Monday, October 30, 2006


Di-di-dong, goes the chime emitted by AIM on a Sidekick. Someone's replied to what is construed to be an urgent message when it merely adds to the current drama consisting of anger over an unfaithful boyfriend. Sometimes it's a girlfriend. But whatever the case, texting is another feature of cell phones in which the purpose is defeated.

My main concern is the charge incurred by sending a line of text. On TMobile it's probably two cents to send a line of text, but compared to a five- or ten-cent minute, I'd say the vocal minute is more productive. I'll assume that the average person sends and receives four or five lines a minute: Usually in five lines you get about a quarter of the conversation done whilst the conversation is nearly over (about 80 percent) when the vocal minute passes. And it's a separate charge, one that many teens have compromised to pay for separately.

But what is the logic here? I happen to know that LiveJournal and Blogger allow you to blog from your mobile, but when people do, as I've observed from the blogs that link here via the Next Blog function, it's usually to send a picture, not necessarily text, but since it has to be posted as HTML it still counts as a line of text — two cents more. Compare it to taking photos on a digital camera and then uploading them onto your computer at night, when time is plenty. I'd take the latter any day. Plus which, for all cell phones (don't mention the Treo, Sidekick, or Blackberry to me; they're called PDAs no matter how you look at them), the lack of a QWERTY keyboard makes posting and recording difficult for the poster and potential reader; it's designed more for short recording and the usual speak on AIM.

Of course, this applies to the United States. In Europe and Asia (except China, where text messages are censored), texting is as useful as the vocal minute due to less reliance on the car. For the Americans, the fact that texting diverts your eyes off the road is another lack of support. We already have states passing laws against the use of cell phones whilst driving; with new studies coming out, they might push for harsher penalties on those texting whilst driving. In Europe, you're sitting on a train or walking much more than you can drive due to the city's unaccommodating layout, so it's a lot safer and more productive. They have an excuse, at the very least.

Note to self: Don't start this habit if stuck with the GoPhone for Christmas. The smilies have been knocked down and the tilde is starting to crumble away.

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