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My week with a dumb phone

September 4, 2014 - Art Smith
About a week ago the screen on my iPhone failed, thereby making the device nearly useless. It would be a week before the unit could be replaced and it was during that week that I got to experience once again, what life was like before smart phones came along.

The phone still worked, the screen was just dark, which made making and receiving calls a little bit comical.

You answer a call on an iPhone by sliding an onscreen bar to the right. It's surprisingly hard to find when you can't see the bar, which resulted with me clawing at the screen like Pavlov's dog every time the device would ring. It worked OK, of course without the screen; I didn't have a clue who was calling me.

Placing a call was an entirely different manner. Without the screen you cannot see the keypad or your list of contacts. I resorted to having Siri, the iPhone's digital assistant, place the calls for me. It worked for the most part.

When I get a text, the phone lets me know with a unique sound. Without the screen though, I couldn't read it. Siri read a couple for me, the rest I just waited until I was at my computer to read.

I use my phone for a lot of other things, including taking photos. Fortunately I was able to download all the photos to a computer, although I thought I was doomed when it told me to approve the transfer by clicking on the approve button on the iPhone. Basically I pressed every part of the screen until the download began.

I also use the phone as my alarm clock, waking up each morning to "Time" by Pink Floyd. My iPad filled in for the iPhone for the week, making it one of the largest alarm clocks I've used.

While downloading the photos, I also backed up the rest of the phone. When the replacement arrived it took just a few minutes for everything to transfer to the new phone and render the old one useless.

It's now in the back of a desk drawer joining the Palm Pilots, Treos and Blackberries that died years ago. It's remarkable how quickly we become dependent on our digital devices, remember though, they can die in the blink of an eye. Backing them up is easy if you do it on a regular basis and is something many don't think about doing until it is too late.

No matter what make of phone you use, there is likely a way to backup your data, research how to do it is the smart thing to do before your phone just turns into nothing more than a costly paper weight.


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