There are some folk who don't see the gem inside my rough exterior who might consider me a hot head. To which I say a hearty "bite me". But let this opinion be a caution that within this blog may lurk items of a venting nature or perhaps those which might be considered a rant. So be it. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cell Phone Tyranny

I have consistently resisted the societal pressure to turn my entire telephone experience over to the not so tender mercies of the cell phone industry. My wife and I both have cheap pay as you go cell phones that we only use when we are either on the road or in case of emergency. The cost of both is around $18 a month and we have more minutes stored up than we will probably ever use.

I have a many reasons for this stance. I do not wish to become assimilated and like the Borg have this device seemingly grafted to my head as I see so many of my fellow humans have. I do not want the temptation to be “that guy” that I hurl obscenities at while he endangers my life as well as his weaving back and forth in traffic while he tries to both drive and engage in inane conversation. I absolutely refuse to even contemplate engaging in “texting”, a pursuit which – if random samples I have seen are any indication – has been invented in order to give the mentally challenged some means, however primitive, of communication. I long for the days when phones were used for the purposes of communication and not as a pacifier substitute.

Currently phone jammers are illegal in the United States. In spite of that I am mightily tempted to order one from Europe. Jamming phones might be the only way to return some people to consciousness. How about the mindless twit shouting into her cell phone on the elevator? I’m so thankful that your friend’s cystoscopy went well; or the 400 pounder blocking the aisle at the supermarket while regaling others with instructions to the kids on how to clean up the dog poo; and the self important blow hard that absolutely has to “take this call” in the middle of a business meeting and lets his co-workers hear the details of his offspring’s stomach virus. Right now phone jammers simply cause phones to lose the current call and prevent outgoing connections. I’m waiting for a model that not only jams the call but emits an eardrum shattering shriek. I want to make these dolts think twice before returning the phone to their head. Any rogue techy who wants to cobble a jammer like this together in their basement will have me in line for delivery.

Just out of curiosity, what is it that makes people think that they have to shout to be heard on a cell phone? I can hear your end of the conversation from fifteen feet away. It reminds me of the movies where the rural phone of the thirties is shown, the mouthpiece jutting from a box on the wall and the earpiece on a cord held to the ear with a character hollering “Gertie! Can ya hear me Gertie?!” Presumably the user doesn’t entirely trust the technology and hopes that somehow the soundwaves they are emitting can make it to the listener’s ear on their own. I don’t think that the cell phone provider commercials with the guy saying “Can you hear me now?” have helped this situation.

Finally, the cell phone providers do it to you without either a dinner or a kiss. A friend has a cell phone from a well known national provider that rhymes with horizon. Stuffed with too much hot technology, the phone’s touch screen stopped working. Company rep says: a) this is a known issue, b) phone is over a year old so no warranty, c) contract only allows discounted phone purchase every 20 months – so you can either pay full price for a new phone or I’ll sell you a used one (very likely to develop the same problem). What’s wrong with this picture? You’re locked into a contract with these thieves, your phone develops a “known issue” (translation: we bought a bad batch of phones) and the company tells you your only recourse to have a usable phone for the remainder of your contract is to buy a new phone at full price or take your chances with a used one. And I thought extortion was illegal.

Cell phones – feh!

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