Peter Bromhead: Birthday greetings

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Cartoon / Peter Bromhead
Cartoon / Peter Bromhead

Once again I'm struggling to master a cyber-communication device, having acquired a new mobile phone as part of a marketing exercise that involves drawing cartoons on a tablet screen.

My poor old iPhone is now edging its way towards a storage bin, forlornly labelled "The White Elephants' Graveyard".

It'll be joining a tangled mess of cables, chargers, ancient flip-lid phones and a bevy of museum pieces such as Apple's Newton and brick mobiles - all now useless relics of past communication.

My latest gizmo, a Galaxy Notebook 2, has a viewing area the length of a Kindle screen and is only a few centimetres narrower, suggesting a comfortable compromise for viewing books, newspapers or magazines via a mobile.

Even my faithful iPad seems superfluous.

Friends seem slightly dismayed that I have so easily abandoned my loyalty to Apple, but with electronics, as with my eclectic taste in automobiles, I'm a complete harlot, easily beguiled and led astray by any brand.

As usual, there are irritations with the applications associated with anything new - even those supposedly bristling with advanced Android technology. For example, I cannot download my annual subscription to one of the world's more intelligent newspapers, the European edition of the International Herald Tribune, which is mildly frustrating and suggests my iPad may yet escape the elephant's bone-yard.

I'm also somewhat vexed that I've carelessly allowed Facebook to worm itself into the device by notifying me with a pop-up window that "a friend" had a personal message for me. Cynical about cyber-friends, I curiously followed the trail, agreeing to Facebook's conditions to join up and receive the message.

At long last I found the notification, which as expected, turned out to be meaningless twaddle from someone totally beyond any recollection.

Not a big deal - until a temple bell on the mobile gave me an unexpected reminder about some long-forgotten newspaper hack's birthday.

I discovered that having let Facebook in through the front door, the application had insidiously flooded my electronic diary with all the birthday details of my supposed coterie of past friends, apparently collected from a historic Facebook account.

Birthdays that really matter, such as those of the wife and kids, are not included. However, I suppose sucking up to various media editors with a birthday greeting from yet another mindless cyber-list, complete with a tinkling temple bell reminder, won't do my haphazard media career any harm. Lucky me, lucky them.

- NZ Herald

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