A Short Story About One Man & A Cellphone

2011-02-21The kid in the picture above and the boy without the beard had a long discussion about how much technology has changed and will continue to change during our lifetimes.

Much of it took place during the traffic laden commute back home from the Los Angeles Car Show where he and I oohed and ahhed over various cars and I explained to him how one of the benefits to not being in my twenties is being able to drive any car I want without having people say “he is driving daddy’s car.”

There is little to no benefit in such a thing but when you are looking at a $330,00o car that is priced well beyond your reach you sometimes come up with silly comments and follow them up by thinking if one day you can afford to drive such a car you say whatever you want because the rich are eccentric and the rest of us are something else.

Anyhoo that conversation is partially responsible for the creation of The Prehistoric Era of Technology Was Better…Right? but was really tied into my need to upgrade my cellphone.

Much of that story is tied up in a guest post I wrote for my friend Carolyn at The Wonder Of Tech regarding the great adventure that comes with buying a new cellphone.

If you weren’t able to read it over there you can enjoy it in the block quotes below.

If we were talking in person I’d gesture at you to come closer so that I could tell you a secret. But if you came up too close I might scream, “get out of my face, I can’t breathe!”

Ok, I wouldn’t really scream but I would hope you didn’t come close enough to kiss me. I am friendly and affectionate but there are limits to who I share my affection with. I suppose it is only fair to mention that it is the cell phone sales person that is responsible for this story.

You see my current cell phone can’t decide if it wants to remain employed by me. It has been both unreliable and unpredictable and were it actually a person I would terminate it with prejudice because it has been that difficult to work with.

Except it is not a person, it is just an electronic tool that I rely upon far more than I want to.

I Like Technology/Gadgets

I technology and I like gadgets. Not only do I like them both but I am tech savvy and good at working with whatever gadget I have at or in hand. Notice I don’t call myself an expert but I do say I know enough to figure out how to make them work and have enough common sense to know when to ask for help.

I think I got my first cell phone around 1995 or so. I was working as a youth director back then and the office got a phone for us to use in case parents needed to contact us while we were on an outing with the kids.

I know they described it as a mobile phone but it was huge, a monstrosity of a phone that belonged in a war movie. I used to say it should be used to call in an air strike because it looked like it belonged on the back of some GI who would shlep it around until the officer grabbed ahold of it and desperately called for help.

Anyway I moved on from the beast through a series of other phones, most of them your standard now old-fashioned flip phones and eventually transitioned into the realm of smart phones with a Palm Pilot.

Mostly loved my three Palms because of the novelty of having something that was easy to email, text and surf the net but I didn’t really get into phones until I got my first BlackBerry.

Great googly moogly, talk about something that made it truly easy to use as both a telephone and writing device. I owned a multitude of ‘Berrie’s and dragged my feet about moving to something else because I didn’t think it would be as easy to text/write with.

And I was write, er right.

Enter The Android

I have owned several ‘Droids that compensated for the challenge in writing with providing multiple apps and functions that improved my productivity and made it easy to work from a remote office.

About two years ago that was enhanced by my purchase of a Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Some people referred to it as a phablet because it was twice as big as every other phone. Ok, it wasn’t twice as big but it was substantially bigger and more than a few people commented about its size.

They asked me if it was uncomfortable to use or carry and I told them no. I have a big hands so holding it was never a problem and the larger screen made reading/working much easier on my eyes.

Did I mention how nice it made flying?

I could watch any movie I wanted, read books using the Kindle app or play games on it. It almost made traveling with my laptop optional. I still took it with me because from a productivity standpoint I could still get far more done on the computer than the phone but I didn’t take it out on the plane and that pleased me.

Every now and then some of my friends would ask me why I was devoted to the Android world and told me it was a mistake not to move to an iPhone.

“Josh, you need to get into Apple. Their products are superior. Their computers last longer and the iPhone is the best smartphone on the market.”

I used to smile and nod my head. Sometimes I would ask them how much Lord Voldemort, er Steve Jobs, was paying them to drink the Kool-Aid and explain that the fervor about Apple was why I didn’t want to get into it.

Something about what appeared to be blind loyalty bothered me a bit so for a while I pushed back against it by not even considering the phone. If you said that was arbitrary and unreasonable I would agree with you because it is and it was.

