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Square Wheels

Are cell phones worth it?

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I suspect there are some conveniences of having a cell phones, but somehow I managed to grow up in a world without them, and looking back, I feel I am better for it.  I get it, I can bank online, call someone from my car, and other things, but those can all wait.

Here are some of the many reasons I think they should be removed from civilization:

  • People use them all the time, as if nothing else exists.  Read a book, talk to your neighbor, go for a walk.
  • They ruin any meeting with other people, they look at their phone instead of having a conversation.
  • They cost a ton of money.
  • They are annoying in so many settings: movies, library, meetings.
  • It's annoying trying to walk anywhere now: hallways, sidewalk, mall, without getting stuck behind someone wandering all over staring at their phone.
  • My biggest pet peeve, doing anything on the phone while driving.  It's now illegal in my state, no one seems to care.  It used to be I would see an accident once a month, maybe longer.  Now I see at least one a day.  Friday on the way home (only 20 miles on the highway) there were three accidents where someone plowed into someone else.  Pretty hard to do when we aren't going that fast.  I suspect many of the cars were totaled.  I also suspect they were all related to posting an LOL on Facebook.  I am not a violent person, but I can't say I won't physically harm someone if they total my car because they were texting.  Last night was our work holiday party, someone didn't make it because she got rear ended - probably totaled her car.  She's fine.

Again, I get it, they are convenient, but do they really make our lives better.  I feel mine is worse because of them.  Stuff can wait.  I suspect I will stop using mine when I retire.

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I like my phone but it doesn't dominate my life. The ability to take pics, look stuff up, the occasional game, text, or even talk to someone from virtually anywhere is an incredible convenience, some times a lifesaver.

I do think a lot of people let it dominate their life.  

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The hands-free law has worked here.  I see a lot fewer folks on the phone. We had 10% fewer fatalities year-on-year. It isn’t zero, but it’s a lot better. 
 

My son’s circle of friends pile their phones on the table during a meal. The first one to look at their phone has to buy dinner. 

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It's a nice way to text people, especially people who aren't by their computers and checking email during the day. It helps me keep in touch with family who don't live nearby But I never use it when driving, and never have it just out when I'm with people. Plus I actually read print books when I'm on a plane.   One of the downsides is that it makes work more accessible all the time.

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yes

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...when we traveled to Oregon for my nephew's wedding a while back, my wife made me buy a smart phone and set it up. She insisted that I needed to be in contact with her (and everyone else we traveled with) while on the trip.  I bought one that accepts sim cards, sent off on the internet for a sim card for one of the low budget services (Red Pocket Mobile), and paid them for a month's rent.  It was horrible having that phone, and checking it all the time for messages and shit.  I don't know how people do it.

The phone is over in the corner somewhere, slowly discharging its battery.  The phones are smarter than we are, and they are now the dominant intelligence on the planet.

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Nice when we travel (even locally), as pay phones are almost nonexistent. Other than that, things can wait. A few times each week, folks give me a hard time, because I don't have my answering service set up.  I just tell them to call home phone and leave a message. We have had tracfone for several years and have never had a plan with any of the big companies.

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It's nice that I can use the shopping list and app instead of relying on my poor memory.  It's good when I'm at the grocery store and the family texts me to get something they forgot to put on the list.  My car will not allow me to text while the car is in motion through the blue teeth system but it will play an audio version of incoming texts.  The phone is usually zippered away in a pocket where I couldn't get to it in the car anyway.  If I used ways instead of a dedicated GPS unit that might be useful.  The camera is nice.  My phone cost me $1 ($201 with a $200 sale).  My phone plan for the family of 3 phones was about $4.00 last month.  We do not have data turned on very often and to be fair, I have to have Comcast cable and internet service to get that price.  (I'd have them anyway).  We almost never call or text anyone other than the 3 of us.  I find it a useful tool when you use it properly and don't let it dominate your life.

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11 minutes ago, sheep_herder said:

Nice when we travel (even locally), as pay phones are almost nonexistent.

I have to carry a pager for work. I once didn’t have my cell phone and had to conduct business from a pay phone at a BP station after getting paged. I haven’t made that mistake again.

