Saturday 21 September 2019

Frank Coughlan: 'Synced, linked and ready for loud Bowie'


'I can take photos of the grandchild, get football updates, order Indian and play Bowie very loud.' Stock picture
'I can take photos of the grandchild, get football updates, order Indian and play Bowie very loud.' Stock picture
Frank Coughlan

Frank Coughlan

I got a new phone this week. Not because there was the slightest thing wrong with the old one, other than it was beginning to suffer from what might be called creeping techno-lag.

That is, it was either unable or reluctant to do what newer, slimmer, shinier models can do effortlessly and routinely.

The fact none of these new tricks are really worth doing, or I'd ever find any purpose for them, didn't enter the equation at all.

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I was overdue an upgrade and in a world dictated by what you can have rather than what you need, the purchase had a logic of its own.

Still, it was a reluctant transaction because I have no wish to expose myself to new ways of doing things when I've already mastered the basics my way. Life is too short; my patience even shorter. This makes me sound like a curmudgeon, and admittedly I have been known to exhibit certain traits, but everything seems to change so fast and often these days.

Some of that is driven by genuine technological innovation, but more often by the crude demands of rabid consumerism built on the dual creeds of disposability and good old-fashioned greed. It exists therefore I must have.

I chose another HowYa, which Mandarin translates neatly into Huawei, on the basis this would require the least re-tuning, fuss or confusion.

The fact the United States of Trump only recently tried to nobble this corporation, as part of its Machiavellian protectionist trade war with China, was another reason to stay fiercely loyal.

Don't ask me which model because I don't know, but it's neat, slight and zippy with an excellent camera.

The man in the shop quickly and slickly talked me through the switch-over, slipped in the SIM and I was away.

Simple, he said. Easy-peasy, I agreed.

Except not really. When I got home I couldn't find my gallery, texts or WhatsApps. I couldn't open emails or locate contacts. Worse, Spotify appeared to be mute.

I was like a confused old man wandering around streets he no longer recognises, wondering where he'll spend the night. But my youngest, on a brief appearance in the house she still calls home, took pity. With touching patience, which would suggest I must have looked particularly befuddled, Jean de-stressed the situation.

She synced this, downloaded that and moved the other. Then she re-arranged something else and tidied up the whatsits.

This took all of five minutes, including time for stupid questions on my part and patient, if somewhat condescending, answers on hers.

Now I'm connected again to my own little universe. That is I can take photos of the grandchild, get football updates, order Indian and play Bowie very loud.

Simple really. When you know how.

Grant us patience with England's 'ruling' class

One of the more bizarre oddities riding the social media rollercoaster is a viral video of two posh English teenagers from Notting Hill lecturing enslaved Paddy about the tyranny of Brussels and virtues of Brexit and the mother island.

Cynical deep fake or clever parody just to rile us up? No, it seems these girls are real and committed Faragists.

The marble vowels and simpering smiles of the Grant sisters can't camouflage the imbecility of their argument and their grasp of the Irish question is, to put it mildly, a few gunboats short of an empire.

But it is instructive nonetheless because, unschooled as their views are, Beatrice and Alice's autocue patter is reflective of a sort of Englishness that should only still exist in Rudyard Kipling verse.

Give us patience.

Irish Independent

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