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By (March 6, 2009) ()

Not really, but I wanted to title my post that. I’d like to take a moment to talk about my phone. It’s a Samsung GH-A727, I think. This is really where the problem starts – it doesn’t have a name, it has an alphanumeric string that’s hard to remember. The phone is actually handsome – it fits in the pocket easily and has a sleek, simple design. All of this simply distracts from the ugly truth – this phone was designed by a masochist!

The keypad is tiny, perhaps designed for pygmies who do not text message. I often type garbled or unintelligble messages which are rendered into embarassing mistakes by the under-tested and inadequate t1 software. A great example is the word night- this always ends up as “might”. And when you look at the message after committing, and before sending, there is no way built in to go back and edit. You must save it to a draft, exit the messaging program, and restart the process. Outrageous! I often find myself giving up on crucial messages and just calling and leaving voicemails. There are myriad other problems – clunky menus, ambiguous icons, tortuous operations to turn on essential things like bluetooth or set up internet bookmarks. The headphone and charger jacks are both proprietary. The browser is complete horse-fudge…These regularly send me into a state of rage – a combination of fear and loathing.
Mobile companies need to open up their software and provide APIs to the real experts – their users. This simple-seeming remedy would turn my emotional problems upside down. I would have recourse. If I didn’t like what I had, it would be within my power to change it. Corporate greed, or perhaps just shoddy thinking, has made that impossible. There are almost certainly doctoral dissertations out there about how the economy of all works and why these proprietary devices with proprietary software exist – but I think in the end history will prove the sheer stupidity of this kind of thinking. There is no real need for these restrictions to exist, they are imposed upon us-and the crazy thing is that more people would buy the items in question if those restrictions were lifted.

This isn’t even scraping the issue of forcing customers to pay for things like text messaging and email which should be free – people pay for bottled water after all. Perhaps all this goes to show that the “collective we” of society is still not as smart as its technology, and may never be.

March 6, 2009

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