Wherever the Road Leads

How Do It Know?

“Téléphoniste, puis je vous aider?”


A number of years ago, three friends were sitting in the stands at a Montreal Expos baseball game, a German, a Japanese and René Lévesque, a Quebec Frenchman. They were discussing the greatest invention of all time.


The German claimed that the greatest invention of all time was the Volkswagen, as it provided affordable transport to the masses and expanded people’s worlds by making traveling considerable distances possible.

The Japanese fellow insisted that the greatest invention of all time had been the transistor as it had shrunk electronics and made so many devices portable.

“Non, non, non, mes amis,” cried René, “de greatest hinvention hin de wurl is dis ‘ere Termos bottle. Hin de summer time at de baseball games, she keep my cold lemonade cold.

“But hin de winter time at de ‘ockey games, she keep my ‘ot coffee ‘ot. Dat Termos bottle, how do it know?”


Today, I firmly believe that the greatest invention has been the Smartphone. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a new Smartphone – an LG Lucid 2 – after selling my soul to Verizon for two more years. In many ways it is far superior to my previous Motorola Droid X, however the one feature that this new phone does not have is an HDMI output.

I didn’t care that much as I had played with the Droid’s HDMI output only a little, couldn’t get it to work and, having very little occasion to use it, abandoned the project.

But now that my Obama years are behind me, figuring there is nothing I can do to stop him from ruining the country so why pay attention, the HDMI output on my Droid became important as I now depend on Netflix et al for my entertainment.

I did a little research and discovered that the HDMI output was designed only for content that had been recorded by the phone. Fortunately, a nefarious whiz had designed an App whereby it would output a Netflix stream to a full-sized television. I downloaded the App and after a little tweaking, I’m in business. The Droid smartphone, pulling from my wireless network, is now attached to a TV and streaming movies.

Don’t it make you want to get up and dance?


The Droid ( 2½” x 5″) is at the bottom with the black HDMI cable coming out the top sending “Le Code A Changé” from the Netflix App to the TV and the green earphone jack powering external speakers for better sound.

I didn’t have time to do this yesterday as I went on a day trip with a friend. We went to a quaint little town called Helen in the north Georgia mountains. Before leaving, I had Jango playing Smooth Jazz in the background, using an older smartphone hooked up as described in my post, “My Wireless World“.

Using the phone to text back and forth on when and where to meet, we jumped in the truck, launched the GPS App in the Smartphone and used Voice Recognition to tell it, “Helen, Georgia”, as typing in the destination would be too tedious. It found us the most direct route.

While there, we took pictures… with the phone. Later, hungry, we headed for home but asked the phone to find us a nearby restaurant. It found a restaurant, complete with reviews, then guided us there, turn by turn.

If you are under thirty and reading this, perhaps even under forty, you may be thinking, “yippee, skippee” as it is all you know and what you have come to expect. But my first usage of the telephone was on a jet black party-line phone without even a rotary dial on it – you picked up the receiver and heard, “Operator, may I help you. Téléphoniste, puis je vous aider?” then told her who you wanted to talk to.


(And yes, Lisa and Sheena, like your Dad and your Uncle Doug, I had to walk three miles to school each day, through the snow and freezing cold, uphill both ways.)


In my lifetime, we’ve gone from operator-assisted calls, to rotary phones, to Princess phones, to cordless phones to Cell phones to little computers whose almost-forgotten function is to speak to each other. Simply amazing.

How DO it know?

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