Monday, 31 May 2010
Hanging on the telephone
"Can you phone me on my mobile?" No explanation, but I did and when he answered the phone his voice had a rather unearthly, far away timbre to it - nothing like his voice only minutes earlier. " I'm talking to you using my in car hands free set - I bought it on line from Amazon - £14.99."
He wasn't in his car testing this new piece of hi- techness, he was at home with the gimzo a few feet from his mobile. " It's very straight forward, just a couple of buttons."
"How do you make out going calls", I asked. "It's mainly for incoming calls, I'm only concerned about incoming calls when I drive." he replied. I'd already sussed out that in his excitement to test out this new box of tricks he'd only a very cursory look at the instructions. "OK, what happens if Gemma (his girl friend) calls but you miss her and want to call her back?" Some hesitation here, he had to change down a gear and slowly negotiate my query hands free.
"It's got voice recognition" "How does that work?" I asked " Do you download the address book from your phone or does it directly read your phone's address book?" There was a discernible touch on the brake pedal as he realised there was an on coming 4X4. "Ah, not sure." "Why don't you phone me using the voice recognition?" I suggested.
A while later a call came on the land line. "I'm going to phone your mobile from my mobile using voice recognition."
So there I was on my land line, listening to him instructing his hand held unit to phone my mobile. "I've trained the system to recognise your name; it very straight forward, "Barry Coidan"..he shouted into the aether, expecting his piece of wizardry to pick up my name and instantaneously connect me to him.
" .. No, I don't want Steve..oh fuck it's dialing it..Stop!!!
"Barry C..o..i..d..a..n .."I don't know a Prudence, OK again "Barry Coidan"....Carphone Warehouse - where did that come from?"
This was comparable to a Bill Gates demonstration of a new piece of Microsoft kit. It only worked if you adjusted to the whims of the software.
His solution was for me to change my name so that his machine would be able to cope. I suggested that he give us all letters. I would be X, Steve, Y and Prudence, whoever she was, "Miss Whiplash". That failed to amuse."I couldn't remember all the codes", he pined.
The next 10 minutes were taken up with expletives, mis-dials and a commentary on the technology. At the end he had decided that for £14.99 you can get a good piece of technology - except for the software - clearly it had been trained in the outer reaches of China in "Linlish".
Me, I can talk. I'm on a monthly plan. 900 minutes and 900 texts.I can't text and last month I had 850 minutes left over from my 900. Who's the sucker?