If Siri said hello to my parents

My mum recently got a new phone which is exactly the same as mine – a Samsung Galaxy Ace. Well, mine is on the Froyo build and hers is on Gingerbread, which is a newer Android version. I actually noticed the difference in the user interface as soon as I checked out her phone, but I didn’t really give it much thought. Well, duh, the OS versions are different… πŸ™

Anyway, that aside, teaching my mum to use a smartphone after having one with a keypad began horridly and only went downhill from there. She keeps getting stuck. I honestly don’t blame her; she sure knows how to use a touchscreen device (she uses a register at work) but I think that she just struggles getting used to one in which you can scroll and zoom and not just tap imaginary flat buttons. Many times I’ve had to teach my parents how to use some new piece of technology (or even less new, like my dad having trouble with most computers that aren’t his) and I feel a bit sorry for them, but I can’t help but become irritated. Of course, born in this new generation, and having a brother four years younger than me but also tech-savvy – having an immediate interaction with new technology is not really surprising.

It isn’t just parents or any “older” person who struggles, though – for I’ve been through the same states of confusion and worry when I’ve had to deal with a new piece of technology. I think my mum must think, “This phone is smarter than me, I wonder what it’ll do next.” Of course she doesn’t think it’ll make the perfect cup of tea, and for heaven’s sake, if she had an iPhone, she’d be asking Siri to make her coffee all the time – but she still remains in that state most of us are in when we encounter a new device, or even an operating system or, heck, a vehicle. On that note of Siri, by the way, our Samsungs also have the ability to understand our voices and print out in text exactly what we are saying.

For my mum, not so much. A garbled line of “the boy and then merry pool” was the phone’s translation to “Brandon is very rude”. I repeated this statement, with an equal amount of jest, to the phone, and it printed exactly, “Brandon is very rude”. It could be due to the fact that my mum has a slight accent, but let me tell you, she was amused by the phone’s interpretation of her words, and I proceeded to amuse her by beatboxing into the microphone, only to have it print “boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs”.

As I was saying, any new device. My boss is used to using a Mac, so of course when he encountered my highly-customised laptop with touchpad turned off, left handed mouse, RocketDock and just insanity everywhere, he got madly confused. Quite similarly, I was too, when I used his iMac and tried to scroll and it kept scrolling the wrong way. But, neither my boss or myself are “old”, and even the elderly will learn if they are keen enough. Somewhere down the line my mum will learn how to use her phone.

Today though, I simply cannot explain how she recharged her phone credit a month ago and claimed that it worked, when today she found that she didn’t have enough phone credit to call or message anyone. I found that she had in fact not charged her phone credit at all, at which point I requested her credit voucher (I used to get so annoyed that she kept those things, but now I’m thinking, thank goodness she did it just this one time) and tried it myself. She must not have done it correctly the first time because this time it actually recharged.

I have to say, she doesn’t seem all that happy with Optus’ customer service because she was hung up on twice while on the phone. I don’t know – both times, she was in the middle of talking. Her question had been answered, vaguely, and she was just repeating to check… and it was as if the person on the other end was sick of her babbling on or something?

Well, either way, I’m still going to Optus because I like their packages and they can actually give me internet data. 😁

Comments are closed.