April 26, 2006
Cell Phones Of Today
I bought my first cell phone, a Nokia, I believe, in the mid 1990s. Since then I've owned about half a dozen others. At first, buying a new one was no big deal, I could figure out how to use all the functions easily, without much consultation of the manual, then suddenly -- bam! -- they started coming loaded with truckloads of technology that people of my generation might not, as strange as it seems, associate with a telephone.
When I opened the account I now have with Verizon, whom I incidentally find a lot easier to deal with than any of their competitors I've used, the phone that came with my account was a little silver colored LG camera phone, and there was so much going on in there that even with the manual, I couldn't figure most of it out. The people who write these instruction manuals seem to believe that everybody, like them, grew up at the right time to acquire ground floor entry into what has become today's technology, or engineers, as a technical writer aunt of mine suggests, who can't write anything most folks can understand unless they have an armload of PhDs.
So I contented myself with using only the functions for which I had gotten the device to begin with: A telephone. I took a few pics with it when I first got it and found that the camera wasn't all that good, which didn't bother me in the slightest. I have a digital camera that also contains all the bells and whistles, and I use that the way people used a Kodak instamatic a few technological centuries ago, but that's, as they say, neither here nor there, as we're discussing cell phones.
The problem I did have with the LG, however, was the distance between the speaker and the mouthpiece. When I was having a conversation, if I didn't hold it up high enough I couldn't hear what the other party was saying, and if I didn't hold it low enough, the other party couldn't hear what I was saying. It also had this too-light, flimsy feel to it and finally, last Fall, I went to the Verizon store and bought a new one -- really new, as in the model, not the item. They didn't even have spare batteries for it in the stores. It's a Samsung that renders the LG a mere piece of technological history, boneyard material if there ever was any, with a videocam and even more high tech marvels I'll never be able to figure out. I actually bought the phone for the sole reasons that a) it's bigger, heavier and fits better in the hand, and b) the speaker phone function is infinitely better than that of the smaller LG.
What got me on this topic was a seriously funny column I read by television and book writer Lloyd Garver on one of his own cell phone experiences.
Posted by Seth at 06:45 AM |
August 07, 2005
It's amazing how informative and interesting to read Nicholas Kristof(excuuuse me, Nicholas D. Kristof) can be when he writes about something other than politics. In his NYT column today, he writes about Hermiston, Oregon, a rural farming district that's embraced Wi-Fi technology in a way no place else in America, except maybe Philadelphia, comes anywhere close to. The column is here .
But Hermiston is actually a global leader of our Internet future. Today, this chunk of arid farm country appears to be the largest Wi-Fi hot spot in the world, with wireless high-speed Internet access available free for some 600 square miles. Most of that is in eastern Oregon, with some just across the border in southern Washington.
Driving along the road here, I used my laptop to get e-mail and download video - and you can do that while cruising at 70 miles per hour, mile after mile after mile, at a transmission speed several times as fast as a T-1 line. (Note: it's preferable to do this with someone else driving.)
That really makes me want to bring my Inspiron up there just for the novelty of being bombarded with one continuous, uninterrupted hotspot!
Posted by Seth at 09:19 AM |