On mothers, birthdays and technology

It’s my Mum’s birthday today, so I thought I’d dedicate this post to her – and her iPhone…

Mum has been iPhoned up for just over two years. Yes, I was rather jealous when she acquired it, but could quite help wondering if this was really the right phone for her. Not so much the fact that she doesn’t really listen to music, so the iPod element would go unused, more the fact that its myriad functions might be lost on someone not quite so technologically savvy.

It didn’t take long for my fears to be realised. A few months later I was on holiday in America and keeping my parents informed of my adventures via semi-regular e-mails. One morning, sat at a computer in a hotel in DC, I read an e-mail from my Dad in which he said that he’d read my last e-mail to Mum over the phone as she was away with no internet. Some time later I thought about this and realised that, with an iPhone, reading e-mails was possible virtually anywhere. Once home I asked and, sure enough, she hadn’t got that feature of her new phone up and running yet.

It would be wrong of me to suggest that she can’t use it – she definitely can, unlike my Dad who will talk to us using it, but hands it back at the end of the chat with the words “here you are dear, I never know how to hang up on these things!”. Sure, there are the odd mistakes we all make – yesterday she texted to ask if I wanted salad or sardines for lunch (I deduced she meant sandwiches, given my hatred of fish). She’s got quite a useful array of Apps, from Tune In radio to the English Cricket Board and Irish Weather (perpetually grey cloud and rain, apparently). However, it seems she still has something to learn about the phone’s inbuilt functions.

Last month we had dinner next to St Paul’s. She was staying in Farringdon and wondered how she would get back – so I suggested she look it up on her phone. It seems she wasn’t entirely aware that this was possible, or that while in the map feature, you could use the phone to show exactly where you are. Canny, isn’t it? She was amazed. (So was I, but for entirely different reasons). Talking about this yesterday, it seems Google Maps has become a regularly used tool for navigation – who’d have thought it?

Yesterday brought a new revelation. My sister was telling how, over the weekend, she and her husband had been sat in the beer garden of their local and decided to listen to the News Quiz to drown out the noise that the other locals were making. Mum seemed surprised and asked how they had done this, to which Mim replied that they’d simply played it on her iPhone. Mum wanted to know if they had speakers with them, at which point we realised she had little knowledge of the iPhone’s inbuilt speakers…

I had to demonstrate with this week’s Wittertainment and she was rather impressed. In fact, this could be a revelation – listening to Archers podcasts in the bath, falling asleep to Women’s Hour on iPlayer [actually, iPlayer is something else we really need to convert her to] – all things that make my life much richer.

Happy birthday mother dearest! We only mock you because we love you – and because others mock us for being girls who don’t understand technology properly.

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