Thursday, September 15, 2016

Geezer Meets the Smart Phone

I've been easing myself into the world of smartphones.  Started cheap, with a Lumia 435, relying mostly on my WiFi network but no carrier so no real GPS.  When that phone failed, I jumped on an offer for Google FI, using a Nexus 5X (an offer I wouldn't have taken had I fully understood the terms--did I mention I tend to be cheap). That means I can use its GPS capabilities.  That's become handy in the last few days.

My sister's death meant I inherited a number of paintings and photographs passed on from my aunt and uncle, who worked for the YMCA in China in the 1920's, and who also had inherited tintypes from my grandparents.  Recently I've been contacting people to work on these objects, conservators to restore the paintings and digitally restore the tintypes.  That's led me into the maze of streets in suburban Washington.  Rather than the nice gridwork of DC the inner suburbs inside the Beltway are very confusing, a bunch of cul-de-sacs, really unfamiliar to me, just the sort of situation in which a GPS becomes very valuable.

Naturally at first I didn't try it, it was new, and I had spent years being able to read maps, so who needed it. Being old has impaired my judgment though.  The other day was telling. I thought I knew to take the first turn from I-66 after getting on in Fairfax City.  I did, and found I was totally confused, because the intersections I saw didn't match what was on Google.  (I should have waited and taken the second turn.) In desperation I turned to the GPS function.  Over the next few minutes I learned to accept the GPS voice enough to accept her directions to get back on I-66, and then to get off at the right exit.  Live and learn.

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