x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

At last, a fun modern gadget

Being a late adopter of all things tech, now there's something to get excited about.

Luddite, perhaps is a little strong, but I will admit to being a late adopter of all things tech.

My dad gave me an iPod and, six months later, a friend took it out of its box and loaded music on to it for me. I did buy a Kindle, but after a couple of failed attempts at making it work, I slung it into a drawer and returned to the stack of paperbacks that give my flat character/a chance at ending up on Clean House.

To be fair, I enjoyed turning the Kindle on and off again for the lovely welcome screen images, but I'm not sure that alone was worth the £180 (Dh1,075).

I'm baffled as to why anyone might want an iPhone, despite the app that helps you cheat at the pub quiz and the dark arts way that everything slides across the screen when you wave it. This may be a useful tool to distract a toddler - it is, as far as I can see, a visual rattle - but surely grown-ups shouldn't admit to enjoying it quite so much?

My office-issue BlackBerry has long-been an unloved combination of phone, alarm clock and aid to workaholism. Handily providing me with the ability to receive press releases at 3am on a Friday, it is a bleeping electronic albatross, the red light flashing at me from sunlounger, massage bed and dining table alike. The day I discovered how to disable the noise it makes when an e-mail lands was a joyful one. I savour the moments when it throws a hissy fit and refuses to work - incapable as I am of fixing it myself, I have no choice but to wait until I can take it to the office smart-phone-whisperer.

The hours without the tyranny of the flashing red light are priceless. However, I have always suspected that if I were able to work these gadgets properly, then I might be slightly more enthusiastic about them.

And now, I have made a discovery that promises to be even more exciting than silent mode. I have just been introduced to BBM. Not, as I might previously have thought, an exercise class or some such torturous practice, but a snappy down- with-the-kids acronym for BlackBerry's instant messaging service.

I'm already hooked. I love the fact that you can see the complete thread of your conversation, lending the whole thing a frequently unwarranted veneer of coherence. I love the fact that you can see when somebody is typing, which somehow makes the message more exciting, even if it comes through as, "no taxis. late". I love the fact that Etisalat and HSBC don't have my BBM code, so the message - as opposed to a text - is unlikely to tell me that I owe somebody money or that I have just spent the money that I owe to somebody else. I love the fact that it's basically a bit like having a Gmail chat on really tiny keys.

The only problem? A new icon to watch. Now, next to the little blue box telling me there are 15 Facebook posts I've yet to see, or the yellow rectangle reminding me that I have 1,136 unread e-mails, sits a new red-starred logo demanding to be checked.

At least this one has a smiley face.