All those digital devices that we carry have a shelf life of what, 2 years? That’s planned obsolescence. It’s great if you want the latest and coolest. It’s misery if the technology you have is out-of-date. Very frustrating. My learning: always have a backup plan.

When my daughter was born, things happened to quickly that I forgot to grab the camera. I did take her first pictures with my cell phone, but I had never gotten a USB data cable for it. Nor did I have Internet access, being the cheap so-and-so that I am.

Last month I visited a client and showed the pictures of my daughter’s first moments in this world. While people loved the pictures, they laughed at my Sanyo Katana 6600 phone, an electronic device that was released in 2006. In human years, that would make it about 85 years old.

Last month, we signed a new contract with our wireless carrier before we moved. They are very earnest about their ethical convictions, making sure their profits go towards cleaning up the planet, prosecuting corporate felons, ensuring that global human rights violators are accused and that the big money corrupting politics is kept in check.

While all that’s nice, what was more important was my confidence that the existing data would carry over to the upgraded phone I’d be getting. At last we could download those first pictures of our daughter to the computer. Except that the nice people at the wireless carrier told me it can’t. They were very apologetic about it, but the interfaces were just too different.

Of course, with an Internet connection I might try emailing it, or send it to a specific photo site. So I added Internet service.

Unfortunately, neither of those options worked. The nice wireless carrier people spent lots of time with me trying to reconfigure the old phone in various ways to get those photos somewhere safe, but nothing worked. I asked if they could send me a USB data cable for the Sanyo Katana 6600. No, we’re very sorry, we don’t keep those around after a year or two. They suggested I try Sanyo. And really, they were very nice and apologetic about it. They waived our bill for a month.

My next call was Kyocera/Sanyo. When I told technical support what model phone I had, I thought he was snickering. Actually, he was helpful in revealing that Sprint (which provides the minutes to my wireless carrier) installed the software for that model. They might have the USB data cable I need, or I could go to an online provider.

Sprint disavowed installing the software, nor do they sell that USB data cable online or in their stores. They were helpful in one regard, though. They confirmed that I only needed that cable to upload the photos to my computer. No software would be required. That was something of a relief, because the online resources were so unclear.

Next, I checked the Sprint store in downtown Brooklyn. While they didn’t have the data cable, the nice man at the counterpointed to a store across the street that might. That store tried three different cables. None worked.

I found what I was looking for on eBay and successfully bid $15 on it. It should arrive by Tuesday. My new phone arrived today, but I’m not setting it up until after we know that USB data cable works.

So now we wait for a USB data cable that is supposed to fit a Sanyo Katana 6600 phone. Is that a lot to go through for 20 pictures? Yes. But it doesn’t matter, because those pictures are worth a whole lot more than $15.