Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cell Phones and communications

The other night I heard Jay Leno say he had been looking through old jokes because of the writers' strike. He said he found one about how a cell phone might be small enough to carry around in your pocket. He said that shows how long he'd been telling jokes.

He's three years younger than I am so that puts us kind of in the same era. My first "cell" phone was kind of like the Motorola one pictured to the right. I think we may have the thing somewhere but I can't remember exactly what it was. Seems like it might have been NEC instead of Motorola but I honestly have forgotten. That was in 1989.

It was pretty heavy. It was definitely not a pocket size phone. I think it cost between $1,00 and $1,500 or so. But that was about the 1/2 the price they were just 3 or 4 years earlier.

Then I started writing about the beginning of my caregiving. That started back in 1998. I think I had a Nokia then. I want to say it was like a 5110 or some such number. I may have it, too.

It was pretty small by comparison.

That was still fairly early I think for people to be carrying around cell phones with them all the time. Or at least it wasn't like it is now when you see people everywhere with a cell phone hanging on the side of their faces.

I was counting people talking on cell phones the other morning when I was stopped at a light. It was like 80% or so.

Of course then I lost count because I had to answer my cell phone.

Since 1998 I have purchased and used several cell phones. The last one and the one that I am still using is a Treo 650. I wore one out or at least it died and I had to buy another one.

I like it quite a bit because it does a pretty good job with email and text messaging and I have my calendar on it and my Bible. I also have my exercise log and I have other programs for grocery lists and food diary and so on. But I don't use the food diary much anymore.

It has a camera, too.

I noticed a new thing (to me) today though. It is a company that Google bought called Grand Central. The web site is

The idea is that you can have one number for life which you get from Grand Central. Then you manage the number from your browser over the Internet. You can direct calls to that number to one of your actual telephones. That way you only have one number for people to call to get you and you only have one voice mail to check and so on. They don't say what it is going to cost.

I thought it was interesting because some years ago when I was hunting a new career one of the things I seriously considered was this deal called Wildfire. That was in about 1994. Anyway Wildfire was a subscription service where you were assigned a phone number. When someone called the number though this sexy female voice answered and kind of acted like a human secretary except it was a computer program. And it recognized speech pretty well for the time.

Then you could call your Wildfire service yourself and kind of carry on a conversation with "her." It was kind of fun actually. For example you would call your number and then you would hear:

"Wildfire. What can I do for you?

You might say "Find."

Wildfire would say "Find what?"

You would say "Messages."

Then Wildfire would say "I found ten messages. The first is from some customer."

You would say "What's it say?"

And Wildfire would play the message for you.

The demonstrations were incredibly well attended. The first one I attended I observed so much interest I thought it would be a sure thing.

Unfortunately interest did not turn into sales. So I don't know what happened to Wildfire.

I miss Wildfire's voice though.


Lori1955 said...

I'm really not much of a cell phone person. Part of it is that I hate talking on the phone but another part is that I hate seeing a couple in a resturaunt sitting and talking on their cell phones, rather than talking to each other. I am always amazed at the number of people who seem to have a cell phone in their ear all the time. Guess I am a bit behind the times when it comes to all these gadgets. :)

flintysooner said...

That's why there is text messaging!

Neither Judy nor I like to talk on the phone much but we do text message.

I have noticed that people who seem to like to talk often don't like to text message.

Interesting. Someone probably has studied this.

Glad to see you have Internet access Lori.

steflovesnonna said...

9PM Eastern, Blogger family Dinner, Every thrusday night, Chatroom 2 on ALZ boards, post back on my blog if this works. :)

nancy said...

i remember the first cell phone that bob and i had for our business was actually a bag phone, it plugged into the cigarette lighter. very heavy if i recall. my boys tell me text messaging is to their generation as e-mails are to ours. makes me wonder what is next.

*(·¸*Chris*¸·)* said...

I got a kick out of this post. Took me back to when I first had a cell phone. It was one of the first "flip phones" and that thing was huge by today's comparison.

I just have a simple Nokia. Very simple and really doesn't do much extra, which I like. I just found Dad's old bag phone in the trunk of my car (which was his when he was alive). What a relic.

Times, they are a'changin.

~Betsy said...

I'm one of those people who hold on to the relics. My first phone was similar to your Nokia. I loved it. My kids called me a die hard because I refused to change phones. It worked and served its purpose, so why would I change?

Now I have a flip phone that I thought was pretty new. Apparently all the rage now are the phones that open two ways - one side is for digits and dialing and the other is a mini keyboard. Looks like I'm behind again!