29 June 2018

Telephones

The final and concluding part of Yorkshire Pudding's fascinating foray 
into the world of telecommunications.
PART THREE
Nowadays we have five house phones. Three of them are wireless and need regular recharging. There's one upstairs in our bedroom, one in the study, one in the dining room, one in the lounge and a wall-phone in the kitchen. To dial numbers, you no longer have to wait for the circular dial to return to its starting position. We have push buttons for the numbers and besides, the phone receivers already contain our "favourite" numbers and we can use "redial" to phone back recent recipients of our calls.

In the past two decades the use of mobile or cell phones has of course become widespread. Mobile phone technology has revolutionised communication in previously unthinkable ways. More and more people are turning to smart phones that provide far more than phone call connectivity or the opportunity to text like a dervish. The modern smartphone is in fact a miniature computer with internet access as well as excellent camera technology.

My son and daughter have grown up with mobile phones and can hardly conceive of life without them. With their phones they can order "Uber" taxis, order takeaway food via "Just Eat" and find their way around places - either walking or driving. You can use a smartphone as a compass or a spirit level. You can find out what time it is in Sydney, Australia or what the weather is currently like in Outer Mongolia. Think of a question, any question and your smartphone will probably lead you to the answer.

It's a kind of magic I know but I have never owned a smartphone or indeed any kind of mobile phone. I have never sent a text message or used any kind of phone app. It's just that in the way I have lived my life, I never felt that I really needed a mobile phone. It was never a conscious choice, it just emerged this way. After all, for most of my adult life I managed perfectly well before mobile phone technology began to take over the world.

All of us have attitudes to mobile phones - whether we have one or have never possessed one.

I get angry whenever I see the driver of a motor vehicle speaking on the phone or even texting. This terrible habit has led to many road deaths and injuries. It is surely as bad as drink driving. I also get concerned about people walking across roads while talking on their mobiles and simply walking down the street while nattering into a mobile can be an open invitation to phone muggers.

Last New Year's Eve, Shirley and I took Frances and Stew to "Nando's" on Ecclesall Road for our last meal of the year. A family of six came to sit at the adjacent table and as they waited for their orders to arrive all six were separately engrossed in their phones - not communicating as a family but linking with the world beyond that restaurant - Facebook, games, sports, e-mails, dating sites and the like. I found this horrifying but perhaps that's just me. 

The smartphone revolution is a worldwide phenomenon  that has largely passed me by though I have of course always been watching it from the sidelines. It has its negatives as well as its many positives. Who knows? Maybe one day I will feel the need to have  my own mobile phone but  until that day comes I am happy to continue living slightly off the radar, somewhat disconnected from all the babble - happy to not be contributing to the behemoths who have profited enormously from this social and technological revolution.

29 comments:

  1. Only the other day I saw this somewhere.
    "Your mobile phone has replaced your camera, alarm clock, calculator and map, just to mention a few. Don't let it replace your family."
    I totally agree. I infuriate my children by never answering. They usually call the landline.
    In your post you mention having a wall phone. As I said previously, we had one in the eighties. You're catching up with our lancastrian trendsetting ways! 😀

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    1. Yeah catching up Christina. Perhaps one day we will also wear sparking clogs.

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  2. I'm reading this and commenting on my smartphone. I have you (and all of my blog friends) tucked in my pocket and a couple of finger taps away for most of the day! :)

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    1. Help! Let me out of this pocket! I can't breathe!

