When I was a boy, anytime we said ‘Dundrum’ (a suburb of Dublin), it was with a snigger, because it was synonymous in our minds with the mental asylum located there. Nowadays, Dundrum is much better known as the home of a large shopping centre. I’m so out of touch with Dublin that I hadn’t realized that there was a major new shopping centre there. I assumed that people were talking about the unimpressive little centre that I remembered there from my childhood. Until today, when we went there to return the mobile phone that we had given my mother for Christmas.
Dundrum was, indeed, a madhouse. There’s much talk of a recession in Ireland, as in the United States, but there was little evidence of it in Dundrum today. The Centre was oppressively full: heat, noise, jostling crowds.
My mother wanted a new mobile phone for Christmas. Her only requirements were that it have a camera, that it be easy to use, and the buttons easy to read. The Samsung Tocco has a nice-looking touch screen and David and I thought it would be just the thing, based on our brief experiment with one the other day.
Not so. My mother was totally flummoxed by it. David and I found it confusing and irritating too. The scroll works opposite to the way I expected from the iPhone. Texting was horrible: instead of an alphabetic keypad on the touchscreen, it showed the ten digits with three letters on each digit—just like a traditional mobile phone. And the UI locked you into a nasty series of modal dialogs that were not easy to work with. I probably would have returned it had I bought it for myself, and it was insupportable for my mother.