Rebecca-Anne Withey: I’m finally embracing technology by using NGT Lite to make phone calls

Posted on January 13, 2017

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I’m pretty old fashioned when it comes to technology. Always the last to upgrade or see what the latest gadget is all about, I still consider a pen or a paper notebook one of my favourite gifts to receive.

Even my nieces’ knowledge of technology surpasses mine. They all have iPads (I don’t) and the eldest has a brand spanking iPhone 7… I only begrudgingly got an iPhone 5 after my Blackberry packed in and I have no plans to upgrade. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it – a motto I abide by!

Yet I impressed myself lately. As I downloaded an app that actually proves to be quite useful.

Seeing as the only fully hearing person in our household is a 3 year old, we have relied on our beloved dinosaur like Minicom for text calls. It’s like this but even older and shabbier…

Luckily a lot of places accept emails or text messages for correspondence so I don’t have to dust it off too often, but it’s handy to have nonetheless.

And it was the day before Christmas Eve when it came to my aid. Because on this day, so very, imminently close to Christmas (!) that our gas oven stopped working.

Cue frantic phone calls to numerous gas engineers to find someone who could come and fix it and save our Christmas dinner!

Phone call after phone call it seemed we were doomed to have to fry the turkey and boil the potatoes… But then one freelance engineer said although he was off work, it was Christmas after all and he’d be happy to help.

He asked for our address so he could pop over and start work. Happy days!!!

But then. I got the message that everyone with a dinosaur like Minicom dreads…

Message from operator. Your text is jumbled. Please type again.

Slowly and purposely I typed.

Message from operator. I can’t read what you’re saying.

Argh!!

But then the gas engineer was smart enough to figure out that although I was coming across all jumbled I could still read his messages. So he passed on his mobile number to the operator and asked me to text him.

Phew! Crisis averted.

To cut a long story short the oven got fixed on Christmas Eve and we had the best Christmas dinner ever. (Coconut oil roasted potatoes – seriously try them!)

But it made me realise that I can’t always rely on old technology. Minicoms that freeze or jumble if you’ve used them for a length of time really aren’t useful at all. So I asked my friends for advice.

When they finished making disbelieving comments at how behind the times I was “seriously Beck?!” I cautiously downloaded… NGT Lite.

It’s a mobile app that connects you to the Next Generation Text relay service. So you make phone calls on your mobile, connect it up to NGT and instead of bashing the minicom’s sticky keys you can type effortlessly on your smartphone, tablet OR laptop!

Amazing…and useful!

So I guess I’m going to be a bit more brave in 2017 and instead of writing off new apps or developments, just have a look at what’s out there…

Any recommendations? Go easy on me, mind.

Read more of Rebecca’s articles for us here.

Rebecca-Anne Withey is an actress, sign singer and tutor of performing arts. A black country girl at heart, she now resides in Derby where she works in both performance art and holistic therapies. She writes on varied topics close to her heart in the hope that they may serve to inspire others.

The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.

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