Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mobile Circus

When it comes to technology I am what marketing types refer to as ‘The Cash’. Not in a real and practical sense given my pitiful inflow of mahulah*, but certainly in a theoretical sense. Being the godless heathen that I am, I have to dedicate my entire purpose and meaning in life to science and the gifts that it bestows on us mortals through commercial technology. This generally involves me sitting like a starving dog outside a restaurant, wolfing down whatever random scraps happen to get thrown out.

It means my purchasing choices can be a bit askew. The reason I got my MacBook wasn’t because I scoffed at Windows and thought Microsoft was for suckers who liked their computers to act like an arthritic cat with chunks of missing fur and a tendency to blindly plunge headfirst off high surfaces. No, I got the MacBook because it is shiny. It has things that go ‘vrooom’ and ‘weee’ and ‘whoosh’ in a visual sense. It makes my brain uncomprehendingly coo and gurgle which no doubt is a nice thing but I’m not sure if that’s sufficient justification for pledging my undying allegiance to Macs*.

It’s the same for things like HD-TVs which apparently we all need and I desperately want even though the only thing I could use my £1,000 investment for at the moment would be making the Big Daddy savagely beating me to death in Bioshock that little bit sharper to the eye*. They could release a new piece of technology that did nothing but follow you around all day, occasionally reading over your shoulder and making random bleeping noises and I’d be cutting through hordes of other technology bitches to get my hands on the Uncomfortable iPresence ver.1.0.

There’s some kind of progress going on here at least. Computers continue to boost themselves up with exponentially aggressive steroids every year which makes me feel a bit guilty for using them for nothing more than writing, t’interweb and the occasional snuff film, things they’ve been able to handle for years; while HD-TV means that stuff is more real or something. I don’t actually know how these things work. The fact that my iPod is a little box with music somehow contained within it still baffles me*.

But surely there must come a point where we say in one collective voice, ‘Enough is enough. We can only push the boundaries of science so far. Once something has been perfected we must leave it and move on to save on resources and stuff’. I’m still waiting for this to happen with mobile phones.

As far as I can tell a mobile phone has two purposes: to make and receive calls and ditto for texts. As an auxiliary function they should also try their little cotton socks off at not breaking. Now in my opinion these feats were accomplished with the Nokia 3310 and every phone since has been nothing but a pointless replica of the same thing. Let’s compare some of the features found in the Nokia 3310 and the latest piece of brain-melting hardware, the Sony Ericsson W910i*.

Both phones are off to a strong start as a couple of calls to a bemused Dominos phone person prove that they are equally capable of fulfilling one of two essential phone functions. It’s a strong and confident outing from both when it comes to sending texts as well, my hands feel more comfortable around the clear and distinct plastic of the 3310 but that’s just preference. Both phones can perform the tasks that they’re employed for 98929%* of the time.

Now for the ‘other’ stuff. The new phone has polyphonic ringtones, multimedia games and a camera. But none of those matter because only a spiritually lacking cretin gets pleasure in their hilarious A-Team ringtone sounding off yet again. Multimedia games include the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog 1 which came out 53 years ago and serves only to remind us all how far computer games have come since then. Besides, Snake II on the Nokia 3310 was the best mobile game ever made because of its simplicity and addictiveness and if you like gaming on the go you’ll already have a DS. As for cameras, I’ve yet to see a cameraphone that can take photos which aren’t simply a smear of large grainy chunks of colour*. For the same money I’d have to spend getting a new phone I could just get a decent shiny camera.

I did upgrade once. I got a fancy flipper-me-open Samsung thing and it kept me happy for a while, even if it was less intuitive than the 3310 at least it could store more than 10 fucking messages*. Then it came in contact with a slither of moisture and completely gave up the ghost. In contrast my 3310 has been in three different seas, a variety of swimming pools and myself. The most it has needed after is a brief dry with a hairdryer and then it’s back, ready for more. What more could I ask for from technology?

Arseburgers. Just as I finished this* my 3310 keeled over for no reason. It seems my phone has decided to switch off at random intervals, specifically when I’m trying to call or text someone, therefore rendering this whole thing pointless. Still, if it’s any consolation it was a bigger waste of my time.

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