Sunday, November 14, 2010

Electronics, Part 2

On a more positive note than Part 1 is that I finally got a smartphone. It's not like I was just itching to get one for the longest time, I actually didn't feel I needed one until recently. What I had gotten by with was a simple phone, which most of the time was off, and some of the time wasn't even with me. The other part was having a beeper, yes the age-old beeper.

The reason for this was that, as I go through my day, I do not want to spend time answering the phone, to get messages, to answer questions about something or other. Even though some people had my cell number, it generally didn't do them any good, since I might not get a voice mail message for a week or two. Many doctors go on and on about not wanting patients to have their cellphones on when they're being seen, but at the same time, I've seen doctors interrupt conversations with patients to answer their phones.

Thus the beeper. Sends me a passive message, which might be about needing to call, but mostly not, but at any rate there isn't this expectation that I, personally, will be available to talk 24/7. The only bad thing about the beeper was the sound, which could be changed to one thing or another, but what couldn't be changed was the volume. The basic volume was Ok most of the time, but in a quiet room as you're resting, in the middle of the night sleeping, it was very annoying.

What finally happened was that, as part of the new world order of our group being bought up by the hospital, they agreed to continue our phone and beeper contracts until they were up, after which they would pay me $50 per month to get "whatever I wanted." There was no way that I was going to get a phone and beeper service, and hard to imagine I could pay only $50 in the process, so time to move on.

I had plenty of time to wait, see what's new with phones, with services. I had thought that surely I would want something with a keyboard, such as a Blackberry. But then there were iPhones, and later Android phones, which at first seemed not so good imitations of iPhones. But I'm not a fan of Apple and their business model, so I waited.

And then it becomes clear that the Android OS is rapidly evolving, and with the competition heating up between hardware manufacturers, things are getting better. Then this year as the switch comes nearer, Samsung comes out with their Galaxy S phones, and now I can see some sense in it.

Even so, I waited until I could figure out the transition from beeper-phone to smartphone. Finally I figure it out. I had already been having my office send an email about messages in addition to pages on the beeper, since there are missed pages, and missed pages are just missed.

The answer is smartphone and email, having a dedicated address for this phone, and dedicated just to office/answering service messages. Dedicated to keep the noise level down, noise being spam, and unimportant messages. And thankfully, when the email comes in, my phone chirps, just once, and I have control over the volume -- perfect!

It's been a little over a month now, and it's going well. I hadn't realized that my answering service could email as opposed to call or page (but they won't do more than one kind at a time), so that came as a great asset here. Meanwhile, I have gotten more familiar with other things like Epocrates, famous in the ranks of smartphone users. I'm also able to take advantage of other things, like the BMI calculator on my website.

The next thing I want to do is decide how to cut back on services. I started out with unlimited internet, but it's already clear I don't need that much, so we'll see.

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