‘Smart’ devices mystifying

This will no doubt go down in family history as the "Get Smart" Christmas.

No, it had nothing to do with Don Adams as Agent 86 Maxwell Smart. Though it did have a little in common with his clever shoe phone.

My wife and I got smart phones and my mom got a smart TV this year for Christmas.

I think the gauge of how smart these devices really are lies in just how dumb they made me feel.

My mother and my 78-year-old aunt both had smart phones before I did, so naturally at that point it didn't matter whether or not it was practical — I needed one too. I don't get any more calls now that I have a smart phone, but I do sometimes have trouble answering the ones I do get.

Kamille from the smart phone getting place saw me in the coffee shop a couple days after I started carrying my new phone and asked me if I had figured it all out. I lied and told it was going good. Somehow she knew I hadn't yet developed the romance with the device I had hoped for. At that point I didn't have my account set up and hadn't even downloaded an app.

I've still got a few questions about this Google account stuff that I'll have to go ask Kamille about but I have downloaded a few apps. Before the next church service I had downloaded the Bible and Facebook. I could give people a weather report right from my phone and I had snapped a few photos with the 8 MP camera on the front side of the phone.

I had a little trouble getting my Android phone to talk to my Mac computer at home and download music from my iTunes library. I soon found out they have an app for that too. Soon I was transferring tunes wirelessly.

I was pleased to be able to pretty quickly download photos from my phone to my computer. My previous dumb phone (or would it be kinder to say un-smart phone) would never allow me to do that on the Mac and the photos weren't sharp enough to get excited about anyway.

Setting up mom's new LED smart TV was going pretty slow until we called customer support where it came to a screeching halt. I was gleeful when I found out the tech spoke American but I believe she was probably surfing the Internet on her smart phone during our call because she was no help at all. Her advice, "call the cable guy."

We cast off a few extra cable box parts and got the thing operating finally, though I'm still not sure this smart device is operating up to its full IQ. We did manage to get Netflix up just in time for that online provider's great Christmas Eve crash of 2012.

I really believe I'm going to love having a smart device in my pocket, I think it's all just a matter of my own education and advancement into the technology. I just need to loosen up and try new things.

The other day I found out that strange guitar music I was hearing was the notification tone for text messages. If you sent me a text and didn't get a reply in the last week or so I apologize. I have now set the tone for phone calls to an old-fashion ring and the text message has that same "ding" that my email at work in Outlook 2003 notifies me with.

Sometimes old dogs learn new tricks the hard way.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:


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