Phones… or Whatever



Here is my personal history with telecommunications:

1. Corded phones worked great, sounded great – when we talked to people overseas, the first part of the conversation was always about how they sounded like they were right there in the room with us! We called them “telephones”.

2. They got rid of the dial and gave us buttons. Now I couldn’t do the trick to my brother of getting the phone to ring in the other room and having silly conversations. Some telephones had buttons but they were still set to dial, so when you pressed the button, you’d hear and have to wait for that dialing sound for each number. Result of buttons: More wrong numbers.

3. Cordless phones – they may have given you brain cancer, but now you can walk around your house talking. Drawbacks: no spiral cord to play with and without that iconic handset/cradle design, phones were no longer fun to draw. Also, occasionally an error would occur so that I could hear the neighbor’s phone conversation about breast feeding challenges.

3. Digital phones – the quality was a little worse than analog, but you could get farther from the base unit.

4. Call Waiting: You’d be talking to a friend and they’d get another call and put you on hold, sometimes never to return. I would always hang up & call right back so they’d put the other person on hold.

5. Caller ID: Now you can’t make anonymous prank calls. Childhood had no meaning.

6. Voice mail. With the demise of the answering machine, you have to sit through every single message, in order – no skipping, no fast-forwarding to the important part. It’s a pain in the telebutt. That’s why I so rarely listen to my messages anymore.

7. Cell phones – they sounded like talking through tin cans connected by strings & they cut out all the time but in some areas you can have brief conversations as long as just 1 person talks at a time.

8. Texting: Of course, you had to press each button up to 3 times to get the right letter and learn to pause just the right amount of time before pressing the button again for a new letter. Ironically, the new technology was actually slowing down communication.

9. iPhones – now you can just type, though it finishes words for you, incorrectly much of the time. People still get cut off & you are locked into expensive contracts with service providers that can have spotty coverage. You may have to wander around your house for that one spot that kind of has reception.

10. Skype – looks like a retro version of future video phone, but with super low resolution, lots of lagging & getting cut off randomly. Yea! The future is here & it looks & sounds worse than the past.

Coming Soon: I think that soon the phones (or whatever they are) will finish our spoken words, too. So, if I try to say, “I’m going for ice cream,” it will sound like, “I’m a gopher in Ass Creek.” Thanks, Windows 2017.

Click the Smart Phone to be transferred to suggestions for future technology:


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