Cell Hell

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I hate cell phones.

I had one years ago when they were rare, and after a decade without I have one now, but only because it’s free from my day job because I’m on call one week a month. It’s the dumbest phone I could find, since I have no desire to check Facebook every five minutes or charge it every night, and it only has to make and receive phone calls and text messages.

Which would be fine, except for the wonderful ‘convenience’ features.

For example, all I want the phone to do is make the loudest possible noise when someone calls or send a text, because I have to respond ASAP if a customer has a problem. But there’s a wonderful button on the side of the phone which disables the ringer, so I have to continually check to ensure that I haven’t accidentally pressed that button in order to ensure that I get my calls. There’s another button which starts some random Java application; I can’t tell you what it does, because it never starts and just sits there forever saying ‘Starting Java’. When it does that it burns through the entire battery in a few hours, so if I accidentally press the button I’d better recharge it before I head home so I can be contacted if I’m needed.

Having worked in consumer electronics I understand why these things are there; either the competitors have them so everyone has to, or some marketing drone said ‘hey, wouldn’t it be great if…’ and the features were added without anyone actually asking whether they were a good idea or customers wanted them. But damn, it’s a pain. They could at least give me a menu option to disable all this nonsense.

I really wish someone would just build a phone which is a phone and doesn’t try to be an MP3 player, web browser or anything else. It would probably sell at a premium compared to other dumb phones and could have a battery life of weeks since it doesn’t have to do much. But good luck convincing the marketing drones that there’s a market for it.

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