FROM THE TUSTIN NEWS, THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2005


THE DOC IS IN...

Mall crawling until his eyes glazed over

My family and I recently spent a Saturday afternoon at the Main Place Mall. While my wife and daughter went clothes shopping, my fifteen year old granddaughter and I went, as the teenagers call it, “mall crawling.” I’m not much into malls, but what an experience.

Of course my granddaughter took me into a couple of stores that sell merchandise that I never saw as a kid. Good Heavens, how things have changed. But that’s not the point of this story.

After following her around for a while, I made a couple of stops at those center of the isle kiosks that make the mall seem even more crowded and really found out how much I’m behind the times.

My first stop was at the Verizon cellular telephone kiosk. I’ve heard a lot about video phones and text messaging but don’t really know much about how they work. I showed the young man behind the counter my own cellular phone, which immediately labeled me a dinosaur. However, he was very courteous and helpful. “What are video phones,” I questioned and he showed me the latest and newest telephone. It looked very similar to mine but was set up entirely differently. And, of course, I could have one for only a few dollars more than my current phone.

I believe he showed me the LGVX6100 that features a one-megapixel built in camera with flash and digital zoom. I could use it to take pictures and send them to other Verizon users or to an email address as an attachment. It’s sort of a little hand held computer.

Then there is text messaging. The little phone can store up to 499 contacts and would let me send email messages around the world. This isn’t as popular with us Americans as it is with Asians and Europeans. I understand teenagers are growing up with little points on their thumbs that let them send these messages as fast as I type on my computer keyboard.

The Internet, in abbreviated form, also is available on this computer/cellular telephone. My eyes sort of glazed over at this point but still I was amazed. Anyway, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish between our home desktops and the new handheld gadgets. This probably is “convergence.”

Of course, I’m toying with the idea of getting my wife and me new video cellulars so I can go into stores, take pictures of things, then send them to her to find out if that’s what she wants. Then I’ll be “up-to-date” like everyone else in stores and vehicles and not feel like such a dinosaur.

My other stop was at one of the new Dell Computer kiosks. It was crowded with people looking at Dell equipment. There were desktops, laptops and new wide screen television set/computer monitor combinations. Very impressive. There were two or three young salespeople there to demonstrate items, answer questions and help with placing on-line orders. I guess Dell has decided that some people still want to touch and feel the merchandise before buying. I am reading also that these kiosks are increasing business for Dell. Incidentally, having kiosks around means that Dell probably will have to collect sales tax on on-line purchases from California because now they have physical presence here.

Anyway, I was impressed with what I saw and now think I have a better feel for what they call “convergence.”

If you would like to hear more about mall crawling, or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.

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Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: www.arholub.com. This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at: doc@arholub.com.


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