Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


This make sense.
June 7, 2001 10:11 PM   Subscribe

This make sense. Farm workers are an ideal market for cells. It's weird how fast the way we relate to a technology changes. What do Mefi'ers think that cell phones meant when they first appeared and how has their meaning changed over the years?
posted by rdr (45 comments total)

 
When I first came upon the idea of cellphones, they meant you were as cool as Zach Morris, of course! Anyone else recall the behometh of a cell phone that the bad boy of Saved By the Bell carried around every weekday at Bayside High?

I really think we're going through cellphone overkill. A good amount of people genuinely need them, but these days everyone totes around their little nokia. I've never even had a beeper, or wanted one for that matter. I get by just fine.
posted by tomorama at 11:04 PM on June 7, 2001


Cell Phone=Drug Dealer
posted by Doug at 11:06 PM on June 7, 2001


I think cell phones have gone from luxury to necessity to nuisance.

Recently, I was purchasing a card for a graduation and came upon a card. The card had a cartoon of the Dean, speaking to the students in the crowd, each with a cell phone. On the front of the card, the Dean was saying:

"When your cell phone rings, please approach the stage and receive your diploma"
posted by 120degrees at 11:37 PM on June 7, 2001


I recently spent a Saturday at the Illinois division of motor vehicles. Only one office would replate my truck (as opposed to mere renewal), and that one was way the hell in the wrong place for my friend to drop me, so I took the train, got there late, waited in the outside line in a slight drizzle, waited in 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) successive lines inside just for my license, waited in 1) 2) 3) successive lines for my plates, all of which lasted from about 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, and the whole time ... bombarded by cell phones on all sides. For part of this I had an Arab guy behind me, and nothing against him, but they noticeably have smaller conceptions of personal space than Westerners, so he was right in my ear. Ack. There were signs stating "no cell phones inside please" but they were completely ignored except in one close-in office-type area where they wouldn't even let a guy hand his cell to his wife. The mass of humanity was bad enough, but with that mass all "making good use of the time" by arranging their afternoon or evening, exchanging shopping lists, even haggling over a car loan ... or like the Arab guy, practically yelling in a foreign language ... yikes. I heard every ring in the music book and then some,

I own one too, and I've used it on the train, but I kept my conversations short and to the point. I wouldn't use it in many of the situations where it's become an annoyance, where I had to raise my voice or impinge on others' space ... and the guy in the movie theater who took a call and didn't even get up or tell his caller where he was or try to get out of it quickly and politely ... well, he came within about 20 seconds of my accidentally *cough* spilling my drink in his lap.

That said, we've crossed a divide. The cell phone may well be the only phone for many people not all that far down the road.

The big brick phones? I always thought it was an especially nice detail that the X-Files "Lone Gunmen" origin episode, set in 1988, had good old "Spooky" Mulder carrying a brick instead of his omnipresent flip phone. Same kind my dad had. He needed one, then; I somehow avoided getting mine until last year. Suppose when I get used to it, I become less polite, too?
posted by dhartung at 12:26 AM on June 8, 2001


I have to agree with 120 degrees with the "luxury to necessity to nuisance" remark. Especially on the road, living in LA.

In case anyone cares, my dad is a farm laborer and has had a cell phone for the past two years, given to him by his employer. He says that communication among the quality control team (the people who test the acidity/sugar level of the grapes), the majordomos (those who lead the crews of pickers and packers out in the field) and ranchers has greatly improved. Since ranches often cover anywhere between 5 - 25 miles of land, all of the above people used to have to drive to each other to palaver and decide which fruit goes to cold storage and which stays on the vine. This meant that whole crews would sit and do nothing for hours until decisions were made.

Not any longer.

Of course, all my dad knows how to do is dial, answer and talk on the phone. He couldn't give a rat's ass about text messaging or voicemail.
posted by inviolable at 12:41 AM on June 8, 2001


Business use is fine, personal use I have a problem.

Lazy people=more phones

I don't want to walk over there to the pay phone! I'd rather pay 60 dollars a month then 35 cents per call for the pay phone. 171 3 minute calls don't work. And they wonder why they are on welfare and can't feed thier kids. Loose the cell phone and the designer clothes and maybe you can afford the 2.49 milk, 1.49 cheese, 1.00 juice.

