Wednesday, December 10, 2008

COLUMN: Treo


Bad news. It appears that I'm facing a crisis. It's a personal and secret shame, but I'm afraid it's true: I'm no longer at the cutting edge forefront of modern technology.

Gadgets, gizmos, and grossly overpriced toys are clearly the best measure of a man's worth, and I've strived to remain as high up that ladder as my paychecks allow. Sadly, though, there comes a time when even the most zealous of gadget-hounds has to stop and realize that his life is lacking.

Specifically, it is lacking an iPhone.

I want one soooo bad. Foot-stomping, pouting kinda bad. Especially right now, for I am trapped via contract for at least five more months to what I have come to call Eddie the Wonder Phone.

I really liked my old cell phone. Its life, however, was extinguished by a girl who decided that the best place to set her drink would be all over my lap.

A sad loss, aye. But a chance for me to step up my game. At the store, I was immediately drawn to the phattest (or fattest, as both apply) and most technologically intense phone in the joint -- a Palm Treo. It had a shiny keyboard, a huge screen, and a magnificent price tag. This was no sissy phone. This was a phone that clearly said, "Hold me and be a man." At the time, I even wrote a column touting its virtues.

Then, well, I turned it on. It seems that my over-priced bundle of joy was, shall we politely say, quirky.

One of the primary reasons I opted for the Treo was its ability to plug into a laptop and serve as a wireless modem. A cool feature for an on-the-go newspaper professional, no? Too bad no-one knows how it works. I got my little cord, installed the software, plugged it in, and... nothing.

After playing around with it to no avail, I took the entire ensemble to the phone store and said, "HELP!" Their response? "Umm, we dunno how to do that. You need to call Palm corporate. Here's the 800 number." Nifty. Good to know there's a fleet of trained salespeople who are, apparantly, trained in SELLING their product but not operating it.

Still, I went home and called the number. I explained the problem in detail and this was what I got:

"Sir, is your phone currently plugged in to your laptop?"

"Umm, no, my phone is currently in my hand allowing me to speak to you."

"Well, sir, you're going to have to plug the phone in to the laptop and call me back."

"Umm, and how do I call you back if the phone's plugged in to the laptop?"

"You'll have to call me from another phone."

"So in order to fix my Palm Treo, I need to buy ANOTHER Palm Treo?"

This went on until I gave up and cancelled that part of my service.

But that was only the start of Eddie the Wonder Phone's charms. He also comes stocked with software like Word and Excel -- neither of which I've opened in the year and a half I've owned the thing. Strangely, it turns out that I've yet to experience the sort of on-the-go accounting and/or word processing emergency I had imagined Eddie to be necessary for. And if I ever found myself in a scenario where I'm walking down the street and suddenly need to balance a spreadsheet, only a trained surgeon could access the microscopic keys on Eddie's keyboard. I can barely manage typing a cohesive text message as is. If your phone ever says "DDUDEE, CVALLK ME," you'll know it's from me.

Eddie DOES have an additional feature not specified in the sales pitch, though, and it's rather exciting. It turns out that my phone has the stunning ability to unlock itself and call friends, family, and random numbers from inside my pants pocket. I learned this the day it dialed directory assistance 17 times unaided. And the time my slacks dialed 911. And from the many friends no longer speaking to me because I've called them 8 times in a row at 3 a.m.

Once, as I walking into work, from the bowels of my pants pocket, Eddie managed to unlock itself, dial my parents, AND turn on the speakerphone all at once. If you've ever thought your life required therapy, try hearing the voice of your mother spontaneously erupting from your crotch. "SHANE? SHANE MICHAEL! ARE YOU PLAYING GAMES AGAIN? ANSWER ME!" And I wonder why my relationships fail.

Meanwhile, my friends now have iPhones. iPhones don't have Excel or Word, and they don't call your mom from your nether-regions. Instead, iPhones have software you can install that turns the screen blue and makes swoosh noises when you wave it around like a lightsaber. Clearly the phone for me. There's even a program for the iPhone that can instantly identify any song playing on any nearby radio. That's the coolest thing, well, ever.

Yet I wait. Five months remain on my contract with Eddie, and I don't want to pay the penalty charges for early termination. And of course, if I finally DO get a chance to upgrade, by the time I get home from the store, they'll have launched iPhone 2010, rendering mine instantly obsolete.

All I know is that I'm iRate with Eddie the Wonder Phone, and our time together is nearing its end. And if my pelvis ever calls you up, I'm truly, truly sorry.

1 comment:

tidoubleguher said...

LMAO!!! It's been a while since I've laughed so hard, I've had tears in my eyes. Sadly, I can say that I've had my phone dial my mom and friends more than once. Fortunately, it's never turned on the speakerphone and spoke to me through my pants.

I want an iPhone too... but the cost of services that go with it aren't pretty. Still a girl can dream...