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  3. I have mixed feelings about this. We do have a landline, for sure and I keep several old plug-in-the-wall phones that don't require electricity for times when our power is out. Such as hurricanes. And we need a landline because no mobile phone seems to be able to receive calls in this old house. I have no idea why. We can use the phones as "devices" though, with the internet. And I love my phone! One of the best things about it for me is that I can download audio books and podcasts for free to listen to while I live my life doing housekeeping stuff or on my walks or when I'm gardening, etc. That has really been a very positive thing in my life. I can keep in touch more easily with my kids. We can make plans by texting which include all of us. "El Pat at 12:30?" "YES!"
    Etc.
    My husband and I can send love texts back and forth all day and if I need things from the store I can send him a list so he can pick them up on his way home.
    And the camera! It's wonderful and I can get great pictures of my grandchildren on the fly or wildflowers as I walk.
    I use the flashlight app to count my chickens in the hen house every night!
    I use an app as a pedometer as I walk which encourages me to walk further.
    I use if for a lot of other things, too. I can't imagine my life without it now.
    And I find that as I age and facts fly from my brain, google has become my accessory/back-up brain.
    But my family is very good about not using them when we're all together. Except for taking pictures, of course! We still talk. We talk and talk and talk and laugh and laugh.
    So. There you go. But I will say that I too, often look around in waiting areas or restaurants and am appalled at seeing virtually everyone looking at their phones.
    One day recently, I was in a restaurant and actually saw about three people reading books though as they dined alone and I was greatly cheered.


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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful response Ms Moon. Apple or Samsung should employ you to head up an ad campaign aimed at seniors...showing that the smartphone experience can be very positive.

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    2. Mrs. Moon, I could have written your reply.....exactly.

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    3. Apple. Never Samsung.

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  4. Our Daughter passes on her old mobile phones when she upgrades but Tom will tell you it is usually found in my bag needing to be charged, that's how much I use it.
    I lament the press button A to hear them speak, press button B get your money back. lol
    When we were kids it was always a fight to get into the phone box first to see if anyone had not bothered to collect their money.
    I must stop reminiscing.
    Briony
    x

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    1. You mean you tea-leafed change from telephone boxes? You'll never get to heaven Briony... unless of course Brighton IS heaven!

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    2. Brighton is a cess pit YP, used to be lovely but has gone to the dogs.

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    3. Hell's bells - say what you mean Briony!

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  5. I now use my phone for just about everything except telephone calls. And, when we move, it will be the end of land lines for us. Honestly, I still use my computer with its large screen for most of my daily work when I am at home. I find the thing I enjoy the most about the phone is that if I hear a word or the news is talking about someone or something that I know nothing about, within 5 seconds I can learn about new places, new things, different people. I love that!!

    When my family or friends come for a meal in my home, they turn over there cell phones at the door. If they don't like it, they don't have to come. (Yes, Mr. Pudding, I am that mean!)

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    1. ....bad spelling. Should be "their" instead, of course.

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    2. You will have to google the difference between "their" and "there" Mistress Thyme! I used to think that cell phones were for prisoners.

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  6. In my flat, there is exactly one landline phone (cordless) in the Third Room (study/guest bedroom). I much prefer making and receiving phone calls on the landline, as the phone in itself is more comfortable to hold and the sound quality is better.

    The first person in my family to own a mobile phone (and a computer, and a VCR) is my Mum. She has always been really interested in new technologies and is never scared to try and connect devices herself. I have assisted her a few times with computer issues but otherwise she is very autonomous.

    My first smart phone was the first iphone. I had it for so long it became un-updateable. Then OK bought a newer model and gave me his old one, the iphone 4. Recently he has bought another, newer model yet again, and I have now is iphone 5.
    To me, it means I can check train times (including delays and possible alternatives!), which is more often the case than you'd think. I also can exchange a virtual kiss with OK at lunch time, since we can see each other only on weekends.
    There are sometimes messages with my sister, Mum, boss or friends about appointments, where to meet and when. Very useful when (see above) a train is late and we have to tell the others involved that we'll arrive later.

    The only other apps I regularly use are the weather forecast (to decide what to wear and whether to take a brollie or not), LEO (an online dictionary for the rare occasion that I wish to look up a term I am not familiar with) and my RunMeter which allows me to track how fast I ran and what distance - merely for my own pleasure, not uploading it anywhere, never comparing with others.

    Facebook is a no-go for me - I am a Data Protection Officer.

    Like you, I think it is sad (and bad manners!) to sit with someone at a restaurant table and faffing with one's phone.

    My Dad hates mobile phones. But we forced one on him when he had a stroke. He is alone on the allotment most days and we need to be sure he can call for help - which he has indeed done a couple of times. Once he fell off a ladder (thankfully, no bones broken) and rang my sister. She jumped into her car, drove the 1/2 hour to the allotment and took Dad to the doctor's.