Typical cell phone call:

"Hello?"
"Yeah I'm at *location*"
"Yeah I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Okay bye"

I don't need a study to see talking on a cell phone causes bad driving. In my 5 minute drive to work everyday I see at least one person driving off the road not paying attention waving thier hand in the air at Mr. Invisible.

I don't even pick up my phone at home. If it is important they will leave a message and I'll get back to them when I'm ready.

bleh... its late and I'm tired.
posted by andryeevna at 1:06 AM on June 8, 2001


Rem-member when in uh (gulp) the Xfiles. I mean the uh Lone gunmen epi--episode, member--rememb--member when it was back in1988? And there were the uh big (gulp) bih-hig cell phones that peep. . .I mean people. God! God why can't I get that?!?! But. . .But--Mulder had one of those big phones?

Yeah?

That was awesome.

Totally what I was thinking before I clicked on the thread. Just like you Dhartung! Just like you!

My one qualm is that Cingular ("Something big's going to be announced on Superbowl Sunday") is "hosting" the whole shebang. There's a Cingular store near my house that is absolutely devoid of human life during regular business hours. Therefore I posit the quandary; are they so hard up for further venture capital that they are insidiously trying to tap the "burgeoning" migrant worker population of what little money they do make. Could it be, so that their brand awareness will cause them to gravitate towards Cingular once the "study"/trial is over?

I have a feeling this is simple brand awareness propoganda. . .

For the answer of how migrant working Mexicans might telecommunicate:

1. ¡Ellos Hablan Español en el microfono!
2. Will gladly use free cellular phone to make local and international calls provided by Cingular/PacBell inc.
posted by crasspastor at 2:45 AM on June 8, 2001


doug: Cell Phone= Drug Dealer
Hm. Doug= Racist? Hey, why not, as long as we're making immensely broad generalizations...


andryeevna: And they wonder why they are on welfare and can't feed thier [sic] kids.
Um... where'd the welfare rant come from? It wasn't really part of the linked story, or mentioned before then. Why the sudden desire to presume that any significant number of people on welfare must be wasting their money on cell phones? Gee, I always figured people on welfare were wasting their money on a new pair of pink spandex hot pants- y'know, for when 'Tonisha' or 'LaQuisha' had to get all gussied up for their appearance on "Jerry Springer". Who knew the cell phones were the real drain on their finances? I feel so foolish...

Ahem... anyway. The cell phone, like most new technologies, doesn't just enhance or alter a current lifestyle, it often invents new ones. When they first came out, it seemed they were mostly a status symbol for movers and shakers, suggesting they were so important they had to be reached at all times. I recall as a youngin' when my mom bought my dad an early cell phone, for the car- meant for emergencies only. Now, it's more often than not a personal accessory for friends or family members to reach each other when they aren't at a fixed line. Those who use them gain an extra connectedness, wherever they may be (I'd consider that a downside, but many seem to think it's a benefit). O.O.P.- wise, this is an improvement- it makes each person's location transparent to communication issues. :) The result is that dedicated cell phone users change many of their behavior patterns, knowing they are instantly reachable anyplace and anywhere. As was mentioned earlier, some people are deciding that a cell phone can actually replace the standard house phone- it can provide all the benefits while not having a fixed geographic point.

Personally, I hate the damn things- mostly because I've had to wear them for work, and don't find frequent enough use for them in my private life to bother carrying one around with me. In this case the technology has changed our work patterns such that it's considered "OK" to be reachable (but not paid) in off-work hours. But on the whole, for a lot of people, they can be most convenient- the example of a typical cell phone call is useful, if for example you're meeting someone at a predetermined location and one of you is going to be held up. Inviolable's example was also telling....
posted by hincandenza at 3:15 AM on June 8, 2001



hincandenza: Hm. Doug= Racist? Hey, why not, as long as we're making immensely broad generalizations...

