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So I?got this new cell phone...

December 28, 2013
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

Back in the mid to late 1990s I got my first cell phone. I signed up for one at the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth. It was one of those large, bulky numbers where you flipped out the bottom part to talk, and it had an antenna. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to have one, but back then, I couldn't afford the monthly plan. So I dropped having a cell phone altogether.

I didn't have a cell phone for several years after that; probably three or more years after starting at the paper (or more, I'm not sure exactly when I finally caved and got another). It was after getting lost looking for someone I had to interview for a story that I decided to get one. I figured I could get a cell phone for emergencies, and of course, asking people for directions as to where they lived. That's where I discovered TracFone, and I've been with it ever since.

My first TracFone wasn't fancy. I basically used it to make and receive calls. It had some game called Brick Attack that I played maybe a couple of times. It wasn't until later in 2008 that I started using the text message feature. Then both Ross and I got a slider kind of TracFone for $14.99. It had even more features than my previous phone - a camera, access to the Internet, a tip calculator, voice recorder, etc. It did the job, but then TracFone introduced Android phones.

When I first got an email about the Androids, I figured I'll eventually get one, just not right away. Some of the models offered triple the minutes for life when you add an airtime card to your account. Since I was already thinking about totally giving up my landline, I figured one of those would be my best bet.

So Ross got me one of the Androids with the triple minutes for life. It also has some more bells and whistles, including an MP3 player. I was even amused at watching a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" episode on YouTube on my new phone.

Now comes the aggravating part of transferring the minutes and phone number from my old phone to my new one. I went through the online part of the activation process and tried calling the number my instructions told me to complete it. I couldn't get through on Wednesday night. Figuring that I could after Christmas, I tried again. I finally got to where I'm asked which phone number I'm trying to transfer. I must've "fat-fingered" it because I was being told by the computerized voice that it didn't recognize the number and the call was dropped; I still can't finish activating my new Android. Sure a touch screen is neat and all, but my stubby fingers keep hitting the wrong keys, and I think that is what happened with my "almost" attempt to get activated. So I've tried again and again. And I get the message that "we're unable to activate your phone, please try again later" or call my service provider, etc. I was ready to chuck this phone in the snow. And since the changeover process was started, I can't send or receive texts on my old phone (I haven't tried calls, but I'm sure that's moot as well).

On Friday morning, the battery on the Android was low. I tried again to finish the activation process (which involves dialing *22890 and listening for the confirmation) to no avail. This is getting tedious. My old phone doesn't work anymore, and my new one is just one step away from being activated. Well, this won't be the first time I've lived without a cell phone. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon.



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