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  • Ken Hay

Mobile Phone Abomination

Updated: Mar 12, 2020


I have used Samsung mobile phones for donkey’s years. Never had a current model until my contract on an S7 expired a few months ago. Wandered into Telstra and let myself get talked into going for the latest top-of-the-wozzer S9. What it couldn’t do wasn’t worth talking about. On reflection it wasn’t really worth talking much about what it could do because I was highly unlikely to use any of the awe-inspiring applications and gizmos. But, being a goose, I fell for it. I did rationalize to the extent that I might have deserved an ultra-modern phone but the evidence was purely emotional and flimsy.

The new contract, or PLAN – as they like to call it - did cost significantly more than the old one but that was the same every previous year when I was only upgrading into a redundant model. But now I’ve had the S9 for a couple of months and fully appreciate the S7 which I gave to my grandson. And, on reflection, there was nothing at all wrong with the S4. Or the Nokia before that. Each gave me the ability to take and make phone calls from where-ever I happened to be.

I can still do that with the S9, mind you, but there are differences. For one there are NINETY apps on the damned thing. Three full screens each presenting 30 apps! All arranged in alphabetical order – it only took me a month or so to work out how to get them into that order. I suppose 8 or 9 might be apps that I loaded. Things like the Emergency app that gives you the emergency phone numbers for whatever place you may be in plus the GPS coordinates and your map location. That’s probably the most sensible app of the 90. Then I must have a dictionary – the old Collins English version would never fit in my hip pocket; password generator; (must be at least 8 digits plus one capital letter, a digit and a symbol or two); FlightRadar – must always be able to identify that plane leaving con-trails way above Albany (often Qatar QR904 Melbourne to Doha); the FitBit app to look after the reports on how well I didn’t sleep last night; a calculator just to check my mental arithmetic; Kobo books in case I want to read a novel while sitting in a traffic jam – and so on. But – there are 4 apps that have Google in their titles and 9 Samsung apps; four Microsoft apps and so on ad nauseum!

The majority of the apps were installed before I took possession and cannot be uninstalled. Goodness only knows how many generate advertisements but it must be at least a few because advertisements are for ever popping up. Touch the ready use button, to bring up the collection of frequently used apps, and that appears for a flash then is replaced by an advertisement by Amazon or Wish Shopping or some such. Tap the screen and it goes away and the ready use screen finally appears. But, tap an app I need to get into and another ad appears.

I consulted wizard Google and was told to download and install Adblock for Samsung –

did that and was amazed to find that it did work to some extent. Certainly the ad numbers decreased significantly but were still significant. Consulted wizard Firefox and was sagely advised to download and install Adblock Browser. Did that with more, but not complete, success. Only a few full screen ads now but lots that run across the bottom of the screen. Installed Brave Browser:Fast AdBlocker and, later, Adblock Fast– no significant reduction in ads.

What infuriates me most, now, is that if I press the button to take me to the ready use page – a collection of the apps most used e.g. e-mail, contacts, messages and phone - it works fine. However, before I can touch, for example, the Messages icon an advertisement leaps onto the screen. I have to delete that and that takes me back to the read use icon. Usually, at the second attempt, no ad appears and I can read a message or look up a contact etc. To add insult to mental torture many of the adds are for Anti-Add Software.

Google now tells me that it is all my fault because I must have downloaded dodgy apps that send the adds. They make no mention that many of the adds are for Google apps or apps that can only be downloaded from Google. Then there the geniuses (genei?) offering solutions in Google search results – e.g. just start your phone in Safe Mode then work through each app to see if it generates ads – yair, sure, I have a spare life time to do that – I don’t think.

Looks like I will have to put up with it for two years then take out the sim card, shut the damned phone down and lock it in the cupboard. I certainly won’t inflict the ads misery upon my grandson. I will then dig out the ancient Nokia and stick my sim card into it (assuming it will fit but pretty sure it won’t). If not I’ll build an aviary and buy a flock of homing pigeons.

Post Script 3/2/19 - I finally found an app that stop 99% of advertisements - Adclear.

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