Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Theoretically wonderful, actually banal

Here is my new rinky-dink mobile, bought last Saturday under close instruction from the experts – my daughter and granddaughter. Not a big deal in most people’s lives, but seismic in mine.

Its predecessor was eight years old and would still be in use if it hadn’t tumbled to the floor in Diafani. Twenty minutes after being switched on it flags up “Insert SIM card”, even though the SIM card remains in place.

As far I am concerned, advances in mobile phone technology could well have featured in the Rubaiyat:

Like snow upon the desert’s empty face,
Lighting its little while is gone.

I make twenty calls a year, half to logis in France. In a truly busy year I receive one or two. I am of course a pay-as-I-goer and, in one of my life’s little tragedies, I regret keenly that I topped up before Diafani (but failed to use the phone once while there) and the present £43 credit is beyond retrieval.

For me, mobile phones allow me to pass on terse announcements about my whereabouts and my ETA. A vital function yet somehow uninvolving. The seemingly obligatory camera on the replacement is likely to remain unused. Two pluses: the new phone is smaller and lighter and the address book design is greatly improved.

Mobiles should excite me but don’t. The stupendous technology is somehow blurred by users’ fascination with ringtones and overheard semi-dialogues at blare level.


Plutarch said...

I agree with you about mobiles. I barely ever use them, but enjoy their reassuring presence. I dropped mine and it, too, gave up the ghost. Its camera-less replacement cost me £20.00 and I was able to use the sim card from the previous deceased machine, which had some p a g money stored on it, and the telephone numbers in the memory.

marja-leena said...

It warms my heart to see you have a Nokia from Finland!

I'm partly embarrassed, partly proud to say that we have still not succumbed to cell phones! The plans are horrendously expensive here in Canada. The only time we feel it would be good to have is for emergencies when away. Geek husband is highly tempted by Apple's iPhone, if weren't for said plan prices. One daughter and her husband bought themselves two while they are in England.

Julia said...

I'm a Nokia fan myself and like their operating system, it's user friendly and customizable if you're so inclined. Your daughter and granddaughter chose well!

Plutarch said...

Though I bought mine from a Vodephone shop, I note that mine's a Nokia. I am becoming very fond of it on account of its user-friendliness.

Barrett Bonden said...

I'm delighted we're all warming Marja-Leena's heart. But all this talk of plans; isn't pay-as-you-go available in Canada?

Julia: I'll willingly spend a day and a half exploring Photoshop's four ways of doing a cut-out but customising my phone...? I didn't even know the facility existed. I am, however, utterly punctilious about texting, laboriously inserting all the correct punctuation and capitals. Intellectual élitism, I suppose. (Note the somewhat pedantic accent)

Julia said...

Do you use T9? I am a wordy texter and find that I can type about three times faster using its predictive text. Accents only appear if I switch to Czech or French though, sad to say.

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: This is going to sound pompous, self-regarding or Luddite - or all three. So be it. Since the age of 15 until retirement in 1995 I earned a living by putting one word in front of another in a coherent way. It is too late for me to accept help in this from a Finnish teenager specialising in machine language. Judging by your blog writing style I am astonished you think you need the imperfect crutch of predictive text. Switch it off and bid goodbye to the Nokia nerd.