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I'm bothered by cars moving erratically where I almost always see someone on a cell phone, sudden loud voices in a grocery aisle due to someone on a cell phone, etc.

But I think having a decent cell phone with a decent camera/camcorder is worth it for times when your car breaks down, you want to tell the relatives you'll be arriving in half an hour when you're finishing a multi-hour drive, you're at the store and call home to ask, "They're out of Tropicana, what other orange juice do you want me to get?" you're traveling in a car caravan and want to tell the other cars you want to stop to eat/pee/etc., you want to order a pizza to pick up on the way home, you want to get a video of your nephew's school band's performance or a picture of that turkey vulture you've never seen before that's in a local parking lot, etc.

I think it's insane to pay in the vicinity of $1000 for a phone unless you have a serious business or other reason for the gimmicky new stuff on the latest models.  If you look at the many side-by-side comparisons on YouTube, you'll see there are mostly insignificant differences between the video/camera capabilities of the latest smartphones and the Samsung Galaxy S7, currently $149.99 at Tracfone (I got it for $429.99 in Mar. 2018 when it was reduced from $629.99), which I have with low-priced a 256 GB SDXC memory card installed, which is enough to record more than a month's worth of vacation 1080p HD videos and 4032 x 3024 pixel photos.

I used carry around a Nikon camera in the 90's and early 00's with a $200 zoom lens and $125 macro lens to get great pictures, decided it was too clunky and switched to a 4"x2"x2" dual camera/camcorder to get pretty good pics and videos.  Now that smartphone cameras have done such an excellent job limiting the spherical aberration and chromatic aberration and improving dim the light quality of their extremely short focal-length lenses, I'm satisfied with their results.

Shot with my Samsung Galaxy S7, a currently $149.99 phone:

This is a May, 2019 video with so-so clarity but shot at 8x zoom while leaning on the top of my car's roof - two small northern mockingbirds chasing a big crow away, probably due to a nest nearby. Shot in 1080p, max of 720p on YouTube:

An example of dim light video of my nephews and I in the 3D Maze at Ripley's Odditorium in Baltimore's inner Harbor in August, 2018 - so much fun we did it twice. Shot in 1080p, but 480p max. on YouTube:

This is the fine result I get with optimum conditions. This is nephew Adam when he was 10, July, 2018, on the Spider Monkey Adventure at WISP Resort in Western Maryland. This is up to 1080p on YouTube.

 

..

 

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I have three kids, none whom live in my city.., and I have a wife with healrh issues who works on the road.  My cell is my life line to my family as I do not have a job which anchors me to a desk (and landline).

This is the same conversation our parents had about TVs 50 years ago, and our grandparents had about radio 100 years ago.

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How else would I post here when on the go?

Plus, where else can I rim off a stream of obscenities' to spammers who made the mistake of calling me. 

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I FaceTime with my son in Romania, or Iraq or where ever he happens to be. I can find my way home from where ever I happen to have rode into. I can check up on my wife to make sure she is ok. I love my phone, I need my phone. It takes decent sunset/rise pictures. It automatically plays the music I like every time I drive my car. I can see my grandkids anytime I want to even if they are miles away. Cell phones are a marvelous invention. I don’t use my phone for very much talking. I hate talking on the phone. If I wanted to text and drive I could voice text but I have no interest in that.

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21 hours ago, Square Wheels said:

Read a book

Why is that different from "surf the net" or "watch a movie" or "pay your bills" or any of the other many things a cell phone (or laptop) can do? 

To me, a SMART phone does pretty much EVERYTHING a laptop/desktop does - some things way better and more conveniently and some things in less easy way.  So, spending $500-$1,000 for a laptop or $500-$1,000 for a smart phone is "normal" and "reasonable".

Use of a cell phone while driving - especially texting should be 100% equivalent to DUI.  Arrest, loss of license, and a huge fine.

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Have a grandchild, you will change your mind.

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1 hour ago, Razors Edge said:

Use of a cell phone while driving - especially texting should be 100% equivalent to DUI.  Arrest, loss of license, and a huge fine.

Well that is dumb, it is WAY more efficient to multitask and get your texting and eating and talking done while you are in the car. 

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5 minutes ago, Randomguy said:

Well that is dumb, it is WAY more efficient to multitask and get your texting and eating and talking done while you are in the car. 

