VIEW FROM THE PORCH - After two weeks, new cell phone largely a mystery

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I've had my new 14G Mega-47 WhizPixel with SimSync Sizzlers for two weeks now. It's taking me a while to get the hang of it.

If you missed my last column, you may not know the Mega-47 WhizPixel. You're not alone. Few know the WhizPixel. Only those of us out here on the bleeding edge of technology can truly appreciate what the WhizPixel represents. For our purposes today though, let me just say this about the WhizPixel:

It's a phone ... I think.

April, the cute blonde at the phone store over in the Tri-Cities -- I still don't know which one -- sold me the WhizPixel. She sent me away with my WhizPixel and a starter kit that included a free box of Stove Top stuffing mix, but no manual. So I called her up.

"It doesn't come with a manual," she said. "It's intuitive."

"What?" I asked.

"It's intuitive, Mr. McLeod. You learn how to use it by playing with it."

"Oh," I said. "Can you tell me again how to turn it on?"

"Push the button, Mr. McLeod."

I spent the better part of my first day with the WhizPixel poking at it -- hoping it'd come on.

"It can't be that hard," Annie said. "Let me have it."

Annie poked and prodded the thing. She couldn't get it to work.

"I think it's broken," she said. "You'll have to take it back."

"Jeepers," I said.

I put the WhizPixel in my pocket -- a front pocket in my shorts. It's a little thing -- the WhizPixel, I mean -- and it's nicely designed, so you hardly know the thing is in your pants. I forgot about it.

I picked up the newspaper and a glass of wine and headed to the porch.

Pretty soon, Annie joined me. She took the Sports section. (She always takes the Sports section.) The big white dogs gathered around. Yoda the Corgi lay by my chair. BC the Barn Cat curled up in my lap. A cock pheasant strutted down the fence line. The sun was going down. The Blue Mountains turned blue.

All was right with the world until the WhizPixel went off in my pants -- vibrating like heck, so to speak. I jumped two feet out of my chair (which is way higher than I can normally jump). BC the Barn Cat launched into outer space. Annie spilled her wine all over the Sports section. The big white dogs barked like crazy. Yoda the Corgi looked up, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

"What the ..." Annie started.

I pulled the WhizPixel out of my pocket. The screen said WELCOME TO THE WHIZPIXEL.

"Look," I yipped. "The thing's working."

"Wow," Annie said. "How'd you turn it on?"

"I don't know."

"Well, how do you work it?"

"I don't know."

"Get the manual."

"It doesn't come with a manual. It's intuitive."

"What?" Annie asked.

"It's intuitive. That's what April told me. She said just play with it."

"Well do something," Annie said.

"Like what?"

"Touch it or poke it or something."

I poked at the WhizPixel.

POWERING OFF, the screen said. GOODBYE, it said. The screen went dark.

"You turned it off?" Annie asked, an incredulous look on her face.

"I don't know."

"I think you turned it off."

"Maybe so. Now what do I do?"

"Put it back in your pocket and drink your wine," she said. "Maybe you'll get lucky."

"Good idea," I said.

"But next time, don't turn it off."

"Do you think I'll ever be able to make a phone call with this thing? For $800 you'd think you'd be able to make a phone call."

"I don't know," Annie said.

"I think I'll go fix that Stove Top stuffing to go with our chicken and asparagus."

"Sounds good," Annie said.

If you'd like to read more of Sam's musings and buy a copy of his new book, BIG APPETITE, visit his website at www.sammcleod.net You can also follow Sam on Facebook or Twitter if his WhizPixel is working right.

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