Thursday, April 28, 2005

Technology - a Necessary Evil?

The purchase of a new cell phone (called a mobile in the UK) has me reflecting on this technological age we live in. I need a cell phone. Unfortunately. I can think of few things worse than listening to someone talking loudly into a cell phone on the train, inflicting other passengers with a one-sided conversation that means nothing, sounds worse and sets all around on edge. Don't these people realize that they don't have to shout into a telephone?

For me, the experience of selecting, buying and learning how to use a cell phone is a nightmare. Too much technology in too small a space. Too many bells and whistles I have to have because I need but a few of them. No, I didn't want a phone camera (I have a much better digital camera, thank you). No, I didn't want to play mp3s while waiting for a call to come through. No, I didn't want a hands free module (well, I do because it's the law, see picture above). No, I don't think I need to send e-mails and browse the 'net (that's what I have a laptop for). Etc. Etc.

What I do need is a phone (1) that will work anywhere in the world (in theory), (2) is compact and (3) is easy to learn to use. I have managed to score a difficult near 100% on (1), 100% on (2), and about 25% on (3).

It didn't help that the service provider gave me the wrong telephone number and then texted that number with an upgrade to its SIM (now there are two phones screwed up!). The manual is clearly aimed at 20 year old cell phone geeks, or is it that I have been spoiled by Apple Computer intuitivity for the past 15 years? Does anyone else share a bad cell phone experience?

BTW, the phone takes photos, plays music and videos and a whole lot more I am reluctant to talk about for fear of rising blood pressure. Consumerism is supposed to be good for the soul if not the checkbook? Not any more.