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Friday, April 3, 2015

This Day in History- April 3: Birth of the Cellphone

Fridays before a major Holiday are always the hardest blog postings to write for most do not want to read anything too heavy, serious or important

Of course since A&G rarely writes on meaningless fluff, this always poses a challenge.

And there's always time next week and beyond to write about how Obama sold the world including Israel down the river with his appeasement nuclear deal with evil Iran.

So let's see what happened this day in History-- April 3rd

Jesse James was shot and killed by one of his own posse in 1882..  hmm OK, that's kinda interesting.. sorta..
The guy who supposedly kidnapped Charles Lindbergh's baby was also killed, this time by the State of New Jersey on this date.. 1936..

Anything relevant to people living today though?  Hmm..

WWII fighting in the Bataan Peninsula began today- 1942..  MLK delivered some speech on something or another in 1968..   

Hmm..

Ahh.. found it..
In 1973, Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first handheld mobile phone call to someone at Bell Labs.  It would take ten more years (1983) for the DynaTAC 8000X to become the first such phone to be commercially released.

So that was 42 years ago..

In a way the technology that made that phone call possible had been in existence for a good 30+ years prior via the 'portable' phones that soldiers took with them into battle during WWII, Korea and Vietnam to communicate to superiors safely protected miles away.
And now look at where we are today..

Everyone has a cellphone..  Its popularity caused the destruction and dismantling of virtually every pay phone in the nation.

And you can do so much with one..  

You can listen to local radio or streamline music from elsewhere, play video games, browse the web, watch/create videos, take photographs, text, tweet, Instagram..
Even set the thing to vibrate then place between your legs when feeling lonely..

And rumor has it, these expensive devices can even on occasion make and receive phone calls!

How F'd up is That??

Like the rest of mankind, I also own a stupid cellphone but I'm proud to say technologically its something from the stone ages...

A pay-as-you-go phone with a 2" screen like the pic below which I paid $20 for and with barely any talk minutes; turned off 99% of the time so no one can get through...
I pay somewhere between $10 - $25 annually to keep the minutes and account from expiring and that's the totality of my cell-phone expenditure.

Yes.. Annually.

I resent even having to put out that much but as I said before, these gadgets killed off pay phones and in true-blue emergencies if one doesn't possess some phone to get help from the outside world, then you're deeply screwed..  

And not in a fun way..
So why do I hate cellphones so much?  Its not like one broke up with me in the middle of the night or cheated on me with another  (I told you that 'vibrate' feature could cause problems)

Simply..  the more easy is for people to communicate with one another from afar, the less likely and willing people are to communicate with each other face to face.

And right or wrong, I resent it!

I often have this debate  with people and still not satisfied with their logic but generally speaking if I go to a supermarket or department store or wait in a long line at the bank, there should be a basic friendliness and civility present; the desire in others to small chat or even give a momentary smile..
~ Every asshole in their own little world 

Instead its people on their phones.. talking.. texting..tweeting..  Insulated and involved, often to people who do not even share the same zip code.

Cellphones allow people to turn reality out and often become boredom/time passing toys when in situations where around others like a waiting room or public transportation and the individual Refuses to acknowledge anyone else around them in that momentary 'shared' world.

So I hate the device.    
Cellphones and internet combined have done more to destroy local social interaction than anything developed in the history of creation short of solitary confinement in a prison.

How do two people locally go about meeting each other in this world?

I'm not even talking about relationship matchmaking.   

I'm speaking in most platonic of terms: of one person seeking to meet another person for the purpose of socializing locally together.. catching a movie... going over another's place to watch a football game together.. 
How does one person meet another locally in a world where everyone wants to use technology to put themselves in as much physical distance from others as possible while bellyaching how 'lonely' or 'bored' they are?

So there's times I get a bit envious of past generations..  The music played at clubs was actually danceable and involved two people rather than the 'look at me!' solo dancing of the last couple decades..

And people talked to each other if for no other reason than they were Forced to..  No device ringing or pager 'beeping'..  Nowhere to run.. Nowhere to hide
~ Seriously.. What the Fuck are these people doing together sharing a meal if they can't keep their phones turned off to others for 30 minutes!

Life wasn't perfect back in the proverbial 'day' but socially it sure was better...

I watched a film a few weeks ago called 'Her with Joaquin Phoenix about a lonely guy in the future who basically fell in love with his answering service because it had a sweet conversational female voice with AI that allowed it to interact as normal and free-flowing in conversation as a real person..

And the scariest part?

It was perfectly 'normal' for the future 'time' the film was set where you would see individuals alone walking alone laughing and smiling and in full conversation with absolutely nothing real or tangible but an earpiece that spoke back 
No one was there in the guy's physical world to see or feel or experience anything in that lonely talker's 'present'..

A frightful vision of the future but in many respects its really the world most live today thanks to cell phones..

And so few can see the forest for the trees..  

The person you're chatting with on the phone can see neither.