Saturday, April 4, 2009

I'm Trying To Wrap My Head Around The iPhone

My mom used to tell me the story of how she went to Disneyland and they had a display of phones set-up and that you could use push buttons to call someone instead of using an old rotary handset. Her brother and her spent a good deal of time dialing the numbers for the next booth over so they could talk to each other on these amazing new devices. (This was probably between 1962 and 1964 when World's Fairs were happening in Seattle and then New York.) She was amazed by the potential and the functionality of the things, and to her it felt like a fundamental shift in technology, enough so that she would remember to tell me that story several times in the late 80s, when touch-tone phones were the norm. In late summer of 2007, I had my first experience of seeing the iPhone in use, and I immediately thought of that experience that my mom had: "Now we're living in the future!" I was completely mesmerized by it, in exactly the same way my mom was mesmerized by touch-tone phones.

I visited my parents a few months ago, and showed my mom a YouTube video of the iPhone after trying to explain to her the utility of Twitter. She didn't get Twitter, and only kind of got the iPhone video, but she was impressed and without understanding. I'm sure that I'll be the same way when I'm sixty and something completely "game-changing" comes along.

I have an iPhone now. I wouldn't have had it if my company didn't change carriers, but they did, and they issued a policy permitting personal use. If anyone is interested in contacting me in an old-school fashion, my number is 503.442.9703. I'm still getting used to the damned thing, probably like my mom did when she finally made the transition from old dial phones to touch-tone phones. "Dialing Opearator is different!"

Does anyone remember the old days of the early 90s when the new technology was spelling out things on your touch-tone phones? There used to be a section of the phonebook (remember those? Of course you do, because they still give you them, like it or not) where it was: "Are you thinking of killing yourself? "Dial 555-5555, then enter the code 7486". What an awkward time period we all live in.

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