I think it's pretty obvious Doug's post was not meant to be taken seriously. It's late so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

... and I also hate cell phones with a passion.
posted by Mrmuhnrmuh at 3:30 AM on June 8, 2001


Suppose when I get used to it, I become less polite, too?

I wouldn't worry, Dan. I don't think that's possible. ;-P
posted by bradlands at 3:43 AM on June 8, 2001


The Amish were pretty early adopters of the cell phone, particularly in regards to farming. The popular perception of them is as luddites, but they're really just very selective in their choosing of what technology they partake of, in the context of how it will affect their society.

I always thought that was an interesting comment on, and sort of validation of the cell phone.
posted by dong_resin at 6:35 AM on June 8, 2001


I think you cell phone haters are out of your minds. How many women with flat tires/lost kids/I'll be home late so don't worry/I'm at the wrong place/car broke down/911/help me! calls that wouldn't otherwise have been made HAVE been made because the person had a cellphone? How many people have saved time/money/life because of them? You hate cell phones with a passion? Don't own one. That's your right, no one's forcing your to carry your phone around with you on one of those stupid belt hooks like you're Science Officer Nerdboy from the Starship Doofus. If you have to carry one, and you don't want to get calls in restaurants/movies/the can/after 11, then shut it off.
posted by UncleFes at 7:06 AM on June 8, 2001


I don't own one; I gave it up. Also: some people who own them have a legit need, some don't. Some people don't know how to use them appropriately, some do.

How many women with ... calls that wouldn't otherwise have been made HAVE been made because the person had a cellphone?

Why just women? Oh, that's right, because women are weak and need cell phones because they can't do anything for themselves! (cough cough wheeze)

Also, how did people get along before cell phones, anyway? God bless America.
posted by hijinx at 7:18 AM on June 8, 2001


Oh, and as a follow-up to the actual link (sorry!), I see this as nothing more than Yet Another Target Market for Cingular to exploit with their insulting marketing and advertising. They have a non-profit help out so it looks legit, and people like me clam up. Bah.

Can we just give Cingular phones to people in third-world countries already? They need a small electronic device to express themselves too, y'know.
posted by hijinx at 7:23 AM on June 8, 2001


"Women with flat tires" was simply the first entry on that list, because many of the women I know don't know how to change a flat. My wife doesn't - I mean, academically she understands the concept, and I'm sure she could puzzle it out, but why when she can get on her cell, call me, and I come out and change it? Faster, easier, simpler, safer.

You don't own one? Superfine. But who defines "appropriate use"? It's a PHONE.

How did people get along before smallpox vaccine? Or TV? Or shoes? What difference does it make?
posted by UncleFes at 7:26 AM on June 8, 2001


My problem with cells is that when using them people forget how to walk and/or drive. The situation is at an extreme here in LA but I can't tell you how many accidents and near-accidents I see on a daily basis caused by these things.

And how many movies have been ruined when some idiot's phone begins to play "Ride of the Valkyries" at the most dramatic moment? Countless.

So no, I don't like cell phones. And I sure as hell don't have one, if I'm not home - that's why I have an answering machine.
posted by owillis at 7:36 AM on June 8, 2001


I call bullshit on that. More accidents are caused by people eating than by cellphone use.

...search-search-search... Augh! Can't PROVE it! Can anyone help me? I heard it on NPR, I think.

As for cell phones in movies, I agree with you there. If you are stupid enough to take a call in the movies - or important enough to have to take calls in the movies - rent a video.
posted by UncleFes at 7:44 AM on June 8, 2001


How did people get along before smallpox vaccine? Or TV? Or shoes? What difference does it make?

Oh please, comparing a cell phone to a vaccine for a contagious disease! How did people get along before TV? I bet they read more and did more outside. Shoes? I bet they had sore feet (before shoes, of course, we had... sandals.) Comparing something as inane as a cell phone to a life-saving vaccine says a whole lot about your priorities.

...why when she can get on her cell, call me, and I come out and change it? Faster, easier, simpler, safer.

My friend, Teach a man to fish... is a very valid statement here. I'm not going to tell you how to run your personal life, but I would suggest that simply demonstrating it as opposed to doing it every time would be more beneficial. Share your knowledge.

