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December 15, 2012



Jeff - Like you, I don't have a smart phone either. Not that I wouldn't like to have one, but I don't want to pay close to $1000 per year for a talk/data plan.

All young people seem to have smart phones. Maybe their parents are paying for them.


I tried to go the smartphone route and I just gave up. Texting is a absolute royal pain in the arse. The time wasted in the ridiculous act of texting that you can just say verbally to whoever is just dumb. Yeah, I to have actually had friends tell me that they just text and will not use voice and NOT to call them unless it is a text. Smartphones are just a distraction of life. The b/s unlimited plans are a joke. My UNLIMITED plan always had a cap on data. Hey, what ever floats your boat. If it makes your ego happy being locked in to a 2 year contract using an overpriced piece of tech that is usually outdated within 3 months of it's release...cool. I have a pay as you go flip phone with 1 year of service and minutes that don't expire every month. I just can not fathom spending over $100. a month for a smartphone plan. My money is much better spent on real necessities of life. It suits my needs just fine. I don't need an app to make every decision and control every aspect of my day to life. A radio in my car, just fine..a iPod for the exact music I like...a nice compact camera to go that fits in a pocket that does what I need it to, when I need it. I despise facebook ( ego manics having to tell the world everything they think, do, see, fart, brag and say)so I don't need my phone for that either. I guess this 59 year old is smartphonephobic. Damn proud of it!


My guess is that if I were born 20-30 years ago, I'd be on a smartphone just like everyone else. It's generational.

Keith Beesley

You're not alone, Jeff. I use a cell in lieu of a landline, but can't see forking over all that money for a data plan.


My employer provides a Blackberry with data (internet, e-mail, phone, texts). If they didn't provide one, I doubt I'd have one. I like a cell phone very much. I'd pick a phone with good audio quality (Sanyo used to make the best ones, for Sprint----not sure if they still do since I haven't shopped for one in so long.). Anyway, I like e-mailing and posting to the web from a computer, not a hand-held device with a little tiny screen. I don't like the idea of "all in one on the go." I prefer separate devices that are better at what they do---for example, a great digital camera instead of inferior photos from a phone. I like to talk on a telephone, take pictures with a camera and surf the internet on a computer with a large screen.


I'm 12 years younger than you, Jeff, so a half generation younger. Most of my peers use smartphones but I don't - I have a regular cell, although I do text quite a bit. I only really started a couple years ago and have really enjoyed it for the convenience. I thought it might replace more "intimate" contact via phone conversation or face-to-face, but it doesn't - it adds another way to communicate (at least for me).

I mainly text my wife, as well as a few friends, some colleagues, even some students will text me. And yes, you are right that the younger generations (I teach high schoolers) see email as relatively anachronistic, although they will still use it on occasion. But if I need to reach a student I won't rely upon email as they might not check it for days, while I check my email half a dozen times a day.

My wife wants an iPhone and we'll probably get them next time our Verizon count offers cheap upgrades - a bit less than a year from now. But like Chip, I'm leery of the cost. Right now we pay about $80 for two phones with texting; iPhones will cost another $50-60 a month, I'm guessing.

As far as the "cultural take-over" by smartphones and such, it is rather disturbing. My students are fully integrated with it ("digital natives"). And yeah, video games by and large are awful. As someone who loves fantasy and science fiction, I see them as the anathema to the imagination. I try to encourage students to play more imaginative games like old-fashioned Dungeons and Dragons, which actually uses the imagination and has a social component.


I'm older (67) and tech savvy, but also have no intention of joining the hordes engaged in secular prayer (i.e., hunched over their smart phones) everywhere they go.


I'm not on a cell phone much, once a month maybe, but if I were, I'd use texting because of reports on brain cancer when one holds phone to one's ear all day long.


Jeff: I've talked for thousands of hours with the cell phone pressed to my ear. I hope the reports of brain cancer being caused by this are wrong. If in fact, these waves CAN and DO cause brain cancer----it's the greatest conspiracy/cover-up in world history. I would have to assume that by now, if this evidence was real---our ultra-protective nanny government----who has McDonalds giving my kid lousy tasting apples instead of french fries----would ban hand held cell phones. If they and all of the other world governments know about a real danger and are not taking actions----than as I said, it's an incredible move to put people at awful risk because of the size of the industry and the money made on it.


I hope the reports are wrong too but I don't think it's a coverup; it's more of a controversy.


Interesting post, in the UK we think we get overcharged for everything, but my contract for a smartphone is £20 per month phone included for two years 300 voice mins and 500mb data and unlimited texts.

I use the internet on it several times a day, mostly to see if I am going to get rained on! also since having smartphones my satnav has stayed in the drawer.

They reckon that over 50% of phones in the UK are smart ones.

Pulling the main threads of this blog together, I don't always wear a watch anymore and I listen to far off radio stations via the phone apps.

Oh and I am 54!


If you're in the UK, just assume you're going to get rained on.

There, I saved you 20 quid a month!

Tom Welch

I only use a very basic $15 cell phone through Virgin Mobile, works great as a land line replacement.


I didn't have a smartphone until 3 years ago when my work paid for and bought one for me (and pays the monthly bill). It's an older iphone 3GS and works very well.

What do I use it for besides calls and easy teleconferencing? Email, voice memos and recording of meetings, a city traffic app, Google maps/navigation, Skype, camera (especially for snapping photos of books in a bookstore so I can look them up later!), and the Amazon barcode scanner/price comparator.

These are the top useful apps. I don't use the phone for web browing/ebooks/reading/texting - just too painful.

Now, for my wife, which we have to pay, she has a Virgin Mobile Android phone on their prepaid $40 a month, no tax and fees plan. She gets 1200 minutes and unlimited web/texting. She uses it primarily for email, phone, checking traffic, and texting. I can highly recommend VM especially since the refills can be found at discount (around $33 recently); it's a great deal. The phone itself is a basic LG Optimus phone and has lasted 2+ years.


I'm 32 and have a landline phone, tracfone, no smartphone, no laptop, but a home PC with a large 22" CRT monitor. I have no desire to ever own a smartphone, laptop, or LCD monitor.

But I have a degree in computer-science and work in the technology department at my local school district.

I must have just missed the generational thing by a few years.

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