I use a smartphone to make phone calls … I am obsolete.

My husband and I have Blackberry Smartphones. These days, I have the Torch (it was on sale), but Garry still has the Curve. He uses it for email, to track appointments, and to make phone calls. The reason we both wound up with Blackberries and not iPhones was simple: iPhones have pathetic voice quality for making phone calls. So do most smartphones. Blackberry is the only one that seems to care whether or not you can actually hear the voice on the other end.

No one, apparently, makes phone calls anymore, so phone manufacturers aren’t interested in telephone voice quality. Everyone is obsessed by apps. They want to know what apps they can use. They text, play games, take pictures …. but they don’t use the phone as a phone.

In this household, the only thing for which we use our telephones is to communicate and keep our schedules. That’s it. I lack the pointy little thumbs that make texting convenient for younger people. It’s a genetic adaptation I don’t have. My thumbs do thumb-centric things like grasping tools: they are not good for typing except touch typing where they are fine for whacking at the space bar.

Why would I want to do all that stuff on my phone when I have a desktop, a big laptop, a net book, and a tablet? If I want to take pictures, I have two Olympus PEN camera bodies plus 4 high-quality lenses, as well as a small superzoom point & shoot Canon that I keep as backup in my purse. My telephone is good for three things: making and receiving phone calls, synchronizing with Outlook‘s calendar (so Garry and I know who’s going to which doctor and when) and email. He uses it for email a lot more than I do. I prefer a full-size keyboard.

I use a camera for taking pictures and a computer for most everything else. I know that my Torch has a ton of capabilities I never use and I don’t care. I don’t want to use them. Twice I have used my phone to take a picture because it was the only thing available. Otherwise, I like cameras for photography, computers for computing, GPS units for navigation, and telephones for talking to people on ….tada … the telephone.

Unless you are on the road all the time without access to WIFI, what possible advantage do you get by running your world from this tiny device? Why do you even want to? Is it the only mobile device available to you? You mean you don’t have a laptop, netbook, or tablet?

I genuinely don’t understand why anyone feels a pressing need to use a small inconvenient device to do things that are so much easier to do on a bigger device … which they probably already own.

How well do I understand my phone? Enough to do what I need to do. It has good audio for telephone calls! It’s a telephone, you know?

One day, people will discover that they are doing everything the hard way. This is likely to occur when the younger generation starts to hit their late 30s and 40s and discovers they can’t see tiny little objects without special glasses. It happens to everyone and nothing you do will prevent it.

At that point, like a thunderbolt from Zeus himself, an entire generation will realize that it’s a whole lot easier to type on a keyboard, edit graphics and format text on a monitor large enough to see more than a few words at a time and bright enough to tell whether or not the photograph is in focus (what a concept!). They will be shocked by the discovery, thrilled to realize they no longer need to squint at a tiny screen when they could see the whole thing on a big bright high-definition monitor! It will be an international epiphany of epic proportions!

Not only that, but maybe people will remember how nice it is to hear the voice of a loved one, not just see a text or email. We might even rediscover (be still my heart) intimacy. You never know. Human relationships may come back into fashion!

I’m already there.

Categories: #Photography, #Writing, Computers, Humor, Media, Software, Technology

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. I’m thinkin’ smoke, but not for signaling…, more for NOT thinkin’ ’bout de trouble we got


    • You know … we got medical you know what passed in the last election. Just saying. But yes, we are overdue. Long overdue. It’s money … not having any … that makes traveling a little tricky.


  2. Unfortunately, in order to be effective as a comm device, the log must be large and rigid. This precludes the possibilty of a folding version….


  3. As my hearing gets worse and worse, I dread using any phone. I am lucky to have Marilyn to field some of my calls. The AT&T wireless we have has decent audio for me when I put it on speaker. I don’t look forward to the future with regards to my hearing. I guess I am lucky to have hearing aids that make most situations okay. But sometimes it is just so damn frustrating!!!


  4. I’m with ya all the way. I’m learning to use a hollow log as a message drum because, if what you predict is true, we may also lose the ability to make fire… It’s my backup system, a relic term from our present.

    I also now have a smart phone, and figured out why they are called same. It’s because we are dumb. It’s not the phones that are smart, but the companies making them.., and their incessent marketing. I’m a sound guy whose life has been dedicated to good sound, and knowing full well that the iPhone sound was crap.., I bought one anyway. dumb, dumb, dumb. For years I have blasted “smart phones” saying all I needed was a friggin phone, not a Dick Tracy wrist communicator. Then after i got it, i realized it was still too big to fit on my wrist, CRAP! It does come in handy for my business.., but then any old cell would do for that.., CRAP! again.

    Of course I should have taken heed of the signs around me. I work on a major university campus and not a day goes by that I have to dodge several students walking along with one of these things in their face.., oblivious to anything around them. They’re never without them. Can they truly be that important as to think there are all these people wanting to keep in constant contact.., or is this some mass dillusional sickness, or need to hope someone will call, text, or be interested in what they’re doing every freakin’ minute. Now I’ve got one of the things and constantly fight the urge to whip it out just in case…, in case of what? None of my friends grew up this way and those that have called me while I’m on the John and found out, take great caution in calling me again. We had one phone in the house when I was a boy.., and it was a party line.., my brother was always in trouble, getting caught listening to other folks conversations. I think he liked evesdropping.., he became a cop.


    • Basically the only cell phones you can buy are smart phones. They don’t even offer other “regular” phones any more. It’s another way for cell phone companies to force us to spend more money on services we don’t need and don’t want. Garry and I use our phones so little that the only legit reason for them is if we need to call AAA should something go wrong with a car on the road … or to call someplace we are going to say (a) we are lost and the GPS is taking us someplace weird, or (b) we are late. Otherwise, we barely use them. They are emergency devices. Useful when on traveling, otherwise, just an expense so we can have a phone “just in case” we need an ambulance or something.

      As the youngsters become oldsters, they will discover they can’t see anything on their phones, so either the phones will be the size of tablets, or will BE tablets and thus defeat the whole point of having a small, portable communications device. I think this is a fad that will fade as fast as it bloomed. I HOPE so, anyhow.

      Keep that hollow log handy. And a lot of strike-anywhere matches.


      • I suppose i could prove a point, and at a much cheaper price too, by hauling around a hollow log strapped to my side? But then even the log becomes a multi-use device as I can jam with my musician buddies, in between communications. The trick is to tell the difference between a “message” and the latest tune…? Ahhhh.., sweet regression.


        • Maybe the latest tune IS a message. There is a sci fi short story by Connie Willis called “All Seated On the Ground” that is both hilarious and, well, the hero is a choir director … if you find it, read it (also Bellwether, which is a novel, albeit a relatively short one).

          I think the whole log thing might defeat the concept of “small and portable” unless you could design a folding log?


  5. I wonder if anybody has ever actually made a shoe-shaped “Get Smart” phone as a novelty item?


  6. Personally, I thought things went down hill in a hurry after smoke signals faded.


%d bloggers like this: