This weekend, I’m feeling pretty nostalgic about those old land line Plain Old Telephone System, (POTS) telephones. Not the ones the phone company owned but the ones you could buy at your local store and plug into the wall yourself. Installation consisted of purchase, unplug old and plug in new. Now that is what I call “Plug and Play.” Sweet, simple and done!
Well, the cell phones around here were getting pretty old, so old that they could not update to the latest version of the Android Operating system. As a result many of the apps on the phones began to act funky as they automatically updated to the latest and greatest version. To make matters worse, the cellular carriers are no longer offering to replace the phones after two years of service. The manufacturer came to the rescue by offering a deep discount to update to the latest model. And best of all, the phones could be ordered directly from the manufacturer and could be activated without going to the Wireless Store and having them do it. Easy Peasy!
All I had to do was to back up my old phone to the cloud, turn it off, call an automated number from a different phone, turn on the new one and follow the activation instructions. The instructions said all my apps and data would automatically download and I would be good to go. (Bwahahahaha added for emphasis.)
OK, backup the old phone to the cloud – done. Turn old phone off – done. Call the activation number and start following the instructions – well, not so much. Part of the way through the activation process I get the “blue screen of death” of the Android world in the form of a message saying that there is a problem and that my phone can’t be automatically activated and to call this number.
After 5 minutes of listening to how important my call was and that the next specialist would be with me as soon as he or she became available. I finally spoke to a pleasant lady in a big call center who walked me through the process. But like most tasks involving a computer, there were a lot of missteps, retry’s and waiting around, talking with the specialist about technology and weather. For security reasons, all she could tell me is that she was somewhere in upstate New York. So here weather was a lot cooler than mine. Finally 45 minutes later, my phone was activated.
Notice, I said my phone activated, there was still the issue of all the apps and data being retrieved from my old phone. That would come with the “restore” from the cloud. But first, I had to log into the cloud from my new phone. Hmmm, what was that password anyway? I just used it!
After two more hours and several hundred attempts, my data was retrieved. Well sorta. First of all, the pictures on my phone were not restored. “I’ve got this!” I shouted gleefully as I pulled out my cable and connected my phone to my computer, “I’ll just pull the photos I want from my compute and place them in the DCIM folder on the phone. I swear that I heard “Bwahahahaha” from my phone as the connection was made the window pops up and… What! Where are all the folders on my phone? It’s gonna be a long week, no kidding.
Not only that, but all my apps were not restored from the cloud and had to be restored by hand. Have you any idea how many different passwords that involves. Of course, being a security minded guy that means none of the passwords are alike or simple. I’ve got them locked down pretty well, so well, that I can’t get in myself. I’ve been working with and managing computer systems inside and outside of broadcasting since the mid 70s and I like to think that I am a pretty sophisticated user. If I had a grandchild, I would be ready to hand them my phone and ask them to fix it. Geesh! Ya know, If I could figure out a universal system for cloning a phone I would be a rich man. They can do that on NCIS! Cough it up, Jethro Gibbs, make life better for everyone!
On the other hand, it is so cool to have more computing power in my hand than made the trip to the moon. Sure, it is not as easy as pulling that four pronged plug of a Princess Phone out of the wall and plugging in a new one. It shouldn’t be as hard as completely rewiring a television or radio station, I can still do that with one hand tied behind my back, or can I? Oh MY!