Earlier this year MCP and I got our first "smart phones". It was his first ever mobile phone, and my third. I got my first when I moved to the country and was worried about my 1980 Datsun breaking down and stranding me in the middle of Nowhere (Nowhere is a big place in Australia). I got my second in the US as a stranger in a strange land, and used it so infrequently that my $20-a-quarter flat-fee service accumulated to over $200 that's still sitting in my US account.
I love reading about new technology, and I love inventing new technology for my stories. What my mobile phone has taught me is that I've fallen years behind in the actual devices people are using today. Perhaps a lot of X-Gens feel that way about technology in general, but I'll bet most of them know how to Google on their mobile phones. Not me. I had to post endless questions on geek forums to learn how, and it still only works intermittently. Today I learned there's a difference between a widget and an app. I don't know what the difference is, mind you.
In 1983, my siblings and I bought a Commodore 64 computer for $600. It had a no floppy drive (we used a tape deck to load programs), no monitor (we used the TV) and no mouse. Back then I was a tech Jedi master! I could write Basic programs that simulated human conversation and played cricket. (I sense you are impressed.) Over the next 15 years I kept up with all the latest computers, graduating to an Amiga and then a PC. I used Macs at work. I could do anything! In the office I became the go-to person for Microsoft Word and Access questions. Once I got online in the mid-90s I learned everything there was to know about writing HTML web pages and image-editing. I used a dozen different graphics, desktop-publishing and book-keeping programs with ease.
Now... I can't keep up. Not even close. My PC is 7 years old and I'm still on Windows XP (which came out in 2001). I know no more about web pages than I knew in 1997. My graphics editing program of choice puts out a new version every year and I'm still using the same version I had 12 years ago. I haven't played a computer game since Sim City 3. Half the time I screw up the TV programming on my DVR because I can't figure out the menus. I gave up on my MP3 player because I don't know how to make a song list.
And I still think it's outrageous that I pay $30 a month - cheapest plan I could find - for a phone that I use once a week to text MCP to ask what time he'll be home so I can start dinner.