Survive A Technological Upgrade: Four Essential Rules

Once upon a time, not very long ago, this was the technological wizardry of my dreams: 

Verizon LG model flip phone, circa never mind. Not all of us need camera phones to be happy.

Time moves on.  For my birthday this year:  an iPhone 5.  This is wonderful! Right? …

All heck broke loose.  Many, many things that I thought were more or less fine suddenly needed immediate attention. My brain filled up and froze.

If you’re under thirty you probably haven’t read this far, but if you have, no need to read further.  This is for the really, really tech-shy, who nevertheless want to keep their hand in the game, or at least a pinky finger.


1.  Find a tech savvy friend or loved one willing to volunteer as a resource. Offer them something sublime in return. This must be a person who does not eye-roll and who is willing to answer questions when you’re ready to ask them. An expert can talk themselves blue in the face, but if you don’t know a browser from an operating system, you aren’t going to understand a word. Make a few mistakes in the presence of an understanding person and you get an idea of what the questions are, and are then better equipped to hear answers.

2.  Buy, or check this book out from the library.  Especially for those of us who grew up reading, it is a comfort to hold in your hands and it is full of helpful, understandable information.

Note: I don’t earn money for promoting this book. It really was a life saver.

3. When you sit down to work on whatever part of the upgrade you’re working on, set a timer for one hour.  At the end of the hour, get up, do something else, even if you are about to go out of your mind with frustration.  Everything is easier after your brain has a chance to let things set.  The iPhone, by the way, comes with a nice timer, ready to go.


4.  Have faith.  Everything you need to know is (a) in your friend or loved one’s head; (b) in the Dummies book; or (c) on the Internet.  The trick is finding the right words so the questions make sense to someone who knows the answers. If you find yourself on some obscure page or “forum” where people are throwing around language that puts you to sleep, stop. Take a break, rephrase your question and find a source that makes sense to you.  It’s out there.

I’m not out of the woods, but should have everything figured out by 2014. Hopefully my new iPhone won’t already be an antique.

How about you?  Are you upgrading?  How is it going?


  • Julia – I do believe there are really some things I don’t need to know. I tell myself it’s okay to use a camera for pictures and not an i-phone. Having retired from a career where I was on call 24/7 for 20 yrs, I’m in love with my cheap flip phone. My friends (who were never on call by the way) don’t understand why I don’t keep my cell turned on. Perhaps if I do decide to get an i-phone, you’ll already have yours figured out and you can teach me all I need to know!


    • I doubt it. Flip phones are grand. I’m keeping mine just in case. The iPhone is a jaw-dropping little piece of equipment. Everybody knows that, but no one seems to be awe-struck. We downloaded a ski “app” last weekend, and it tracked and reported back our every move, vertical footage, drew artery-like red lines to show the runs we took, even recorded “jumps” (.7 seconds air time, accidentally of course). Good thing my life is so boring because nothing is secret anymore, not with an iPhone hooking you up to the world.


      • Definitely more fun when it is a toy, not so much an on-call or work tool. 🙂
        There is no “arrival” for “now I got it!”, always more to learn. 🙂


  • I love, love, love my iPhone! (I have the 4s, and can’t wait for the 5 for the ‘bigger’ screen.) I love the the apps I have, most of them free. I discovered anew how much fun it is to take photos. I have a very nice DSLR, but getting to know the various photo apps a horse of a different color entirely.

    That said, I’m still leery about certain privacy issues – I pick and choose what apps I will allow to “locate” me. I don’t use the Cloud for anything but storing music or some photos on. I don’t do banking. I almost always have the ringer off and I only give out my mobile # to family and close friends.

    And I still have my first flip phone, too.


    • Thank you for letting me know that “love” is an emotion I may feel about this mini marvel, sometime. For now, it’s all awe. The camera is pretty impressive, isn’t it? Privacy is an issue I’d rather not think about. Probably not an issue for me, since I’m on Twitter, Facebook, have a Google, Yahoo and Comcast account. If the government wants me, I’m a sitting duck. I’ve joined the hive, for better or for worse. Thanks for visiting Mary.


