Saturday, November 6, 2010

Droids and Other Disasters

You know how sometimes your grandma calls and says something interesting like: "My computer is sick and the pictures on the screen keep jumping around like bunnies." So you go to her house only to find an industrial grade magnet the size of your thigh stuck to the motherboard side of her desktop computer. You take the magnet off, explain that magnets are to computers what the iceberg was to the Titanic, and you all have a laugh about technological shenanigans at family gatherings for years to come. (And yes, that really did happen). Well, that's a bit like how I feel about my new Motorola Droid 2 smart phone.

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know the confusion that occurred. Aside from needing (and lacking) an instruction manual the size of an unabridged dictionary, I immediately had technical difficulties. After turning the phone off Wednesday night, I decided I might need to make some calls on Thursday, or be otherwise connected to the rest of the world. In my opinion, that was not an unreasonable request.

Soon after turning the phone on, I started getting text messages from friends saying that 5 days worth of previous text messages had just been resent. The Droid did this all by itself, thus making me question how smart my phone actually was. I decided there was a good possibility it was inhabited by the Prince of Darkness himself. Friends, especially those who were displeased with the duplicate messages, received another message that I may or may not have had something to do with saying something like: "Since you were one of the lucky recipients of a duplicate text message, congratulations, you have been chosen. Hellfire and Brimstone wishes, from the Prince of Darkness. Future owner of your sooouuuul." (And yes, the Prince of Darkness does sound a little like the Dread Pirate Roberts).

My Droid's evil tendencies prompted me to name it Megatron, but then I remembered I've already cristened a car and other complicated things that piss me off with that name. So, I decided on MM (Mini Megatron) instead. I took MM back to the store and exchanged it. So far the new phone isn't showing signs of possession, but with my genetics (see Mom story below, and Grandma story above), I never rule anything out.

Technology related disasters are not an isolated event in my family. My mom (AKA: The Destroyer) manages to crash her hard drive at least once every 3 months. Soon, Best Buy is going to stop allowing her to buy their product protection plans. I can't begin to fathom the amount of money they're losing. Recently, The Destroyer was asked to teach a Computer Basics class to the good Spanish speaking folk of her little Florida town. Problem number 1: She is The Destroyer. Problem number 2: The Destroyer doesn't speak Spanish. I call bad judgment on the part of the class organizers. Really. Bad. Judgment.

I didn't attend the class since The Destroyer and Grandma were already there, and two generations of catastrophe-causing family members in one location with a bunch of computers seemed like enough of a recipe for the apocolypse. But I hear The Destroyer taught the Spanish people several words they weren't even aware existed. Most of these words ended in the letter "o" (ie. mouseo, keyboardo, Windowso). Next, they'll have her teaching a class on the Droid. Hijinks, hilarity and the possibility of the homeland security threat level sprinting to red will ensue.

For me, I've figured out the basics. Turning the phone on and off is a breeze, and after a brief breakdown and screaming that might have resulted in the neighbors calling animal control, I was able to figure out how to unlock the phone to answer my phone call. And don't even get me started on all the apps! This is information overload I tell you! I can't help but question why one might need Twitter access while, say, taking a bathroom break. I find myself wondering if I really want to be this connected.

My extremely intelligent software architect husband doesn't have this problem. In fact, he's in love. In the last three days, it has become blindingly clear that if he could take his Droid Incredible as a second wife, he would. Perhaps there's even a succubus living inside his phone planting these thoughts in his head. Considering the possession abilities already demonstrated in my Droid, one should definitely not rule this possibility out. Husband spent 6 hours with his phone on Wednesday, another 7 hours last night, and tonight he asked me to use the Droid to map the closest Post Office even though we've lived in this neighborhood and used its Post Office for 5 years.

Despite the possession, my husband's obsession, and a family with anti-technological genetics capable of taking down a small country, I really do think the Droid is handy. Everything is so much more convenient now and I can keep in touch and get my work done without sitting in front of a computer 24 hours a day. If I can pass the learning curve and the Prince of Darkness doesn't make a reappearance, I see a bright future for MM and me.