New Technology? I’m Better Off Without It

To Whom It May Concern,

I proudly admit that I activated my first smartphone about two months ago. I also admit I own CDs and DVDs and buy them new when something good comes out. Sure, I have an mp3 player and stream from Amazon, but at the end of the day, I pop in a CD to relax or drive. I receive A LOT of grief about my practices, and people try to argue why their way is better. Well, this week I’m setting the record straight: I’m actually better off than they are. Here’s why:

The smartphone: Ok, they’re not that smart. The text features auto-fill incorrectly so often, I turned mine off. The batteries do not last a full day unless you buy an extended one; they constantly work to connect to wireless or 3 or 4G; and you have to buy separate heavy-duty cases in case you drop it. And if you do, you usually have to replace it. They are also harder to use because you navigate to what you need, whereas with a flip phone, you just flipped it open and away you go!

My flip phones were awesome. Nine-key texting that auto-filled (usually correct). It seems I’m always at a computer, so why do I need to be connected all the time? And when I’m not working, I’m not connected. It’s a well-deserved break, and I’m good with it. No one should be connected all the time. When I dropped my flip phone, I dusted it off and continued using it. No cracked screens, no replacing, and they were more affordable. How much money have you spent on phones the last two years? I’ve spent $30.

Digital music: The difference is compression (thanks, James). The files are compressed (made smaller) so they can fit on the device. Guess what? The sound quality suffers. Most probably don’t realize it, but there is quite a difference in a CD in the car and plugging in your iPhone to listen to music. There’s real bass and clarity. Also, sites go down, devices break and get lost, and believe it or not, the Internet could one day not be there. I’ll still have my CDs though, so I don’t depend on a cloud network or connection for music. Being able to share music so easily is definitely awesome, but we should still buy CDs.

Streaming videos/movies: Same concept. If the connection is slow or there’s bad weather, it spins and buffers and tries really hard to work. But sometimes it doesn’t. With a DVD, you don’t have to worry about it. You place it in the device, and it works – assuming you’ve not abused it, of course. What if Amazon or Netflix takes a movie or show off? You don’t get to watch it and may have to buy it anyway. When you buy a DVD, it’s forever yours.

E-readers and tablets: I love the idea of these, but I prefer hard-copy books for one reason: They are easier on my eyes. I read an average of 30 hours a week, and eye doctors have proven that screens are terrible on your eyes, and cause eye strain, neck pain and headaches. Reading a hard-copy doesn’t cause that damage. You can read in any position and don’t have to worry about glare from the screen or sun. There’s no charging a book, and it won’t break. Once you’re done, you can pass it on or donate it – everyone wins! You don’t have to spend money on special glasses or protectors, and I read faster with hard copies. I bet screens actually slow you down.

To all of you who argue with me about my ways, there’s my argument. I don’t have everything at my fingertips, but walking into the other room or across it is good for me. I don’t lay around or sit for too long, and I enjoy more peace of mind than most I know. Given the choice between connectivity and peace, the latter will win every time.
Feel free to comment below, and I look forward to hearing from everyone!

Cellphone Game: Bluetooth or Crazy

Off The Top of My Head

In conjunction with the Cell Phone Annoyances post from Sunday I thought I’d share a game I came up with a few years ago.

Allow me to set the stage: When I worked in downtown Nashville my RevPub partner and I used to have lunch two or three times a week on the phone. We called them “car” lunches, though usually I sat on the steps of the state capitol or on a hill overlooking the bicentennial mall.

One time while waiting for her to call I was sitting watching the myriad of people stroll by when I observed something: there is a very thin line between a ponce talking vociferously on his/her ridiculous Bluetooth in public and slightly disturbed street people who mutter loudly to themselves about the voices in their heads.

That experience prompted me to create a slightly non-PC time-waster game for people in urban environments, Wal-Marts, Krogers, all kinds of places all over the world.

I called it “Bluetooth or Crazy” and surprisingly after a quick review of the internet I found I wasn’t the only one to think of this!  It’s very simple and played like this:

You can play alone or with friends. It’s kind of a betting game. You can bet change, or snacks, or something similarly silly. When someone walks by chattering inanely to themselves you weigh their appearance and the substance of their over-loud droning. You then declare “Bluetooth!” if you think they are talking to some distant, equally irritating person on a wireless headset, or “Crazy!” if you think they are some disturbed individual discussing the value of their tin foil hat in preventing space rays from harvesting their tooth enamel.