  • Hi Julia,

    My wife cares for a friend’s two-year old daughter during the week. It’s amazing to see how that child effortlessly plays with an iPhone and iPad. She finds her favorite apps to play games and watches Dora on Netflix. Over the holiday’s, I set-up my Mom’s tablet and walked her though an overview. She was afraid to touch it.

    The Dummies series of books are very helpful. I haven’t seen the iPhone version, but I’ve used others in the past. Most people don’t like manuals, but I always have. Sure they may be too technical at times, but there’s something comforting about being able to search out answers in a book instead of in an online version of the help guide.

    I have an iPhone 4S (my third iPhone) and don’t expect to upgrade anytime soon. I’d like an iPhone 5, of course, but I couldn’t justify the cost of another upgrade. I’m fairly computer savvy, but not with the game apps. When I download a game, I count on my daughter to show me how it’s done. Otherwise, I’d crash into that first wall, or fall off of that first cliff indefinitely.


    • Ha ha! My daughter (junior in college) is a computer science major and knows far more about my iPhone than I do, even though she can’t afford to buy one for herself. In fact, her response to my iPhone was, oh, now you’re one of THOSE people. I keep hoping to become more computer savvy, but have accepted the fact that for some of us, it just takes longer. Determined not to be one of those old ladies that refuses to try. Oh yeah, on the games. I’m hopelessly impatient with the games, never learned to play Wii, probably topped out at Pacman. My husband and I have started a running series of “Words with Friends,” but anything involving shooting and levels, not happening. Pretty sweet about your daughter. Not every Dad lets their kids know they have a leg up on their parents, in any arena.


  • Having never had a flip phone or a mac, and having never bothered to revive my first and last cell phone, all this is already over my head! *grins* but I’m sure you’re right…


  • Right that it’s over my head? Yeah … You’re smart just to step around the whole issue. You seem to be pretty savvy in the website department though!


  • And always over estimate how much time it will take. Transitioning from one Macbook Pro to another tied my computer up for 3-4 days. So many things went wrong. And with the iPhone some of my contacts were lost some not. Nothing every goes smoothly with technology–that was my mantra for days. 😉


    • That’s pretty much the long and short of it. Book more time than you think you’ll need.
      In your case 3 days. In mine 3 weeks. Might be a generational thing.


  • Oh Julia, how are you? Boy, oh boy, do I feel your pain. I still have a Crazer flip phone. Because hubby has been on Workman’s Comp because of his accident, I haven’t had the funds to upgrade to a smartphone. And I’m dreading it, although I know I need to catch up with the rest of the world. He just settled his law suit this week, so I will be looking at an iphone since we have a free upgrade available to us. How is it going thus far? Please tell me you’re getting the hang of it. Do you have an Apple Store nearby? They do give you live classes to teach you how to use your phone girl. That’s what I plan to do. I know, I’m a cheater. But I’ll take any help I can get since I am so technically behind. Hang in there my dear friend! 🙂


  • Almost there. Decided to read the iPhone for Dummies from the beginning rather than just jumping in here and there, and am finding out all kinds of great stuff. A class would be good, but so far my husband has been a good sport about steering me right when I go astray and start huffing. Hurray! Suit settled at last! Hope your dear one is recovering well and that this spring is the sweetest ever.


  • My husband has an iPhone. He always teases me that I’m jealous. I’m really not. I have an android with which I’m very happy. The learning curve wasn’t too bad, but my iPad – never used the thing. Found it too much of a pain. My kids zip all over the place on theirs. My husband took over mine since I never use it. There are a lot of YouTube tutorials that can help in these areas, if you have the time. I need to find more time in my schedule. You’re lucky to have help so close to you.
    I forgot to mention that the dress in blue is very cute!


    • Dress in blue? Is WordPress sending ads I don’t know about? Funny about your iPad. We talked about iPad vs. smart phone, and went for the phone. Glad to know that it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for everyone. You’re right about the tutorials. Probably worth taking the time, but so hard to make myself do it. I’m working my way through the Dummies book. Hopefully that will be enough.


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