Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We like the shiny.

I don't think of myself as any kind of Luddite -- I'm writing this post on a brand-spanking new computer, and we're mulling over upgrading at last from dial-up to DSL in the near future -- but I look at things like the new iPhone and watch people run away from me, to escape the waves of "Meh" that are cascading from my body.

:: I don't feel any pressing need for an iPod. If I won one, I'd use it. But I have no intention of buying one anytime in the foreseeable future.

:: I don't own a cell phone. I wouldn't mind getting one, but again, this is an expense I don't feel has risen to the level of necessity. I'm fairly staunch in my belief that a tiny percentage of cell-phone conversations are necessary at the time they're happening, and I don't think people look any more drone-like than when they're gazing intently at their cell-phones as they send text messages.

:: The iPhone has a two-megapixel digital phone built in. I just bought a 5-megapixel camera for $89. What's the deal here? How often in life are we really presented with sudden moments when we need a camera?

:: This gizmo browses the Web, providing full content. I'm forever mystified that people scramble to be able to watch video and look at webpages on a screen that's smaller than an index card.

I just don't see what the big deal about this is. So Steve Jobs has put a lot of different gizmos into one gizmo. Is that all there is? Maybe my experiences with doing maintenance and repair work are jading me on the idea of all-in-one gadgets, but it's always been my experience that a tool designed for one task is better for that task than some funky multi-tool that's designed for lots of tasks.

Anyhow, iPhone, iPod, iTunes...I'll take an iPass.


Roger Owen Green said...

I don't have a cell phone presently, and never had an iPod. What's been cool about iTunes, though, is getting free music because I have an account (one that Lefty Brown paid for, no less.)

Belladonna said...

While my cell phone DOES have a camera function, I almost never use it. I have on a few occassions to grab a shot of a fantastic rainbow on the way home or other neat visual when I was not planning any photography, but my quality of life would certainly not be impaired without it.

I mainly keep a cell because it's a lot cheaper to call with free sprint-to-sprint minutes and ALL my family live in different states.

Also it's nice to have should I end up in a snowy ditch.

My brother's cell phone did come in handy to document the NON-damage to a car his car BARELY tapped in a parking lot for insurance purposes. It would also have been helpful to show damage had it occured.

Or then, there are those instances when you just MUST document an unexpected boston cream in the face!

Overall though, I would completely agree that it is NOT a necessity - and I am determined to go to my grave NEVER having done two key things:

Sending/receiving Text Message on a phone or attending a tupperware party.

Anonymous said...

I'd agree that the good majority of cell phone conversations aren't necessary, but then I'd say the same about the good majority of ALL conversations. Why is a meaningless conversation OK in person but not on the phone? As for me, I'll be passing on the iPhone because a) I already have a 60GB iPod, and my music wouldn't fit on the phone, and b) given the cost of these things, I won't be upgrading for any reason for quite a while.

Kelly Sedinger said...

John: Cell phone conversations do not involve two people in the same physical space, and thus they tend to be conducted differently than conversations between people who are actually together. People talking on cell phones tend, in my experience, to be far more absorbed in their phone talk than they would be in a physical conversation; the whole demeanor of "shutting out the world in favor of the phone conversation" is especially annoying.

For instance, when I'm out shopping, I find it far easier to squeeze past two people who are talking together than I do to squeeze by a single person who's talking on a cell phone.

Cell phone conversations are not identical in manner to physical conversations, and I'm always baffled by people who pretend that they are.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Belladonna: OK, I grant you've got a scenario where a cell phone camera may be useful! Sadly (or luckily, given my lack of a cell phone camera), I've never been in that particular scenario! :)

Anonymous said...

Jaq - Have to admit that I think you're overstating your case. Sure, people on cell phones can be a bit absorbed, but so what? The conduct may be somewhat different than it is in a two-person conversation, but why does that make it bad? Why does your desire to pass them quickly in a grocery store isle trump their desire to enliven the drudgery of grocery chopping with light conversation? (And note that I say all of this as a person who HATES talking on the phone, cell or otherwise)

Kelly Sedinger said...

If they want to talk on the phone, fine. My problem is when they become so absorbed in their cell phone conversation that they pay significantly less attention to what's going on around them. You don't get to rudely obstruct the flow of a busy retail establishment just because you're on the phone, and that happens very frequently. What happens is that a person gets absorbed, stops in their tracks, and stands there, talking. They stop paying any attention to people coming up behind them or from other directions, all all too frequently, they're so absorbed in their conversation that they don't even hear you say "Excuse me". In fact, it's not uncommon for them to give me a look that basically says, "I was here first."

My desire to move through the store doesn't trump their desire to babble on the phone. But their desire to babble on the phone doesn't confer upon them the right to do it in any way they desire.

And that's just one kind of case. You also have the people who want to speed walk through the store while talking; these folks think the fact that they're already on the phone means they don't have to say "Excuse me" before plowing through people. (And it's already well established that cell phone talking makes one less aware of one's surroundings, which is why I think talking on them while driving should be flatly illegal, libertarian nonsense about "personal freedom" be damned.)

And believe me, I'm not overstating my case. Between work and shopping, I spend over one quarter of my life in a busy retail setting. Just because cell phones can be used anywhere doesn't mean they should be used anywhere.