July 18, 2013

Smart Phones Aren’t Really

Technology is a funny thing, by which I mean it’s more irritating than a tent full of mosquitoes.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I had a fairly solid grasp on emerging technologies, back when “technology” consisted almost entirely of a huge block under my desk referred to, at the time, as a “computer.” That computer was adorned with a Medusa snake-head snarl of wires that I actually understood, despite the apparent chaos.

Over the course of the last several years, however, the computers that I knew and understood have been steadily shrinking, to the point they now exist in a form known as “smart phones,” even though they’re not even remotely smart; in fact, I’d argue that “smart phones” are actually really, really dumb.

I consider smart phones dumb because they’re basically computers that can be as easily misplaced as a television remote control. I mean, with the big block computers I used to store under my desk, it was almost inconceivable that I could possibly misplace the thing. When I left the room, there was just an entirely reasonable expectation that the computer would be right there under my desk when I returned. There was simply no way I could slip that thing in my pocket, carry it around with me, and then lose it.

And then laptops came along, which—although they were somewhat smaller than the big block computers—were fairly hard to misplace, unless you happened to accidentally leave it in a coffee shop after pretending to write something to impress people sitting around you. Generally speaking, however, you weren’t all that likely to lose a laptop.

But, now, there are smart phones and tablet computers, which have attained that perfect size that allows you to pretty much lose them practically anywhere you go.

I speak with some authority on this, because I lost my cell phone a couple weeks ago, and I didn’t even realize it. As far as I can tell, my phone fell out of my pocket while I was taking my children for a walk. How and why I lost it is really not all that important; the important part is that I lost it.

Thankfully, my lost phone was discovered by a young man delivering newspapers. And that’s when things started to get weird. The paperboy presented the phone to his mother, and she set out trying to locate me, using detective work even Sherlock Holmes would admire.

Before I even knew my phone was missing, my wife received a call on her cell phone from the woman who had my cell phone (she went through my phonebook contact list, apparently). I just happened to answer my wife’s phone and I was disconcerted to hear a woman inform me “I have your phone,” as if she was holding it for ransom. Fortunately, she wasn’t interested in a reward, but she was determined to return my phone, so I gave her my address and she dropped it off in our mailbox the next day.

When I retrieved my phone from the mailbox, I was somewhat surprised to see I had several voice mail messages. Listening to the messages was a journey into technological surrealism.

First off, there was a message from my father-in-law: “Yeah, Ryan? I just got a call from some woman who says she has your phone. So, if you get this message, you should call her and get your phone back.”

The next message was from my mother-in-law: “Um, I think your phone is missing. Some woman called me and said she has it. Call her if you want your phone back.”

See? This kind of thing would NEVER happen with a traditional computer under a desk.

Posted by Ryan at July 18, 2013 03:28 PM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!