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What a Difference a Day Makes…

by Beth Divine 12 Oct 2018

I dropped my mobile phone yesterday. Flat on the screen. With, as you may have guessed, rather predictable consequences: massive cracking, an ugly inky stain working its way over the whole screen, and the touchscreen no longer responding…

However, it’s not all bad, under my current contract I am due for a renewal, so I toddled off today and signed my life away for another two years – but ended up with a shiny new fancy-schmancy phone for no money upfront, which is the important thing this far away from payday.

Now, of course, I had tons of photos, blogs ideas, and a bunch of other stuff saved into the phone that broke, and over the course of last night, I had more or less come to terms with not being able to retrieve any of them. I plugged my old phone into my computer to see, but would have needed to tap on the screen to confirm that I wanted to send the data to the new phone, which obviously wasn’t going to happen.

But I went in anyway, had a chat about the available models and was persuaded – as happens all too often! – to treat myself to a better model than my old price plan would have allowed. So I signed up and bore my trophy home in pride, left to set it all up myself. The last time I upgraded, the technician did it all for me and was indignant at the mere thought, while this time, the lovely Fatima didn’t even make the offer…

Anyway, to make a long story slightly shorter, I put in the sim card and swapped over my SD card and was preparing to start exploring all the new fancy features on the new phone when my friend, dear old Google chimed in, asking me if I wanted to sync all my apps and so on from my old device. Curious, and very faintly hopeful, I tapped ‘yes’ and watched, utterly entranced as it began to download the 53 apps that I had apparently had on my old phone.

Now, I did lose a few bits and pieces, but most of my stuff was there – up to and including a photo I had just taken the other day.

I am not that old, but I remember the early days of computers when failing to scrupulously save your progress in a document, practically after every sentence, meant that all your hard work was gone, vanished, kaput, lost without any hope of a trace, so it still seems almost miraculous that laptops and PCs will now keep temporary files of documents and spreadsheets that haven’t been deliberately saved.

So the idea that my phone has been carefully stashing all my data in the cloud came as something of a shock, but also a pleasant surprise. Now, I probably did give the appropriate permissions or I agreed when Google told me that it was going to save everything for me – I have friends who very carefully police their online presence and they have lost absolutely everything when they’ve lost or broken phones, so it is not a case of data being stored without my permission, just a case of forgetfulness that I had set it all up.

But the point I wanted to make is this: mobile phones have been around for more than twenty years, going from sturdy bricks that could call and maybe text, to mini computers on which it is possible run a small business, should it so be desired – just imagine the changes that twenty years or so will wreak on the still relatively young virtual reality offering?