Whatever, Uber guy!  "Driving", not "riding as a passenger in the back seat of some stranger's vehicle that smells strangely of urine, vomit, and pine"!

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1 hour ago, Randomguy said:

Well that is dumb, it is WAY more efficient to multitask and get your texting and eating and talking done while you are in the car. 

Sure beats shaving and reading the newspaper draped over the steering wheel.  :ph34r:

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3 hours ago, 2Far said:

Have a grandchild, you will change your mind.

Technically not possible. Your kids have to do that for you. 

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1 minute ago, groupw said:

Technically not possible. Your kids have to do that for you. 

Surrogate mother/grandmother???  Hopefully, doesn't work the other way (except maybe in Texas).

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It's just a tool or toy depending on how you use it.

Mine is $10/month for service and I paid $40 for the phone. That's cheaper than a landline. It does what I need it to do. I use about 2GB of data a year.

It's handy for taking pictures and keeping in touch with friends. It provides some convenience. I really don't use it a lot. I'm not much of a tech person and still prefer print books and vinyl records.

People who use them while they drive should be given steep fines, end that crap.

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I’ve shared this before, but here goes. When my daughter was dealing with cervical cancer, WoW and I would alternate trips to AZ to help her with her chemotherapy and around the house as her energy was pretty low, then. WoW would fly on her trip. I chose to drive. It gave me time to think and I could take my bike. Roadsue was kind enough to allow me to stay with them on my way through. 
On one of the trips, I shared on FB that I had made it safe to Albuquerque. My good friend who lives in the Cayman Islands used to live in Albuquerque. She shared a list of things for me to check out next time I visit. We also chatted about Hatch green chiles being underrated as well as Southwest culture in general. I only did this every couple hours when I took a break from the road. I also helped a member of our cycling group with questions she had about leading the group since I would be gone. I also messaged WoW, Roadsue and my daughter only location so we could figure ETA and to know I was safe. I was also streaming Spotify playlist of Hound Dog Taylor. When I dropped into the forest off the interstate, I thought how inconvenient. I will now have to play the music stored on my phone. I then laughed because 10 years before, all of this would have been science fiction!

Sure they can be a pain sometimes, but overall, I think I like having one better than not!

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As mentioned before, they are very helpful when traveling, everyday use, not so much. Many have commented now and earlier about giving up the land line.  No way is my wife going to carry a cell phone around, and even when traveling, she only turns it on when she wants to make a call.  If in town, I call the land line, and she answers or I leave a message on the answering machine. I've not converted back to the flip phone, but will in time, as carrying the I phone around is a real pain, so I just leave it in the house when doing chores, etc. I don't do anything, but a bit of texting and general talking with a cell phone. No friends:whistle:, no family, so what's the use?

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23 minutes ago, sheep_herder said:

As mentioned before, they are very helpful when traveling, everyday use, not so much. Many have commented now and earlier about giving up the land line.  No way is my wife going to carry a cell phone around, and even when traveling, she only turns it on when she wants to make a call.  If in town, I call the land line, and she answers or I leave a message on the answering machine. I've not converted back to the flip phone, but will in time, as carrying the I phone around is a real pain, so I just leave it in the house when doing chores, etc. I don't do anything, but a bit of texting and general talking with a cell phone. No friends:whistle:, no family, so what's the use?

You and your wife are seemingly PERFECT candidates for an Apple Watch! Leave the iPhones at home or in the car, and still do it all from your wrist!

B-O-O-M!  One more problem solved and a satisfied customer!

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11 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

You and your wife are seemingly PERFECT candidates for an Apple Watch! Leave the iPhones at home or in the car, and still do it all from your wrist!

B-O-O-M!  One more problem solved and a satisfied customer!

image.png.c2e0bf483c36957de3f5b074629ee248.png

And, while I was joking, @sheep_herder, my 83 year old FiL has an Apple Watch and routinely calls us or answers calls from it.  It really is nice for him to just wear the watch and have all the "core" benefits of a cell phone, but not need the cell phone in his possession at all times.

