Tech Vantage

ee“That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind.”

I was today reminded about Neil Armstrong’s famous first words when he set foot on the moon in July 1969 after a friend convinced himself to invest in the latest Samsung smart phone. Not that he is the first person to do that, for him it was a “leap” to the quintessential from the ancient black and white screen Nokia he had used for the last decade or more.

While he had threatened to do that for several months now, I never thought he would take the plunge – that is until this morning, when he said he wanted one before the end of the day. And, yes, there I was, his “tech guru”, by his side when both of us travelled to the City Centre and explored various models before settling on one.

And while we were at it, he pledged he would not discard the relic he carried and keep it as his second phone “just in case.”

I can understand his skepticism. After all, we need the phone mainly to make and receive calls, perhaps send a few text messages and keep in touch with friends and family. The $10 phone we now call a “relic” does that, so does the $800 Samsung. However, over time, we have created complications for ourselves like messaging and calling tools, mobile Internet and constant access to work and private emails. And we keep looking at and fiddling with our phones as if a moment without doing so would mean the end of the world.rr

I graduated to a smart phone several years ago and started using the now out of favour BlackBerry device when it first became available. Soon I switched to an Android and, after a brief honeymoon with Apple, switched back to Android (after another short Windows stint lasting only a couple of weeks). I am what my colleagues and peers say the “ultimate techie” who owns a new product as soon as it becomes available.

I have tried to keep up with that image (but it has now become unaffordable) so have “diversified” into giving others advice on what they should buy and use, and fulfill my own “tech desires”.

Technology aside, all these fancy devices are extremely fragile. I should know, having shattered a couple (at substantial cost) as they slipped out of my hands and fell on the floor. But, nevertheless, I have stuck to them because, as they say, it’s impossible to get back in time.

Coming back to today, I got a rather frantic call late in the evening from the “smartie” who said he was fiddling with the phone and realized his device had no key to put the @ sign or even the “.  I could hear the gasp of relief at the other end when I told him how to get there.

And then he said he needed to sit with me to configure “everything.”

After all, he confessed, this procurement was a “quantum leap” from the dark ages to a high-tech future!

And he needed to learn the ropes so he could surprise (read shock) his grown up children as he travels home to India in the coming week!

Well, sir, you are in the right company. The “M” Company!

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