More technology

Will I be master or mastered?

Many of us reached the frontiers of technological ineptitude when the VCR arrived on the scene. My own personal Achilles heel has been the cell phone. It seems I am simply unsuited for this wonder of modern communications. The list of failures and disappointments is very long, indeed.

At one time, I aspired to go completely wireless, using the cell phone as my sole number. However, an inconvenient truth soon reared its ugly head: cell phone reception inside the house really sucks. I found I could only make a call from certain locations while holding the phone perfectly still in a certain position. Exasperated at constantly asking and hearing "Can you hear me now, are you still there?" I reinstalled a landline using digital cable from Time-Warner.

When I was at home, I simply forwarded the cell phone to the landline number, allowing people to call my cell phone number but actually reach me via the landline. To make an outgoing call, I used the landline. Confusing to some people with caller ID, but it worked fairly well.

Eventually I became so disgruntled with Verizon cell phone service that I switched to Cingular (now AT&T) and got a Bluetooth phone (Sony Ericsson z520a) that works with the handsfree phone in the Prius. I loved the fact that the phone and car spontaneously connected up as soon as I got in the car, without having to fiddle with settings.

But a huge problem still remained with getting calls at home: sometimes I would forget to forward the cell phone when I got home and would not hear it ringing unless I was right by it. Not knowing that I was missing phone calls, I wasn't checking for messages, and that led to unfortunate situations like the one last January when friends came to check on me, fearing the worst.

What I need, I concluded, is a home phone that automatically connects with the cell phone the way the handsfree system in the car does. Then I remembered having once looked for a "docking station" that I could put the cell phone into to transfer calls to the landline. I found one at that time, but it didn't work with the kind of phone I had at that time, and I quite forgot about it. But last week, after yet another episode of "Are you all right, you're not answering your phone or returning my messages?" I went looking again.


Dock-N-Talk with cordless phone base station

Aha! The docking system I had found years ago now works with many kinds of phones and is even capable of using Bluetooth to make the connection with the phone! I ordered one, and it arrived this afternoon. There are two pieces to the system, a base unit and either a cable or a bluetooth receiver. The base unit plugs into the phone wires in your house or into the base station of a cordless phone. If you're using a cable to connect the cell phone to the base unit, it also acts as a charger; I chose the bluetooth module however. With Bluetooth the cell phone only has to be within 30 feet of the unit to connect, and changing Bluetooth phones won't mean buying a new cable.


I introduced the Dock-N-Talk to my phone and they bonded, exchanging secret handshakes. I put the Dock-N-Talk and the cordless base station in the corner of the den between two windows, a spot that has good cell phone reception.

And it works!