October 7, 2016 by phicks2012
So, after recently joining the 21st Century by upgrading to a smart phone — thanks to a generous and pushy friend with an aversion to my aging flip phone — I found myself cruising merrily along around the learning curves on my IPhone 4s. Yep, I was shifting the technological gears, and enjoying the trip, when suddenly the ear speaker on my new phone decided to run out of gas.
Automotive imagery aside, voices on the other end of calls suddenly faded to distant murmurs. The ring and alert tones were fine, and the volume was set to mega-maximum, but no matter what I did I couldn’t hold a conversation without 1)earbuds, or 2)activating the speaker and letting six adjacent counties listen in on both sides of my conversations. Bluetooth probably would have worked too, only I misplaced my earpiece long ago after realizing that the batteries only lasted long enough to maybe sing the National Anthem — once.
So I called Apple, and after 15 minutes on hold the tech suggested I reboot the phone. Of course, this terminated the call, and he never called me back the way he promised, but the next call was normal. Subsequent calls were not normal though, and rebooting again didn’t do the trick a second time. Bummer.
Anyhow, I went on-line the next morning and found out that a lot of other people had been in the same boat — and no, I’m not shifting to naval or maritime imagery. The most interesting cure appeared to be (believe it or not) sucking on the speaker in hopes of dislodging anything blocking the mesh. YUMMM! Of course, that didn’t work with mine, so I called Apple again and this time was told to try taking it to an Apple Service center — either that or upgrading to a better IPhone that was still actually under warranty.
What are the chances that every IPhone user in the state lives north of Atlanta? Just checking, because every one of the locations they gave me was over an hour’s drive away, until they got to the bottom of their list and found a local computer store I’d never heard of. Then I was merely left wondering just how dysfunctional their search engine was, since they were checking by zip code.
Figuring that even without a warranty it would be considerably less expensive to fix the existing phone, I found the computer store and let them have a look. Considering that I’d been sent to them by Apple, I figured they could actually repair it — but no. Funny thing, but the parts weren’t available. Good thing I didn’t drive an hour to get to another location, huh? Oh well. Even if they’d been able to get the parts I was told that it would have cost me as much to fix it as I’d be spending to upgrade to a newer model IPhone, so — well, do the math.
So I went to the Cricket store and asked them about upgrading to an IPhone 5s. The newer models like the 6 & 7 were orders of magnitude more expensive, and the 5s at least had OS-8 and could upgrade to OS-10, so that seemed to be a good option (especially since they were having some sort of special offer). Unfortunately, the 5s was not available in the store — only on-line.
Back home again, I signed on to the web site and ordered the phone, but then I realized that I was going to have to get a new phone case and screen protector because the 5s was bigger than the 4S. Go Figure. It also had a different sized charger plug — and here I thought those things were pretty much standardized these days. Silly Me! I really liked the case I had for my 4S, so I figured I’d just get another one like it from the same manufacturer. Sounds simple, right? WRONG.
I found the case on-line on Amazon.com, but every time I tried to check-out the price jumped up from $6.99 to $27.00 and I got an error message telling me that it couldn’t be shipped to my address. WHAT? I mean, the shipper was in TEXAS, not Outer Mongolia! So I called Amazon and we finally figured out that (of course) it was only the “color” I wanted that was a problem. I could get the thing in a virtual plethora of garish color combinations that very probably glowed in the dark and were capable of causing permanent retinal damage, just not in the colors I wanted (black and grey). I settled for black and white — okay, so those are my heraldic colors anyway, and those of my kingdom, so it was probably pre-ordained that I’d wind up with those — but REALLY?
Well, I got the phone, dropped by the Cricket Store and spent an hour maining setting up an ICloud account so that I could transfer my contact list. Then I got home and realized that 1) I couldn’t email pictures to myself, 2) had none of my ITunes transferred, and 3) still needed to upgrade my IOS. The Apple tech this time was very patient, but it took us three hours on the phone top get everything configured and synced with my desktop to get the itunes to work, and the email to jive. Ain’t technology FUN????
On the Up-Side: My new IPhone actually has a warranty, can download useful apps, and can do voice-to-text. Also, it can be used without earbuds, bluetooth, or speaker mode.
So, I’m cruising again. Maybe this time I won’t hit any speed-bumps.