But who defines "appropriate use"? It's a PHONE.

It's up to the individual user to define it. But don't lose sight of the fact that phones are not a right by any means, and there are only a handful of big companies selling all the phones. These companies have a whole lot of power, and are essentially telling folks to use cell phones all the damn time - to promote so-called "freedom of expression".

If you think that freedom of expression is having a piece of plastic that emits radiation attached to your ear, inadvertently telling people, "Sparky did the greatest trick last night!", you might want to open your eyes. Of course, I acknowledge that there are practical uses for cell phones. Some businesspeople need them.
posted by hijinx at 7:54 AM on June 8, 2001


I like that. "Call bullshit" and then beg for other people's help proving it.

You hate cell phones with a passion? Don't own one.

The problem isn't me, it's them, the rude people. But "You hate cell phones with a passion? Take away everyone else's" just lacks that libertarian je ne sais quoi, doesn't it?
posted by rodii at 7:59 AM on June 8, 2001


Do you do everything a big corporation tells you to? I thought not. Neither do I.

My point with the vaccine is to ask yourself: am I better of, or worse of, because of the existence of cell phones? I think the minor inconveniences of others' cell use is far outweighed by the beneficial aspects of having one. By your argument, we should just go back to the stone age and worry about what that guy down the cave complex is going to be doing with the new dangerous technology, "fire."

AS for teaching my wife to "fish," I don't want her to change her own tires. It's dirty, sometimes dangerous work. I prefer that she call me. If you want your wife to change tires, feel free to teach her.

And no, I agree: phones are not a right. But why would you take away my freedom to own one if I so choose? In the meantime, say I don't have a cell phone - what if I just simply talk to someone during a movie? Equally irritating. The presence of a phone doesn't change the inherent rudeness of the action. Simply put, some people are rude, and some people are not. The rude ones will be rude with or without cell phones. And punishing me for someone else's rudeness... which is the greater evil?

I apologize to the group for calling bullshit and then begging for help. Sometimes the bullshit call just leaps out of me before I can stop it, and proof be damned :) But I doubt I'll get much help from you buncha cell-phone-taking-away facists :)
posted by UncleFes at 8:09 AM on June 8, 2001


Crap - that's better OFF, or worse OFF. Darn spellchekers :)
posted by UncleFes at 8:09 AM on June 8, 2001


By your argument, we should just go back to the stone age and worry about what that guy down the cave complex is going to be doing with the new dangerous technology, "fire."

Oh man, have you distorted and misconstrued my argument. Nowhere have I suggested we become Luddites or simply wash away all of technology. There are many things that have helped us out along the way - computers, for instance. What I want is for people to stop and consider what this technology could do, on a societal and personal level, before blindly accepting it.

You see, I feel that cell phones often separate us more. When we're in public, we don't need to deal with the people around us: we can deal with one (or two) people, over our phones, and we select whom we want to deal with. It's all very user-centered.

Do you do everything a big corporation tells you to? I thought not. Neither do I.

Ah, but millions do, out of ignorance. That's part of the problem and actually (hooray!) harkens back to the link in this thread. These people have gotten along fine without phones for quite a while, no? Now that they've got them, Cingular is quietly saying, "Here. Try this. You might get hooked. Oh, and uhyeah it's a part of a study yeah blah blah...." Cingular is starting to target the people that have traditionally neither wanted (and sometimes, needed) cell phones.

I wonder if these farmers are on family-run farms, or are simply corporate-backed family-run farms.

But why would you take away my freedom to own one if I so choose?

You have that right. But as you mention, I also have the right to enjoy a movie in silence. Do people talk in movies without cell phones? Sure. Do people's ringers play music in the movies? No; people don't have ringers. In addition to my problems with cell phones, the concept of rudeness while using a cell phone is something we seem to agree on.

You can have your cell phone. But be mindful of what it does to other people. If a person isn't mindful, then I'm damn well going to educate them. If they are, fine.

gosh this all sounds like an suv argument
posted by hijinx at 8:18 AM on June 8, 2001


I call bullshit on that. More accidents are caused by people eating than by cellphone use.

How many people had accidents from cell phone usage 10 years ago? Zero.

