John Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2010

John Howell

Cell phone now generations behind, screen cracked

Some months ago I began to notice that I keep falling further and further behind current cell phone technology. Every time someone in near proximity pulls a ringing cell phone from their pocket, purse or belt holder, a new generation of the devices has evolved. Of course, with cell phone technology, a generation can come and go in a month.

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Sometimes people take time to show me their marvels. On a recent train trip, I fell into a conversation with the passenger seated beside me. As we travelled southbound through the upper Delta, I tried to guess about our location. He pulled out his cell phone which with a few keystrokes soon displayed on his screen the train’s location, moving down a map. Amazing. Not that I was unaware of the capability or unaware that it was available to cell phones, it was just impressive to see it demonstrated. And GPS/cell phone pinpointing is probably among the simpler applications among those available.

My awareness of the antiquity of the cell phone I carried in my back pocket became pronounced even though my awareness of its presence there didn’t stop me from sitting on a hard surface with nothing between the concrete and my butt but the phone and a thin pair of pants. Since then, not only is my cell phone antiquated, the front screen has been thoroughly cracked as well. The device still functions but won’t much longer.

Which brings me to the need for a replacement and recognition of a developing syndrome I am experiencing as time goes by. Increasingly, I don’t want to be bothered with new technology. Sure, I’ll use it out of necessity and in some cases, I’ll enjoy it, but more often I’d just rather not be bothered. I would gladly accept a verbatim replacement of the old, but often there is none. If left to me, most times I’d leave the latest and greatest alone.

That’s probably not an option with my cell phone replacement. Soon I’ll be shopping for another and trying to choose from all the exciting applications that are certain to be available once the deal is consummated. And with the purchase I’ll wonder if it is practical to daydream that one day I’ll put the device away, never to pick it up again.