Cellphones have changed my world
Cellphones are a big part of our lives these days.
Although the technology is rather young it is probably true that most of us would be lost without our cellphones. I recall first generation cellphones in the early 1990s. In remote Attawapiskat, we were so far removed from modern technology that we only saw these new phones on television. They are often referred to as bricks and for good reason because they really were huge rectangles of plastic that people toted around and chatted on. They were considered portable but I think they were not very practical and certainly could not fit in a pocket or purse.
These early phones were expensive to purchase unless you bought one on a plan. The first thing the cellphone business people set up was a way to sell the phone at a low price and then trap users into rate plans that were very expensive.
I know a friend who has some horror stories about those early cellphones as he ran up bills that were in excess of $1,400 a month. They were also deemed to be unsafe to a degree considering that research showed that there might be a possibility that the electromagnetic radiation used in the microwave range could be carcinogenic. Although, the phones have been modernized and are now very small and compact with weaker production of waves they still are considered a risk to health over long-term use. As a matter of fact, in 2011 the World Health Organization decided that long-term use could be considered a health risk and a carcinogenic hazard.
When I got into cell phones in the late 1990s they were smaller units than the brick type but still limited in range mostly because of a lack of a full cell tower system across the country and in particular the far north. It was still a big treat to be able to call someone while walking along the street, moving about in traffic and enjoying a meal in my favourite restaurant. All of a sudden it seemed in a few years that everyone had a cell phone and the streets were full of people on cells, they were chatting away on buses, in malls and even while driving along at highway speeds. The world just was not the same.
The technology started out with a very limited 1G network that restricted cell phone use to a few areas in major cities or towns. Then it went to 2G when more towers were built and cellphones could be used more extensively and allow a person to move about. Next, it went to 3G which was the time frame I am most accustomed to where the cell tower signal networks really developed and so did the phone technology.
My first phones were really useful for phone calls but not much more and then I moved up to a newer phone that would allow me to access in a limited way to the Internet.
That was very cool but not always easy or possible to do depending on where I was located and the signal access. More recently, I enjoy what are now called smartphones which are cellphones that are more than phones and more like mini computers.
The smartphone type technology is available in all sorts of gadgets including iPads, a variety of tablets and an array of tiny phones with big screens and all kinds of possibilities due to added accessories and apps. If you have a smartphone type of cellphone you can set up your mini computer just about anywhere.
One of the most popular things that has come out of the cellphone advance has to do with texting. People can very inexpensively communicate with each other by just typing words onto the screen and sending it off to be read and replied to. Texting has gone crazy and just about everywhere I go I am surrounded by people texting each other and often in the same room. They are not bothering to communicate the old fashioned way by talking but they seem to prefer the silent plunk of little keys to keep in touch. It can be a little frustrating for people who are not into this technology to this degree. Most people I know who text are under the age of 40 or so and teens seem to be addicted to it.
I really do love my smartphone android but at times I am very content to put it aside and just read a book or take a walk on a wilderness trail. My love of the wilderness draws me to some very out of the way places and that dictates that I have to set my smartphone aside because the signal is too weak. It drives people nuts who want to contact me but it gives me the necessary withdrawal from a hectic and anxiety ridden world that spins us around too often and far too quickly. Time to put another log on the campfire.
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