Well, the end of a personal era for me. A number of years ago – I think 2003 or thereabouts – I needed a new phone. I honestly can’t remember what I had before the trusty Nokia shown on the left. I think it was a Motorola of some sort – similar sort of functionality, though – phone, SMS, Breakout game. I remember walking in to one of the phone shops on Fargate and ogling the more modern phones, gaining the attention of a salesman and then immediately asking him for the cheapest PAYG handset he could offer me. A few minutes later I left with the Nokia 3410 that cost me £25. I stayed with T-Mobile so I coudl keep my existing phone number and started my relationship with the most reliable and bombproof phone I’ve had to date.
The 3410 supported Java and apparently could connect to the Internet – quite what I’d be able to do with a small green screen I have no idea, and I never managed to get the Internet connectivity working. I don’t think I really spent a lot of time on it – after all, all I wanted from the phone was the ability to talk to people when I couldn’t be with them – something that Alexander Graham Bell would definitely approve of. Even texting for me was something done in extremis – there was a time when the only time I sent text messages was from noisy pubs where I didn’t want to go outside in to teh ferezing cold and lose my seat to make a call!
The Nokia was a brilliant little phone. Not long after I got it I dropped it and cracked the fascia. Fortunately my wife (who changes phones with greater frequency than I do) had a 3310 in the cupboard so I ended up with the front and back fascias not matching – a sort of two tone case. Soon the vase was getting adorned with little stickers – charity stickers after I’d given money, little stick-on ticks from my niece, etc. It was beginning to look like the guitar case of a particularly well travelled pub-rocker. The only think I couldn’t do with it was open the darn case – it seemed to be put together in such a way that precluded access to nail biting forty-somethings. However, it could be coerced in to opening up by my sticking it in my breast pocket and running for a bus – the phone would fly out, hit the pavement and then explode in to 4 pieces – two halves of the case, the battery and the gubbins of the phone. Opportunities like this were excellent for cleaning out cat hairs and other crud that had accumulated inside the phone.
After a while I began to realise that people remembered my phone – it was pretty much old fashioned when I bought it new. As the new, all singing, all dancing handsets with more brains than your average X-Factor contestant hit the market, my magnificent machine was recognised amongst my friends as a steam powered anachronism that fitted the personality of it’s owner. You see, despite my professional engagement with technology, I’ve always been something of a Luddite in some ways. I don’t like being on the bleeding edge of things, or for that matter the leading edge. God created ‘early adopters’ to experience the bugs and foul ups that normal people shouldn’t have to. I was writing web services and partaking in ‘meeja’ projects with a phone that was appropriate for an operative from Warehouse 13 or a character in a Steampunk novel. I had one client who came in to the office one day holding an old 3410 and offering it to me for ‘spares’ – I think that rumours started that I actually planned to hand maintain the phone, and that in years to come whilst the rest of the world revelled in smart phones with a higher IQ than their owners, I’d still be chattering away in to my green-screen, steam-powered telephone.
Well, sure enough, all good things had to come to an end. Earlier on this year I noticed that somehow some cat-fur had managed to get in to the display, and a couple of the keys were starting to get rather ‘sticky’. I also had increasing numbers of people wanting to text me (and expecting a text message back – a process which with my inability to text through a numeric keyboard tenedd to drive me to the closer edges of insanity!) And I was also getting increasing amounts of spam. Some time ago I rather stupidly used the number for a contact number on the WHOIS registry of web domains – it escaped from there and seems to now be doing the rounds of insurance companies and other financial services organisations, generating lots of people trying to ring me to sell me financial services….
In June of this year I received a phone call from BT – my Broadband supplier – asking me whether I had a mobile phone contract, and if not would I be interested in a smartphone of some sort. The price was not much more expensive than what I paid on PAYG, and it included more than enough minutes and text messages…and whichever one I went for a real (if small) QWERTY keyboard…and other gadgets like MP3 players and Internet connections! And so I’ve ended up with a Crackberry…OK…a Blackberry, just in case the manufacturers are reading!
And I’m delighted. Actually, I think that some who know me may well think I’m besotted with the darn thing. It’s a very capable and well equipped piece of kit, and is the only phone that I’ve ever had that I ‘fondle’ when I’m not actually using it. It’s got a nice little facebook application, a Twitter application, I stuck a memory card in and put my music on, I can take photos with it, it has a great contacts book and diary AND I can make phone calls and send text messages at a rate that satisfies my texting friends!
AND – I can receive photos of my dear God-daughter when she’s out on travels with mum and dad!
So…I wonder how long teh new phone will last me? The 3410 was with me for 5 or so years; I’d like to give the Crackberry at least that long – the last thing I want to do is to get in the habit of regularly changing phones!!