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    1. Ooops, sorry, that was longer than I thought.

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    2. No problem. I enjoyed your contribution. Is a "virtual kiss" when you kiss the gap between your index finger and thumb?

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  7. I have had a mobile phone since 1991. I have always had the phone with the most up to date technology. I have been an iPhone user for many years. I do not apologise for that at all. I do not use it in situations when it might be considered anti-social. However it means that I can have phone and video calls to my family and friends anywhere in the world with no problems at all. One of my oldest and closest friends had a massive stroke in Canada just over a week ago and I was able to communicate with her visually and orally before she died. My son lives all over the world and I can chat to him as if he was always here at his house on Lewis. My mother refused to move into her new house in 1944 until the phone was installed. I have inherited her communication-need gene. That is only the start. As others have said the cellphone is a powerful computer which can be used for a myriad of things. For those who do not want to use one that is fine. There are many who seem to think that that makes them superior (I'm not suggesting you, YP, are in that category). Perhaps they are. Perhaps if people had not embraced the motor car the world would have been a better place. Perhaps not.

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    1. Thanks for your response Graham. It's easy to see why you have found mobile phone technology such a boon to your life. I have found that the sense of superiority is more likely to be found in those whose lives are almost ruled by mobile phones (I'm not suggesting you, GE, are in that category!)

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  8. When we retired one of our ways of cutting costs was to eliminate the land line. This was not done without much serious consideration. We realized that we seldom used it except to receive those aggravating sales calls. Our kids and grandkids always called our cell phones as did most others we knew. We had each already had cell phones for several years. I consider cell phones to be a safety item as much as anything. I remember back when my two boys were young and I got stranded with car trouble on a busy interstate road. I was scared to death and had no way to contact anyone. I definitely do see the bad side to cell phones when not used wisely. All phones are put away during family meals and get togethers and we never use them when driving but have them for emergencies. Aside from the safety factor of the cell phone I love having a computer, library, map service, camera and much more always at hand. But we do not let it rule our lives, just enhance them.

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    1. Sounds like you have got the thing in proper perspective Bonnie.

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  9. Think ahead. What's in the next generation after the smart phone. I do not have a mobile device

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  10. I think of a cell phone or iPhone as a tool. Its usefulness depends on what you want it for, and it depends on how you use it (whether it works for you or you work for it). I have an old-timey flip phone strictly for communication when I'm not at home (for example if my car breaks down, or if my elderly mother needs me). When I'm home I use the computer and enjoy having the large screen for extended reading of websites. I don't see my usage changing in the foreseeable future.

    Interesting series, YP. Made us all think and reminisce, which I think is a good thing.

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  11. Again my response to your post the other day covers this post, too.

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  12. My husband works in the medical field and there has been an increase of organ donation from young people who have died in car accidents caused by cell phone distraction.
    Greetings Maria x

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  13. I got my first mobile phone nearly 20 yrs ago when I was driving home from work in the dark, and didn't want to be without a means of communication if the car broke down. I held off from a " smart" phone for quite a while, but once I had one I loved it ! What would you do if your car broke down miles from anywhere ? Start walking I guess ! X

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  14. Five phones in your house? Wow! We don't have any landline phones -- we just have our smart phones. I think managing smart phone use is simply a question of balance. You have to know when to turn it off and when to pay attention to your surroundings. (And that includes family time!)

    So here's a thought -- it would actually be a good idea for you to have a mobile, given how much walking you do. If you twist your ankle or fall off a moor (is that possible?) it would be good to be able to call someone for help.

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  15. I have five phones too ! Four are digital, and one is the original land line, which is useful when the electricity goes off - it can still be used. For years we just had two phones - one in the living room and one in my husband's "office". After his death last year, friends persuaded me to see the sense in having phones dotted about the house, so that in the event of a fall, or a problem, I would always have one near to hand. It's worked well and I have been glad that I haven't had to walk all through the house to pick up a call.
    I also have a smart phone, again a fairly new acquisition, but somehow I haven't bothered to acquaint myself with the workings of it - yet. I rarely carry it with me, and it normally needs recharging - I just can't seem to summon up any enthusiasm for using it at all !

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.