I would also guess the percentage of accidents caused by eating have remained the same, while there's brand new accidents being caused by cell phones.

"Were not making the same mistake twice"
"No, no, now you're making whole new ones"
posted by owillis at 8:26 AM on June 8, 2001


The most common usage of cellphones (mobile phones) in the UK is for SMS (Short Messaging Service). Apparently many billions of text messages were sent between phones last month. It's a major craze. No-one wants to talk. Everyone wants to 'text'.

Personally I can't see how anyone can stand typing on a crappy numeric keypad. I think I'll stick with e-mail!

In the 80's, mobile phones were primarily known as 'carphones' since they were almost always installed in a car, being too impractical to lug around. The coverage was quite good.. we often used to drive across country (the UK, that is) and the service was good in many areas.
posted by wackybrit at 8:38 AM on June 8, 2001


What I want is for people to stop and consider what this technology could do, on a societal and personal level, before blindly accepting it

Technology is often neutral. Ideas are often neutral. Both can be used for good ("come change my tire") or evil ("Now that we've agreed on price, how do you want that guy killed?"). This same argument can be used to quash any new thing or idea. "We should stop and consider what an end to the concept of people as property will do on a societal and personal level." I'll tell you what it did - it caused bloodshed like this country had never seen before... and it brought true freedom to an entire people that had never known it before. I know it's an extreme analogy, but it's an accurate one.

You see, I feel that cell phones often separate us more.

So what? I feel that cell phones make us more polite and together. Feelings are sort of individual, and may or may not have any bearing on the truth.

Cingular is starting to target the people that have traditionally neither wanted (and sometimes, needed) cell phones


I think that's called "Marketing." It's used as a method for selling stuff.

I wonder if these farmers are on family-run farms, or are simply corporate-backed family-run farms.

What would it matter? They're people, whom Cingular's marketing department thinks they can sell phones to.

The beauty of the concept is: if you are a farmer, and you don't want a cell phone, you are not forced to purchase one. The simple elegance of the free market can be beautiful at times.

You can have your cell phone. But be mindful of what it does to other people. If a person isn't mindful, then I'm damn well going to educate them. If they are, fine.

My friend, if you are going to educate all the rude people in this world, you have a godawful big job in front of you. On the other hand, could be one of them takes it onto themselves to educate you. Education can be a two-way street.

I'm not even going to get started on SUVs :D
posted by UncleFes at 8:48 AM on June 8, 2001


Cell phones that play music instead of ringing are evil. Phones should ring, not play Beethoven's Fifth. For those who have trouble telling whether it's their phone ringing or someone else's without the musical cue, here's a handy hint: if the sound is coming from where you keep your phone (pocket, purse, etc.) it is probably yours. Now here's the tricky part: If the sound is coming from somewhere besides where your phone is, it is probably someone else's phone.
posted by kindall at 8:57 AM on June 8, 2001


I dunno, those phones that play "Dixie", like the horn on the General Lee, when the Duke boys would go over one of the extraordinarily plentiful Hazzard County dirt pile/ramps? They're alright :)
posted by UncleFes at 9:03 AM on June 8, 2001


Technology is often neutral. Ideas are often neutral.

True, but it's often up to the marketing and the society to figure out what to do with it. In this instance, I feel that Cingular is well in the driver's seat. If farmers suddenly got together and said, "Well crap, we all need cell phones!" I'd say, "Good for you - go get 'em." I really have an issue with Cingular acting very high and mighty and saying, "Yes, you will probably need these." Now, will all farmers use cell phones? Heck no, and I never claimed otherwise.

So what? I feel that cell phones make us more polite and together. Feelings are sort of individual, and may or may not have any bearing on the truth.

We shouldn't dismiss feelings when it comes to debate. Just be able to separate them from facts.

I think that's called "Marketing." It's used as a method for selling stuff.

I know. I'm soaking in it. But for goodness sake, man, this is one more place where marketing lives. McDonald's tried to put an ad in space. Pizza Hut put an ad on a rocket. You can't even pee in a urinal without looking at an ad. And telling people they need a plastic/silicon device that radiates in order to better their lives sits just as well with me. The amount of physical space that goes without ads or marketing is really tiny in America. So where do you go next?

