Feb. 9th, 2010

First off, understand that my grandmother is a technophobe.  We've sat through rants about wikipedia (lots), about twitter (more), about anything internet-based.  She still uses the yellow pages exclusively if she needs to find a business nearby.  She has had an email account, under protest, for many years but never checked it.  My grandmother is NOT someone who likes computers, cell phones, or really any technology from about the last 20 years.

Except smartphones.  We gave her a hand-me-down smartphone a few weeks ago, and she *loves* it.  She checks her email.  She uses it to store her important phone numbers, instead of the little piece of paper she's had on her desk for years.  

She keeps asking questions about the phone  (How do I look up an address, or just a street name, on the map?  How do I compose email?)  She *found* a place selling window blinds ALL BY HERSELF in the phone's search function (and then wanted to know how to find it on the map if it didn't have an address listed).  It Just Makes Sense to her, in a way that the computer never did.  She herself told me earlier in the evening that this phone rewards figuring out/learning how to do something.  That she'd always thought it was much too complicated, but that it has completely changed her mind.

I. am. shocked.  I would *never* have predicted that she'd like the thing.  But *she* actually thinks it's far, far simpler to use than her old RAZR. And, mind you, this isn't that paragon of usability and intuitiveness, the iPhone.  It's a G1.  But it has gotten an elderly technophobe onto the Internet for the first time ever.  

I'm telling you, if a smartphone can change my grandmother, these things are going to completely reshape the world.  

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lehser

June 2010

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