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7 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

image.png.c2e0bf483c36957de3f5b074629ee248.png

And, while I was joking, @sheep_herder, my 83 year old FiL has an Apple Watch and routinely calls us or answers calls from it.  It really is nice for him to just wear the watch and have all the "core" benefits of a cell phone, but not need the cell phone in his possession at all times.

I don't see these in our future. I don't think we've ever called the few family members we have left on a cell phone.

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Then again, cellphones and VoIP soon most likely will be you only option for any phone service.

This article was from 2017.   I’ll assume landlines will be gone in my lifetime. 

https://www.moneytalksnews.com/landline-phone-disappearing-in-these-20-states/

 We just built a new home, and we didn’t install a landline.  We just use our 2 cell phones.   We do have a cordless Bluetooth phone system, so we can answer the cell phones from any of the 5 cordless phones in the home. The cordless phones can announce when we receive a text.   I turned that off for my cell phone, my wife didn’t.

That said…  When I was the manager for my dept, it didn’t take too many staff meeting (maybe 2) before I declare, “No cell phone use during our meetings”.

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I need mine. It's the only way I communicate with AWWC in a coherent manner. This is hard to believe but he's pretty normal over the phone 

Mudkipz 

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On 1/12/2020 at 11:29 AM, Square Wheels said:

, they look at their phone instead of having a conversation

Sometimes I don't want to talk to other people.

If I stop at the corner bar for a beer the conversation is football, football and football and sometimes basketball. I can't even name 10 football, baseball or basketball players so I won't have much to add to the conversation. 

I do spend a lot of time on my phone with my son when I'm working on motorcycles and the sidecar because he is a mechanical engineer in the power sports field and since I paid for his degree I use his brain as much as possible. Right now the southern sidecar series is racing in Florida and the only place I will see the results and video of the races is on my phone. I don't have cable so I use my phone or tablet to watch Supercross racing. I love watching flat track racing and the only place that I get to watch that is my phone. 

The only way I can stay in touch or have a conversation about the sport I love is my phone so if you see me in public on my phone while everyone else is yelling at the tv over the bad call I'll be on my phone with the motorcycle racers. 

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I don't like long phone conversations.  If a long conversation is require for what ever reason then I prefer to talk it out face to face.  I like my phone a lot though.  I use its GPS on my commute home, listen to audio books and music plus it is always nice to have a camera with me.

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If I have to talk on the phone 99% of the time I put it on speaker. I hate holding a phone up to my ear to talk, always did hate that even back in the days of the land line.

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I use my phone a lot - a whole lot.  In addition to texts with family and the camera for some photos I do some of my web surfing (time wasting) on it.  I also use it for Audible listening - most days during my hour each way commute.  It is my business phone.  Our IP office system transfers all of my calls to my cell.  In the 2 years since the new system, I have never used my desk handset for anything.  I don't have to manage a voice mail box on the company system and one on the cell phone.  Calls never reach my desk.  I also use it to manage my email when not at my desk.  Check and managing email mornings, evenings and while on the road is done from my phone.  At night I usually fall asleep listening to an Audible book on the cell and it is my alarm clock.

So answering the OP - yes, in my case it is.

 

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I will say that one thing I HATE about cell phones is the greatly inhibits my fun.  You see, I am somewhat of a bullshitter and love to just make up random shit and see how many people I can convince it is true.  Nothing crazy, just like one time I had a teacher (when I was in school) convinced that the 24 hour clock is 'metric time'.  It  is often said that I never let truth stand in the way of a good story.

With cell phones I get called out so quick now because inevitably someone in the group will pull out the google and I am caught.

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My biggest issue is driving and playing with your phone.  It seems that driving is now a secondary activity while driving.

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6 minutes ago, Zephyr said:

With cell phones I get called out so quick now because inevitably someone in the group will pull out the google and I am caught.

Cell phones have screwed up trivia questions

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1 hour ago, Square Wheels said:

My biggest issue is driving and playing with your phone.  It seems that driving is now a secondary activity while driving.

Multi-tasking.  Never lat a little traffic get in the way of a good text

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I'm sure someone once thought the wheel was the end of civilization as they knew it.  Then they realized the guy running everyone over was the culprit, not his wheel, and the people who insisted on carrying all their stuff around on their backs died from exhaustion.

