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Switch off cellphones at your peril

Switch off cellphones at your peril

The text message said, “Can we change the meeting to tomorrow afternoon?”

It sounded a simple enough request and nothing out of the ordinary. My colleague was asking for our get-together that was scheduled for today to be moved to tomorrow. Fine, I thought. It freed me up to get on with some other stuff today.

“OK,” I texted him back, “2pm.”

I went back to work and thought nothing more of it until at about 2.15pm I got a call.

“Where are you?” asked my colleague.

Of course, he wasn’t so much interested in where I was as where I wasn’t ... namely, not sat across the table from him sipping a trim mocha.

“I thought you said 2pm?” he continued.

“Today?”

“Today!”

“But you asked to change the meeting to tomorrow afternoon,” I queried.

“Yeah, but I sent the text yesterday!”

Ah.

If the text I got today was sent yesterday, then that meant tomorrow was actually today and not the day after today, as I had thought. Bugger.

Confusion reigned. Who was at fault? Well, neither of us. We had technology to blame for our little misunderstanding. He had indeed sent his text message the day before – a Sunday to be precise.

However, my phone had been off on Sunday. (Yeah, I know, I am a bit weird like that. Whoever heard of switching off a cellphone?) The message only pinged in when I fired it up on Monday morning.

Trouble is, the time and date stamp on the message, saying Monday, indicate when my phone received the message not when it was sent. If you think about it, this is a fairly arbitrary piece of information at the best of times; for my meeting mix-up it was useless.

My mobile provider didn’t want to know when I called to check about it. The phone itself ain’t much help. As far as I can tell, I can’t change the setting. I am able to find the sent details, but it’s not exactly an easy process. It requires several steps to reach the information buried away in the file.

Where does it leave us?

For all our advances, things are far from perfect. I had no reason to suspect the date on the message was incorrect. I saw Monday and assumed Monday. If I checked every message to see when it was sent, I wouldn’t get a lot done.

Thankfully, I was able to nip down to the café for our catch-up. So, no harm done there. And in the grand scheme of things, I guess it is not up there with solving global warming or finding a cure for cancer.

Nevertheless, thanks to this particular failing of technology, I still managed to feel a bit of a dill pickle.


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