More people today are connected to each other through a massive cellular network. Not only can you theoretically call billions of different people, you can access the internet through most providers. A human being alive today has more information at their disposal than the greatest scientists had thirty years ago. This leap will have such an impact on future generation it’s almost impossible to fathom. In your pocket, you have access to this wealth of information.
Not only do you have access, but you have a powerful machine, capable of creating written words, pictures, movies, art, music, and designs. What you have at your fingertips is a more powerful platform than what was available to people on their desktop personal computers fifteen years ago. The phone you have is more powerful than my sweet gaming rig was back in 2001. With all this raw computational capacity available to you on your person, people are now able to catalogue and transmit information with friends, family, and co-workers.
I’ll be honest, I hate having a cell phone on me.
You think with all the bells and whistles, Mr. Charlton would be on top of that like a fat kid on cake, but alas, I’ve never been a big fan of being constantly tethered to the network. It’s not that I think that people ‘don’t talk anymore’, because people have always had their faces pressed into newspapers and books the second the printing press was invented. I don’t think that people are getting dumber, although I used to hold that opinion. People are generally getting smarter across the world, and our unlimited access to information is making that possible.
I hate it because I no longer have privacy. I’m no longer out of reach. If someone wants to get a hold of me, whether it’s through Facebook, twitter, text message, email or, heaven forbid, an actual phone call, then I’m available. At all times. People get upset if my phone was off, or I leave it at home. “Where the hell were you, Mr. Charlton, Mars? Did you try to take a swim in the depths of the MAriana Trench? Did you decide to toss all of your belongings into a fire and join a bunch of Luddites out in the middle of nowhere?” These are the kind of questions I face should I choose to go without the stupid thing for a day.
Trust me, I relish every part of every day that I’m without my cellphone. It means that I might get lost. It means I have to physically go to a place to see if it’s open. I won’t know what’s on the menu at a restaurant before I get there. For the rare day that I get to do this, a sense of uncertainty, of chaos somes back into my life. It’s been a while since I haven’t had a cell phone.
I was a late adopter to the cell phone craze, I didn’t get one until 2007, I think. The phone I use now, a Samsung Galaxy SIII, was purchased back in 2012, which makes the phone only four years old. For some people, this is some sort of cardinal sin, not uppgarding once every year or two. I keep holding off, keep pushing it back because I honestly don’t know what I would do with a new phone.
“You’ll be able to take better pictures.” – I don’t take a bunch of photographs or movies with the one I currently have.
“You’ll be able to play cooler games!” – I can do that at home, on the couch, and sip wine as I’m doing it.
“You’ll need a new phone eventually, they keep upgrading the operating system for phones, and soon, you’ll have a telephone that is sluggish and decrepid.” – You know what? That ‘s actually already true. My phone is slower than a two-legged tortoise high on muscle relaxants.
Which brings me to my final point. I hate phones because the people who build them have created a brilliant market for themselves through planned obsolescence, which is fancy talk for “We’re going to bog down your phone eventually to the point where it’s no longer usuable, so that we can pressure you into buying a new phone.”
I can upgrade my computer, why the hell can’t I upgrade my phone? Why can’t I add more RAM, or change the camera, or choose the opertating system? Look at the IPhone, you can’t even open them up without a ton of work and voiding your warrenty.
That’s my beef. You can keep a car running for decades, you can upgrade your home computer if it’s a PC, and you could fix your old tube televisions. If you can’t modify or tinker with something you’ve purchased, then you don’t really own it.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. I’m building into something bigger, this is just me ranting late at night.