The person (in Cingularese: "individual") is the next battlefield. So tell people their lives will improve, tell them they'll be free. In reality, they'll be chained to another big corporation. All your words are belong to us. (sorry, couldn't resist)

My friend, if you are going to educate all the rude people in this world, you have a godawful big job in front of you.

Not everyone, just a few million. ;) And if they want to educate me, I hope they get the opportunity.
posted by hijinx at 9:14 AM on June 8, 2001


The amount of physical space that goes without ads or marketing is really tiny in America. So where do you go next?... The person (in Cingularese: "individual") is the next battlefield. So tell people their lives will improve, tell them they'll be free. In reality, they'll be chained to another big corporation.

People talk about marketing and advertising like its some malevolent force, bent of world domination. Cingular just wants to sell some phones. That's all. No bar-code tattoos, no implanted brain chips, no chains. Just selling phones. To farmers. Who can say no if they don't want a phone. No Darth Vader here. But if companies waited until consumers decided they needed something, they'd be waiting forever. So they try to create the illusion of need. It's just salesmanship. Of course, no one NEEDS a cell phone to survive. But I'd guess that a good 90% of the products in my home are inessential to survival, and I consider myself a fairly educated and discerning consumer.

They're just trying to sell phones. No battlefield here.
posted by UncleFes at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2001


If I could digress from the bash-fest for a second - I have family in Iowa, some of whom are farmers. Running small family farms. Cellphones are a tremendous boon, because they can coordinate movement of farm equipment, update their family on the status of their day, get help if a tractor falls on them ... and sometimes even alleviate the boredom that can accompany driving back and forth across a field for 10 hours. It's an excellent farm technology.

I remember when my uncles got a big fancy John Deer tractor that actually had an enclosed cab with air conditioning and a radio. A Radio! And that was all high-tech luxury. My grandfather farmed with horses before he got a tractor. Luxury! They were able to farm before tractors, but tractors made them more efficient and it made a hard job just a little easier. Cellphones make farmers more efficient. I would think that in the Central Valley, which is dominated by corporate farms with large crews, cell phones would be a *major* improvement in efficiency. Yes, Cingular is trying to create a new market. Yes, the "gifts" are a calculated strategy. Give away technology to a few people within a market, and the rest of the market will see how useful it is. <1>*cough*tivo*cough* It's not exactly altruism, but it doesn't rank very highly on the evil scale, either.

Going back to the cell-bash portion of the thread - It's true that new technology creates new lifestyles. It's also true that there is a Wild-West period for new technologies, where people explore the boundaries of what is acceptable. It certainly happened with the mainstream internet, and it's happening with cells. A few years from now, I don't think you'll see people using their phones (pagers/texting devices) in movie theaters and restaurants. That'll either be because the social rules will have solidified and people won't tolerate it, or it'll be because restaurants/movie theaters/dmv offices will be implementing some sort of jamming devices to make them unuseable. I'm hoping for the former, because I'd like for people (with their pagers on vibrate - not beep) to be reacheable in emergencies.

Right now, cells are tethers, making you reachable at all hours, even when you are off the clock. Ideally, employers/employees will reach an understanding about personal time and cells will serve to free people from the tethers of their office/landline, since they won't have to plan their entire day around being by the phone between 3 and 5 for an important call.

My wife works long nights, all over town, and I'd like for her to be able to reach me if she's running late. She needs to be able to reach clients if she's running late. Even with all of that, she was hesitant to get one, because the rudeness of others put her off. Ultimately I convinced her, and neither of us know how she did her job without it. She's certainly more efficient, and she's able to take about 20% more work because of it. She's also been able to call AAA when the car has broken down, as well as calling her appointment to tell them she wouldn't make it, and me so that I knew where she was.

I mostly use mine to call home from the grocery store. "Do we need milk?"
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 9:27 AM on June 8, 2001


CrazyUncleJoe, thanks for bringing some perspective in.

OK. One more go-round.

But if companies waited until consumers decided they needed something, they'd be waiting forever. So they try to create the illusion of need. It's just salesmanship.

