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Retro-grouch Gets His First Smartphone

Just in case I haven't said it often enough: late adopters rule, and early adopters drool. That is how I am feeling after finally finding a telephone/internet plan that I liked. Walmart was offering a pre-paid Verizon plan that can serve as my internet and phone plan, after I bought an inexpensive Android smartphone to serve as a hotspot for the laptop computer.

My goodness, I have held off for years! Because some people think a retrogrouch is either afraid of new things or is just a chronic curmudgeon who aims his curmudgeon-ness at technology, allow me to say a word in their defense. The problem was always the high price of the plans, not the smartphone itself. 

Actually it was fun and easy to learn how to use the Android smartphone. (Must I add that I wasn't even tempted to debauch myself with an overpriced iPhone?)  

Better yet, there was a certain vindication in being a cranky preacher against excessive motor vehicle usage. Look at how everything on the smartphone is aimed at tracking your location, and tailoring advertisements and maps towards getting you into the next fast food joint or Starbucks. It confirms what I have always said: that the car keys are the enabling technology for setting off a chain of unnecessary spending.

Because the 'medium is the message,' smartphones exacerbate bad habits, besides driving around in a city and squandering money. They bend your communications into one-liners and quips. They encourage you into an addiction to trivial, bite-sized 'news' and distraction: "Dude, how R U? Howzit hangin?" Eventually it will be deemed too slow or inconvenient to say, "Howzit hangin?" so it will be replaced with an emoticon-hieroglyphic. We can only imagine what that will look like.

Actually you can do just about everything better on an "old-fashioned" laptop. 

The smartphone is so synergistic with driving a car that one wonders how long it will be before old-fashioned key fobs are no longer needed to unlock and drive off in your car, and instead, there is an app on your smartphone to do it.


2 CooPs said…
There is already an app for it, Viper I think it is :)
Ted said…
There's already an app to unlock your car if you have GM's OnStar. Others will at least find your car in a busy parking lot—if you've ever been to Disneyland you can understand how nice that would be.

In all, the smartphone is a bundle of utilities. Use the ones that help, ignore the others. It will only corrupt you to the extent that you allow.

Downsides? Of course, just as with anything. Indoor plumbing, for example, could be seen as contributing to the obesity increase in America. Lack of all that exercise walking to the well, cranking the bucket, and walking back with a full container. Should we moan about our loss and sneer at indoor plumbing? I won't!
Anonymous said…
Soon the smartphone will replace computers as the primary means of communication. Soon you will be able to get a degree or at least take classes at Podunk U in text messaging. Soon English will be the de facto language of the world. It's time to find a livable cave. Personal privacy is defunct.

Well, well, so at least one reader is a bigger retrogrouch than I am!
2Coops and Ted, say, that makes sense about Onstar and smartphones. Would it be too naive to say that that should make it impossible to steal a car just by smashing the ignition lock and hot-wiring the car?
Ted said…
Personal privacy concerns are, in part, what drove me to the iPhone. Read up on their attitude towards user information and the Differential Privacy initiative:

Another thing that helps: stay away from anything Google (e.g. use the Duck Duck Go search engine, they don't gather info). Note that I no longer log into my old Google account to comment here. Thanks for allowing Name/URL and anonymous! I don't comment on blogs that require Google sign-in.
Anonymous said…
Thanks Ted for getting me off my butt:I just downloaded Duck and Firefox to my phone.
Ted said…
I have no idea if it improves vehicle security. If it did, I guess you'd have to call OnStar and identify yourself for an unlocking if you lost your cellphone. Hm, borrowing someone else's phone? Here's their vehicle management page: