Tag Archives: Mobile phone

An Oblivious Society

The review for “Clear, Winter Nights” by Trevin Wax has been delayed until Monday, October 28. Meanwhile, enjoy what was supposed to be Monday’s post. :o)

train station
train station (Photo credit: nolifebeforecoffee)

Technology is great unless, of course, you’re the San Francisco student on the light rail train who was shot and killed on September 23, or the man glued to his phone that I startled when I ran up behind him a month ago. He wasn’t the only one. It’s not just technology that has made people unaware.

People are generally not aware. When I have gone running or shopping, people don’t use their senses to know when people are around them, trying to pass in an aisle, or even aware of people close behind them trying to pass them on a narrow sidewalk. This picture taken on the subway in San Francisco shows a typical day of ear buds in people’s ears and eyes fixed on their cell phones. The gun man did not hide his gun. He took it out, wiped his nose while holding the gun in his hand, and even with the close proximity of the gunman to the others on the train, not a single commuter raised his eyes to see the gun until the gunman shot a student leaving the train.  It was too late for the student who died from the fatal shot; and this in a city and state known for it’s convoluted anti-gun laws. It doesn’t surprise me that the gunman was able to flash the gun on the cramped light rail train.

I’ve come across so many people fixated on their cell phones and ear buds whom I have startled when coming up behind them on the streets or who stop engaging with others because of their ear bud usage. When I Googled cell phone addiction, it did not surprise me to find many articles on the subject. Our wants and needs’ line have blurred. I wrote about that here. Recently, I acquired a smart phone because our finances allowed the extra cost.

As a writer, we’re required to social network and write, but after several years of social networking, It has left me empty. My biggest concern has been in getting a smart phone is in not engaging in life because of it. I have a smart phone and I still make a concious effort to put it away. The smaller screen causes one to focus more intently on the words, shutting others out, while a regular computer screen allows your view to expand and include those around you. I also have an ipod shuffle for running, but I train my eyes to look around as I run, keeping aware of people around me. When I trail run, I do not use my ipod. Running in such an isolated place has its own dangers with not only the two-legged predators, but the four-legged as well.

So I’m not surprised at the kidnapping rates in our state or the crime in San Francisco anymore. The San Francisco gun man on the light rail went out hunting for a random human victim. He did eventually get caught. With so many cell phones, someone could have dialed 911. If San Francisco wasn’t anti-gun, a CCW holder would have had that gunman on the ground. Both actions would have saved the 20-year old’s life.

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A Grumpy Cell Phone Customer: Need Versus Want

Cell phone Samsung SGH-X680 ubt
Cell phone Samsung SGH-X680 ubt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The lure of having a computer in my hand nearly overrode my best judgment. My cell phone plan is coming up for renewal and I always get a new phone—the free one that comes with a two-year activation. Cell phones almost always go bad after a while. I almost listened the whispers of temptation as I got excited about all the neat games, apps, and perks of getting a smart phone or an iphone.

Our cell service is with Verizon. Verizon and Sprint are the best cell phone companies when you live in the mountains. The signal is strong even when you drive through the shadow of a mountain. However, that being said, it seems like the big cell phone companies are forcing smart phones on us. I want a basic phone.

On both Sprint and Verizon sites I read a handful of reviews on the basic phones. It used to be a basic phone could rate as high as a four on average. Equipment problems and phone sound seem to be the main complaints. Verizon also used to have a wide variety of basic phones available. Now smart phones outnumber the basic phones, and though the iphone 4 is free with a two-year activation, I have no need for a smart phone. I would use only 5% of it’s capabilities for Facebook, Twitter, and Email. Then, there’s the dependability.

Our computers break down after so many years, forcing us to buy newer and better technology. It’s not a bad thing to buy new technology, but I like to make that decision based on our budget not on necessity which is why I use a day planner.

