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Opinion May 2014

I Like My Old Flip-Phone!

By Jim Cotsana

I bought a small “flip-phone” about five years ago and still have it. It has a camera and the ability to text but I’ve used neither. I don’t do “selfies,” texting (or sexting – this is something I don’t even want to see), or have any “apps” that are supposed to make my life easier.

It seems as if every other commercial on TV is plugging new and updated 4G LTE smart phones that will do just about everything you can think of. I had to look up what 4G (fourth generation) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) meant and I sort of understand the advantages. They come with a variety of plans depending on how much one wants to spend, and contracts that charge an early termination fee. In any event, I’m one of those guys that if I can’t pronounce it, I won’t eat it and if I don’t fully understand it, I don’t need it.

I bought a small “flip-phone” about five years ago and still have it. It has a camera and the ability to text but I’ve used neither. I don’t do “selfies,” texting (or sexting – this is something I don’t even want to see), or have any “apps” that are supposed to make my life easier.

Apparently, there are approximately 775,000 different apps that can be downloaded to a variety of instruments! As expected, many of my friends, nieces and nephews have smartphones and laugh when they see me pull out my flip phone. They use their phones to surf the net, send and receive email, trade photos and videos, text one another, watch movies, post messages and images on Facebook, etc. They also can give you the time and date. I suspect many young people can no longer tell time by looking at a traditional clock or watch, and the days of a face-to-face conversation seem to be over.

Now let me get back to my trusty old flip-phone. The only reason I bought in the first place was for use if I had an emergency and needed to contact someone. The only time it’s on is if I’m making a call or expecting a call and I never use it while driving. Other than that, it’s off. I have no contract and pay ten dollars every 90 days for 60 minutes –  the unused minutes roll over so I don’t lose them. This comes out to $40 a year which is around the lower end of monthly bills for smart phones. As of today I have 472 minutes or 7.8 hours available. In addition, I only give out my number if I think it’s necessary. My only real concern is to keep it charged. The features I do like are the ability to load important telephone numbers if and when I need them, and its small size which easy fits into any pocket.

I certainly understand why some people must rely on their smart phones for business and it appears to be a very useful tool. But they can also be very annoying. I happen to sit on several committees in my home town and instead of really listening to the topic at hand, some of the members pay more attention to their devices. In addition, I suspect all of us, at one time or another, have seen people using their smart phones while walking, driving, etc. We’ve seen the results; people walking into poles, falling off subway platforms, and terrible, often deadly vehicular accidents.

Hence, the designation “smart phone” tends to be an oxymoron. Some of these people are not very smart. I think I’m the smart one just keeping what I have. It has the only “app” I want –  the ability to make or receive a call when needed.

 

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