BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yes, I'm a Luddite

When in Rome, do as the Romans do...

We've finally broken down and got a cellphone. We really were trying to keep our bills down and since having internet at home REQUIRED us to have a phone line (only ADSL available here) we were going to skip the cell and only use the home phone. (To be fair we're also keeping a VOIP phone in Canada, so it's not like we're total Luddites). Anyways, in our short time here I realized that I would NEVER make friends if I didn't have a cellphone.... well, that's not entirely true, I would make friends, they just wouldn't communicate with me.

People here don't ever phone, and seldom e-mail because texting is the prefered form of communication. I know that this is a trend that is world-wide... but it is MUCH stronger here than in Canada. For example, the local library is in need of updating as they still keep track of due dates using paper cards and an inkpad date stamp. However, for communicating with patrons... the library will only text. And the list of things Brad and I have missed out on simply because we didn't have a cellphone is long.

The thing that makes me a Luddite is that I didn't realize that the super computer that came free with our new phone plan actually could be categorized as a cellphone. I think that it's because most of the cellphones (well all the cellphones) I've seen so far in my life have had basic phone like features... such as buttons. I know some people with the new iPhone or a Blackberry. But to me those were something different. They were a daytimer/phone/mini computer that people generally pay extra for and, as such, they represent a status symbol (as in look at me -I'm important enough that I have to answer my Crackberry during dinner).

Our phone came free, and is the opposite of a status symbol because everyone, including the 16 year old cashier at Tesco's (the local superstore), has one. This phone is not just a phone... it is also an MP3 player, a camera and has more memory than the laptop I use in to write my undergrad thesis on. It also doesn't have keys, it's a touch screen with a stylus. It also has a built in GPS sensor (which could come in handy because the Irish re-name roads every 2 km). And it has an accelerometer, which means that if I hold the phone vertically it pretends to be a phone with a little screen and your usual key set up, but if I turn it horizontal it switches into a keyboard (good for texting). So maybe I am a Luddite for not realizing such things existed for the common masses... but it provides a little vibratory feedback when you touch the virtual "keys"... and it recognized my handwriting when in writing mode. I can't believe that we got this for free. We didn't even have to give them Nikolai's soul or anything... just an 18 month contract on the best phone deal I've ever seen. For 20€ (30$) we get 200 minutes and 200 texts, all incoming texts and calls are free, voicemail, caller ID, it's more than I could ever imagine using up in a month...

And our plan of doing as the Romans do..? in my first 24 hours I received 6 texts (not including those from our phone company), and we got 2 invites for tomorrow.

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