Cool, so people really don't need any of this stuff. Bless you for helping me make my point.

People talk about marketing and advertising like its [sic] some malevolent force, bent of world domination. Cingular just wants to sell some phones. That's all.

People talk about freedom and choice like it's some personal choice, bent on changing the world. I just want to reclaim my space. That's all.
posted by hijinx at 9:32 AM on June 8, 2001


I feel that cell phones make us more polite and together.

Are you insane man? Cell phones have enabled people to be more rude than ever (and we were pretty bad before).
posted by owillis at 10:21 AM on June 8, 2001


I agree with you owillis. Yet another reason my initial perception hasn't changed. I have never owned one. I will never own one. There's no need to be that in contact with the rest of humanity, and if I feel the compelling overall need, it's a sign my life is far too complicated, and that's what needs to be changed.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 11:35 AM on June 8, 2001


Count me in amongst the small-but-growing "cell phone only" crowd. I originally got my cell phone plan because it was economical for my typical calling patterns; eventually, I got to using it so much that a land line was unnecessary. Plus the perks were nice: being able to crash at a friend's house in the wee hours of the morning without worrying about missing a Big Important Call, having the ability to call ahead if I got bogged down in massive traffic and couldn't make the 8 o'clock movie showing, etc.

Of course, I sure as hell wouldn't bring it into a movie theater with me - no one needs to talk to me that much. Same way I don't keep it on when I feel like being left alone by the universe and I rarely use it in my car because of the safety risks. Don't blame cell phones for making people impolite; blame impolite people for using them poorly.

(Wow, this does seem like the SUV argument all over again. Blech.)
posted by youhas at 11:49 AM on June 8, 2001


You don't want a cell phone, don't buy a cell phone. But some of you want to take away cell phones from the people who want them, which is a whole different story.

I don't have caller ID on my home phone. I don't want it, I don't need it. But I don't say that you can't have it, even though sometimes, I dial a wrong number, hang up and ten seconds later the wrong number is calling me back asking why I hung up (now THAT'S irritating!). Sometimes I'm certain that people I'm calling see that's it's me on the caller ID, and they don't answer the phone even if they're there. That's irritating too. But I respect their freedom to buy and use caller ID - even though I may not LIKE it.

Perhaps people would give basic politeness more schrift if in general everyone lightened up a little.

I'm taking the [sic] under advisement :)
posted by UncleFes at 11:52 AM on June 8, 2001


People have a right to purchase a cell phone, but with that should come some responsibility.

Oliver's Cell Phone Bill of Rights
- if you're walking, pay attention to where your going
- use a hands-free phone in the car, if you have to talk while driving
- put your phone on vibrate when you go to the movies, if it rings, go to the lobby and answer it
- when in a public space, be aware that your cell phone conversation could intrude on others personal space and plan accordingly

All common sense "duh" type stuff, but you would be amazed how many don't do these things.
posted by owillis at 12:19 PM on June 8, 2001


I can live with everything but the hands-free-in-the-car one. My phone doesn't have that option, and the rigs are expensive. I usually have it off in the car, though.
posted by UncleFes at 12:33 PM on June 8, 2001


I can live with everything but the hands-free-in-the-car one. My phone doesn't have that option, and the rigs are expensive. I usually have it off in the car, though.
posted by UncleFes at 12:34 PM on June 8, 2001


I can live with everything but the hands-free-in-the-car one. My phone doesn't have that option, and the rigs are expensive. I usually have it off in the car, though.
posted by UncleFes at 12:34 PM on June 8, 2001


Technology which enables people to communicate with each other more easily and cheaply can only be a good thing. Mobile phones are as appropriate a use of modern technology as can be imagined.

There is nothing about the concept of a telephone which implies sitting in one spot, tethered to a wall. Telephones mean: a device which one person uses to converse with another person not present. The idea of sitting in a special telephone-spot, near a wall jack, is a trivial artefact of the particular technology originally used to implement telephones. There is nothing in the nature of talking-on-a-phone that demands it.

