ANNE C. HEYMEN: Trying to put my finger on the secrets of hands-free technology

I’ll be out of pocket for awhile. I’m not really sure how long.


It depends upon the length of time it takes to get through pages 361-365 or 366 on my car owner’s manual. It’s the part about connecting one’s cell to one’s car thingy.

As I noted in a previous column, I recently entered the 21st Century when I said a tearful goodbye to my flip cell phone and purchased one of those new models. It’s been a tricky learning process for the phone, and now I’m adding the confusion of what I should probably call a technical blind date — hooking up the cell phone with the car capability.

Several weeks ago I was strutting around, proudly announcing I’d found the perfect match, so to speak. The cell phone and my car capability seemed compatible. Granted, there were a number of questions still to be answered as to what all the stuff means on the right side of the steering wheel. There are a bunch of arrows which point in all four directions, much like the arrows on a computer keyboard. There is a big capital M (I think it is) in the middle of the arrows, and I believe one is supposed to be able to hit one of the arrows and telecommunication is instant.

I also thought that the various messages on the screen to the right of the steering wheel were good messages — something about SYNC, etc., and “do not disturb.” As a matter of fact, I thought “do not disturb” was a really good thing. However, after reading some of the directions and not fully understanding them, I’ve come to the conclusion that “do not disturb” is not as good a quality as I once thought it was.

First, since I’ve apparently made a match in heaven between my cell and car capabilities, I’ve done something else. I created stereo qualities. So, when I’m using the cell phone in the car there is an echo, and I don’t know why.

To add a further problem, just the other day I noticed right under all the arrows and the big M there is a miniature phone diagram and some other stuff. I have no idea what that means. I punched some of it but nothing happened.

I did find out though, that when “do not disturb” shows up it means that all my calls are going to voicemail. And as I stated several weeks ago in a column, I was not at all certain how to retrieve voicemails from the cell phone. I’m still not sure but things are looking up somewhat in that direction.

So the bottom line is, I guess I should get rid of the “do not disturb,” but I’m not really that sure. Right now, I guess I’ll just let things alone.

In the meantime, I’ll keep reading the manual but divide my time between reading and figuring out how to get all those fingerprints off the touch screen in the car. The screen is really a big mess when the sun shines on since i seem to be constantly punching the GPS or the phone thing or the stereo system — or other foreign objects on that particular screen.

Anne C. Heymen was associated with The St. Augustine Record for 49 years in total before retiring in February 2014 as features editor. Her column runs in The Record on alternate Saturdays.