‘The Brick’ has flashed his fi­nal good­bye af­ter years of ser­vice

Irish Independent - Farming - - ANALYSIS - ANN FITZGER­ALD

MY HUS­BAND Robin re­cently changed his mobile phone. In an era when there are peo­ple who change their mo­biles nearly as often as their socks, this might not seem re­mark­able. But Robin had his phone for over 11 years.

A Sam­sung Galaxy S7 has re­placed his Sam­sung Solid, which, some years ago, was dubbed ‘The Brick’, though this is a pet name to be used only by fam­ily mem­bers and Robin was not im­pressed when the phone shop as­sis­tant had the temer­ity to em­ploy it.

This as­sis­tant vis­i­bly re­coiled in hor­ror at the sight of The Brick and was gob­s­macked when he re­alised that it was opened with a screw­driver (or coin!).

It’s a lit­tle bit sad, re­ally, that The Brick’s time has come to an end, es­pe­cially when its SIM card was re­moved and the screen flashed up “Good­bye”.

It’s been around for much of our life to­gether.

The rub­ber cas­ing had worn off in places, as had some of the colour­ing on the key­pad. The scratches on the sur­faces are like wrin­kles, tes­ta­ment to a happy, pro­duc­tive, pe­riod in our lives.

And, boy, was it sturdy! Robin al­ways car­ries his phone in his chest pocket. It fell out on many oc­ca­sions, with­out ad­verse im­pact. Smart­phones need a cover for the screen, a case for the back and in­sur­ance for ac­ci­dents.

One au­tumn night, The Brick fell out when he was try­ing to fin­ish cut­ting a field of corn. He couldn’t find it in the dark.

He came home for my phone and when he re­turned and di­alled the num­ber, The Brick sang out clearly from his damp muddy bed, “br­rring, br­rring”.

But he had draw­backs — like a tiny mem­ory, which only had room for a hand­ful of pho­tos.

A few months ago, The Brick started to, well, brick it. Robin is not a slave of fash­ion and was con­tent up to then with its per­for­mance. But he is also very aware that smart­phones ac­com­mo­date many use­ful ap­pli­ca­tions for the farmer.

It’s go­ing to take over some of the stuff he cur­rently does on the com­puter.

For ex­am­ple, Robin is go­ing to put on the area of ev­ery field and will be able to use that in con­junc­tion with the GPS on the trac­tor when spread­ing fer­tiliser.

He al­ready has the costly part of the tech­nol­ogy. It won’t be all plain sail­ing, though. One day, he went to take a photo of a heifer and tapped on the cam­era. What he saw on the screen was him­self. So he turned the cam­era. Then he could only see the back of the phone.

Our 13-year-old, Sarah — the des­ig­nated smart­phone in­ter­preter — pointed out that there was a screen icon that flipped the cam­eras.

An­other time, Robin asked her: “Is it a swipe, a slap or a punch to turn off the alarm… be­cause none of them seem to work?”

Robin’s re­placed a work­horse — a steady ro­bust geld­ing that was good at its pri­mary job of mak­ing and re­ceiv­ing calls — for a race­horse, a fine-boned, filly.

She turns heads and makes the heart flut­ter and has the po­ten­tial for far more thrills. Though she’s also costlier to keep and is vul­ner­a­ble to ev­ery­thing from chills and curbs to sore shins.

So wel­come, honey, to the world of the var­i­ous tech anx­i­eties, such loss of Wi-Fi and rapidly fad­ing bat­tery. With the sup­port of your lov­ing fam­ily, I’ve no doubt you will sur­vive it.

When I told Robin what this column was about, he said: “Oh, no, don’t say you’re go­ing to be mak­ing fun of me in the na­tional me­dia. Again.

“At least it won’t in be the week of the Plough­ing,” he added. “Or will it?” he asked. “No,” I as­sured him. He turned to walk out the door.

“Though I sup­pose that does mean your bud­dies will have an­other week to hone their slag­ging,” I said, to his dis­ap­pear­ing back. He kept walk­ing. PS: We’ll both be on the Farm Indo stand on the Tues­day.

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