Monday, August 6, 2007


I'm trying to post to my blog from my phone.

Great googly moogly, it works. Of course, the likelihood of my ever actually posting from my phone is relatively low, seeing as how the above sentence took me several minutes to write (this bit was obviously written later, on my laptop). I am shit at texting. I am shit at all things phone.

Those of you who have known me a while are thinking: "Whoa, go back a bit. You got a phone?"

Yes. I've finally given in.

For years I have resisted owning a mobile phone because they strike me as pretentious and annoying little things. It just seems pompous to walk around thinking that you are so fucking important that people need to be able to get in touch with you no matter where you are.

Recently when I went to Nant Gwrtheyrn, several members of the group I was with spent the vast majority of their time lamenting the area's inadequate phone signal. They would stand out in the rain and bend in funny angles, desperate to get enough bars to be able to send texts or make calls to their friends, family and boyfriends. I couldn't help but think that they were completely missing the point of being there.

One morning, I asked one of them: "Why is it so important that everyone know exactly where you are and what you are doing? Surely you're not that important. Surely people can survive without hearing from you for a day or two."

She just looked at me funny and didn't really speak to me again for the remaining week and a half of the course.

I realise that phones can be useful and important. In Minnesota and in Wales I've encouraged the child bride to carry one, should she find herself stuck in some snowy/rainy/mountainous wasteland. If, like the child bride, much of your job involves driving over hill and dale, then perhaps a phone is an intelligent accessory. But everyone else, not so much.

My feeling has long been that people own phones because they are status symbols, not because they are needed. People make excuses for needing phones much in the same way that they make excuses for needing 4x4 vehicles. For years I have carried my non-phoneness like a badge of pride.

"And if I ever actually need to use a phone," I would proclaim, "I will turn to the person next to me and politely ask to use theirs."

But now I've given in. My will has been broken.

My technique of using other people's phones was working just fine. I haven't suddenly become more important, popular or employable. I'm still using public transportation to travel within the same five-mile radius. Nothing has changed. I have no good excuses. I don't need a phone. Nonetheless, I now own one.

I suppose it's worth noting that when I lived in Minnesota, I drove a 4x4 pickup truck*.

My phone is loaded with ridiculous features. I have enough media tools to set up my own entertainment network. The thing that appealed to me most, though, was the idea that I could blog from my phone. I could be in Eisteddfod (I'm heading up there tomorrow) and tell you about things almost in real-time. Oooh. Because that's important, see.

But as Sara indicated in the comments, I'm not exactly breaking new ground here. Everyone else was using their phones for e-mail back when I was learning how to strike through things in HTML. And, as I say, I've got a long way to go before mobile blogging would be practical. I write texts only slightly faster than it would take me to etch things in stone.

Odds are pretty good that in a short while, my phone will find a place in the bottom of my book bag, turned off and almost never used. I suppose I am my mother's son in that way. Despite the fact that she carries a phone, my mother is no easier to get a hold of now than she was in 1987.

It's unfortunate, because my phone appears to have all kinds of cool features that will likely go unused. One feature that fascinates me is vocal command. Apparently I can yell at my phone and it will do things for me. It's unlikely, though, that it would do things that would actually be useful: "Phone, call my wife. Don't let her know that I'm drunk, but tell her that she needs to come pick me up -- make up a good excuse. And you're going to have to give her directions because I don't know where I am."

If further developed, this vocal command thing could be quite handy. Imagine if I were still single, I could just yell: "Phone, I'm drunk and lonely," and it would dial one of my ex-girlfriends at random.

"Phone, I need money," and it would call my parents.

*Well, in fairness I drove a Delta 88 and my wife drove the 4x4 pickup. But I had originally bought the pickup for myself.


Anonymous said...

I think it worked, Einstein.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't trying to belittle your technological feats with my comment - I sure the hell don't know how to strikethru in html. I don't know jack about creating websites and such. I made it up to the basic internet skills era (email! google search! social network site! PubMed! etc...) and beyond that I'm computarded.

But I'm thoroughly converted to cellphone existence. Text-messaging is useful. You can communicate (at least a little) in a quiet, unobtrusive way. Boys who mostly seem to not love talking on the phone love the TM. That's been my observation, anyway, more than girls. Including myself - if I have the opportunity, I'd rather just have a real phone conversation with its allure of voice inflection and lack of emoticons than use 18 generic TMs to communicate the same 5 minutes of information. But if you're in a crowded noisy place and trying to meet up with somebody in another crowded noisy place, voila.

Dafydd Tomos said...

I work in IT. I hate mobile phones - this may be partly to do with the fact I get SMSes at 4am when some server has fallen over. I have a couple of techie colleagues who feel the same.

My mobile phone is a brick and I've only upgraded twice in 10 years. It only happens when I finally give in to the annoying phone calls from the shop, pestering me to upgrade.

Texting is sort of useful, but it's frustrating. I can imagine that it's sort of an amazing thing for the great unwashed who've only just learned to switch on a computer and type with one finger, but when I go from speedy typing on a proper keyboard to an awkward and slow input device is kind of a backward step.

I always say that one day I will get a PDA with mobile connectivity and proper screen/keyboard so I can do something useful on it (like fix servers remotely) but I never get a round tuit.

However.. if your phone has Bluetooth, have a look at the service on the Maes this year where you can get useful info via Bluetooth broadcast messages. (although you don't really want a Glyn Wise ringtone and animated character on your mobile do you?)

Somebodyiusedtoknow said...

love the frank zappa quote.