Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It slices, it dices, it connects at 56k baud....

I'm waiting for the collapse of "pop" technology, especially cel phones. They're just getting out of hand.

I've got to give them credit, though the people who invent and market these things are pretty savvy. They draw two crowds: the people who never stop talking, and the gadget people.

The first crowd is larger than I thought it would be. In all the public places, you always see people walking around shopping, eating, and attending events, all while talking on the phone. Maybe it's just because I'm slightly antisocial or that I'm comfortable being by my self, but WHO ARE THEY TALKING TO? Cashier lines have gotten just a little longer while the person in front fumbles for change while keeping their head cocked to one side. A lot of times you'll see a group of several people together, either a family or a group of friends, and one of them is on the phone. I say, you should've invited that person along too! I mean, I can see if you're shopping for something and you have to ask a question, but the majority of callers I see seem to be having regular conversations. What is it that couldn't wait until you got home?

And don't get me started on those who do it while driving. They sure as hell aren't controlling the car by voice command! It should become part of the licensing procedure to test whether you can maintain the speed limit and position in your lane while on the phone. If you can't, you should be banned from talking while driving. A few states already make it generally illegal, but it's not enforceable. I sometimes think it would be worth the FCC penalty to have a device that would disrupt the signal to the guy in the next lane who's doing 48 and drifting. Bzzzt!! Hang up and drive, sucker!

I wonder how much money is spent annually on cel phone bills just for this conversation:

"Hey, what are you doing?"

"Nothing, what's up?"

"Just seein' what you're up to."

"Where you at?"

"The mall."

"Okay, call me later..."

"Okay."

What a waste. I'll bet we could get a lot of better use out of all that money. Put the figures on the news, and the bleeding hearts would have a protest. I think there's even one wireless provider whose slogan actually is "Where you at?"

The other audience is the gadget fans. Nowadays, a wireless phone can have special ringtones, a color display with custom background graphics, internet access, photographic and video capabilities, and oh yes, unlimited call minutes as well. All those people like me who either run out of people to call, or run out of things to say after the first few hours, now have all these other wonderfully convenient (aargh) devices built into the phone that you carry everywhere. Hey, let's blind the world by giving them a screen two inches wide and tell them to compose pictures and read web pages on it! It's like the digital camera and laptop computer are too complicated, so let's make a simplistic versions that will fit in a three cubic inch space and operate with less than a dozen buttons! Nobody needs all that, the novelty's gotta wear off at some point. Just ask my PDA. (Of course, I put that down because I could put all my phone numbers on my new cel phone!) It's all got to crash at some point. People will get tired of buying laptops, PDAs, portable video cameras, and remote controls just to have them replaced by inferior versions on a telephone.

Maybe the monthly bills will get them. I can't find a phone plan for less than $40 any more. Pretty soon, they'll have financing available for qualified buyers on the latest model wireless digital color picture-taking, internet ready, car DVD remote controlling, mood sensing, stress relieving, variable speed massage wrist phones from the new monopoly corporation Cingurizint & T-MobileOne.

"For just $369 a month, add unlimited second lines so everyone you've ever met can ask you 'where you at?' for free."

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