Be Careful How You Turn Off Your Cell

How smart do you have to be to operate one of these things?


Be Careful How You Turn Off Your Cell

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you suddenly lost all the ID-tagged phone numbers from your cell phone? Would you be able to call your nearest relatives, closest friends, or most important work or business contacts? Are you up to blind-call answering a number that comes onto your phone screen like it had a real place on your business agenda for the day? Have ever wanted the answer as to why you no longer need a telephone call secretary to screen and direct your incoming and, sometimes, out going calls? Etc. Etc.Etc.

Believe me. You don’t want to find out the hard way.

Late Thursday night, January 25th, four days ago. I got to find out.

I made a normal “press-the-button” move to shut off my phone before carrying it with me on silence for an overnight recharge at the little station we have set up at home for this purpose. Then, before I could even start the re-charge, I remembered a call I was expecting and turned the very exhausted phone back on to make sure I had not missed it.

A curious thing happened when I looked at the screen. There was nothing there but non-sequitur words and numbers. Nothing remained of my home page or directory of numbers. It was a just a peek before the whole screen went fat black from exhaustion. I plugged in and rechecked it Friday. Now my screen of nonsense was powered up to play all day, if that’s all I needed it to do. I could call out with an accurate manual peck dial. And I could also receive if I took the call as a ringing live mystery. Would it be one of my SABR friends or doctors – or would it be another opportunity to buy tickets to the Police Officers Ball?

What a maddening waste of time? Catching live numbers today is like watching the salmon swim upstream every year. Neither fish nor phone numbers bear identities and – in the swim of things they all sail into our lives looking pretty much the same. – Have you ever tried getting a salmon’s phone number after he or she already has made their jump in your direction?

What did I do?

On Friday, January 26th, I drove over to my local Sprint office and presented the problem to them for whatever help they could offer. We had transferred from Verizon to Sprint in 2011 after several years at the first company using only flip phones – and much more sparingly than now. I’m still using my first android smart phone from the 2011 change, but I did transfer quite a few numbers into the new phone when we made the service switch. Since then, I’ve added a ton. Although I never counted them, I probably carried about 1,000 numbers of all types. And all were lost.

Sprint theorized that I had inadvertently dumped my cell phone directory when I hit one of the other internal finger-pressure buttons on my phone in conjunction with the power-off button. And that may have occurred when I did the sudden move to check for a call number and first noticed the loss.

What did Sprint suggest?

Our Sprint experts said that my phone – and its 7-year collection of numbers – had simply been wiped clean of its memory – returning my phone to the state it was in when it first came out of the box. They suggested I contacted Google to see if there is any way to restore the material. Sounded reasonable. And I decided to wait until today when my more technically son, Casey, would be here to help me pursue the matter.

What Casey learned and corrected today.

Casey was able to work his way through the robots that stand between Google and the customer and actually make human help possible. As a result, it appears that we have been able to restore all the new numbers that have been added since 2011. On the downside, we have been unable to restore all the numbers that were there prior to the creation of my new Gmail account in 2011. Other, more painful, and possibly fruitless things we may try have been suggested by Google, but it may end up easier to just accept the drudgery and restore what can be identified as lost and found over time.

The lessons for us all.

There are too many for one frustration-inspired column, but there are some:

1) The robots cannot recognize or handle the frustration that comes with this kind of user problem. We need to restore human assistance to Internet technology problem-solving.

2) We are wasting money on the material Internet products we buy. You have to wonder how many new printers get sold because there was nothing easy or convenient – especially for seniors –  about getting the old hardware physically moved to someplace it could be easily and fairly adjusted or repaired. It’s simply easier to buy an installed-free new printer until it doesn’t work either. What a waste.

3) I was never told – nor did I read anywhere – that I should be careful about how I held the cellphone when I pushed the power button, on or off. It only had to happen once to establish itself as the biggest “pain in the ankle of all pains in the ankle” I’ve experienced so far on an ordinary Internet day. And I do realize that this little “pain” is neither the biggest problem any of us could ever have – on the Internet or otherwise.

4) The less we work together to fix life’s small annoyances, the easier it becomes to waste our resources individually by buying something that’s new, workable, and immediately more convenient as our choice for the solution.

Phone Numbers Please.

If you have an e-mail or phone number that you think has been lost to me or The Pecan Park Eagle as a result of this little cell phone number loss, please email me your two lost pieces of data at my e-mail address:

Thank you.

Bill McCurdy



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle




One Response to “Be Careful How You Turn Off Your Cell”

  1. materene Says:

    It’s a little late to make a suggestion but for the future you might think about moving all your numbers to cloud storage, like drop box or other storage that is free and vastly larger than just a 1000 phone numbers. Earlier I read an article about this Apple problem where they purposely downloaded system updates to their customers phones and it contained a software downgrade that made the phones much slower than originally released and sold for. It was a devious attempt to force people to buy newer faster models phones and in the end it will cost Apple a fortune paying out the class action lawsuit brought against them. I made a comment on the article simply stating I used a 25 dollar phone and spent 10 dollars a month to call my Mother Sisters and Brother. Nothing more no personal comment to any individual just a tongue in cheek expression. I got several replies implying I was living in the dark ages and one says Hello Jetho is that you. Then I thought about it for a moment and realized I was the guy that was living in the dark ages several thousand dollars richer than the morons that just had to act silly and berate someone for a simple tongue in cheek joke, although I do only spend 10 dollars a month for what I do. heh

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