However when I looked at my Samsung Galaxy Note and compared it to the iPhone I always thought my Note was superior primarily because of the screen size and ability to more easily expand the memory.

And Then Came The Change

For a long while the smaller screen size was of major importance to me. A larger screen is much easier on my eyes and I felt it made it easier on my eyes and enhanced my productivity. I also paid close attention to the memory issues.

I bought the 16 GB Note and then purchased a couple of 32 GB MicroSD cards. The cards are tiny and easily swapped in and out of the phone so I effectively increased the memory with minimal effort and for far less than it would have cost to purchase the 128 GB iPhone.

What I haven’t mentioned so far is that the other three users in my house are all using Apple products. We have two iPhones and an iPod Touch. Nor did I mention that a certain daughter who has dark eyes, freckles and curly hair has asked her father to FaceTime with her on multiple occasions and then sighed deeply when I said I couldn’t do it because I didn’t own an iPhone.

Somewhere after that sigh and with her encouragement I took a look at the iPhone 6 Plus and was very pleased with what I saw. The larger screen size took care of one concern and the time I spent playing with the phone made it appear to be one that will cover the rest of my primary needs.

The biggest question on my mind is whether to spend extra money on buying a 64 GB iPhone instead of a 16 GB, especially since I can upgrade to a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and use the expandable memory.

Technically I don’t have to FaceTime with the family because I can Skype or Google Hangout with them but I admit to being very curious about the iPhone. I think it might be time for me to learn firsthand if it is as stable as people claim and to see what it is like to be part of the Apple ecosystem. I am a heavy user of iTunes at home so it might simplify some things to have a phone that doesn’t need special programs to integrate with it.

I Don’t Want To Kiss You

If you are skimming this and focused solely upon the subheads you’ll probably scrunch up your face and wonder why the hell we are talking about kissing in a post about cellphones. Well the answer to your question is around the fifth sentence. I’ll type slowly so you can read it and catch up.

The day I went to check out the iPhone 6 Plus a helpful salesman at the store tried hard to convince me to buy the phone. I won’t fault him for his enthusiasm but I would suggest he work on his listening skills and remember the importance of being aware of personal space.

If only there was an app for that…

What Phone Did You Buy?

After much research, some stress and an argument with the Magic 8-Ball regarding its refusal to give me an answer that was more specific than It is Certain or Concentrate and ask again I opted to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

I came very close to buying an iPhone 6 Plus and took a hard look at the Droid Turbo by Motorola as well.

The two primary reasons I didn’t opt to try the iPhone were cost and a question of how well it would integrate with my heavy Gmail and Google product usage.

I was concerned about the amount of memory the phone comes with and didn’t want to settle for 16GB because I was concerned it wouldn’t be enough for my needs and didn’t hear any good solutions for ways I could easily shift data around to make space when needed.

The next size up was another $100 bucks or so not counting the money required for a case, car charger and any other necessary accessories.

Since my old phone was a Samsung Galaxy Note II I didn’t have to worry about purchasing a new car charger and knew that I had three 32 GB SD cards that I could swap in and out of the new phone without any issue.

That is in addition to the 32 GB my phone came with.

When I compared the Droid Turbo to the Note 4 I liked much of what I saw but again I ran into the memory issue because of a lack of SD card and a smaller screen.

So when push came to shove Eve didn’t convince me to bite the Apple and Motorola didn’t manage to suck me back into their game either.

Which brings me back to the discussion with my son about cars, phones and technology.

Full Speed Into The Future

I don’t know if he truly recognizes how much technology has changed and advanced during his lifetime, let alone mine. When I look at the pictures above and think about the phones I have owned I see huge advances and changes.

The easiest way to define them is to say I moved from carrying a little flip phone whose primary use was for telephone calls to a small portable computer that allows me to talk/text/email/watch videos/video chat and handle almost any task I need a laptop for.

I don’t worry about roaming or overage charges for calling now, if anything it is a question of how much data am I using when not connected to WiFi.

Remote and virtual offices aren’t a dream that only some people can convert into reality because of these phones.

The auto show made it clear that automakers are working hard to integrate phones into our cars too. I am old enough to appreciate this in a way I don’t think my son or daughter ever will.

What used to be the province of James Bond, Star Trek and Star Wars is now ours and their reality.

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