Cellular phones allow people to forget about the technology a bit more. You no longer have to sit around the phone, waiting; you can go do whatever you were going to do anyway, and take the phone with you. You don't have to spend time hunting for a pay phone, or worrying that you will be safe while using it; you can arrange to meet with your friends anytime. You don't have to worry about missing calls because you were out.

On the other hand, there's nothing about a cell phone that demands your employer be able to call you anytime. (Why does your employer have the number in the first place, I'm curious?) There's nothing that demands you talk to friends-not-present in times or places that would disturb others. There's nothing about a cellphone that demands you answer it whenever it rings (it did come with voicemail, didn't it? and if it doesn't, not-answering is no worse than not-being-home).

I hated cell phones for a long time because they were clunky, gadgety, expensive, privacy-invasive, and tied to yearly contracts and other such corporate snares. I eventually realized that technology had caught up with some of the problems, and I'd had the others backwards. The cell phone I bought two months ago is about one sixth the size of the landline phone it replaced, and has fewer buttons too. It costs half as much per month, and the fact that it gives away my location when I talk on it is irrelevant, because using a landline phone reveals my location already. As far as big evil corporations - what, like there is any telecom company more evil than AT&T? You're signing up for corporate evil no matter what phone you use.

I walked down a street by a construction site last week. Sitting on a pile of rocks was a guy in a hard hat and overalls, munching on a sandwich and chatting on a cell phone. Now that's progress!

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:35 PM on June 8, 2001


I can live with Oliver's bill o' rights THREE times more than the rest of you! Buhahahahhahahhahahahah!!!

Sorry about the triple post, clicker got away from me there.
posted by UncleFes at 12:39 PM on June 8, 2001


"Now here's the tricky part: If the sound is coming from somewhere besides where your phone is, it is probably someone else's phone."

*sigh*

Anecdote: Yesterday, I was sitting down and talking with two of my co-workers. Suddenly, I hear my cell phone ring. So I grab it off my belt, look at the display, and...nothing. No caller ID display, no message saying "Answer"... but it was still ringing.

The guy next to me had the exact same phone, set to the exact same ring.

Human hearing doesn't have pinpoint precision in terms of locating things, and it gets worse the further away things are.

On the other hand, I also can't stand the musical rings, leaving me with about 4 options out of 40 or so. I think more people should take advantage of the vibrating alert, but not everybody can. If I want to do that, I need to go buy a $50 battery.
posted by CrayDrygu at 1:29 PM on June 8, 2001


people laugh at me openly when "take on me" plays on my phone. I had to get one. I was homeless, and living inbetween 3 different apartments couch surfing. No one could get a hold of me for work, play or otherwise. So i broke down and became a phone geek.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:00 PM on June 8, 2001


It's a matter of months before mobile phones play mp3s as their rings. Which allows you to work out whether the individual with the phone is a tasteless fool even before he screams "I'M ON THE TRAIN."

Ahem. But The Blair Witch Project was noticeably set back a few years, just to recall a time when, if you got lost in a forest, you couldn't call for help.

UncleFes: having a hands-free kit in the car shouldn't be an option. I'd be happy to see people pulled over and ticketed for driving with a phone pressed to their ear. It's a matter of basic safety.
posted by holgate at 3:13 PM on June 8, 2001


When someone driving in a car, it isn't a matter of where your hands are, its a matter of where your mind is.

Driving is a dangerous activity, and it is foolish to believe that your mind is on the road when your picturing what the person is saying, what your going to say.

As a cashier, I know first hand how the phone can divert attention more then eating or talking to my bagger. I can't exactly pin down the reason, but I know i have much more of a tendancy to make mistakes while I am talking on a phone and ringing groceries. When I talk and listen on the phone I can feel myself zone out to concentrate on what is being said and/or what I am going to say. I don't have the same zoning out when talking to my bagger or eating/drinking on the job (which I do sometimes).

Sorry about the welfare rant earlier, it was about 4:06am when I wrote it and I was tired. No I didn't drive after that. :)
posted by andryeevna at 10:24 PM on June 8, 2001


« Older Labour Party WINS UK General Election...  |  Trivial Pursuit 1.0 - The Webl... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments