About 20 years ago some of my loving family members gently informed me that I was operating in the technological Stone Age. At the time, I brushed off such well-intentioned remarks because I envisioned myself closer to the forefront of technology. After all, in an era where flip phones were state of the art, I took pride on being a two thumb texter, considering it a challenge as to how fast I could send messages without typos. At work, some of my similar well-meaning colleagues told me I was the “King of the spreadsheets,” yet another badge for technological sophistication. In retrospect however, they were more likely telling me to call more frequently on the right side of my brain for creative thinking relative to problem-solving. Then came my accident, and everything changed.
Flip phones became smart phones, which didn’t seem to hold much value for me since I couldn’t use my hands. I would see people frantically swiping up and down, left and right, madly multitasking on their magical devices. Meanwhile, I plodded along with my flip phone, using it only for its God-given purpose in life – making phone calls! After all, what would Alexander Graham Bell have thought of all this manic activity on his evolutionary creation? Okay, forget that question. He would probably have been amazed, thinking it very cool. On the other hand, I was at least keeping pace on the PC side of things, continuing to crank out word documents, PowerPoint slides, Publisher newsletters, and yes – even spreadsheets. Furthermore, I did so with ever chic assistive technology by way of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Meanwhile, some of the same loving family members who once had accused me of living amongst the technological
Flintstones convinced me to ditch my flip phone, and so began the journey into the deep dark valley that was smart phones. I read and researched everything I could find about the ability of smart phones to work only by voice, and the emergent winner was the Motorola Droid Turbo. My excitement quickly waned when I learned that this was a “one and done” device. After one voice command, that’s it – you could instruct it no further. With sad resignation I gave the phone to my wife and went back to my tried-and-true flip phone. That lasted about one more year until the flip phone died, which left me no choice. I took over the droid and my wife went on to a shiny new version of manic hardware. On the positive side, I could stream music which was a major upgrade. My trustee droid lasted about seven years before it would no longer accept OS updates, so once again I began to research the latest and greatest. This time however, things appeared to be different. There were articles about a particular fruit phone of the Apple variety. Its initial Voice Control feature was an early stab at true accessibility for the motor challenged amongst us. In 2020 however that feature was upgraded in iOS 13 and was purported to be like “Dragon functionality for the phone.” It was too good to be true, I thought. Besides that, iOS 13 appeared to be available only in the higher end, more expensive phones. But then I found the iPhone SE 2020. It didn’t have as many or the fanciest of cameras, but those features would have been lost on me. It did have iOS 13, so I excitedly ordered this new wunderfone. I have not been disappointed.
After the initial set up (which is always a blast!) and a few hours of playing around with it, I can send and receive texts for the first time in 15 years! I can not only stream music, I can also set up my favorites on various musical platforms. Additionally, I can fully surf the web, send/receive/emails and explore all the apps on my screen. I quickly discovered apps are like channels on your cable/satellite or streaming TV platform – many are of dubious value! I can initiate calls with Siri, but alas cannot terminate them unless I am wearing a headphone connected to a sip and puff device. (The one missing feature of true voice control on an iPhone) I had the same issue making and receiving calls while in bed until very recently. In the last few months both Verizon and AT&T have come out with a feature which allows you to make outgoing calls and receive incoming calls all by voice using your smart speaker. (Or smartwatch) Now, I need to find that family member and
see if they need some lessons on the latest technology!
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