I think the last time I was excited about technology was 1983, HP released a new calculator that I just had to have. Not only did it take the tedium out of converting between Binary and Hexadecimal, you could program it to emulate the innards of any computer on the market. You could even play with the ‘stocking stuffer’ that we lovingly called the IBM PC.

It was a calculator not aimed at the general public, in fact I derived a great deal of amusement in loaning it to people that wanted to do mundane tasks like adding two numbers together.  Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) was not an easy concept to grab onto.

This calculator was not aimed at the man in the street, it was either a wonderful tool, or the invention of the devil. It was the most invaluable tool in one set of hands, and totally useless in another’s.

This calculator had an appeal to a very small subset of the population. What it did was stellar, but only if you understood the power, and had the need of the capability. It was a truly unique little device. It solved a problem.

I am a fan of devices that do just one thing, and do them well.

The cell phone started that way, sure it was bulky. I think my first experience was in Los Angeles, it was sometime in the late 80’s.  From the bar of the swanky hotel that we were staying at, my good friend (a major league CEO today), lets call him Dave. We took a box that would not fit in the overhead compartment of any modern Jet and called our main processing location in Denver. I have no idea how much that call cost, but it was significant.

Todays phones seem to do everything but actually make phone calls. The new Apple iPhone seems to be in that category. I personally do not own a cell phone, I view them as useless toys. The buttons are too damn small, in fact the whole device is too damn small for my not very nimble hands.

I had a brief encounter with a cell phone 2 years ago, we had moved, and there was a delay in getting real phone service established, I hated every call. Most calls I lost, I hit the wrong button!

It was with great humor that I read the latest articles about the new iPhone. Apparently it matters how you hold it. How stupid is that? The data seems to reveal that the iPhone works for right handed folks, but if you are left handed you might have a few problems.

Maybe Apple need to introduce a left handed version?

I’ll just stick with the $3 phone I picked up from my local Goodwill store. It doesn’t have a camera, it doesn’t text, you can’t make high def movies, it doesn’t permit you to access your email, or browse the web. You can’t even play music on it, well, unless you count the Musak  you are forced to listen to when trying to get tech support from any of these ‘high tech’ companies. But, it makes phone calls. You pick it up, you dial the number on the adult sized buttons and away you go. The battery never dies, it does not have one, I don’t concern my self with whatever ‘bars’ are, the signal I get is always good. The bottom line, it is a device built to do one thing, and do it well.

Simon Barrett

Be Sociable, Share!