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Screw the Luddites

by babbage

I just got another new cell phone. Itís a Nokia 8260 and itís my 3rd one. The other two bit the dust. One took a short ride on the roof of my car (ok Ė my bad); the other literally fell apart. Iím all for the digital revolution and I live on my cell phone. But recently Iíve been thinking a lot about why these things suck. Hereís my list in no particular order:

1. If youíre a lawyer do me a favor - sue these cellular providers until driving without a hands free set is illegal. Otherwise I know Iím going to die when some soccer mom drives over me doing 60 mph in her minivan as she reaches into the backseat for her handheld. While youíre at it, get after Krispy CrŤme as well; Iíve nearly had two donut-related incidents. They clearly need to make those boxes easier to open.

2. Am I the only one losing sleep over this radiation thing? Whatís the real deal? Whatís Geraldo doing in Afghanistan when I need someone to finally break this story? Are cell phones going to give us cancer or what? The cell companies say noóbut continue to patent low radiation models and shieldsÖ color me skeptical. At least if they came clean, I could reheat my coffee with the high radiation model.

3. Speaking of features: Where the hell is this digital convergence everyone has been promising? I want my Dick Tracy PDA, MP3, remote control, speakerphone, digital camcorder/cell phone with the built in tricorder. Is this really asking too much? Today I canít even move numbers from my PDA or computer to my phone. I just had to re-enter 60 numbers for the 3rd timeÖ my thumb is aching and I think Iím developing a repetitive strain injury.

4. What the hell is the story with those rings? Then again from the corner of the world that brought us Abba and A-Ha Ė should I be that surprised? I recently found out I can buy rings off the Internet for up to 30 bucks. You gotta be kidding me! Iíd rather go to an Nsync concert then hear these things going off. Someone help meóall I want is a nice warm ĎRepublicaní ring. Is that asking so much? Donít even get me started on the Ďgames.í

5. My US cell phone works all over the US. My GSM cell phone works all over the WORLD. I realize less than half of this country has a passportóbut come on, this is ridiculous. Do you remember that during the Gulf War all the Europeans were lending our boys their cell phones in the desert? Thatís right; Luigi and Pierre could call home anytime they wanted from the middle of Iraq! Iím still having a problem getting a signal by Jordanelle.

6. How about those bills? I thought being an actuary was boring. Who the hell do you think dreams up these billing schemes? You know the ones where daytime stretches from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and you get free minutes until you actually place a call from home at 8 p.m. to a local number and somehow on page 27 that call is billable? Forget the flat tax Mr. Forbes. You could win the next election by pushing for a simple call billing plan.

Iím sure there are more reasons. Soon Iíll write about my dream phone. In the meantime do me a favor. Get a hands free set or turn the damn thing off in the car.