiss decided we must have an e-mail address. I did not even want one, I was too busy with the housework. I think we must have been one of the first to have a .com or whatever. Years go by, and you start to think “what can I do with my computer?”  Mr. Swiss and I both used the computer daily when at work, but we also had a private use.  Mr. Swiss had long discovered ipods and music downloads and somewhere along the line I even did a web assistant course, and had two web sites going: tempo passati, too much work and stress.

In between I started to blog. I did not really know what I was doing, but decided to tell the world what is happening in my insignificant life. I was still a working woman and even discovered writing challenges and photo challenges.

I still did not have any goals, and today I am also goalless. I just blog. Now and again you can run out of ideas, but we have things called “Daily Prompt” which feeds you with subjects to blog about. The nice thing about the Daily Prompt is that you can illustrate it and twist it according to your own wishes, or?

So to answer the question, I did not set any goals (too much stress), in which case I had nothing to achieve (except for showing a photo of my favourite goal keeper) and nothing could really change as there were not any goals in the first place.

Blogging is for me a fun thing, not a serious chance to become a discovered author (50 Shades of Blogging was never my thing). If I write a story it is because I have an idea. I do not make charts with notes on how to write, it just flows from my greying brain cells (I have even more than 50). My camera is always with me, ready to attack an unknowing subject. That is when Mr. Swiss disappears into another corner, away from me. I think he is worried that I might get arrested for being a paparazzi in the local supermarket.

So let us blog away: forget the housework, washing, ironing and cooking. It is not an easy life, I had to clean the kitchen and clear a few items of ironing before I sat down to this blog. I sometimes wonder how the well-known female authors manage to write their books. Do they have paid servants, or do they just leave everything and do a quick dust/hoover once a week. I have often wondered about this. Does J.R. Rowling with Harry Potter or E.L. James with her 50 Shades live in chaos? I know I would if I just blogged my day away.

Daily Prompt: Goals