New operating system, new pains

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In a fit of insanity exacerbated by desperation, I bought a new smartphone this past weekend. What causes me to doubt my intellectual clarity at the time of purchase was choosing a Samsung phone running the Android operating system instead of a familiar iPhone. What was I thinking?

My old iPhone 5SE just flatout died on Friday morning while I was road-tripping to Kansas City to see family. I quickly learned that traveling without a smartphone was, ahem, challenging to say the least. While my friend’s iPhone was working for maps and such and even played nicely with car’s CarPlay, her phone did not fill the void left by my old phone’s demise. So Friday evening, I visited a local TMoble store and accepted the advice of a smarmy salesman and quickly bought the new phone.

I’d been thinking about moving to an Android phone for some time. Although a faithful Apple user for many years (my first computer was an Apple II in 1983), I have been primarily using cheap Chromebooks for the last few years as my main computing device and have been satisfied with their functionality. Apple products seemed to be ever more expensive, I store no data in Apple’s cloud, and well, just maybe, it was time to shake things up cognitively and learn a new system.

An old Apple rep often used the analogy that changing operating systems in technology was like moving into a new house. For the first few days after moving in, one cannot remember where the light switches are, what cabinet the Scotch tape is in, or whether to turn left or right in the hallway to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It made one wonder what one was thinking buying a new house when the old one was so comfortable! It is only after a few days or weeks that the new homeowner starts to appreciate the extra bedroom, the nicer yard, the greater proximity to work, and other benefits of the new abode. And so it is with a new OS. It takes time and familiarity to re-learn where things are, what the new buttons do, and configure the settings to meet one’s personal preferences.

While I can certainly use the new phone, I am still in the “why in the hell didn’t I stick with my old OS” stage. Besides a lot of time-sucking experimentation, downloading old apps and trying to remember passwords, and silently cursing, I’m slowly working my way through the phone’s user manual and a downloaded copy of Android for Dummies. (I could not bring myself to get Smartphones for Seniors.) I am also getting adjusted to the size of the phone - this one is substantially larger than my old SE. I need a longer thumb if I am to operate it one-handedly as I did with my old one.

For many years, I suffered along with those who I supported at work when the school district would change technology systems - new student information systems, new email programs, even new telephone systems. While no change was made for the sheer annoyance of the staff, it usually had that effect. We encouraged training, patience, and acknowledgement of the benefits of new systems. By and large, the folks with whom I worked were good sports and had bigger worries than complaining about a feature now being under a new menu. But some still gave me the stink eye for months, even years, after the forced transition. Or maybe it was for something else.

I will keep plugging away learning my new phone. I am sure I will come to love it as much as I did my old iPhone. But if I seem cranky right now, you know why.

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