On the whole, I like modern technology. Some of it, anyway. Kitchen gadgets make cooking and baking so much easier and more efficient than in the past. Digital cameras are a great improvement, in my view, on the kind with film which had to be processed, and I love being able to make photobooks after scanning old negatives. My slim, sturdy photobooks replace the old, wide albums with faded prints, some of which have started falling out.
I am also very thankful to be able to have good video communication with my sons and grandchildren in the UK, particularly during this pandemic when there's no chance to visit each other. And after being dragged rather reluctantly into the smartphone world, I have to admit I like having a phone that can connect to the Internet, allowing me to use WhatsApp, and to check email, news sites or Facebook quickly when my computer isn't on.
There are many other advantages to modern technology, most of which I take for granted. And while I'm no great whizz at technology - not compared with my close family members, anyway - I can mostly get things to work fairly easily. I sometimes feel as if I'm pushing the boundaries of my knowledge, but that's not a bad thing.
However, today I realised I had to top up my phone 'pay-as-you-go' credit. One of my least favourite tasks.
I only knew it was that time of year because I happened to make an actual phone call to Richard to see when he was coming home for lunch. Before it connected, a robotic voice informed me that my phone validation period was ending, and I had to top up immediately. I had not received a text message or any other alert about this. Had I not made one today, or within the next week or so, I might not have known until everything stopped working, and could possibly even have lost my phone number.
I write texts rather more than I make phone calls - and use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger more than sending texts. Looking at my logs, the last time I made a phone call was (also to Richard) a couple of months ago. I don't use up much of my credit, so I never run out, and the validity period of each ten euro top-up is just a year. I think it would take me about five years to get through ten euros' worth of credit, since text messages only cost two cents each. Indeed, the only way I know how to make phone calls is to go to the text message area, find the person I want to phone, and click the little phone icon. I've never worked out how to make a call to a person (rather than just typing in a number) from the place that is supposed to be for phone calls.
Ten or more years ago, I topped up by buying a card at a local shop, and then following the instructions on the back. Or, more likely, asking one of my sons to do it. But I knew I could do it online, through our bank. So I logged into that, chose to top up my SoEasy account with another ten euros, entered the one-time code from my phone... and ten euros was deducted from our bank account. That part was easy.
After doing it, at the top of the bank screen was a 16-digit number which said it was my secret code. I copied and pasted it quickly, so I didn't lose it. But what to do with it...?
As ever, Google was my friend. It didn't take long to find this:
I am sorry for bothering you with this mail, i need to get an Amazon gift card for my Niece, Its her birthday but I can't do this now because I'm currently out of reach and i have a little issues with my amazon account, can you please get it from any store around you or try buying online for me? I'll reimburse you hopefully this weekend.
I need you to send it today, All i want is amazon gift card, Amount needed is €100