pay phone history

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Re: pay phone history

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:24 am

I generally despise cellphones and especially for their desecration of the great outdoors. The little leisure outside activity I am able to do lately consists of sitting and reading or walking on the portion of the park trail system in Fort Collins accessible about a minute from my house. And the saddest thing for me is having to listen as every second person who passes by on a bicycle or walking, broadcasts their telephone conversations to the world.

I bought my first cellphone about 10 years ago strictly to communicate with my son who had a habit of getting stranded in places where there was no public transportation, which is not unusual around here. I recall telling the story on Wordwizard some time ago about the time I drove an hour to pick him up at night at some high school debate (or something like that) and was frantically looking for him in the empty building I found when I got their . . . after he had decided to take alternate transportation home.

Since he went off to college, I do carry a cellphone in my car and take it with me on hikes for an emergency, but it is never turned on and I rarely make more than a call in a month. Only three people even know my cellphone number and I only turn it on if they say they must get hold of me, which is almost never, while I'm going to be out somewhere. I just don't want my tranquility disturbed and there is very little that can't wait till I get home.

For those who, like myself, use a cellphone only very occasionally, but want to have one around just in case, there is a pretty good deal which I have from AT&T which gives you 3 months of cell phone use for $25, however, with a high price per minute. But if you don't use it much, so what! The unused minutes accumulate from month to month so I end up with a huge number of available minutes throughout the year, which my son was able to use up in about a day when he visited home from Europe. But I suppose there might be phone cards which would accomplish about the same thing.

I just think that life was so much more civilized when we didn't have to listen to folks in the supermarket loudly discussing with someone on their cellphones what brand of cheese they should buy. I'm not quite a Luddite, but I'd love to smash some of those little fuckers. But I guess I'm just old-fashioned, or worse, an old fuddy-duddy. (>:)

Ken - October 10, 2008

Re: pay phone history

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:38 am

I don't have a cellphone either, though I might consider a pay-as-you-go handset prior to the next time I do a long road trip, simply in case a breakdown or other problematic situation occurs. The total cost of a mobile phone subscription has always seemed like an unnecessary extravagance to me.

It helps too that my social life is not as hectic and haphazard as that of college-age kids or many teenagers. Almost the only times I find myself wishing I also had a cellphone is when I am out shopping and have a query about what brand of cheese to buy. But on such occasions I just go to the customer service desk and ask to use their phone; I have never yet been refused. Nor have I ever been asked to pay.
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Re: pay phone history

Post by hsargent » Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:16 pm

Shelley and PG,

I resisted cell phones until 2001 and my retirement. My concern was my wife not limiting her call time. And one night before we learned to lock the keyboard, my wife had the phone live in her pants pocket all night. That was $100 at $1.50 per minute over 350 minutes a month.

But we now have two phones, hers and mine. We never run over because of roll over (and auto-lock keyboards). I have never bought a phone because they come with the contract every two years. I don't use text, phone internet, or send photos. We just talk when ever and where ever.

And when you break down on the highway (we did in the middle of the night 150 miles from home on the interstate, or you can leave on a trip earlier because my wife can make calls on the road, or I don't have to stay home waiting for a call, or there is never a charge for long distance, the cell phone is a great asset.

So the good news about holding out is that you will enjoy the cells even more when you give in!

So I am willing to not use pay phones. I have stood in a gas station drive way in the heat and loud noise trying to make a call without a telephone book and it wasn't fun!
Signature: Harry Sargent

Re: pay phone history

Post by Tony Farg » Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:47 pm

I thought I'd just remark that over here we don't call them "cells" (although I still (very rarely,just now and then)) do hear "cellphone".
They are, almost without exception, mobiles.

Re: pay phone history

Post by hsargent » Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:22 pm

About 15 years ago in the US, we had a generation of big radio phones which we called mobiles. These were typically only commercially used. I guess that connection is why we never use the term mobile.

But it does bring the question which may have already been addressed of the term cell which is short for cellular. But I don't know the electronic distinction. (Based on Wikipedia, cell and mobile are interchangeable.)
Signature: Harry Sargent

Re: pay phone history

Post by russcable » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:54 pm

My parents were just recently forced to trade in their mobile phone as the company finally turned off the network that supported it. It was about the size of 4 bricks. They frequently drive through areas with poor to no cellular coverage and the mobile had a high-power antenna and much greater range.
Now they just drive very fast when they hit a gap. ;-)

Re: pay phone history

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:55 pm

Harry, this is a page from elsewhere in WIKIPEDIA.

It describes things as I understood them, but I am certainly not an expert.
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: pay phone history

Post by p. g. cox » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:54 pm

Bob, you upstaged me on that one as I was just about to post a similar response.
So as you can see Harry, a mobile phone is different from a cell phone although I suppose that the term has caught on in Europe.
As an interesting sideline, one of the progenitors of frequency hopping which led to spread spectrum technology that eventually enabled cellular telecommunications, was the movie actress Hedy Lamarr. You'll remember her as Delilah, Samson's hair stylist in the movie; she had brains as well as looks.
The most celebrated invention of frequency hopping was that of actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil, who in 1942 received U.S. Patent 2,292,387 for their "Secret Communications System". Lamarr had learned about the problem at defense meetings she had attended with her former husband Friedrich Mandl, who was an Austrian arms manufacturer. The Antheil-Lamarr version of frequency hopping used a piano-roll to change among 88 frequencies, and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or to jam. The patent came to light during patent searches in the 1950s when ITT Corporation and other private firms began to develop Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), a civilian form of spread spectrum, though the Lamarr patent had no direct impact on subsequent technology. It was in fact ongoing military research at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Magnavox Government & Industrial Electronics Corporation, ITT and Sylvania Electronic Systems that led to early spread-spectrum technology in the 1950s. Parallel research on radar systems and a technologically similar concept called "phase coding" also had an impact on spread-spectrum development
Signature: Pete.

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