Entering the Modern Era, Haltingly

October 5, 2010

Have you heard about the iPhone? It is a hot new communications tool with internets and a built-in camera, and there is somehow also a walkman or an eight-track built into it as well, so you can listen to REO Speedwagon while making a telephone call at the same time! OK, I’m late to the party. There was a stretch where I did have a Blackberry, when my previous employer paid for it, but once I left that job, it was back to the trusty dumbphone that has sustained me for all these years. But now I have acquired a slightly aged iPhone, my best friend having acquired the newer model and passed this one along to me.

My plan for this new gadget had been to have it replace my iPod Touch, making it, essentially, a Touch with a camera. But now I am thinking how nice it would be to actually use the whole making-phone-calls function which, while universally known to be mediocre on the iPhone, is nonetheless available. (Most of my phone calls are mediocre anyway, so it might be a good fit.) There are just two problems: (1) I am already contractually bound to Verizon. (2) My darling wife gets her cell service subsidized by her employer such that my added-on, non-data line comes to us, essentially, for free.

So what do I do? Verizon can’t work on the iPhone, because of SIM cards or terrorism or something. I don’t want to shell out for data because I don’t need it and, you know, more money. AT&T won’t let people get a voice-only plan on an iPhone. That leaves me the option of using a pre-paid T-Mobile SIM card in this iPhone I have, which would cost me $.10/minute. I don’t talk on the phone an awful lot, and I could reduce the number of minutes I use by getting a VOIP app and using it whenever I have wifi (in other words, at home), and by having Google Voice redirect incoming calls to my work phone during the day (and maybe to my friends’ phones when I know I will be with them – it occurs to me now that I should do that anyway, just because it would be amusing to be at a bar and have a friend’s phone ring with a caller asking for me; file under “FUTURE PROJECTS,” I guess).

But is it worth it? First, I don’t know if all of the above-listed shenanigans would reduce my phone expenditures to such a negligible amount that I could stomach abandoning the free ride provided by my wife’s work-funded phone service. Even if I could, is it worth doing all that set-up and dealing with always making calls on VOIP and all that other jazz (and the inevitable fuck-ups, because I am the sort of person who would leave obsolete forwarding numbers in place for months and wonder why no one called me anymore, while some poor schlub somewhere, whose number I once put as a forwarding number for some reason I can’t even remember, keeps telling people “wrong number” over and over again, his voice ever more hostile), just to have phone, point-and-shoot camera, organizer, web device, and music player in one? I mean, right now I have a camera, a phone, and my iPod Touch, and I seem to be managing OK.

It’s really true that too many choices is a pain in the ass.

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3 Responses to “Entering the Modern Era, Haltingly”

  1. Alice said

    See Roger Cohen’s Op-Ed in today’s NYT (10/5/10)

  2. fatbo said

    I should probably just take the phone back. it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

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