The results can surprise you. In my most memorable play-through I randomly encountered a wild hipster douche-lord. He rambled loudly and angrily about something to do with his job. His velvet blue jacket, striped dress shirt, and corduroys clearly marking out his alignment. As he approached I instantly declared “Bluetooth!” and was shocked as he passed that he had NO earpiece or mic of any kind. He was just shouting randomly to Tennessee’s capital city. I would have lost my precious white powder donut six pack if I’d been betting for real! So you never know!

I now work in a suburb with very little foot traffic, but still when I’m out shopping or dining I seize the opportunity to play.

If I could create it as an app for this it would be interesting to play world-wide Bluetooth or Crazy. Hear all the incredibly awful Bluetooth conversations from Bangkok to Brighton and all the random stuff people rant about on street corners from Lima to Lushunkou. I bet douches are douchey and crazies are similarly crazy world wide, we aren’t that different after all.

It would sure make Angry Birds look pretty monotonous! Oh wait… 😉

Top 6 Cellphone User Pet Peeves

RavenRantPeople undervalue the importance of cellphone etiquette. Yes, there is such a thing. Because we are attached at the palm, we forget our manners when we are with other people, and many don’t think twice about it. Using a cellphone in these circumstances has become common practice, and I hope you will share this, so we can work together to stop the madness.

Here are my biggest pet peeves about people and their cellphones:

1. In social settings. If I go out to lunch, dinner, or whatever with someone, and they constantly use their phone, we won’t go again. I find it incredibly rude. If it’s a one-on-one situation, and you text someone else the whole time, you should go hang out with the other person. Plus, it’s boring to watch someone text or play on their phone. I will not bring myself down to their level and do the same. If you’re out with someone, you should respect them and try for an interesting, engaging conversation. If you can’t have one, then suffer through it and don’t go out again.

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2. In a semi/public bathroom. Are you serious?! You can’t pee without talking on the phone? I overheard a woman have an entire conversation in a bathroom stall last week, and my initial reaction was to call her out. I considered flushing repeatedly too, so the other person would hear it and maybe say something. No one wants to hear your conversation, and there is no text that can’t wait. AND it’s unsanitary. Do your business, wash your hands, and leave. It’s simple.

3. While driving. It’s cool if you don’t care about your safety, but at least consider others’. People who talk and text while driving place everyone else on the road at risk. If it’s urgent, then pull over or wait a couple of minutes. Unless you work for an emergency responder, you should not be on the phone in the car. Ever. I told someone after being behind them on the interstate while they served and texted, that if they ever hit me, I would beat the #$%^ out of them. And if I survived a 70+mph wreck, I would.

4. At the movies/theater. Thankfully, I’ve seen improvement with this one the last couple of years. I’ve witnessed several people confronting offenders, and one guy kicked out for it. You’re in a movie – turn it off or leave it alone. If you don’t like the movie, leave. No one will care.

Photo by
Photo by

5. While hosting. If your family or friends come ever, stay off your phone. At that point, your primary purpose is to make them comfortable and entertain them. Find things to do and talk about. I will not text someone when they have company, and even though they may try to argue about it, I won’t respond. I don’t care if the company is texting – they shouldn’t either – but I can’t control that. I can control whether I contribute to the rudeness and disregard of social etiquette. If you don’t care for them (ie: holiday functions), either remove yourself from the gathering or deal with it. You’ll survive.

6. In the elevator. I enjoy this pet peeve because I like to make people feel awkward or hear their call drop. It’s a metal box, you probably won’t have reception. I love to hear people ramble on about something and then say, “Hello? Hello?” I smile every time. My favorite people are the ones who cannot ride four floors without checking their phone. People will check their phone to avoid speaking to someone else, even though there is no obligation to. I love to stand there stone still and stare at the mirrored doors. It makes the other person very uncomfortable.


Feel free to share your stories and pet peeves in the comments below!