I like my day planner because I am a note taker. I stuff all my notes and business cards in my day planner. My schedule is kept on my day planner. I buy refills. Once in a while for something really important I might set my phone to remind me of an appointment. A smart phone is just an added expense in a poor economy. I don’t understand why I can pay one consistent rate with my internet provider at home for unlimited internet, but have to pay exorbitant prices for limited or unlimited internet on my phone.

iphone maker, Steve Jobs, once was quoted in a blog how cell phone companies control cell phone innovation:

“It’s even worse. The carriers now have gained the upper hand in terms of the power of the relationship with the handset manufacturers. And they’re starting to tell the handset manufacturers what to build. And if Nokia and Motorola don’t listen to them, well, Samsung and LG will. So the handset manufacturers are really getting these big thick books from the carriers, telling them “here’s what your phone’s gonna be.”

With our tight budget, it’s not a necessity to have apps on my phone or even the ability to get internet on my phone. Yes, as a writer, it would make social networking and marketing myself even easier so that I could do it anywhere. But I don’t want my electronics tapping into the addictive side of my brain leaving me only half-present around people. It’s not necessary to be plugged in all of the time. I control my time with my electronics; it doesn’t control me.

Plus, the prices of iphones and other smart phones go for retail (without a cell phone plan) from $80 to $700 each. The highest retail prices are the same cost as a laptop computer. I just want a high quality basic phone with access to Facebook, Twitter, and Email without all the other high-priced items and extra monthly charges that send my cell phone bill above $100.

It feels like a few cell phone companies corner the market on cell phones and plans when the customer has little choice but to acquiesce to what the cell phone companies want to sell. I like innovation and choices. I don’t like being forced to take on a smart phone when a basic phone serves my needs. In my struggle between choosing a share plan and a good phone and the reality of our finances, I reluctantly admitted that the apps and games and ringers would only satisfy me for two weeks before it would become rote. It’s not something I need, and in this culture we justify a want as a need in order to give ourselves permission to spend money unwisely.

I Cannot Escape

Wherever I go I am connected by an invisible electronic thumbprint/GPS-like invisible thing.  Wherever a computer sits I am connected to the rest of the world.  If I am on vacation, I am connected by the computer, cell phone, text, etc.  Social Networking may have blasted through the business world and blown wide open my world, but it’s still disconcerting how I cannot escape completely from people.

http://www.workhappynow.com/tag/work-happy/

I’m wedged between being a people-person and a hermit.  Part of me could languish for days in a mountain cabin accessible only by helicopter and surrounded by miles of thick wilderness.  The other half of me loves people, cares for them, and wants to take away their tears and establish friendships in a good coffee house.  Social Networking enables a person to do both—live in the world, or to live a part from the world creating a cyber world who meet in cyber coffee houses.

http://www.toomerscoffee.com/2009/09/05/wi-fi-access-the-digital-dilema-facing-coffee-shops/

Someone remarked how I can never escape the people I don’t want in my life anymore.  As a writer, I am required to plug into the cyber world and interact with it.  My face and name pop up in Google searches now.  I have more friends now than in my past.  The remarkable thing about the internet is how genuine some of these friendships have become over the span of a year.  We share prayer requests, pray with each other, talk to each other, and complain to each other.  It’s a whole different world online—a large Christian family.  A person must have balance between his cyber world and his real life.

We should on occasion disconnect and plug into real world friends and get away from the computer and from the world that so desperately wants to connect.  It’s healthy to pick up a book to read, to take a walk with your best friend, to travel, or to do something, anything other than play Farmville for six hours a day.  The computer creates a slushy mind unless we keep it active by balancing our day with a combination of exercise, outdoor activity, reading and computer time.

http://www.vanseodesign.com/web-design/priming/

I can’t escape the world even on vacation.  It runs beneath us through cables and in the air we breathe via radio waves.  A person cannot walk anywhere anonymously.  Now certain camera phones have a geo-tracking chip in them that thieves use to trace a person’s location, and in some Starbuck’s locations you can pay and order your drink through an app before you arrive to pick it up.  I love my computer and my ability to navigate through its jungle of commands.  I love connecting with people and talking to them, but I wonder what kind of life we would live if computers never existed?