I do use my phone for a lot of things I could do without.  I'll be glad I have it if I need to call 911 from the middle of nowhere.  I read books, magazines and newspapers without killing trees or filling my carryon bag.  We just spent a weekend as tourists.  Saved a TON of walking around since we had an interactive map and compass and restaurant directory.  We were able to stream a significant event to a lot of people who couldn't be there in person.  Video chatted with the kids a few hundred miles away.

Yeah, I'll keep my phone.

And my pet peeve PSA:  Phones in cars are dangerous because of the mental aspect, hands free is just as dangerous!   Just don't do it!

 

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7 hours ago, Mr. Silly said:

I don't like long phone conversations.  If a long conversation is require for what ever reason then I prefer to talk it out face to face.

 

6 hours ago, Longjohn said:

If I have to talk on the phone 99% of the time I put it on speaker. I hate holding a phone up to my ear to talk, always did hate that even back in the days of the land line.

I almost always wear earbuds when on the phone anymore. I HATE holding a phone to my head too, and I hate long phone conversations.  I'm generally a face-to-face person, and feel like too much is lost in a phone call - reactions or expressions mainly.  But that is indeed true of cell or regular old phones, but a least the old ones could be cradled in your neck.

I wasn't actually keen on the Apple Watch concept until my messing with Sheep-herder got me thinking it might not be a bad idea. :scratchhead:

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1 hour ago, Razors Edge said:

 

I almost always wear earbuds when on the phone anymore. I HATE holding a phone to my head too, and I hate long phone conversations.  I'm generally a face-to-face person, and feel like too much is lost in a phone call - reactions or expressions mainly.  But that is indeed true of cell or regular old phones, but a least the old ones could be cradled in your neck.

I wasn't actually keen on the Apple Watch concept until my messing with Sheep-herder got me thinking it might not be a bad idea. :scratchhead:

Talking on the phone isn’t bad in the car, the blue teeth answers it. The only problem is I can’t see who is calling. There is a kill button on the steering wheel if I need to end a call. I get a lot of calls from the hospital that I need to answer.

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42 minutes ago, Longjohn said:

Talking on the phone isn’t bad in the car, the blue teeth answers it.

It's not about the hands............ pull over to talk

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8 minutes ago, 12string said:

It's not about the hands............ pull over to talk

Now your getting crazy, what about to a passenger, or a cop talking on their radio?

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2 hours ago, Longjohn said:

Now your getting crazy, what about to a passenger, or a cop talking on their radio?

They are all distractions, but some get paid to do it.

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52 minutes ago, sheep_herder said:

They are all distractions, but some get paid to do it.

State laws differ but on duty  police are exempt from the hands free law in CA.  

Cars are actually moving towards less gadgets and more aps that run through your phone.  The auto industry is actually pushing drivers to use their phones more while driving not less.

Are they worth it? To each their own but my jobs have required 24/7 connectivity and they have been a godsend to me.  Yeah I have an electronic leash but the flexibility to be able to do 80% of my job from home, grocery store, Drs office & etc is worth it to me.  

I also haven’t paid for a cell phone or service in 15 years so yeah it’s worth it!

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11 hours ago, Zephyr said:

e.  Nothing crazy, just like one time I had a teacher (when I was in school) convinced that the 24 hour clock is 'metric time'.  It  is often said that I never let truth stand in the way of a good story.

 

But everyone knows that’snot Metric time. In metric time there are only ten hours in a day. You only have to work 3.3 hours a day.

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8 hours ago, ChrisL said:

my jobs have required 24/7 connectivity and they have been a godsend to me.  Yeah I have an electronic leash but the flexibility to be able to do 80% of my job from home, grocery store, Drs office & etc is worth it to me.  

This. I leave the office whenever I want knowing I can do (almost) anything I need to do remotely. Far better than sitting around waiting for the clock to reach quitting time, in case something will come up that needs attended to.

 

8 hours ago, ChrisL said:

also haven’t paid for a cell phone or service in 15 years

Not so much this. 

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On 1/14/2020 at 2:54 AM, Couch_Incident said:

I need mine. It's the only way I communicate with AWWC in a coherent manner. This is hard to believe but he's pretty normal over the phone 

Mudkipz 

I do indeed find that very hard to believe!

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