I am often teased about my resistance to change, but in fact I’m quite comfortable with it, when it is both necessary and/or beneficial.
Case in point: last week I got sick of my phone performing random changes on me — e.g. switching to “Airplane” mode (a 3-button operation, so not a “fat-finger” or “butt-dial” phenomenon) without my input — and a battery that had been charged t0 100% but had somehow shrunk to less than 50% by the time I got to the supermarket. New Wife was having similar issues to mine — also un-prompted but different in type — and as we’d bought them at the same time some four years ago, we decided to get replacements together over the weekend.
Because I have ZERO tolerance for inanimate objects and even less with technology, we went off to the T-Mobile store at the mall so as to preclude situations like me hurling the new phone against the wall. I had done a little research beforehand and decided on the model already (Motorola 4G something because I don’t trust 5G just yet) and as luck would have it, the store had them in stock — the last two, by the way — and so we sat down and got the friendly young customer service kid (thanks, Carlos) to perform the magic which would transfer the data on the old broken phones over to the new ones. (It says something for the modern generation that he was able to perform said magic on both phones simultaneously without any hassle whatsoever.)
Of course, there was some work left to do — reinstalling the few apps I need to keep my life organized — but that was no problem because I’d done it before with the old phone, so easy job.
Then as I started to familiarize myself with the new phone’s operation, my irritation started its engine and the rev counter began to head towards the red line. For starters, the familiar operation buttons at the bottom of the screen
…had been replaced by the inscrutable
…which requires one to swipe up to go back to the Home screen. The “Back” and “Show Open Programs” buttons? Gone without a trace, sunk quicker than the fucking Bismark. You can show the open programs, but that requires two or three non-intuitive steps to get there, and I still haven’t found a replacement for the Back button.
WHY? What possible user benefit does that change provide?
Next comes the incoming phone call answering screen, changed from:
…with, once again, a single button:
And because I get few phone calls anyway, I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to send the poxy call to Voicemail if I’m busy or don’t recognize the caller.
One again: WHY?
The older screens were both functional, easy to understand and required absolutely no change, nor time spent in learning how to work the fucking things.
I remember back in the day that when buying a new car, learning how to work the thing required about 30 seconds — where’s the indicator lever, where are the light switches, how does the fan/AC work — and you could drive straight out the dealership and carry on with your life.
Now? You need a 30-minute tutorial from the sales rep, and you’d better not lose your instruction manual (which itself requires a tutorial on how to use it, because car manufacturers insist on trying to make a single manual cover all the different models at once, rendering the thing as inscrutable as the Rosetta fucking Stone).
The new phone bullshit is even less justifiable.
I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the new phones use the smaller USB-C plugs, thus rendering all my old backup power cords redundant and requiring the purchase of a few new ones, to drive up the transaction cost.
Technological change is fine, but making it more difficult to operate on the most basic level does nothing but cause unnecessary aggravation.
New Wife locked the patio door before leaving for work so that my new phone wouldn’t turn into a submarine (the pool is but a few yards away from our apartment). She is wise, and knows me well.
The only positive thing about all this is that the new (and larger) phone still fits in my car’s phone holder, so there’s that.