Even on the frontier, we rely on gadgets

 


 Vexing. That is the best word I could find that describes how irritated I have been lately when all sorts of modern techno-gadgets go on the blink. And after hours of talking to nice folks on the telephone, we finally got some of these devices, at least, back to work.

Most of my career has been in the newspaper business, which involved lots of complicated, expensive machines ranging from fussy cameras up to noisy, rattling presses. Keeping them all going was a constant worry.

Most recently, my Samsung laser printer goes through toner cartridges like I eat popcorn. What is it about these machines that cause them to always be out of toner? Not always easy to fix them and often you find that companies will sell you the wrong toner cartridges. Yikes.

Lately, my iPhone will not send mail. Neither Verizon nor Wyoming.com could solve my problem. It worked fine up until Feb. 27. Now all outgoing mail just goes into an outbox and languishes there.

But it is a brave new world for equipment and we just have to keep slogging along. It is a pain.

However, these gadgets can keep you out of a lawsuit, too, based on an experience I had not long ago.

Wham! My head ached from being slammed into the headrest on my drivers seat.

I had stopped for a red light on Dell Range in Cheyenne and someone had plowed into the back of my car. Looking back, the driver of the other car was obviously upset.  She was gesturing to me – are you injured?

Then the light changed to green and I motioned for her to follow me. We both pulled into a fire station driveway to assess the situation. It was surprising to see no damage to the rear of my car.

The young mother got out of her car and hurried over to me. She was very upset that she had hit me. She had her cell phone in her hand -- more on that later.

A fireman came out from their building and asked what happened and inquired if we were okay.

My injuries were more the shock of surprise. Nothing appeared permanently damaged. Just shook up a little. No, there was no reason to go to the emergency room.

The gal was super nice but asked me again to repeat. “Was I okay? Do I need medical attention?”

“I am fine,” I repeated, realizing that I was talking into her cell phone, rather than to her. She quickly pulled the phone back but kept quizzing me about my health.

And it looked like my car was fine, too. We exchanged names and phone numbers, which have since been misplaced after all these months. But it is still easy to recall how she was actually videotaping my voice and image and what was being said with her cell phone.


Pretty neat, huh?

My assumption is that she called somebody right after the crash and they told her to get my answer on the phone, which she dutifully did.

Can you begrudge her that? Absolutely not. In fact, it was pretty quick thinking. Plus she was obviously contrite about the accident and was very serious about making sure I was okay.

Later when I told this story to some friends, they all came to a conclusion that I totally missed – perhaps she had been talking on her phone when she ran into the back of my car? Might explain a lot. Hmmm

Other tips I could pass along include using your smartphone to take a photo of where you parked your car at a big lot like at an airport or sports parking garage.

Lately, I have been photographing documents and sending them out rather than trying to find a copier.

In business, we have sent many invoices out by smartphone photo, which saves time all around.  We recently emailed in a contract that was just a photo of a signed document.

Some Lander friends were asking me recently if they thought their cell phones would work during their upcoming visit to Cuba.

Cuba?

Now that is a brave new world. I am totally green with envy. These three couples are off to Cuba on some kind of tour.

No, I doubt their cell phones will work. But it sure sounds like a fun experience.

Perhaps the best part of it will be a journey back in time to a place where gadgets are not so

 

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